*my husbands account*
We are looking after my mother and father this weekend due to extensive modernisation work being carried out on their house. The work is getting my mother down because father keeps asking when the work will be completed ( Alzheimer sufferer ) and it's only week one of five, don't know how she will cope with another four weeks of it. I'm trying to plan some way around this problem because I can see what it's doing to both of them, although father says he's not stressed about it, it's certainly stressing mother!
So I thought a break away from it all would help mother recharge her batteries for the inevitable hassles to follow. I moved them to our house for the weekend to keep a watch over them and arranged another trip to the seaside on Sunday before returning them home on Sunday night. The forecast was better than on our last trip, which if you missed you can catch up on the attached link. http://www.youranswerswithin.com/2/post/2010/07/a-day-at-the-sea.html One of fathers favourite haunts is the small seaside resort of Rhyl on the north Welsh Coast where we all enjoyed family holidays many years ago.
To add a little interest for Julie and myself, on the return journey, I planned a detour along the coast before heading inland to the small village of Llanberis which is situated in some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the Snowdonia National Park and then a visit to " Dolbadarn Castle " which over looks two beautiful mountain lakes.
Sunday morning dawned and up at seven o'clock to administer the first round of Julies medication, (normally get up at six o'clock but feeling all washed out due to the stress of dealing with my parents and a health concern with our youngest son). Some new supplements to issue , "Vitamin C powder " to add to immunopro Rx some 15 minutes after the first round, breakfast to follow 20 to 30 mins after this and a further 8 supplements; military precision required here and all before Julie gets out of bed.
Right that's Julie dealt with, now to turn my attention to preparing the picnic whilst at the same time preparing breakfast for mother and father. Carve the chicken, which I cooked the evening before to save a little time, cut and butter the bread rolls, wash the tomatoes, spring onions and celery, drinks and all done by 8.30am just have to wait for Julie now; the unknown factor when planning a day out. But by 10 am everything is packed into the car: Julie, Mom, Dad and the picnic don't think I've forgotten anything, set the Sat Nav and on our way E.T.A. 12.30pm.
I decided to opt for the scenic route, 25 minutes longer but time was not an issue, this was a mistake far too many twists and turns which unfortunately made Julie feel sick on more then one occasion. At least the weather was good and getting better as we progressed. We were on schedule when, yes it just had to happen, traffic came to a sudden standstill. Looked like a major accident, not to worry I thought, my trusty Sat Nav will sort it out.
The directions just didn't feel right but I obediently followed my instructions to the full. However, the Sat Nav had directed me on top of the A5 with a long traffic jam beneath. Turn around as soon as I can was my next thought when all of a sudden a 4 wheel drive vehicle was blocking my way. My first thought was he's followed me and is also lost. He made no attempt to move and then wound his window down. "Can I help you", he beamed, "this is private property". I apologised and explained about the accident. He smiled briefly, as if satisfied with my answer, and reluctantly removed his vehicle and allowed me through.
We were once again on our way. We arrived some 35 minutes later then planned due to the diversion and quickly found suitable parking near the seafront. On our previous day out I made the mistake of taking the picnic to the beach which my father thought was " not a good idea " check out the above link. So I decided today I would serve up refreshments in the car. This was a much better idea and avoided the previous problems encountered - felt a little like an air steward serving on a aeroplane, " more drinks anyone ". All fed and watered we ventured out of the car to explore a very sunny Rhyl.
I knew from previous experiences that we wouldn't be going far with Julie's condition and this proved to be correct, some five or six minutes later "I need to sit down" Julie said, " I can't go any further ". Well that was better than I thought we would achieve so I was pleased. "Leave me here and you go for a walk with mom and dad " Julie insisted "I'll sit here on this bench and enjoy the sun".
So we left Julie on the bench resting and we walked to the beach, " will Julie be alright by herself " father asked I replied, "well she's not going to go far is she? ". We were away for about 20 minutes and returned to find Julie had moved a short distance to get into the shade. I have noticed with Julie recently that she has problems regulating her body temperature and can quickly become very hot or very cold in a short period of time, another symptom of CFS / ME I suppose.
We had a very slow walk back towards the car and set the Sat Nav for Llanberis and off along the coast road passing row upon row of caravans set out in a regimented formation to our right with some beautiful views of the mountains in the distance to our left. We made our way to our destination. Llanberis is situated on the lower slopes of Snowdon, the highest peak in England and Wales.
We arrived on the car park opposite Dolbadarn Castle, situated on a rocky hillock some 80 feet above Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris two lovely mountain lakes. The castle dates back to the 13 century and was constructed by "Llewellyn the Great " to protect the route from the lowlands.
I so wanted to Julie to get to the castle to take in the outstanding views looking over the lake and over towards the Snowdon massif in the near distance. I knew it was going to be difficult but I was determined to get Julie there to enjoy the views. You may think I was being selfish in trying to push her to the limits to get her there but you have to battle to beat this chronic illness and this was just another battle to be fought and won.
It is only a very short walk from the car park , over the road, cross over a small bridge with a beautiful mountain stream of crystal clear waters, and gradually uphill towards the castle. Mother and father both in their 80's managed it without too much difficulty but it was a very different story for Julie.
Very slowly arms interlocked, step by step we made our way upwards, finding it more and more difficult with every step as if burdened with a great weight on her shoulders we crept upwards towards our goal. It took a full 20 minutes to reach the sunshine shining through the trees which was protecting the castle from our view, under normal circumstances you could do it in no more than 5 minutes but this was not normal circumstances.
I knew it was going to be difficult, but what do you do, give in to CFS/ME and let it rule and ruin your life or make a monumental effort to try and defeat it. Thankfully Julie's character is strong by nature and it needs to be to help fight and conquer this chronic illness and I'm sure it will be tested to the full in the future. Julie rested on the remains of the walls at the foot of the castle and took in what can only be described as breathtaking views of the surrounding lakes and the Snowdon Massif while I took many photographs and mother and father explored their surroundings.
Some 20 minutes later and suitably rested it was time to return to the car, Mother and father led the way down and during the short decent Julie had to stop to rest. The mind was willing but her body was playing cruel tricks on her, legs like lead she could go no further, we stopped on a few steps and Julie wept on my shoulder, her body unable to respond to her commands. At this point I was feeling dispirited blaming myself for pushing her too hard and bringing this upon her but with true grit and determination she pushed forward and we made our way back down to the car park.
It may have been only 80 feet high but Julie had to summon great courage and determination to conquer this personnel challenge. She showed more character in meeting this challenge than when we had previously reached the 3,500 foot summit of the nearby Snowdon. My hero , my inspiration, my Julie.
I hope other CFS/ ME sufferers can also draw some inspiration from this article and gently push their own limits, you haven't got to stop living and accept things as they are, there are still things to do and achieve no matter how small or how difficult. Never forget that feeling of achievement when you conquer your own goals, step by step it will help you on your own long journeys to recovery.
I thought I would leave you with a couple of my favourite quotes.
The more difficulties one has to encounter, within and without, the more significant and the higher in inspiration his life will be.
It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly.
For all who read my blog, It would be amazing if you could forward my link http://dld.bz/mBZq to as many people as you know (twitter/facebook/your email list etc). You will then be doing your own bit for ME/CFS awareness and spreading the word to people who one day might just need it! x