My Mum turned 60 last week. We’ve been awaiting this event for months now, as my Mum has been brimming with excitement about it since Christmas. Having never had one before, she was planning a huge party with nearly 200 people in attendance (200 people- she has far more friends than me!) For the last two months our daily phonecalls have included the latest updates about what food she is going to buy, and who has rsvp’d. Up until about February, I’d been really looking forward to the thought of a huge family and old friends catch up, however as my health slowly started declining, I’d begun to dread its approach, as it was obvious I wasn’t going to be recovered in time to have the big reunion I was hoping for. In the summer, I might have been able to stay most of the night, and might have managed to chat away to people for most of it, but as the date approached and I was still nose-diving health wise, I no longer wondered about whether I’d be on top form, instead I began to worry if I was going to be well enough to attend at all. Also my next Brompton hospital admission was due around the same week as the party, which would have been a disappointing clash. And to be completely honest, there were times in the last month, when I seriously wondered whether I was going to still be around by the time her party arrived. Now that would have ruined everything! 🙂 Therefore my focus for the last couple of weeks, had been to stay well enough to go! And luckily my oxygen delivery the week before worked wonders at getting me stronger in the proceeding days, and gave me hope that I’d be able to manage more than a quick peep through the door.
Since being ill, I’ve turned in to the family PA. I’m quite able to use my computer for hours on end, as it is a sedentary activity. Therefore my new role in the family has evolved to be the organiser. If my brother wants to go on holiday next week, then I’ll happily spend an hour organising it for him. If my sister wants some pressie ideas, then I’ll email her a list after some internet research. If Phil needs any paperwork doing, then I do it for him. So I was happy to help out with the party preparation from my settee and computer. I ordered the party decorations, printed off photographs to go around the room, and even sent her a selection of eight party dresses to try on and choose from (she hates shopping!). I also made a little spreadsheet for the 60 presents we were going to give her. It changed colour whenever we filled in a column, yep I have far too much time on my hands!
One of the advantages of being ill was that I just got to turn up at the party. Win. I wasn’t needed to set the room up the night before like her friends, or expected to start cooking for the buffet at 7am, like my lovely aunties. To be honest, prior to getting ill I would have relished being involved in these activities, but knowing that I would only have a couple of hours of activity in me, I was glad that my family understood my illness enough to not need me around beforehand. Therefore whilst everyone else was preparing, I spent the day lying on the sofa, watching the rugby with Phil, having food brought to me. Zero effort activities so I could save my little energy for the evening. My lovely siblings kept me informed of the party gossip with regular email updates and photos, so I wasn’t left out!
The party was fabulous. My Mum looked beautiful (she picked my secret favourite dress) and so happy. And there was so much love in the room for her, it made me genuinely very proud to be her daughter. And I lasted 2 hours (yay!).. but I was exhausted by the end! My Mum had been pre-warning everyone to not exhaust me, and so most people were so thoughtful and would just wave hello, or come over just for a quick chat. However there were so many people there, that I felt like I was having a ‘quick chat’ the whole night.. I don’t think I was ever left alone! It was so lovely to catch up with people I’d not spoken to in years, but I must have looked like a zombie at the end as I was so spaced out from tiredness! My family looked after me, and I had food and drink brought to my table so I didn’t need to move from my perch!
I realised early on that I would need my oxygen to be able to talk so much, and so was very relieved to have written a blog about it a few days earlier, to pre-warn everyone. Amazingly I didn’t have to explain about it to anyone, as so many people told me they’d read my blog. That was a strange realisation; sitting writing a blog on your own, you forget that others might read it.. it turns out it is not my private diary! Actually that was a happy realisation, I felt quite loved and blessed that people cared enough to want to hear what was going on with my health.
After 2 hours, the bag of air in my lungs was now feeling really small, meaning every breath was becoming a huge effort. I was also feeling quite weak and very tired. I was desperate to just lie down and sleep, and let my lungs have the rest that desperately needed. I was really thankful to have made her party, to have lasted two hours, to have chatted to so many people, and to have genuinely had a lovely time. I went to sleep very happy and relieved.
The next morning I heard all about and saw the photographs of the drunken dancing and dressing up after I’d left! It sounded like a roaring success. And my Mum was so happy. I’ll admit I did feel a little sad that I’d missed out on the alcohol-induced antics. I’ve not had a drink since being ill, and sometimes miss being able to let my hair down and have a really good laugh. However I have my fingers crossed that the cure for PH will be found before her 70th birthday, so I can get my grove on the dance floor in a sparkly wig.