Now I’ve completed my Seven Hills project, I have decided to keep up the walking momentum and to attempt a hill every weekend that the weather is fine. I wouldn’t say that today was fine – while the rest of the UK seems to be enjoying a second summer, we are gloomily swathed in what in these parts is known as haar – but it is still reasonable walking weather. Our friend Mule is visiting, and we set off with him for North Berwick Law. You may remember that I mentioned the Law in a previous post. Before the stroke, it was a hill I would just shimmy up in a pair of sandals. Not anymore. . .
You see me here at the moment just before things are about to get tricky, gait wise. There isn’t much strength or stability in that left leg, and putting all my weight on my knee and quad while I swing the right one through is really bloody difficult. Last week I noticed that I got up Arthur’s Seat in a curious one-sided manner, using my right leg every time I had to make a big, upward step, and only using the left to make tiny adjustments with my balance. This is no good – things have to work reciprocally – so this time I tried my hardest to make the left leg do its share on the ascent. The poles help out enormously, as you can see, but the leg is so damned weak and unstable that it is incredibly hard work. After what seemed like an aeon of Sharapova-like huffing and puffing, I made it to the top.
Bruce sported his inside-out-ear look on the windy summit. . .
. . . and the camera batteries ran out before we could get a photo of Mule. Bah.
Things were pretty rotten going down – probably because of all the extra effort my left leg had undergone, it began to judder uncontrollably, and I made it back to the bottom of the Law in a sort of drunken stagger. Still, I’m sure these things will pay off in the end – I genuinely do feel stronger with every hill I climb.
You may be interested to hear how things are with my recovery in general. The fatigue is still an absolute killer – I’ve been keeping track, I and reckon that I lose on average one-and-a-half to two days a week to it. I also find things like walking in town, medical appointments, or just being around friends a terrible drain on my resources because of the immense concentration that coping with different kinds of auditory input, or simply maintaining a normal conversation, apparently requires. This really is one of the most annoying aspects of my current predicament – I do not know if the fatigue and these other residual effects of my brain injury are permanent or will go away in time. I did, however, discuss this with my neurologist last week and he told me, with a candour that I appreciated, that while I might continue to see physical improvements, because of the nature of my brain injury, I was probably never going to feel well again. I suppose I just have to get used to this, get on with things, and try to make some decisions about how my limited resources of energy and concentration can, at the moment, be best put to use.
In other news
Thanks so much for your kind comments on Deco, which it gave me a good ol’ boost to read, and has spurred me on to the number-crunching part of designing / pattern writing. The dress with boats on it is indeed an Orla Kiely from last season’s collection. I don’t mind admitting that at certain times of year I am prone to frantic stalking of her site in anticipation of the words ‘final reductions’ and the hope of scoring a dress in my size. This year I got lucky. (the boat dress is no.4 in the Vogue lineup). I have to say that it is nice to put on a fun frock once in a while – when I turned my wardrobe around a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in possession of a host of Winter clothes that are either entirely unwearable, or completely unsuitable for my present activities. Who knew that I possessed so many suits and pencil skirts in which it is now impossible to move about? A lot of space also seems to be taken up by shoes in which I doubt I shall ever walk again. Some sort of radical wardrobe rethink seems in order . . .