BOWING OUT?

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It’s been a while since I posted (again). I’m finding it more and more challenging to keep up with my blog, and to read my fellow WordPress friend’s blogs too. I’ve been writing here for almost five years now and have published no less than 344 posts. I checked this fact and was quite amazed that I’d been able to write so much.

When I first started writing it was all about my mental health and my history of abuse. I don’t need to go there anymore (thank goodness), and I thankfully, don’t live in that world now either.

I’ve moved on a long, long way since then. I’m busy – a never stop kind of busy which is fine by me. I’m finally enjoying my life and doing so many things that I enjoy and that are enriching my life; expanding my thoughts and opinions; bringing peace to my soul and joy to my heart. I am fortunate enough to be able to listen to music that I like and read books that interest me. I’m finally happy.

I’m still volunteering at the university, and I’m continuing my studies. I’m going to the gym regularly, and I see significant progress in my mobility. I’m able to walk a few steps unaided now, only indoors as it’s not safe for me to walk outdoors without support because my bones are so fragile that if I fell on the concrete, I’d possibly permanently damage myself. The last thing I need is to have to go back with my progress, so I’m ultra-ultra careful.

This is all leading up to the fact that I may have to bow out of the world of WordPress. I’ve tried (and managed for a short while) to write more regularly, but seem to always fail abysmally. I often burn the midnight oil, and I am in fact burning the candle at both ends. As it is, I’m writing this at three o’clock in the morning! Not good as I’ll regret not going to bed when I see the breaking of the sun.

I still so enjoy my writing, but somehow, it doesn’t seem right to pour my thoughts out on paper (or rather, on my laptop) and expect others to be interested when I cannot reciprocate this. And so, I’m seriously thinking of bowing out. Any constructive comments, views, and advice very welcome. Thank you, friends, Ellie x

DEM BONES, DEM BONES, DEM DRY BONES (Song) …

If someone had told me a decade ago that I’d be getting my mobility back after all these years of being in a wheelchair, I would never have believed them. But, here I am, walking with one crutch indoors, but not outside. However, the irony of this situation is that four weeks ago, I was diagnosed with very severe osteoporosis following a DEXA bone scan where my T-score (-4.5) was almost off the radar. My GP said she’s not seen anyone with this level of bone fragility for a very long time. If I fall, bend or twist, I stand a very high rate of fracturing my spine or breaking a hip either of which could result in permanent disability or paralysis. Bad news.

Having said all that, I’m not giving up on life … not at all. I have to learn to do everything differently and safely. Whether it’s getting something out of the fridge, picking up a bit of fluff from the floor, drying my feet after a shower and other tasks I took for granted before. I have to think before every move, and it’s exhausting sometimes, but I’m not complaining. It could be far worse.

I refuse to let this condition beat me. It knocked the stuffing out of me when I first got my diagnosis, and I was very depressed for quite a while, but now, I’m keeping active by moving around my home more and going to the gym at least two to three times a week and working really hard. Exercise is the key. I’m getting stronger, not weaker, and as long as I don’t fall, I’ll continue that way. I daren’t attempt to set foot outdoors without George (my electric chariot!) or my manual wheelchair for fear of falling on the concrete. There’s no way, after all this hard work, that I want to be back in the position where I can’t wash and feed myself again. I’m come too far.

So, I’m following my specialist’s advice, keeping active, taking medication which should help prevent any further bone loss and being extra careful about my diet. No big deal. That coupled with all my work at the gym should keep dem bones of mine ticking over for some time, I think.

 

 

HAVING TO TAKE A BREAK

pexels-photo-taking a break for blog

Having written my last post, I said that I would shortly write my next post about my two wonderful trips to a seaside town a little distance away. I was very much looking forward to sharing my experiences with you. However, current difficult circumstances have meant I just haven’t had the time or the concentration to write. Nor, I am sorry to say, have I had the time to read all my fellow blogger’s many posts either. I know I have missed so many and for that, I apologize.

This means that I have to take a break for a little while but plan to be back again before long, and then I’ll start rereading your blogs too.

Should I say … please, bear with me … or … watch this space!?

