Since Nigel’s ‘4 Days in MAU’ and Gabriel’s five or so hours at A&E, things have been relatively calm on the health front. Wendy (our VW T4 Caravelle) has provided a welcome distraction and given Nige a whole new family to enjoy – The V Dubbers! Things have moved along for me too. I’m starting to see a future. I’m just not sure I want it…
We took Wendy to our first Wilts V-Dub Club meet on the first Sunday in May. It was great, Nige enjoyed showing the other VW owners our van, making sure they all knew she was mine. He said it with pride but I reckon he just wanted to distance himself from the chintz units I’d created! Whatever the reason, I know he’s proud of me; for what I’ve done with Wendy, for stepping out of my comfort zone and attending a club meet with strangers. It may be deeper than that, but we don’t have those conversations.
The chemotherapy started again this month, at the lower dose which is definitely better for him. In fact on the day he took the last dose, we headed off to Odcombe for our first night away in Wendy. We parked up behind The Masons Arms, a 16th Century inn where we also had a table booked for dinner. My nephew, Seb, and his little family met us there for a drink which was unexpected and wonderful, despite the rain! Nige tired quite early on, which is parr for the course, so we spent an hour or so before dinner chilling out on the bed, watching the rain trickle down the back window. Pretty special, that. Dinner was a real revelation; Nige polished off a massive mixed grill… bar the mushrooms. Honestly, I silently sobbed tears of joy as I watched him clear the plate. What’s more, he managed a full English breakfast the next morning! It’s fair to say, things are looking brighter. We went away again the following weekend, though not over night. Wilts V-Dub Club had organised a day out in Weston Super Mare and Nige convinced me that we had to go. The weather was spot on and the turnout was brilliant too. I parked Wendy up on the beach and then my man and I promenaded all over Weston – quite excellent.
At the beginning of June I had my Occupational Therapy meeting in Keynesham. It’s the next step in getting me back into the workplace and one I’ve wanted to take for the past month. However, after a lengthy discussion I’m not sure I am ready. Day to day I’m strong, I’m fierce and I’m in control but when asked to outline my situation, I cried bitterly for a full 20 minutes.
“I’m not usually like this… I guess I don’t want to go back to the beginning of this shitty story…”
After going on like this, intermittently, for almost two hours, we came up with a plan.
“I think three days a week, maximum would be a perfect goal.”
So that’s it. My plan to get me back to work. Other things I learnt:
- I’m weary all the time because I’m hyper vigilant. Obvious really.
- I’m to have six counselling sessions.
- It’s not Occupational Therapy but Occupational Health. Aha, the difference a word makes.
As if he knew of my meeting (he didn’t) Mark messaged me to invite me on a school trip. I leapt at the chance to show him, and the school, that I was keen to get back to some form of normality. So it was: Mark, ten children and me took the coach to Longleat for the day. For that one day I stepped back into my old life and loved it.
Things were changing and moving forward at a more manageable rate. Nige still had moments of feeling unwell, of course and I was still having mini breakdowns between the hours of him going to bed and my own retirement. But hey,
We spent another night in Wendy, at Blacklands, in Stockley, near Calne – my hometown. The weather was glorious and after just a ten minute walk through the fields, we were at Nick’s house for Mojitos! A happy few hours chatting before we made our way back to the campsite. Nige was tired and left me alone with my bottle of wine. No one to take to work, no one to pick up. Just my man, my van, my wine and the vast night sky.
What else happened in June then? Well, I met my counsellor, Pam Leslie. It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I drove up the long and winding road to her house, sat outside for a few minutes to gather my thoughts. But on meeting her I felt a sort of calmness. I liked her. Then at the end of June we had Nigel’s MRI scan. For the first time ever I felt on top of things in the waiting room. I even offered some warm words to a nervous lady worried about the zip in her dress,
“Don’t worry, my husband has a zip in his trousers and I’m pretty sure they make sure he keeps them on!”
No results until July the 10th.
“I don’t want to know… well, I do want to know but I don’t…”