Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Nature enriches my life...

Mr H smiles as he walks through the door...what are you up to? 

...Two years ago during the watery summer my sunflower seed began to sprout from the sides of the bird feeder so as the window cleaner watched with a smirk on his face, hands on his hips, I  picked out the 'sprouters' and gently eased each one into a pot filled with seed compost.

...to my delight they threw out a sunshine display in my kitchen garden despite the constant deluge of wet stuff.

Mr H said why don't you collect the seed...so I left the flower heads to dry out and this years sunflowers were born. This summer down at the allotment, with a golden smile, I told inquisitive passers by ...they are all grown from bird seed.

So here I am picking my way through this year's harvest to discover the seeds which the flowers have made. 

Since my nursing career stopped growing, I am occupied by the richness of Time and the Magic of nature...

...yesterday I said to a friend who was trying to juggle her busy life : take a few seconds in your day to see the colour of the sky, take in the detail of a leaf, stop to feel the wind on your skin or listen to the birds sing before you get into your car...when you add up these seconds it's as good as any holiday

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
— Albert Einstein

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow
- Helen Keller

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Never, never give up... on becoming a ballerina!

Mr H look at me....look now.....Nooooow


Watch my feet

I stand in front of him on the lounge floor. A grin pirouettes across my face as with outstretched arms I slowly rise onto the balls of my feet...and count...

...1...2....3....before, like a wobbling weeble, I dive head first into his lap.

Mr H has a tear in his eye as he says  When did you realise you could do that? 


I thought my ballet and tap dancing career was done and dusted but as I Tame another Tiger, Rule Ten roars: Never, never give up

"You are writing the story of your life. You are holding the pen. Is the tiger roaring yet? You have a choice-what are you going to do next?" Jim Lawless

Yes that's Me!
Buy ballet shoes....

Friday, November 15, 2013

Memories and Martin Luther King

I came across the transcript of Martin Luther King's speech 'I have a dream ...' when I was sorting through some papers at home... 

 I recall the events which led up to Mr H printing it out for me...

Dawn do you know what day it is
um.. it's..  I think it's still Wednesday

Do you know where you are
Ward one high dependency unit

Can you tell me who the President of the United States is
Aha (my swollen head smiles) trick question, President Bush; Barack Obama is the President Elect 

I hear the nurse smile...

I will answer the same questions and many more thousands of times before my release...

Barack Obama had been elected a couple of weeks before and when I was well enough to go back onto the ward it was the main topic of conversation with my bedside neighbours. The first black American President. Amazing. Momentous  We talked about Martin Luther King's speech and racked our brains to recall anything other than I had a dream... So Mr H was tasked to go home and print us a copy...

The speech lifted my spirits for in a different way I was trapped; by my body, unable to move freely. Unable to go where I desired. Unable to make free choices...

"But let us not wallow in the valley of despair...I have a dream...let freedom ring...free at last!"

As I recall this  I reflect on my own dreams:
I dream...that one day I will climb to the top of Old Man Coniston and feel the freedom of wind in my hair as I look down on the world.  

I have a dream that my legs will cast aside their chains to dance a waltz.

I have a dream that my epilepsy shall sleep, tucked in by effective drugs, so that I can legally travel with 'my Dorothy'.

But these dreams make me feel small and selfish; they are insignificant in comparison to the 1963 demonstration for freedom from segregation, poverty and racial injustice. A speech made when I was one day old!

But I too have big dreams... 

I have a dream... that one day the lives of people living with disabilities (visible and invisible) shall be free from discrimination

I have a dream... that I shall live to witness the cure for brain tumours...

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Mobility Scooters: Freedom and Fun

I turned my head away at the mention of a scooter once I was back on my wobbly feet. But the offer of a shopping trip to an outlet mall, when my world was the village, was too good to refuse. So we booked in advance and a kindly man met us at the car and introduced me to my wheels; snail is good for inside, move the knob to hare to get yourself out of a snare...

Inside and on the move my tightly pursed lips gradually broke open as a smile eased its way out. Chris and Val walked as I scooted from shop to shop. Big stores were best as I had yet to master tight manoeuvres. In the home store the girls were studying towels when I, unknowingly, hooked myself up on a metal container of tea towels and happily dragged it behind me until a squeal from a shop keeper made me press stop!! A visit to the loo caused another te-do! I proudly tucked our shopping bags between my knees to save the girls energy.  I had the bug. I had freedom. Of sorts.

I discovered that some bird reserves loan out scooters on a first come first served basis and the world of birdwatching reopened its arms. I happily swung my binoculars over my shoulder as we collected my pre booked wheels from Cley Marsh Reserve then Titchwell Marsh in north Norfolk. I zipped from bird hide to bird hide where I parked my ride outside and hobbled in to spot some birds with Mr H. 

The Malvern show had been an annual event for Mr H and I but I had dismissed a visit because of the walking involved until  I discovered Event Mobility who attend some events with a trailer load of scooters which can be borrowed for a fee.  So we went and I came away with my arms full of flowers. But I advise anyone thinking of doing this to go early to mooch as once the shows get busy all you see is bums and bags.

I now volunteer at a social club for adults with disabilities and have been humbled by the acceptance of wheels as an aid to independence, rather than my first interpretation... My failure to walk.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meningiomas inside and out

You have a Meningioma. Grade One. Benign. It's nothing more than a lump adds one of my medical colleagues when he pops his head round my door.

I have won the lottery! Send for balloons. I raise my plastic glass of elderflower presse and the bubbles go up my nose.

I stare down at my lifeless legs and left arm and say right you lot, let’s get to work. No slacking. We are lucky. Some say no one is lucky to get a brain tumour; but I still believe I am one of the lucky ones. ...

If you have a brain tumour this is the one you want says my surgeon. I remember my scrap book of lovingly glued snippets about John Travolta as I hum; you're the one that I want, you are the one.. woo hoo hoo ; the one that I want...

But as time passes the damage and havoc good old Benign Meningioma left in his wake begin to take shape. Fatigue. Not tiredness that a good nights sleep can resolve but the need to re-evaluate HOW I live and how much I do each day; learning through experience the consequences of trying to have a busy day!! Leg, ankle, foot and bum muscles resist my attempts to return to normal life. I have a new normal and Epilepsy adds another dimension.

The message that he may regrow, but it is good to assume it won't - sinks in.

Now I educate when I hear comments like she/he only had a benign tumour and its out so they are fine...I hope you get over your brain tumour soon...benign that's good then it wont grow back will it...

Facts: Meningiomas:

  • grow from the meninges; the membranes which cover the brain.
  • are graded from 1-4. The grading refers to the the degree of malignancy (speed of growth). The majority are Grade 1. Grade 1 and 2 are known as low grade (slower growing) while grades 3 and 4 are known as high grade
  • can grow anywhere in the brain. Their site affects the possible damage and subsequent impact on life.
  • grow slowly and can be very large before they are found or cause symptoms - like mine
  • can be safely observed for some years without need for surgery if they are small when identified
  • can change their spots and become higher grade (in some instances)
  • can only be completely removed surgically if they are in an accessible part of the brain and have not grown too large or spread too far

However the impact of a grade 1 (benign tumour) can be anything but benign!

My BT has helped me see the world through different eyes...