A Network of Angels

Happy New Year!

How is going so far?

We entered 2019 with mixed emotions. When the clock struck 12 and the fireworks began, I put my cheek against Paul’s and we just stayed like that for a minute. Neither of us needed to say anything. We were thinking the same thing. This year was going to be a hard one, and maybe, just maybe, our last one together. We allowed ourselves to take some deep breaths together and then stopped. Maudlin gets you nowhere. We cuddled the kids and enjoyed the fireworks on the telly. 2019 had begun with a bang.

We have been able to start this year constructively, as the money we have received from the Everest sponsorship (more on that in a bit), has enabled us to start adapting the house even further as Paul becomes less mobile. A hospital bed will be delivered very soon, meaning Paul may be able to get a decent night’s sleep with less pain. That means we are shifting the kids onto the top floor into what will essentially become a lad pad. I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or not, but I’m sure they’ll love it. We’ve got wardrobes to fit and furniture to buy, which I’m really looking forward to.

The next thing we need to sort is a mobility car. We need to get one sooner rather than later (along with a specialist wheelchair) as Paul is not steady on his feet for any length of time and is therefore mainly housebound. We attempted a trip to Bridlington during the Christmas break and it was just awful. We just weren’t equipped and neither of us had realized how difficult the logistics of the day would be.

We are not yet used to the time it takes to get Paul showered and dressed on a morning, let alone get him out of the house and into the car. What should have been a 10am departure turned into an 11am one, as I fannied around trying to sort the boys, the dog, myself and of course his Majesty. The boys were arguing over who was sitting where and the dog was pulling me down the road instead of getting in the car (he hates it). I managed to get him in and then went to tackle the mobility scooter. It needed dismantling before we could put it in the boot and I could not understand a bloody word Paul was saying as he tried to instruct me. I got madder and madder and 20 minutes of struggling later it was in 3 pieces. However, the 3 pieces are chuffing heavy, and I am weak! Me and Jack managed to lift it into the car between us, but all I could think was that we would have to do this 3 more times before the day was out. I got Paul in the car and belted up and we set off. 90 minutes later than planned.

We got there and the whole bloody rigmarole started again, hauling the bits out of the boot and trying to fit them together, like some kind of impossible Krypton Factor challenge. Once it was up, Paul set off. 5 seconds later it conked out. Great. 20 minutes of more fannying and we got it going. I’d had enough already. It was now 1pm and we had got nowhere! But, we persevered, ambling down the promenade, enjoying the views. Paul’s hands were not strong enough to grip the handles on the scooter and so every so often we would have to stop and lift them back on. Don’t even talk to me about corners. Let’s just say, he can’t do them. Right laugh.

We reached Jerome’s for lunch (we know how to live), and Paul parked up the scooter and walked into the bar. I went ahead with Cozmo to find a table and when I turned around no-one was behind me. I walked back to the stairs and Paul was sat down on the second one, having lost his balance and fallen. He was OK, but I couldn’t pick him up! Nobody offered any help as I think they just assumed he was arse-holed (which is normally the case), so they all looked down at their plates pretending they couldn’t see the farce that was playing out in front of them, with me trying to get Paul on his feet without pulling his shoulders out of their sockets, whilst shouting at Cozmo to stop stealing the chicken nuggets from the baby’s plate on the next table.

We sat down, and I ordered alcohol. Much needed alcohol.  Me and the kids had a bite to eat and then we headed back; after Paul spent 10 minutes maneuvering his way out of the courtyard like Austin Powers, with a 45-point turn.

Me, Jack and Cozmo walked back up the beach and Paul and Maxi went on the scooter up the walkway. “Give me the car keys” Paul said, “I’ll be there before you”….

30 minutes brisk walk and we got back to the car. No Paul. No Max. I looked up and saw Maxi running across the car park. “Mummy I’ve got bad news, Daddy has fallen off the scooter”. The blasted thing had run out of battery on a hill and he had fallen face-first into the sand trying to get off it. FFS. He was OK luckily. I began pushing the thing across the car park to get it back to the car, virtually horizontal as all my weight was behind it. Needless to say, it got kicked several times before it was once more dismantled and hauled into the boot. I had officially lost my shit. My shit was nowhere to be seen.

By this time, we were all very wet and cold. Paul’s body completely seizes in the cold so getting him in the car was a nightmare. We belted up and set off home. I was furious by this point and swore I was not going to attempt another day out with him until we had a wheelchair and a car that can accommodate said chair. I just can’t carry on like that! He didn’t answer. He didn’t have the strength. He went to sleep, and we had another silent journey home. Awesome.

So, after the hospital bed, next on the list is a wheelchair, a car and the voice technology so we can have a conversation again. He’s glued to the sofa until then!

Sooooo, we can sort all this because 3 very special people have been raising money for us over the past year. Nigel Beardow, James Page and Lee Mulroe made it their mission last year to raise 10,000 for us, a target they smashed as the final total was over 16,000! They risked life and limb trekking to Everest Basecamp. No mean feat to say the least. They spent their own money and used their annual leave to do this. They put their bodies under immense strain, suffering altitude sickness and tummy upsets, freezing temperatures and hunger. For their friend. For our family. We will be forever grateful and thank you doesn’t seem like enough, but it’s all we can say. Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts. And thank you to all you wonderful people who donated to the fund. It really does take away the financial strain that we would otherwise be under. It means we don’t have to worry about unexpected costs as they arise. Amazing.

We continue moving forward, with amazing support from family and friends. I couldn’t run this house, look after 2 kids, a dog, 2 cats and work full time without the fantastic network of Angels that have formed around me. You know who you are, and I love you all. And you will always be my family. Just so you know.

When Paul got his diagnosis, he predicted he’d have one good year, one bad year and one really bad year. We’re into the really bad year. Your love and best wishes will get us through. As you may have noticed, it’s getting difficult to see the funny side now, and the smart-arse quips from me are few and far between. It’s been hard putting pen to paper this time for that reason because I don’t want to depress you all! But it is what it is. And you guys are on this journey with us, so you should know the truth. It’s getting tougher by the day, but it’s amazing how strong you can be when you have no other option.

Thanks for reading. I’ll try not to leave it as long next time…

Love ya. V xx


2 thoughts on “A Network of Angels

  1. Vicky! Your strength and attitude is flipping amazing. You have such a brilliant outlook that many whingy folk could learn from. Your family have been dealt a shit hand here no two ways about it. What a gorgeous family you are with shed loads of awesome moments. Just keep turning up lovely. Much love xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It breaks my heart to read this… but your strenght and courage astounds me. Hold onto the love you both shared as much as you can before all the diagnosis and crap gets in your way and stay strong xx

    Liked by 1 person

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