Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

Now's the time for getting well and truly into excessive consumption mode ( just in case we were at all restrained over Christmas), as we say farewell to the old year and face the new one with hopefully not misplaced optimism. For those of us who decide to party, as the clock strikes midnight, no doubt we'll be lifting our voices in song in yet another boozy rendition of Auld Lang Syne - a nice if somewhat archaic tradition which we can blame on old Robert Burns who obviously let sentiment get the better of him after a few whiskies - while we try not to fall victim to too many sloppy kisses, or kissers for that matter.

This New Year's Eve I've decided that instead of making a lot of ridiculous and unrealistic resolutions, it might behoove me better (Robert Burns again?) to think back over the departing year and figure out what I can maybe learn from it. A quick retrospective glance is initially rather depressing as there have been rather a litany of, if not disasters, things that could have gone better. I began the year resolving to find a brilliant new job and embark on a late midlife career challenge in some starring role, and of course to find true lurve - the lasting kind. On both counts I flunked out. I'm still in the same job and any lurve that came my way was of the fleeting and/or fantasy kind. Still and all, I don't despair. On the job front, I have a new and fantastic boss and we are already in the throes of establishing an excellent and productive working relationship, one that for me bodes very well for the future. On the lurve front, I remain optimistic, although I have of late tempered my optimism with perhaps more realism. My wish list has been amended somewhat and now weighs more heavily towards those human qualities I really value such as honesty, integrity, caring, compassion and family values, than it does towards physical, monetary, status and intellectual attributes - oh shallow me (that was)! I would really just like to find someone who I can genuinely care for and who can genuinely care for me and so long as we don't find each other mutually repellent, who cares about the odd flaw. God knows I have plenty, some of which you've already heard plenty about. The fragile fetlocks however are very much on the mend and I've finally reached the stage where I can fling off the dreaded surgical shoes and slip into something else - if not Manolo Blahniks, at least not velcroed clodhoppers.

I can't let this year go past without thanking those dear friends and family of mine who've propped me up, kept me sane, made me laugh and just been there in the good, bad and indifferent times. Some of these friends have been through particular hells of their own. Three of them are facing a new year still battling with cancer and all the pain, uncertainty and fear that sentence entails. As I wrote about in an earlier post, my brother has spent most of the year grappling with the loss of his wife and trying to fashion a life without her. By their calmness and courage these people I care about have shown me that often what I whinge and complain about is nothing and I should be grateful for the many blessings I have, especially good health.

Other people in my life have disappointed me in different ways and I've felt overwhelmed sometimes with confusion, anger and resentment at behaviours that I just don't understand. I'm trying to learn patience there too. That old chestnut about time being a great healer is actually a good one - a great example I read somewhere recently is if you're a woman who hates being whistled at by construction workers ... just give it time. It works with people too. If you're not sure about someone, just give it time ... true colours will out in the end. Or you'll die first, or they will.

Time of course is what New Year's Eve is all about - an arbitrary line in the sand. Whatever we do or don't do to acknowledge it, the line will be crossed regardless. The world at the end of this old year is a pretty messy troubled and hopeless one in many ways. Let's just hope that those who lead us can look back and learn their own lessons from the past, rather than blundering on into the new year making the same old mistakes.

Happy New Year and may it be a peaceful, healthy and happy one for you!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Footwear at the Cutting Edge

Well I was wrong - not green moon boots after all but these fetching numbers nattily fitted with velcro straps for ease of slipping on and off. The physio who fitted me helpfully advised that the section over the instep is detachable and can be quickly removed when weather permits for a charmingly summery effect! I fear however greater exposure would only reveal more of the increasingly tattered and frayed dressings which must remain until the unveiling in a few weeks.

The procedure was not too agonising am pleased to report. Major hassle of the whole thing is the bloody (well not literally) dressings as of course am forbidden to get them wet. Showering is therefore an interesting venture. After considerable experimentation now have it down to a fine art, with a strategically placed folding chair in the alcove for me to lower myself onto, while propping the pins up outside the shower on the laundry basket, the feet being encased in old shopping bags tied up with masking tape. At first almost drowned myself under the deluge of water pouring straight down onto my head until it dawned that a simple adjustment to the shower head would fix that. Slight problem with this solution in that the parts most in need of washing are somewhat hard to get at while in a seated position. Fortunately no intimate encounters are in the offing, so am not too fussed.

A major drama ensued last week, amusing in retrospect, highly alarming at the time. Shortly after my sister left to return to the bosom of her family after doing an absolutely sterling job looking after me, decided to launch myself into the shower. Quite efficiently managed the ablutions and towelling off and was feeling quite pleased with myself until on the verge of emerging in all my semi-clad splendour, discovered that I couldn't open the bathroom door. Has been a slight problem with the bathroom door knob which has been hanging loose (as it were) for quite some time awaiting a passing handyman (as have I but that's another story). On this occasion even though I have been successfully opening and closing the door despite the wonky knob, it had firmly latched itself shut and refused to be budged. A slight feeling of concern soon escalated into major panic as I wrestled and sweated over the blasted thing - the exhaust fan booming away all the while (as of course the switches are outside the door) and the dogs pawing at the door from the other side, obviously alerted by the expletives issuing forth. Eventually it became clear it was a futile exercise and visions of being discovered some time in the future as a putrefying corpse floated before my eyes. The only means of escape it transpired was the window. What luck there was a folding chair in the shower (everyone should have one) - as after clambering up on the toilet seat and shoving the fly screen off, I managed to get the folding chair through and position it on the other side for me to land on. Problem solved! Slight difficulty once I got onto the ledge though as with the metal window frame gouging into my buttocks I couldn't figure out what the hell to do with my legs - had of course neglected to get the plastic bags off my feet before launching into the escape which made them extremely unweildy and so ended up teetering on the brink for quite some time. Eventually managed to contort myself sufficiently to get one leg down and the other one through, trying not to think about what might happen if I fell, which miraculously I didn't.

Relief at having survived that ordeal has actually made the rest of my convalescence a breeze. Am sure there is a lesson in that adventure somewhere --- perhaps when things like doorknobs break, get them fixed?