There’s someone I want you to meet…

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know that my dog (an almost 13 year old Chocolate Labrador) has been my furry rock through all the awfulness – health wise and in my personal life –  I’ve faced (most of which hasn’t been mentioned on this blog). You may also know that I have for a long while hoped to someday get a service dog, not only for my physical health problems and PTSD, but because of the support and responsibility it would provide that might give me a reason to hold on. My life is falling apart at the minute. I’ve bounced in an out of hospital, had more heart surgery last month after spending 3 weeks in a heart centre (and going into arrhythmia, passing out, sustaining a severe concussion, and ending up with a GCS of 6 for several hours and lasting memory loss, co-ordination and cognitive issues). I’ve maybe got an infection in my pacemaker, or my heart is just being an idiot. I’ve torn a couple of tendons in my pacemaker shoulder – we don’t know if it was the surgery, or a pacemaker infection that spread, or what. My cardiology team are M.I.A and I don’t want to chase them any more.

My days are a swirl of suicidal ideation and… PUPPY CUDDLES. Click the link to meet Teddy.


I Did (Another) Thing!

I have gone and done a thing again. I wrote another post for The Mighty about why I find it difficult to open up about my chronic health issues. I’d been meaning to put my writing out into the world again for quite a while, and half past one this morning seemed like the perfect time to stir my thoughts up until words flowed from my fingertips. I was a bit of an idiot and (regretfully) forgot to link my blog to the piece of writing I did, so I won’t see any increased blog traffic from this; but I guess I do this more for the experience (plus the minuscule boost in my self esteem when people react positively to something I produced) and to allow my thoughts to reach a wider audience. I’m not really sure what substance there is to what I wrote, but my mind decided it was worth writing about and the editing team decided it was worth publishing so hopefully it isn’t the utter trash that I now fear it may have been (most things seem like a great idea when considered at 1am).

It was sparked by the difficulties I have encountered recently in trying to open up to people about my health issues and inform them, and the past experiences and though processes which limit my confidence in talking about these issues. I thought it might be something others could relate to, so I took another leap of faith with my writing and just went for it.

My health is increasingly becoming something that there is a need for me to talk about, and I really don’t want to at the minute. People’s reactions aren’t too helpful lately, and my confidence about many areas of myself are at a rather impressive low. I’m terrified about bringing them up with any members of university staff, but am starting to develop a high level of anxiety about how the uni will react if I become unwell. I tried to deal with that by arranging to meet with my disability advisor next week, so I hope that calms my nerves a little.

I’ve spent most of the last two days asleep. I didn’t get out of bed until past 16:30 yesterday, and I spent most of that time asleep. This is usually my body’s lousy attempt at a warning sign before it plunges me into the sort of situations that I don’t like to end up in, but I am carrying on as normal because… I love the normality that I currently have. I don’t want to miss any university and I don’t want to spend any time away from people, especially not being shut in a hospital tethered to IVs.

Today I had no lectures, but I did have a three hour lab in which we were divided into groups of five and had to connect one of our group to a twelve lead ECG (which actually has ten leads but hey). It was weird for me to see so many people hooked up to machines and the novelty they all felt towards the experience. To me, it took a little but of getting used to. It reminded me of being in the back of ambulances or laying in resus or… Just hospital appointments. After my brain stopped replaying these memories on loop, I settled in to conversation with HK Uni Friend and WR Rugby friend, sat down, and held my head in an attempt to stop the spinning that seemed to originate there. I didn’t feel well. I tried to vaguely say this, and the other people in my group (who don’t understand that when I say unwell, I mean I’m about to hit the floor) were outraged at the idea that I was going to be a pathetic wimp and leave when I didn’t even look that unwell. I couldn’t be bothered to argue, to tell them that I was very clearly in the early stages of acidosis and my heart rate was almost too fast to count, so I stayed instead of going home to grab the injection that my body was crying out for. WR Uni Friend came back to mine afterwards and didn’t freak out when I injected in front of her (which is rare because people usually F R E A K!). She left her coursework at mine so it wouldn’t get spoiled and we headed to the pub for some dinner. We sat and talked for about two hours, and she told me to go and see uni dad, at least just to let him know I’m alive and ok. She suggested that I go to the hospital, and said if I ever change my mind she’ll go with me. I don’t think she realises how awesome the last part was.

