Thursday, February 25, 2016

Two Little Words

As a child these two little words used to mean the bus conductor couldn't break into my 50p piece. Or the lady in the sweet shop needed to go to the bank. Or my Mum needed to raid the jam jar for my dinner money.

Then when I was working they meant a patients blood pressure was the same. Or a relatives loved one was still poorly. Or we were short staffed...

But today those two little words bring the sun from behind the clouds. They smear a smile onto my face. And they set me free to walk through the gate to the joyous days and months ahead... 

Seven and a bit years after [removal of] this blighter changed my life

The results of my brain scan show 

No Change!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The King of Makaton

On holiday after a day lying in the sun Mr H ties his bow tie and I choose a cocktail dress from our overfull wardrobe. When we sit down in the bar for our pre dinner sparkling water champagne, I spot a young man snapping photographs around us. It looks like you are having fun I say and after a chat we invite them to join us. In that moment of serendipity we meet two exceptional people...

Chris tells us he teaches Makaton: a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate

Oh I would like to learn I tell him...

Can you teach me No Cake I ask

Of course...take your main hand and hold it up like this

then sweep it to the side, that's No Chris grins

Then cup your hand and place it on top of your other like this

That's Cake

I practice No Cake You've got it Chris smiles

I keep doing it as I stare at Mr H and he throws his head back and laughs. I explain that I eat too much cake so now Mr H can silently try and stop me!

Chris teaches Makaton at Hallam University, he also teaches some of the Police officers where we live Nicky tells us, Chris is too modest to tell everyone but I am so proud of him...

Some people confuse it with British Sign Language (BSL) Nicky tells us as we sip our ice cold drinks, but it is different. More accessible. Simplified

Chris chips in to tell us a tale:
About three years ago I was teaching a group of senior nurses when two nursing Professors who were sat in the front row, started talking to each other. I stopped teaching and said excuse me, please listen, I am teaching you...

Wow well done, people talking used to drive me mad when I was teaching...What did they say?

They stared at the floor. They went red. Embarrassed. 

How long have you been signing Chris we ask

Mummy started using it when I was a baby and couldn't talk. It helped me to visualise words. She told me stories, signed books for me.

I love my Mummy Chris says with a sideward glance at his Mum, She encourages me but she's strict. I tell everyone I am so lucky to have her as my Mummy. She fights so hard for me, she's a lioness. When people stare at me she has taught me to ignore it, so that's what I do. Ignore them. 

He has had articles written about him Nicky tells us beaming, her eyes twinkling with love and pride. if you tap Chris Sampson Makaton into Google and you will find lots more... famous then I smile. Mr H says Chris you are The King of Makaton!

We meet each evening after that, eager to hear more, learn more from Chris and Nicky. 

One evening, Chris takes his ipod out of his pocket and shows us a video of him signing a rap which he did for a drama group audition; he was immediately accepted they tell us. He shows us a recording of him teaching Occupational Therapy Students at a Conference to sign a song from Glee...

Please teach me Don't Stop Believing ...

Take your main hand like this..
Thats Don't

Then Stop is like No

Point to your head like this for Believe

Then this is for!

Thats our Mantra in life Nicky tells us Don't Stop Believing... Mine too or Never Ever Give Up I say

You are an inspiration Chris, you both are. 

The best teachers 
Teach from the heart 
Not from a book

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hope is like the Sun

A small cappuccino please I ask


A cappuccino without chocolate is no cappuccino at all I say

I agree the dark haired young assistant says as he shakes the bean shaped powder over my frothy white drink.

I sit at the only empty table next to two doctors dressed in blue scrub suits, A&E I think, not theatre I hope - too much of an infection risk. As I settle into the hard brown chair and pull out my book they lower their voices and lean towards each other. I stare at the words on the page and try not to listen.

Mr H rings my mobile in reply to my text I am here

I am too busy to join you now he says apologetically, hesitatingly.

Its OK I tell him, I knew you would be swimming in post holiday work on your first day back. I am as calm as the Caribbean sea, sipping cappuccino and reading. My head is still on the ship I smile.

I lift my suntanned face from the pages and watch pale people being pushed in aqua green and white wheelchairs, people walking with crutches, others holding tightly gripped hands. A cleaner mops a patch of floor and leaves her mark, a yellow plastic pyramid warning Caution! I don't belong here any more my mind whispers to no one in particular...

I scan my appointment letter and I am back at the airport - Go to Gate 19 and wait the screen tells me. My flight into the MRI scanner is due to take off at 15.00hrs.

As I walk towards Gate 18 to catch a lift to 19 a butterfly knot of anxiety starts to tangle tightly below my ribs. I breathe in and out slowly as I wait for my scan. My annual confirmation that I still have an almost tumour free brain.

I hope

Hope is like the sun, which,
as we journey toward it, 
casts the shadow of our burden behind us.
Samuel Smiles