It was my 60th birthday three weeks ago and I didn’t want a party. Not because I’m against parties, but I didn’t want the planning and self-inflicted fuss that go with them. Recovering, as I am, from Guillain-Barre Syndrome – and being an impatient perfectionist – it’s very difficult for me to give instructions to others and expect them to do things just-so. For example, for dinner parties the table settings must be lined up and equally spaced; glasses need to be placed perfectly; plates with patterns have to be the right way around; food served exactly the same on each plate; food cooked perfectly. Does it bother me that no-one ever noticed my attention to detail? Not in the slightest. It just made me happy and that was enough for me. I’m a pain in my own neck – I don’t inflict my madness on others, and I don’t expect them to be as mad as me.
Back to my birthday…
Two friends arranged TWO celebrations – a dinner on my birthday at home that they fully catered and a surprise party two days later at a restaurant – AND I ended up having SIX birthday cakes! Yes, six: one went into the freezer, three were donated, and two were eaten. I received six bouquets, two plants, sparking wine, and gifts that are all so special to me because they were chosen with my personal choice in mind. All I had to do at the celebrations was to be there and soak up the love around me. I am extremely lucky to have friends and family who love me so much.
To get me to the restaurant, my husband cooked up a story about meeting a customer for a casual lunch and he said that the customer had invited me too. It was a Saturday so I expected to see his wife too. Being the day that South Africa was to play Scotland in the Rugby World Cup, I had put on my Springbok supporters shirt in the morning. The only change I made before leaving the house was to put on sandals and make-up. As my husband wheeled me towards at the venue, I scanned the outdoor tables for our host. I didn’t see him but did see another friend, Henry. Instantly putting this down to coincidence, I carried on looking and was just about to say to my husband that we must be early when my eyes went back to Henry and my brain took in the long table under umbrellas, lots of balloons and the faces of my friends!
The penny finally dropped – this was a surprise party for me, my first one ever, and it was great! The food was excellent, and happy conversation bounced around. I had two delicious Mojitos and didn’t have to worry about driving home. This is a benefit of being in a wheelchair 😆. I was also not the only person there wearing a supporter’s shirt and the party wrapped up at about 4pm so that everyone could get home before the game started. In hindsight, ours must have been a very noisy table and I hope we didn’t spoil the afternoon for other patrons.
I’m very happy to say that my ability to walk is still steadily improving and I managed to walk up two ramps inside our house on Thursday, and one ramp outside. These are steep ramps, each being the equivalent of two steps high. Progress up the ramps, with my rollator, was very slow and strenuous but I managed all three. That my muscles complained severely the next day was to be expected and my OT has cautioned me to rather focus on one ramp a day for a week, two ramps the next week, etc. I’m limited to going up the ramps as the muscles aren’t strong enough for downhills YET, and steps – up or down – are not on the cards YET.
So, I reached a milestone birthday this month and took the next step to moving around without help. And the Springboks beat Scotland.