The Adventures of Anna Jones – One Happy Camper!

To say you are going camping when you’re not very well is probably a tad ridiculous. For someone who’s internal thermostat is most definitely broken to decide that sleeping outside in a tent with nothing but a sleeping bag to keep them warm seems rather silly. Add to that the fact that light and sound can and do induce pain, malaise and nausea, well it just doesn’t sound like a good idea at all does it?

Yet I did it anyway! 
My parents and Mr Tree Surgeon took me up to East Yorkshire for the weekend in the hope that we might spot some nesting sea birds in the cliffs at Bempton. 
Slightly larger than your average two man tent…
You may already know that car journeys are tricky for me, as they are for so many M.E. sufferers. It isn’t just travel sickness that we have to contend with. The stuffy car, the upright seats, the struggle to process the images that blur past the car window, the being unable to have your legs up to avoid feeling faint, the unexpected delays if you hit traffic… It don’t think I’ll ever be able to accurately convey how it feels for me. And yet sometimes I manage just fine! Truth be told I haven’t even considered the journey; I was concentrating solely on the staying in a tent bit! 
After two and half hours in the car we all arrived at the camp site safe and sound. I perched myself on my mobility scooter and watched as the tents were put and secured. I elected myself Chief of Guy Ropes and shuffled my way around securing them into the ground. As strength is not my forte anymore Mr Tree Surgeon did have to follow me round double checking my work.
Even when you can’t walk far, you must at least
look the part and wear walking shoes!
Home for the weekend
We were camping with family friends and they were kind enough to lend me one of their fishing bed chairs because the consensus was that my poorly self would not manage a wink of sleep if I was laying on the cold ground with just a roll mat or two for comfort. This bed chair was SO comfy and both nights I slept incredibly well in my shiny new all-purpose sleeping bag. Mr Tree Surgeon was happy enough to slum it on the floor next to me. 
Ominous grey clouds but we avoided the worst of the weather

For some reason it hadn’t entered my mind that there might be other campers around. I had it in my head that we could pitch up wherever we liked and even I would be able to walk the short distance to the toilets and shower block. Bless me! In actual fact it was jam-packed and I had to use the car each time I needed a wee. I didn’t care what the other campers might think of this until the last morning when, struggling to walk after just waking up, I shuffled from the car to the toilet only for one woman to openly laugh at me right in my face. I wasn’t awake enough to explain myself and had to settle for her assuming I was lazy and/or drunk at 8 o’clock in the morning. 
Poorly person essentials

The mobility scooter paid for itself over the course of the weekend. For the first time in almost six years I didn’t have to stay behind while everyone went off for a walk. I managed to scoot across bumpy fields right up to the coastal path that allowed you to get the best view of the nesting birds. Everyone helped me clamber over the style and then Mr Walking Stick and I joined everyone for a ‘short’ walk, flanked on all sides in case I took a tumble and fell off the cliff!!! 

PUFFINS!
My poorly, exhausted legs got me maybe
200 metres along this path to see the birds
I obviously didn’t manage all of the walk but it was undoubtedly the longest, loveliest walk I’ve had in years and years. Everyone was over the moon for me! Not only had I managed to sleep in a tent, I had been able to come along and get some fresh air and stretch my legs. For my parents to see that… It really hit home when my dad commented on how not so long ago I had been unable to walk to the toilet from my dining room bed. What a difference a few years have made. 
Fluffy chicks!

Mr Tree Surgeon and I then mobility scooted back to the car and he drove me round to meet the others at the end of their walk at the RSPB Bempton visitors centre. We had a scoot around there too and I may have had a little happy cry when I looked back to see how far the scooter had allowed me to get. Never would I have managed such a walk. 

RSPB Bempton Cliffs

When it was time to go home Mr Tree Surgeon and I attempted to set down our tent by ourselves, as a practice run for when/if we ever go camping by ourselves. I did it – with a rest in the middle and him doing the hard bits! So it’s looking good for future camping adventures. Another thing I never, ever dreamed I’d be able to do again. 

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