As the Game of Thrones characters have predicted for the last five series; winter is coming! To be fair it has actually arrived but that is a less catchy title. Winter and I are not on good terms so I thought I should tell you why…
I was born in April so the warmer sunnier days are always more to my liking. Therefore, it stands to reason that when the clocks go back and the temperatures start to drop I start counting down the days until Spring arrives.
The cold and I have never been friends mainly because with it comes the additional aches and pains of creaking joints. This is typical and something that had been the norm for me for as long as I can remember but this year these aches and pains are at a new level. Around this time last year, after numerous tests x-rays, MRI scans and doctors appointments, I found out that my clicking right knee and quite sore hip was in fact osteoarthritis in my hip which would need to be replaced in the near future. My left one probably would need to be done fairly soon afterwards. This is apparently really common for people with pseudoachondroplasia, which is something I only found out after getting the hip diagnosis. I don’t know a huge amount about the ins and outs of my condition as I decided to just get on with it and tackle whatever happens, when it happens, rather than get bogged down in medical detail. That being said, when I got the hip hop diagnosis I needed info and happened to find Ruby’s blog Life With Pseudoachondroplasia which explained a lot to me. This is well worth a read if you’re interested in the more detail specific explanation of how pseudoachondroplasia affects the body.
Since the hip was diagnosed, I’ve been having fairly regular check ups with a surgeon and we are keeping an eye on it. We are trying to stretch out the amount of time I can keep my own bones for as long as possible before they need to chop me up and implant a bespoke titanium joint. However, whilst I wait, the cold makes everything feel more painful so keeping on top of my drugs like a conscientious addict has become the new addition to my daily to-do list. Keeping warm and not sitting in one position for too long is necessary and I’m making sure I don’t do things like kneeling or sitting with my legs dangling as this makes it worse.
All these hip shenanigans has made me acutely aware of my body and what I’m doing with it. As just mentioned, I now can’t kneel or sit with my legs dangling without it resulting in some serious soreness, which is a huge shift for me. It sounds silly but kneeling was my thing! When you are someone of the short variety and can’t stand for any length of time, having a quick kneel whilst you wait for something or someone helped with the impending backache whilst standing. Now I can’t do that I’ve had to make some other changes. Luckily for me, just before I got the hip diagnosis I had embarked on a weight loss extravaganza and have lost two and a half stone which has really helped with my mobility and ability to stand and walk for longer periods. It’s just a shame the hip is ruining that; God really does work in mysterious ways sometimes. That being said, as I’m now a little smaller I have to say I feel a lot less like the Michelin man when wearing jumpers and coats so that is now one bit of winter I don’t mind so much!
The weight loss has helped my mobility hugely and has been achieved by some regular swimming and a change of eating habits but here’s where winter comes to bite me on the bum. As I write this it is 5:30pm, pitch black outside and freezing. The motivation to leave the house, drive to the pool, get wet and drive home is as close to zero as it can get. How does anyone ever get the inspiration to carry on in these dark months? Bring back the lighter evenings and I’ll jump into the car no problem! And as for the healthy eating, pass the stodge as these dark and cold nights need comforting.
When it comes to winter there is one huge dark cloud that overshadows everything and that is my ingrained fear of the impending possibility of snow. This sounds incredibly dramatic but the fear is real! Although when I was younger the likelihood of snow was limited at best, due to global warming we now have the prospect of a heavy load being dumped on us overnight most years. Yes, I know it looks pretty when you wake up and see all the houses covered in the white powdery stuff and I can almost appreciate the opportunity to go sledging down a steep hill is one not to be missed.
Not so much when you are three foot seven and use a wheelchair to get anywhere of any distance. You see the thing is, snow is really hard to walk on when you’re that short. Just two years ago the snow was so deep it came over my knees when walking to my car! It’s also really hard to defrost your car when you can barely reach the bottom of the window when standing next to it. Luckily my car has a heated windscreen and tough windscreen wipers to clear away any extra, unwanted snow. One year when driving to work, after having to brake at a set of traffic lights a huge chunk of the white stuff which had been spending it’s time travelling down the A34 to Oxford with me decided to continue it’s journey forward down onto my windscreen! Cue a real damsel-in-distress moment. Luckily, a knight in shining armour came to my rescue in the form of a young guy, who was kind enough to scrape it away with his hand.
Snow also turns to sludge, which also turns to ice. Ice and sludge that an electric wheelchair finds impossible to travel on and through. Travelling down a path even if it’s been cleared can at any point result in spinning around in a circle and a chance of slip sliding uncontrollably. So as you can see the white stuff does not bring any fun and excited feelings for me, just pure unadulterated dread!
As regular readers will know, I’m the original little independent woman strutting to Beyonce in my head, so when using my chair, walking to my car and even using my car is affected by a form of weather it gets put at the very bottom of my friends list.
Winter is not my friend. We don’t meet up for drinks at the weekend and we don’t check in with each other on WhatsApp. Winter won’t be coming to my birthday party and it definitely isn’t on my Christmas card list. In fact, after all this I’ve decided to hibernate… I’ll see you in March just in time for the more accommodating weather to begin. x