The day after…once again I have ‘day after lag’. Yesterday I drove the furthest I have for probably 6 years, to Hailsham and back to celebrate my Mum’s 80th birthday. That I could do this at all is a minor miracle…but that I was also together enough to celebrate when I arrived was astonishing. By the time I completed the journey home, I was exhausted, but triumphant.
At last it seems that I have found a small key in dealing with the M.E. and much though I hate to admit it, pacing and routine are the magic wands! Every period of activity is followed by one of rest no matter where I happen to be! This may mean taking a sneaky sit down on whatever presents itself – a wall, a chair in a furniture showroom, the edge of a raised display in a garden centre, a kerb…anything that is in the right place. I no longer care if people look askance, nor do I respond to tuts if I am slow, or If I lose words in the middle of a sentence. I understand that to the eye, I don’t look as though I am struggling. I might seem selfish or unhelpful, or just plain daft, but finally I have learnt to put myself first to ensure that I actually get through whatever I am trying to do. So if you see a seemingly fit and healthy person stealing a quick sit down in the shoe department, or abandoning a shopmobility scooter to search through the racks, with no seeming or visible disablement, be kind to them, it might just be me eking out the last drops of energy to fulfil a mundane task.
As for the birthday – we had a good time. For the first time in years it was just Mum, my sister and me, and we laughed a lot. Mum trying on shoes was hilarious and required both S and myself as props, footstools and boot removers, together with an array of long handled shoe horns for leverage. We left without shoes, but with a handbag! Mum did not want to try on shirts, and after the shoe scenario, I decided she might be right. So I selected what was possibly the right size and modelled it for her, over my jumper, in the middle of the store. That was good enough, Mum said, so they too were added to the packages. Lunch was a reasonably simple affair, though Mum did choose the one thing on the menu that wasn’t available, but that was a minor hiccup. Choosing our own thank you cards for presents we had brought with us was a fine moment. Then came the saga of the replacement toilet seat.
We entered the shop on a mission, having no idea whether fittings were ‘standard’ and relying on Mum’s imperfect memory to choose the right style and the right colour. So far so good. Home once again, we discovered that the colour was as far apart as double cream and pink champagne, so we should probably have chosen the shade called ‘ivory’ instead of ‘ warm apricot’. We also discovered that the screw fittings on the back of the seat are reverse threaded, and that the fittings on the new seat had at least three different positions, and we tried all three before hitting on one that would not pinch the users bum as they sat on the wretched thing, or snap in two because we had it on upside down and unsupported in crucial areas.
Still, the day was successful, fun and I managed to get through it reasonable in tact physically. Mum was happy. and had a day to chat about to her cronies, and hopefully to remember with fondness.