The Elastic Girl – article from Emily Jane O’Dell

I found this article on Aljazeera.com by Emily Jane O’Dell on living with Ehlers Danlos syndrome – so good to see fellow zebras thriving out there!

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Emily Jane O’Dell teaches at Sultan Qaboos University in the Sultanate of Oman.

Muscat, Oman – I am elastic girl. I’m as stretchy as they come, but I’m coming undone. My joints keep dislocating. Tendons tearing, ligaments loosening. Even my voice box is leaping out of place. What’s a girl with messed up glue to do?

“You should join the circus!” adults used to say when I showed them contortionist tricks as a child. Back then, I thought my freakish flexibility was a superpower. But my superhero dreams were dashed when I got hit by a bus while riding my bike in Harlem, learning while in recovery that I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – a rare and incurable connective tissue disorder that can cause dislocating joints, rupturing organs, blindness, and even death from cardiac defects.

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I live now in awe of what the body can do, and amazed by how a soul can soldier on despite the body being so broken’ [Photo courtesy of Eddie Chu]

My limber limbs once primed me for master ballet classes with Gelsey Kirkland and All-State varsity sports titles. Reaching the highest levels of Ashtanga yoga was a breeze. But what was once a blessing has become more like a curse.

Disjointed

Dozens of times in a day, my bones would slip from their sockets – my elbows when I swim, my fingers when I type, my shoulders when I open a door. I almost choked to death on my own voice box last summer when I was swimming backstroke and my larynx ripped out of place. Left in its wake – a paralysed vocal cord.

Call me Humpty Dumpty for I am beyond repair. Though I am in need of a number of surgeries, surgeons do not dare to suture my widespread tears. The risk of cutting into my cursed cartilage and stitching up my slow-healing skin is too great. I bear many wounds that will never heal.

I landed in a hospital in Turkmenistan a few years ago after my hips tore out of place while I was researching Sufism and shamanism on the border with Iran. “Eta elastichniya deyavooshka,” the Soviet-trained doctors said in Russian – “This is an elastic girl”.

For full article go to : The Elastic Girl: Living with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

A Fatal Blow over Disabled Parking

Last night we watched a repeat of the Channel 4 documentary “One Killer Punch“, which examined the phenomenon of a one punch kill.  It was very emotive and as the mother of two young adult males, I feel devastated for the four families torn apart in the first and last cases shown.  Difficult to watch and I am sure extremely hard to make, there have been calls for it to be shown in all secondary schools. Everyone will have a different and personal opinion whilst watching these young men and the families speak on film and this is in no way meant to belittle a heartbreaking subject.

Rather I want to highlight the other case which all hinged upon the right to use a disabled parking bay.  I know that this is another emotive subject that those of us on “spoonie” social media will see discussed time and time again.  How many times is someone judged from the way they look as to whether they are worthy of that bay?

imageIn this heartbreaking incident, a man died because another judged that he was not in need of this parking space in a supermarket car park.  The attacker saw a gentleman walking out to place some goods in his car and, because he wanted the spot for himself and his disabled wife and he deemed the other unworthy of parking there, he got out of his car and hit the gentleman.  He didn’t stop to notice the blue badge sitting on the dashboard, or the name on it that showed it belonged to the gent’s wife.  He didn’t wait to hear that the lady was still in the store and suffers with rheumatoid arthritis.  Instead with one punch he floored a stranger and then calmly got back into his vehicle when he “heard his head crack on the ground” and drove home.

Several hours later a distraught family had to make the decision to turn off life support and another family suffers as a member is sent to jail.  What a senseless waste of a life.

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I know that there are some people out there who use relatives blue badges/disabled permits illegally, but I would like to think that they are in the minority.  In the UK being issued with a blue badge is no easy task now, and I’m sure that it is equally difficult elsewhere. I would  like to say to everyone please don’t be too quick to judge someone who doesn’t look “disabled” using a disabled parking bay – we are all different and our needs can vary from minute to minute.  Believe me, I would rather be skipping the length of the high street than needing to use a stick and wheelchair to enable me to park closer to that shop!

