Thursday, 20 December 2012

With pleasure comes pain....

It seems aeons ago when I last managed to write a blog post. Largely because of the impact doing archery has had on me, plunging me into the battle that is trying to recover enough before I shoot again. Ok I admit I've made life harder for myself by trying as I have to squeeze a second session in between the Club's Friday night sessions. The inevitable fallout is that I can do little else, having only left the house a handful of times to do other things since September. Lakeside shopping twice at most, been to lunch with Eric once. The rest of the time I sit 24/7 in my reclining chair. I play a video game in the morning when Eric walks the dogs, read magazines and my current book, do puzzles, watch televison and sleep. Were it not for my wonderful Twitter and FB friends I've made, many of whom I have become very close to, I would have no quality of life at all. They provide a welcome link to the normal life I can't take my place in. The only times I get up, and this would be impossible without Eric's help, are to sit on the commode (which he brings to my chair despite the fact it is only 6 or 7 feet away) or drag myself up the stairs once a week for torture, oops, I mean a bath. Once is all I can manage so it has to do. Apart from that, my life is about as exciting as watching paint dry. I make the most of what I have, and remain stoically positive, but those are the brutal facts of my situation.

I was incredibly 'naughty' last week, being silly enough to shoot on Friday night and then again on Saturday. I shot a new 
distance on the Friday, on a smaller face and I was disgusted with my performance. The trouble is that my standards are still those of the person who played golf off a 6 handicap seven years ago. I make no allowances for the CRPS, the ridiculous position I shoot in or anything else. It was inevitable that I would shoot again on Saturday, to do better. Eric didn't try and stop me, he knows me well enough to acknowledge that I wouldn't be happy until I'd shot again at a more acceptable standard. 

Didn't matter that I had been virtually unable to weight bear and getting from the car to the house when we got home on Friday, had been unbelievably difficult and excruciatingly painful. It's only a few metres, 5 at most. Might as well be a marathon! Thank goodness for Eric, who, as always, wrapped his arms around me, fully taking all my weight and gently guiding me small shuffle by small shuffle towards the house.Whispering that I could do it, come on, one more step. The man is my rock, my world and I love him more than I can express in words. Finally got me sorted out and back in my chair. Brought me a beautiful cup of tea and Oramorph. Did everything he could to make me comfortable.

In the event I shot a PB for a half Portsmouth down the garden, 208. I was happier. The fallout was appalling, I was in agony trying to get in the wheelchair, let alone sitting in it whilst shooting. When I was finally back in my chair I was in a seriously bad way. Couldn't weight bear at all, so it was a case of getting the wheelchair as close to my chair as possible, him pull and me push up out of the wheelchair then cling on to Eric and fall sideways into the chair affair. More Oramorph and sleep followed till Eric woke me many hours later for my dinner. In my defence I was buoyed tremendously by my achievement so I didn't care.. 

It is a pretty good marker that the payback has subsided and my pain, swelling and everything else are getting back to 'nomal' levels when I manage to get the i newspaper. That's the really small one, with short articles etc. Finally managed it today, some 5 days on from Saturday. Bearing in mind that I have not left my chair other than to sit on the commode or go for a bath (this morning), it gives a reflection of just how hard it is for somebody with severe CRPS to try and have a hobby, do something they enjoy. Get pleasure from life. Oh and I still had to take Oramorph (my last line of defence) today because my legs are still awful. At least I can stay awake for several hours at a time now. That is real progress believe me!! Sunday and Monday passed me by, I slept through them. Tuesday was a little better, in that I managed to stay awake a little bit, but still I just festered, feeling terrible, and life passed me by. Wednesday I could finally read a bit, before feeling too unwell to carry on. Throughout my legs were off the scale and I had to resort to Oramorph at least once a day. It is only today that I feel more like myself. Normally it would be archery tomorrow, but the indoor sessions have finished till 11th January. A reprieve? Probably not, because I will probably shoot tomorrow if the weather is better.

Despite the toll it takes, archery (like speedway) are vital to my sanity. I would go stir crazy sitting at home in my chair 24/7 entertaining myself with reading and so on. The reality of life for me is that it really doesn't matter what I do, however trivial. Even if I do nothing the pain is there. There is always payback. Days of it. My base level pain (an 8 is as good as it gets for me despite the arsenal of medication) and lack of mobility make it impossible to access other areas of the house. I can't do anything independently, so life would be intolerable really. Unless we go out or I go in the garden (another military operation like everything else) I am a prisoner every minute of every day in my chair thanks to CRPS. Quality of life? What quality of life? 

I choose to do archery and go to speedway despite what they do to me, because I choose to try and have some quality of life. I reckon if I'm going to do something I may as well do something I really enjoy. If I waited till I felt good enough to do something I would wait forever. In my position, you just have to go for it. And sod the consequences!!

I don't like being political but I will allow myself on this occasion. There is a particular irony in that a letter from the DWP saying I am to be migrated from Incapacity Benefit (IB) and assessed for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) came a week ago. In the weeks to come I will have to 'provethat I am disabled, unable to undertake work. This will be the fourth time of filling in the form but the first for ESA. How do you possibly put across what life is like for me on a tick box form without the room to elaborate fully? I wouldn't mind but I, like every other genuinely disabled person are branded as a scrounger, the scourge of society by this Government. People who choose to live on benefits rather than go and work. I would give anything to be able to work. There are many things I'd like to be able to do!! Little things like being able to get up and fetch the thing I want rather than ask Eric to get it. Get dressed on my own. Be able to leave the house on my own. Do anything on my own!! They may demand that I travel goodness knows how far to undergo a 'work capability assessment'. It is an insulting and degrading process, causing unnecessary stress when life is hard enough in itself.