I've never been viral, internet-wise, I've picked up my fair share of bugs from the classrooms I've taught in, including those little visitors which like to use your head as a home planet. In fact, the very first time I met my new husband, I was treating my own head lice with a third dose of Domestos and vigorously combing my hair, livid my cranium was hosting such a party. I must have looked a mess back then, I was constantly in a tracksuit, devoid of make up and I slept for most of the day, with my fur ball, Brian.
Alex had spent nine months in hospital and I, a single mum, had lived next to him on a camp bed. The stress caused me to become so ill I occasionally became 'locked in', couldn't use or feel my legs properly and had the occasional (and somewhat embarrassing) bowel and bladder accident. This did cause much hilarity amongst the nursing staff, I once had to collar a small and confused child for help, insisting she find an adult from the ward (I needed replacement pants). The nurse snorted and laughed at me for what seemed like an inordinately long time before she traipsed off to find me replacement clothes. We laughed a lot.
There I was, post discharge, sitting in my living room and suddenly having care workers come in to help me care for my son. It was unusual and I was ridiculously hard to please. Although I was grateful for the help, the only other option I was given for Alex and I due to my health, was for him to go into a residential home. He was, is, my whole life and that would have killed me, so I needed another baby to baby. I bought Brian, a small furry dog (I believe he is a shit-poo-chon), named after the Life of Brian as I seem to have spent the last 13 years singing 'Always Look on The Bright Side of Life'. Brian is still blissfully unaware of his species due to being carried around in a baby sling for the first few months of life.
My lovely husband, for whatever reason was attracted to this incontinent, tracksuit wearing, nit hosting single mother who was 12 years his senior and carried a small dog about her person. I had no idea why, I tell my family it's my cutting wit, dark sense of humour and genius-level intelligence. He says it was my derriere, actually he would say bum, but it sounds classier.
We became friends quickly, this cocky young upstart and I. He was very self assured and had a ridiculous spiky hair cut with what looked like frosted tips. He made me laugh, sometimes so much I peed a little (yes remember the dodgy continence issues!). After self indulgently allowing myself to wallow in a Poe-like misery for six months post discharge (waiting for my child to try to die again), I watched Martin fall in love with my son. From a critical distance (hard to please!), I was astounded by his kindness and gentle care. I had a multi-team meeting soon after, (monthly torture) and it was horrible. Yet again I was told if I couldn't make home care work, my son would be put into a residential establishment. Martin hugged me and it felt like home, it was the safest place I had ever been. Also, he smelled pretty good. I began to apply make up, shower (having managed to annihilate the lice!) and began to flirt, I was shocked I still remembered how to.
We had our first cheeky kiss and Martin stepped back from working with us - ever the professional. It took quite a while for him to persuade me that we should 'date'. At the time, I wasn't a huge fan of going outside and I thought we would have a fun fling and both move on with our lives. He proposed a few months after, on Valentines day (he's rather soppy) on the edge of a cliff in Newquay, he was rather red and sweaty, insisting on dragging Alex and his electric wheelchair through the mud to join us. He had asked Alex's permission, and my father's first. I believe my dad and mum responded with 'are you sure, she's a bit of a handful?', I have to confess I am and they've always celebrated that.
We married this year and Martin built a harness out of various bits of seatbelt and parachutes just so that I could have a first dance with my son on my wedding day to a song I sang to him as a bump - Coldplay's 'Yellow'. I didn't think I'd get married again, let alone dance with my beautiful yet hefty son. I always thought my life would forever be just that little bit sad, having a child with an expiry date and all that. But somehow I now have two beautiful stepchildren, Alex is still here and I have a version of 'Happy Ever After' that was beyond even my imagination.
Jo and Martin are planning to take Alex to Disneyland, however, due to medical care costs this will cost a lot of money. Because of this, Alex's carer, Georgia set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the expenses. If you would like to donate some money for their trip, the GoFundMe page can be found here.