.. Have been pretty busy.
Yes, some half term sun in our small appartment in Portugal.
There, I daily flogged myself on the bastard son of the wheelchair and mountain bike – the Mountain Trike – pushing to the beach and back late every afternoon, avoiding the hottest hours of the day..
We saw lots of people we knew, all very kind in asking after my progress, some of whom had already been in touch with myself or Dani, or whom have read this diary, after learning of my little mishap.
The Oliver’s, the Stents and the Dallaglio’s, Kate and Rich, Julian and Mandy, Pedro and Sylvia, Mike, the awesome Phil KR – God, I barely bought a drink all week.
I’m sure that’ll change before long… and rightly so.
Is it a holiday in the true sense?
There is no holiday from the curse of paralysis, but there is ‘being paralysed in nicer surroundings ‘, so kind of…
Since my return I’ve been out to the Hogarth Club to join 200 odd others in watching the Groves Froch fight on a very large screen, caught up with family,seen Debs, Neal, Billy to name but a few.
Today, I’ve again been to work to sit with a colleague, and Hey Presto, even done half of an eye examination ( shared with a qualified colleague, who reached the bits that I couldn’t ).
It was on my buddy, Dan, who along with many others, has held off his test until I could personally do it.
I do hope I won’t keep ‘the faithful’ waiting much longer.
Today I met with Oszkar from ‘Head Office’ to talk through the refit of my consulting room, that will enable me to practise properly, once more.
Pia came with me , the staff were their usual delightful selves, and I enjoyed the time and conversation with my partner, Helen, who has had to deal with the aftermath of my unscheduled year off work.
I’ve felt very guilty about my absence for a very long time. To someone that has only had a week or so off ‘ill’ in 25 years, a whole bloody year has come as a bit of a shock.
I can recall the few occasions I’ve been off, clearly.
I had 4 days off in 2002 when, at my daughter’s Christening ‘party’ I sort of fell out of a tree, smashing in my right cheekbone. 3 days in hospital, a right sided head shave and a device inserted to pull my 3 places broken right cheekbone back into place followed. I had 2 very black eyes for a week and looked very much like I’d been punched in the face ( which I had, but by Tarmac ).
I got hardly any sleep whilst in hospital, as the thing I was wired to, to record my heart rate, kept going off and doctors kept rushing in to resuscitate me, only to find me wide awake. The default alarm was 43 beats per minute, and my normal pulse rate was below that, as I kept telling them, to no avail.
Then in 2006 I came back from Africa with all the symptoms of malaria, ended up in the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Chelsea, with an ‘unspecified’ virus.
They told me that by rights, my various blood counts indicated that I ought to be dead, and looked bewildered that I’d got a taxi there, unaccompanied, only to lie down in the waiting room, wearing a snorkel parka and shivering in the corner until a nurse asked me what I was doing there…
I had 3 days off work for that.
A few weeks later I’d come back strongly enough to compete in the DW 125 mile canoe race, and win the mixed doubles with Roxanne, probably against the odds, but actually feeling amazingly strong all the way.
Then I caught the Nonovirus 2 years ago, lost a stone in 2 days, and had another 3 days off for that.
All fairly good reasons to be of
absent then, and two of them could easily have finished me off altogether.
I never once had a day away for a cold/cough/headache/stomach ache/flu – all those regular ailments. To be honest, I was just never ill. Although my lifestyle was very physically testing, it served only to make me indestructible – or so I, mistakenly, thought.
And then 10 months away in one hit..Christ, who’d have called that?
I’m sort of ‘reassured’ that actually it’s not that unusual to have extended leave of absence.
I hear it’s very common to be off for a year, for such things as ‘stress’.
I can tell you that being 60% paralysed is pretty stressful, but that it’s the inability to move my lower two thirds, rather than the stress that it’s caused me, that’s kept me away.
I saw two of my regular patients in the practise today, as I sort of wheeled about, feeling awkward.
They showed me so much care and attention, filling me with their gratitude that I’d survived and I’d come back from near death, to work, in less than a year.
They said that they’d ‘held on’ as long as they could, in the hope that they’d see me in practice, and were evidently so very pleased to have just seen me.
I must say that the people of Staines have been lovely, post accident, to me, many having sent cards and messages to me, and the lovely couple today were typical in the ‘welcome back’ that they gave me.
Thanks to Komal, for letting me sit in with her, and for assisting me today, in my first ‘comeback eye examination ‘.
It felt good.