There’s nothing “heroic” about it….

This might be a long one.. but please read this to the end and tell me if I am being stupid…

As many of you may know, on Wednesday 28th of February, I put up a Facebook status offering lifts with my 4×4 to Healthcare Workers because I knew the snow coming was going to be horrendous. (my knees told me) I had no idea that when I woke up on Thursday morning 1st March I would have had over 6700 post shares and my inbox swamped with literally hundreds of messages.

I spent the lull before the chaos getting the Frontera ready. Salt, CB, Shovel, First Aid Kit, Straps, etc.. Then I popped into YCC to give my number. I also messaged staff I knew in PCH and gave my number. That day I was contacted and spoke to Wales Online and asked them to mention that help was needed in the Gwent area as I had a lot of requests for Royal Gwent staff. Also in that piece was a gentleman down in Swansea who was ready to help.

Then the snow hit.. HARD.

The rest of Thursday was an absolute blur. I was literally all over the place YCC, YCR, PCH, RGH, UHW… all over Cwm Taf basically. Nurses, Doctors, HCA’s etc etc.. all deposited into work safely. During this time I was also contacted by Radio Wales to ask if they could talk to me live on their Morning Breakfast Show. I said I would do my best to be in a position to talk to them as I wanted to try and get more help out there.

 

 

It was gone 1am by the time I put the key in the front door, knowing that I would have to get up at 5am to do 6am pick-ups. (I had transported 30 people that day)

 

I think I managed maybe 3 hours sleep.. somewhere around that. Up and out again.
Friday morning at 8:15am Radio Wales called and I was live on air.. again I was asked about what made me want to help.  I feel I owe a huge debt to the NHS, I feel we all do. We take it for granted and that is NOT GOOD. We need to fight for it. Anyway I mentioned that I could never pay back what I owe the NHS so to me this seems such a tiny gesture to me. They chatted to one of the nurses and we had a giggle (a word on all the people I transported.. they were SO MUCH FUN! These are living angels that walk amongst us.)

 

I was SERIOUSLY flagging when just before 9am my pal Mark (fellow 4×4 owner ) sent me a message saying “Need a hand?” … I think I may have cried a little.. YES.. bloody hell yes!

 

At some point during Friday I was BEYOND relieved to see that a 4×4 group had started a FB group for helping Healthcare Staff get to/from work.. slowly, throughout the day I started seeing more and more 4×4’s out there. People helping out… also Mountain Rescue were out in force too adding to the transport team. BRILLIANT!

 

Friday FLEW by  (radio 4 also contacted me as did BBC Wales News who wanted to film.. I explained politely that my priority was transporting staff and couldn’t really stop to be filmed… I’ve worked in TV.. I know how long things can take.) and I actually got into bed by 10pm!! YAY!
Saturday there was still no public transport and some main routes were littered with abandoned vehicles.. (Seriously people.. don’t do this.. you’re stopping the ploughs and the emergency services  from getting to where they need to be.. and to the ARSEHOLE with the Fiesta that pulled out of his parking space on Coedpenmaen Rd only to travel 6 feet and then give up completely blocking the street.. YOU ARE A DICK!! )

 

Off out again at 5:30am more laughing Nurses picked up and taken to work, others picked up and taken home.. after the morning shift was done Mark and me even managed some breakfast in Sainsbury’s Caf.. (where they serve your “extras” (mushrooms, Black pud, etc) on separate plates.. (WTF is that all about??)

 

Back out in the evening for the night shifts.. It finally felt like we had a rhythm!
Sunday came and the snow turned to rain a couple of morning lifts and then it was over. 🙂
Monday.. it was like it had never happened!!
Now, I received some lovely messages from friends and acquaintances, many telling me that my Mam would be proud.. or that I had done my Mam proud.. this was lovely for me to hear (for those that read my blog that aren’t on FB. My Mam sadly succumbed to cancer on New Years Eve. I miss her so much, even though I know she is always with me) and meant more to me than anything.
Others were also saying that their faith in humanity was at least in part restored… Which is also lovely (although I’m mostly with Roy from “IT Crowd” on this “People!! What a bunch of BASTARDS!!” heheheh)
I joined the 4×4 FB group and saw words like “hero” and I have to say it doesn’t bode well with me. From the start I said “I am no hero, the people I am helping get to work are the real heroes. I am just doing what I can to help. I was brought up to believe that if help is needed and you are in a position to help then providing your help is your duty.” I didn’t and still don’t want any kind of elaborate praise. The smiles and the “thank you” from the staff are enough. Hearing “Well done you!” is also fine, because the one thing I am proud of is my driving. I drove really well, in crazy conditions, up bonkers inclines and through twisty streets. Granted, my little Frontera performed beautifully.. but hearing one compliment from a male nurse “Bloody hell, you drive better in snow than I do in the summer!!” made me BEAM with pride.
Now, in the aftermath there are conversations regarding “community awards” and “good samaritan awards” and the 4×4 group are ALL over this.. I don’t like it. Seriously. One of the awards is “The Pride of Gwent” from the South Wales Argus.. someone nominated the groups drivers for an award. Having looked at the other nominees (people who have for years tirelessly worked for a variety of worthwhile community projects, raised LOADS of money for charities.. etc etc…) What any of us did HAS NO PLACE there..

