Putting My Body To The Test

We’ve recently returned from a hectic family holiday to the Peak District.  Eleven chatty adults, two monkey toddlers and a dog.  It was lively! 😛  But amazingly my body coped brilliantly- it was one of my strongest holidays since developing PH.  It seems I have completely bounced back from my unexplained deterioration of last autumn. 🙂

We’ve had a ‘real’ Winter this year.  Snow and ice and frost have been regular visitors.  As my symptoms worsen in low temperatures, I’ve spent most of the season in the warmth of indoors.  Fewer holidays, fewer day trips, fewer dog walks… so consequently less activity.  Therefore it has been harder to judge how well my lungs are working, and how much energy I have.  Even though I’ve felt significantly better in recent months, and have scored well in clinical tests; as I’ve not regularly pushed my body to its limit, I’ve been unable to tell if I’ve bounced back 100% after my long unexplained dip in the latter half of 2017.  A seven day family holiday was to be the first real trial for my body.  The first week of continuous people and activity and energy-zapping moments.  I was nervous.  Last year’s trip to Centre Parks had frazzled me.  Yet this holiday was to be even longer and with extra people!  I knew that just ‘living’ in that environment would use all my limited energy coins.  The extra talking and socialising, the extra noise and movement, the extra walking around a bigger house.  There’d be limited energy left for showers and dressing, never-mind day trips.  I reluctantly resigned myself to not leave the house all week.  Another holiday of swapping one living room for another.
IMG_20180307_135943582We weren’t actually sure if we’d all make it to the holiday.  The Beast from the East created five foot drifts of snow in our village the day before leaving.  We were trapped for 48 hours, as the roads were impassable.  Happily, only one day later than planned, and laden with sleeping bags and emergency rations, we braved the single track road that had been ploughed… and escaped snowy Northamptonshire.  The Isle of Man contingent were also delayed a day; the atrocious seas had halted all of their ferries.  In fact only the USA family arrived on time, despite having travelled the furthest distance! 😛

It turned out to be a lovely holiday- manic and stressful- but lovely!  As well as Phil’s parents and brother’s young family, we were joined by a handful of aunties and uncles at different times.  Home for the week, was a converted barn, in a village near Ashbourne.  Think snow covered hilltops and fresh air: I loved it.  Our holiday cottage had plenty of space to spread out (we even had our own games room), and our downstairs bedroom was double the size of our living room at home!

For the first two days, I stuck to my survival plan.  With snow on the ground and a chill in the air, I happily stayed behind in the warmth, whilst the others went out.  A couple of hours of peace and calmness and restorative rest.  By conserving energy, I was then able to join in when they all returned.  Pool tournaments and dinner table debates and catch-ups over cups of tea.  Late night game sessions of Bananagrams and Exploding Kittens and CodeWords.  But best of all; Play-doh and jigsaws and trains with my nephew and niece, Joe-Yien (1) and Mei-Yan (2).  I hadn’t seen them in a year, as previously needed to stay close to Harefield.  They’re now such characters!  Boisterous and excitable; climbing on everything; getting into mischief; constantly smiling.  Joe-Yien can now walk (and run) everywhere, and Mei-Yan is a master of jigsaws (she can do them blank side up!).  Amazingly I even had breath to read them lots of stories (a major achievement for me!).

Despite the added energy requirements of ‘living’ amongst the busyness, as the week progressed, my body surprisingly didn’t become horribly ill from exhaustion.  It was still incredibly hard word and tiring for me.  I still needed alone time every day, and some early nights.  But amazingly, unlike on previous trips, my body didn’t give up with exhaustion.  No constant nausea or constant weakness or constant severe breathlessness.  No days in bed, completely alone, wishing away the hours.  In fact, I had some energy to venture out on afternoon trips.  Bonus!  Unexpected! 🙂  One day we visited historic Bakewell to sample their famous tarts and puddings (I preferred the former).  Another day we enjoyed hot chocolate after a walk around quaint Ilam.  And wonderfully, we found some accessible country walks, that allowed me to scoot amongst the valleys and hills (I miss that soooo much).  The riverside trail at Dovedale was beautiful, but unfortunately was only a mile in length (Phil refused to carry my scooter over the famous stepping stones to go further! 🙂 ).  But happily, The Manifold Way was long, allowing me to scoot for five miles in the tranquil countryside.  No people or houses- just hills and fields… my kind of perfect.  I loved those two trips.  Finally, on our last day, and with energy remaining (wooo, unheard of), I hired an off-road ‘Tramper Scooter’ at Carsington Reservoir.  Fantastic!  We had such fun testing it to its limits- scootering along beaches and swamps and bracken and rocks -places completely inaccessible on my personal mobility scooter.  For the first time since being ill, I was able to go where I wanted to in the countryside.  I could have cried, I was so happy.

So I survived a manic family holiday.  I survived scoots alongside the river, in the valley and amongst the beautiful countryside.  I survived a projectile vomiting baby, a stressful hunt for lost slippers, and a scary snowy car journey.  I survived chatty adults and boisterous climbing toddlers and competitive game sessions!  It was a fabulous but manic week.  And amazingly, wonderfully, thankfully… my body coped.  It seems I am back to my PH best.  Happy days! 🙂


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