Sunday, 13 September 2015

Guys, my Feet don't Fit in my Shoes...

For the last ten years I have made some amazing, lifelong friendships. I have friends who tell me like it is. We may occasionally fall out because one of us had a dream that one kissed another's boyfriend (just me actually!) but they have been my rocks and were there for me when times got hard.

Writing this blog has made me reflect on all the good times I have had and one memory in particular sticks out for me.

I have been friends with this girl - we'll call her T to save confusion - for about 11 years now and because we both came from the country we instantly clicked even though we were complete opposites. T, when I met her, had never worn a dress in her life and me, well, I use to wear heels to the farm! Country bumpkin + daddy's girl = perfect combination.

T had horses, and I loved them! I always wanted a horse so I use to go over as often as I could to see them and go for rides, however, one day while I was over, T's Mum asked us to clean out the stable.

Well, you can imagine my face when she said that. I do remember thinking "I don't want to get my nails dirty!" - pathetic but it still happens.

So, off we both go, me actually wearing wellies for a change, to muck-out her horses in a sticky, muddy field. Everything started out great. We'd set ourselves a target of having to fill a wheel-barrow full of poo before the next car came past us. We had been working for about 45 minutes until we came across a sheet of corrugated iron. This obviously had to be moved so that we could continue working however we found this a bit trickier than we should of. We both decided to take an end each and carry it over to the fence so we could take it back to the house later.

Now, you recall the field being muddy and sticky, yes? Well as we were moving said piece of metal my wellie boot got completely stuck in the mud. So did T's. Then so did my other one. Then T's.

Two girls, stuck in the mud, holding a piece of corrugated iron.

Every time I moved I pushed T back. Every time she moved, I fell backwards. The mud was so deep that it was physically impossible to get our boots out of it. We struggled for a good 10 minutes trying to get out of this predicament until I needed to go to the loo. I went from a scale of like... hmmm I could use the loo right not to OH GOD, I AM ACTUALLY GOING TO PISS MYSELF in the space of 5 seconds. Stuck in the mud, legs apart and the inevitable happened. 

14 years old, standing in the middle of a field and I peed myself. 

I could feel a slow, warm trickle down my leg but I could not stop it. I could not move because I was fused to the ground, I could not let go of the iron sheet because it would make T fall over and I could not for the life of me stop laughing so I just had to let nature take its course. To be honest I wasn't even that embarrassed until I had to face T's Mum and tell her what had happened, ask her for some new trousers and get her to wash mine.

It is having memories like that that make sitting in a hospital bed bearable.

For the next four years I studied alongside T at High School. I was certainly not the brightest pupil and in most of my report cards my teachers would write, "very bright young girl. If only she would stop talking so much and focus on the tasks given to her". Story of my life!

I may not have been academically clever but what I lacked it brains I made up for in extracurricular activities:
  • I was part of the school choir, even though I cannot sing!
  • During my second and third year I entered myself into a speech making competition and won both years
  • Leading from that I use to give presentations to the school at assembly's and I spoke at our final school prize giving in front of pupils, teachers and parents
  • I helped organise a French exchange trip in my 5th year
  •  Whilst studying for my highers in sixth year I was a Guardian for the new first year pupils and a help and support student for a third year pupil who has autism
  •  I was a keen member of the Christmas Dance, Spring Fling and Year Book committees and Vice Captain of my House (Delgaty Till I Die!!).

(I literally just copied that from my LinkedIn page because I couldn't be bothered writing it out again!)

At the start of my final year I started dating my ex. We were together for the whole of 6th year and I had an amazing time. Not just with him but with all of my friends. We, I thought, were a great group and we spent the majority of the year annoying the janitor, playing the Xbox in our "common room" and drawing mice on the walls. And studying, obviously.

When school ended, we all started our lives as almost adults. Starting uni, starting work, travelling. My ambition was to go to university but because I didn't achieve my grades, I started college studying Advertising and Public Relations. There I met two of the best people ever, H and L. L once said to me "when I first met you, I thought you were a total bitch. You're alright actually" and I have always loved her honesty.

About 3/4 of my way through first year of college I broke up with my ex. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done and for a long time I really regretted it.

The Summer of 2011 changed a lot for me. I was moved up to the adults hospital from sick kids and it was a dramatic adjustment. I wasn't given the constant encouragement to look after myself and I went completely off track. I still had people looking out for me but I stopped looking after myself. I never would, or ever could, blame my ex for what happened to me nevertheless the loss of our relationship left me completely heartbroken and I started drinking a lot more than I had ever done before. I moved into halls with H and we partied, hard. Not ever thinking of the ultimate damage it was doing to me or my kidney. I started working long hours whilst being at college and still going out drinking.

The thing that I believed triggered my decline was a tooth extraction a month before I was admitted. I had my wisdom tooth removed and three hours later I had a college presentation to do in front of a major client. Being immune suppressed I was more susceptible to infections and colds and after the tooth extraction I became lethargic and weak. I did not realise how much of a toll the extraction would have on my body.

I honestly believe there needs to be a better support system in place at the hospital for young patients transitioning up to adults. You go from having a paediatric nurse there for you 24/7 if you need, to nothing. The dangers of not taking proper care of yourself when you have an illness need to be made so much more aware to young people. Every kid at 18/19 thinks they are invincible and even I thought that. If I had taken better care of myself then my kidney would not have gone into rejection.
Saying that, every cloud has a silver lining. If this had not happened to me then I probably wouldn't have made the fabulous friends that I have or gone to the Commonwealth Games. I wouldn't of had Eta (my cat) and, most importantly, I would not have met A - the most amazing and supportive boyfriend anyone could ever ask for. But that story is for another time.

The day before I was admitted into hospital I was over at T's flat with her flatmates and our close friend's B and I. We were getting ready for a night out and I turned to them and said "guy's, my feet don't fit in my shoes!" Thinking nothing of it we made it into a joke and carried on with our night.

The next day, on 21st January, 2012, 12 years and one week after my transplant, I was admitted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with chronic renal failure for the second time. Really, the whole foot thing should of been a right give away!

I was in hospital for six weeks with tubes coming out of my neck and arms and on 12 different pills a day. I only cried twice whilst I was in there and, as always, that was because of my Mum not letting me feel sorry for myself and just getting on with it - an attribute I am very proud of. I was in and out of hospital 13 times in 14 months. I had to put my studies on hold for the time being and focus on my health.

Without my memories I would of been in a very bad place. My friends and family always cheer me up whether I am with them or not and I am so blessed to have them with me on my journey.

Until next time,

Kate x


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