(This is the continuation of our autobiography)
We lived in Creech St Michael between 2010 and 2016. It was quiet place to live, so long as you ignore the constant thrum of the M5 motorway. My first vision of Creech was blossom on the tree outside the bungalow we rented on West View. It was a riot of colour and very impressive. Our neighbours there were wonderful, one in particular used to take Mary shopping each week after I could no longer drive. By that statement you will realise that when we arrived I could drive. That ability only lasted for the first 6 months.
We moved back down to Somerset from Hartlepool, where we had moved for my work in 2005 and had lived till 2010. After my health took a nose dive it made sense to move nearer Mary’s elderly parents who live in Dawlish, now just her Dad is still alive. We also wanted to move near a Church that we were happy to be part of, so as Taunton Family Church was just getting started, we joined them and moved to the area. I was limited, able to drive an automatic, not having collapses, but unable to walk more than a few yards. So, I had a wheelchair to go further. I didn’t often go out at all. The Church was very supportive to us both with our move and day to day. It was only after we could no longer travel into Taunton that we discovered there was a brilliant Church on our doorstep, literally a few hundred yards away. Creech St Michael Baptist Church. It’s this Church we are still members of. It’s odd how things work out. God had a plan for our lives. He had placed us very close to a brilliant Church at a difficult time.
My health got worse and the collapses came back. I hadn’t had them for a few years, hence being able to drive. Once they returned, I had to hand back my driving licence and I found that the wheelchair I had was not supportive enough. So, I gradually became totally limited to the house.
To give you a picture of what this was like as it developed over time. Walking outside I collapsed on the concrete paths, steps and in our garden a few times, I am not a quick learner, but eventually I stopped going outside. I also collapsed in the bath, fortunately I didn’t drown as I don’t have it deep and we had a short bath. After that there were no more unsupervised baths, but the second time I collapsed was with Mary present and a very shallow bath, so we decided even that was unsafe. Other times, I collapsed head first into my hot dinner during meals, not once but a number of times. I also collapsed onto the hard kitchen floor with things in my hands and even in our small bathroom in such a way that my head was behind the toilet. By this time we had the Piper help system installed, but they took ages to come and often just sent an ambulance anyway. I was then pretty much limited to a chair for safety. If you read my other blogs you will know I had some silly times even on a chair. Alongside this my legs had already become weaker, stiffer and less responsive so the collapses were not the only limitation to walking, plus with everything else health wise going on I was struggling anyway. The district nurse and OT came with adult social care to do an assessment of my care needs. They were horrified that I was spending day and night in a riser recliner chair. That’s when they gave me my first community bed, what I call a hospital bed. (If you read my blog “The cot sides”, then you will hear how I ended up with bed sides.)
(If you read my blog “Keep on rolling”, you will not only read about my previous wheelchairs, but the new ones I got in Creech and the problems and blessings of having them.)
Creech bungalow was totally unsuitable as it was too small to operate my wheelchair inside and the doors too narrow and offset to exit and enter easily. As we were renting at the time, we put our name on the Council housing list and waited. We had letters from the GP, OT, district nurse and local counsellor all saying how unsuitable the bungalow was. We waited three years. Not because nothing suitable came up, three suitable properties came up, but each needed very minor modifications, one example is a small ramp was needed for one. The Council said that made it unsuitable. Eventually after three years we were offered a new build bungalow. At that same time, we came into an inheritance and so it was right and appropriate to buy a property. We chose a flat on the same complex as the bungalow we had been offered, it was a 24/7 care complex. We were in possession of the contracts, had them signed and ready to return in April 2015. If you have read my blogs about what happened, then you will know about the miracle that happened in May 2015. I regained my ability to walk and the collapses stopped, for two and a half years. The 24/7 care flat was no longer appropriate. It was during this time we moved to Wellington in July 2016.
Those read my blogs will know I again lost my ability to walk and most of the other issues returned in January 2018. For my theological musings on that read my blogs “You can do it again” and “How can it be OK?”
Creech was a great place to live in terms of the people, Church and environment. But the bungalow and my health experience there were not good. I would love to live there again, if only I had easy transportation. It would be great to be near our Church and our friends there again.
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