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Enabling rather than Disabling – A great post from I Told You I was Sick….and inspiration from a great little boy

I have just read a great piece on Jaime’s blog “I Told You I was Sick” and as someone who was given a walking stick – albeit a pink, sparkly stick – for her 40th birthday and now has a variety of aids including 2 wheelchairs about the house, this rings so many bells. Earlier in the week I watched a BBC programme called The World According to Kids and one delightful 9 year old boy was meeting his a wheelchair for the first time.  This little lad has a very rare form of dwarfism and whilst fiercely independent, he is now getting pains in his legs when walking any distance.  This prevents him from joining in with his family, taking part in activities with his friends and he described feeling sad that he had to be different.  This lovely boy is truly inspiring and actually had me in tears.

It was during this that my lovely girl, who is starting to experience more subluxations and pains herself, said that she really wished that everyone could see mobility aids such as wheelchairs as “enabling rather than disabling”.  Wise old head on young shoulders – that is my 14 year old!  She has seen first hand what a difference wheels have made for me.  So, please have a look at this great blog post:

Anxious about considering a mobility aid to help you get around? The thought of your disease or condition getting to a point which requires mobility help can be heartbreaking. And, especially if you are younger, the embarrassment or ridicule you anticipate for having to use a mobility aid might be hard to swallow.

Remember:

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Find the rest of the article at this link:   8 Signs a Mobility Aid Could Improve Your Life

Great initiative by Tesco to safeguard disabled parking

How many times have you tried to park in a disabled bay for yourself or a passenger, only to find that none are available and that several of the cars already parked aren’t displaying a blue badge (disabled badge)?  It is so infuriating, but why can’t people appreciate just how difficult those extra few metres can be for someone who has mobility issues, or that the narrower parking spaces make it so difficult to juggle walking aids or wheelchairs?

I have just read this article in the Telegraph about a great initiative to safeguard disabled parking at Tesco stores.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/09/tescos-hi-tech-plan-to-hunt-down-cheating-shoppers-who-use-disab/

#Ehlers Danlos radio drama “Tinsel Girl and the Big Reunion”

Whilst scrolling through the BBC iplayer earlier searching for a good drama to listen to, I came across this series with the introduction “An uplifting comedy drama about the lifes, loves and misadventures of wheelchair user Maz”.

I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that main character Maz has a genetic condition that affects her connective tissues called Ehlers Danlos syndrome.  It makes me hope that the syndrome is becoming more widely known and recognised in the mainstream.  Actress, fellow zebra and patron of Ehlers Danlos UK, Cherylee Houston plays main character Maz.

Follow this link for Episode 1 of “Tinsel Girl and the Big Reunion” by Lou Ramsden

http://bbc.in/2aC2wIX

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Poor mobility: Ehlers Danlos v chronic pain Norfolk part 2

In my last ramblings I told you how I found the wheelchair really did help to increase my freedom whilst on holiday.  I have since started to receive some useful tips about the type of chair to really help increase my independence as well as my freedom, and have filled out the forms for the NHS service.  Not sure how this will work out, but we have decided as a family that a wheelchair will become a permanent feature in the family.1069398__safe_solo_oc_simple+background_transparent+background_earth+pony_wheelchair_handicapped_artist-colon-sketchydesign78_oc-colon-melody+shine

Something that I hadn’t expected was that health problems other than the chronic back & leg pain would necessitate the need for the chair whilst we were away.  The weather was beautiful and we were really blessed, but – and I do know I shouldn’t moan – it was extremely hot and humid.  I can already hear some of you shouting “but the woman can’t cope with the cold, or air conditioning, so surely hot summer weather should be good”!  You would have thought so – but for many of us with chronic conditions our bodies become highly tuned barometers and actually can’t cope with any exoctopus-the-pirate-1412024-639x470treme changes.  So becoming too cold or too hot will have an effect upon the nervous system, which in turn controls all the other systems of the body.  This is why one person can seem to have such a Pandora’s Box of conditions –
and once that lid is opened they can come tumbling out together or appear slowly over time.  We are all different and I do now realise that many afflictions that I have had throughout my life are actually all part of the Ehlers Danlos.

