Happy Easter?

I feel about as low as I ever have.

I don’t remember it being as bad as this, even early on.
I’m Close to tears all of the time.
I go to sleep unhappy and I wake up unhappy. I don’t want to stay in my room, but don’t want to go out. I don’t want to answer the phone either. I don’t want to see people, or more to the point be seen by people, not like I am now.

It’s Easter, and everyone around me is happy. Everyone having fun, except me. That is how it seems.

People ask, what am I doing for Easter…


All my life I’ve ‘been busy ‘, been happy, whether in company or by myself.
Now, I’m not.

I’ve never felt closer to stopping, opting out.

People say ‘ hey, how you doing? ‘ around here..
Do they actually want to know, want an accurate answer? No, of course not, it’s not a serious question, it’s just a line that people are conditioned to say.
Occasionally, I say ‘ not too good’. They don’t actually even hear my answer, they just see my lips moving and assume I’ve said something cheery, and then say ‘ great, have a good day! ‘

I was invited out to lunch this morning, the message saying ‘there’s 13 of us going for lunch, you coming?’
I declined, I can’t face it, 13 strangers all talking, having fun, assuming that I’m happy too, yes in a wheelchair but surely it can’t be that bad, right? We’re all sitting down too, so it’s the same for all of us, right?

It’s not the same.
You can all get up whenever you like.

My wife and girls are in Portugal, and I get photos texted to me pretty regularly.
I’m Pleased for them. They’re quite naturally having a great time, so much so that my daughters have very little time to speak to me. I know they’re just kids, and that’s what kids are like.
If they knew just how much difference it would make if they did find the time, inside my head, perhaps they would, who knows? When we do talk, all too briefly, I do laugh and joke with them, so it’s not as though it’s depressing to speak to me, yet still I’m a long way down their priority list.
I’m Sure my Nan used to joke ‘ you’ll miss me when I’m gone’. That’s what occurs to me now, but I don’t think it in a humorous way, if you understand my drift..

It was DW this weekend, the world’s hardest canoe race probably (125 miles non stop ) and I followed it online, all day yesterday, until I fell asleep.
It was won by a mixed crew ie a man and a girl. Lizzie Broughton is the first girl ever to win. They absolutely thrashed all the other crews. Their winning margin was an hour and 20 minutes, an incredible result. Another mixed crew came 3rd, missing out on 2nd place by 20seconds.

I feel for the other lady, her amazing effort totally overshadowed by Lizzie’s.

I won the mixed race a while back, with my partner, Roxanne, and overall we came about 8th I think.
The winners names are engraved on the trophies so if Lizzie has a look, she’ll see mine, I guess. Frankly though, her performance makes ours look pretty crap, though it seemed like an achievement at the time.

I do know Lizzie, a bit, but I very much doubt that she reads this diary, but for the record… Lizzie, you’re amazing. If there’d been any recent rain, and a bit of ‘flow’ on the Thames, you’d have surely beaten the record time of 15 1/2 hours set back in 1979.
As it was Lizzie and partner did 16hours 40 minutes, with no flow at all. That’s faster than my best by 50 minutes, putting her into a different league altogether.

As usual, 50 odd boats didn’t get to the end, for various reasons.
Anyone trying it without the right boat and the right training would be tenacious to get more than 10 miles…

Writing about the race makes me realise how much my life has altered – one year taking on one of the worlds hardest challenges, a couple of years on not being able to sit up in bed without dragging myself up with my arm gripping the side of the bed.. And then helpless to keep myself sat upright without holding on to the sheets, tight.
To fall so far, so quickly is so very hard.
Whilst in hospital, a year or more ago, there were 4 of us on my ward. Two of the guys looked completely happy with their situation. I couldn’t relate at all. Both looked as though they’d probably not done a days exercise in a long time, and both spent their time watching TV on their iPads, headphones in, and laughing regularly. I envied their contentment, but was sickened by it at the same time.
Life for them was evidently not so different to normal, now they had an excuse to stay in bed all day. One of them didn’t look at, or talk to me once, in months, asking the nurse to draw the curtain between him and me,at all times.
He snored all night, driving me to distraction, and ate all day, despite being diabetic.
I imagine by now, he’s a good 20 stone in weight, not helping himself very much, and will inevitably die prematurely.
I don’t know why he ignored me so completely, perhaps annoyed by my stream of visitors, or my efforts to stay ‘fit’ whilst lying down, using various elastic straps tied to my bed, perhaps?
When I had leave to go away at Xmas, I returned to a different ward. The sister said she had an ideal spot for me … Next to .. Guess who?
Yes, he’d moved too, and just glared silently at me.

For the only time there in hospital I showed ‘dissent’ saying no, I couldn’t be in that ward, next to that patient.

They found me another place.

It was next to another guy, who wore a cowboy hat and smiled all the time.
When I asked him why he seemed so happy, and how he’d been injured, he explained that like me, it was cycling ( but about 5 years before ) and that once in hospital he liked all the attention, and being looked after.

We got on ok, but it’s fair to say that we didn’t feel the same about our lives.

5 thoughts on “Happy Easter?

  1. Very moved by your entry on the DW. Thank you for your lovely comments about Lizzie. I will make sure she does read it – and looks closely at the trophy.

  2. It’s Lisa, your seatmate on the flight from Chicago to London a few weeks back. I just wanted to say hi and let you know I found your blog. Your time back at home sounded like a joyous whirlwind – and it sounds like it’s hard being back on this side of the pond so far from home again. Take heart – you are surrounded by more friends than you know including here in the US. I very much enjoyed traveling with you and missed your company on the 9 hour flight back. My seat mates were very boring which made the trip seem even longer.

    1. Lisa,
      Hello again!

      And thanks for your help on that flight.
      Unexpected kindness is the best kind.
      I hope your trip went well and you found the RGS at some point.

      For the record, you’re a lovely seat mate.


        1. I am, both her mum and proud. I didn’t know she had e-mailed you, so I’m glad she made contact. Lizzie is amazing, but then you sound pretty amazing too. I hope you are feeling more positive than when you wrote the DW blog.

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