Nick: “How are you feeling today, Clare?”
Clare curls her fingers and gets her thumb up.
Nick: “Right, we’ll do something hard then!”
It’s been 3 weeks, and we have wet holidays to talk about as we get ready. Helen’s Norwich trip involved canoeing so was bound to be wet. And it was. Robin’s D-of-E trip was really wet (he says cheerfully) but he had a tarpaulin that he sheltered under, so no worries there. Clare and I were in a comfy dry cottage looking out at woodpeckers and wet trees, and had to admit our trip to Harry Potter Studios had been totally unaffected by rain.
Last time she climbed, Clare got very cold. Today we help her put on Hazel’s cycling gloves at the start, hoping her hands will stay warm. Which they don’t – but today’s clothing, including full thermals, joggers, an ample jumper, and fleece, keeps her warm enough.
For the first time ever, we don’t need to think whether the vent tubing goes above or below the harness – we’ve remembered it goes above. And we repeat last time’s nifty trick of tucking the NG tube into Clare’s hairdo (Clare’s carer Becky does this as she knows how hairdo was built).
To the wall! Nick, Helen and Robin have picked another new location, this spot having vertical rather than horizontal obstacles (if obstacles is the right word).
Clare starts very fast, raising the jumar without assistance.
“Nice one, Clare”, we’re murmuring. But Clare is already pulling the jumar down, and going for the next lift.
Upward progress is steady. What is surprising is that Clare continues to lift the jumar herself. The velcro system built round Hazel’s gloves is doing a great job keeping Clare’s hands from slipping off the bar, but upward lift of the bar is all from Clare.
The big blue vertical obstacle keeps Clare and Robin further apart, but not too far apart. The vent tubing falls off only once, dangling downwards … we all shout at Robin and he’s already retrieving it to reconnect.
Ooh, this is looking like another trip to the top ….
Robin is telling Clare to go for it.
Hesitation as the climbers near the top. Four of us watching below. Two people up high. Movement. Watching. Waiting.
Is Clare still OK? Robin says Yes.
Hovering. Encouragement. “Reach up for the karabiner!”
Clare’s hardworking arm reaches up waveringly. And again. “Go on, Clare!”
I think Clare touches the karabiner. Anyway, she is defo at the top
Woo hoo!! The amazing thing is that Clare has done every single lift of the jumar herself. That’s a first.
We get Clare down as fast as conveniently possible, not sure how tired she is. Her knees are coming into contact with the holds. We don’t need a full-speed descent, and Robin helps Clare’s feet and knees past tricky spots.
She lands in the chair. Smiling! And looking well.
Climb again? Well, Clare’s priority is café. We fetch some coffee and Clare has a few spoonfuls of mine.
So – another amazing climb to the top. More for future reference than anything (as Clare is looking perfectly well) we take a reading of Clare’s sats – they are 100% (i.e. fully oxygenated) once we have got a reading from her cold hands. We relive the enjoyment of the climb and Clare feels really pleased with it.
Coffee drunk. Ropes to get down. See you in 2 weeks!