Monday, March 21, 2011

Good doggy, clever doggy

I was talking to someone I know recently (SL *1) and she told me a story that I just had to share. I quizzed her too about how real it was, I didn't want this to be a story that someone told someone that told someone and turned out to be something that anyone could disprove with a simple Snopes search! Anyway, she assured me it was real and I can't find it on Snopes, so let's just go with it.

SL works with a lot of athletes and one of the people she knows is a marathon runner. The marathon runner (BMR*2) is a blind man which although not common, is more common than you might think. Let's face it, you only need to watch any Paralympic athletics event to realise that there are events for all kinds of distances for blind runners. I must admit, I always feel sorry for their partners (they have a partner who guides them) - I mean, the partner always has to cross the line second and I'm sure I'd find that really frustrating. Can you imagine me (assuming I could run at all) seeing the line and putting a sprint on in order to beat my own partner...only to realise I'd just disqualified us both...oops!

Anyway BMR went into town with his guide dog to buy a new pair of shorts for running. He went into the shop and found a really good assistant who found him the shorts, described the colour and pattern to him and he had a good feel to see if they were what he wanted - something loose and silky to keep him cool. He decided to buy them, reached into his pocket and discovered that he had forgotten his wallet and so arranged to leave the shorts there with the assistant (so that she could keep them behind the counter) until the following day when he could get back into town.

The next day he and the dog were back. They went into the shop and he found an assistant (not the same one). He explained that he was collecting the shorts and the girl said she would check behind the counter. She did but they weren't there. She asked the other assistants but they knew nothing about it either. She asked the manager - no luck there too and so Jane (name changed to protect the innocent) was blamed as she had been on duty the day before, but wasn't there on this day. The girls then tried to find which shorts he wanted (bearing in mind of course the fact that being blind, he had never seen them).

"They're blue", he said, "Blue, short and silky" - "Blue?", they questioned. "Are you sure? I don't know if we have any blue ones in our silky models." He assured them that he had been told they were blue. They were mystified. He went on to try and pin them down further "They are very soft and satiny...ideal for keeping you need that you know when you are running..." "Running?" they asked... "Yes, running", he said, "I'm a marathon runner". They huddled together and started whispering and he couldn't quite make out what they were saying. Eventually they came back to him. "Um..., we think you may be in the wrong shop". "Wrong shop? But this is where my dog brought me yesterday and he's really good about these things..." "Well, maybe he's having an off see, this is Ann Summers, the sports shop is next door...!"

*1 Ski Lady
*2Blind marathon runner

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Five years fixed...

An anniversary just passed me swam by me while I was getting on with life and even when PTV wished me a happy anniversary, it didn't quite impact on me. It's only now, 20 days later that it somehow hit me.

I think today had something to do with it. Today, I went to give a talk to the Women's Guild - a talk entitled "Nothing is Impossible". Now many of the ladies there were elderly, several of them were, apparently, deaf and some of them looked like they'd be unlikely to last the hour. In fact, the lady who booked me was so vague about the location of the hall (it was, she said, at the bottom of the know the one, well, it's there) that I was concerned about the possibility of her being senile. Considering that the talk was in a town I rarely visit, telling me that it was at the bottom of a hill that she didn't know the name of, in the church hall, she didn't know the name of, was not exactly, well ... precise and when I spoke to her husband (yes really!) he wasn't a lot better! Anyway, I digress (as per usual) - I was really going to mention the talk...and the anniversary...and why they are linked.

I got to the hall (still don't know the name of it) and by dint of trying every door on the street that looked like they might go into a church hall (the first two were locked!) I found it with (almost) no trouble and with ten minutes to spare. I did the talk, none of the ladies fell asleep (amazing - maybe I did something right?) and they laughed in all the right places. At the end, I was surrounded by a little gaggle of women, all wanting to say something or to pat me on the arm and one of them even pinched my cheek in a grandmotherly way (or possibly a great-grandmotherly way). I was a hit!

The thing is (and this is where the anniversary comes in), in my talk, I spoke about my scoliosis surgery. I also spoke about my spina bifida and a whole heap of other stuff, but it suddenly hit me what PTV was saying...good golly gosh and all that, but it's 5 years since my back was stuffed full of metal - that's FIVE YEARS!!! Blimey...

After five years, I have a failed bone graft at the top of my fusion and I have days (like last weekend) where I get seriously grumpy with the amount of pain I still get. On the other hand, as I told the ladies today, I am so straight compared to the way I was, I can breathe evenly and strongly and my stomach is no longer squashed up under my diaphragm. Yes, I'm awaiting more surgery and yes, I use my wheelchair more these days, but all in all I don't regret having my surgery for an instant. There I was today, showing those little old ladies my x-rays and how my curve was progressing over those last two years before my surgery and I realised just how lucky I have been in my life. I've been lucky to have a great surgeon and supportive friends and family and a (more or less) straight body.

Happy 5 year anniversary me...I think I'll go and buy myself a tree...