It's a bit of a ramble, but another several 'day's in the life'.
We were due to go back to work on the 11th, the day after my birthday, after a longer than usual Christmas break. There had been almost constant rain and storms up until then, but also we had both gone down with bad coughs. Around my birthday my temperature was between 100 and 103 for nearly four days, and this pretty much wiped me out.
It was also at this time that Celia was admitted rather hurriedly into hospital, and fighting a bad cough it was game on for Amanda, as she started to try and make some headway into work, and at the same time attend to both me and her mother. It was a difficult time for her, but she hung on in there and all went like clockwork.
With the help of antibiotics, I mostly recovered, and just seemed to still have a bit of a cough, and so we decided to really make a start at tackling the huge amount of work that needed to be done. Forty gardens to tidy up, and eleven planting schemes in January alone. That evening we both managed to bring Celia home from hospital for her to recuperate further. All seemed well and both of us were almost fully recovered.
We had decided to head out on Friday 15th, and take things a little easy on that day and the next, just to make sure we didn't push thing's too far at this point. It was a very cold morning, and we started with a cup of tea at the Haven Ferry, before heading to the first job that would entail mostly blowing storm damage rubbish, a little planting, and the fleecing of some frost tender plants.
The blowing started off OK, and the heavy knapsack made no impact on me at all, but I new that something had gone wrong, and badly, when I bent down to refill with petrol. I only just got the filler cap back on as I was gasping for breath and had to sit down or pass out. I will never forget the look on Amanda's face as she came rushing over. She made me stay where I was while she finished that particular piece of work. I felt stupid, and put it down to breathing in too much cold air suddenly.
Twenty minutes later I felt 'recovered', and we decided to try and carry on. I felt strange, and once again Amanda took on the huge task of tidying up the entire place, while I made a start on replanting some of the pots. I pulled out six small blue salvias, and was again gasping for breath. It was scary, and I made it back to the van and sat there trying to get enough oxygen in. Amanda, seeing me like this, quickly stopped all work, loaded up the van and took me straight to the doctors. I felt useless, angry, nervous both for myself, but mainly what this would mean for my wife who was already stretched too far both physically and mentally.
We have a remarkable NHS, and it's something that I cannot ever praise enough. I was put straight to the front of the queue, and saw a doctor within minutes. There was an ECG, blood pressure and oxygen levels taken, lot's of questions, and a final conclusion that maybe the chest infection hadn't fully cleared. A diagnosis that didn't fully put my mind at ease, as up until the days work I had become able to take all of the Christmas decorations down and also tackle the clearing of the studio at the end of the garden. A course of stronger antibiotics are now being taken, and for the moment even making a cup of tea has me hurriedly finding somewhere to sit and gasp. Despite two of our closest relatives driving all of the way from Looe to see how Celia was doing, I spent the entire evening asleep on the sofa, as Amanda, by now thoroughly worn out from the days trials, and then attending to her mum, held court and sat with them in the kitchen for several hours. I partially woke at times, to hear conversation and laughter coming from the kitchen, and made the decision to doze a little more and then head through. Sadly I missed them completely, as they set off back for home, a long drive back. It all took it's toll on Amanda, and she was totally wiped out when she came through and gently woke me with a cup of tea.
The following morning, she went to work, and with the help of Rebecca, managed to get through three of our larger and most important properties, before going to get some food and cooking dinner as well. I still feel useless, and it is hard, very hard to see the pressure she is under. I try to help with any menial tasks, but simply cannot, at this point anyway.
It's Sunday morning now, and I have managed to make her a cup of tea and give it to her in bed with a fraction less gasping. She has slept solidly for twelve hours straight. I wish I could do so much more. After the previous weeks storms it's going to be one of the toughest times of the year for us, but particularly for Amanda. She has a whole week on her own coming up, and it's going to test her to the limit, while I just lounge around the house. She has remained so upbeat, loving and 'jokey' through all so far, really quite astonishing, as I can see the fatigue in her eyes, and know how nervous she is about the whole work thing. I don't know what I would do without her, and pray that I will never have to.
It's going to be a Sunday of afternoon films and yet more resting, and can you believe it, Amanda has even bought the makings of a roast dinner. I will maintain tea duty if I can, and try not to let my health situation piss me off too much.