The NHS Rocks

imageYesterday afternoon, I truly thought my number was up.

I was just getting ready to pick the Offspring up from school, when bang, my heart clicked into over-drive. Serious over-drive.

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of experience of this and with a lot of hard work, I’ve taught myself not to panic and to reach for the pills. Only this time, due to the fact that I haven’t had problems for a while, no pills.


With a classmate’s parent collecting my daughter from school, I crawled on my hands and knees, very slowly to bed. Hoping it would all go away, if I didn’t move.

Sadly it didn’t and five hours later, I was in the back of an ambulance on my way to A&E.

And, speaking from direct personal experience, I can truly say that from the moment my husband dialled 999 to the moment we left the A&E department in the early hours of this morning, the NHS delivers a healthcare service, second to none.

After calling emergency services a paramedic arrived as if dropped by helicopter. A friendly, efficient ambulance crew arrived promptly, called A&E en-route to the hospital and, on arrival, I was wheeled straight into A&E and seen immediately.

I was treated with care, kindness and professionalism, by everyone I came into contact with. And they were all genuinely cheerful and friendly.

From the nursing assistant who searched the hospital for peppermint tea, to the nurse who held my hand while my heart was re-booted, to the doctors who answered all my questions and all the other staff, what can I say except a very inadequate “Thank you”?

Oh. And you probably saved my life.

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Bicycling and Dystonia

On Sunday, I ventured into the depths of our over-stuffed, rubbish filled garage and noticed a set of handlebars poking out from behind a selection of broken electrical items.
About an hour later, my much abused, slightly muddy, pride and joy appeared. My old Raleigh Amazon mountain bike.

I’ve always loved riding a bike and I’ve had this one for twenty years or so. I used to regularly ride long distance, off road when we lived out in the sticks, but as we’ve gradually moved to more a more urban setting, the car’s come out and the bike’s been relegated to the garage.

Until, of course, the Offspring learnt to ride and the old girl sallied forth again.

My Cervical Dystonia diagnosis effectively parked the bike back in storage once more.

Until earlier this week.

A sudden change in the weather, resulted in two days of fabulous sunshine and blue sky. Riding? Tick. Mowed lawn? Tick. Played football with Offspring on aforementioned lawn? Tick. Bike ride? Tick.

… All followed by two days (and counting) of crippling neck pain. I think that this is all due to the riding position in built into a moutain bike. I’ve got the handlebars up as high as they will go, and it’s still not enough – I need to be able to sit absolutely upright.

As Raleigh don’t seem to sell handlebar stems, cash is limited and I don’t much fancy another trip to Halfords, after their attack on my lovely Shimano gears (I’m with Jerome K. Jerome – bicycles should never be maintained or fiddled about with!), I need the services of a kindly, bicycling blacksmith who can come up with a way to build me an adaption.

Anyone up for a challenge?

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Horse Riding and Dystonia. Progress Report 22

Sadly, this quarter’s Botox treatment has not proved to be very effective. Usually, I notice an immediate improvement in my dystonic sysmptoms, but this time around, the impact has (so far) been minimal.

However, in spite of this, things could be worse.

Actually, the worst problem that I have is a persistent stiffness in my left hip, which needs constant ‘nursing’ with stretching exercises. Failure to do this turns me into the Clothes Peg Rider: rigid, inflexible and wooden.

Our part of Somerset continues to be water-logged. The ground either has standing water on it or is gloopy. All the school horses are banished from the fields at the moment, so no hacking. This week has brought some improvement in the weather, with the sun finally coming out. Spring’s in the air.

So, with riding restricted to the indoor school, what can you do to keep a horse-crazed nine year old and and twisted (physically), flatwork queen happy, at the same time?

First off, get the child jumping. In the last few weeks, the Offspring has definitely made improvements and is now confidently jumping small uprights. Our joint instructor keeps tempting me to do this, but I’ve backed off from it, as I thought it more prudent to wait until Botox got my twisted neck under control before starting on this again! Therefore, I have contented myself with doing the polework exercises, but not the jumps.