 
I voiced this opinion thusly.. “Whatever, I am not interested. I’d rather it go to any one of the individuals already nominated who have done some truly amazing things”

 
The reply I got shocked me.. “That’s a bit degrading when you have no idea of the work that has been done over the extreme weather that has been lately, the lives saved, the patients, old and infirm that have been helped”

 
 To me, this is categorically WRONG.. to me it’s the complete WRONG attitude to have.
I expressed this… “All I did was drive a capable vehicle well in adverse conditions.. which is something that most of us actually PAY to do just for fun! Awards? Bollocks. I had my reward. Helping was enough.”

 
Please tell me if you think I am wrong here but I think spending a few of days driving a 4×4 in the snow giving lifts to hospital staff is NOT award worthy.. it was FOUR days for me goodnesses sake and only 2 for most of the people on that group. How can anyone feel they deserve this!??! How can people be THAT vain to think the mantle “hero” fits them? ?

 
 Were the “thanks” and smiles and the feeling of doing something good not enough!?!?!(ok, I had sweets and cake too.. but still that was MORE than enough)
 
One last thing.. I want to find the person that invented the phrase “Not all heroes wear capes” and hoof them in the groin… ALL true heroes wear scrubs.
 
.. I look forward to your responses on this.

 

 

 

 


		
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Sometimes you have to be the devil.

…. you really do.

I feel rotten to the core tonight. Like the worst person in the world. Absolute evil.

Now that all may seem a bit far fetched.. but that’s how it is, that’s how I feel.

Arrived at the hospital today to my least favourite news from my most favourite nurse (don’t get me wrong, I love them all and appreciate everything they are doing for my Mam during yet another hospital stay. )

“We’ve had a bit of trouble today. She doesn’t want to do anything. She doesn’t want to get up, she has refused all food and she just wants to be left.”

This.. is the worst possible course of action for anyone in palliative care with death staring them in the face. My heart sank because on these occasions. I have to be the one to crack the whip as it were. Be strong. Motivate. Stoic. Tough.. etc. My heart is in a million pieces. All I want to do is cry, smash shit up and sometimes feel like I could rip the life away from those that waste it and give it to those that would do ANYTHING to remain living. I am quite aware how judgemental that sounds.. but watching someone you love, someone that you are part of have their very spirit taken from them makes you very critical of how some people waste their lives.

So I did the whole “what’s going on? Is there something you’re not telling the nurses?” “Are you in more pain now?” “Is there anything that can be done to help?” .. I have never been good at the whole “Aww.. there there” .. I NEED to fix things.. or at least try.. “Aww” never saved anyone.. not to say I don’t comfort her as well, of course I do!

So, once it was established that she was actually feeling absolutely fucking fed up of the Cancer and the illnesses and everything… I have to ask the question “Are you saying you are ready to stop fighting? If you have that’s fine and I will support you 100%” (my heart is in my throat when I ask this question of course, I don’t want her to give up.. but it’s HER choice ultimately and I would never want that any other way) “I want to live as long as I can” came the reply. (bearing in mind I have been called to the hospital 4 times in 12 months to say “goodbye” to her. Being taken into the “relatives room”. Every time she has pulled through. Sepsis.. twice.. non cardio pulmonary oedema… and this last episode which was infection mixed with a Bi-lateral brain bleed) “Ok then.. so, we’re going to have to get you out of bed for a start”. This obviously was met by “The Stare” where my own mother looks at me like I am the devil. That’s the thing you see, she can refuse to the nurses and they have to listen (wasn’t like this when we still had Matrons.. they’d get you out of that bed let me tell you.) So, I have to take a hard line.. and it KILLS me inside.

