Every Cloud… and all that.

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“Every cloud has a silver lining” – This is one of those glib little phrases that get churned out when we’re told bad news by someone and we don’t really know what to say, but want to say something reassuring in the hope that everything will be alright in the end.

It’s a phrase I have muttered to myself multiple times daily for nearly a month now. Because on Halloween my lovely, but rather forgetful, husband fell 8 feet from some scaffolding and broke his back. Yes that’s right he broke his back. He fell so hard a vertebra exploded and then went back into almost the right place again – almost. The pressure on his spinal cord meant his legs were effectively being electrocuted for two days. The pain from nerve damage is not like anything else. Broken bones or even child birth don’t have anything on it, it’s in a category all on its own.

For those who follow me or my husband Charlie Budd on social media you have probably seen the references to it and that he is going to be alright. He wasn’t though, and for a several heart stopping hours I really thought our lives were going to be thrown off the edge of a cliff. I am sure the sight of a woman walking through the hospital car park at 2am in the morning sobbing uncontrollably can’t be that unusual, surely.

The hours during Charlie’s surgery to insert permanent pins and rods into his spine (effectively making him bionic!) and those waiting for him to come back onto the ward again were painfully, achingly slow and some I would never wish on even my worst enemy.

Don’t worry the beard has remained unharmed!

But he is on the mend now after some incredible medics and surgeons have literally bolted him back together. When you really need it the NHS is a truly wonderful thing. The pins and rods he has had inserted into his back fuse several vertebrae together stablising the broken one while it heals. He has to wear a body brace to support his back and prevent him from bending and twisting for three months and then we can work on the physio side of things. But after all this he actually managed to walk out of the hospital only two weeks after he fell.  

How can I possibly find a silver lining out of this?

Well for a start he could be paralysed or even dead and he isn’t so we can tick those boxes!

The injuries Charlie has sustained mean he will take a long time to recover and return to normal. The thing is we don’t quite know what normal is going to be just yet. He can walk, well more of a shuffle really, and as he says himself “he ain’t gonna win any races against a three toed sloth any time soon!”  But he is getting stronger and more mobile every day. (Thanks be to all the Gods that ever existed!)

However, this is going to be a life changing event for us. He cannot work for at least six months and even then he won’t be able to return to his former occupation. Charlie was a high end painter and decorator with an attention to detail I have rarely seen matched. He is/ was booked up for most of next year already. But there is certainly no way he’s going near any more ladders even if he were able to bend and move enough to be able to do all the things he did before.

This could be viewed as a disaster, a tragedy, a calamity, how are we going to cope? And this dear reader is where my silver lining comes in. Where the little sunbeam rays of hope creep their shiny fingers around the oppressive clouds of doom.

Charlie, although very good at painting, has other talents too. Some of you may have seen his instagram posts as @thetallphotographer on instagram. He is well versed in photography having taken pictures since he was a child, and more recently proved a dab hand at cinemagraphs and plotagraphs. If you want to see what those are have a look at his Instagram feed.

For a long while now we have both been coasting along doing what we’re doing and not being completely satisfied with the direction of travel. Don’t get me wrong I love teaching and all things sewing related, especially pattern cutting! But we have felt that we weren’t quite where we wanted to be with our respective businesses. Charlie is a creative soul and needs to be channeling that creativity in a more satisfying way. He is extremely good at putting together small but perfectly formed videos showcasing independent businesses and has been working on this more recently with a view to turning it into a business. This is now becoming a reality as editing is something he can do in small bouts of sitting at his Mac.

Queue a massive kick up the pants! A life changing event. A chance to take stock.

Now I don’t advocate that taking a nosedive from some scaffolding is the answer to everyone’s prayers but it has brought us up short. Made us take a good, hard look at what we’ve got, where we want to be and how are we going to get there.

It has made us reassess what’s important. We both work bonkers hours and actually enjoy working but do we need to do it how we were doing it? Is there a better way? Can we get off the treadmill we’re on and create a better life?

