After a slow end to September I was hoping that October would be better and my first appointment was the Carousel at the QE hospital where I give a little back to help trainee consultants and doctors. I really enjoy this time as there is a group of us positioned around a ward, all with various ailments which the trainees have to try and recognise and we have a good laugh. I have another visit planned just before my birthday and I am sure that will be fun!!!
The afternoon tea that had to be cancelled in September was re-scheduled at a garden centre which was new to me and happily I’m feeling better so my usual companion and I were looking forward to catching up and enjoying the food. Nothing being straightforward we had to get more sandwiches made due to my friend’s allergies but unsurprisingly I ate everything that was left! We scoffed sandwiches, cake and clotted cream scones and enjoyed a good catch up which was the perfect recipe for a great afternoon out. The garden centre was preparing for Halloween which I still struggle with in the UK. Many years ago I sold greeting cards and I remember Halloween was a smaller event than Easter yet now it’s like we’ve gone mad - as mad as the folks across the pond - Americans love Halloween and go crazy with it!!!
I invited my friend over so we could go to the cinema to see A Star is Born which was a great film and Lady GaGa was superb. To be honest I really had no idea about her except that she was a little weird but my opinions totally changed after watching her amazing performance. After the film we went back to mine and my homemade chicken casserole. Now before you all get carried away and think wow, this guy can also cook, let me just explain that I basically throw everything in a crockpot and leave it all day so it actually cooks itself and though I say so myself, it was delicious! While I convince myself that it’s very healthy, the fact that I had chocolate buttons and popcorn while we watched the Bridget Jones trilogy was an oversight! And before you start to think, he cooks and watches Bridget Jones, I’m not turning. I’m just in touch with my feminine side!!
The following day I met up with a mate who worked with me before I left for the States. He was with his partner and the same female friend who he’d first introduced me to a few months after I was diagnosed. I was pleased that she saw an improvement in my wellbeing and we all enjoyed a meal and good laugh as both me and my mate were on form. Lovely time with lovely people.
A visit to the Palace Theatre in Redditch (which sounds very grand but is actually compact but bijou) always ends up being a good time and this month I had two visits booked. The first trip was a comedy special hosted by an old friend and it promised to be a decent night. I was accompanied by two female ex partners! I have been told that I need to stop referring to them as ex partners but my excuse is the fact that I don’t use names. Anyway we all had such fun that we cried with laughter so no doubt we’ll be booking tickets for the next one.
I feel perhaps it’s time to set something straight – I’m fortunate that I’ve retained a decent relationship with nearly all my ex partners – not that there are many, but they are all lovely ladies which I suppose has always been my type - nice, kind people. So I what I’m trying to say is that rather than question the fact I appear to spend a fair amount of time with them, celebrate it because they have been my support network whilst coping with this MS thing.
The next theatre trip was to see a superb Adele sound-alike (and BBC programme winner). This was the second time I’ve seen this show as I took my ex-wife last year and we thought it was so good I booked tickets again this year but this time I took the young lady who came to the safari park with me. We sat in a box right next to the stage and it truly was a marvellous night. My young companion (the daughter of a good friend) sang and danced all the way through the evening and when the show finished she rushed to meet the star of the show and took a couple of selfies! She was so excited I think she may have asked if the singer required any backing singers … I’m not sure why, as like her mother, she’s tone deaf! It was a show I’ll remember for a while as it was outstanding and we loved every second of it as my friend’s enthusiasm rubbed off on me too.
The weekend before my birthday I had a visit from my stepdaughter. I have a problem with referring to her as my ‘step’ daughter as she was just 8 years old when she came into my life and for years she grew up with us in a close and happy environment. She now works as a graphic designer down in London and every time I see her she gets more grown up and (like her mother) beautiful. We had scones and clotted cream as a small treat and enjoyed an afternoon with lots of laughter – stories and giggling - what a great tonic. The following day I made what is now becoming my speciality; Chicken Hotpot for my mate next door who needs fattening up with healthy veg! So that completed a great end to what was a memorable and enjoyable weekend.
The day before my birthday I met up with friends in the park who all asked me to be there the following day. I agreed (so much for no fuss) then I went to meet up with a dear friend in Morrisons. I know what you’re thinking - what a cheap skate! It just seemed an easy place to say hi and catch up and she’s so sweet she didn’t mind. I hadn’t seen her for ages and she was excited about her new BMW – both she and the car looked great.
That evening I drove over to Sutton Coldfield to meet up with my close friend who had bought me bunches of my favourite, beautiful lilies. Say what you like but it IS normal for a guy to like flowers! We went for a very pleasant meal where I chose sausage and mash because it’s easier to eat now that the dreaded Neuralgia has returned and I really don’t want to make a fuss. At the moment it’s not too bad fortunately so we sat and chatted covering all sorts of topics. She is without question a delight and has become a great friend. I was determined not to take the wrong junction on my drive home like I did last time and although it took ages, this time my concentration paid off and I was home sooner than I thought. As I pulled up there were banners with 60 stuck to my windows; my immediate thought was that my bloody sister had been round! As I walked in there were more banners stuck to the doors too but it was obvious she had also been busy cleaning, bless her. As much as I try keeping on top of all the cleaning, it’s hard as the MS slows me down so much. My sister had bleached my wet room, hoovered and generally cleaned up. I noticed all my meds had been put up for the next two weeks which is also a massive help. I play down my illness; the falls and the general weakness and this was reflected in the quiet September with very little blog to write up. My sister knows - yes she is a nurse, but she knows my patterns and picks up on the fact that a visit out often means a slow day will follow and she’ll turn up with a cooked meal, which truly is a comfort.
