Event Planning

Events terrify me these days. They terrify me not because I am socially awkward, though I can be slightly awkward at times because My Myeloma led to my almost sobriety. Events terrify me because they come with so much baggage. The baggage usually comes from my puny brain, and mostly stems from a belief I have that people, that’s right the broad brush stroke of people, do not full understand myeloma and think that it and by connection, me, are a pain in one’s arse.

Will my energy last? Will somebody who does not know about myeloma, or is just plain ignorant, put me in some sort of headlock and yank my neck down? Will a drunk person bash into my back causing it to fracture? Will my back fracture by itself? Will I cause a scene? Will I spend the entire time wanting and needing my bed? Will I have any fun at all? Will people understand that I cannot have fun like I used to? How will I get to my bed? What will happen if I have bowel issues?

Three or four or all of these thoughts tend to pass through my head prior to any scheduled event. They did prior to my relapse, so in the time hence, said fears have only increased.

There are times when I cannot go to events. It has taken nearly two years for me to fully admit this to myself, but it is the sad truth. There are just some events where the value of pain and fatigue crush the chance of whatever fun I may have, and in turn, ever so occasionally, I will let people down by my absence. And yes, I value myself enough to believe that my absence would feature on people’s radar. It’s never an excuse.

A few weeks ago, 12 days ago to be precise, I had to attend an event. Not just any event, a wedding. Not a wedding located in taxi distance from my flat, a wedding near Halifax, Yorkshire. Due to some well documented issues with my back and the acceptance mentioned in the paragraph above, I was unable to attend the hen do.

I have been to a wedding with myeloma in my body. I have also declined two other wedding invitations because the myeloma forbid it. At the wedding I attended, I was a bridesmaid, but there was no fear attached to that event because I was surrounded by a family who know too much about myeloma, so I knew that my limitations had been thought of. My family was also invited to said wedding, so they were around in the evening to mind me. Mind me they did, but not before a drunken fool made my spine go into spasm. The wedding was also located a mere 8 miles from my second bed, which came in handy when I needed to lie down.

Anyway, I digress, back to the wedding in Halifax, away from these comforts. I was advised by a Medically Trained Person not to attend. It was some advice that I paid absolutely no attention to at all. Instead, I set my mind to attending, and put a personal delivery plan into motion, to ensure my success. Sod the bride and groom, it became about me getting through the day. Well, it became a little bit about that, it was still their special day.

I had a week of resting to preserve energy and one day of not leaving the flat at all, lying flat, on the wedding eve. I changed the days I was supposed to take my steroids to avoid any chance of a crash, and I also used those bastards to assist with my staying power (something I did as a bridesmaid too). I also took cereal bars, lots and lots of cereal bars and lollipops, should I, at any time feel like I was about to crash. And still, there continued to be some mild fretting over my usual event related insecurities.

The point of this blog is to say that all that worry, all my worry was redundant. I might even go as far as to say that it was unnecessary. I have long worried that my friends do not understand myeloma and that within that, they do not have the patience for it. The patience for me. It is a long running theme in my counselling sessions. The wedding was on a Saturday and by the Sunday night I had this strange feeling of love and gratitude in my stomach. Almost shamefully, I was beyond pleasantly surprised.

There was a group of about 15 people at the wedding, who I felt were on hand to make my life easier. Actually, my description is incorrect, because I did not feel like me having myeloma was a big deal or a chore or a nuisance (apart from when it came to getting to the car at 01:00hrs, and even then, I was assured that I was none of these things). Some how, it subtly blended into the background, bar my profuse sweating, and I was able to last the entire day just like them.

If you are wondering what the hell I am going on about, let me enlighten you.

• The day before the wedding, a friend came round to paint my toenails because I cannot.

• I did not need to think about any mode of transport, I was driven to and from Halifax riding shot gun.I was also driven to and from the wedding venues, totalling four journeys, with four different sets of people.

• I was allocated a place to lie down, should I (and I did) need it during the day.

• A friend noticed my profuse sweating, and gave me a cooling wipe.

• I was given a means to return to my hotel at any time, should I (and I did not) need it.

• A friend convinced a stranger to drive up a long steep hill at 01:30hrs in a pick up truck to collect me because my lift to the hotel could not get up the hill and the booked taxi refused to.