I’ll be back. Hopefully sooner than later …

Love Ellie Xx ❤

CATCHING UP

pexels woman at desk with laptop, diary etc for blog

(Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels)

Just a brief appearance! I haven’t had a chance to post anything for about five weeks – far too long. I’ve been away on holiday, not once, but twice! I’ll write about my adventures in my next post. Since I’ve been back and before I’ve even had an opportunity to unpack my bags, life has been completely flat-out.

All this activity has meant I’m way, way behind on reading my fellow blogger’s posts. When I looked through my email this evening, I could see I’d missed about twenty-two posts from my friends! I will try my best to catch up on as many of these as I can, so please bear with me and accept my apologies.

Thank you, my friends, for your patience – and especially …

https://deepasthoughts.wordpress.com

https://mickcanning.co

https://coherentwithcoffee.com

https://muddlingthroughmymiddleage.com

https://asmuchcake.com

https://gcdiaries.wordpress.com

https://lifeisonewodehousestory.wordpress.com/

I know I will enjoy reading all of your posts as soon as I possibly can.

 

 

HOLIDAYS – HOME AND AWAY

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At the risk of sounding crazy, I’m going on vacation for a couple of days to my hometown. I don’t mean the town where I was born; I mean the city where I now live! I know it sounds like an odd thing to do, but there is a somewhat obscure reason for this.

A friend who I made at my college asked me if I’d like to go down to the coast for a few days. His parents live very near a lovely seaside town which has a beautiful beach, and the local Pavillion Theatre isn’t far away either. I enjoy watching a good play or a show and don’t get the chance very often. I’d have to travel by train, a two-and-a-half hour journey. I’ll be staying in a lovely hotel with disabled facilities, breakfast included (plus the all-essential wi-fi) and a sea view. I’d see my friend for some of the time, and I also want to have a mooch around by myself too. Wonderful!

So, what’s the first trip got to do with the second?

Well … I’m so looking forward to going away to the coast. I’ve not been there for a very long time. In fact, I’ve not been anywhere much (other than back and forth to London when my Mum was sick), and I haven’t had a holiday away from home since, believe it or not, 1985! I’m nervous though because I’m, understandably, entirely unused to sleeping away from the safety and security of my house. I’m worried in case I forget something important. I haven’t packed a suitcase in decades! However, I do want to go.

The fact that I am nervous and relatively scared is the reason for my first trip. I thought, rather than jump in at the deep end and travel away from home, I’d dip my toe in my water and have a weekend in a local hotel in the city I’m already in and am used to. That way, if I forget anything, or don’t like it, I’m only thirty minutes from home. I’m more confident about that and am really quite looking forward to it.

I can’t help wondering what my dear Mum would have said if she were still here … I think she’d say, “you go girl!!” 🙂

 

(Image courtesy of trip.101.com)

 

DUCKS AND GEESE AND LONG-LEGGED BEASTS!

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Summer is well and truly here in England. The temperature got up to 28 degrees in the shade today (probably hotter in other areas), and it’s set to be even warmer over the next week or two. I’ve never liked being out in the hot sun in the past, but, for some reason, I’m enjoying it this year. I’m not out in it for too long unless I’ve covered myself with factor 50 suncream though.

This afternoon, I walked back home from my church through the park and along the river. I just took in all the beauty of our nature, the bright blue sky with hardly a cloud in it; the green leaves on the trees there and the vast assortment of plants and beautiful flowers growing everywhere. As I walked across the park, I spotted a small group of geese (I think the term is a gaggle of geese). I snapped a photo even though they were a bit distant (below). You can see how dry the grass is – it’s almost yellow – we need a good downpour (preferably when everyone is in bed).

my geese in the park Central Park summer

I watched the water splashing down the weir and flowing into the river, and the ducks bobbing up and down searching for food. Nearby, there were a couple of robins and collared doves pecking for insects in the ground for their lunch.

male & female ducks in water Bing image

It wasn’t so long ago, I spotted a male and female swan with their cygnets (below). There were eight of them and recently, I saw them in the distance with seven babies. It was lovely to know that so many had survived as, being so little, they get attacked easily by bigger creatures.

