R is for…

So Autumn has arrived with huge winds and a dramatic entrance with that well publicised visitor, Ophelia! In fact whilst following the progress of this ‘unwelcome guest’, I have to say, I kept thinking back to last month’s article in that we, as a county seemed lucky in comparison to others on the island. So Ophelia was inconvenient, yes. Scary, without a doubt. But in Fermanagh generally, I think we need to count our ‘lucky stars’ this time.It’s ironic really because my last column focused on ‘L’ and being lucky. Strangely enough, since my last article, I’ve been counting my lucky stars and reflecting lots on what could have been. For that reason, this month’s letter has to be ‘R’ and ‘R’ is for reflection.

A few weeks ago, we, as a family were all supposed to go out for the day but anyone with a young child will understand that family plans might remain just as that: plans! On the planned day, Tíernan was feeling the pain, literally, of new teeth coming through so a nap was called for resulting in the impending plans being put on hold. Now at the time, I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed but upon reflection, I am beyond grateful because what happened next could have been so much worse!

With our little teething monster sleeping, Seamus decided to nip out and sort a few bits out. We decided to ‘re-assess’ plans for the rest of the day when he got back. To put it truthfully though, he was lucky to ever get back.

Yes, as quick as that and in the blink of an eye, Seamus was involved in a car crash where he was put off the road and where our car is more than likely, now written off.

Soon after the incident, Seamus rang me to break the news. Without haste my Dad and I followed the road until we found him, injured, but alive!

When I looked at the car, I nearly fell over (nothing to do with my Frederichs) just because all I could think of was what could have been. Airbags were out, our car was battered and Tíernan’s seat was out of place! All I could think of was, “we could have all been in there”. To be honest, I can’t dwell too much on it because it doesn’t bear thinking about! Naturally though, reflection makes you think; the situation could have been a whole lot worse and through all the stress of insurance and sorting things out, that has got me through.

Without going into too much detail, a lack of insurance on someone else’s behalf complicates the situation. I only include these details because if you are reading this, I urge you to reflect and I seriously mean that.

Yes, life is busy and of course we all have been late for something or in a rush to get somewhere. But next time you jump behind the wheel, please take time to reflect and slow down. Would you really want a serious injury or even a fatality on your conscience?

The insurance aspect is a whole other story but I’ve mentioned that for a reason. This has led to us now not having a car for weeks whilst this mess gets sorted. Now that might seem trivial given what could have happened, and in some ways it is. But all this stress is not helpful for ‘The F Word’. It has led to hours of stressful phone calls, the likelihood of losing lots of money, countless sleepless nights and to top it all off, the real possibility of not having a car or transport to assist in getting around for many more weeks or maybe even months. In ‘F Word’ terms, this all culminates into the following result: Frederichs 1, Michelle: nil! I rely on my car to get out and about as I physically can’t walk far. In this situation. I am forced to become dependant on others. It might not seem much, but anyone whose legs don’t work brilliantly, will understand my big reliance on my ‘wheels’!

So once again I have to plead with you, before ‘hitting the road’ next time, please make sure your affairs are in order. It might just save somebody a whole lot of stress and worry. If this situation had been different, I might not be reporting a ‘nil’ and negative result on my own battle front.

Back to R though and for anyone who knows me, back to counting those lucky stars and looking for the silver linings.

Yes, this whole debacle is rubbish. Without a doubt all the extra stress and worry has meant that the symptoms of my disease have got the better of me over these past few weeks. Granted, our move home has been ‘shook up’ but, and it’s a huge ‘but’. Imagine how it could have been. It sends shivers down my spine if I’m honest.

So upon reflection, just like with Ophelia, we have been lucky. I fully appreciate that things could have turned out a lot differently and I can’t help thinking of those that might not have been as lucky as us.

As with my situation and my inheritance of the dreaded ‘F Word’ (Frederichs Ataxia) I am determined to plough on through. I could focus on the fact that it’s not fair and on all the negatives but will that help? Upon reflection, the short answer is, no! Taking time out to reflect isn’t always easy but I find that for me it helps me to refocus and in turn it helps me with my on-going war against ‘The F Word’.

Following reflection on this occasion, I am hopeful that next time I can report a positive result regarding my own, personal battle. As the saying goes, on this occasion, the battle might have been won but the result of the war is still very much to be confirmed!

So, until next time folks, stay safe and reflect, reflect, reflect. You might not be battling in my arena and with ‘The F Word’ but we all have our own battles or issues and believe me, trying to look for the positives, in amongst all those negatives will help!

From a very ‘reflective’ Michelle.

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