I felt considerably better about everything as the injection kicked in and we talked away, and even had an idea for a much bigger writing project which may or may not come into existence, because I always have the best intentions and the boldest plans and it is very rare that anything ever grows from them. It was so nice to just chill with another human though – living alone is super lonely and I often crave human company.

I messaged my next door neighbour about the puppy sitting I agreed to do for them next Saturday, and we ended up messaging away for a while. She said that she was looking forward to seeing me and I felt ALL the feels. I also felt all the feels in the early hours of this morning, when I found a picture I’d taken of the photo of me and my uncle which sits on my bedside table back in Kent, and posted it on social media telling my steely but surprisingly soppy uncle that I loved him more than I’d probably ever admitted and was both proud and lucky to call him my uncle (today is his 50th birthday and he lives in Hong Kong so I haven’t seen him for a year, which meant that being soppy was entirely necessary. I am feeling the importance of family at the moment, and trying to find one in which I feel I belong).

So today has been pretty awesome. Almost as awesome as my recent discovery that there is a place right by the tube station that serves an entire pizza for £1.50 (I went there two nights running, it’s such good pizza!). We’ll ignore the fact that I ended up in the start of a medical emergency, and we’ll also ignore all the things I refuse to acknowledge about my health right now. Instead, I’ll look forward to tomorrow’s lectures, and continue to dread the weekend (because there are no lectures at the weekend, and I love uni a little bit too much to know it is shut for two days).

Anyway, if you’re interested in checking out the (potentially awful but hopefully possibly not) article/ post that I wrote for The Mighty, you can do so here. Writing somewhere so public is a huge deal for me even though it really shouldn’t be because I can hide behind a screen. My writing has been really off lately, so don’t hold out much hope if you do read it, but thanks for reading (at least this blog post) this far if you did.

Sometimes good stuff comes from/during difficult times, and today reminded me of that. I still know I’m going to end up in hospital in the near future. I still don’t know how to face that reality… And so I’m still not.

I also still know that there’s no way but through.

Happy Thursday!

The Fight Is Over

“Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, then it’s not the end.” – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (film)… A line that was quoted to me by uni dad during particularly crap times, but that I didn’t believe until today.

Yes, yes, yes. So many levels of YES! No more fighting. I’m overwhelmed by a hopeful relief to the point that words are currently failing me. I don’t know where to start. I’m too impatient to go back to the beginning and too stubborn to start at the end (so you’re going to have to read through the rubbish to get to the good part, sorry).

This morning I tried to print emails and type up notes to take to my disability advisor at university to discuss the whole ‘support? Yeah we aren’t going to do any of the things the disability services said’ situation that has been occurring for the last year, and has at times left me suicidal (ok, wow, I’m so over the moon that word doesn’t even bother me right now). Anyway. I became so terrified about the whole thing I ended up a bit of an emotional mess, and spent an hour listening to music before I could re-attemtpt my brief summary. I was terrified about having to fight the university again just to get some support. But I eventually managed to make bullet points anyway.

I went onto campus. Instantly every single part of me was at home. I ditched Winston the wheelchair and outraged my body by walking from the back of the building to the front of it. It occurred to me as I got in the lift that I’d nearly died in that building, which gave me the creeps, especially as it has a morgue in it and is the site of our anatomy practicals. I went to the deputy head of disability services, who I’d met with before, and we discussed everything. He was so supportive. He was also appalled, disappointed, and seemed quite horrified. He called the situation ridiculous so many times that the word started to sound funny. He said it sounded pretty horrendous to have had to go through, which made me feel less embarrassed about the impact it has had on me emotionally at times. He apologised. He shook his head pretty much throughout our entire discussion so much I wondered if it might work itself loose and fall off (yes I know this is anatomically impossible).

He said the staff hadn’t supported me in the way they were meant to at all. We talked about the wheelchair situation. He said they can’t kick me out for not doing assessments due to my health, and that if walking up the stairs in a building with no lift makes me so unwell, it is ridiculous that the practicals weren’t moved. He said allowances can be made for my coursework, so I don’t need to leave the uni if I can’t carry out the practical part of our coursework (which never goes right anyway, so we always look at model results). He suggested I spend another year in halls due to my inability to travel much or walk any sensible distance, and that even though it was past the deadline the disability services could sort it out. He’s going to recommend that all my lectures next year are in wheelchair accessible locations (in case I can’t ditch Winston). And the list went on and on and on (because there’s a lot of crap that I won’t mention on here because it makes me feel so angry and hopeless that I cry when I even attempt to summarise it). He said if ever I need any support at all I should just go to the disability services (he’s my disability advisor) even if it’s once a week just to rant. I found someone to talk to about my health, and it felt good, so I briefly summarised the bleakness I was up against.

