We both need this but it is always tinged with anxiety; I'm always waiting for her inguinal pain to kick in and signal the time to find a seat. Ten months down the line from her terrible accident and its awful and continuing aftermath, and for as long as that prosthesis will last she will have to endure some pain, usually after walking a bit too far. My hatred of Surgeons in general and one in particular takes me over for a few seconds, but I use the strategy learned from the therapist and this time it works and I begin to enjoy the simple pleasure of being.
We make a mile this time before the pain gets too much and we seek a seat dedicated to a young man called Darren who died in 2005. But, so remains in the hearts of those he left behind for them to make a pilgrimage several times a year to leave flowers in a vase tied to the uprights of the seat.Twenty nine years old was he, I worked out; what a crock of s**t that must have been for his family. Maybe the fact that J survived and is still at my side is something to celebrate I think, but it's hard to forget how most of the risk was avoidable and the fault of an NHS so riddled with greed, stupidity and indifference to the plight of their patients. What some might call a triple 'whammy'; to break your hip get a s**t job done by c**p surgical team who couldn't even bother to ask or tell you what they were doing, nearly kill you because they didn't read the notes or tests and, then you find out you have Diabetes followed by Osteopenia.
But she copes, how I never know. She carries on planting the flowers, making me cut the grass, working hard at her job, in fact giving her all to every endeavour. She trusts me to sort out her diet, manage her supplements, check her plasma glucose and blood pressure and entreat her constantly to do the physio exercises we fought so hard to be taught.
Life goes on as they say, but for it to do so seems an affront to me sometimes. I want to scream at the world to stop and take note of my anger at what has happened, how it was all so avoidable and can they please stop what they are doing and listen. But of course that is tilting at windmills. We sit and admire the narrow boat that passes and watch the water for a little longer and the the pain in her groin subsides and we trek back along the gravel. It's all so green and became so almost overnight and yet we are in the middle of industry, commerce and as we near the car, the city itself. The canal has been both a saviour of my sanity and a training ground for J to learn to walk again, a level path to push a wheelchair in those dark early days, but also a reminder of how we came to be what we now are; good people to which bad things happened.
That first walk nearly a year ago was the trigger for disaster. It took so long to get anywhere that day that I had this brilliant plan to get fitter and travel all these trails; get bikes! If I had kerbed this plan J may still have been in one piece. She would still have had Diabetes but surely that would have been picked anyway. But hang on; the Hospital failed to do that despite plasma glucose tests showing 19.50 mmol/L! There again I diagnosed it despite my rusty endocrinology so maybe? I stop there, the pondering of blame starts me on that path to a remembrance that will trigger my post traumatic stress and the tears will come, the BP will rise and one of reasons I am walking will be negated. I calm my soul as we reach the car and I look forward to holding her hand as I down a pint of beer and we enjoy a meal together at the Pub and Kitchen later and perspective of a sort returns. Life is short and often brutal but it is life, and each moment must be savioured. It is said that 'what doesn't kill us makes us stronger', I hope it's true.