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The Little Things....

Every post will have an image. This is my favourite rockery plant which looks like it needs more space since I planted it last year. There is an Alpine Garden Society that holds shows around the UK and has stalls with lovely plants for sale. I bought this from a grower who told me that growing alpines was simply a recipe for happiness. I like the idea that you can get such pleasure from growing these tiny plants.

Sometimes it is a matter of perspective. Small things matter to me day to day. I guess those are the things that make life worth living. I like style and design. I think alpines are stylish, so are beautiful pieces of furniture, sculptures, paintings, most things Scandinavian, clothes, people.... I will get to share more of my favourite things in future posts.

Can you be stylish in a wheelchair?! Well I'm not sure there are particularly well designed wheelchairs; they may be functional and practical but not designed with style in mind. And I think that people see the wheelchair more than the person in it. In terms of people in wheelchairs there aren't any stylish role models in the media (apart from paralympians and activists) I've not seen any featuring in street style snaps from the various fashion weeks; where are the disabled models too?

I think this counts as a big thing and one that most people will never have to consider; how do you prepare yourself for getting into a wheelchair for the first time? I have recently had to get one to be able get around. Getting into one for the first time was a leap of....what exactly? A rep came to the house and brought a few models to try. I didn't want to sit in one, I guess feeling that I was taking a irrevocable step that I didn't want to admit I had to. But again a matter of perspective; I am fortunate to be able to shop around for one that suits my needs ie folds up and goes into the car with an electric hoist for lifting.

Getting around in a chair is another matter. It takes time and some manoeuvring to get the chair in and out of the boot. If it's raining that's a problem as the chair gets soaked before you sit in it. And pavement width and drop down kerbs have to be considered in detail before you know whether you can actually get to where you want to go, assuming that where that is has disabled access.

Mental health is a big thing. It's easy to sink into pit of despair but harder to get out of. Enforced inactivity due to breathlessness on very minor exertion (going to the bathroom) including being housebound for weeks is tough. When I've been really unwell I think about going to A & E most days, desperate for someone to help me breathe; anxiety is a constant. But I can manage by telling myself that I'm not clinically depressed or suffering from anxiety; it is stressful and I'm experiencing perfectly normal reactions.

There are drugs that can help, in addition to all the antibiotics, steroids, inhalers, nebulisers there are some meds that can help with the distress of being very breathless. My current regimen involves 15 pills a day, 4 x a liquid oral solution, 3 inhalers (13 puffs a day) and nebulised saline. I have a respiratory physio to help. And I still can't breathe...

I'll write more in future posts about what I've been able to do to keep going, apart from enjoying small plants and watching all episodes of Queer Eye before most people knew it was on!

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