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Portugal Holiday – the ups and downs


Hi guys I hope everyone’s doing well. I havent the in the blog-post in quite while, but I really wanted to share some things with you.. some super great and some pretty crappy..I’m writing this from Portugal I’m on holiday with my husband and children as well as my parents and my dad’s mum, my nannan, so the kids great nannan.

This holiday is only been possible thanks to my parents generosity, to say we are grateful is the biggest understatement I don’t even know how to put that into words but we are having the best time.

Before we left…

If you have medical needs, like me there is quite a lot to be organised before you go away, for example your medication you need to make sure you have enough of everything and a medical letter to confirm you are prescribed them, especially important if you have stronger medications as some in countrys it may be a banned substance. (I think Turkey has a ban Codeine banned for example).

I’m very lucky that I have a awesome medical team at my doctors surgery, and a wonderful GP who helped me prepare for my holiday.

So we had 7 day holiday booked so I needed 7 days worth of all my meds, but my doctor said it was sensible/ advisable to take an additional 7 days just in case of delays or other problems. (Similar advice can be found on the Pinnt website too.) That in itself could be quite a lot to organize for most, but if you have liquid medications then the physical size and weight of them makes it difficult. G was great and helped me work out how much we needed of each medication for example

Senna I take that twice a day 20ml each time.

So…. 20ml x 7 = 140ml PLUS 140ml = 280ml

We did this for all of my medications and gave the numbers to my doctor who wrote a fantastic letter explaining everything, including dosges etc and very importantly that I would need to keep all of the medications on my person at all times. This is for a few reasons, firstly if I have it, it cannot end up lost luggage, or stolen. Secondly incase I need to take any meds especially if there is a delay, you may have seen the on the news the guy who had Parkinson’s and was delayed without medication LINK here .  

As My two of my medications control drugs one of them is sort of in that category (pregabalin), nothing we cant handle though.

Then we have my nutritional supplies this is for me ensure compact, flexitainers (empty bottles for pump), the tubing known as giving sets) and syringes. Again we did the maths and my GP added this to my letter. This didnt need to be kept with me but would most definitely use up my baggage allowance cause it weighed 17kg. So I spoke to TUI who added additional baggage for me …I will do a video on how to arrange this and special assistance at airports etc.

We arrived in Portugal and wow it is beautiful and the Villa is amazing once we found it..lol a we went the scenic route

Mom and Dad have been great, from making sure there was a downstairs bedroom to making sure beaches are accessible to somebody on crutches, plus finding shade from the sun as it has been an excessive 35° here most days so it’s been bloody hot. To help me cope with this I’ve added electrolytes to my fluids each night (dioralite) when I have my feeding pump running because I’ve been trying to play catch-up. I don’t reply it’s been bloody hard. 

I have pushed myself each day but have desperately tried not to let it impact on the next day – and to be honest I have done pretty well. Food wise I have tried to take part in meal times but have found it pretty hard I’ve ordered children meals and picked at that, so that I looked and felt part of the family activities. I’ve also managed to hide my chokes and coughing fits……. I have learnt over time to suppress the choke\panic reflex and I just throat clear if I can or calmly ask G to help … it something I’m actually pretty proud of – the main reason I’ve don’t it is panicking makes the choke worse but also being a mummy I try and not scare the kiddo’s . 

I have slept til 9 or 10 most days and with having the pool here we haven’t had to go out to entertain the children (they’re no allowed to go in the pool without an adult on poolside)

Thursday we had our big trip planned so Wednesday I had extra fluids and feeds overnight and slept in in prep for the big trip. 

Thursday we went on a boat trip to see the Caves and Dolphins (the dolphins were a bit shy),  getting to the marina was a 15 to 20 min taxi ride then there was a bit of a walk to the marina where we had lunch and drinks. I was pretty glad to have a sit down and drink cause it was massively hot – we weren’t due to depart till 4 and had hoped it would be cooler by then …WRONG it was still at least 36 degrees….  but because our party had my nanny who is in the 80s and children (and of course me) we chose a boat that had some shade. 

This is who we went with Ocean eye they were brilliant and we DID see some dolphins .. actually me and Daisy saw them first which was awesome and then standing on the boat (folding on for dear life ) whist it sped over the ocean was such and exhilarating feeling – the wind through my hair – it was AWESOME. 

We got off the boat and found a taxi I WAS EXHAUSTED…. seriously knackered – my speech was shit and I was nodding off at a seconds notice, we arrived at the restaurant and I did my usual order a children’s item, and wow it went tits up!!!! 

Almost immediately I choked on the food, and spat it out, and had some drink.Despertaly thing to hide it as a member of our party is *grossed out by my peg and all things related ) I then tried again and this time I couldn’t trigger a swallow so I was doing my chin tucks and NOTHING – I had to spit it out. But in my desperation to be normal I forced some food down and BANG I had food stuck in my throat- cue coughing fit – I did keep calm it enough to walk outside and have a further coughing fit  followed by a visit to the toilets to vomit – I had managed a grand sum of nothing. and was left feeling totally crap and embarrassed (yes I know they’re family and probably don’t care – but I DO… ). The NEED  to look and feel normal is still as strong as it was 6 years ago – I don’t think it will ever leave. 