I have cards and gifts to open for my birthday and tomorrow is a family get together (I’m not a party person) and I know I will have visits – I expect it will be a great day.
It’s my birthday the big 60 and I’m up very early, not due to excitement though! It was because my mind was telling me the boiler maintenance was happening at around 8.30am and because I never know if my body will function correctly I allow at least three hours to get myself moving. So, like a complete nob, I’m awake at 4am and it transpires that it’s actually tomorrow they are coming not today! This is another frustrating part of my MS. The fact that when I worked and prior to having MS I remembered everything; appointments, times, dates and contact details and now I can’t even read what I’ve written as holding a pen is getting harder and I forget things. The confusion is the thing that really annoys me but - and this is what I want people to understand, there are a lot worse things that could happen and I will beat this.
So back to my Birthday and these bloody banners - 60, 60, 60 all over the place! Last night mother made me listen to her tale of giving birth to me and being in labour when apparently the hand brake on my dad’s car had broken! I did think of calling mother at 3 am (the time I came into the world) as she informed me and start squealing like a newborn baby just to make the memory even clearer! Got to love my mother!!
My Facebook was getting a lot of posts wishing me well and a Happy Birthday which is always a nice feeling when people take the time to acknowledge your special day and indeed there was a tremendous amount. I also had a Whatsapp video call with the little fella who went to the safari park with us, singing Happy Birthday which was a great start to my day. The novelty wore off by the time my ex wife and then another friend screeched their separate ways through the song too!! After getting dressed I head off to the park which oddly appeared to be empty so I sat back and had a doze, yep a doze in the car. No doubt people were thinking “there’s that weird guy from the café sleeping here!!” I woke up and wandered over but everything was still closed which was definitely strange. A few dog walkers who’d bought beautiful cupcakes and cards informed me that the water was off which accounted for the café being closed and we rearranged to meet up on Saturday. I went back home as I had visits most of the day and I knew a certain little fella would love to get stuck into the cupcakes as I had a fair few left over! Friends and family popped in all day and that was great.
In the evening we had a family meal at the Navigation Inn, where the food and service were superb as ever. I’m sure mother loved having us altogether even though my younger brother is sadly no longer with us and we laughed, reminisced and joked our way through the evening along with my two uncles and aunt. I sat and pondered where the years have gone and the many happy memories I have. There were others I would have liked there that evening to complete where I am today, such as my ex wife, and my mate from Eastbourne, but it’s not always possible to get exactly what you want.
I thought about my friends in the States and when I got home the love I had over there called and we chatted. What I would give to get rid of this MS and be back there celebrating, but hey, what do they say? Life is like a box of chocolates – well not for me and somehow emotion has just gripped me and I want to say actually life is shit, but that would show my weakness and instead of tears there should be smiles as I have a great circle of friends. Typing this has made me sad and I need to take a break now as part of this MS causes an increased emotional state.
So the evening meal was a success and the cake was magnificent – my sister had ordered a cake for me which depicted my visit to the beach hut which I talked about in earlier blogs on here. The main theme is me sitting by the beach hut pondering outside on a deckchair and it really was quite amazing – I’ve attached a picture before I took it for the bingo regulars to share with me and it was a delicious, lemon flavour - a cake to remember.
Last night I took my friend (female) to my favourite local Indian restaurant called Shimlas (I don’t mind naming places as I think everyone can then visit them. When my love from the States visited, I had to take her there to show her and she loved it as in America a real Indian restaurant is hard to find. Anyway last night, despite them getting my friend’s order wrong, the food was excellent. As happens every time, she wants to pay and I won’t let her so we have the usual argument which I win by threatening to embarrass her at the till!
The weekend soon came round and again I got the crockpot out, this time to slowly cook a lovely lamb casserole while I went to cinema with yet another friend to see the new Queen film, Bohemian Rhapsody - Wow, it was excellent, very moving and great music all the way through, well worth a watch.
So that really wraps up October; a great Birthday and indeed a great month for all kinds of reasons. I paced myself knowing it would be busy and was able to do all I hoped and for once I can say the MS kept a lower profile although unfortunately the Neuralgia has got increasingly painful with days where it is constant but just about bearable. I am still eating at the moment as the concentration this time is my top lip which is strange and I just hope it remains as it is at least until after Christmas. Until next month, thanks for reading, please feel free to comment at the end of the Blog and indeed share, as the more people who read this means more is learnt and understood about MS.