I cannot explain how amazing it felt to finally have some support at university, someone willing to fight my corner. He’s determined to make sure next year is very different from the start, and said it was incredibly sad to hear that all I’d cared about was not missing deadlines or getting ill on campus, often to the detriment of my health (because I didn’t go to hospital when I needed to, and often ended up in a heap on the floor). He said he’d rather I just please called an ambulance onto campus. He’s going to change the document the university were given about my health and the accommodations they should make for it, and mention that I’ve been unsupported over the past year (I kept telling him I was scared of the university and didn’t want to upset anyone. He persuaded me to let him just briefly mention it). He asked why on earth I hadn’t been to see him about it all sooner. I said that I was extremely worried that I was making a fuss over nothing. He told me I was doing far from that, and that it was actually his job. I felt better. Actually, I felt happy. Happy. Actual happiness. (This isn’t even the good part yet)

I didn’t really have time to start freaking out about the hospital appointment right afterwards. I got to the hospital at 3:10, and didn’t leave until two hours later. Honestly, in that time… My life changed. (This is the slightly less awful good part)

The man that took away all my hope of a future just gave it all back to me. 

The man who left me to the grim reaper decided that he was now willing to try and save me from him, seeing as how I’m not dead (and he talked about a service dog so that was awesome too). I thought I was going to have to fight with him. I thought he was going to leave me to my fate again and watch me bounce in and out of intensive care until the grim reaper managed to pin me down. I thought the crushing hopelessness his appointments usually induce was going to overwhelm me all over again and I sat there with two of them looking at me, preparing myself for the emotional pain that… Never arrived.

My guard was up and I was terrified, shaking, wanting to throw up, trying to look anywhere but at him… For no reason. This time he talked about heart failure and varied kidney function and stuff that was nothing to do with him (although he really does want to look into the kidney stuff more, but getting blood from me is impossible, which is why I haven’t gone to have the “weekly blood tests” I’m meant to have at all since they told me I had to – I do not want a long line yet. He does however, think I should definitely go and get the bloods done, because he’s all concerned about my kidneys even though I have a separate consultant for that). And then he got around to the bit of me he has to think for, the health issue he is meant to be helping me with

“Well, the situation doesn’t seem to have changed much.” Here we go again,

This is very dangerous. Your body can’t keep doing this (he means the medical emergency that frequently puts me in intensive care and on an almost monthly basis almost takes my life), each time it does you’re at a greater and greater risk of… It’s incredibly dangerous.” Yes, I know, and it’s going to kill me and you don’t know how to stop it because you can’t be bothered to try and…

Have we ever considered (some surgery that had only been done on one person in this country last time it was mentioned to me and is still only offered in two hospitals under very extreme/ desperate circumstances because I don’t even know why)?” Excuse me? What did you just say? Did you just… Did you just say you want to try and beat the grim reaper? DID YOU JUST SAY YOU WANT TO FIGHT FOR MY LIFE WITH ME?  The stunned look on my face must have been misinterpreted as one of horror, because he put his arms up like I was about to shoot him and said,

“Ok, ok… Not necessarily that, but this isn’t a typical case at all… I think with you we’re going to need something… Drastic.” Like what? I think but am still too stunned to say.

“Ok, alright. We’ll talk about it next time I see you.” No, no, I’m relieved I’m not freaking out, let’s talk about it NOW! I just can’t believe you’ve changed your mind about seeing a point in trying to… Try. I suggest another, more common treatment that I’ve tried before, because I’m too stunned to be thinking properly or saying what I want to say, and the one he is suggesting involves an entire new team of doctors at another London specialist hospital where I had horrific experiences when I was younger.

“Like I said, I think we need something more drastic with you if we’re going to get anywhere at all with this.” He says softly, gently nudging me out of my denial. Preferably before it kills me right? Who even are you? Are you real? WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH THE CONSULTANT WHO WAS PERFECTLY HAPPY TO LEAVE NATURE TO TAKE ITS COURSE??  I looked at my psychologist, who I’d asked to attend the appointment with me because the last one left me so hopeless that afterwards I was so much of an emotional mess I couldn’t even walk and even cried in front of the doctors. She smiled at me. I looked back at my consultant, sat in his chair, and then behind him to the kitchen window of the flat I used to live in (in my university halls, until a week ago).