• The bride kindly excused me from my pre wedding commitment to make jam, because she knew I would struggle to stand and bend at my hob.

So you see, the moral of the story is this: My Support Network do get it, it is not just a select few who understand my plight, and when done correctly, I can pluck a good 12 hours worth of energy from somewhere. Oh, and my friends do sometimes make me feel warm and gooey inside. And I looked nice.

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EJB x

P.S. I slept for 14.5 hours the day after the wedding. It was grand.

Crash Course

“No way!” I said.

“Yes way.” answered Mickey McGuire. “I do this all the time.”  We were on weekend leave from Fort Lee’s Aerial Delivery and Maintenance School where the army was teaching us to be parachute riggers. We were both wearing civilian clothes, sport coats, slacks and ties. I shrugged and followed him as we joined groups of people weaving their way into an Elk’s Lodge. A man at the door smiled at us.

“Bride or groom?” he asked.

“Groom.” said Mickey.

“Bride,” I said simultaneously. The guy at the door looked from me to Mickey and back again before handing Mickey a red carnation and me a white one. We stepped inside. We were crashing a wedding reception. Mickey had found the announcement in the local paper and convinced me to go along. He explained that there would be free food, booze, and girls who would be very romantically inclined due to the occasion. I figured we’d stand out like Asians on a basketball court but in fact we blended right in. I headed over to a table where I spied rows of cups with shrimp and little bowls of cocktail sauce. “I love shrimp!” I said.

“Okay, here’s the basics. Bride’s name is Ellie, the groom is Brad. She just graduated from Hollins College and Brad works for his father at a marketing research firm. The announcement said they were tying the knot after a short engagement, which probably means Brad got her pregnant at her commencement party. Are you paying attention here?” asked Mickey.

“I really want some of that shrimp.” I said.

Mickey went to the bar, dodging through small groups of conversations. He spoke to the bartender who smiled and then reached for a glass and poured four fingers of Johnny Walker Red into it. Mickey picked it up and nodded his thanks to the barkeep. He sidled up to four ladies who were talking and laughing. That crazy Mickey. I was stuffing a shrimp in my mouth when a guy about sixty threw and arm over my shoulder and started explaining why I should choose investment banking as a career.  ”Actually,” I told him, “I’m already in real estate.”  The guy said that could be a cutthroat business and I said “yeah, lots of battles in my business.” He told me I got that right and shuffled off to organize someone else’s life. I was going to go join Mickey –who had apparently hit it off with the ladies but I was waylaid by a middle aged woman. She looked forty-ish, not unattractive, rounding at the edges a little. She was wearing a low cut party dress that accentuated her positives quite nicely. Her breath and watery eyes told me she’d been celebrating a while.

“Where do you know Ellie from?” she asked, pointing to the white carnation I had pinned to my lapel. “I see you’re a guest of hers. Doesn’t she look magnificent!”

“Just gorgeous.” I replied. “We were engaged before she met him,” I sighed. She looked at me suspiciously. “It was hard, having to pretend I didn’t know her. You know, the whole thing between our families the way it was.” The suspicious looked faded.

“I imagine it was hard for you.” she said. “I’m Dana Clark, by the way.”

“Damian Sawpucker,” I replied and held out my hand. She shook it daintily and gave me a smile. She winked. Really.

“Come dance with me, Damian.” she said pulling me towards the dance floor. They were playing something slow and I resorted to the box step. Or what I thought was a box step. I’d never learned to dance but I faked it while we chatted. After a minute or so Dana told me I danced divinely, another major clue she was drunk. She maneuvered me over to where the bride and groom were standing with another pair of couples and pushed me in front of her and spoke to the bride. “Look who I’ve got here, Ellie!” The bride looked a bit confused. Dana leaned over my shoulder from behind and stage whispered “He just wants you to be happy. Isn’t that precious!”

“Uh, hello.” I said to the bride. “Congratulations.” She smiled uncertainly, her eyes saying she was trying to place me. I was wondering what to say next and I’m sure Ellie was too but Dana whisked me back towards the dance floor. I looked back and the bride and groom were looking towards Dana and I. The groom was speaking and the bride was shaking her head. My attention was drawn back to Dana who was embracing me and swaying to the music played by a six piece band that seemed to mostly cover Muzak elevator tune titles. She let her hand slip down to my butt and gave it a squeeze.

