Six Dinner Sid

¬†These days, my wife and I sleep in separate bedrooms. With the house now to ourselves, we have the room. Also, with my dead arm, I’m told that I fidget too much. But the upshot is that there are now rwo “getting up” events in the house.

Booboo, the sickly cat, makes sure he is around for both! In fact, this morning, I got up at six o’clock and they both wanted food, Two sachets. I put the sachets down simultaneously, as even the greedy Booboo can’t eat from two bowls at once. The other cat, Lola, who fortunately doesn’t get anywhere near so stressed about food, is therefore guaranteed a place. That said, Booboo is sufficiently savvy that he will look at both bowls, and choose the bowl with the most food in it, even if it means changing bowls halfway. Poor old Lola just “fits in”.

Anyway, my wife got up an hour later, and Booboo is acting like he’s half-starved again. Three sachets. Fortunately, he’s gone to sleep now so I won’t see him until lunchtime!

On a more sombre note, I went up to the hospital yesterday and discovered that a guy I’d been chatting to for months (yes, he’d been in that long!) had died. Tony’s stroke left him with communication difficulties, but for anybody who took the time and trouble just to chat with him, he was a lovely gent. I suppose this brings home that although I try to be light-hearted, a lot of people on this ward are actually dicing pretty closely with death. Quite sad nevertheless. I never really felt that close when I was there, but I’m very aware that I developed a kind-of tunnel vision, with me very much at the centre. I don’t know whether that’s the effect of a stroke, or the effect of a month in hospital. Probably, both, certainly stroke messes with a person’s brain.

Life this week

Ah, so I have a day to myself today. I’ve had two events this week, and, don’t get me wrong, they were both optional and very enjoyable, but even so, I still have deadlines to meet (get ready in time for a lift, get to the bus stop in time for the bus, etc.) I didn’t need to stay in today because I was knackered or anything, just that it is sometimes nice to have lazy days, where you do everything that much more slowly, having long soaks in the bath in the middle of the afternoon, for example.

Monday I met with a guy who, over 20 years ago, was a work colleague. We went out for lunch, just to one of the pubs in the village, and it was better than I expected. I had moules-frites, which of course in France is a staple, but in England they make it sound exotic and whack a large price tag on it. But enjoyable, and something I could eat one-handed!

Yesterday I went – for only the second time – to see a group of other survivors, who meet fortnightly for coffee at the Salisbury Playhouse. I’ve written about this previously. I get the impression that the group is quite established, and so was happy to fit into my role as “new guy”, but was surprised when another chap turned up for the first time. He was interesting, his stroke had barely affected him apart from his sight. I often think that is the most difficult. With me, you can see something is going on as soon as I walk, but his disability isn’t visible. There’s another chap at the group who’s exactly the same.

This chap had his stroke at the start of 2017, so was quite recent, by my standards in any case. I’m about 18 months down the line and I’ve only just started attending, so…. But it was interesting to hear him say quite bluntly, that so-and-so is ahead of so-and-so, in terms of their disability, and indeed in terms of their apparent recovery. But at first glance, it can be difficult to see the effects caused by a stroke. And certainly one of the ways my stroke affected me was to make me less likely to beat around the bush – it’s only really now that I’m feeling the “old” me start to return. You know, just in terms in phrasing things diplomatically when I say things. But again, I’m conscious of all of this – you’d never believed how much more you think about stuff following a stroke! – which is possibly a good topic of conversation for the group.

Funnily enough, the new Stroke Association co-ordinator also turned up yesterday. I think she covers the whole of Wiltshire, poor thing, so spreads herself pretty thinly. But I get the impression that there is a desire to check out everything that is happening on her “patch”. And so, inevitably, the question of change came up. Fair enough – even if you decide that things are fine as they are, it’s always relevant to ask the question. The group runs pretty peer-to-peer at the moment, which was one of the things that I particularly liked (hey, I’m an anarchist at heart!), even though at this early stage of my involvement I’m pretty much an outsider looking in. I can see the value of having, say, someone who owns a mailing list, just so you can effectively communicate courtesy stuff like a “johnny won’t be able to make it next week” kind of message. Also, it’d be useful to have someone as a contact for new attendees. But at the other end of the scale – someone coming up with a week-by-week itinerary, almost – that would be a little too regimented for my liking. Interesting, but as I’m such a noob I think my role in all this is really to keep my mouth shut, and to see what happens. The guy who rocked up yesterday also happened to ask whether there were any organised activities, though he didn’t say whether that would have been a turn-on or a turn-off.

Anyway, time to stop this and listen to the very overpaid Jeremy Vine.