A Positive Start

Well, it’s just past midnight on January 2nd. I am pleased, and actually quite amazed to say that I managed to survive New Year without dissolving into a ball of anxiety, depression and self-loathing like I have done almost every year since I graduated.

If anything, I’m more motivated than ever.

It’s also my birthday. 27 years ago today I shocked (and probably panicked) everyone by deciding that I wanted to take my place in the world 14 weeks ahead of schedule. I got cerebral palsy for my eagerness.

I wish I could say this level of punctuality has followed me into my adult life, but I’d be lying.

For the past few years I haven’t wanted to do anything special for my birthday.

I never really gave that much thought when I was a kid, but now I’m older it feels pretty darn weird. I think it always will now. I mean, why would/should/do I celebrate a day that was probably awful for my family?

This year though, I’ve had a bit of a change of heart. I survived. My mum survived. It was touch and go for a while, but we made it. My dad also managed to come through the whole ordeal too.

My parents were told I’d need speech therapy. I didn’t.

My parents were told I might not crawl. I did. Within two weeks of them being told that.

They were told I might only be able to ‘walk around a supermarket at best’. I think you all know how wrong that turned out to be.

Not only did we all survive, but we stuck two fingers up to every expectation along the way.

And we still do that last part. Every. Single. Day.

I think that’s pretty freaking amazing.

I’m off to celebrate. Who’s with me?

My (estimated) birthday

April third is the due date that my parents were given when my mother was pregnant with me. To cut a long story short, I arrived early, at 26 weeks, and was born in the first week of January.

I think this date will stick in my mind for the rest of my life, and at this time of year I always find myself feeling thankful, but also wondering how my parents must have felt at the time.

The older I’ve become, the more we’ve talked about it over the years, but every now and then, either my mum or dad will tell me something about my time in the hospital that I didn’t know before. Sometimes it will make me laugh, sometimes it might make me cry, and other times it will leave me surprised.

Even though I was quite young at the time, I still remember my dad telling me that I spent the first three months of my life in hospital. I hadn’t really thought about that very much before then, but I still remember being quite shocked by that nugget of information even though I was just a child.

Another story that gave me a surprise more recently was something my mother told me when we were sitting in a coffee shop at Christmas time last year. We were talking about what it was like when I was born, and she started telling me how excited she and my dad got when they first saw me open my eyes.

This was news to me. It had ever occurred to me that they wouldn’t have been open yet, but apparently they weren’t. Needless to say I was very surprised. I was 22 at the time, and I was only hearing this story for the first time, but I was glad that she was telling me them all the same. That memory was a happy one for her, and I’m sure my dad would tell me that it is for him too if I asked him about it, and I always like to hear the happy stories.

I wonder how many more untold tales there are that I’ll get to hear one day?

Remembering appointments

When it comes to me and appointments relating to my Cerebral Palsy, they tend to come in spurts. I’ll go months and months without a single one, and then there’ll be a few that seem to be pretty much one after the other.

Lots of these are often made quite far in advance, sometimes  six months to a year before I actually need to attend, so keeping track of them and remembering when they are can be a bit of an interesting task.

I do all the usual tricks of sticking the letters to the fridge door, feeding them all into my phone and telling my family over and over again when they are so that things will hopefully stick it at least one person’s brain so that I won’t only just remember at the last minute and have to scramble to make travel arrangements. Some departments at my local hospital have started sending out SMS messages or phoning me to check that I still want my slot, which is a great help.

Yet, the other day I got one through the post for April 2014, (it seems so strange to type that), that I think I’ll have no problem remembering the date for.

Why? I hear you ask.

Well, the appointment falls in the first week of April, and the same day that my parents had been given as my original due date. As it happens, I came into the world in the first week of January, 14 weeks sooner than anyone expected me to.  So yeah, when I meet someone who actually was born on that day in April, or I have an appointment on that day, it tends to stick in my head quite easily. I gave myself a small smile as I read the letter and went and told my mother.

“Don’t t think I’ll forget that one anytime soon,” I said.

As it happens, my next appointment at the dentist falls the day before this one (see what I mean about them all coming at once?) Okay, so I know this one isn’t related to my disability, but the timing is quite good nonetheless.

I can’t actually remember what time I’m actually meant to be at the hospital, or the dentist for that matter, but I’ll probably start committing that to memory sometime next March.