“You’re very firm, Mr. Pawsucker.” she breathed.

“That’s, uh,  Sawpucker.” I said.

I was jolted by a slap on the back. ”Look at you man!” slurred Mickey. He looked at Dana. “I’m Ferdinand Magellan, surgeon.” he said.

“Oh! Are you a friend of Damian’s?” she asked. Mickey looked at me and started laughing.

“Damian? Holy crap.” Mickey started to lose his balance. I caught him. “Thanks,” he said. Then “Uh oh. Trouble at six o’clock.” I looked behind me and saw two fairly burly guys moving through the clots of people towards us. Their eyes fixed on Mickey and me. I turned to Mickey and discovered him gone.

“Mickey?…”

I spun around looking for him and then saw him a few feet away hopping up onto the raised band platform.

“Oh, God.” I said.

“Attention everybody!” Mickey shouted. “Hey, listen up!” The murmuring of the crowd fell away and the band stopped playing. All eyes went to Mickey. “Hey, I just wanna thank everybody for coming here tonight to send these two crazy kids off on their new lives together. And their honeymoon. Eh? Eh?” A chuckle moved through the guests who were now fully focused on Mickey. “It seems like it was just a short time ago that I met these guys and they’ve come to mean so much to me. Wow, time really flies. And the changes! Holy cow have things changed.  The big guy there –lookin’ good, stud!  He was hot stuff at high school. Always finding him with some hottie in the backseat of the car, under the high school bleachers, in the office stock room. Right? Am I right? You devil you! And the beautiful bride. Who knew she was gonna get a hookup with such a successful guy. Thank god there’s room at the top at dad’s company for Brad, right sweetie?” Mickey smiled sweetly.  I always knew she’s snag herself a good one. No matter what I had faith in her even when everyone else –well, never mind. That’s all in the past now isn’t it honey?” Mickey took a few steps back and whispered to the piano player, who gave a nod and then hopped off his bench and moved to stand behind the drummer. “Now, I’m dedicating this to the beautiful bride, and I know you’ll all join me when I say…” Mickey started banging the keys.

You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain, a girl like you drive a man insane. You broke my will, what a thrill. Goodness gracious great balls of fire!” Mickey actually was pretty good at the piano and pretty quick the rest of the band joined in to the Bill Haley classic. At each bridge Mickey would stop singing and point to the crowd who’d yell ‘Goodness Gracious Great Balls Of Fire‘ in refrain. Mickey was into it, standing up and swiveling his hips, thrusting his pelvis and using the heel of his right shoe to hit high notes on the keyboard just like Bill Haley used to.  The two bouncers were having a tough time pressing through the crowd because its had tightened against the stage,  but they were still headed our way and looking pretty unhappy. As the song came to an end I was working my way to a side exit. Mickey yelled “Thank you everybody! Thank you very much!” and jumped off the side of the stage and together we ran out the door while the audience applauded and whistled.

Of course, Mickey was wasted and he fell down three times before we got to the street and headed across and around the block to where we’d parked.  At the car we dove in the doors and Mickey started it and patched out just as the two grim looking bouncers rounded the corner. They knew we were gone and they both stopped, bent over and resting their hands on their knees as they panted trying to catch their breath.

Twenty minutes later we passed through the gate at Fort Lee, the guard waving us through without stopping us when they saw the base sticker on the corner of the windshield. Back in the barracks I started giving Mickey a hard time. “You know, I only got a single shrimp cocktail, and not even a whole one. And I didn’t even get a drink.”

“That’s okay. The bartender cut me off after my third double. A course, I could go for another drink right about now…” said my friend. “Whattaya say?”

“Yeah, well,  I could go for a drink.” Mickey smiled and picked up the newspaper and turned to the society page.

 

Cottoning on

I would like to say that this post was about a marvellous piece of sewing, but it’s not. In fact I have sold my old machine on eBay and it is being collected over the weekend. 

I would like to say I have knitted a wonderful cotton top, but the knitting is still sitting in a bag under the coffee table, untouched for quite some time.

