I did quite well as the children don't often miss a trick, but none seemed to spot Mr Hickman's bump! Rob had accompanied me so that he could help me if If felt wobbly or bring me home if I felt I couldn't manage. A couple of lovely friends took over his caring role very discreetly, so that he could leave and I can't thank them enough for being so understanding and empathetic with my needs.
The open morning finished with a lovely assembly, undertaken by our old Head Teacher and for a short time the lovely old times we had enjoyed together drifted back, again a real tonic. A group of us who do not work any more went for lunch and I even managed this. It was then bed for me when I got home for at least the next three hours!
All in all this day out was my first milestone and gave me a real lift, it also somehow managed to help me put closure on the whole emotional business of leaving the school and accepting that I am unable to teach ever again. This was another milestone for me and I have hardly looked back since that day to mourn what I couldn't have any more, the future is what I need to focus on now and getting even better, staying well and keeping alive. And that has become my mantra. My next milestones were to enjoy Sarah's birthday coming up in March and aim to be even better by the time it got to my fiftieth birthday in April.
For my fiftieth birthday, Rob had planned a surprise for me by booking a celebration at one of my favourite hotels in the Lake District. We had doubts whether it would be sensible to go ahead as I wasn't sure I would be well enough and we had had to cancel so many nice things already because of my illness. We had cancelled a treat on the Orient Express and a holiday to Spain and it seemed like it was asking for trouble to carry on with Rob's lovely plan for me. We took the decision to cancel it, but the hotel were really kind and instead of bringing friends and family from all over the country, we booked to stay there for just us two instead. We were also planning a visit to Morocco, but luckily we hadn't got as far as booking that yet, not for me now, I had been advised it would be very dangerous for me to fly with the high pressures in my chest and I really wasn't well enough to go anyway.
My fiftieth birthday was approaching soon.