Throat Lozenges and Good Friends
It had to happen.
One of the great tools in dealing with ME, and one it has taken me five years to understand, is the need for balance. An easy enough principle you’d think, but hard to apply when there is so much to do.
In another guise, this turns up as the ‘consequences’ rule – for every excursion, no matter how well planned and how much rest has been taken before hand in preparation for the event, there is a price to pay.
This time, having braved the big, bad capital with its jostling commuters and accompanying ‘germs’, I have provided a warm and willing host for a throat infection. But – know what – I don’t care! It was worth it.
Echinacea! I hear one friend bellow. She’s right, though it is probably too late now, but maybe I should have taken it beforehand for protection. Oh to be that well organised. However that brings me to the next subject of today’s post – great friends.
When circumstances forced me to drop out of the social scene that was such an important part of my life, I was more than angry, I also became fearful that I would be left behind in some way. It was, and still is, miserable to turn down invitations in the knowledge that the event would be way beyond my physical reserves.
And yet, here I stand, years later, with some of the best friends anyone could wish for. Some are ones who have slowed their pace to let me keep in step – and I especially thank Lorna, Lynne and Theresa for that. Others are new. People who have only known me as I am now and who have given willingly of their support and humour to keep me going through some tough times, often without even realising how much they have done. I will not name them as Murphy’s law insists that I will leave someone out, but they are Ratties and Byfleet writers, artists from groups and Adult Ed classes, Tai Chi -ers, OU -ers, a street- walker, (a market researcher -what were you thinking?) ,and her paramour, Adrienne and Agnes who have encouraged, coerced, cajoled and kindly judged…and many others ranging from coffee drinkers to dog walkers and on and on..
Truly, sometimes I think that ME is one of the best things that happened to me – but more of that another time.
I am still on a high. I know it was a small triumph in the greater scheme of things – in fact in the greatest scheme, hardly even a blip – but considering how short a time it is since I was laid out by ME, how angry I was at what I perceived as the destruction of my life…well at least my career…it is a massive high point.
Five years ago, I could hardly make it downstairs each day. Taking a shower took all morning and meant that for the rest of the day I could barely string a sentence together coherently. I resorted to drying myself with a hand towel because a bath sized one was too heavy for me to lift. I had, I thought, played my last game of volleyball, lost my management consultant business along with my intellect, seen my last film at a cinema, shopped for my last trolley load of food in Sainsbury’s. I couldn’t concentrate for long enough to read a book or follow a twenty minute programme on Radio 4.
Initially I hadn’t enough energy even to feel anger or regret. My partner was dazed at the silent, lifeless, humourless figure I had become. My children were angry.
I had become a ramshackle shadow of myself.