Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A Taste of Honey

Something momentous happened on Saturday night.

I left the house, was driven approximately three miles across town and spent an hour in the company of my friends before being driven back. I sat in someone else's house and I drank a glass of Prosecco and for a whole hour I felt almost normal. That is, normal aside from the blurred vision, the sweating buckets and feeling like I was in a dream but then that's pretty standard these days.
Me and the mister socialising together!
It may not sound like much to Healthies, but to me, my loved ones and my fellow ME sufferers, it was epic. Let me put this into perspective for you. I have been ill for almost three years. I have not been able to work for that amount of time. For the last year I have been housebound apart from the occasional trip to hospital or the doctors for yet another pointless blood test. At my worst, only a few months ago (although it seems like a lifetime) I could not manage to watch TV, listen to music, talk on the phone, cope with sunlight, or pretty much do anything. On the rare occasions I was well enough for visitors, I could manage about twenty minutes before my symptoms became too painful and even then I would spent at least a day in agony recovering from the exertion. I had to spend 20 hours a day in bed, either resting or asleep in complete silence, with the blinds closed or my eyes covered. As a result of this, until Saturday night, I had not seen some of my friends for well over a year. I had not seen my best friend Claire's son since he was two (he's almost four now) and I had not been to her house for just as long. In fact, the last time I went to any house other than my own was in September. That's 10 months ago. Almost a year. 

So yes, momentous. Stupendous even. Absolutely amazing. A little scary too if I'm honest. And like all things in my life now, it had to be meticulously planned to the last detail to maximise what little energy I have and minimise the stress to both my brain and my body. I knew the plan was to order a takeaway but that was a non-starter for me. I'm avoiding so many things in my diet that my options for takeaways are extremely limited plus realistically, the amount of time it would take to choose a dish, order it, wait for it to arrive, then eat it would way exceed the hour I'd planned for my first trip out of the house. This meant I had to get my dinner sorted beforehand. It also meant I had a small window of opportunity for my visit to make sure I didn't interfere with my husband's takeaway because he would have to bring me home and get back to Claire's house before their food arrived. According to plan, my husband cooked my food and I ate it early enough to allow me an hour to rest before going out. In the end, I was too excited to rest well. The thought of being able to go out and socialise, even if only for an hour, was too much! The only downside was the fact that I would be arriving after Wilf's bedtime and so wouldn't get to see him. That would have to wait til next time. 

Me and my  bezzie mate Claire.
At ten to eight, we left. In order to cope with the car journey, I wore my ear defenders and sunglasses, set the passenger seat back so I could lie as flat as possible and I spent the journey breathing deeply with my eyes closed, trying to remain as calm as possible. Anything to preserve my precious energy and allow me a few more minutes with my friends. My husband dropped me off at the door whilst he went to park and I did something I haven't done in such a very long time. I rang a doorbell. Such a small and simple thing - the sort of thing you do all the time without thinking, but to me, it was like a rite of passage. Claire answered the door in record time and she looked as excited and dazed as me. We laughed and hugged in shared disbelief. I had made it!

The Wilfmeister. He likes trains.

An hour doesn't seem like a long time but what an hour it was. It was a celebration for many reasons. Between those of us gathered there on Saturday, we had a birthday, a house move, a pregnancy, then me with my first taste of freedom. I was so overjoyed to have made it out, to be part of my friends' lives again. The hardest aspect of chronic illness is missing the big events - the weddings, birthdays etc. How nice of my friends to combine it all into the one short hour I was able to be with them. I jest of course. It was all coincidental but to me it felt serendipitous. The planets had aligned to make my outing as joyful and eventful as possible. I even got to see little Wilf. He couldn't sleep and came down to say hello for a bit. I held it together at the time, as I was in too much of a whirl of excitement, but as I write this I am welling up. I hate the fact that I have missed out on half his life and that he probably didn't quite remember who I was. I know it can't be helped but these are the things that hurt the most, losing the moments that can never be relived. 

All in all, it's been emotional for me, processing all the events of that hour. Tears of joy and relief alongside the sadness mixed with hope at what I might be able to achieve as I slowly recover. The outpouring of love and support from my fellow Twitter spoonies has also filled my heart to bursting. It was like having my own team of cheerleaders willing me on to success, celebrating every step I made towards achieving my goal. I am already planning my next social engagement and can't wait for more adventures. My tiny taste of freedom has left me eager for more. I don't even mind the inevitable payback. My whole body aches, my head hurts, my vision is blurred and noise sensitivity has returned to make every whisper seem like a shout but I don't care. I know now I just have to rest and stay calm until my body recovers. As always, my wonderful Twitter friends are there to help me through the rough patches and it may take a day, it may take more but it will pass. I will smile through the pain because I did it. I did it and it was so, so worth it.

4 comments:

  1. Chuffed. Absolutely chuffed.

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  2. Tears of happiness for you..xx

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  3. Wowee! Well done! :D We live in hope that you will make it to Brum one day. We are so glad that you had such a wonderful time. :D :D

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  4. Have just read your blogg. I feel really emotional too. I am so pleased for you. How wonderful too, that you could write so much. I cleaned all our crystals on Monday and made a crystal grid outside on the lawn. Did some more work with Silver Spheres over the grid and included you and other family members. Your brother has an interview in Gloucester next week. love and light M

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