MY WONKY ARM
I hadn't realised how lucky I was yesterday in that I must have travelled in the only couple of dryish hours.
By the time I was well down the M6 and the rain had eased off it was probably gone noon, and I pulled into the camp site carpark at just past two. And even though I had to wait for someone to appear I still had time to do my first real 'campsite' empty and fill of the tanks in the relative dry.
The most difficult bit for me was bending down under the locker cover which is quite low and stops at horizontal, so what with my arthritic knees, bad back and wonky arm it was a grunting type of job. But it wasn’t at all smelly - as I had feared. I had read somewhere to put in biological washing powder instead of the chemical smelling blue caravan stuff down the loo, so then when you empty the tanks it comes out foamy and smelling of clean washing. If you empty the loo one first then using the same tube to empty the tank which takes the shower and sink waste then you get the pipe washed as well. I am not sure if that is a caravan club approved method but on the basis that it really can't harm anything and no-one is actually going to see what is going where I think I will stick to this as a method, though I may do some further research. I like to do things properly.
I haven’t mentioned about my wonky arm, but I will tell you the (somewhat) grim tale. Around three years ago I was still very active, I had my flock of black welsh mountain sheep, was running the big vegetable garden and breeding some lovely pure breed chickens, ducks and geese. It was one of those really snowy winters we have had just lately and the chickens didn't like going out in the snow. So feeling sorry for them I allowed them into the big barn where the other animals came in and the hay and straw was stored. Going in one particularly cold day I saw some of the hens up on top of the bales, and convinced that they were 'laying away'' I climbed to the top of the stack to check. They weren't, but on the way back down I caught my foot in one of the bale strings and sailed downwards face first towards the concrete floor I had carefully swept clean of spilt hay and straw just the day before.
I won't say my life flashed before my eyes, but I did have time on the way down to wonder if this was going to be it. Now being a hasty and lazy creature I had rushed out of the house without bothering to put on my nice warm gloves, of which there were numerous pairs easily to hand in the kitchen table drawer. As I said it was a cold day so I had put my hands in my pockets. Quite why I hadn’t bothered to take them out to climb the stack I am not sure – laziness again probably – so as the floor approached I could do nothing to break my fall and landed on my forehead, shoulder and hip. I lay there for a bit thinking about whether to try to get up and vaguely hoping that the crash landing on my right hip might have pushed the left hip back into alignment after having been knocked out by a bulling cow some years ago – that's a tale for another time.
Anyway I could walk, and I did have someone doing a day job for me who would expect to be paid so I thought that it would be best to go and sort him out as once the stiffness set in I might not be able to move. So getting some cash I made it across to the garden and paid him off, then back to the house to get Mum something to eat. Everything being done left handed as my right arm was just dangling limply at the other side.
After a couple of days with little real improvement I began to wonder if I had broken my arm, especially as I could put my finger precisely on the spot where it hurt, being the mid point between the shoulder and the elbow. So I phoned the doctor to see if I should go into A&E. She said they wouldn't do anything now as it was no longer an emergency having been done two days ago, and would just direct me to my own doctors, and all they could was strap it up and tell me to rest it. On the principle I could do that myself, and also that a friend who had broken his arm some years ago had been prevented from driving for a couple of months, and with Mum and the animals to look after I couldn’t risk being without a car, so that was that. Even after eighteen months or so there was still a weakness and if my arm was stretched out and I was trying to lift something it was quite painful. There was even a little clicking feeling where the pain had been.
So all's well that ends well you might think, apart from the fact that the fall had quickened my arthritis and I was finding it generally more difficult to do those tasks previously done in the twinkling of an eye.
Then early in 2013 if you remember we had really cold temperatures and everything froze very hard followed by a deep fall of snow. Over the last couple of years since my fall from the haystack I had taken to using the little mobility scooter bought for Mum more and more often, as it was a good long walk up to the barns to check the stock. But the deep snow made this impossible, so I thought the slightly shorter route over the top meadow would be best when I went to feed and check the birds. Under the wind smoothed snow, and totally concealed was a large, and rock-hard, frozen-solid, mole hill. Once again I had not bothered with my gloves (I see you have no sympathy now – but you will in a minute) Down I went with a crash, falling in exactly the same way as before but this time right on my almost healed arm. The pain was excruciating. I don't know why but something came into my mind about pulling bones apart to reset them so stumbling to the barns I found a frozen bucket of water which I grabbed and to my relief it worked.
Now the next bit sounds brave in retrospect but it seemed the sensible option at the time. I had walked all the way to the barns to feed and check the birds, also sort out their frozen water, and if I went back to the house now to feel sorry for myself I would only have had to come back later, and possibly when I would have felt even less like it. I couldn’t leave stock untended for the night so I carried on with my tasks albeit left handed.
Now the bones were correctly aligned as long as I didn’t do anything with my right arm it wasn’t all that painful, so back in the house I put it in a bandage sling, and sorted Mum out for the night before going off to feel sorry for myself. And all might have been well had it ended there.
That night, and goodness only knows why, though presumably because my arm didn’t feel too bad, when I went to bed I undressed, or at least tried to as normal. Over the years I have taken off my jumpers by crossing my arms somehow. Well I can assure you I no longer do. The pain that night when I took off my jumper was exquisite. Earlier in the day I had been by the barns and luckily there was a heavy bucket nearby, what on earth would there be in the bedroom heavy enough to do the job.
Screaming for God to help me He did. Earlier in the week the hot water cylinder had sprung a tiny leak and I was waiting for the plumber to arrive to fix it. In the meantime a bucket was placed beneath the fine mist spray to catch it before it could cause damage to the plaster in the rooms below. It was just full enough of water to do the trick. People have said this was brave, but I can assure you that to have done nothing would have been even braver.
Once again I couldn’t risk being without any means of getting anywhere in an emergency with Mum or the animals so suitably strapped up it has gradually healed. Though when I stretch out my right arm and try to turn anything it can easily twist it out again, though each time it seems less painful than the last.
When the arthritis in my knees was getting stupidly bad I took one of my rare trips to the doctors and he sent me off for x-rays at the local hospital. I asked the nurse doing the x-rays if she could check if my arm was broken, but of course she couldn't – In any case, she said, I doub't that you broke it, you would know if you had, it would have been very painful........ I didn't bother to say anything
So this brings me back to emptying the tanks. All the gubbins is right at the back of the locker and though it is not all that hard I just don't have strength or adeptness with my left hand, so I have to use my right, albeit very carefully.
Having emptied and filled the various tanks we parked up in amongst the trees. I was disappointed at not being by the lake but this is a very good second best. Anyone with children of the age at which they like to explore woodland would have a wonderful holiday here, and though I would imagine it is very full in high season there is so much woodland in between each little secluded group of parking spots I don't think you would feel at all crowded.
Not long after we parked it started to rain in earnest and other than a short break at two o'clock, and again at five thirty in the morning it was torrential. I know it stopped at those times, as Phoebe, who will not go out in the rain, woke me both times to say she needed to 'go' So with bedroom slippers on again we mooched round in the damp dark. I think the second time she just wanted a drink, but she is playing up and will only eat or drink anything which has come from home, which is making life difficult now we are running out of the food we brought with us.
We will see what tomorrow brings......