Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A Year Ago

Hmm, third post today! But this one is related to Shimelle's prompt today.  I've read several people's posts and been thinking about my situation this time last year... Thing is, I don't have any photos because it's me that normally takes pictures and, well I couldn't take any last November.

This time last year, life was somewhat difficult.  In the last week of October I had a fall and an injury to my back, which was, for a time, quite disabling.  The whole of my upper back was affected, with my arms, hands and kneck being very painful. 
For the first couple of months I could do very little - especially for the first four or five weeks.  I spent that time sitting on the sofa. I couldn't lie down, so slept sitting up (when I could sleep). I couldn't hold a book or pen, so was unable to read or write.  I couldn't use the computer, or my camera. No sewing, crochet, scrapping, card making (Christmas cards were all bought last year, for the first time in about 10 years!).  I even had trouble eating - couldn't sit at the dining table, so had to eat at a little folding table in front of the sofa. My husband and son had to help me to dress, wash etc and make our meals.  Even cleaning my teeth was difficult - although the electric toothbrush was fab.  I spent a lot of time in bed, though I couldn't sleep there! I couldn't drive for about 6 weeks and my neighbour and friend had to take me to my two-or-three times a week appointments at the osteopath.  I was in pain the whole time, day and night, without any let-up.  Sometimes I was in tears, because it was all just too much.
By Christmas I was getting better. I could sit up at the table, but still not lie flat. I could drive very short distances on a good day (gear stick and reversing were the main problems).  I could do simple cooking and food preparation, but not lift saucepans or baking dishes. I still needed help to load or unload the dishwasher or washing machine and couldn't lift anything heavier than a plate or cup.  My husband dealt with the Christmas meal etc, though I managed to order all our shopping and presents online and wrap things a little at a time.  I managed to help decorate the tree and the house too, so it was still fun for me, even if a bit slow.  Everyone was very kind and helpful.
My friend sent her niece to clean for me and earn pocket money, then she came over herself to give a hand and get the place tidy for Christmas.  Other friends took me places I needed to go. Mum's friends rallied round to help her and take her to any dr's appointments etc.
After Christmas I was still improving. I managed to make a couple of scrapbook layouts, slowly and painstakingly, over several days. I discovered ways to make things easier to accomplish and worked out what I could do without causing myself pain.  I started making books and opened a shop on  I found I could do book binding and scrapping, as long as I took it slowly. It was good to have something useful to do.
By Springtime I was driving again and we had a new car, with higher up seats, which made getting in and out much easier. I was still stiff and couldn't walk far, or quickly, but at least I could get out of the house and didn't have to sit on the sofa watching tv all day.  We signed up a builder to start our extension and I was able to make cups of tea and walk upstairs to tell the guys it was ready, even though they had to fetch it themselves.
By the time the builders had nearly finished I was carrying their cups upstairs myself (though not down again, as I still needed 2 hands to get downstairs safely). 
In July I managed to help paint our new bedroom, though I had problems with vertigo, and couldn't keep my arms above my head, so D had to do ceilings and tops-of-walls. 
In August, I drove all the way to the Lake District and drove the car up and down the hills on several days during the holiday; then I drove us home again. I had a sore back the following week, but I managed to do it, which was great.
By September I was decorating our old room for J. - except for the ceiling.  I was scrapping regularly and making books and toys. I was stopped by another attack of vertigo, but got tablets from the dr. and was ok again.
In October I drove us to Norfolk for a short holiday and coped with 4 nights in a hard youth hostel bed.  I didn't have back problems at all on holiday, and was only a bit stiff once we got back.

Now it's November and 12 1/2 months have gone by since my injury.  I am not back to full fitness - I suspect it will take much longer than a year, as my nerves and muscles are still quite feeble. I can do most things now, though a busy weekend of wardrobe-building still makes me pretty stiff for several days!  I am a whole lot better and appreciate what I can do so much more than I did when I was fit and well.

That was my last year (in a nutshell and minus many other bits!).  I feel as if it has been a sort-of journey. I started it in pain and feeling frustrated; a year later the pain has mostly gone and I feel positive and encouraged. I am getting fitter and beginning to plan ways to get myself back to "normal" fitness again. I can do stuff like decorating and putting up shelves, as long as I only do a bit at a time.  I can use the computer, make books, scrap and sew, as long as I pace myself. It's all about little and often, rather than marathon sessions. 

I may have suffered pain and unhappiness, especially at first, but I learned a lot along the way. Like how I can cope with something like that; like how wonderful my husband and son are; like how great my friends are when I need them; like finding balance in my life; like saying "no" when I need to take time out; like how lucky I am.

I am not sorry I had my accident.  That's a strange thing to say, but it is true. I have learned so much from this, even though I will probably have some problems from the injury for the rest of my life.  I might have preferred to learn the lessons another way, but obviously this was the way I was supposed to learn.  Sometimes it takes something like a big life-change to teach the important lessons, especially to people like me.  I actually feel lucky, because my injury was only temporary and I'm now mostly better. Some people have much worse injuries or illness and never recover. Some have to suffer pain like I did, but for years, rather than weeks. I had my bad bit, I suffered, but now it's just about over and life is good.

What a long post. And, as Alice said, it has "no pictures or conversations". I wrote it mainly for myself, but I don't mind if someone else reads it, so I won't make it private.  If you've read through this far and are still with me, thanks for reading!


  1. wow, what a story! So glad you were able to recover! I am sure that your positive attitude helped a lot.

  2. My goodness, what a tough road. You have a great attitude though, inspirational.

  3. My goodness, what a tough road. You have a great attitude though, inspirational.

  4. Ho! Thanks for nice comments... I didn't always feel positive or have a great attitude, I can assure you! A lot of tearful, fed-up, "not fair" days in the last year!
    Still, it helps to be sure you will recover. Not sure how I would manage if I didn't know that... Those are the people who I find inspiring - the ones who don't know if/when they will recover, but they still get on with it!
    Thanks guys, it makes me happy when people take time to notice me and my wafflings.

  5. I'm glad you have recovered and can look back on the accident as a growing experience.

  6. You've come through all this so well....and are obviously a really positive person....good luck on the road to full recovery.

  7. What a story, glad you are on the mend and that you can reflect positively on your experiences.


I love to read your comments!


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