Goodness, this has been a year hasn’t it! Who’s got Mutant Superpowers for August? I think we all deserve a superpower for getting through this entire mess that has been 2020 so far! Right now I think I’d choose Spidey Sense, because one of my tarantulas is missing! Druid is a massive Lasiodora parahybana (Salmon Pink Birdeater – I had to look that up because I really only deal with the scientific names, as it’s less confusing), and Dom didn’t realise he was missing until he opened the enclosure at feeding time…
… to be greeted by no spider, and a hole in one of the vents. Well played, Druid, well played indeed. Now where in the name of arse are you hiding?
While we at Tribble Towers are hunting high and low for a large, angry ball of eight-legged malice, life goes on as it usually does, since lockdown hasn’t really changed our routine a lot. This whole being crippled thing really ruins your social life.
The Bare Bones of it:
Yes, still crippled, I’m sorry to say. But, there is some light at the end of the tunnel now.
I had the femoral screws removed from my hip last August, and the change was noticeable from day one of the post-op pain hiking off to bother somebody else. My consultant (who is not the Gammon who I was assigned to when I had my accident) was surprised by this, and asked me what the difference was. That’s when I was finally able to point out that I’m allergic to surgical steel, and that I might have been able to keep the screws had they been titanium. With that said they were unscrewing themselves so perhaps not, but it’s not fun hobbling around with something you’re allergic to stuck inside your body (I’m sure I mentioned this allergy at the time, but perhaps the Gammon wrote it off as morphine-addled ramblings, I don’t know. He didn’t seem to like me very much, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he just didn’t write it down if he even listened).
However, things did not end there, and as yet there is no “happy ever after” for my hip. Because there’s always got to be a bloody “however”:
The bone is very weak and I have no idea what’s going on with the ligaments and tendons in there. There’s been no difference at all to the bones-deep, agonising pain that I suffer every day; I still can’t walk around the house without a crutch and I still need my wheelchair. My foot doesn’t even touch the floor any more, apart from my toes if I try really hard, and I still live in the bedroom because sitting in the living room causes far too much hurt.
My GP has had to put my morphine and hospital-strength cocodamol on repeat to save me having to phone up and sob at her when I’m starting to run low on either, and my consultant has now agreed that I’ve been through far too much already and that it’s time for the new hip that was always going to be the inevitable outcome – and damn my age: it needs to be done, and it needs to be done soon. I’m to have an x-ray at my next appointment to see if physio can help me while I still have to live like this (given the shortening of my leg it’s probably too late) and we’ll take it from there.
Which brings us to our next problem: Lockdown. The appointment during which I begged for a new hip was via telephone, and we can’t press further on down that path until he can physically see me and look at an x-ray. My consultant is hoping to see me this month, but the truth is that nobody knows when outpatient appointments will be operating normally again. And so, for now, the saga continues…
But Wait, There’s More!
Not everything has been hip related, thankfully, and there have been good things in amongst the chronic physical pain and the pandemic-induced chaos. Things that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to say, and things that I never thought I could ever do.
I did it. I really did it! On 3rd June I celebrated one year sober. Twelve whole months, which have now become thirteen.
The mind-shift came at Christmas, when I had a sort of epiphany in the drinks aisle. We were choosing whisky for my sister and my stepfather whilst getting some Celtic Soul and Seedlip for me, some alcohol-free wine for mulling, and some whisky for Dom. I looked around me, at all the gaily packaged and seasonably overpriced bottles of wine, whisky, vodka and gin… and realised that I was in no way tempted. The once-enticing display looked sickening to me. The thought that entered my head was so surprising to me that it popped straight out of my mouth, and I looked at Dom and said:
“It’s all just lipstick. It’s lipstick on a poisoned pig”.
And that thought has never gone away. I am now in the sort of headspace where I know that stress will never send me running into the bottom of a gin bottle again. This time I was ready to quit: on the night I told Dom “No more” I could feel in my bones that – this time – I meant it.
I would like to tell you that not drinking made me drop some of my wheelchair weight, but I’ve discovered that I like food so that didn’t happen. Tea has never tasted so good either… which leads me nicely on to my next Good Thing.
I’m now studying for a business degree with the Open University, and tea has a lot to do with that. Your employment options are low to nil when you’re epileptic, in a wheelchair and over the age of forty-five, so I decided that some education wouldn’t go amiss. Since I love gongfu cha and had plans for a Puerh Indulgence Youtube channel as well as the blog and merchandise, I thought that I could expand on that and learn how to run a business selling teas and teawares. I’ve also been taking advice from my friend Estelle from August Moon in Cheltenham, and she’s been incredibly helpful and encouraging. She may even end up being one of my suppliers, since her stock comes via one of her family members who is still in China and knows what they’re looking for.
Perhaps Puerh Indulgence will never become a physical shop; I don’t know. It would be insanity to try to build up anything from scratch at the moment and so I’ll continue to give my money to tea friends who are already established and need my help to recover all losses from the pandemic. In the meantime, I can learn what I need to learn and save up for better teaware than I already have.
I think that’s me all caught up. How are you?