Sunday, 2 August 2009

Armed Forces Day

OK, that's the MS update out of the way for a while. Now I can write about interesting things! Like holidays.
I had four weeks of holiday. Lucky me. Matthew was home for the first week of it. That's when the UK 'Armed Forces Day' took place. Matthew was keen to go along and as his parents, we wanted to go and support him too. It was a great day out and I only wished it had been advertised better as a lot of friends and contacts said they would have come 'had they known'. The first problem was that a lot of standing would be involved. Susie thought of this first and declared "We'd better take the wheelchair."
"Oh no" thought I, "not the wheelchair!" I don't know about you, but, the thought of 'giving in to MS' and sitting in a wheelchair is not a nice thought. I had to admit, though, that it was a practical idea and I overcame my pride and agreed we should put it in the car. I just prayed that I wouldn't meet anyone I knew - which I did. Sigh!
So, we duly arrived and parked somewhere near. I then had to get into the chair and be pushed to George Square. The next problem was that there were about three layers of people around the perimeter fencing and, in the chair, there was no way I would see anything. Not a problem when you've got a big uniformed paratrooper with you: " 'Scuse me, please! Make some room here - oh, thanks very much." I was now at the front - brakes on!There were marching bands, soldiers, marines and RAF. There were veterans who were presented with badges of recognition and the Last Post was played. A Nimrod flew over and, other than a brief disturbance my some thoughtless protesters (they caused a lot of noise just after the service had been remembering the fallen soldiers from all conflicts), it all passed of very well. Susie tried on a parachute and then took a photo of Matthew with a 91 year old veteran which ended up in our local paper and on the BBC - see this link.

Click picture to see full size.

After the proceedings were over, we went for a pizza and had a good natter. It was after that, when Susie was enjoying the freedom of getting me moved quickly from A to B and then to C, we took a little diversion along the lower part of Buchanan Street in Glasgow, which is a pedestrian area. Loads of people and, of course, a former dental student who looked down on me in the wheelchair "Oh, hello Mr Sharkey!" Cringe.

MS update

I keep forgetting to give an update on MS! Everything else seems so much more interesting, but, here goes:

As I've mentioned, I learned a lot in May when I got a straightforward virus (the microbiological type - although I did recently have a PC version too). My temperature was 38.8C when the doc measured it and luckily it was fairly short lived - at least the viral symptoms were - luckily I'm still here. I knew already that MS behaves badly in high temperatures and that is exactly what happened. I could move my legs, but, couldn't 'weight bear' as the physios would say. I was very weak and lost strength in all my body, including my hands for the first time (I kept dropping my mobile phone when I was trying to text). My balance was non-existent and even when trying to sit up in bed to have a drink of water I would fall back down! Susie had to hold me up by the shoulder and also help me hold the cup to my mouth! I felt like a baby - totally dependant on someone else! I must be honest and say that, for the first time, I wondered if this was a glimpse of what the future could hold. I hope not, but, I'll just take one day at a time - and I'll trust God for each of those days - and not think too far ahead - as that can cause some anxiety and I don't think that's wise. I had other problems too. I don't really want to talk about them here. Sufficient to say that the district nurse had to be called out to help me - and it was very uncomfortable! That should get you thinking!
I was very weak for about two weeks and didn't drive. Matthew, who got home shortly after that, was an immense help to me bringing me tea and food in bed and then when I did manage to get up and was a little more mobile, he was my chauffeur as I wasn't up to driving for a while. Even when I did go back to work, I was really going through the motions and was so grateful when the University term finished and I had a whole four weeks off to rest - and to recover.
Where has that left me? I've given up general dental practice in which I was working two days per week. I now have only my three days teaching at the dental school in Glasgow. Hopefully, having rest days during the week will mean I can give more to my teaching job. That's the plan. My only other report to do with MS is that I had to give in and use a wheelchair when we were on holiday, but, I'll talk about that in a minute - in the next post.