It seems from the get-go my life was going to be the opposite of simple. I was born healthy (thankfully), but decided to be awkward and be allergic to dairy,,, Being allergic to dairy is like being vegan but without making that life choice! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like cake? My Mother must have gotten fed up of this nonsense and took me to the doctors, where they informed her if she gradually introduced dairy into my life after time I shouldn’t be intolerant any longer. So that’s what she did, and for that act of Holiness; I thank you Mother!I also managed to inherit exzema and asthma, but luckily over time and the use of medicine it deteriorated to a point of non existence!
My childhood was that of a typical one my age, I played chase, hung off the monkey bars and ran around the playground like a loon. infact by the age of 7 I was the fastest kid in school, pretty impressive considering i’m a girl!
But that all changed one summers day. A year trip had been planned, but due to bad weather further South, the school bus had been cancelled. As not to disappoint the children the staff decided to take us to the local park instead.
I remember it like yesterday; all the kids running wild; football, skittles and tag, while the rest of us played in the park itself.
My classmate and I decided to have a competition of who could swing the highest, I was so high it felt like I was level with the bars! As I was winning, the competition was stepped up a notch by my classmate. He dared me to jump off the swing at it’s highest point and land the furthest away. Me being the tomboy I was, couldn’t resist a challenge, so it was game on!
The shouts from the Teachers as he, then I, jumped were of utter shock and dismay.
“Don’t jump off the swings!”
“That’s far too high!”
Callum landed far further than me, and not to be outdone by a boy, we ignored the teachers disapproval and tried again.
I was swinging higher and higher, thinking to myself – this time i’ll do it! So I took aim at my landing spot and went for it!
“I can flyyyyyy!!” I shouted as I leapt into the air.
*Woohoo i’m gonna beat him!!*
As I came into landing I fell awkwardly, a crack sounded a split second later, with an almighty scream as the pain shot horribly up my arm.
One of the Teachers’ rushed me back to the school where my arm was put in a sling, and my Mother was called. I was a little sick when I first arrived back at the school, worrying slightly that my Mother would tell me off for being sick on my school jumper, but after that I was pretty much fine. I waited patiently for my Mother to arrive, regretting the decision I made earlier to not finish my lunch before I went back on the swings.
My Mother arrived and contrary to my worries she was far from upset about my jumper being stained, and far more concerned with my accident and how I was feeling. Being the great parent she is, she took me down to the local health clinic due to the Doctors Surgery being closed.
It was an interesting experience riding in the back of an ambulance; lying on a bed looking at the equipment onboard. Where I come from we need to take a passenger ferry across the river in order to get to the hospital. When emergency service vehicles are onboard, the ferry crew can turn on the blue light signalling to other ferry personnel and alerting them that there is an emergency onboard, this also enables the ferry drivers to cross the river at a faster speed. I couldn’t wait: I was in an emergency vehicle and I was going to the hospital, I’m sure to get the blue lighter and make the ferry man drive faster! What ensued was sheer disappointment: no blue lighter and no going faster than usual!! I was not impressed! My Mother still laughs to this day recalling my heart broken expression when I saw no blue light flashing out of the ambulance window…
we arrived at A&E where the Paramedic handed me over to the Nurses, explaining the situation and that he himself hadn’t checked the injury as it was already in a sling when he saw me, and the injury was most likely a sprain. The Doctor took one look at my arm and was utterly confused: not only was my arm broken, but my elbow had moved halfway down my forearm and had split in two. “How is this child not crawling the walls and screaming in agony with this sort of injury?”
I went under anaesthetic later that day and had my arm re-broken and put into a plaster of Paris cast.It was boringly white. “Why don’t I have a colourful cast?” i asked the Doctor.
“That isn’t for another few weeks time I’m afraid.” He replied.
A few weeks later I got my wish; a bright luminous yellow cast!
“Sassy your Dad’s wedding is in a few weeks and you’re a bridesmaid. I think you should choose a less in-your-face colour.” Mother told me sternly.
“No. I want this one.”
“I might not get the chance to get another colour so I’m having this one.”
The wedding day arrived and everyone was fretting about my bright yellow cast, eventually they came up with the idea of wrapping the cast in a bandage. That way it wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb in the wedding photos.
That day was the first time I saw signs of my body changing. My ankle was swollen and I was in a lot of discomfort. My parents put it down to me running around all day and my shoes must have been a bit tight.
But that wasn’t the end of it, over the next year I had multiple problems with different areas of my body; swollen ankles, knees, and general aches and pains whenever I was running around too long.
Appointment after appointment at the Doctors and Hospital and going through several different scans and tests, I was eventually referred to a Consultant Rheumatologist. who thought I might have Arthritis. He asked my Mother and biological Father to look into their genetic history to see if there were any links or hereditary conditions within the family.
It panned out that not only was Arthritis present on both my parents sides of the family, but there were a host of other medical problems from either side too. When my Consultant was presented with this information his exact words to my Mother were;
“You two shouldn’t have bred.”
It was a bit of a shock for us both to hear that, but it made sense once it was explained. With so many medical problems on both sides of the family, and Arthritis being most prevant I essentially was a ticking time bomb. Breaking my arm was the catalyst of inheriting Arthritis.
Over the years the Arthritis progressed to different parts of my body. I went to un countless appointments at the hospital for different health therapies, treatments and medications. The pain was so severe I couldn’t walk more than 100 meters without being in agony, and looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, totally ruined my street cred!
I used a wheelchair which became a great source of entertainment for my friends and I over the years, and later this progressed onto having an electric scooter, more fun and more entertainment 😉 although that came with setbacks: other kids in school came to the realisation that if they shoved the inside wrapping of a packet of Polo’s, or speaker jacks into the slot, they could take my electric scooter for a joyride! Countless times over those years I would find my scooter halfway down the corridor or in an etirely different place altogether! I can look back and laugh now, but back that time it was highly frustrating.
Thankfully it wasn’t long until my consultant put me on a new medication which after a time gave me more freedom to move about unaided, and most importantly I was in considerably less pain! 🙂
Unfortunately though it wasn’t all singing and dancing for me, as my Arthritis was under control through medication, my sight started to deteriorate. It was an utter shock to my family and I to comprehend that Arthritis could affect a persons eyesight, but it was something that we had no choice but to deal with.
In 2007 I was registered legally blind, and it was then that moment I realised my path in life was going to change, and become far more complicated than I could have ever imagined…