The weeks pass in a carousel of gentle, short walks; longer hikes on hold along with my breath whilst I wait for the tingling dizziness to pass. Clocks go forward and the days are once again bookended by spectacular sunrises and sunsets, emerging and dipping over the Foel above our house. I climb the teeny hill with the breathlessness of a small child, leaning against the trig point to stare at the Garth across the valley. The Garth is earmarked as a planned ‘easy’ stroll in Quiet Walks. Only, from here, it looks like the north side of Blorenge.
Symptoms move around my limbs, easing up in old places only to settle in new ones. My left wrist freezes whilst my little finger burns. My right foot returns to *nearly* normal whilst my leg is stabbed by electric pins. I spend a Saturday afternoon floored, on the sofa (can one be floored on the sofa, I ponder?), my ribs gripped and slowly crushed by invisible hands. After a self-imposed week of Not Googling, I Google and watch as whole pages of just one of the ‘horrendous conditions that will scare the shit out of you’ pop up.
I while away the hours in the Royal Glam, most definitely not looking as 10 phials of blood are filled for testing for ‘rare things’ (I don’t ask). MRI scans are like buses from Cardiff back to the Valleys after 10.30pm; none for a lifetime then two show up in a week. I’m referred to a neurologist whose name I instantly forget and try to catch up on work. And sleep.
And life, and the gentle, short walks, go on. We explore a magical woodland walk created by a friend at his place of work, gingerly lifting rubber matting to come face to face with a contentedly fat toad. A nest of baby blackbirds is discovered in the garden and Nest Watch starts in excitement. We visit Afan Forest Park and four industrious cousins decide to spend the hottest day of the year so far building a dam across the river (note to downstream villages possibly experiencing issues with the water supply: it wasn’t my idea, I suggested a nice shady walk). I nearly forget the symptoms until we return home and I feel my wrists on fire and see they are glowing scarlet. Oh my GOD, it’s getting worse! I screech. Then I spot the gleaming white watchstrap mark and realise it’s sunburn.
Spotting the toad and the blackbirds and doing the walking are, for a few days, much nicer than thinking about the ‘horrendous conditions’ etc etc. Then the neurologist’s name comes back to me. Dear reader, I Google him. And the warm promise of spring disappears behind the dark cloud of the thing that’s scaring the shit of me, because it just happens to be his specialism.
Coming soon: A shiny new blog!
Next time on the shiny new blog: Why going to hospital is just like going hiking!