The sixth guest post for National Carers Week is written by my brother-in-law – King Russell.
I am King Russell. I know Touretteshero because for twelve years I’ve been ‘going out’ with her sister – Fat Sister – and we’ve recently got married. That makes Touretteshero sister-in-law to a King, a high position in the court indeed. Fat Sister and I lived with Touretteshero for three years, so we’re a lot closer than the usual sister/brother-in-law relationship allows for.
I don’t see myself as a carer, although I do care. Touretteshero’s a friend and now she’s family, and you naturally do extra for the people you’re close to.
A memory that always sticks with me dates from when Touretteshero started losing the ability to communicate while having a ticcing fit. I was looking after her with Fat sister and found I was able to interpret the noises she was making, as she tried to communicate a problem or request, to a startling degree of accuracy. This was much to the chagrin of Fat Sister who would try and do the same, but couldn’t get the hang of it. It got us thinking about verbal communication and the massive reliance it has on context, prompting a very long and interesting debate.
Anything I say about Touretteshero would be incomplete if I didn’t mention her great contribution to Fat Sister’s and my wedding. She gave an excellent speech which was heartfelt and hilarious, but her best contribution was during the ceremony itself. When Fat Sister was saying her vows, Touretteshero, with brilliant comic timing, chimed in “Even his eyebrows!!”
To explain, I have strong and masculine (read ‘bushy’) eyebrows. This is a point of contention between Fat Sister and me, because I always refuse to pluck or trim them, because this would sap my powers. Needless to say, Touretteshero’s intervention caused corpsing from everyone in the room.
Most of the time when I’m out and about with Touretteshero I see two reactions to her ticcing – fear or curiosity or sometimes a mixture of both. Generally, once people understand about Tourettes they’re very accepting.
It’s impossible for me to pick any other favourite tic apart from the one that gave rise to my self-aggrandising title – “King Russell.”