#alone, #care, #caring, #death, #degree, #engineering, #exam, #friends, #gonetoheaven, #Hero, #home, #motorsport, #notgoodenough, #notneeded, #pain, Achieving, Aiminghigh, Career, chronic pain, Disability, Pain, Uncategorized

It has been a while

well not written for a while had a few things going in my life the past few weeks. mainly university work, the passing of a loved one, withdrawal side effects and a heck of a lot of pain.

When I last posted on 17/03/2018 my Nanny Pauline had been moved to the Countess Mountbatten Hospice. For what that place has to deal with, the staff are amazing. My Nan received the best care she could have possibly had.

Up till the 20th March I went and sat with Nan for a while each day, On my birthday She woke up and wished me happy birthday and gave me a hug and kiss. I sat with her most of the afternoon that day. That was the last time I saw her. She passed away on the 22nd, Exactly two years to the day after “her johnny” passed away.

The last two days I couldn’t go and visit, it battered me emotionally seeing her like that and I did not want to ruin the last memory I had of her. I made sure she was as comfortable as possible when I visited. She was surrounded by my Dad and mum and My aunties side of the family.

I returned to university on monday after and came back on Thursday as we broke up for Easter. I came home and the next ten days were very low for me. I was exhausted emotionally and physically in a lot of pain. It wasn’t probably the best time do it but I took myself off of pregabalin and diazepam.

I suffered the effects of withdrawal as well as being in a lot of pain in my lower back. It wasn’t a good time for me, I felt numb and not very sociable but I tried my best to be there for Dad. The evening my Nan passed my dad come upstairs to tell me and looked at me and said: “I am an orphan now”.

My poor Dad, I had never seen him like that before. My heart sank and I gave him a big hug, Tried to hold back the tears so I could be strong for Dad. It was not very easy.

The first week of the holidays I had no willpower or mental capacity to do any university work. It was a struggle but I threw myself into Playing Farcry 5 on the Xbox to keep myself busy. It worked.

The next week came and on Wednesday 12th we had Nan’s funeral, the number of people that showed up shows she was a loved lady. Dad was so brave reading a poem for Nan and he was the last one to say goodbye which he said is a memory that he will treasure.

As the house got emptied dad had acquired some bits and pieces and amongst them were a photo album that my Dad’s dad had sent to him whilst he was stationed in Cyprus and also all the little bits and pieces that Nan had saved since Dad was born. It made him shed a tear when looking through them all as he did not know that Nan had saved all these bits.

I managed to raise nearly £300 for Countess Mountbatten Hospice fundraiser that was on facebook for my birthday which made me feel good inside. Birthdays do not really mean anything to me now like they do to other people. I am always on my own so do not have a partner to make things special for me. One day maybe it will happen but in all fairness. I know I am going to be alone for the rest of my life as I am not up to standards for anyone to date me.

I managed to get my case study finished, It wasn’t the easiest of tasks but I did it. Just got persevere with this university course and hopefully, I will be able to have a career again some day.

I have to return back to university tomorrow after over two weeks off, I have got assignments due in every Friday as well as exams coming up in May and August. I think for the rest of the day I am going to be spending it doing my Manufacturing assignment and drawing different designs for pedals using Solidworks.

I visited one of my best friends on Friday evening who is in the same position of my Dad. I really feel for her and her parents at the moment it cannot be easy. She gave me my birthday card and present which meant so much to me as she had made me a custom card and got me some amazing prints of transformers. She is so thoughtful even at this troublesome time.

Even though we do not see each other face to face very often she is still one of the closest people to me. She knows most things about and has helped me out so much these past few years. She is absolute diamond and always caring no matter how rough the seas in her life are.

I have been suffering so much lately with pain that I have upped my dosage of tapentadol to 3 x 200-250mg a day. It takes the sharpness away but the pain is still there and stops me from being as active as I would like.

Fingers crossed that I will get called up for my operation soon and hopefully will work as I have already missed the first race and testing of the season due to the pain I have been in.

