Living life to the full… regardless of circumstances

I loved this report of a 105-year-old woman who wanted ‘hunky firefighters’ to attend her birthday party. Not only did they attend but one of them climbed through an upper floor window for her.

It sounds like Ivy is still working through her bucket list. For next year’s birthday, she wants to meet Prince Harry. A bucket list is a list of things that you want to do, or accomplish before you die. The phrase derived from the expression “To kick the bucket”, meaning to die.

This is one idea that I can strike off my own list!

Back in 2007, when I was living in Alberta, I broke my wrist in a fall. It was a fragile fracture (one where most people wouldn’t have broken) and exacerbated my Sudeck’s atrophy in that wrist. Sudeck’s atrophy is also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS). The main symptom of which is extreme pain. As a result, I had to resort to narcotics to manage the pain and was off work for a few weeks as a result.

On one of the days during this time, a few of my friends were to come over for a BBQ. To be honest, these friends can be somewhat flaky so when they were over an hour late, I assumed that there had been a misunderstanding about the date/time and cleared up and curled up in the basement with a movie. I also removed my hearing aids and took painkillers.

Well, the next thing that I knew was that I was being woken up by a group of ‘hunky fireman’ just as Ivy wanted for her birthday. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in a fit state to appreciate it. Not only was I foggy from being woken up, and the narcotics, but I couldn’t hear anybody as my hearing aids were out and I was scared to death!

Paramedics then took over and took the time to realise that I needed to put my hearing aids in and for an explanation to be provided.

It turned out that my friends had turned up a couple of hours late. Seeing my car at home, hearing my pet dog bark when they rang the doorbell but not seeing her, and not getting any response from me by phone or to the door they called emergency services!

Between them, they had decided that I had fallen down the stairs and broken something more than just my wrist.

The good news was that my house was actually very secure. It had taken the firefighters a long time to find a way in and they had only been able to do so when they found that I had left one upstairs window ajar, without the safety bar in place. (Why nobody thought to ask my neighbours if they had a key I’m not quite sure).

The bad news was that this incident scared the hell out of me.

I know that everybody meant well, but to be woken up surrounded by a group or large, bulky men in uniform was incredibly intimidating.

As a sufferer of Complex PTSD, this was a huge trigger for me and took me years to move past. Even today I have times of paranoia about ensuring that all my windows and doors are fully locked and secured.

So having experienced this I don’t think I’ll be including it on my bucket list. I’m glad that Ivy got her wish fulfilled, though.

What I am finding with being home and housebound, and unlike the few weeks years ago with my wrist, unable to do much of anything and with no end in sight, that it is very easy to get down.

Yesterday, a friend reminded me that it is all about the perspective you have. Yes, I’m still sick and very incapacitated. Yes, there is no clear diagnosis or prognosis. However, there has been some improvement.

While it’s literally been a full month since I even attempted doing something socially (coffee in Starbucks) I’m still able to communicate with people through text and the internet. I’m not totally isolated. I have an amazing opportunity to really understand who I am and what I want.


So I’m throwing away my old bucket list and starting again. I may not accomplish everything on my list but there is no harm in dreaming.

Rather than looking at my limitations I’m going to look at my possibilities. Some may never be possible, some are extremely simple – like being able to meet a friend at Starbucks for coffee once more.

Others are routed in pure optimism that I will make a full recovery and in the meantime, there is nothing to stop me remembering how to enjoy life and live it to the full once more, even within the boundaries of my own four walls!

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