Since I've been at University, I've obviously been mixing with totally new people, and with that, comes the most bizarre questions about Cerebral Palsy! I always find it hilarious, so I suppose that's a bonus, and I suppose it's good that questions are being asked!
Seriously considering tattooing 'IT'S NOT CONTAGIOUS' to my forehead though!
So, my favourite question, 'how did you get it?'. Well, some ET figure invaded the hospital in a spaceship on the day I was born, touched my forehead and gave me brain damage! ... ALWAYS WANTED TO SAY THAT TO WATCH PEOPLE'S REACTIONS! I wonder if anyone would actually believe it?! But, back to reality! I was sat in the University library thinking in that split second before I answered, shall I tell the clean version or the sweary version? The clean version being 'oh, I was the wrong way around and back to front, so I got stuck and I stopped breathing', and the sweary version being 'The person who delivered me was a ****head, and he didn't even know what day he was on, let alone the year, and he thought he knew ******* best, when he clearly DID NOT. He was in no rush to get me out, meanwhile I was kind of not okay! And he thought everything was 'just fine' ... because of course, all babies come out feet first, blue and not breathing, and then go straight to the SCBU! But yeah ... yolo!'
It started off as the clean version, but then it got into the sweary version! I told a joke to my best friend around this the other day - one of my tutors and one of the boys in my seminar group were also born in the same town and therefore hospital (there's only 1!) as me (promise I've not been stalking, it was part of our first ever lecture where we were born!), so I said to my friend 'ahh, a massive congratulations to the hospital for successfully delivering 2 out of 3 of us!', it sounded funnier when I actually said it! The ironic thing is, me and the boy in my seminar group were probably born by the same person with us being the same age, I know this was the case for some of my school friends ... we were all born weeks apart! I am tempted to get his photo off of Google Images and put it below, but that would be harsh!
The other thing that makes me laugh are the 'what is Cerebral Palsy?' questions! Well, that's a very good question! To try and explain how much it varies, I always say 'Well, I have a friend with CP who lives a completly independent life, I have a friend who can sprint 100 meters faster than you, I have a friend who can't walk without sticks, I have a friend who can't walk, talk or feed herself, and then there's just me in the middle who can't do everything independently and requires quite a of input for certain things, but I can also be quite independent too!' ... how can you even sum it up?!
Next week, I am finally going back to the hospital to start sorting out the difference in my leg lengths. I don't even care how sad I sound, but I cannot wait! I geniunely believe it's going to make such a difference, and fingers crossed, the back pain will go! The difference it made wearing insoles with a lift was crazy, but unfortunately, the insoles were too uncomfortable for my feet. Obviously, it isn't going to be sorted there and then next week, it'll be looking at my legs and measuring them etc., but it's getting the process started.
This also relates to another funny Cerebral Palsy question! In my second week of University, I had an Orthopaedic appointment. Someone asked me 'what's that?!', so I explained and their reaction was 'Oh my god that sounds horrendous!' (I don't think it's that bad?!), and my reply was 'Thank god you haven't got Cerebral Palsy then!' ... and then I started to laugh at my own punch line, not cool!
On Thursday, I was doing a practical session at University where we were doing different rugby skills, and my coach happened to be there. Anyway, as you can imagine, me + rugby = an epic fail! My coach's comments were hilarious, 'the idea is to catch the ball!' ... 'you look like a dying fly!' ... 'I'd stick to the Club Throw if I were you!'. We have so much 'Cerebral Palsy banter' all of the time and that's exactly how I like it, I hate people being all politically correct! The other day my Mum said 'I don't understand why your sister feels the need to put on so much eyeliner for school, you never did it!', my reply was, 'yeah Mum, might have something to do with the fact that I couldn't ... head said yes, hands said no!'.
I'm still bracing myself for a possible appearance on BBC Children In Need next Friday! I don't want the whole nation sitting there going 'aww!'. This is what I don't like about programmes like this, I know it's meant to pull on your heart strings to make you donate but seriously, Cerebral Palsy doesn't make my life in any way rubbish! Okay, I've benefitted from a Children In Need funded project, which has massively changed my life, and I am very grateful for that. But, do we really need the *play dramatic music* 'Ellie has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy ... she was incredibly ill when she was born and no one thought she'd pull through, but amazingly, she did...' Oh please be quiet! It's worst than an X Factor sob story! Does anyone care what happened to me two decades ago? No!
I am 20-years-old in a little over 2 weeks time, which is an horrendous thought! Since when have I been this old? Someone asked me the other day if I was going to change CP Teens into 'CP Old Foggies' now that I'm 20! But, on a serious note, as I've always said CP Teens UK is for anyone who has Cerebral Palsy, it's just aimed at teenagers and young people as I have found, this is the age where others can be less than kind and you become really aware of
I'm already preparing myself for the physical challenge of opening envelopes and wrapping paper! Every year without fail I spend ages trying to get into things, I suppose you could argue that it adds to the excitement and suspense! My Mum actually took a present off of me last year to open as she said 'it was too painful to watch'! Last Christmas, I actually beat my sister opening our presents - being a true child, my argument was 'Anna MUST have MORE presents than me!!'.