Yes, everything else going wrong in my body is going wrong, and no, he can’t stop this or fix the issue or deal with anything else – but I’ll be back to the same chance of dying as everybody else who has this condition (well… only in regard to this condition, but this is the thing most likely to kill me and most IMPOSSIBLE to fix, so that’s awesome), and that’s all I want. In the meantime, I’m probably going to nearly die again, and I’m prepared for that. Maybe this time will be the time we don’t win, maybe this time will be the time that the grim reaper manages to get me to elope with him. Maybe this is too little too late. But beyond that almost inevitable event, I think there is hope… Hope where there once was a let down. And with hope, who cares what happens? Because there’s suddenly a point in holding on and a lot more to hold on with.

No more fighting to get support from the people who I rely on for it. No more fighting to stay alive alone. No more fighting to convince someone that my life is one worth fighting for. No more fighting for this consultant to try for me… No more fighting. No more wearing myself into the ground. Who cares if there is fresh concern about my kidneys?

Today was amazing, even if the points about my worsening health were far from it, because suddenly I have hope, suddenly this consultant is willing to try like I needed him to. And when I got back to my parents’ house my dog was there and the two new books I ordered online had arrived (one of which is another Remarque – Spark of Life).

So today my life changed. Genuinely. A single consultant made that much of a difference by doing what I wish he’s done months ago when he pretty much gave up (seriously, thanks to him, I very nearly didn’t make it to 20).

“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and glorious in the end.” – Robin Sharma 

I didn’t believe the end of this quote either, but as music flooded my ears on the way home, it was all I kept thinking. I also kept thinking that uni dad was right, and part of me wanted to tell both of my uni parents that there was hope now, that they’d got me through the hopelessness and they were both SO RIGHT. But I can’t talk to either of them so… Anyway. The relief is indescribable. Finally someone at uni, and the consultant who gave up on me, are on my side.

The fighting is over. 

This is all going to be ok.

Versatile Blogger Award

I am fully aware that yesterday I promised this post would be about puppies, and that none of the above (and most of the following) in any way refers to a small bundle of fluffy puppy cuteness… But I woke up this morning to find the wonderful, amazing, genuinely lovely human behind the blog Marushka’s Place (which you should totally check out) had nominated me for the versatile blogger award. Not going to lie, it made my day a little bit (my future flatmate from university is coming to stay with us for a couple of days and arriving tonight, which will also make my day!). Anyway, there are rules to be followed, so here are seven facts about myself:

  1. I’m awesome… JOKING! I have ridiculously low self esteem, and have recently (as in, over the last two days) decided to start trying to view myself as equal to everybody else instead of far below them. Thinking of myself at all is very difficult to sustain for more than a passing moment. Self hatred seems to be my best friend, and things like being nominated for this award shut it out for a little bit… Actually, they cast it out into the stratosphere (so thanks!)
  2. I’m good at defying odds, and achieving things that people tell me I can’t because of my health. Never tell me I can’t do something, because I will make it my mission to prove you wrong! (Unless it’s stupid… most of the time I don’t do stupid things)
  3. ‘Trying To Get A Life’ is my fifth, and most successful blog. I first tried blogging when I was 13 or 14… I didn’t really know what I wanted to write about so a couple of blogs were born and died… During my teenaged years I was in and out of hospital, and eventually I ended up in hospital on 24/7 IV medication infusions to keep me alive for over 2 years, and blogging then was the only thing that got me through being separated from the outside world. When I left the hospital, none of my old life remained, and blogging was again a great help to me as I tried to find my feet. I hit a run of awful health (it never really improved) and depression and PTSD (funnily enough to do with hospitals) alongside it… And in an effort to avoid voluntarily running away with the grim reaper, I started this blog. (It has. So totally. Saved my butt). I also hate every post I ever write and think it’s awful (why are you reading this?!)
  4. I love the outdoors. Particularly woods (luckily there’s one behind my house) and rivers – whenever life is going wrong I seem to run to the River Thames and wander along its banks through central London for hours… In the middle of the night… In the freezing cold. (I go to university in London). I’ve always loved to be outside doing things, and can’t wait to be able to walk my dog again (or walk any sort of normal distance at all, actually)
  5. Sport, art, reading, writing. These are the four things my universe used to revolve around (but mainly sport). I competed in many sports at a decent level before my health slipped up, and at the age of 13 loved nothing more than to get in from school and run 3km with my dog every day. I accidentally won most races I entered in sailing (seriously I have no idea how, everyone else had to think about it and I just got in the boat to have fun). I used to belong to a swim team and train regularly throughout the week. I loved to go mountain biking through the countryside around where I live. I played football/ soccer (if you’re american) for a local girl’s team and turned down opportunities to progress with trials for bigger teams because again, it was just for fun. I didn’t know how to live without sport (I still don’t if I’m honest) it was, for a long time, my way of dealing with the bullying I experienced all the way through secondary school.
  6. People used to pay me for my drawings until, at the age of 17-18, a surgery messed up the nerve in my right hand (I’m right handed) and I couldn’t even hold a pen. Then, a couple of months ago, a doctor made the mistake of telling me there was nothing that could be done to help me draw again. So… being my stubborn self, and in desperate need of something to feel ok at, I bought a load of sketching stuff, and trained my left hand to draw as well as my right used to.
  7. I plan to have THE MOST AMAZING summer possible. It may, or may not, involve me getting a Labrador puppy which I hope will one day be trained and certified as a medical alert dog (more about that in the post I was actually planning for today)