#care, #degree, #engineering, #friends, #home, #pain, #pride, Achieving, Aiminghigh, Career, chronic pain, Disability, University

Balancing Act part one

For those that cannot read deutsch. The elephant says “I think my side is broken” to which the hedgehog replies “what a pity”

Since surgery and my accident I have pretty much learned that I now walk a tight rope in life. All of sudden I had limits I could not do what I used to be able to do. From lifting, walking, using a clutch, standing too long this I “should” be able to do.

This took its toll on me mentally and physically. It battered my pride I had gone from being heavy goods vehicle mechanic/engineer (the clue is in the name, the work I don’t was heavy related). I used to work long hours and as much as I could. I was now limited to what I could do and also had to change the way I done things. Being an engineer you would think that it would be simple. I can tell you it’s not. The saying about teaching old dogs new tricks come to mind.

I thought I was going to be fixed within 6 months and here I am nearly 3 and half years down the line. Still fighting the good fight. It has beaten me down so much, but I am learning and adapting. I am even starting to learn to dust myself off.

There is a friend who has been an absolute diamond through all of this has taught me how to cope and deal with my problems. She introduced to the spoon system to explain it easier to people. This was borrowed from some one who was suffering with Lupas.

In a nutshell you start the day with 10 spoons for each activity or task you do during the day it will cost you a spoon. Basically if you spend all your spoons by midday, you cannot so much more because it usually means you are in a lot of pain.

This means that timing has to planned and worked out. Before any of this I was doing to much which was where I was failing. My expectations of my self were still raised very high. As pointed out by a couple of counseller. It’s in my nature to strive to be the best when I can be. To quote Ricky Bobby from Talledaga Nights “if you are not first you are last”. Which is probably why I am doing motorsport. I want to win!

The start of my recovery seemed OK. I was walking unaided and doing all the excersizes given to me by the physio terrorist. For the first few weeks I was dependent on my parents help with things. This was OK but I am my own person and do things differently to them so I wanted to start doing things by myself again.

I would walk to the shops as part of my exercise I would get bits and pieces. I got my first feeling of defeat. I say defeat but what I really mean is one of my limits. I bought 6 pints of milk and thought I would be OK carrying it home. Boy, was I wrong! As I was walking home I and carrying my items. With every step I took I could feel a pinching in my lumbar region near the op site. That day I learned my carrying limits were only 10% of what I used to be able to carry.

This in a way was a soul destroying and made me feel a bit worthless. But I carried on. I was still doing my walking, physio and later progressing to hydro therapy. This was all good and well until……….. I fell over!

I felt like an idiot when I fell I’m glad no one saw as it was embarrassing but I suppose if I was with someone and done I would have laughed it off. Truth is it hurt, I mean was really painful.

The second time I fell was in the bathroom I was stepping into the shower and boom I over I went. Bang my head the wall and landing in a heap in the bath. I was too proud to ask my parents for help though and struggled to get my self up.

Like a wounded animal I limped about for the next few days took extra medication and the pain flare up died down. That is the trouble with having a quarter of your body that you cannot feel. It makes you struggle to know how much pressure you and putting down and this is why I fall. Especially on wet surfaces.

Over the Last few years I have numerous falls which is why I use the crutches to stabilise myself and to stop me toppling over.

Another thing which seemed to agitate my pain and my back was how I walked. If I took massive fast strides like I used to walk I would end up in lots of pain. So I basically had to learn a new walking habit which was dropping my pace and taking smaller steps.

Every day I discovered new factors and variables that I had find balance for. It included having to find aids to help with daily processes. Simple things I was struggling with, it was extremely frustrating. I had to learn to live with this “new life” not out of choice, but out of necessity! Especially if I wanted to some sort of quality back in my life. There were times it felt like I did not have any at all.

But once again it was all down to balancing my activities and learning new techniques. For example with the walking:

Problem: falling over when walking due to lack of feeling and sensation in my left leg.

Solution: use crutches to make more stable and balanced

Finding the solutions was the hardest part about all of it. I literally was grieving for my old life at times. I went through the “grief” cycle at the start. I was in complete denial, very stubborn and arrogant about my whole situation. I didn’t want to be this way but I had no choice in the matter.