Swans and cignets (cropped photo) close up

As you know, I don’t usually share photos, but I thought I’d make an exception as I’m enjoying the summer so much this year. Nature is quite stunning, and I’m really struck by its beauty. However, when I got home, I went into the kitchen, and there sitting in the corner of the room, underneath the worktop was the most enormous spider! I’m not a fan! We eyed each other up – he was all hair and long black legs – ugh. [So, what happened to the beauty of nature, I ask?]. It’s not that I hate them; I’d just rather them not be inside my house. As there was no-one there to safely dispatch it to the garden and I couldn’t reach him, I tried staring him out – he won! And I ran (well, wheeled) into the living room. When I went back out later, he’d gone. Where!? I’m worried now … will I have a long-legged ‘friend’ accompanying me to bed tonight?

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Night-night, Harry! Sweet dreams.

 

AN INQUIRING MIND

Psychology Forensic The Justice System

I’ve discovered a new passion, proving that you’re never too ‘old’ or middle-aged in my case, to find new loves (not of the romantic variety either, at least, not in my case). Since being in college, I’ve developed a real interest in learning about new subjects. Nothing unusual about that,  but I was denied this opportunity when I was back in High School having been told by my teachers that I ‘wasn’t clever enough’. My current term with my present college ends late this summer, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

I recently applied to do a new course, at the same college, in Psychology, Forensics and The Justice System, and I found out today that I’ve been accepted. I am so thrilled! It’s only part-time and at an elementary level, but it will give me the experience to decide whether I want to follow this up with a more advanced qualification. The course doesn’t start until next January, and I’m itching to get started already. I wonder whether I’ll finally develop a liking for Judge Judy or Judge Rinder, of television fame.

Not content with that, I want to fill the Autumn Term gap with learning about another interest of mine, a short evening course (now the evenings are lighter), in hearing loss and British Sign Language. Although I don’t have any hearing loss, my Mum, when she was alive, struggled with this. British Sign Language has always fascinated me, ever since I was young when I learned the deaf alphabet on my fingers. It would be good to develop that a bit more. I think I’ll enjoy that.

I do realise that I am very fortunate in having the spare time to follow some of my ‘dreams’. Dreams may seem like a big word when describing something as ordinary as education. However, I’ve never really hanckered after travelling the world, marrying a rich man or becoming Prime Minister. My dream, simply, is to fulfil my potential which was denied to me when I was growing up … so, here I am at very lively age of sixty finally achieving those dreams.

 

 

WATCH ME GO!

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(Image courtesy of indoortrainingbikes.com – Bing Images)

I haven’t said much about trying to improve my fitness at the gym for a good while now. The last post I wrote, WORKING OUT, about it was over a year ago and you can read it here: https://elliethompson.wordpress.com/2017/06/17/working-out/ if you want to find out where I started from. It has been up to now a very personal journey.

When I started out, I wasn’t even able to get changed without the assistance of a carer, who I didn’t have with me at the time. I was lifting pencil-like weights in an attempt to strengthen the muscles in my arms, and then recovering by downing a smoothie in the fitness centre’s cafe. That was about my limit back then.

Since then, I’ve been going a couple of times a week, fitting it in between college, my voluntary work at Uni, living my daily life, leisure times, chilling out etc. I can honestly say that I do thoroughly enjoy what I do (and I know I am lucky to be able to say that now. Those of you who know me from even a year or so back will know that it hasn’t always been like this, particularly from my mental health perspective). I’m not saying that there won’t be other difficult times ahead, but I feel more able to deal with them now.

Going back to my post … my gym training has really paid off, and I’m so pleased it has. I can now get changed by myself in the disabled shower and changing room. I’m much stronger. My arms, which were struggling with small efforts, can now take my weight and I can lift myself up out of my chair which is allowing me to stand more easily. My back and shoulders are straighter and my neck no longer needs a support. Even my legs are getting stronger (after all these years of thinking I couldn’t do it). Finally, today, I reached my first big milestone! I managed (with very little assistance) to get on an exercise bike and I was even able to push the pedals around very slowly. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am! 🙂 My next aim is to walk with the aid of crutches, and what’s more, I know I can get there.  You just watch me!! 🙂

 

 

THE TROUBLE WITH GEORGE

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Having my old tatty kitchen amazingly transformed into a beautiful, new and modern kitchen with units and a gas hob I can reach has meant I can use it independently of my carers. I’ve got a lovely, new electric oven (I have to get used to the temperatures as I’ve only had gas before). I’ve truly found freedom. At first, the novelty of washing-up at my low-level sink seemed attractive! Now I’m not so sure about that bit, but, nevertheless, I’m determined to not to rely solely on my carers, and I thoroughly enjoy cooking.

