I keep threatening to do this thank you but I never know where to start, so I’ll just ramble and see where it takes me. I’m kinda clumping them all together because I don’t want one to appear to be more important than the other, each one has surpassed everyone else. I’m a sociable little bod usually so please don’t take my next statement as factious or glory seeking, I have quite literally received hundreds of messages etc over the last 10 months, a few of them containing empty promises. Hopefully those people and they know who they are, will never learn first hand how someone in my situation then and now build their hopes up at such empty promises, its very easy to build the hopes up of folk facing trauma or an ordeal and such empty solitude as I did and still do. I’ve admitted that in the very early days I couldn’t face nor was in a place to deal with visitors, it still is not known how I’ve even survived, my left ventricle brain stem ruptured, a part of my brain has died off, I had a massive brain haemorrhage, I was paralysed down my right side and could barely talk nor did I have much mental capacity as I was living in a fog but I’m talking about the later days. I’ve also admitted and apologised to those I’ve had to cancel due to bad days but again, they don’t fall into this category. I understand everyone has a life to live and their own challenges but when did folk become so flippant?! I’ve sat there waiting for the knock on the door only for it to never come! BUT I want to thank these people for not dulling the sheer luminous sparkle of the ones that have been there for me, the ones that have truly shone! It’s funny how some of the people you’d take a bullet for are the very ones pulling the trigger! I’ll never turn anyone in need away because I know what it truly feels like to be constantly let down and you’ll see an apology later on. Being let down is not a new lesson I’ve learnt but it’s a more profound one. So if I can help any of you guys in anyway then please, please shout as per!
First up is Wor Tom or as I’ve now renamed him, 00-Tom! I’ve told you all about him before, pragmatic, loyal, steadfast and unpretentious. Tom has done a great deal, he’s done all the stuff you wouldn’t normally think about in these situations, he’s been my constant liaison with work. In the beginning things weren’t clear for anyone let alone me or my Mam, there was in comprehension, shock and disbelief. Many of you might not realise I also work a few desks away from Tom and after a decade of service, he knows my managers very well, he was able to see a way to bridge the gap without work being intrusive at such a traumatic time, he spoke with my managers so that they understood the severity of what was happening and if I remember rightly I need to apologise to my fellow Sagelings for the short staff on TSL that day because as you can imagine, it wasn’t a ten minute chat! He still plays that role to this day, he still helps me understand protocols and procedures as well as continuing to be my never-failing friend. He still helps me with car stuff *groooooooan*, sharesave, legislations and even rocks up and fits a disabled access sign to the front gate to tell folk to keep our pathway clear after being blocked in a few times. Tom was also the person who came and got me at 9pm at night from Hospital the first time I was admitted because there was an ambulance shortage and he knew I desperately wanted to get home to see Dylan my pups first experience of snow. I must tell you a not so well kept secret and unfortunately for Tom, I somehow remember it very well, possibly because it’s so funny! The nurse was “helping” Tom put me into the wheelchair, I noticed we weren’t going that fast and I could hear Tom sounding rather out of breath, Tom, are you ok? The break isn’t on is it? Oh dear the helpful nurse had put one of the breaks back on without Tom noticing!! And it gets better! In the car park a gift bag handle broke, Tom picked it up but let go of me and there I was merrily rolling down towards the car park – Toooooooom! I only rolled a couple of metres but so so funny! So 00-Tom, I thank you!
Every good 00 agent needs a Bond girl so it leads perfectly to my next victim, Colette. Now my little pal doesn’t suffer fools gladly, in fact, if you are a said fool who happens to do her wrong then you’ll be ceremoniously called out on it and served your supper cold with a soupçon of fuck you, to me she is generous, passionate and creative. She has a devil-may-care attitude but is also meticulous. She’s my problem solver and sounding board but most importantly, she totally gets my dark sense of humour and understands where it comes from and never questions my beliefs. She understands my fears and usually wants to biff my ex’s because she can see what I never can, me for who I truly am, I’m oblivious! Colette was the first person I was ever brave enough to show my artwork to, we both have a love of the arts and she encourages that side of me, even giving me her daughters easy grip paint brushes in an attempt to banish my fear of never being able to paint again, she’ll always come up with a solution. Again, Colette was one of the only ones I’d let come see me in Hospital and in the early days at home. The day I was waiting to be discharged from Hospital the first time I clung to her and didn’t want her to go because I was frightened I’d never get home. She knew how much Dylan means to me as Amber dog means to her. Colette’s the friend that upon hearing I had to cancel my physio due to folk blocking the gates, promptly ordered a disability access sign and deployed 00-Tom with his power tools to fit it! Fnar! Fnar! It wouldn’t be a Colettestiment without at least one Fnar! Whether it’s making vagina like candlestick pottery, singing into a lemon squeezer or stargazing, she’s been right there when I’ve yanked on the chain – Thank you Poppet!
