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Last Friday (the 18th) was my birthday. I was 65. So despite what PamelaJean says, I'm now officially an Old Age Pensioner (OAP) Not a Senior Citizen. Not a Youngster With Experience. And certainly not As Old AS I Feel.
There are many, particularly amongst my parents contemporaries and my school teachers, who expressed grave doubts that I would ever reach my 65th birthday. But many of those also vowed that I would be very fortunate to survive the day, if they managed to get their hands on me.
Anyway. Last Friday:
A word of advice to those of you approaching a birthday, whether it is one that marks a milestone, or not.
Do not presume that because a specific date is the anniversary of the day that you were born, the world, the elements, the fates and the majority of humanity are not immune to conspiring against you.
Because if your birthday is going to be anything like my 65th one was, last Friday, you'll wish that you'd never been born - or at least that you'd stayed in bed, with the pillows over your head, until the day had passed.
Last Friday was a disaster of appalling proportions.
Everyone else in Northampton seemed to be coping quite disturbingly well with it. But not me.
By 8am, I'd had quite enough. (I should have gone back to bed then, but ..... 'No' I thought, 'I'll persevere')
My left side is my 'stroke-side'.
I always get out of bed and stand up on my right side.
It's natural. It's intuitive. It's common-sense. It's not what I did last Friday.
So I fell to the floor, banging my head on the arm of a chair in doing so, and knocked the wind out of myself as I landed.
I'd have shouted b****r if I'd had the breath, but I just thought it, instead.
By the time I got back to my feet, my dear wife, bless her heart, was also breathless. She was laughing so hard it looked apoplectic for a moment: but she was OK. She was just helpless with uncontrollable mirth.
Not long afterwards I cut the very end of my little finger on my new mount cutter blade. And because it's on the end of my finger it'll take weeks to heal properly. And it hurts.
One of the other areas which the stroke affected is the peripheral vision in my left eye. I lose my spacial awareness on that side. I remember that clearly now, because I walked straight into the edge of the door as I was coming out of the kitchen, that I'd left open after going into the kitchen.
I dropped an oak stump onto my foot.
Grief, that did hurt
Because I'd got my breath back by that time, I swore a lot, on both occasions, but it made no difference.
On a good day, I feel much better having had a good swear.
And so it went on. Throughout the day. Friday the 18th May 2012 had 72 hours in it. I thought it was going to go on for ever. I thought I'd died and was being punished for all of the things I've done wrong in my life.
In which case it would have gone on forever.
In fact the only good thing that happened last Friday was that I actually survived the day and managed to crawl back into bed.
You have no more right to a good day, simply because it's your birthday, than you are entitled to three score years and ten of life: or the assumption that the twenty four hours that you are in the midst of today, are yours by right, to do with as you please.
There's Somebody up there - looking down.
And last Friday, I don't know why, but the decision was made, by Someone, to make my 65th birthday one I wouldn't forget in a hurry.
I'm going to hide at my Mother-in-Law's on 18th May 2013.
Nobody messes around in Sullendale Road.