For as long as I can remember I have felt rough when the weather is humid – headaches, migraines, nausea, swollen feet & ankles,wrists & hands,  dizzy spells – all in varying degrees, but over the last couple of years I have had an increasing number of faints, black spots in front of my eyes and dizzy spells. puppet-2-1623730-639x425 The sudden sweats are awful – I feel like I’ve been in the shower, but no they aren’t “hot flushes” as I can feel quite chilly.  So during our week away the wheelchair was great for those very light headed spells when I was struggling to see.  It is all very well the nice neurologist telling me that I must lie down when I get the feeling coming over me, but that isn’t so easy when walking the coast path or perusing the gift shops.  I have said in a previous post that I don’t have an actual diagnosis as yet, but I have become increasingly aware that the symptoms fit in with a POTS picture – that is postural orthostotic tachycardia syndrome – or similar and this is more common in the Ehlers Danlos population.

My GP is aware and as I did a good swoon in her surgery last month, she advised me to increase my salt intake. salt-spoon-1318134-638x350 On one particularly hot day, Duncan had gone into a vinyl store and my girl was pushing me when we stumbled,quite literally,upon a butcher’s shop with a basket full of pork scratchings for sale outside the door.  This is probably not to be recommended as the healthiest option, but a hand full of these certainly helped me to feel better.  This last week at home has been tricky as the symptoms have been rough again and the bright light during a day out triggered a migraine.  I find that my senses become heightened, particularly the sense of smell – not good when the family pet has a rank case of halitosis – and taste immediately prior to a turn – be it a faint or a migraine.  The day out that pre-empted the migraine was to a local National Trust property with mum, Dunc, my daughter & nephew.  I can’t believe that I am saying this, but I missed the wheelchair!  I felt rough, it was a lovely day and I couldn’t go for a walk with the family.  I forced myself to walk through the flower gardens, but every step was painful and I think that the impulses from my spinal cord stimulator combined with the bright light may have been making the head pains & dizziness worse.light-texture-1195217-640x480  Within a short time of getting back into the car, the nausea had started and I had visual disturbance, followed by severe head pains. Great, something else to sort out!!

This weekend has been just us “girls” as all the men are away.  We’re doing ok, but my girl, having already relocated both shoulder joints when I woke up, then found me passed out on the bedroom floor yesterday.  She is becoming quite the expert – good job as her own shoulders slip & slide, and she can’t stand up without seeing stars.  I feel a more detailed EDS post coming….

 

BTW: hope you like the new PainPals logo! painpals logo

First forays in a wheelchair – Norfolk part 1

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We have just returned from a week away on the Norfolk coast (East Anglia) – hubbie, the lovely girl, my parents & 5 year old nephew.  It was touch and go as to whether I would go and this wasn’t down to my health issues, but rather my adolescents!!  Anyway after several difficult days – sorry can’t share! – we left the engineer in charge.  Would we come home to a house?  What about the little car insured for him to drive?  Wild parties? House guests? A traumatised dog?  The list could be endless leaving 20 & 17 year old boys home alone.

But away I went and we were blessed with the hottest week of the year so far.  When there is a little boy in the house and you have a sea view this can only mean one thing – the beach!  Sadly this was a part of the holiday that Auntie Claire was unable to take part in.  For a start just physically getting over the pebbles and onto the sand was nigh on impossible, and then there is the issue of cold, wet sand playing havoc with the nerve pain in my foot.  Paddling is a no, no!  Fortunately good old grandma & grandad were fantastic and sat on the beach, built sandcastles and went paddling – with a little help from Uncle Duncan & our lovely girl.