It isn’t even about a cotton-tailed rabbit, which is just as well as Toni would have put paid to it by now. 

No today is our cotton wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary darling, your cotton socks are in the post. 


Bag of revels

Life is like a bag of revels, just when you think you’ve sussed out the toffee you find yourself biting into a creme (or in my case a coconut) one. Yuk! Yes I’m old enough to remember when there was a coconut in there rather than the equally despised coffee. Little did we think when we got married, a year ago today, that we would be two guests down having mis-placed Sharon and now Paula (the rest of you better watch out I reckon).
The tributes to Paula have been done so much better by Sandy and Phil to name just two of her friends from across the pond. Instead I’m going to do a bag of revels, facts about Paula tribute. You’ll have to decide yourselves which, if any, are the dreaded coconut.

Paula hated my courgettes with a passion. It was so bad she wouldn’t even have them in her house. The poor things travelled all the way there just to be discarded.

Paula liked to listen to her music in the car at very high volume which meant every time B. got in the car after her he would find his eardrums practically bleeding.

Paula’s favourite film was Predator closely followed by anything that would give a sane person nightmares and Steven Seagal action movies.

Paula used to go to work in a dress and Dr Martens and her friend Chris who she worked with often had to tell her to keep her giggling down as the senior partners could hear her upstairs.

Paula’s favourite group was Metallica (hence B.’s bleeding eardrums) and she loved Alice Cooper, Bowling for Soup, Def Leppard and generally “noisy” music (or should that be noisy “music”.)

Paula had always planned to marry a 6′ 5″ blond builder, but to quote B. himself, she married him instead. Having said that, B. wanted to marry a page 3 girl and got Paula instead, so it was a fair exchange.

Paula had a wicked sense of humour and I mean just plan mean. She would send Chris, who knows nothing of knitting or crochet, to get her wool. Now Paula knew that Chris knew nothing and would send her knowing she would be asked questions such as “DK or baby?” “What gauge needle is it for?” “What’s the tension?” Poor Chris would plead with Paula not to send her, but Paula showed her no mercy.

Paula was stubborn. Auntie Anne recalls Paula’s mom taking her to get her hair cut and Paula stubbornly refusing to have it done. It was cut in the end, but Paula just sat at the table and screamed for a long time after.

Paula would always order something different from the take away menu. While B. like me stuck to the same thing, Paula would flit from dish to dish like a gastronomic butterfly.

Paula has left a big hole in so many people’s lives, but she wouldn’t want us to dwell on what we have lost, but what we gained from knowing her.

The beautiful wedding present Paula made for us.

So we will raise a glass to Paula and Sharon tonight as we celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I’m just annoyed I didn’t get the crocheted bed spread I was promised.

Wonderful Wedding

Thank you all for your very best wishes, we had an absolutely wonderful, fantastic, special day. I promised we would share our photos with you all so here is the link to our album on Photobucket:

Wedding Album

Or Flickr here:

Wedding Album

I only wish I could post the joy we felt to be sharing our special day with people who mean the world to us both, especially those who’s journeys were long. As always seems to be the way, there were some who couldn’t make it, they were missed. Special thanks to Dr SB, who only stayed for a short while, I think he came to make sure Mike wasn’t over doing it.

It’s the final countdown.

Dress, check.
Shoes, check.
Undies, check.
Jewellery, check.
Suit, check.
Shirt and tie, check.
Rings, check.
Catering organised.
Money for licence in envelope.
Flowers in buckets in garage ready for making bouquet tomorrow. Yes that’s right, I’m making my own bouquet, well it can’t be that hard and I did spend 2 weeks a few years ago helping out in a florist’s over a busy period that had both Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day in it.

It’s a shame all our loyal followers can’t be here with us tomorrow. We promise we will upload the photos just as soon as we get chance. I’ve already made sure that the album I created on Photobucket is open for you all to view (I know there maybe better sites, but I already had an account with them, I am open to suggestions if there is somewhere much better.)
8.30 p.m. update:One poorly friend calling to say she and hubby are coming down from Liverpool, despite doctor’s orders, check.Bucket load of tears and phone handed over to Mike, check.
I am so ecstatically happy.