Spontaneity – The Spice of Life

Being spontaneous is a useful test for the mind; being able to switch from one plan to another  without too much debate is a skill that I have developed over my years as Joshua’s Mum and now I am a master at it. This skill was tested fully yesterday. My unpredictable day began when the train to London that I had booked for work, was delayed by 46 minutes due to ‘trespassers on the line’, typical when for once in my life I was 15 minutes early for the train. While I had built in some slack to my travel plans, a 46 minute delay would be just too tight so I had to go back to the ticket office and buy another single ticket for the next train. So I returned to the platform and boarded the train that was 20 minutes later than my originally planned one. My connections all worked well and so I arrived at my destination with plenty of time to spare.

So I decided to buy an early lunch as I knew it would be a busy day, and I promptly spilled it down my front so I no longer looked as smart as I did when I had set off. As I was staying overnight, I changed in the toilets to my other outfit and nobody was any the wiser. I arrived at the research studio, where my client had just arrived too and it was necessary to set up the room as to how we wanted it. During the course of the day I ran three focus group discussions, which I enjoyed. I had planned to check into my hotel during the break between groups, but my client invited me to join her for lunch and so I felt that I ought to do that. She is Italian and was unsure where to go to eat so I made some choices on our behalf and we had a pleasant chat and meal, before heading back to work.

I finished my final focus group at 8.45 pm and  I checked my phone messages. I knew that our cocker spaniel, Ruby, is expecting puppies around the end of this week, but I had two messages telling me that she was nesting and had changed her breathing pattern, so that things appeared to be moving. I decided that I could not stay so far away in a hotel room, wondering what was happening, and so I collected up my belongings and bought another single ticket home, and arrived home at 1 am, where Yorkshire Grandma was sitting with Ruby. I slept downstairs with her in the camp bed that my husband had set up. I can report that this morning, we still only have three dogs in the family, but watch this space.

Yorkshire Grandma stayed overnight as she was due to have packed Joshua off to school for me this morning, so not only am I flexible in my planning, but I need those who support me to be equally spontaneous and flexible, and fortunately she is! Joshua was delighted to have breakfast this morning with Mum, Dad and Yorkshire Grandma, so now let us see what today brings…..

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Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans!

One of the many things that I have learned, having Joshua in our lives, is to embrace flexibility and the ability to be spontaneous. His seizures can force me to change my plans at short notice, whether I like it or not. This flexibility was fully tested yesterday :

After my work yesterday, I returned back to Mum’s house to collect Joshua from her care. He was pleased to see me, gave me a bear-hug, and I suspect that Granny was relieved to get her house and life back to the way she likes it too. I packed the car and we were on our way within ten minutes of getting back. My plan was to divert on the way home, to see my friend’s new flat, where my husband had been helping her to move in all day. The deal was that I would arrive once all the lifting was complete and that we would all have a takeaway tea together , to christen the new flat.

Sadly Joshua’s epilepsy had other plans as he began to have seizures, on the motorway as I was driving acorss the pennines. It was frightening as there was very little that I could do being alone, other than hold his knee next to me and try to reassure him, as I counted 25 seizures in ten minutes. I cannot recall that stretch of motorway at all and I know I was just intent on getting to the motorway  services, where I could stop safely and attend to Joshua. He was still fitting when I could stop and so I jumped out of the car, went round to the passenger side and administered his emergency medication. I then sat next to him, waiting for it to take effect – it can take up to 15 minutes to stop the seizures. Thankfully they stopped within about 7 minutes and then I waited to be sure and I reclined his seat , so that he could sleep. But he refeused to relax, he would not rest back on the reclined chair. After about half an hour, I  decided it was safe to continue my journey.

I arrived at my friend’s new address at around 6pm, and called her , only to find that they were back at the old address picking up the final boxes. As this was an hour away and as Joshua looked so pale and exhausted, I apologised but decided to take him home rather than waiting another hour for them to get back to where I was already waiting. I was really disappointed, but I know it was the right decision for Joshua. We were home before they had returned to the new flat, and that included a trip to Donalds Drive-In to try to cheer him up – it worked, as he was shouting ” Doanlds” at the  payment window and he devoured his Happy Meal. Often seizures make him hungry or thirsty , so that was another good decision and it meant that I did not need to cook once I got home.

So Joshua’s epilepsy has tested my decision-making skills to the limit : it is never an easy decision to administer his rescue drug as it has such a dramatic impact on him, but  when the seizures do not look as though they will not stop on their own, it is a necessity. It is a further test of putting Joshua’s needs first : I really wanted to see my friend and her new flat, but she understood that I had to put him first and there will, I know, be plenty of other opportunities to visit her. So the journey did not go to plan but that’s nothing new. As John Lennon said ” Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans!”

Living with unpredictability

I have often talked about living with Joshua meaning that we have had to get used to changing plans at the last minute, but this has equipped me to better deal with unpredictability in my life generally. At this moment, I should be on holiday on the South coast withmy husband and son. Instead, Joshua and I are still at home and my husband is still staying with his mother,  visiting his father in hospital.

As yesterday wore on, it became more apparent that we were not going to be going away and so I have put our booking ‘on hold’, and helpfully, we can redeem my booking at any time in the next 90 days, so all is not lost. We are making new plans on a daily basis as nobody knows when things will resolve and our ‘normal’ family life will resume. Fortunately as a personality type I am laid back and I do not need to know what is going to happen tomorrow.  Luckily Joshua is not a child who has been counting down his ‘sleeps’ until his holiday or is one that is freaked out by a change of plan. We are both content to wait and see what happens and to make new plans when the time comes, as that is how our life, since Joshua arrived, has always been.

There is no point in getting frustrated, as these changes cannot be helped and nobody is delibaerately being awkward. However I will admit that it is frustrating and disappointing. And so the temptation is never to make any future plans, for fear of not being able to keep them. Now that would be foolish and would deprive us all of having anything to look forward to, which is one of life’s real pleasures. Keeping commitments might be problematic, but I still have a calendar full of futures plans – weekends away, christenings, concerts and holidays. September will bring a big birthday for me and I hope to fill that month with celebrations.4 weeks of fun and games should be on the cards, unless something else gets in the way.

Changes have taken place over time in my personality. Over the years I have become more spontaneous in the way that plans are made. My sister and niece on the other hand like to know a plan and to know what will be happening next. In fact, that is the reason that I initially resisted us all going on holiday together. Nervous about our different approaches towards plans and spontaneity. Going to Florida together however was great fun and we all adapted and had the best time, with a reasonable mix of planning and last-minute decisions.2 years later I would love to go away with them again, we really made a great team. Perhaps we will organise something similar for my birthday in the Autumn? Leaving any planning to my husband could be dangerous, but I am happy to see what he comes up with, so long as he invites the right guest list to celebrate with.

And so, here I am at the start of the day, and I have no plans for how the day will turn out. Yesterday, Joshua woke up at 11am, which is early for a weekend/holiday and so it meant that I could get to a bank and post office before it closed. Given the week that he had had of seizures and wakefulness, I was not prepared to wake him so that we could play, so I left him to wake naturally. I have too much experience of me waking him up before he is ready  and he has either gone into a seizure immediately or simply refused to respond. Instead I go with the flow and allow him to dictate the starting point of his day. So let’s see what today brings, though I do not expect to see him awake for at least another four hours.