Unexpectedly, 2015 became a year of change for me – pivotal change? I don’t know yet. I guess it will be easier to see in hindsight than it is today.
Today, I am bed-bound as I have been for much of the past year. I have documented the reasons for this in an earlier blog, Annus Melodramatis and I’m not intending to rehash those experiences. Suffice to say that, having made a promising recovery towards the end of 2015, there’ve been some minor setbacks in January/February 2016 – enough for me to question once more how far-reaching the effects of 2015 on my health and life will be.
My uncertainty about this is not just based on the physical consequences for me personally but also on the enforced disruption, created by events, of our day to day routines. D was unable to work regular office hours and became almost totally home-based; we had to cancel the carers, my physio, all other therapists; our domestic help was pared to the minimum – and this was simply to ensure availability in servicing my medical needs.
At home, we had to bring in yet more equipment and my life was confined to the four walls of my bedroom and bathroom. Our family and friends barely saw, or heard from, us for over eight months and as for a social life – none.
It was a massively, and shockingly, unpleasant year and, whilst things have improved since, we are still unable to resume life as it was prior to 2015. I wonder whether we ever will.
I don’t necessarily mean that in a negative way. Sometimes, change disrupts your routines and you embrace that. Sometimes, it is not possible to go back. And, maybe, other times, you take the time to review how things were and choose differently.
For D, his company has been relocating offices. They’ve got used to him not being there. Most of his, and his colleagues, work is carried out using digi-tech of one kind or another – done as easily at home as in the office. He is not the only one comfortably home-working and hot-desking now which gives us a much welcome flexibility and his company better use of his time.
For me, paring back Team-Elle has been a boon. It gives me precious time to think and do rather than clock-watching for the next person who will be coming through my home. I have no desire to resume routines I had come to find onerous and am seriously assessing exactly what are the must-haves in my life going forward.
Of course, much of what D and me want and can do is driven by my health and physical limitations. The unresolved question today is will I ever be able to stay in my wheelchair for the 10-12 hour stretches, day after day, as I used to? Or will I have to accept the constraints of a part bed-bound life which forces longer term change on us both?
And, we just don’t know the answers to these questions. The medics murmur about a couple of years of recovery and being at 85% of what I was. I prefer to think more positively. I’ve always been a quick healer and like to think I’m smart enough to adapt when I need to. So, I shall see how it goes and wiggle where I am able and let’s see where things take me this year.
And, as I’m pushing the positive, I will also say that 2015’s experiences have left me a calmer and more ‘feel-the-zen’ like person. It’s all been scary and very unpleasant so, maybe that sounds odd, but, as I mentioned, I do try for smart and adaptable: if you’ve gotta lie in bed 24/7, might as well chill, man. What else is there to do?
In summary, 2015: an uncomfortable and unsettling year that I feel grateful to have survived. A year of intense low points that have, somehow, left me feeling stronger psychologically. I really hope that 2016 will be a better year for me and D and we will do our best to make it so.