Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Snowdrop Time

All has been a little quieter this weekend after  last week's busy events. We were pleased with Emma's report in the Welwyn Hatfield Times, which you can read from the link I have put below. Emma gave a true account of all we said to her when she came round to interview us and we hope it may spur a few more people to sign up to the donor register.

Rose is home from university for her reading week and we have done some relaxing things including going to the local theatre to see Romeo and Juliet and going to the cinema to see Life of Pi, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It is so nice to have her back and have her around, especially while Rob is at work. 

Every year year we also like to visit Benington Lordship, which is in Benington, a small and very picturesque village near Stevenage in Hertfordshire and near where we live. Benington Lordship was once a fortified site dating back to Saxon times and the remains of a Norman Motte and Bailey fort can be seen there. There is also a red brick manor house dating back to the 18th century and it is all set in pretty gardens with stunning views across the Hertfordshire landscape.  The owners open the gardens at certain times of year under the National Garden Scheme and every February they open up the grounds and gardens to the public as they have the most fabulous display of snowdrops. As the sun has been very welcomely shining this week and it's felt so springlike and uplifting we decided to visit and I think the snowdrops were also enjoying the warm sunshine as they were out in full bloom and most probably at their best. It was hard to imagine that the previous weekend they were covered in a blanket of snow.  

I always have a lovely image of Benington now at snowdrop time as we have visited the last two Februarys, but I also have mixed memories of this little Hertfordshire village too. Before I used to teach, I once accompanied Sarah's class on a geography trip here as a parent helper, she was in Year Two and only seven years of age. I was walking up a slight incline with the group I was looking after, when I became dizzy and fainted into the main road. I can remember coming round and I had hurt my leg and arm, some of the adults were fussing around me and I could hear Sarah crying. The teacher quickly whisked the children away to the venue we were heading towards and a couple of adults tended to me. One of them rang an ambulance, her husband happened to be an ambulance driver and a man came out of a house to help us and gave me a cushion to put my head on. In the end we cancelled the ambulance as I felt alright again, except for a grazed arm and bruised leg and I managed to carry on round on the trip, but we put a few groups together just to be safe. 

This was the faint that spurred me to go back to the doctor's again, after an initial visit a few years ago when I had fainted previously.  Following that I went to see a cardiologist at the local hospital and they ran extensive tests and also referred me to Harefield, where I had more tests and even had an 'event recorder' implanted on my heart to try and capture a faint. Two years later I had the recorder removed with just one faint recorded on it, they just could not pinpoint anything that looked untoward or anything looking wrong with my heart, so both the doctor's and myself were happy that my odd little faints now and again weren't really anything significant and there wasn't really anything more that could be done or investigated.

So I didn't worry too much when I had a faint now again, it usually happened when I had been sitting down a long time and then got up too quickly and ran upstairs or something, so to be preventative I just stopped jumping up too quickly from being sat down or running upstairs too fast. It would be a whole ten years later when things got decidedly worse that I went back to the doctor. Many Pulmonary Hypertension patients are unable to get an early diagnosis, it usually an average of at least two to four years to get diagnosed and by the time a diagnosis is made, the  disease has more often than not, wreaked its damage. 

I also have some lovely memories of Benington and the surrounding area. During the early years of what I now know was my Pulmonary Hypertension, after helping in school, I trained as a primary teacher and brought several classes on school trips to the nearby Astonbury Manor and Nature Reserve. I also undertook some projects on working outdoors with the children at one of my schools and attended a course run by a  nature conservationist in Benington and we got to explore around the Benington Lordship Gardens, while it was closed to the public and got them all to ourselves. The gentleman then came to help us in school with many projects we were undertaking to improve our school grounds for the children and we we ended up creating a nature trail, hedgerows, a meadow, an arboretum and restoring our woodland for the children to enjoy. So it was a very happy and worthwhile time in my life that started in Benington and its gardens too!

It's strange how one little place that I've only visited a few times can evoke such mixed and powerful memories. Now enjoying some early spring sunshine and snowdrops while I wait for my transplant  will be added to that list of significant memories.  

Here is the link for Benington Lordship Gardens: www.beningtonlordship.co.uk/   

Just a reminder if you want to sign up to the organ donor register click on: www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/

You can help us get the Government looking at organ donation by signing the epetition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38220 


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