 

It was important for me that I was able to do as much as possible – both for myself and the family – but without flogging myself!  Not an easy balancing act, particularly with such hot weather.  My Ehlers Danlos symptoms – all POTS symptoms, although not formerly diagnosed yet, cardiology appointment next month – were really bad in the heat and this didn’t help with the whole pacing myself.  This is a whole post for later in the week.  As some of you might remember, I had bitten the bullet and hired a lightweight wheelchair in order to be able to increase my mobility – an attendant rather than self propelled as we figured that my poor old shoulder joints would not cope with wheel turning and remain in socket!

The first thing to point out is that Duncan returned a whole lot fitter….he would like me to say with a six pack, but we were only away for a week.  This is not to say that I spent all my time in the chair, but it certainly opened up possibilities for us that wouldn’t have been possible if I was walking.  A strong plus for Dunc was that he pushed me to the restaurant on one of our evening out and was able to have a drink – the journey home along the cliff path after a couple of ciders incorporated a few wheelies!  I was able to stay out for longer than had I been on foot, we were able to go further afield and I was better able to manage my pain.  The benefits far outweighed any negative concerns that were nagging me and it was a godsend as the weather grew hotter and I fainted more!

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The beautiful sunset & sea view from our living room

Many older people started chatting about difficulties getting about, finding a suitable ramp on the coast path, why I needed a stick, had I injured myself and I am too young to be like this.  Younger people don’t really engage in chit chat in the same way, but I was aware of a few sidelong glances, not so much pity but I hope that I don’t end up like that followed by embarrassment. The night that we went out to a lively Greek restaurant, we did leave the chair behind.  Great food followed by entertainment provided by the Constanzia brothers – the sons of the owners, who in their hayday appeared on Barrymore and Pebblemill (yes, we are talking ’90s!).  Of course as the music sped up and the tambourines& bongo were bagged by the children, the band encouraged the audience to learn some Greek dancing with the assistance of the waitress.

Our beautiful girl was definitely not going to get up to dance,  the picture above is the closest my brother(who came up for a day) will ever get to dancing – that is, his son playing the tambourine! – so the Greek mama, an elderly silver haired lady turned, to me.  In days gone by I would have been the first to jump up and I really miss that me, but I made my excuses that I couldn’t and she misunderstood me.  She thought that I meant that I didn’t know what to do, so when I lifted my stick off the floor and shouted over the music that I ‘m unable to walk properly, the poor woman was mortified.  I didn’t feel upset or put out as she didn’t know – how could she?  Sitting at the table, I can put on a pretty good show of being fit and healthy, after all pain is invisible as is the metalwork and electrodes in my spine.  What a shame then that my disability caused a third party such embarrassment.

I did make the best of it, in fact we made the best of it.  The house was a godsend for the mornings when I was unable to go out or the afternoons when I just needed to collapse with exhaustion.  We gave my parents some time off from grandparenting and did a trip to the zoo.  Children are so accepting and I made various little friends that day, as I was on their level in the chair.  I think that they just saw it as a buggy!!  We also managed to visit some exhibitions with our arty daughter – one of them contemporary and I must admit that I didn’t “get” all of the exhibits!  But it was great for Duncan to be able to push me to a fairly inaccessible 14th century church and then for me to be able to stand up and hobble round inside to view the pieces.  Our girl came away from the gallery in Holt inspired, with lots of encouragement from the gallery owner and with a packet of oil paints under her arm.  The table at home has swapped charcoal and watercolours for oils….

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Our girl’s painting of her grandparents’ bull terrier

Back home the hot weather continued on Sunday.  The house was still standing, the freezer somewhat emptier and the kitchen somewhat dirtier.  Our old dog, Sam, was delighted to see his mum, dad ……File 24-07-2016, 23 59 19and sister!

