Wednesday 29 July 2020

In Sickness And In Health - Redux!

Hello, dear readers!

This week I thought I’d try something a little different.

This is partly due to a sparsity in subject matter, partly due to my usual blog day being overshadowed by yesterday’s 8th wedding anniversary, and mostly to do with drinking a little too much wine (and then a little more than that... and then a touch more) celebrating said anniversary.

So, in the interest of my aching head, and a fading ability to make any kind of sense, I thought I’d dig into the archives and present to you a previously written post, fully updated and checked for both spelling and grammar (he said, hopefully).

So, here we go, a blast from the past, delivered straight to your door. Everything from here on in is brand new and three years old.

In Sickness & In Health

The best laid plans of mice and men do often go awry, or so that great unknown ‘they’ say. ‘They’ might just have a point.

I can’t say that I’ve ever been that certain regarding the mice bit to be honest. I didn’t realise they were all that into planning, other than keeping a careful eye out for the cat and a more hopeful one peeled for unexpected cheese, but in my own case the last two weeks have seen a need for a certain… flexibility, in the planning department.

Let me explain.

French Leave

Friday the 28th of July marked the fifth anniversary of that wonderful day that my wonderful wife, Tina, actually became my wonderful wife. I’d popped the question roughly a year before and she had been kind enough to take pity on me and actually say yes. Any rumours of me twisting her arm up her back are, of course, completely unfounded.

This all happened in the beautiful and romantic city of Paris which, thanks to my parents’ very generous gift of some holiday vouchers, we’d managed to book a whole three nights in. My, but did we pack those days choc-full. The Louvre, Notre Dame, The Musee D’Orsay, The Tour Eiffel; all fell before our rapacious tourism. The Mona Lisa had always been on my bucket list, and I’m happy to say that I sat and stared at her from a distance of only a few feet. She really is breathtaking up close and in the flesh.

But of course the highlight of those halcyon days was the lunch at a small restaurant where I nervously rescued the ring I’d been carrying around with me and, completely failing to get down on one knee due to the impracticality and inherent risk of not being able to get up, asked Tina to do me the considerable honour of being my wife.

It is, of course, an enduring and much cherished memory and, as we raced toward this landmark anniversary, it was one that I felt would be worth recreating. We could head back to France, re-live the memories of that first trip and even take in a few of the sights that we missed the first time around (Arc de Triomphe and Sacre Coeur being the two most noticeable cases), and perhaps even find that little restaurant again. Sadly, it was not to be.

No-Fly Zone

Those that are fortunate enough to know me may think this might be due to my trademark laissez-faire attitude to life but, insurance to one side, (and we will come to that in just a little while) the holiday was booked in plenty of time, along with the corresponding time off work. Giving us both something to really look forward to.

I say we but in reality it was me that was doing the bulk of the looking forward. Tina knew that we were going away., knew that we were going abroad, but I'd decided that the destination itself would remain top secret until the very last minute partially because I’m a soppy old romantic and partially because I knew it would drive Tina absolutely insane not to know and I would be able to derive an immense amount of pleasure from torturing her mercilessly. A win-win situation if ever there was one.

Now, the astute reader may have gleaned that things did not exactly go to plan. This was down to the diagnosis that I received eleven days ago and which is documented here. Of course, given this news and the fact that we were due to fly nine days from the receipt of it, it unfortunately became necessary to cancel the holiday. It also became necessary to let Tina in on the big secret.

The French Disconnection

Luckily, after more than a little upset and hassle, the holiday company in question did eventually decide to give us a full refund of the monies paid. Having not sorted out the insurance (plenty of time!) this was very welcome news. Sadly, as the refund was in the form of a non-transferable credit note, and as I won’t be able to fly anywhere for at least a little while (at least until I’ve seen the specialist for my initial post-diagnosis consultation) this means that this will now be spent on next year’s holiday.

However, there was still an anniversary to celebrate and MS or no MS, we meant to celebrate it. As travelling anywhere too far was pretty much of a no-no, we needed to stay pretty close to home. I think it was Tina that hit upon the idea of spending a night in the hotel we got married in, and that is just what we did, coupled with two days worth of moseying around my native Leeds, some decent food, and perhaps just a tiny hint of alcohol (Caiprinhas for the win!). It might not have been Paris, but it did bring back a hell of a lot of memories despite the refurb and gave us a chance to revisit the exact room in which we made our vows. When all is said and done it was truly, truly lovely.

Trouble & Strife

Really, that’s what’s important to remember. The last five years haven’t always featured the smoothest of sailing. There have been kidney stones, functional strokes, bladder problems and, of course, Multiple Sclerosis. There has been just one out of those five years that has seen neither of us admitted to hospital, but still we endure. We made our vows back in that room five years ago and if there was ever an acid test for really, truly meaning every word of them, then those years have most certainly provided them. The song that we chose for our first dance certainly has echoes of ironic prescience.

Hopefully, the next five will see a reduction in hospitals, doctors, and other such dramas. Hopefully, we’ve got rid of a decent chunk of the grief that can fall into one married couple’s lives. If it means doing it all again, though. If it means enduring the tears, and the heartache, and consciously deciding to accept that, then all I can say is… I do.

Until next time…

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