Friday, 28 June 2013

Wheelchair Wedding - Part 2

Where did I leave off? Oh yes, I'm in Israel, a week from my wedding unable to walk. Well there was no miraculous recovery. No Vitamin D related miracles as everyone suspected.. "your body hasn't seen the sun for a long time. As soon as you get on that beach and your legs touch the sand you'll be fine!"... Well, no, not really. First day, we went to the beach. Second day, we went to the beach. Third day, same. Nothing. And on Wednesday we had to make the journey to Jerusalem to sign the marriage documents and I burst into tears in the rabbis office because I couldn't believe I was collecting my marriage certificate in a wheelchair.

Thursday - beach. Nothing. And everyone was starting to arrive. I was devastated because they were all seeing me in a wheelchair and I couldn't enjoy my time with them like we'd planned. We had so many events planned and I was just getting more and more stressed and more and more anxious by the minute. On Thursday afternoon, after succumbing to the fact that the hundreds of people - from all backgrounds and denominations - all over the world praying for me, the so-called healing sand, and the 'wedding adrenaline' weren't working, I decided to call a doctor. I figured if Hashem, Allah, Jesus Christ and The Virgin Mary couldn't cure me, we needed to call in 'The Mortals'.

Friday morning. In walks Dr Butcher - as he is now affectionately known to us. 5ft2 and 20 stone, wearing jeans and a counterfeit polo shirt with breath to rival the entrance of the rhino enclosure at the zoo. And I'm being told to relax! By this point I just figured that things couldn't get much worse so I might as well take off my knickers and let him put that humdinger of a needle in my bum cheek. Which he did. It hurt but it was a nice distraction (from his breath, and the pain.)

After handing us his bill, we paid, and he left. I told Daniel to go and entertain our guests by the pool and I had a little nap. Lo and behold - blessed be Hashem, Allah, Jesus Christ, Lord Ganesha, The Virgin Mary, The Dalai Lama, Buddha and every freaking rabbi in the holy land I was standing on - I COULD STAND. And I COULD WALK. It wasn't immediately 100% better but after a few hours I felt relief. And when I woke up on Saturday morning I was able to put my feet on the ground and get myself to the bathroom. I was so excited I woke Daniel up at 6am to tell him.

We spent that day at the beach and come Monday, I was well enough to enjoy my wedding :)

Albeit I am the only bride in the history of the world to fall asleep in the wedding car next to her husband be on the way to our wedding! (A story for the grandkids)

The day was perfect. I had to sit down at lot and by about 11.30 they brought a chair to the dancefloor and I sat on it as everyone danced around me. By the end of the night, my wonderful husband put me in the wheelchair and wheeled me to the coach that was taking us all home and we got a great picture of it which I will post when I get it. But for the time being, below is a picture of me on the day. Who knew I couldn't walk 3 days before right???

Thank you to everyone who supported me through this time. It really was the hardest time of my life and having to mix that in with what should be the happiest time of my life was very difficult and extremely testing on my faith. But we got there in the end and the most important thing is that Daniel and I are now happily married, back home, and apart from a bit of a dodgy hip, flare free.

Happy Friday everyone xxx

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wheelchair Wedding - Part 1

To say it has been an emotional few weeks is a bit of an understatement. I don't think I've ever felt so many emotions in one time period...

So here's what happened. We were due to leave for Israel for our wedding on Sunday 2nd June (wedding on Monday 10th June) and the Sunday before that, I came down with some sort of horrific virus. It started with a sore throat and I woke up at 1am with a raging fever and insanely ridiculous joint pain all over my body. This kind of joint pain I have only experienced once before - and for someone who has had Rheumatoid Arthritis all their life to say this was bad, it really must be bad. The last time I experienced this pain it was only in my knees. This time it was every joint in my body and it felt like something was attacking them, like knives and saws and needles - that is the only way I can describe it.

I lay writhing in pain for hours while my-then fiance tried to figure out what to do. He called NHS Direct (always useless), an on-call doctor, and finally, an ambulance. The paramedics came and I have to say, my experience of paramedics has always been a great one. They are usually wonderful and caring and helpful. But this time - not so much. They acted as if they didn't want to be there and were bored and this upset me even more. To the point that when they said do I want to go to hospital and at first I said yes, they said 'well you'll have to walk downstairs.' I couldn't walk. Don't they carry people on those seat style stretchers all the time?? I changed my mind and said I didn't want to go to hospital and they were very happy. In the meantime they'd left the door wide open the entire time they were upstairs and unbeknownst to us, the dog had run out and we lost him. The paramedics left and Daniel was looking all over the house for Milo and I was stressing and crying as I couldn't move but I was so worried about the dog - he's like my child! Daniel then had to leave the house (at 4.30am) with a torch calling out for Milo and in the process waking up the whole street. After about 10 minutes the paramedics called us to say they could see him down the road so Daniel ran down there and got him. I've never cried so much in all my life.

Once we'd calmed down from this ordeal I suffered another fever and come 7am we couldn't take it anymore so my mum came round and we all headed up to A&E. I was literally rolling around in my wheelchair in pain so when the triage nurse told us to take a seat back in the waiting room I nearly screamed. I needed to lay down. So they gave me a cubicle with a bed and after about 40 minutes the cocktail of diazepam, cocodamol and ibuprofen kicked in and I calmed down.

I left with antibiotics even though they weren't sure if it was a virus or an infection and had to come back to my parents house as Daniel had work the next day and I continued to have raging fevers every 6 hours that lasted 2 and a half hours at a time. This went on for 2 days and the fevers were real shaking, sweating, shivering, painful type of fevers. I've honestly never been that ill in my life, I don't even remember the last time I took antibiotics or had a fever. After those 2 days my throat swelled up, I got severe headaches where I couldn't open my eyes for 7 hours at a time and the joint pain continued, just on a more dull than sharp level. And all the while I was on a countdown to when I was due to leave for my wedding which obviously made me even more stressed. I was so ill I didn't even watch TV or read a book until the 5th day.

By the Friday I felt a bit more 'human' again and by Sunday the virus was much better but I couldn't walk. We got to the airport and as we sat at the gate and I looked over at my wedding dress in its bag while I sat in my wheelchair waiting for Special Assistance to escort me onto the plane, I burst into tears. I couldn't believe this was happening. I've never asked 'why me' with my arthritis, but this time I did ask 'why now?' I just couldn't understand it. I couldn't stop crying and my parents were scared they were going to kick me off the plane. I stopped and calmed down but the flight was extremely traumatic - physically and emotionally.

We arrived in Israel with me utterly spent, in pain, and unable to walk - having to take the wheelchair everywhere and having to be carried to the bathroom, with 1 week to go until the wedding...

I'll leave you all guessing as to what happens next until my next blog post tomorrow...