Ladies and gentlemen this is what I’ve been building up to for four years.
I have finally (FINALLY!) managed to drive myself to meet friends for a coffee and then safely drive home again. Independently!!!
I’ve driven myself to the post office a few times, managed Operation Ice Cream and even managed to shuffle to the chocolate aisle in Sainsbury’s (The Sainsbury’s Experiment) by myself but this was the big one. I have been dreaming about this one for four years. You might even remember I’ve tried it a couple of times before with only disappointments and one almighty tantrum to show for it.
Driving myself into town takes only 3 minutes. I then had to find a parking space. The disabled spaces I’d been hoping were available were already taken. But I found a space just a little bit further away. Jackpot! I then walked by myself down the High Street. I did get a bit flustered about what would happen if my symptoms suddenly kicked up a gear but I had my medical ID bracelet on so I hoped that some kind soul would come to my rescue if I came over all ‘funny’. My parents were away and my brothers were out but Not-so-big Sis lives in town so she would have been my Emergency Contact had I needed one.
|Red Lion Square, Stamford, where I met my friend. Photo taken a few weeks ago when I went to the bank with my mum. Rock and roll!
I went to cash point. A cash point! Remember them? And I even remembered my PIN number – something even you ‘normals’ seem to struggle with! Spurred on by adrenaline and the excitement of being out independently I popped into Savers (love a bargain, me) on my way past to stock up on a few toiletries. Just like a normal person!!! I got the money out of my purse and handed it over JUST LIKE A NORMAL PERSON! Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it but I haven’t had to do that very much over the last few years and something as ordinary as paying for mouthwash and razors can actually be beyond me. I had almost forgotten that you have to hand over money to buy things. You can’t just have them. Silly I know, but my brain seems to forgotten such simple things. Such things are no longer saved in my subconscious.
So I met my friend and we wandered to The Cosy Club (such a good name) where we sat on comfy sofas and it wasn’t very busy. Two pluses! I didn’t have to walk to the bar to order my drink. My friend did all that for me. Thank you! We were joined by another friend and together we chatted and reminisced about our primary school days and caught up on each other’s lives for a good hour. Wonderful! I felt so touched that my friend reads my blog and actually quite proud of myself that you could tell from her understanding that she did so.
I wasn’t M.E. free. Of course I wasn’t. I never am. I could feel it in my legs even on my walk from the car. I had that poison-running-through-my-veins feeling that is perhaps one of the worst symptoms I get. My head felt a bit ‘tight’. And obviously the good old, ever-present fatigue and exhaustion came along for the ride. The day before I’ll admit that I was feeling quite pathetic that such a ‘small’ thing as going for coffee has become the biggest of deals. But on the day I felt incredibly proud of myself, before I’d even set off on my adventure. I wasn’t anxious or nervous anymore. I even looked as near to the Old Anna as I can get.
And the icing on the cake? That the day after I had a message from this friend just checking in to see if I was doing okay after the exertion of it all. I am so touched.
Time for a new goal!