I Didn’t Realise You Were ……..

Those of you who have been here a while may have noticed my progress from prolific Blogger, through periods of silence, to reposting the interesting and informative blog posts of others. Although I’ve written some pieces for a couple of books and other assorted work, I’ve found the dedication hard to come by, as I’ve been involved in major changes in my life. I have made the transformation from fit, active retiree to disabled, relatively inactive recipient of all the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, peripheral neuropathy, severe Vitamin deficiencies and an auto-immune disease as yet unspecified. It has taken three years to diagnose and a round of visits to specialists, a raft of tests, procedures and interventions which are not over yet. I am trying to make the transition from puzzled, confused sufferer of severe chronic pain, to well-adjusted, appropriately medicated, productive, independent member of my family and contributor to the communities I belong to and am still part of or have newly become part of. That has meant a great deal of new learning, fresh perspectives and lateral thinking. I’m living outside the square a great deal of the time – when didn’t I as an adoptee and an activist? Life wearied me for a time, while I wrestled with my pain, the possible outcomes and the future possibilities. I took some time out to think things through, to work out a game plan and to find a new ‘normal’. This is not the first time in my life I’ve been through this process and I like to think I’m improving at it. Humour has come back to me and I can laugh at my situation, my memory lapses, my grasping for the right word when the one I want eludes me. It is it seems all part of the adventures life throws at us and gives us to grapple with. I’ve never been an exponent of that popular saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. We just learn to cope differently, if we try and are lucky. I have been lucky. Lucky to have supportive and enlightened family around me and lucky to be presented with the opportunities for growth and change.
One of those opportunities arose a few weeks ago, when my beautiful Daughter took me on a cruise to New Zealand. We hadn’t been there for 30 years and it was wonderful to take a holiday together, to enjoy each other’s company and to have some adventures, just as we always have had throughout her life. We did things neither of us thought were possible, went places we didn’t know existed and learned things we didn’t previously know. The highlight was a swim with wild, deep ocean dolphins – Hector’s Dolphins, now endangered and carefully protected, but able to be seen. My Daughter had an interaction with them she’ll never forget, while I watched from my warmer and elevated position in the boat. We learned a lot that day about capabilities, daring to do and the terror of trying to do things you have not prepared yourself for. Those who could got in the water, those who couldn’t didn’t and those who tried to face their fear, put on a brave face and pretend it was ok found they were not ok. For some it seriously wasn’t and they were left with the disappointment and humiliation of going public with their worst fears. It was a salutary lesson and one I’ll never forget. I guess those participants won’t either.Hectors-dolphin-porpoising-out-of-water
We had some very amusing experiences together and one of our favourites had to be the time my Daughter was chatted up by a gorgeous American musician, while I was out front in the wheelchair she was pushing! We were also chatted up as a team, by two brothers from Malta, who sat with us to drink their coffee. We came to call them The Maltese Terriers. They later discovered us on deck, with me in the wheelchair. The older of them said “Oh, I didn’t realise you were……..” leaving that blank space unfilled and hanging in the air! Of the many new things I have learned, one is that the disabilities of others can bring out the very best in people, their caring, courtesy, understanding, concern, respect, humour and ease with themselves. People love to be able to help, to support and show care for others and we do them a favour by accepting graciously and gratefully, by welcoming the opportunity and encouraging the interaction.
Now that I am back home and settling into my new pared back life in which I cook, shop, do light household tasks and play with my toys, all very necessary to my equilibrium and in maintaining pain control. There’s nothing like a good blast of something heavy and metal when pain is at it’s peak! Or a podcast of “Desert Island Discs” from the BBC for restful sleep! I find I am at peace with my life, whatever it brings. I have delight in new learning, new experiences and am freed to be adventurous, to pursue the unexplored. My bucket list is very short, tiny even, and I consider myself lucky to have had a full and wonderful life which still holds possibilities and is going places. Hope to be back soon!

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2 thoughts on “I Didn’t Realise You Were ……..

  1. Defining a new normal is good Von and your voice is still needed and necessary on the rolling stage of adoption. Be well, recoup, and I’m sending you a warm hug of light.

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