I woke up this morning from a scarily involuntary sleep, and fell right back into a dream. I could hear the wind. I could just about hear the sea. There were no parents in sight, no university stresses (ok exams in August are starting to niggle away at my thoughts a little)… No pressure to be anything but myself.
We went swimming. No, you don’t get it – we went swimming. I haven’t been in a pool for over a year. I used to swim for a club when I was younger, until my health robbed me of that ability. But, just as I get an uncontrollable urge to go for a run (surprisingly often), I often crave the chance to dive into a pool and just swim. I miss it. A lot. Nobody else is wreckless enough to let me chance being active, let alone get into a pool… But the two boys had my back and were amazingly chilled out, so the three of us wandered over to the pool, and I got the chance to be me again. They understood how important that was yet had no idea all at the same time.
The smell of chlorine, the cool of the water, the freedom of floating, the entire pool to ourselves… Beyond amazing. Sixth form friend tried to push me in at first, which was an incredibly stupid thing to do to me with no warning, as my body is in no state to deal with the shock of cold water. After I pointed this out, he moved on to tormenting my fellow third wheel instead.
We tried to have a swimming race. Yes, this was extremely wreckless/ stupid/ irresponsible of me (and more than a few steps too far in terms of pushing myself). I got about five metres and had to put my feet on the bottom because my body was all NOPE. But I SWAM! For the first time in years and years I did front crawl/ freestyle. I didn’t want to stop but I couldn’t carry on.
When sixth form friend went to get the beach ball we had brought, I tried to swim underwater. I used to be able to get 25m. I did about three strokes of breast stroke underwater before I burst desperately to the surface gasping for air, an all too familiar dull crushing pain spreading through the centre and left side of my chest and up into my jaw. My heart was unimpressed, apparently. So I listened to it… And then when its cry of outrage grew quieter I… Stopped listening and played beach ball.
It was so much fun and the entire time I was in a stunned state of happy disbelief – I couldn’t believe I was doing these things. It felt too amazing to be real. I was doing a normal person thing, and aprt from the continuos glucose monitor on and in me (a little unit stuck to my skin with powerful adhesive, attached to a little cannula that sticks into me so I don’t have to prick myself in order to check my blood glucose levels) I looked just like everyone else too as I hit that beach ball. I felt no different to anyone, and I liked that nobody could tell that I wasn’t when I was in that pool. I threw myself around in the water and punched the surface and did forward rolls and we shouted and laughed and I didn’t even care about the ache in my chest. It subsided significantly after the underwater swim, so I just let it ache.
Then the slide opened. It was extremely high and I only went on it once because the effort of climbing all the stairs made the pain overwhelming and robbed me of my ability to breathe at a normal rate for about five minutes. But it was so much fun. Other people appeared in what had until that point been our “private pool” so the lifeguard opened the outdoor pool for us. My fellow third wheel jumped in, discovered it was an ice bath, and so we immediately gave up on the idea, aborted our mission and, shivering from the cold of outside, went and sat in the jacuzzi for ages laughing and talking and planning a trip to go and stay with my family in Dubai and Thailand (they emigrated all over the place) at Easter maybe.
I finally got to get chlorine in my hair again, a smell I used to hate but have learned to crave because of everything it represents. I even miss the ache in my lower back I get if I run too much. I mean used to get, if I ran too much (past tense, can’t do it any more).
I wandered the tiny distance back to the caravan wrapped in a towel, and had a long hot shower while the boys cooked a full English breakfast. Sixth form friend is a maths kind of guy, but the other three of us all did English Literature at A level, and are also old enough to be un-ruined by technology. The three of us sat cross-legged on the sofa reading books, which I found completely awesome. Not only did we sit and read, we discussed the books we were reading, which was heaven for my brain because I love reading and writing and literature in general and I miss having opportunities to immerse myself in conversation about it.
We went out and I got an ice cream and a flapjack and we wandered over to the (incredibly nice) owner’s lounge and played darts while we drank unlimited free hot chocolate. This mean I sat down for ages which my body was very pleased about.
We played mini golf and I laughed so hard I ended up sitting down and falling forward onto the floor to hold myself up. But I was very unwell, and my fellow third wheel noticed this. I left to go and get some water. I was told to sit down on the way back to the caravan. When we got there, my fellow third wheel suggested that I stay while they went shopping for snacks, and then that I stayed in the car (after I refused to be left behind). Usually this would irritate me, but my fellow third wheel is so on the ball with my health that I was actually pretty impressed. When we got back I was banned from going to order pizza with everyone (he very firmly told me “No! You need to stay here and just… Sit.”) which meant the boys are currently off getting pizza and I am sat here with sixth form friend’s girlfriend chatting away.
Unfortunately I just briefly almost cried because one of my specialist nurses messaged me asking how things are (she knows) and saying she needs to see me. The emotional aftermath of one of my specialist nurses here in Kent (the one that refused to accept a word I said) brought me crashing down and all the health stuff I had been running from suddenly caught up with me. I choked up as the boys left. They were going to leave me alone but sixth form friend’s girlfriend suggested I may want company and hence the two of us are here nattering away about uni.
My blip was minor but it is chipping away in the background of my happiness and I feel ashamed of how pathetic and ungrateful that is. Thankfully this holiday is is too amazing for me to allow an (accidentally poorly timed) health reminder to burst the bubble of my happiness. I’ve been incredibly unwell today, worryingly so, but I refuse to let that spoil this, especially not for those around me.
Today has also so far been BEYOND amazing. I summed it all up in a response to a comment on my last post earlier: I needed this break so much. It is so much more than a holiday, it means so much more than just a bit of fun. I never want it to end. I am going to enjoy every moment because it is impossible to do anything but. This sounds so clichéd, but this is genuinely a dream come true. It is BEYOND a dream to be honest. I am being stereotypically young and I haven’t had that. My teenage years were stollen by hospitals, I never did the things most people my age got to. It’s my turn now and I am so overwhelmingly happy I could cry. It doesn’t feel real. I can’t even… Words fail me.
And now to watch Deadpool while we eat pizza (The lovebirds are sharing one pizza, my fellow third wheel and I are sharing a pepperoni because is there any better kind?). After that the lovebirds are going to bingo, so us third heels are going to play darts and hang out… And then arcades and then more films and alcohol and good times.
It is finally my turn to do all the things a person my age should.
Finally my turn.
I am so incredibly grateful for that – for this.
This post may be boring, it talks about things that are so normal and probably mundane but that is all I have wanted for so long – no drama, no worries, no abnormality -just a life too boring for people to want to read about. And even if and when all of that drags me back down, there will always be
No way but through.
(1 hour later: Deadpool is all broken and his body is a dick to him and tries to ruin the best time of his life – don’t worry that happens in like the first ten minutes of the film of you haven’t seen it – and I therefore love Marvel even more and think Deadpool is beyond awesome because A FELLOW BROKEN PERSON IS KICKING ASD YEAHHHHHHH)