When I swim I don't use any rings or armbands or anything. Just me in a swimsuit in the water. Quite a few people who go to my Friday afternoon disabled session do use floats or rings or whatever.
And this Friday my friend Lucille swam a few lengths without her rings (usually she has two). She did have hold of her carer's hand and she was really frightened of trying. But she did try. And she managed it. I was really proud of her and when I got into the coffee shop the first thing i did was go up behind her hug the life out of her, gave her a kiss on the cheek and tell her so.
For various reasons I was in a pretty bad mood that afternoon (not uncommon at the moment it seems). And pretty much everyone knew I was in a bad mood because I was in one of those "make sure everyone knows about it" bad moods. But seeing Lucille push herself helped me and then seeing her succeed did my heart a world of good and really cheered me up.
So we were having a "yay you!" moment over that and I was having a post swimming snack of a flyte bar and diet coke. And I was asked by someone else if I wanted help putting my trainers on. Obviously they didn't realise the importance of the moment because they interrupted.
Anyway I said no, thank you, I'm eating at the moment.
Her response was that she'd known before she offered that I would say no. And then she started muttering about how I was (apparently) having mood swings.
She's a carer for her partner who had a stroke. And she told everyone that she was glad he didn't have mood swings like I (obviously) was because that must make me hard to care for and she wouldn't be able to cope with her partner if he was like that.
I felt really hacked off at that point in time. And grateful that I have minimal care needs and people who "get it" providing my support.
Most of all, however, I felt for her partner.
And I felt for Lucille who had to have her moment of glory interruptted by the assumption that I would drop everything and that my saying no, thank you was the end of the world.