This whole situation, not being able to use my left leg, not being able to drive my, living in excruciating pain, falling over, having nothing to occupie me but the Xbox and tv, failing the simplest of tasks as well as numerous other things felt like I was sat on a see saw with and elephant!

This of course made my life so unbalanced it was affecting me. I wanted to give up because becoming strong enough to balance out that seesaw. I use the term seesaw because it is on a pivot and they were invented to aid moving/lifting of something heavy. To lift something heavier than you can lift the pivot will need to be longer.

So in order to balance my life I would need to be longer then the elephants side of the seesaw. This was achieved by using aids and appliances, getting help from others and dedication.

In three years I have learnt so much about how to cope with how life is for me now. I could have given up so many times yet I still managed to pull it through and survive. I am still extending my side of the see saw to get my life back in equilibrium.

I have bought numerous aids and appliances to help me with day to day life. Using these stop me having to use unnecessary spoons each day. Meaning my endurance each day is increasing. There are still of things I can not physically do but I get around these obstacles.

At first I would head into things like a bull in a China shop meaning I would screw myself over and be buckled and out of spoons with in a few hours of being awake. As time has gone on I have figured out ways not be uneconomic with my spoons. There are also other days where I wake up with no spoons and can not do anything due to pain.

Coming to university was a god send. It added alot more ballast to the “seesaw”. I felt like I had purpose again because I had activities to keep me busy. Also being able to move away and be semi self dependent.

I had spent three years stuck trying to get some balance and an opportunity to regain my life cropped up and I jumped at the chance and jumped in at the deep end and I’m still a float.

What I said before about not accepting the fact I was less abled, I didn’t sign on for disability till a year after my operation as my health was not getting better. Applying for and getting awarded with that was not an easy task. The system is screwed. The ones who genuinely need the help that they paid tax for get alot of flak and put through an extremely difficult test of patience, ridicule, lies and forgery by the DWP (Department of work and pensions)

This process added extra weight to the elephants side meaning everything I was trying to do to help myself I was failing at because of a broken corrupt system. With the help of a local charity I won an appeal for esa and lost the tribunal for pip but was awarded it straight away.

As my case was one of the worst that the charity were dealing I had the chance to goto the houses of Parliament and talk to a panel of mps about how bad this system is. A government program that is supposed to be helping people made them feel worthless and in some cases there were suicides caused by sanctions of benefits. It made me feel like I wanted to take my life because I thought what was the point if I can not even get help.

Winning the tribunal for ESA really added weight to my side. I had won and it meant things would be easier. The extra money just managed to help take the strain off my monthly outgoings that I had from when I was working.

All these positive things happening are balancing my side out nicely. I still have a long way till my feet touch the ground but I am. 47% of the way there compared to where I was.

I am learning new ways of adapting each day.

I have accepted the fact that sometimes I will need a wheel chair because I cannot walk the distances I used to be able to. I am doing my best to stay positive. It is working some of the time, I will say it has gotten a whole easier as time goes on. Almost like when you are learning something new. The more you practice the better you get.

Becoming aware of what the causes of my pain are. Help my daily balance, I am learning to listen to my body and knowing when to stop has been the most important skill. I have been bitten by this more than once. I do to much and then end up a broken mess for a few days after.

The main thing is that I am on the right path to having a career again and something to be proud of. In the short space of being at uni I have felt my worth on more than one occasion. I have helped the younger students numerous times. I do not have any problem helping people. It makes me feel good about myself.

Time to end this for tonight as I’ve been writing this on and off all evening.

#pain, #tattoo, chronic pain, Uncategorized

Pain for Pain Relief

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I have read a lot of stories on how people suffering grief and pain self harm to “help them feel again”.  Having a family member who suffers with mental health issues as well as myself I know that she has used cutting as a method to help her feel.

In my own opinion I cannot see how it helps but she must have been in such a low place to be doing it. She had her own reasons. But I had never understood why she done the things she done and why she had tried to take her life a few occasions. One being my 17th fortunately she made it. Still hurts though the fact it was on my birthday.

