- At times being self employed can be a roller coaster ride, this last 18 months has been an emotional journey for me in many ways with some real low times and some memorable events as well. Hopefully these little blogs will help others see whatever life throws at us, we can be resilient.
Following on from my previous blogs http://v-wilkinsonandson.co.uk/thoughts/ here is my, fingers crossed, some closure to this current journey then I can get back to posting about decorating things. So after July’s surprise hospitalization once again I was recovering, this time only four to five weeks as instructed and I was soon back on the tools.
I was even more determined to make 2017 a special year in many ways, first of all it was my wife and I’s 50th, secondly our son graduated from Glasgow university, our daughter had her prom and the dance school she attends had been invited to dance on Broadway in New York.
Things were going good, daughters prom went well, despite initial reservations I had ordered a new van for work, we attended sons graduation and then I noticed a small lump on my pacemaker scar.
Sadly after several courses of antibiotics, no improvements had occurred even when we went away whilst travelling home from New York unaware to me the lump had actually burst at some point, I only realized once we were home and went to change my shirt. Misguided treatment by a locum GP didn’t help and once a pacemaker nurse seen me on a regular check up I was admitted immediately back into Carlisle hospital.
Stronger intravenous antibiotics where given and doctors discussed with me the need to remove and replace the pacemaker due to the fact infection can easily travel down its wires to my heart, or infect my blood system. At this point I had not felt ill, I had assumed the infection was only surface based, my wife and family have since told me I was a different person, short tempered, no patience and quite nasty, for which I’m truly sorry.
I was allowed home for a few weeks until appointments were arranged at Freeman’s in Newcastle where my surgery would take place. I’m ashamed to say my temperament didn’t improve, plus I was frightened of going through surgery so soon again afterwards.
Thank heavens for the close family ties we have and good friends I have around me, my wife and family took everything I threw at them and gave me so much support, Mark who has been with me 14 years kept the work going and always remained in touch with bit of light hearted banter to try and boost my grey mood, I am grateful to Riah from the Dulux Select office for her much needed assistance when I was in incapacitated.
I had my first operation, or procedure the day after I was admitted into Freeman’s early December, then I had to wait for blood results to be all clear, after 10 days there was hope the second operation would be following day, only to be told they had ran out of theater time and couldn’t guarantee when time was available over the coming days.
Once again I was at a low point, my wife had spoken to the nurses before she went home that day, early afternoon one of the surgeons came over to chat, he said “you’ll be fairly pee’d of are you?” but promised I was second on the list for Monday 18th December. true to his word on Monday at about 11 am I was sitting on the ward when another of the surgeons appeared and simply said “would you like a new pacemaker?”
My wife was there as I underwent both operations, she stayed over in Newcastle as much as she could, returning home at weekends, she would let me know about messages from friends that had heard about me in hospital and I always felt humbled, I don’t think I could have went through this without her.
I cant explain the feeling I had after the operation, one of the nurses brought toast and tea, my wife was there and I felt a huge weight had been lifted off me. I was told after a few tests I would be discharged the next day. The next day after X-Ray, ECG and Pacemaker checks had been done, we waited for a course of antibiotics to be made up and my son had traveled over to drive us home.
Anything at all like this is emotionally and mentally draining, financially difficult especially if your self employed. I would suggest definitely speaking with your suppliers, explain the situation, pay what you can when you can until you get back on your feet. Yes you can have personal sickness policies and if your lucky money for a rainy day, there is government assistance for being temporary unemployed or off work through illness, although you need to have patience to negotiate through the paperwork and bureaucracy. It might take me a few months to get my business back on level footings, but without being too dramatic at least I’m here to do so.
The most important lessons learnt is no matter what life throws at us, although work is an important part of our lives, don’t let it over shadow the bond between your family, friends and those who you cherish. I’ve said it before I was truly humbled by the support I received, not just from family and local friends but from friends made via my trade from all across the country, customers, suppliers, fellow tradespeople too numerous to mention but they know who they are.
2018 is another big year not only is V. Wilkinson and Son celebrating 50 years in business, but my good lady and I will have been married 25 years also, so I’m now looking forward to getting back to my old-self and continuing delivering Quality Professional Decorating to our customers and maintaining a good work/life balance.
Thank you all