I’ve spent today at the seaside – Littlehampton to be precise. We took a group of children from work on end of summer trip. From the moment we arrived I knew we’d have a great day. The atmosphere was friendly, the staff at the small fairground were laidback, and there’s a lovely little beach, which I became a lot more closely acquainted with than I’d anticipated.
I was sitting happily on the stony beach with the children and my colleagues, I’d just finished drying my wet, sandy feet after paddling in the sea. But then, as I was watching the children playing on the shoreline, I felt a surge of intense discomfort throughout my body. The muscles in my back tightened and twisted. I could feel my head loll over and all my attempts to straighten it produced no more than a vague wobble.
I heard the sound of pebbles clatter as I was guided down onto them. Very quickly, Will and Leftwing Idiot wedged a cushion under my head as they reassured me and asked me where I was in pain.
My muscles were very tight, I felt heavy, and the stones constantly shifting underneath me were poking into my body. I was lying on my back with my head resting on Will’s legs. He held it very firmly so it didn’t crash into the stones. Leftwing Idiot straightened out my twisted body and uncurled my painful hands.
The sky was blue. The seagulls were flying into the blustery wind, never getting very far. They looked elegant and calm even though the wind kept pushing them back down onto the beach. It made me laugh, but you wouldn’t have guessed it because my twisted face couldn’t move at all.
I started choking – it’s one of the worst features of my ‘ticcing fits’. Every time it happens I feel an intense sense of dread. Will and Leftwing Idiot quickly turned me onto my side and I concentrated on listening to them as they reassured me and encouraged me to breathe. My throat and chest tightened repeatedly, forcing air out of my body with a horrible, painful rasp.
This carried on for some time. Every now and again they wiped my saliva away with a towel, which felt lovely. Leftwing Idiot waited for a gap in the choking and then syringed some of my emergency medication, which tastes of strawberries, into my mouth. Gradually things eased, and I turned over onto my back again, and regained some speech. Leftwing Idiot asked me if I was finding the word penguins hilariously funny yet – he uses this as measure of whether the emergency medication’s kicked in and made me giggly. I started talking about the seagulls.
I was exhausted, but relieved to be in less discomfort. I lay on the beach for a while longer, listening to the sea as my body slowly came back online. Leftwing Idiot pointed out how lucky we were that the tide had been going out when the fit started.
Forty minutes later the fit had completely finished and I was ready to sit up. The children and the rest of the group had moved on to a new activity. We slowly got everything together and went to join them.
I said a quiet goodbye to the seagulls and the pebbles and the sea, which had all played a role in my first fit on a beach.