Saturday, 10 October 2015


It’s been a strange week. I was sick for the first part of it. Riddled with infection. Ecoli, the medical report from my last visit to the consultant said. That makes it sound like the World Health Organisation should form a perimeter around my house and keep me there in my own private little quarantine lest I spread this deadly bug all over England. It’s really just a water infection, which for someone with Spina Bifida is hardly unusual. Not life threatening, but not exactly pleasant either. I threw up violently at lunchtime on my first day back at work on Wednesday and again on Thursday. That was after I’d had to take half a day’s flexi having comically forgotten to take my catheter to work with me. It was half a day’s flexi or piss your pants. What are you going to do?

Before this small oversight I became the owner, or at least joint owner, of a cat. His name is Mowinkle (I think that is how you spell it but I very much doubt whether you can prove otherwise in any case) and he is three and a half years old. He is named after a Norwegian skier. I don’t even remember her first name but Emma and I were watching the skiing during the Winter Olympics in Sochi last year when she came gliding into view with her name emblazoned on the screen. And then I said, sarcastically as I say everything else sarcastically like that character Robert Newman used to do on the telly, that Mowinkle would be a good name for a cat. We were always getting a cat after we had finished the rebuild of the bathroom and extension this summer, so the name stuck and now he is stuck with it too. He doesn’t seem to mind. He doesn’t seem to know.

I haven’t exactly bonded with him yet. He spent all of his first day with us hiding behind the sofa. As I write he is still hiding behind the sofa but thankfully he has done some other stuff in between. He seems to like Emma. He’ll go to her but only if she is on the floor. He also likes to smell her hair. This preference might be down to the fact that she has been feeding him because I couldn’t stand the smell of his food during my illness. But the one time I did put his bowl down for him he looked up at me and ran away.

I can only conclude that Mowinkel has a problem with disability. The only time he has ever come anywhere near me until today is when I have been sat on the sofa, away from my chair. Even then he couldn’t walk past me on the back of the sofa without drooling on me from a great height. Who would have thought I’d need an umbrella to sit on my own sofa watching Only Connect. That’s the best quiz show on telly isn’t it? If only because it’s so bloody hard and because it is presented by Victoria Coren-Mitchell who is the funniest woman on television. But then if you are up against Miranda…..

If I get in my wheelchair Mowinkle stares at me intently and if I move he runs away. If he is eating in the kitchen and I go in there he leaves abruptly. He has a real problem with the way I move around the house, but at least he is honest and open enough to admit it. That’s half the battle with overcoming these things, isn’t it? I should send him on some sort of disability awareness course.

Back to Thursday. Not only did I experience an equipment failure I also managed to turn 40 years old that day. I have mixed feelings about this. It doesn’t seem much different from being 39 in all honesty, but then you sit and think that you were only 21 five minutes ago so what happened? It doesn’t help that work is making me feel particularly miserable at the moment but we can’t talk about that. Then there is another part of me that wants to celebrate because firstly that will involve seeing my friends and drinking lots of beer, but secondly because it is something of an achievement to reach 40 when you have kidneys like mashed potatoes. There’s a distinct feeling of victory at having not let the bastards get me yet. That may sound negative, but I have seen far more of my friends with similar disabilities to mine leave this world than is comfortable for anyone. This life shit is a dangerous business and so my main reflection upon reaching 40 is that I’m sick of the fact that for eight hours of every day five days a week I bloody hate it. Something has to change. I should start by refusing point blank to get stressed by it, but that is much easier to say than it is to do. I realise I am not alone in feeling like this by the way, but turning 40 makes you think. Like I said, dangerous…

To celebrate on the night I just went out for a meal with Emma, my mum and dad, Helen and Patrick. Joe is 16 now and so understandably has a myriad of better things to do than visit his local Flaming Grill. My mum told a story about how she got an email advising her about re-training to be a plumber. She’s not that far away from retiring but perhaps it is one of Jeremy Hunt’s new policies aimed at getting people to work harder. Did you see that in the news? If I were a doctor in particular I would refuse to treat Jeremy Hunt if he came into my hospital with his appendage stuck inside a farmyard animal. Or I’d separate them using a chainsaw. Years from now, Jeremy Hunt will pass into the lexicon as a valid and accepted form of rhyming slang. If it hasn’t already.

The final act of a mixed but mostly turgid week was when Emma went outside to the car this morning only to find that someone had taken the glass out of the passenger side wing mirror. Not the wing mirror itself, just the glass. We have had this new car for three weeks and already it has been violated by some screv with a steady hand and light fingers. My world was rocked when Motability presented me with a £250 cheque for keeping my last car in good condition (imagine? LOL, as the cool kids say) but life giveth and it taketh away. A new piece of glass for the wing mirror will cost £46 to be fitted and this is the best bit…they do not have any in stock. So I have to rock up there on Monday morning at 9.00 and see if they have arrived after they were ordered today. If not I am either leaving my car there and getting on the bone shaker to work, or I am driving to Liverpool deficient in the wing mirror department to the tune of one.

The girl was very polite on the phone though.

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