The five of us went for a trip to our local park together – believe me that this does not happen often these days.  I pushed the wheelchair initially and actually my walking was really helped by this.  Maybe a zimmer or triangular frame is in order!!  It was actually the EDS symptoms that drove me into the chair and I know that the boys were embarrassed, not for me, but for themselves!  They were far too busy catching imaginary Pokemon – I mean what is more embarrassing – running around after make believe Japanese creatures or pushing your mother in a chair?? Kids…..even if they are adults….nearly!

The chair has gone back and we now need to make a decision – although I think that it has already been made really.  I have the forms for the NHS service, but I am under no illusion that this will provide the lightweight, transportable type model that we have had.  Amazon, here I come…..

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Family selfie – in case the brothers were missing us!!

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At the beach – including Auntie Claire & her chair!

 

A Helping Hand – or Stick, or Crutch

I was getting ready to go out the other day, and as every self respecting girl (well girl in my head!) attempts to do I was trying to coordinate my wardrobe.  T shirt – check; jeans – check; jacket – check; shoes & handbag – check; nearly there…..walking stick – hang on a minute!  No blue walking stick!

I remember clearly a few years ago when a mum at the school told me that her daughter, a friend of my then “little” girl, had drawn a picture of a girl with a pink stick and declared “I want to have a pink sparkly stick when I grow up just like Lucy’s mummy!”.  If I’m honest at the time I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  My dad had thought it would be funny to buy me my first walking stick for my 40th birthday and I still wasn’t too sure just how hilarious this was – life begins at 40….but not sure a stick is every woman’s dream gift!!  But on the other hand how great that a little girl didn’t see me as some old crock who couldn’t walk properly, but rather she saw the pink, sparkly stick as a desirable item.  Well, what little girl wouldn’t covet something covered in pink & purple glitter and sparkle??

Since then my collection has grown, and I figure that if you need a walking stick at my age then it really should be snazzy…..and match your outfit.  Vanity? Definitely. Essential? Sadly these days, yes!  Over recent weeks the pain in my hip has become more troublesome and I am using the stick in the house now as well as outside – I have been a very proficient furniture walker.  I’m sure that my right side has been compensating for the nerve and chronic pain issues in my left side – resulting in a flare of EDS & dodgy collagen in my subluxing right hip joint.  This brings me full circle to my first point – that is that I am missing a blue themed walking stick in my collection!

For some fun I’ll show you the canes that I do have – please note that this is just my opinion of a brand that I own and I have not been paid to promote any manufacturer.  My walking sticks are manufactured by Switch sticks, a firm based in London, and are folding adjustable, stylish & affordable. They advertise as ” Switch Sticks are the range of award winning stylish walking sticks, crutches, seat sticks and accessories that keep you moving and looking good. They are tough, durable, lightweight aluminium and are height adjustable making them the perfect fit for most people.  With new designs twice a year Switch Sticks are the designer walking aids to be seen with and suitable for both men and women.”

The Switch stick folds up neatly for those who just need it for occasional use or wish to take an extra in a suitcase…..to colour coordinate, of course…..and comes with a wrist strap and carry pouch.  I’ll have a look and list some other similar makes too.  I really like the Switch because it is sturdy and has a great rubber foot, which can be renewed…..but I guess the greatest draw is the fab range of colours and patterns!!  They retail in the UK for £39.99 – https://www.switchsticks.co.uk

My range……

 

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When my body parts are really failing to synchronise and play ball, I use forearm crutches.  This particular brand was recommended to me by a friend who had seen a review on an EDS site.  They are manufactured in the UK and are aptly named the “smartcrutch”, as they have such obvious features for comfort that our good old NHS crutches lack.  A great rubber non slip foot, adjustable height, but also a good supporting forearm rest that is adjustable.  For those of us with dodgy wrists, elbows and/or shoulders this is a godsend to help relieve the pressure on joints and ligaments.  The forearm rest is padded and can be adjusted from a vertical angle through to a horizontal at 90 degrees to the floor, and is finished with an easy to grip rubberised handle which is also adjustable for different arm lengths.  Finally…..yes, they too come in a great range of colours!!  £89.99, but if registered disabled they will be VAT free.  What’s not to like??

