Keep Smiling. Keep Running…

Bumps in the road (those policemen always trip me up), nasty hillocks on a trail run, and 100m hurdles, which are bad for short people like myself – these things are all sent to test us.  So that’s why, after three attempts (you’re reading number four), this ramble has taken some doing.

After a run up to sunshine and happier times, as usual, life doesn’t really get any easier.  But no, this isn’t about searching for sympathy, more about how we have to overcome life’s little curveballs.  Or, if you’re like me, life’s massive asteroids…

I’ve now lost the sight in my left eye.  Thankfully, we all think it’s temporary.  We think that the MoominTroll has shared his shitty cold with me.  Hours of NahNah Jah (yes that’s me.  Him wanted to be Grandchacha so I wasn’t going to be the boring one) resulting in the moon faced one sharing his infected snot and tears with me.  It appears I’m back at wandering seemingly drunkenly with the RDog upon the shore.  Yesterday’s stroll was an interesting stumble across the sand, where I repeatedly fell in sandy troughs and well dug holes.  Furthermore, I can’t wear my sunnies and this means the glare makes it run even more; more so than the nasty swollen mess Him awoke to on Thursday morning, with horror and shock (he will probably sleep in a different room if it continues).  Therefore, I’m currently back to square one and hope it’s a temporary blip.

His royal majesty continued with his gifts when a one eyed JahJah was put in charge of the moon face mini Phil Mitchell (in a polo with his chubby neck – wos’ going on?).  He continued with his sweet sharing nature, by doing a ‘roly poly’ poo change and smearing said poo on my shorts and top.

And Nan has once again defied the doctors and has pulled through a second hip replacement, pneumonia and her ailing heart keeps going.  But that’s another story …

Before these unfortunate events, things had been on the onwards and upwards trajectory.  Training was going well until the crusty slit eye revealed its witchy self, plans were being made for the future – one I couldn’t see myself in six months ago, and new doors were opened and mysteries being solved.

You see, training is scary.  I’m trying to run 7K a day at the minute.  However, it takes me a while to leave the house.  Old anxieties and feeling ‘on parade’ on the parade, mean I have to build myself up.  Once out, I feed off the buzz, like I once did at the nineties raves.  But then I struggle to see bollards.  Holiday makers are, well, bloody blockers as they walk five a side along the path.  Then I stumble on some stupid hump or hole (that could be a new game) – who put that there? (Problems that only started last summer).  Nan’s dramas meant a lengthy time at the hospital (good job it’s s steep walk up top of a Warburton’s Yorkshire hill) and the fact that (temporally) I’m too blind to run, means my plans have gone awry and I feel like my arse ‘is the size of a small country’.  Therefore, I’m currently spinning for my life and silently panicky about a) the schedule, and b) the bikini body.

Part of my future planning has been health, fitness and that bikini body.  Happy fitness endorphins are what have kept the black dog from swallowing me up.  Also, creating a rainbow on my plate means I’m getting fully loaded (we wanna get loaded and do what we wanna do!) with all the vitamins I require (no beige please, it does nothing for me and drains me of colour / food, furniture and clothing), both mean I’m constantly thinking about body and mind.  Then there is the other reason – who wants to see a ‘that’ jumping off a boat into the sea (think Shirley Valentine – ‘he kissed my stretch marks’).  It does also need noting that a summer adventure was something I couldn’t have contemplated a few months ago.  After the year we’ve had/having, we’ve decided life’s too bloody short (not actually had an opportunity to holiday hunt due to above issues).  But not only that, we’ve all decided that it is time for me to be released back out of captivity.  So like a baby lion, I’m being taught how to fend for myself by attending a ‘Living With Sight Loss’ (LWSL) course.

Now those of you who know me will realise that the thought of such a thing makes me want to cut my ears off so I can’t listen to such shenanigans and talk.  But, learning to be a grown up, partially sighted woman, I had to fully pull up my big girl pants and attend…

So I did.

And wow! I was not expecting that!

After a shaky start where I was strong armed by Jim into an witless room, it started to get better after the formal round robin intros you always have to do at these things (can I just say at this point Him loves a training day unlike me who can’t stand them).  And without boring you all too much with information about white canes, how you know when your guide dog is having a poo and how to pick it up, and gadgets which talk to you (you wouldn’t bloody believe it!), I want to talk about the penny dropping moments when I thought – oh my god that’s me!.  And the bits where I thought ‘twenty years and I never knew that!’.  Revelations were abound and I found an app that reads texts, colours, faces and handwriting for me (very unkind on the ageing on the faces but brill for tricky writing to decipher).  The app is free for anyone and is worth a look if you get eye strain in general.  It’s called ‘seeing AI’.  However, as I was the only one who had technology and not a ‘dumb phone’ (seriously, I’m informed that’s what my mother et als. text and talk phones are called) I was the only one messing about with it (TBF I did plenty of messing with the canes, lights and pens too).  But, we (my sexagenarian plus gang and us) had a jolly interesting and good time.   We all learnt so much about our own private battles and hilarious stories.  We discussed hurdles and how to overcome them.  We all felt braver as a result.  It’s amazing what you can achieve by talking and this is why…

So, in a nutshell, here it is: I’m thousands out of pocket due to unclaimed benefits (not just the DWP ones, trains, planes and mobile phones…), I could have been fast tracked through airports ALL THESE YEARS (I’ve paid, paid many a time…), and I’m not mad.  Seriously, I’m not mad.  Have I ever told you about the hallucinations?? Floating women walking dogs on the beach, brick walls, things jumping out at me and random inanimate objects moving, I’ve see it all.  I always felt it was to do with having some shite vision, taking tablets, and being dog-tired from the treadmill of life.  But no, it’s not that and I’m not ready to be carted off (it’s only if these things talk to you or smell).  In fact, it’s something called Charles Bonnet syndrome https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/charles-bonnet-syndrome/a condition which is to do with sight loss and the brain’s reaction.  Imagine my face when the lovely lady from the blind society began discussing a lecture she recently attended – ‘that’s me!’ I exclaimed.

We agreed it’s good to talk.  Otherwise how would we know?

So, on the time it’s taken me to write this (it’s like been running with severe cramp), I’ve reconstructed the shaky self into someone who is ready to take Monday by the horns,  the eye looks much improved and Him has kept me entertained for the past two hours with old raving videos (is that still the word?) on YouTube.

We have to see the obstacles in our way as an assault course.  To overcome is to be successful.  To keep going shows tenacity and to do it smiling shows that the dark days are lifting,

Check out my JustGiving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/Madramblings

And sponsor me to stumble around Newcastle for https://retinauk.org.uk/

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