Here are my nominations:

Me, Christ and Chronic Disease – another lovely human being -you HAVE to read about her service dog Riley! (So. Many. Puppy pictures!) and a very well written blog too!

Broken Down Body – life with a defective body isn’t always easy, this blog follows the ups and downs and day to day shenanigans of having chronic health issues. And I mean seriously, I often just want to hug this person.

Bailey Boat Cat – I am a dog person, but I LOVE this cat. For starters, Bailey is ADORABLE, and often the posts are the lighthearted break I need when I’m in hospital or whatever. Also, until recently, Bailey and co. lived on a boat, and sailing used to be a huge part of my life (never happier than when I was in a boat!). PLUS, this week Bailey is getting a baby sister that’s a PUPPY! I mean, it couldn’t get any better than this to be fair. I genuinely look forward to these posts.

Two Rooms Plus Utilities – This person just inspires me. Seriously. I can’t think of words to say any more. Proof that not all heroines wear capes.

Depression Comix – Never has a person made me shout “YES!” at my computer screen so many times. A series of comic strips showing day-to-day life with depression in an amazingly accurate way that even people who’ve never experienced it (do such people even exist?) can understand. So much love for these comics!

The Chronie Grace – Probably deserves an award for ‘services to ill people’. An AMAZING human who fills her posts with helpful advice and real emotional responses to life with a chronic illness. Visit this blog. Be inspired. Seriously just do it.

What Have I Done? – I laugh out loud at most of these posts. Out LOUD. Brilliantly written!

Have I Told You About The Time? – A truly inspirational mother, to a BEYOND inspirational daughter. I’m at this stage convinced this entire family is just amazing. I am blown away by their courage, resilience, and the fact that a twelve year old girl can face things that would break men many times her age, and still wear the BIGGEST, SWEETEST SMILE. I’m so glad their sister/ aunt told me this blog was a thing.

Writerlust – A fellow type 1 diabetic who has a brilliant way with words. I first stumbled across this blog a few months ago and fell in love with the writing style and the way she just ‘gets it’. A breath of fresh air in blog form!

Somnium Lucem – Poetry for the broken. I love poetry; I love real, honestly written things. The human behind this blog is excellent at ticking both of these boxes very well (does that even make sense? you get the point)

MyShadowWeighsATonne – Love reading this blog. Just. Love it.

opiaexplored – I first discovered this blog when I read a post about losing your grip on the leash of sanity… My literary brain fell in love with it, and then my chronically ill brain did too.

Sickly Stardust – Any blogger that starts even one post with “Dear clusters of stardust that have formed the awesome people reading this” is obviously awesome.

What They Don’t Tell You – Yes this is another blog about being chronically ill, but as I’m chronically ill, I love finding other human beings who not only understand what I’m going through, but put it into words in ways I couldn’t have (and in ways that even make me laugh from time to time). Often light hearted, always very well written, and a pleasure to read!

You Can Only Fight So Hard… – Dealing with a crappy situation and trying to juggle university at the same time really hit home with me as I’ve pretty much been doing this for an entire year. Reading the things this person keeps moving through gave me confidence that I might just be alright. Honest, well written… Yeah.