http://smartcrutch.co.uk/

Whilst I don’t use the crutches all the time, and my physio feels that they can actually put additional stress on the shoulder/pec major ligaments, when I do need extra support they are great and I do stand up straighter with them…..of course the tonne of titanium and electrode leads help with that too!!  I’ve given up explaining that the reason I’m so upright now is in order to get maximum contact between my scs electrode and my spinal cord.

Some other websites that I’ve found:

http://www.james-smith.co.uk/product-categories/walking-sticks

http://www.classiccanes.co.uk/catalogue/Fashionable_Canes.html

www.walkingsticksonline.co.uk/

http://www.fashionablecanes.com/

Meanwhile, I’m off to do a bit of colour coordinating…..where did I put my husband’s credit card??

 

 

As I strive for independence….

I had my first “weekend away” since I have had my spinal cord stimulator and it tied in exactly with the first anniversary of my stay on the St Thomas’ pain unit 2 week course.  We were actually on a trip to Exeter for the sixth form student to visit the university, but as it fell during the half term holiday it seemed a good excuse for a few days away.  Those of you who have been following for some time may remember my last weekend away trip to Bournemouth shortly before my stimulator trial.  It started with a bad fall in the car park on arrival and involved a mad, pain ridden 3 hour drive home at 2 am, with me literally climbing the roof of the car on our first nigh,t as I hadn’t taken the right pain meds away.

This time Duncan informed me, after we had been on the road for half an hour, that he would not be doing an emergency drive in the night from Exeter to Surrey!  Car journeys are not easy for me, like I imagine for many with pain & disability.  The confines of the car seat, the seat belt and the inability to change position is a nightmare with back pain & a spinal fusion.  My stimulator makes the pain more bearable, but as we are forbidden from driving with a low frequency “tingly” stimulator switched on, I am unable to drive myself.  Not forgetting the EDS.  The difficulties of turning a dodgy neck and shoulder dislocations hindering manoeuvring the steering wheel do nothing to make driving easier…or safe!  With a couple of stops along the way, a dead leg and some very costly motorway coffee, we made it and actually drove into glorious weather.Exeter

Whilst Duncan did the uni tour, I was planning a spot of sightseeing and retail therapy with the lovely girl.  One thing everyone tells us spoonies is that we need to pace ourselves and sometimes it can be pretty difficult to realise our own limitations.  I knew that a full day visiting the university and attending talks would be too much for me, but I thought that a few hours out with my daughter was just what the doctor ordered – excuse the pun!  She needed reassurance – she was worried that I might fall or faint and that she wouldn’t manage by herself.  Goes back to that evening in Bournemouth when I fell as she tried to hold me upright and she ended up on the ground with me.  So when we bought sandwiches for lunch and made our way to the green by Exeter cathedral, I was absolutely forbidden from joining the hoards of students lying on the green soaking up the sun!!

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Cathedral green

She was probably right – I doubt that she would have been able to get me up again.

Exeter is very hilly.  Isn’t it odd how sometimes the very act of maintaining our independence actually renders us more disabled?  In this case it was my desire to walk, which is very limited at the best of times, that left me in more pain and thus slowed our progress considerably as we tackled the hills of the city.  The frustration and stress involved in attempting to be “normal” just increases pain and is frankly exhausting.  Our progress back to the hotel was painful in so many ways and the guilt that I felt as my slight teenager held me up descending a steep hill was awful.

