Inspiring people with illnesses and injuries

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In Britain we need to hear about an inspiring leader, at the moment, who despite personal injuries and constant illness overcame these and became a national hero.

I have fibromyalgia. What gets me through bad pain days?

After reading a Facebook post, asking fibromyalgia sufferers to swap ideas about what helps on bad pain days.

I immediately thought… chocolate. 

Then I thought…

Banish the bad if possible, like excessive stress.

My symptoms get worse on stressful days, as most people do when under pressure.

An invisible illness like fibromyalgia can mean it’s difficult to explain how we are feeling to others; especially people close to us.

It’s not like having a cold or broken leg, which over time recover. The pain and other symptoms are always there in some guise and will never go.

Its good to remind myself occasionally of the good things l can enjoy.

Perhaps making a list…

1 Chocolate!

2 Reading a gripping book

3 Writing a post

4 Chatting to friends 

5 Watching a good film

6 Walking

7 Inspiring people…..

Thinking more about this got me imagining what it might of been like for someone many years ago, who fell ill or was injured. Perhaps a famous person in history who has shown great courage and achievements, despite suffering from numerous illnesses, debilitating wounds and depression.

Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson; a British Navy admiral, may not immediately come to mind.

Nelson is a celebrated hero in Britain for his great victories in the Napoleonic Wars and at the Battle of Trafalgar.

He was born on 29 September, 1758 at Burnham Thorpe in Norfolk. Accounts of him from the time describe a slightly built, sensitive child. Perhaps not obviously someone who would become a great courageous hero. Although early biographies describe Nelson as a brave and honourable boy. His mother died when he was just 9 which upset him for years to come. He joined the navy at the age of 12.

In his lifetime Nelson contracted malaria and survived. He was hit by musket ball distroying his arm and had it amputated. Nelson was reportedly giving orders again, after half an hour of the amputation. In 1798, Nelson lost his sight in one eye during the Battle of the Nile.

Sailing on his most famous ship called Victory, in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson invented a new strategy for steering his fleet of ships. The Spanish and French fleets were trying to invade Britain. The British fleet won the Battle with Nelsons leadership but Nelson was hit by a musket ball and fatally injured. He died after hearing that his fleet had won the battle. A state funeral took place at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on January 9th, 1806.

A memorial to Nelson, named Nelsons Column stands to this day in London in the middle of Trafalgar Square.

Its inspiring to read about Nelson and visualise living on board ship back then. I visited the Nelson Museum  in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk and discovered more about him and the illnesses and injuries Nelson suffered. The most incredible thing, I thought was his heroic achievements in spite of these. 

How did he do it? 

He fought and won battles; showed incredible courage and determination to succeed. Throughout all this he described himself in a selfless way, writing in a letter;

‘I got a little hurt this morning’. Nelson had been hit in the face when a shell exploded and was blinded in the right eye.

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A wintry tale from the past….

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Snowflakes gently glide to the ground; white snow covered trees are glinting in the faded sunlight.

I start to walk along a track through the trees listening out for any sounds. It’s really quiet apart from a few birds singing. The occasional thud of snow falling from the branches breaks the eerie silence. 

As I make each step forward, I hear thick snow crunch beneath my feet. My hands feel bitterly cold; the breath in front of my face nearly freezes. 

A spectacular scene of ice unfolds into the distance. A frozen river bed fills the expanse.  On the horizon is a bridge, which stretches across the river. 

Rustic tents and strangely clothed people bustle about a huge outdoor market.  The market’s taking place directly on the ice.  I walk over onto the river bed and join the crowd.

By one tent I see the excited faces of the crowd, waiting at a printers.  People are gathering around and watching a man print a special ticket.

Where can I be? 

Before I went to sleep I had been reading about the frost fairs that took place on the river Thames in London, during the 18th century.

The year is 1716. I realise, I was looking at old London Bridge and the river must be the Thames. It looks so strange without the familiar stone embankment on either side.

Old London Bridge was quite a differently proportioned bridge to the current one. It was built on nineteen arches supported by small piers, these in turn slowed the flow of the river which is why it often froze.

The tickets I saw being printed were actually printed, using a woodcut, on the ice as a souvenir for visitors. They were dated and read ‘Printed on the ice on the River Thames.’ 

I had left a window open, which is why I felt cold and had fallen asleep still holding the book I had been reading.

For more fascinating facts and information about London in the past have a look at the Museum of London website.

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