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I am 45 years old, Married to Sean for nearly 20 years and have 3 lovely children Hope is 16, Jack is 12 and Joe is 6.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Jolly Holidays?

Hi All.

Yet another absence but not so long this time! We have spent a lot of August away from home. Firstly on a two week family holiday in Northumberland, then after a short trip back to give the washer a hard time we were off to Austria for me to work for a couple of days, with the family in tow and the lovely Sean acting as baby sitter!! I think it was more like herding cats! So I hear many of you say, how wonderful to visit these places etc Yes it is and don't get me wrong we've visited some lovely places and had a fab time and I am very appreciative of this but.....ha, you knew it was coming didn't you?! This is probably going to sound like a big moan, it's not meant to. One of the reasons I started this blog is that it's cathartic for me, especially when I'm feeling angry, frustrated or upset about the situation I have found myself in. I have been wanting to write this post since coming home after trip No.1 of the summer. I know many people feel down and a bit depressed after returning from their 2 weeks in the sun, especially when having to return to work. Well my 'blues' are a little different.

I find it really tough to get going again and feel positive. When we go away I'm suddenly like a fish out of water. It really brings it home to me all over again how tough things are at times. I get lulled into a false sense of security when at home in my bungalow with my level access, ramp etc I can jump out of bed straight into my chair, sit down in the shower and NOT have balance myself plus shampoo and all that parphenalia around myself. Then only to knock the shower gel off creating a domino effect, bend down precariously on one leg bang my head on the soap dish, slip over bang it again and the rest of the family come rushing in at the crash to find me in an undignified heap! Not to mention doing this in a shower cubicle at a campsite after having waited half an hour for the end shower with the bench next to it so I can take my PJs off and not get them covered in mud. So yes it is manageable but at the same time frustrating and exhausting.

I forget how set up I am at home to 'manage' with things, like the high changing table for changing Joe's nappy as kneeling on the floor is possible except when having to get up again...holding a baby or that I can't even get him out/in a travel cot during the night when he's right next to me. I guess one of the things that's hard to accept is constantly having to ask for help which I HATE.

I know I can do so much but there's no disguising the fact there's so much I can't. When I'm in a known environment I know where to park to get close enough and don't have to worry that I can't drive a car like I do abroad (I find myself wishing it was my left leg??!!! Or even below knee when I'd be able to do so much more!!! Really.)

As those of you who read this who know me realise I am not the deck chair sitting holidaymaker by choice and would be doing every possible activity given the choice!

This year I was able, for the first time in 15 years, to paddle in the sea...with my children  Again a double edged sword. Wow, I loved it and have been looking forward to doing so for so long. But the reality is it's not doing it how I want to. Jumping the waves like a big kid and how I remember it. Now it's walking down there with a locked, stiff leg and hanging onto the hands of my 5 and 9 year old, a little worried about being knocked over by the force of the waves. Whilst trying to ignore the stares of those around me. Jack made me laugh though shouting 'Mum I love your Moody leg' (those of you who are Harry Potter fans will recall Mad Eye Moody and his false leg in the goblet of fire!) Part of me felt so sad. They were asking me if I was excited which unfortunately however hard I tried was tinged with such disappointment. Grieving I guess. People ask me how I came to terms with what happened to which I always reply 'you don't you learn to live with it'. Which I suppose it gradual and will never be 'easy'.

Getting wheelchair assistance at the big airports is the sensible option as through experience when you fly from the furthest gate from check-in whilst refereeing 3 children AND trying to explain to security why you're setting off all the alarms (bad enough in English never mind in another language!) leaves you good for nothing by the time you reach the other end. But the repeating of 'is it for you?' and looking me up and down numerous times always leaves me weighing up which type of stress is preferable to deal with!

None of this will stop me travelling, staying in new places and enjoying other cultures but this time on my return I'm finding it a little more difficult to pick myself, dust myself down and get going again. The reality, especially now with problems with my left leg, is being faced with making better choices about accommodation and other aspects of the trip. Sadly it often takes away the sponteneity and makes Vicki a dull girl! I don't suppose the longing of hiking up that mountain or joining Sean on the mountain bike trial will ever go away and accepting that it won't may in the long run be more healthy than thinking it will. So, now that's off my chest, away to plan the next trip! 


  1. Vicki- Aileen here,
    I really enjoyed your post and it soooo matched with my own experiences on holidays it was quite a relief to feel I'm not so alone with it (and of course I am in the enviable position of being a BKA - yes as weird as it sounds I understand the advantage I have!)
    You've really captured some of the essence of living with disability is like

  2. Yes Vicki, I agree you have captured the essence of living with a disability. You are such a brave lady and have achieved so much more than others have. I always forget about your disability, not because I don't care, but because you do not let it 'disable' you! You are an inspiration to so many people for so many reasons! Deirdre (Sign2Music) xx