Sunday, 29 December 2013

My 2013 Review

With only a few days left to the new year I am looking forward to starting 2014 with a fresh outlook.

2013 was a rollercoaster year for me. I'm not saying it was as bad as 2012, when I was going through all the transplant assessment etc, but still not a great year.

Sleepy cuddles with Tarmac
The big sadness fortunately came late with the death of my beloved Tarmac. Even now I have tears and that horrible tugging on my heart on days when I really miss him. Sitting on my own when everyone is out and he's not on my lap. Having a lie in and him lying close to me and not minding that I'm hugging him like a teddy bear. Not having him try and dig me out of bed for breakfast and most of all feeling poorly and not having him to lie beside me and keep me company. Smirnoff does his best but, as much as I love him, he is not my soft, rather dim, cuddly Tarmac.

There were up and downs with my health. As is the way with PH there is never a smooth ride and I've had more than my fair share of downs this year. Fortunately nothing that requires weeks on end off work. I think the most I had off was two weeks, so that is good, but it's been small niggles. I've had a lot of sore throats and sinus problems. And my breathing has deteriorated, as has my ability to walk around Tesco's. I'm far more dependent on my oxygen now. I'm sincerely hoping all this will improve in 2014.

Picking up my new car
Then there is my working life. The main problem is finally being dealt with. I know some of you are thinking that it took me long enough to do anything but I am a slow burner. I will take and take and take until finally I snap and when I do finally spring into action I see it through. Also in work there has been the constant upheaval of changing shifts, overtime and people being dragged in on their days off. In fairness none of this affects me as I'm currently on fixed hours and exempt from overtime but it is effecting everyone else and listening to things like parties, attendance at weddings and holidays being canceled make me feel enormously guilty that I'm unable to do my bit. Also in work I became totally stressed out when I was accidentally declared 'fit for full duties'. Fortunately this has now been sorted out so I can go into the new year with one less thing to worry about.

And finally the death of Anne Rea shook everyone to the core and made me rethink my desire for a transplant. Going to her funeral was both the saddest and most uplifting day of the year. Anne will be sorely missed for a long time to come.

Of course there have been some up's as well. The big one was seeing my Australian cousin, Jenny, for the first time in twenty years, and her family. Although it was only three nights we packed a lot of catching up in. We've tentatively set a date for me to visit her in 2016, hopefully by then I will be as fit as a fiddle and allowed to fly.

Laurence, James, Andrew and in front Luke
The other big highlight was my trip to Canterbury. Yes it was brief, cold and raining most of the time. Yes our sleep was disturbed by German kids running riot in the corridors. And yes they did stick me on the first floor without a lift and at the furthest end of a very long corridor BUT I loved every minute of it. I was immensely frustrated that I couldn't get up and walk around but my trike proved a God send, even if I did end up with black knees.

Also enjoyable was my trip to Aberystwyth. Again it was very brief but we managed to do everything we'd hoped to do. We sat in the car with the windows open in the evening eating curry sauce and chips. We, well Peter, walked the length of the prom at least twice. I, meanwhile, struggled with the tricky task of controlling my trike while eating an enormous ice cream and we laughed and giggled like a couple of teenagers. And we drove around the forest paths admiring the sheer beauty and wildness of the Welsh mountains.

Then there was the meal out with my brother and his family. How we enjoyed that night, I really hope we can meet up again very soon.

Ceiling of the Chapter House Canterbury Cathedral
There were other things as well, days out, time spent with the boys, and meals out, not always posh, a couple of burger vans come to mind, but I've enjoyed it all. And of course getting my new car.

I've so much to be grateful for this year but what do I hope for in 2014?

Well the obvious one is getting that much longed for transplant. Despite the efforts of the BBC, and Holby City, to scupper donation, more people are now on the donation list than ever before and the numbers are still growing. There has been talk of changing the system to an opt out one rather than an opt in. The human race is notoriously lazy, filled with good intentions but not actually putting them in to practice. By changing the system all those people who would like to donate but never quite get round to doing so won't have to bother.

In the absence of a transplant one thing is sure and that is my change of meds early this year. It was going to happen early January but that maybe in doubt now due to an administrative hitch. However it will come and end of January/early February is most likely. The new meds will be easier to prepare and will take me about an hour once a week rather than an hour every night. This will open up a whole new world to me and I'm looking forward to going to the theatre again.

The wild beauty of Wales
I'm also already planning our next holiday. We will be going down to Wales again, this time for a longer stay. And we are hopeful of making it to Edinburgh to see my brother, though that might be a bit far afield, we will have to see. We are going to go somewhere and do something though. I've decided it is no good hanging around and waiting 'until I get better'. I would be wasting years of my life doing that and there is always the possibility of never getting better. May as well grab the bull by the horns and just do it.

I have made two challenges to myself for 2014.

The first I've mentioned before. I'm fed up of sitting in front of the TV. It is destroying my brain and I've become far too addicted to soaps. So I've bought myself some artists materials and am going to try and revive my love of painting. I used to be rather good. I sold a few pieces and exhibited my work quiet often. I specialised in landscapes, buildings and the occasional portrait. Of course the combination of age and medication means my hands are not as steady as they once were and my eyesight is not so sharp but you never know. Expect to see pictures of my various attempts appearing on this blog.

Which leads nicely onto my next challenge.

I'm going to do the 365 challenge. This involves taking a picture every single day for a whole year. You can, of course, take more than one picture a day my you have to take at least one. I've enjoyed getting back into my photography this year and I'm hoping to take pictures of landscapes etc that I can then paint. Two birds, one stone.

So with the photography, painting, holidays and theatre trips I won't have time to dwell on when I will get my transplant and that, I suppose, is the whole point.

So all that is left for me to do is to wish you a very Happy New Year and I hope everyone has a better 2014, especially those waiting with me for transplant.