There was a time where my 15 most frequently read blogs (it was the only way I could pick just 15) looked very different… But I like to read blogs by people who inspire me, by people who understand… Because it makes me feel less alone and that’s the entire reason I started this blog in the first place. I think.

If you click just one of the above links, I’m sure you’ll agree that humans are awesome (or that cats are pawesome, in the case of Bailey), especially the ones that blog!

It Hit Me In A Traffic Jam

Life provides sudden and unexpected reasons to feel lucky, my family has just been reminded.

I’m writing this post whilst sat in a traffic jam, having just witnessed what can only be described as ‘the parting of a metal sea’ by a police car which decided the hard shoulder (if you aren’t British and have no idea which part of the road I’m talking about, ask your search engine) was clearly too mainstream for it to drive upon. Somewhere a mile or two in front of us, a lorry and a car did a deadly dance in the middle of the road a little while ago, leading to an overturned vehicle, the closure of the road, and the arrival of emergency service vehicles like florescent ants swarming a nest. With each passing vehicle, my heart sank a little lower as I worried about the wellbeing of people I will never meet. In other words, my humanity kicked in. We pulled as far off of the carriageway as we could get, to let various emergency service vehicles pass, and like the various dog walkers and people in desperate need of emptying their bladders that wandered past us along the road, I got out of the car and set my feet down on the tarmac that, a few minutes earlier, we had been travelling along at 70mph.

The parting of a metal sea. The view of the other side of the road from where I stood. My feet on tarmac. These are the sort of photos that happen when I am ridiculously bored in a traffic jam – I’m sorry.

As cars sped in the opposite direction just a few feet from where I stood by the central reservation, and the air they displaced punched me over and over again, I (suddenly, finally) felt safe within my body, and overwhelmingly grateful. I’m alive. I thought, as the emotional aftermath of the past few weeks finally surfaced. I don’t care about the current state of my health, there is probably someone currently dying on this road and I. Am. Alive. Damn I’m lucky. For starters, at least my world was still the right way up. As my 13 year old brother started to moan about the delay, and reminded us all of his reluctance to come to Ipswich with us in the first place (luckily I don’t think he realised that we are still 50 miles away), my mum summed up my general feeling towards the whole thing.

“Hey, we’re lucky it wasn’t us, it could just as easily have been our car.” At which point everyone in our 4×4 felt incredibly lucky.

Unfortunately, this has not been the type of traffic jam where people wander between cars sharing out their biscuits, everyone decides to have picnics in the middle of the motorway, and people are civilized enough to form two separate queues (one for men, one for women) as they wait to use the designated bathroom/ pee under a motorway bridge (as happened one time before when they shut the road we were on due to an accident during the summer). It was however, the kind of traffic jam where the joy and relief of being alive hit you harder than a speeding car.

We’re all at least a little guilty of abusing our lives, of taking our pulse for granted. As I stood on the hot tarmac, leaning against the car to keep myself upright, with my heart skipping beats and generally having a little bit of a rave within my chest, I decided that it can continue to do that all that it wants. I don’t even need a regular heartbeat, I am now even more appreciative of the occasionally confused one I’ve got – low blood pressure or normal blood pressure, normal P waves,  no P waves or inverted P waves; PVCs or junctional rhythms or SVT or atrial fibrillation… As long as my heart is actually doing something, I have more than enough.

This is going to be ok. You are going to be ok. It already is, you already are. And I nearly laughed, I nearly cried. Another car went past, and as the air tore through my hair (which in response to the deterioration in my health has decided to fall out in clumps like rats fleeing a sinking ship) I had another thought, don’t waste this. Do not screw it up. You’ve had your wobble, you’ve fallen apart, but this time is clearly different and if you don’t take advantage of that you’re an idiot. No feeling sorry for yourself. You have a life – live it. Even when you feel like the living dead.

Yesterday I mentioned that I wanted to start living my life a little differently, a little more for myself. Last night, I finally said yes. I’m now in the process of writing an article for an online magazine. Right now, I’m very glad I bit the bullet and went for it – especially as I managed to keep all of my teeth.

(I’m actually having to post this from an Audi dealership in Ipswich – Padge is buying one of the cars they use for test drives at a discounted price. He seems to have the whole me first sometimes because I occasionally deserve nice things mindset totally under wraps)