I am SCREAMING deep in my chest as I take her cannula bruised arms and place them on my shoulders. “On three we are getting up, you hold on to me and use your legs to get off the bed… 1..2.. 3.. push push push with your legs” Her face contorts with pain and fatigue,  I can feel her shaking with the strain. Nevertheless, we are up and shuffling towards the easy chair next to her bed. She cries out with every step and with every cry part of me dies inside. I feel cruel. Like I am torturing her. If I could hold her like a baby, like she once held me, I would.. but I can’t.

We get to the chair and I lower her into it and I wipe the tears from her eyes. There it is again, that crushing blow.. I am a torturer. Evil.

These are my worst days. These are the days that have no sleeping respite. As much as I try to convince myself that what I did was out of love. I feel rotten to the core.

I am in hell.

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Dorian Gray

i really genuinely love “The Picture of Dorian Gray” in a way it’s relative to the reason behind this blog. 

I know a number of people who are 10 years or more my junior who look easily my age or indeed older. 

They are haggard. Dead behind the eyes. The women try to paint their faces on each day.. dye their grey hair.. the men try to transmit their youth with cars or bikes or whatever symbol of “youth” that appeals to them. 

I regularly get people disbelieving my age when i tell them. Don’t get me wrong, i am by no means a fresh faced beauty.. but i still have my spark.. (like a transformer.. the allspark being the soul of a transformer!) A spring in my step… a twinkle in my eye, no grey hair to speak of… 

My wit is still intact and i don’t need alcohol to have fun. 

If someone was to ask me my “secret” it’s actually quite simple. 

Be kind, generous, helpful, caring, supportive, honest and not afraid to speak out when you need to. 

How you are on the inside is reflected in your face. Of course, in addition to the aforementioned haggard individuals.. i also know many people who have the spark, spring, twinkle.. etc.. those are the ones i hold close to my heart and the ones i call friends. 

 

Consider what you do people.. or unlike Dorian Gray you will be wearing your twisted portrait on your face. Ugly on the inside? Ugly on the outside. Change before it’s too late. 

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How to lose friends and alienate people.. or “cancer” for short.

“I don’t know what to say”.. a common phrase heard by people diagnosed with cancer as well as people who are close to those suffering this horrific disease. 

So, very often it’s easier to say nothing.. and even avoid the person facing certain death or the death of someone close. 

I have never felt so isolated in my entire life since my Mam was diagnosed. I suppose at least she has me, i am always there. I must be some comfort, i hope… but who have i got? Even as that phrase exits my mind i am CRIPPLED with guilt, how pathetic do i sound? I haven’t got cancer after all.. so why should i need anyone? 

You don’t have to have gone through this to understand. I am more than sure that at some point in everyone’s life there is a phase of isolation you go through. I dunno about you, i don’t do well when isolated. I become paranoid, massively self conscious. My brain constantly forcing  me to look at myself and find faults. Frustration builds and gives way to anger cycled with guilt and then you know you’re spiralling out of control. 

This time last year this same overwhelming feeling coupled with bitterly hurtful words and resentment from someone i once loved and cared for a great deal resulted in me being admitted to hospital and then on release placed under a crisis team as a psychiatric outpatient. They visited me daily and gave me pills and i continued my role as carer in charge of administering CDT chemotherapy to my Mam at home. 

I tried to imagine how i would feel in a years time, trying to be as hopeful as possible. It has to get better, right? 

Actually, no, it’s not better. it’s probably worse. Every day i barely know how i manage to function. I’m still just as isolated. Surrounded by friends that at best ignore me at worst make a point of avoiding me. 

“I don’t know what to say….” Here’s the thing see, you don’t have to say anything philosophically profound or feel you have to possess some kind of superpower to make it all go away.. Lots say “I’m here if you need me” or “if i can help at all i will”  .. but sadly on occasions when i have needed someone or some help no one has been available. 

It’s not easy for someone like me to admit that i need help. 

I’ve cried buckets typing this. 

If you’re reading this and you have a friend in a similar position to myself, don’t avoid them.. pick up the fucking phone and don’t worry about not knowing what to say, it’s never been a problem before so don’t make it one now. If you offer support, you HAVE to follow through.

The smallest gesture can mean the world. 

 

 

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Do you remember when….

