I'm still feeling pretty flat after the trip, which is to be expected. I've got loads of anxiety about getting back into things. They will just have to wait until I'm ready I suppose, the things I mean. But I'm functioning. I can read, I can watch TV, crochet and do simple cooking and washing up. Anyway, more about my trip.
I went down to Surrey on the train to attend the wedding anniversary party of some dear friends of mine. Another benchmark - 25 years since they got married. It was a lovely party and I enjoyed seeing people who I hadn't seen in a while. I held up pretty well energy wise although I was hoarse after about twenty minutes. (Does anyone else lose their voice very quickly? I can't sing much these days for the same reason.)
Sunset across the Thames on party night
I didn't last the whole evening, and neither did Mr E, my Mother's partner. We both started to fade at the same time and made a dignified exit. One of the low points of this weekend was learning more about Mr E's recent diagnosis of primary progressive Multiple Sclerosis . For a long time it was thought he had fibromyalgia but after a round of scans earlier this year the true cause of his walking difficulties and pain was discovered. Do you know how he and my Mother found out? The hospital sent the test result through the post just baldly stating the findings, no phone call or even a 'sorry'. They have had one appointment with the consultant during which they were told "see you in a year". There is no treatment plan, no care plan, nothing. Apparently this is par for the course with this disease. Sufferers tend to give up trying to get any information out of the NHS and rely on charities and their own determination to help themselves.
Er, sound familiar?
The biggest problem is his mobility, which isn't going to improve and they live in a second floor flat in a very nice location which my Mother will not want to leave. Tricky one and I feel very sad for both of them.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the family, AJ and Little R travelled down in the car, also to Surrey, to stay with his parents where I was due to join them on the Monday. An hour after they arrived, AJ's Mother let their two rescue greyhounds out into the back garden as they were barking at a fox. One of the dogs ran headlong into a post and hurt itself pretty badly. The next morning, at the vet's, they realised the dog had broken its neck, but not its spinal cord. What a drama! It has had an operation, is safely through that, and now will need weeks of rehab. An expensive business and a big worry for AJ's parents.
In spite of this we all still managed to have a good time. AJ is into moths and butterflies and pointed out this weird critter flitting about in the garden
Hummingbird Hawk Moth
It's a humming bird hawk moth. It's about the size of a large bumblebee but looks for all the world like a humming bird with it's long proboscis sucking nectar out of the flowers. As it feeds, it hovers and its wings are going so fast you can't see them. When it flies away though, it uses its wings more normally but zips away at incredible speed. I was lucky to get these shots as it is incredibly shy. I had no idea these things even existed and I'd certainly never seen one before. I was fascinated by it.
I spent some time in this lovely back garden this week and managed to finish a crochet project I've been working on for some months. I call it the Sea Blanket and I was able to present it to my daughter in person. It is her birthday next month and I was thrilled to be able to see her reaction.