Secondly, we continue to use Pony Club games as a bit of light relief. And as a means of encouraging the child to think about control. I must look a bit of a plank doing this, but actually, who cares? The Offspring absolutely loves it and, having changed to a faster pony, she’s giving me a run for my money. Fortunately, she’s not as adept at turning tight corners or changing speed as I am, so she hasn’t managed to beat me. Yet. It’s only a matter of time.

So, where am I going with it all at the moment? Back on trusty Tosca, I aim to do the next school competition at the end of March. I’ve managed to keep my attendance at the gym going (some weeks better than others), so I hope my fitness is getting back on track. Probably need to cut down on the chocolate consumption, but it all adds up to small steps in the right direction. I knew that this would take a long time.

Have a good week.

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Team DG Finds It’s Mojo

imageThis morning, the Offspring and I set off for the stables, with a less than sprightly step. Normally, it’s our favourite place to be, but with me haunted by the dreadful experience of a few weeks ago (otherwise known as the Bad Riding Day) and the child slightly worried about our instructor (who seems to have got rather ‘shouty’ with her recently, for reasons unknown), our hooves were dragging.

“At least you’re not going to get shouted at”, commented the Offspring, rather gloomily, as we neared the yard. “Why does she have to shout?” Good question. Why?

As we parked the car, the sun came out. Hurrah! Suddenly, everything looked ten times better. You could almost hear the trees sigh with relief at the respite from the wet.

We collected our equine buddies and rode like our breeches were on fire.

All to the sound of (relative) silence.


[picture credit ???. If this is yours, please contact me and I will credit or remove.]

Posted in Horse Riding | 2 Comments

Water … And Mud

Water. Here in Somerset, the W-word is the new F-word. And there’s a f*****g lot of it. Water, that is. Mainly where it’s not supposed to be.

This is part of the waterway that runs along the side of my house’s drive and garden.

Our house was built on a flood plain and this ryhne protects all the surrounding houses from flooding, by channelling water away to another major waterway. It’s ability to do this is dependent on the local authority regularly clearing away the reeds, shopping trollies and other detritus of urban life that collects in it, along with lots of mud.

We’ve lived in our house for about seven years and I think this has been done three times?

The net result of this has been a daily panic, in recent weeks, about the height of the water in this channel, which has been up high.

I took these pictures today, and fortunately, the water level has dropped a lot.

My heart goes out to people that live on the Levels, to the South of us.

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Back To Reality

Obviously, my last post was a flipping, tall tale to explain my lack of blog posts over the last six weeks.

In actual fact, all I’ve done recently is run around in circles trying to decide which school my daughter should attend, get stressed over riding, worry about the water level in the big stream that runs down the side of our garden and get more twisty as dystonia took advantage of my stress levels.

Fortunately, while the jury’s out on the school decision (although we have a favourite), water levels in the stream appear to have dropped and I’ve been “stabbed” with a big load of Botox today.

This will take a few days to take effect. So, hopefully, I’ll start straightening up by Saturday and I can get back in the gym, too (had to give this a miss for the last few days, as pain levels have been too high, by the afternoon).


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Dystonia Girl Goes Under Cover

imageI am a spy.

I’ve led a double life as a MI9 field agent for many a long year.

Never heard of MI9? Good. It’s better that way. I can’t tell you much, but what I can tell you, is that it’s a secret, reservist sister organisation to MI6.

In the last six weeks, I have been sent to Glazov and Kamyshlov in Russia, Archangel in Alaska and to a secret location in the Nevada Desert. Can’t the “experts” do anything?

Life’s been complicated. And tiring.

Now, I’m home. Bullet holed Elie Saab dress down at the dry cleaners. Mission accomplished.

Caterpaulted back into a life of glamour, which mainly revolves around my slightly tedious “day” job and the school run.

As my fellow agents would say, VX.;(£&-34/::&£!.

(It’s good to be back).

[picture credit ???. If it's your's, please contact me and I will remove or credit appropriately]

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