It's the little things: What a simple luxury meant to me at a time of great stress

The last two years have been an absolute blur to me. It’s only since we have had a little bit of positive news about my son’s recent surgery I can actually feel myself starting to settle a bit – and I am starting to realise how much of me I have lost.

I had an absolute passion for photography and I packed my camera away over 12 months ago. I wouldn’t even know where it was now, and I don’t care that I don’t know; I have lost all my drive and passion. I would sew a couple of hundred rugs for the RSPCA every year but I can’t see myself ever doing that again. I thought about filling one shoebox at a time with treats and toys, but I don’t really have the money or the time to be looking round shops for dog bargains. My only interest is keeping my son positive and getting him through this nightmare.

I have spent so much time in hospitals, on public transport getting to hospitals, in waiting rooms at hospitals, constantly stressed and agitated that I didn’t realise until just lately that I would go days without even putting a brush through my hair, also I wasn’t eating properly at all. It is not always easy to grab something on the run when you are gluten free and by the time I got home and cooked Mum dinner most nights, I was too tired to eat.

My body started giving me warnings and I wasn’t listening, then one day everything changed. I was at the last hospital and I was agitated beyond belief waiting for my son to come out of yet another surgery. While walking to the hospital restaurant for a coffee, I could feel my legs going into spasms while walking on what felt like shattering feet, I ordered my coffee and I actually thought to look up at a menu board. It said ‘Ham and Cheese toasties on Gluten Free Bread’ – I was so happy I ordered one and it felt like I had handed over $7 and was handed back $7,000,000 in the shape of a very small, very tasty lottery! Sounds stupid now, but I never thought to look for a menu.

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It was that ham and cheese toasted sandwich that made me relax and really feel the incredible pain in my legs and feet. It made me realise I had to get myself together and eat properly if the three of us were going to get to the other side of this nightmare. It can be a tad difficult when two people are relying on you. I sipped my coffee and ordered another ham and cheese toastie and pulled out my trusty iPad and for the next 5 hours I researched what can happen to your body in times of extreme stress and consequently I started taking six magnesium tablets a day, started eating properly, and started writing as yet another way to relieve stress. And I can now walk without pain and I am more relaxed well, as relaxed as I can be considering my situation.

My youngest son is very much my rock. I know if I have a problem with anything all I have to do is ring him and he will sort it out. He is the only male that has been there for Mark from the moment he got hit. He was the first of us on the scene and he has been with us every step of the way.

When I need to laugh I write a What Pisses Me Off blog. It’s a therapy and it helps because they take me weeks to do one, it keeps me laughing.

Laughter is good when you have to stay strong. Even in the worst of times if you can get a laugh, I believe you are on the way back up. I am glad I found writing and Starts at 60 – it has been very therapeutic, very helpful.

Have you been in Christine’s situation before? What made you stop and take time for you?