Afterglow or Aftermath?

What’s the biggest ‘do’ you’ve ever attended?  That left you reeling for days, with snapshots of hazy memories filtering through.  Zoned you out well into the next week?  That hit you in the smacker and kept you high for days, with the sudden come down and hangover, disabling you with so much sleep that you begin to suspect you require a diagnosis of narcolepsy?  

I’ve been racking my sleep addled, drug smogged brain and can only come up with the whirlwind of my wedding.  Or, as it became known (apart from the time I had to endure a ‘freezing ass off’ December night, in an icy cold church, listening to Michael Morpurgo read out his latest book, whilst matchsticking my eyes open so I didn’t lose the coach-load of shivering year sevens surrounding me. And yawn) ‘The Longest Day of My Life’.  That wedding  weekend I never slept from Friday morning until Sunday night, I hardly ate (apart from the plane food on Sunday evening which consisted of Jacobs crackers and Cup-a-Soup) and I was mainly powered by vodka and adrenaline.  A day which began with a sick 4 year old; progressing to me wearing a wedding dress, whilst juggling a 7 month old baby, who’d done a massive inconvenient poo , just before the wedding cars arrived; a lengthy photo shoot to rival Vogue’s July edition; a line up longer than the one at the Royal Variety Performance; most excellent speeches (well done lads, they spent hours rehearsing) which lasted into the evening reception and caused a queue at the function room doors; plus general fun, high-jinx and shenanigans, that were performed to a back beat of a jazz band and an old-time rock band roadie now masquerading as a wedding DJ.  Followed by a Sunday morning trip to AandE, severe lack of time, and a build up of nervous alcohol propelling us into the airport with my hair in my ‘wedding up-do avec diamanté hair slides, looking like a rough Grace Kelly, and where Him and I did our holiday shopping (we weren’t very organised back then).  Then the dramatic speedboat ‘Bond-Like’ arrival in Venice culminating in us collapsing into bed and awaking twelve hours later in a fug of wonder at where are we? And, was it all a dream?  The sleepwalking vivid dream state continuing once upon opening the shutters and an actual man wearing a striped sweater, with actual pole in hand, on a narrow boat, was singing the Cornetto song.  I cried and declared ‘it’s like bring in a film!’

It’s exhausting just recalling those 48 hours…and I’m only skimming the details here, but that’s all another story…

But, you don’t want to know about that.  Big Do 2019, you had to be there.  

So, 

Friday 29th March.  Westminster, London.  Thousands marched into Parliament Square.  Westminster Bridge was closed, helicopters were hovering over the Thames.  Meanwhile, Him and I watched the whole thing from my hospital window.  High up on the twelfth floor of Guys and St Thomas Hospital.  The tension was palpable (and that was only Him as he’d not been fed on time).  We’d been building up to this for weeks.  I’d actually talked myself out of it, numerous times.  However, due to the kidney I’d had to sell to pay for the op, and the required balance paid, I didn’t think (seeing as we’d used the toilet and I’d opened the welcome pack) that they’d let us cut loose and get a refund.  So, they were stuck with us and me in my complimentary red totes.

To say I was ready would be a lie.  As in all times of adversity, I can appear quite silly and flippant.  I kept trying to make the nurses and doctors laugh.  Lame jokes about ‘needles in eyes? I’ve had three children, it can’t hurt that much!’ Made the anaesthetist raise his eyes to the heavens and say ‘without an epidural?’ (Says something for London I’d say), I told him I was made of strong stuff, seems I wasn’t, but more about that later…so the bonhomie continued.  My nurse was called Queen and I explained that I was also named after the Queen – so that proved how important we both were.  I was promised a mozzarella and tomato salad, plus fresh fruit, (I’m never going to The NHS again) upon return, and my lovely nurse redid my hair and wrapped me in a warm blanket – I was cosseted and well looked after, but they sensed a runner.  

My worried Gromit face prompted kindness in abundance.  They told me to shout ‘that hurts’ if it did.  I got a shoulder massage and I was told that I wasn’t to give wine up for lent (we had an abstaining from chocolate conversation).  I was lulled, I rambled, the drugs were working and I was all floaty, best party ever, needles? Pah! More rambles ‘you should read my blog, you’ll all be in it’, ‘really?’, more rambling (they only know what I said – oh Lordy) an ‘that hurts’ and pretty much can’t remember the rest.  I came to whilst being moved to recovery.  Fuzzy, floaty and feeling like I’d had a really bang in’ night out.  I loved everyone, they were all my best friends…My eyes, my worry? I’d survived and the beautiful words from my lovely surgeon were ‘I’m really pleased how it went’.  

That night I slept like a psychedelic willo the wisp, from a Mighty Boosh sketch.  Boom, Saturday morning and as I walked to my post op with Dr S (another new favourite person), looking like a Brexiteer casualty from Parliament Square – eye patch in-situ and woozy from too much chanting.  The masses around Waterloo didn’t blink an eye (unlike my fellow breakfasting guests who obviously thought I’d been thumped by another protester).  High on adrenaline and sunshine, the eye was revelled and already there was a difference.  I skipped (well not quite.  I’m not even allowed to run for two weeks) out of the clinic, into the sunshine and felt more optimistic than I had in a while.  

Cut to Saturday night.  The bubble burst and the tears came.  Why? Well for that I have no answer.  I went on to sleep for over ten hours (that never happens) and I seemed to have developed short term memory loss overnight:did I just take some tablets (I require a carer it seems.  I wonder if one of my new crew will come over?)  My fitness levels have depleted to that of an ageing pack horse and my concentration levels have reached such a low level that this blog has taken me literally hours to write.  My worry is that in the aftermath of Friday, that not only are the government still arguing like bratty kids who’ve never been told no, and that they all seem to have erased the word ‘democracy’ from the OED, but that the Prof removed my genius, my brains, my sharpness (I’ll never get that job at number 10 now).  By sticking needles in my eyes and removing all the ‘gubbins’, did he actually remove my best most vital assets?  

So what would I rather?  Be me, with crappy eyes and a rambling rose brain, or spanky vision and nothing to say?  Well, luckily for me we’ve six weeks until we really know.  Compromise is they key: Yes, I can see more. Yes, I still have RP (and will be stumbling around in the dark, falling over yellow signs and not see whose stood to my left and right, until the day they sing Champagne Supernovain church for me).  And yes, I wrote the blog in the end.  But, it’s worth knowing that whatever I lose along the way, I’m determined I’m no longer losing me. 

Lucky Prof gets to see me again on Wednesday.  I bet he can’t wait.

Useful links: 

http://www.retinauk.org.uk/

https://www.rnib.org.uk/

http://www.retinasociety.org/

https://www.blindness.org/retinitis-pigmentos

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