Talking about chains, next up is the living life like you’ve broke free of your leash, Victoria Dillon aka our Vicki. I always want to get Vic one of those superhero Lycra suit jobbies, she’s forever off on a crusade and like the Flash, moves so quickly that at the moment I feel like I’m stood still! She’s will-o-wisp, impossible to pigeon hole and she’s Thelma to my Louise or once was, things have changed somewhat, she’s seen my spontaneity vanish, not just now but due to events last year leading up to my injury, it makes me sad when I look back on all our adventures cos believe me, just going to B&Q can turn into a fun filled quest with us! I miss our sing songs in the car and getting lost but I love it when she’s in A-Team mode and putting a plan together, bouncing ideas about and putting the world to rights, we’ve both experienced more than we should have in our lives but then that’s why we “get it” I don’t remember much about being in Hospital but I remember her trying to hide her tears, the fidgeting and restlessness wasn’t solely her Parkinson’s that day. You may not know but Vicki is a Specialist Nurse and is no ones fool, I remember her challenging and questioning the Consultant the second time I was admitted and later went into shock, he was grilled like he was on Mastermind or standing in the dock. Vicki has been supportive to my Mam too and the pair of them are going to be causing festive madness in the next up and coming weeks, definitely not to be missed! The Vickster phones/texts me every day or so or pops round to see me and she’s tried so very hard to find that carefree person inside of me again, unfortunately even a trip to her house can be a military operation but she still asks me along for a drive or asks if I want to be apart of things, no matter how much I say no, she still asks. I even trusted Vic enough for her to teach me to put my head under the water and swim to the other side, anyone who is as fearful of water as I am will understand how much I truly trust her. If I asked her to push me all the way to Newcastle she’d say no, we’ll get a limo & that’s what I love about her! Thank you Thelma!
Next up is Jayne, I’ve only known Jayne for two and a half years but she was one of the first to knock on my door when I felt as though I could hold audience. The totally crazy thing is that Jayne and I quite possibly played together on Leazes View, Rowlands Gill many many moons ago! I shit you not! Her parents still live there! She texts me every few days and has become accustomed to the daily trials and tribulations I face. Jayne may appear to be a little shy at first, not that I ever experienced that but I guess folk don’t get the chance with me, I’m like Doug the dog on the animated film Up – Hello, my name is Liz and you will like me! Jayne’s methodical, loyal, kind and hardworking, she also has a very strong shoulder to lean on and a good listening ear, though I don’t think much of her wheelchair pushing skills, let’s just say I got a very good view of Bensham as I found myself heading down the grassy bank of Saltwell Park, you know, I’m starting to see a pattern emerge here, I think it might be a good time to let everyone know I’m not insured and I don’t have a will! She’s as mad as a hatter and great at beach potholing! Thank you babe!
Now for Tracey, Tracey was the very first person besides the terrible trio that is Vicki, Tom and Colette,that I allowed to visit me. I knew her mind would never be at rest until she came and seen me with her own eyes. She’s so incredibly creative but chooses to to hide it somewhat so, like the little scamp that I am, I often have to out her! She can crochet like a beast, I still have Bessie the Unicorn from years ago and a fantastic artist! Her garden is like a little pixie kingdom. I met Tracey about 6 years ago when I worked for Tim Pearson at Orchard Vets, I was working at the Stocksfield branch that day and through one thing and another I stole her and she became a Hexhamite and a firm friend. Tracey is one of the most kindest and thoughtful people I’ve ever met, I truly wish I could show you the trouble she went to, to transport a miniature cake, it’s was wedged and balanced meticulously inside a Tupperware box with precision and not one bit of icing so merely touched the sides, that’s Tracey, she puts her whole heart into something and someone. I also have to mention her Mam June, June who upon hearing my first little go go scooter had gone to scooter heaven, was going to buy me a new scooter with her savings and be buried in a cardboard box, me and my Mam were both choked by such selflessness. Poco a poco se anda lejos! Thank you lovely!
Now I can’t leave it there, Teresa my longest serving friend, I think she should have had a gold watch and more by now, to be so far away (Worcestershire, not Middle Earth) and to learn the news via text with limited details, well, let’s just say she was fraught. I spoke to her on the phone as well as I could back then and she came and saw me a short time later, I saw her shoulders instantly relax when she saw me, I was still Liz. Kathryn, I have to make an apology to Kathryn, a massive one, her Dad passed away last year before my big haemorrhage and I was still being misdiagnosed, I was having TIA’s every 1-2 days and just off the planet, I really wasn’t plugged nor thinking straight and I put her off coming to see me because of the state of our undecorated house, I was always on the end of the phone but that’s not the same and I feel I let her down terribly. So Kathryn, I truly am sorry. I miss our walks with the boys (Dave is Dylan’s BFF) and I miss our chats, I hope that one day we’ll get to go the beaches again and walk along the river putting the world to right while the dynamic duo run and tumble along. Penny was my partner in crime at Orchard Vets, from the day I sat the interview we hit it off, we’ve been through so much together, nob head boyfriends (mine), cretinous long term partners (hers), births, deaths and the ups and downs of a highly emotional job. The hardest part of leaving Orchard House and believe me, I felt wrenched and heartbroken, was saying goodbye to Penny, actually, we never actually said goodbye but you know what I mean! Poor Penny, my brain is such a tangled mess and there’s been a few times I’ve forgotten to text her back or press send, you’re not alone Pen, I promise you!
The finale – I find it incredibly hard to find the words to express to all my friends and well wishers how truly grateful and thankful I am to have you all in my life, the support and love I have been shown is phenomenal, PHENOMENAL! I spend huge chunks of time trying to find a way of expressing how completely blown away I am, the encouragement and kindness is off the scale, the sheer abundance and enormity cannot be put into words or gesture, thank you just doesn’t feel enough, I’ve tried to find new ways of saying thank you and showing how truly blessed I feel to have you all in my life and there just is none! So to all you superb friends and well wishers out there who’ve taken the time to wish me well, to offer support, to check on me, to travel 30 plus miles to see me, who want the very best for me, who gets behind me and encourages me and urges me on …… THANK YOU! ❤️