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I recovered from my near fatal fall from the scaffold. A fire alarm rang a day or two later, I was the hotel fire officer I was in the yard and so I ran into the staff entrance, a metal shutter. In my haste to save all hotel staff and guests from a life threatening false alarm (we never got to have a real fire-thankfully) I dashed to the shutter, saw that it was on the way down but barely, so 'ducked' under it as I hurried in.........Well, nearly hurried in, but was belayed by a newly discovered affect of Ankylosing Spondylitis. I wondered how it was that my eyes saw the shutter descending, my brain adjusted my posture to take me under it as it descended........well nearly except AS, fooled my brain and I was an inch too high as I went under........Arghhhhhhh........ next thing, I was on the floor blood everywhere and the shutter still descending. My head hurt like hell, thankfully, Johnny Ball, a chef....cripes Johnny Ball.havent seen him for years.....cripes.......oh, sorry yes, I was just inside the shutter, in fact it was he who had pressed the close button, and as such the guilty party....lol, he grapped my arms and pulled me along the floor as the shutter rang out a final closing serenade of metal grinding into a metal c/sill.
So off to the hospital again......."It's him again" the staff shouted as I went in clutching a bath towel sized cotton wool pad to my throbbing nut........stitched and all ok. I learned that AS interferes with sensory judgements and as such, slow tempo and entering through non moving shutters might be a better approach to fire fighting. Anyway, I didn't save anyone that day, not even my former, now well tarnished tough guy image!
I am well into the 1980's by now, was really bent forward. A chambermaid who entered a lift (elevator) that I was in greeted me beautifully succinctly, #
"Ayup (hello) Spastic"
She chortled merrily to herself, admiring her own fine humour. I was very aware that I looked different, really different and it was bugging me.
I had always been happy to be tall, despite the discrimination that smaller people seem to have for the tall! Now I was 'quasimodesque', people were laughing and pointing at me. Talking with each other about the crippled maintenance man. I was embarrassed often, and usually kept away from the jobs that were adjacent to people.
Unhappy in some ways with my work, having always aspired to some sort of cerebral role in life I decided to return to college. I was and am a terrible scholar, so this was a brave decision for me, guided really by the knowledge that one day soon, AS would make any kind of physical labour difficult, or impossible, and that the bending was increasing at a rate of knots, I decided to do an IPM, yep you got it, an
Oh you aren't sure??
OK. 'Institute of Personnel Management'.
Bernard, my boss, Nooooooooo Mr Greaves dont do that do teaching....what? Mind your business
Bernie Q..............and yet when I went away it struck me..teaching ADULTS, yes I liked that thought
And so it was that I came to meet Deborah Melluish, a gay midwifery sister, cleverly enigmatically known as Mel...lol
Mel gave me the best advice ofmy life, she became the heart an soul of me ......Mel died 2 years ago, she was 48, her death still not understood, her partner Val, ever distraught.......more of Mel tomorrow..................