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Old Exeter

I have started to accept that whilst I really don’t want to make myself more disabled – if that makes sense – that if I were to be using a wheelchair for certain situations that I might actually feel less disabled: I wouldn’t be increasing my pain with every step, my walking wouldn’t be getting slower & slower, my family would not be worrying and I wouldn’t feel the guilt for their wellbeing.  In short, I might be able to enjoy a day out and actually have some more freedom.

There, I’ve said it – never thought I would, but hiring a chair might be on the cards for our week away next month.  Any suggestions gratefully received!

 

The beautiful human body

This afternoon I went to see an encore performance of the Royal Ballet production of Frankenstein at our local cinema.  Yesterday I seriously doubted that I would make it, having woken at 6am with incredible leg pain and worsening dizziness as the day went on.  Every time I moved my head the room seemed to move at double speed!  But today was a new day, with better weather and better pain control.

After a morning spent doing the run of the mill mundane – you know, washing school uniform, peeling spuds etc. – and even managing some weeding (a slightly pathetic looking patch in view of what is left to do – but Duncan really can’t get his head around the need to pull out weeds!), I was looking forward to an afternoon of culture with mum.  Going to the theatre proper, particularly an old theatre such as the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, as a disabled person can be almost impossible.  It is fantastic that many theatres now run schemes whereby the disabled person can take a free carer with them, but this doesn’t negate the difficulties encountered in negotiating public transport (I could fill a whole post with my trials and tribulations on escalators) or the stairs in an old building or the discomfort of old seats for a body in pain.  So to be able to visit the “theatre” close to home, by car, in the relative comfort of the local cinema and yet still feel a part of the whole staged experience is fantastic.

roh---frankenstein-2-1460639621Frankenstein is a new ballet choreographed by the very young, and very gifted Liam Scarlett.  To watch such talented dancers telling a story so movingly with their bodies and the music was something very special.  For me, as someone with a disability and a painful disability at that, this piece provided several hours of escapism, a reminder of just how beautiful the human body can be.  Please understand that I don’t mean how “pretty” a person is, but rather how through a series of movements the human body can show tenderness to anger to  grace to pain in a matter of minutes.  The dancers on that stage gave me the opportunity to forget my own limitations and to watch bodies at the the peak of physical fitness perform the impossible.  Of course I know that these athletes have suffered for their art – aching muscles, bleeding toes, painful joints, psychological frailty and rejection – but for those couple of hours they glide, leap, caress, and interlace their limbs with such grace and ease that it is easy to believe that their performance is effortless.  I have to admit to a touch of jealousy that their bodies will allow them to train hard enough to be able to perform with such guile and passion….

'Frankenstein' Ballet choreographed by Liam Scarlett performed by the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, London, UK

Steven McRae as The Creature, Federico Bonelli as Victor Frankenstein ©Alastair Muir 04.05.16 Frankenstein 1377

The Creature, played brilliantly by Steven McRae, was portrayed as a hideous imitation of a human, so deformed that even his creator could not love him.  Scarlett has focused upon the love stories in this dramatisation of Shelley’s classic – not just the love story between Frankenstein and his lover, Elizabeth, but also the Creature’s need to be loved and his complete bewilderment that he is unloved, and his realisation that he is “different”.  This has got me thinking about how when we find ourselves at our lowest ebb, and this isn’t necessarily due to a physical issue, it can be difficult to see ourselves as lovable.  Equally how often do we hold preconceived ideas based upon imperfection – the never judge a book by its cover analogy?  Does physical or mental difference make us less lovable?  This is getting a bit deep for a Sunday night now……maybe another blog post in the making!

So ahead of a week of exams – the final two for the uni student and end of year week for the “lovely, untidy” girl – revising for the sixth former, and Grandma’s birthday (won’t tell them your age, mum!) – I will spend a few more hours dreaming that I too can glide across a stage…..until I wake up tomorrow morning, my body telling me that I never have been able to!

http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/frankenstein-by-liam-scarlett

 

 

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