Although since my accident I have suffered chronic pain every day for  almost over three and half years now.  I self harmed once and that was because of the fact my classic BMW 5 series that my Gramps left me, That seriously hurt and i took a knife to my forearm and tried to slice elbow to wrist but all i could do was scratch the skin and it was like there was a force intervening like it was not my time to go.

Also since suffering my accident one of my friends started his tattooing apprenticeship and I had a lot of free time on my hands so i offered up my skin to be tattooed. Being that he was starting out the rates were very very low. Not being able to feel my left leg i offered it up for tattooing. I now have Homer Simpson saying “Doh”, Zombie Deadpool, Teenage mutant ninja Squirtles and my Dino-bots which are unfinished because my leg just would not heal properly.

Once I knew he was good at his craft I put my forearms up as a canvas for him. I had two tattoos from my raving days on the inside of my arm but wanted one gone and the other hidden.

I found an amazing piece of artwork of one of my favourite authors Hunter S. Thompson. Being the mad man that he is I decided that this is what I would like to represent the time in these three years that I had lost my mind and going stir crazy.

Me and Neef being friends from school shared the same love of H.R. Giger’s work and the Xenomorph from Ridley Scott’s Alien universe. We decided that this would be what I would like have tattooed on my left fore arm. Also to cover up the tacky logo I had stamped on my from when I was 20.

Being tattooed is so therapeutic in my opinion, the feeling is like no other, in a way it is self harming but its making your scars more colourful and artistic. Its addictive and leaves you wanting more.

What is it that drives us to endure hours of being stabbed with needles millions of times? I think it is the fact that is new pain, even though I am constantly in pain with my spine and my painkillers do not really do much but just dull the constant pain.

The feeling when getting tattooed is a new pain, an acute pain rather then a chronic pain. Obviously the body gets used to pain when it is day in day out. Having this new sensation of pain seems to excite the brain giving it something other to deal with then the usual pain. So it must be releasing endorphin and adrenaline into the system.

Those hours that you are led on that tattoo couch whilst the artist works their magic turning blank skin into works of art are such a release. Anything that stops you thinking about the constant pain you are daily is welcome in my books.

It is such a buzz the feeling you get. It makes you understand why people cut themselves not that i condone it. My advice for anyone feeling the urge to self harm is to go and get a tattoo or a piercing, it is less risky and also will look a lit nicer then scars from cutting.

#fail, #pain, #pride, Uncategorized

Pride Over Pain

Having built my self on pride with morales of working hard to get what you want out of life. Asking for help is one of the hardest things in my life that I had to do.

I have worked different jobs from the age of 13 be it a paper round, spud boy in a chip shop (like my Dad did), being a kitchen porter in the rib ranch and working in McDonalds till I started my apprenticeship.

Being left unable to work affected my mental health. Having to apply for government based schemes such as PIP and ESA I found it very hard especially with the fact that I had to go to tribunals just to prove how bad my disability actually affects my everyday life.

I refused to accept I was disabled for the first year as I wanted to return back to my trade and go and work in the middle east. Things did not improve. my health and had the knock-on effect of mental health problems because you are struggling to accept and cope with this new lifestyle.

Being as stubborn as I am I would quite often attempt things I should not have been doing. When failing tasks it leads to a complete sense of feeling worthlessness because it was things I should have been able to do. Dropping things when cooking, not being able to get in the bath, falling over made me question whether I should carry on living.

In my eyes, they were easy tasks that I now had to ask for help with it felt embarrassing. Being an engineer it is in my nature to improvise. Which I discovered many different ways of helping with everyday life after a very good friend of mine enlightened me with tips and tools as she herself had been coping with a change in life to being less abled then before.

Since receiving this help I have brought many different appliances to help me in my everyday life.  Using these tools have given me some sense of still being able to be independent and retain some of my pride.

If there is one thing I have learnt throughout the whole of this is to not to be afraid to ask for help. Yes it may bruise my pride, but if it stops me causing unnecessary extra pain to my life I will quite happily accept the help that is offered.