Yesterday I blogged about the little things that I miss because of my M.E. Today I’m wanting to blog about the things I’m grateful for, that improve my life and make it worth living.
First there’s Johan. A wonderful man who married me despite my ill health, and now spends most of his time looking after me. He feeds me, gives me my medication, helps me with toileting, wipes my bottom for me, lifts me into my wheelchair and does lots of other stuff that aren’t part of a normal husband’s job description. He also entertains me, cuddles me, holds my hand, makes me comfortable, and loves me. I love him so much and I don’t know what I’d do without him.
My daughter Sammie. Though I’m too ill to see her at the moment, knowing she loves me almost as much as I love her keeps me going. It’s hard to believe she’s almost nine years old. I’m also grateful that her grandparents are doing such a good job of looking after her while I’m unable to.
My friends. I am so lucky to have so many good friends. Some of them I met in person, others online, but they are there for me no matter what, and I care about all of them deeply. Some of them I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t got M.E, so it’s about the only good thing the illness has done for me. No matter how we met, I wouldn’t go without them and I love them to pieces.
My tablet. An Asus Eee Pad Transformer, getting this one piece of technology has improved my quality of life so much. Even when I’m very ill, I can normally manage using it to look at Twitter, check my emails, communicate with people and do other things on it. I’m currently writing this blog post on it using the keyboard dock. When I’m lying on my side then I can still type using the on screen keyboard, which is big enough that I don’t make too many mistakes. When I’m unable to speak it becomes my voice, so it’s vital for my safety and comfort. I might have needed a loan to get it, but it was worth every penny.
My wheelchair. I can’t remember what model she is, but she tilts, reclines, has awesome suspension and is supportive. Without her I’d be completely bedbound as she enables me to get out of bed without needing to sit up too much. I’m too tall for her but with pillows we manage. If I’m not in bed, I’ll be in my wheelchair.
My computer. When I’m well enough to go into the living room in my wheelchair, I normally go on my computer. Her name is Matilda and I mostly use her to play games such as World of Warcraft and SimCity Social, but she also lets me do my shopping, check emails, watch videos, and browse the internet, often at the same time as playing a game. I’ve got two monitors set up and I’ve arranged it so my keyboard and mouse are easy to use while I’m in my chair.
World of Warcraft. This game is the best distraction I have from how ill I am and how much pain I’m in. In the game, I’m a Night Elf Priestess, who specialises in discipline healing. When I’m not keeping people alive, I go shadow so that I can kill the bad guys. If I don’t want to do that, then I tend to my farm or play pet battles with my penguins. It’s brilliant escapism, and I have the support of an awesome guild, and I consider quite a few of the members my friends.
Casual games. When I don’t have the concentration for something like World of Warcraft, then casual games like SimCity Social or Bejewelled Blitz on Facebook, and Game Dev Story or Crayon Physics Deluxe on my tablet keep me sane. I might not be any good at playing them, but they are a lot of fun and make me happy.
My laptop. When I’m unable to go into the living room, and I need access to something more powerful than my tablet, then I go on my laptop, Annika. I’ve currently got her running Windows 8 which works loads better than Vista did on her. My main use is playing Facebook games in bed, but I can do other things like shopping, reading blog posts, and she’s great for watching things on Netflix in bed.
My bed. Since I spend the majority of my time in here, I’m very grateful to have a comfortable bed. Having a double bed means I no longer fall out, and there’s plenty of room for pillows to keep me in place. There’s also room for Johan to lie down next to me, so we can have some contact even when I’m not very well. I have a memory foam topper and now a sheepskin and they help keep me comfy.
Tramadol. This painkiller is what stops me from screaming. It can’t get me anywhere close to pain free, but it does reduce my pain down to a level where I can cope with it and use other techniques to distract myself from it. I’m not particularly fond of the dopiness it causes when I have to take two, but it’s preferable to the pain I have when I don’t take them.
Doctors who listen. I’m so lucky to have a GP who listens to me and wants to help me. I’m not the easiest patient to treat and she admits she doesn’t know much about severe M.E, but she’s willing to learn. I’ve been really lucky that I’ve had no actively hostile doctors, and though I’ve seen one GP that thought I should stop using my wheelchair I’m lucky that I could see someone else instead, who is more understanding.
The CFS Clinic. Run by a physiotherapist, a psychologist (currently on maternity leave) and an OT, they are supporting me and are trying to help me get better. They even visit me at home, which is so important given that I’m mostly bedbound. After realising that I’m no way well enough for GAT, instead of pushing me or discharging me they are giving me advice on how to manage my illness, and work with me to find solutions to my problems. They are big fans of getting enough rest, but understand that I do need to do some things that are fun as well. They have written a very supportive letter to help my DLA claim. We might disagree on the name of my illness but when it comes to how they’re working with me, I can’t fault them.
My penguins. I don’t know what I’d do without my penguins. Both Penguin and Penelope spend all their time with me, and can be heated in the microwave so also help me loads with my pain. They make me happy, even if they get up to mischief sometimes. Purple Penguin also likes cheering me up, as does the rest of my collection.
The things I can manage. I’m so grateful that most of the time I can still eat, drink, roll over, type, communicate, be washed, can have my pyjamas changed, can take my medicines, and can spend most of my time on my tablet. There are a lot of things I can’t do, but there are still things I can and I’m so grateful for them.
Disability benefits. I’m very grateful that I live in a country that supports me while I can’t work, and gives me enough money to live off. This is under threat, and it scares me, but for now I know I can pay my bills, heat my flat, eat as well as my illness allows, and have a decent quality of life. Being able to concentrate on getting better so I will be able to work in the future is important, and it’s scary that it’s disappearing.
My faith. Praying to God helps me so much, and my belief in Him keeps me going. I know He understands when I’m struggling and He is able to comfort me. Although I miss collective worship, I know He doesn’t mind and I hope that I can be a good person.
There are probably other things I am grateful for that I’ve forgotten to put here. I’m having a bad day (the upstairs neighbours having their boiler replaced has made me ill) but I’m hoping I’ll be back to normal soon. I’m very tired now as I had to take an anti nausea tablet, but I hope everyone takes care and is as well as they can be.