The next home-improvement project was my patio with a ramp. The word ‘patio‘ is in italics because it is actually built on the base of my newish forget-me-not blue garden shed – see my earlier post which you can find here … MY FORGET-ME-NOT SHED. The poor unfortunate hut became redundant (which is another story!), and was sold for a small sum to a primary school whose sports shed had been burnt down in a horrible arson attack. By rights, I should now be able to get up my ramp, accessing it through the front door, down the side of the house and through the gate – a bit of a long way round, but functional nevertheless. I’d be able to eat, drink and sunbathe up there if I wanted to whenever the weather is good and I have the time.

There is one big hiccup to this story. GEORGE!! Just when I was savouring the prospect of getting a nice suntan (with sun-factor 50 cream), and entertaining guests out there in the sunshine, George (my electric wheelchair for those of you who aren’t yet acquainted) decided to develop a fault. He sits, stubbornly staring at the ramp and refuses to summon up enough energy to climb it. He’s meant to travel at 8mph (no idea what that is in km), but in fact, he’s probably only going at about a fraction-of-a-mile an hour. No good! I imagine it’s the equivalent of an accelerator in a car going – or rather, not going. All this fantastic progress going forward; first the kitchen and new-found independence; and then the patio; and now? Now – my usual trustworthy lump of metal (sorry, George) frustratingly refuses to get up the ramp and embarrassingly slides backwards. I’m going nowhere fast.

Roll on Monday when the mobility repair company come out, and hopefully, give George the kiss-of-life, no doubt at a sizeable cost to me. Needs must.

MAKING TIME

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Spare time is something I used to have lots of, but never made the most of, mostly because I was depressed to go out, or just couldn’t summon up the energy or enthusiasm. Now, it’s a very different situation, I’m pleased to say. In fact, I barely have a minute to spare … I fly from one task, activity, meeting or outing like a demented wasp! It’s a good thing George (my wheelchair) travels at 8mph (not sure what that is in km), or I’d never get to all these appointments and arrangements.

I’m very fortunate in that, although I live in a town, there is a lot of countryside around me, especially where I am near the river. There’s a footpath and cycle track that follow the river’s route into town. It’s a lovely drive, albeit I’m driving fast and concentrating so hard so that I don’t cross paths with an irate cyclist, or a wandering pedestrian come to that. This fast-paced drive allows me to get everywhere I need to be on time. One thing I hate is being late.

However, I’ve realised of late, that I keep myself so busy that I rarely make time to relax or to chill out with my friends. So, today, having made an arrangement yesterday, I spent the best part of the day with a new but close friend. We just sat in a lovely restaurant for hours and hours. We had a coffee earlier on in the morning, and then sat and had a delicious lunch, beautifully cooked and presented. My friend drank wine and I, being a non-drinker, had an amazing strawberry, elderflower and mint cocktail, all followed by more coffee. We talked and talked, we shared secrets, stories of our lives, current times and our early years, sometimes accompanied by a few tears, but always followed by peals of laughter and giggles. We told each other about past relationships, some great and some disastrous. We took photos and sent them to each other, and generally got very silly, but not embarrassingly so, thankfully.

Eventually, we parted company at 4.30pm, having paid rather a large bill, and a generous tip because the waitress was brilliant and the food first-class. We just had the most wonderful day. I came home feeling all happy, relaxed and loved. Today really made me realise the value of making time for the truly enjoyable occasions. It’s just as important to make time to relax, chill and enjoy myself as it is to rush around to all those appointments and events that tend to fill the calendar. We’ll definitely be doing it all again soon.

Strawberry, elderflower & mint cocktail at The Bootmaker

My delicious cocktail.

 

[Top image courtesy of Stock-clip.com]