We came home and the pain of the day hit me and it was a 9 out of 10 – so bad that I needed G to help me go to the bathroom and wash up before bed.  Its not often that I need G to help me with EVERYTHING down to my underwear. I then needed putting to bed, and we made a makeshift fixed sleep position with a duvet from the cupboard and various pillows and cushions. 

I had my max meds including the liquid one PLUS we used the lidnocane patch that we purchased over here in Portugal (I will post about these seperatly soon). 

I woke several time cause of pain and took today very slowly – that said I would 100% do it again – I think sometime we need to take the hit … I  know its coming but we don’t let it stop me …. some might say it’s daft to do it but you know my mantra “fuckit”.

any who this is my penultimate night here and I have had several vodka and cokes so its bedtime. 

sending love to all who’ve managed to read this to the end you are amazing and Iove you lots.. keep fighting whether its cancer, a long term illness or another battle  … you are strong. 

feel free to message me anytime 

mrswiggy.sw@gmail.com

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Balanced Life Program Nuffield Orthopaedic Hospital for patients with chronic pain.


Balance Life Programme – Nuffield Orthopaedic Hospital Oxford- this is a 3 week course – you attend Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays 

 

 *Balanced life programme* an intensive physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and psychology course. Aimed at helping patients maximise what they can do within their capabilities and disability or illness. Due to it being so intensive nature I will be staying in a BnB Wednesday to Friday each week.

I plan to blog my days good and bad to give a real look at the programme.

Wish me luck.




Week One Day One 


This is my honest opinions and view of the course (disclaimer everyone had different opinions and takes different things form the course my opinions are simply that – opinions)

Getting there…. We live 45mins to an hour away which would make it unmanageable for me so the hospital has an arrangement with a local B n B – The mulberry Guest House – as check in was midday we dropped my bags off. I take my own pillows and then theres all my meds, being liquids there is a lot to carry.


10am Introduction 


We all walk down the ridiculously and ironically long corridor to the physio department where we sit in the waiting room and make small talk, we are then shown don’t to the
course room, where we find a semicircle of chair to sit on, the physio explains that we can sit / stand / move which ever works.

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We all inevitably look at each other sussing each other out – theres the quiet ones – the bloke who makes the dry jokes (we get on funnily enough),  the massively positive people and those who are there not hoping for much ….me?  I’m not sure where I am at this stage.

The first session is general intros etc and most importantly our coffee order is taken!
10.45-11.15 coffee break.


11.15 – Introduction to exercise


(we moved to some chair in the gym)– we talk about expectations, thoughts and feeling relating to starting exercise in the gym. The talk brings up words like “worry/fear/anxiety etc” and one or two say determined and excited – but the overwhelming wave is anxiety / fear of pain related.

We are then asked to do some leg extensions (sitting in chair – feet on the floor – bring
leg up to straight and back down). Well this I CAN do.

The physio then announces we have done some exercise in the gym and we all survived! she wasn’t wrong … The next task was to see how many times we could do Sit- stands (i.e. stand up from chair no hands), she says if need be we can use a plinth …. I sit there thinking like THE stupidest person on the planet – what the fek is a plinth and do I need one ????? so I ask.. apparently, it’s a bed …in physio talk….
Well of course I can?… stand up and sit down … easy peezy …..
                                                                                    NOPE
not a single one, I try … and try again…. And start giggling like a right twit, making grunting noises like a hippo birthing a beachball! Turns out I need a fekking PLINTH after all.


12.00 to 12.30 Introduction to Gym


We are shown how to use the equipment including the recumbent
bicycle the stretchy bands and the wobble boards. Wobble boards – I didn’t have high hopes for this to start with but as I’m walking over the male physio (Mr Blue eyes) says,  “lets go for the easy one” GREAT START lol. So he shows me the board, it’s a square board that can either wobble left and right or back to front depending on the orientation.

 

We start from left to right and what a EPIC fail….. oh my god – seriously it was funny how shit I was – my misfiring muscles in the legs caused me to have, what looked like seizure like activity in my legs – if I wasn’t holding on to the bars for dear life I would have been on my arse lol – That said when we turned it to rock backwards and forwards it was much easier and even appeared in control of the situation. Both of these probably took less than 5 minutes total yet once finished my legs were like jelly – I was exhausted – mentally I found this quite hard to process as ..come on 5 minutes of standing up !! and I was done …. But hey it’s a baby step right??

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We finish off with a meditation – mindfulness meditation which I think I will talk about next time – its not something that I ever rated or even considered to be anything other than baloney, so this has its own challenges. BUT I am trying to be open minded and give this a real go – so here goes nothing. 


DAY ONE DONE


I get the buss back to my BnB where the lovely owners have put my bags in my
room, I get in – video call the kids and G, set up the iPad to watch something then wake up at 9pm….. so
I have some meds and a yoghurt and go to bed ready for day 2 !