I picked you up in my car to save you walking in the rain?
I replaced your favourite socks when they were cut off when you fell?
I put hours into helping to reduce your pain?
I called in favours half way around the world to get you something that i knew you would really love?
I took you and your injured pet to get treatment every other day?
I picked you up from college to save you waiting in the cold?
I took you to the emergency dentist when you couldn’t cope with the pain?
I made sure you had good food to eat when you didn’t have the time?
I helped you revise so you could pass your test?
I took you to the hospital for you follow up appointments?
I gave you the confidence you needed to get through?
I fixed your skates?
I loaned you my gear?
I fixed your car?
I supported you through a really tough time?
I cancelled my plans to come to your aid?
I gave you a shoulder to cry on?
I gave you the kick up the arse you needed?
I helped you get your confidence back?
I stood by you when everyone else had turned their backs?
I cheered for you?
I reassured you that everything would be alright?

They say “actions speak louder than words”.. yet the untruthful, calculated words of one person were believed above and beyond all of my actions.

I refuse to give anyone reason to believe this nonsense. I can’t change who i am. I am KIND and for no other reason than being kind.
If you are the kind of person that thinks acts of kindness can only be the portal to a bigger “master plan” or “agenda”.. i pity you and the loveless world you live in.

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I am participating in MOVEMBER!

yes.. i know i’m a LAYDEE.. but y’know.. i’m no stranger to nutella.. heheheheh 

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November 1, 2013 · 11:17 pm

You are cheating no-one but YOURSELF!!!!

So, Thursday is Advanced Rehabilitation day… 3 hours of gruelling hydropool, Pyramid Circuits, Balance Drills and “Pyramid” Strength tests. 

2 new people joined the group today. Both blokes (I’m the only woman in the group and i don’t really mind that at all to be honest) one with an MCL/ACL repair and one with a now healed broken ankle. 

Now advanced rehab is HARD.. we are pushed to the absolute limit (people are quite often on the point of vomiting during hydro and circuits) there is a very particular mindset involved in this type of rehab and you only get out what you put in, “we do not stop for pain”. The sense of achievement at the end of each 3 hour session is MASSIVE.. you leave totally pumped. 

Reps are 25, 20, 17, 15, 13, 10, 7, 5, 3, 2, 1. and you have 15 mins to complete it all. (pyramid)

Circuits today were..

1. lay on your back, injured foot on the bench, leg bent at the knee.. cross over your good leg, then lift your bum off the floor pushing through your injured leg balancing on your shoulder blades. 

2. Lunge/knee tap. Good leg on aerobic step, injured leg trailing, tap injured leg down onto 3″ high pad.

3. Step ups

4. Glute pumps. (lay face down, leg bent at knee pressing hip into the floor and pumping leg skywards. 

5. wide squats touching 14″ stool. 

6. standing lateral slide out (injured leg) 

7. Squat thrusts. 

I thought i was going to DIE. Anyway.. at the end of the 15 mins i had made it to the 5 rep stage. We all had to say where we were and this was logged on our progress sheet. Now.. one of the new fellas.. lets call him Mr Ankle.. “struggled” and moaned in the pool.. and was not really pushing himself in the circuits either (he was looking for when the trainers looked away and was basically.. CHEATING.. anyway.. he was at least 2 reps behind me on the circuits despite not counting out the full amount of reps. So.. yeah.. the whistle blew.. and in turn we were asked where we were.. “Five” i said.. then they asked Mr Ankle.. “THREE” he said.. i was fucking OUTRAGED!! i never said anything.. i just paced for a bit, pouring with sweat getting my breath back.. FUCKING HELL..

After the circuits everyone focuses on their personal goals.. with me it’s my balance and we also do our pyramid strength tests… not Mr Ankle tho who complained that he couldn’t possibly do any more.. So they gave him ice.. and got all his forms and went through everything with him.. then promptly sent him back to “Step Class” as clearly Adv Rehab was a waste of ALL our time.. DICK. 

I was still tampin’ when i left the hospital.. then it occurred to me that at the end of the day.. this knobhead was only actually cheating HIMSELF. I fucking HATE all forms of deceitful cheating aye.. Trying to calm down now with a cuppa.. 

Can’t wait till next Tuesday tho.. really feeling the difference today. I am almost psychotically competitive tho.. i hope i don’t half kill someone in the pool.. like my mate Kate.. did.. HAAA! 

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