I think we can. So while breaking your back and being in screamingly excruciating pain really fucking sucks, (and I make no apologies for swearing, I’ve done an awful lot of that too lately: I’ve seen my husband in screaming agony – literally, and I’ve seen the MRI scans of his broken back), the silver linings really are becoming visible.

I’m working from home more and will be for the foreseeable future, but I am actually more productive. I have a new vision for where I want to go with Sew Me Something, what we can provide to you the sewers and dressmakers, and I have a better idea of how we are going to get there. So watch this space.

Another of the wonderfully glib phrases that springs to mind here is “when life gives you lemons – make lemonade”.

“RIGHT” (she says hands on hips standing in the middle of the room) “pass me the fucking juicer!!!”


18 thoughts on “Every Cloud… and all that.

  1. I’m so glad your husband will recover! My boyfriend is also healing from a life altering illness, and boy is it a change. I’m inspired by how you are taking this event as a chance to grow.

  2. wonderfully honest Jules and thankfully Charlie is on the road to recovery. He certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humour thats for sure! x

  3. Hya Jules, I’ve only just discovered your blog and started following you. I am really sorry to read about Charlie’s accident. So pleased that he is on the way to recovery. Good luck to Charlie in his efforts to start a new business and I will look forward to reading what new direction you will be taking your business in. I live near Hereford so maybe I will visit your shop one day.

  4. Good luck to both of you. It takes something like that to make you assess your lives. Make that lemonade by all means but make sure you allow enough time in your day to enjoy drinking it. Kindest regards, Karen

  5. Wishing your husband a speedy recovery. When these things happen, we realise and appreciate the important things. Looking forward to hearing what you have planned and enjoying your book in the meantime.

    Sod the lemonade, if life hands you lemons, make a gin and tonic! x

  6. What an inspiring post Ann! I wish your husband a vibrant physical recovery and launch of his new business direction… and you the best as you evaluate where you want to take Sew Me Something. Love your patterns and if I were in the UK I’d be taking your classes too! I hope you keep creating such wonderful patterns and writing such inspiring stories 🙂

  7. woooooo, that’s one hell of a story and brilliantly told – and swearing allowed (and aloud) goodness knows you’ve had one mother f’er of a month. Sending you and The Tall Photographer big (but gentle) hugs, all the +ve vibes I can muster and although there’s nothing I  can think of, if you find anything needs doing and there’s no-one who can, gimme a yell I really hope to make it to the last SASSY of the year – I got my 15 1m diameter circle skirts done (well, except the hems, some one else offered to do that so I can do the 6 1.3m Jittebugs circle skirts -when the fabric arrives, as well as Tin Man and scarecrow bits to work out)  I have an idea what it’s like not to be able to do the stuff you love for ages. That’s bad enough. To know it’s 99.9% unlikely that’s it, never again – jeepers. scary.  You are doing one hell of a job getting on, huge credits to you, amazing lady and gent I think we need a huge bonefire on December 31st to burn away the yucks and stuff, it’s been a grotty year for so many folk, clean out the ah then look to 2018 to help us all get some where good in life Hxo

    From: Love to Sew Learn to Sew To: heatherrly@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Saturday, 25 November 2017, 16:14 Subject: [New post] Every Cloud… and all that. #yiv2552653626 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2552653626 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2552653626 a.yiv2552653626primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2552653626 a.yiv2552653626primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2552653626 a.yiv2552653626primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2552653626 a.yiv2552653626primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2552653626 WordPress.com | Sew Me Something posted: ““Every cloud has a silver lining” – This is one of those glib little phrases that get churned out when we’re told bad news by someone and we don’t really know what to say, but want to say something reassuring in the hope that everything will be alright ” | |

  8. Oh my dear…you’ve put into words what I myself haven’t been able to say for the last few years. My heart goes out to you both, especially your Charlie for keeping his sense of humour (and yes, the beard) througout his horrific ordeal. Now…would you like me to dish some more silver lining? I am also now “bionic” in my spine after 2 fusion surgeries over the last 3 years, the second of which I dealt with that unbelievable nerve pain for 7 months. The silver lining part is that it DOES get better! And more quickly than you can imagine. If your dear Charlie does all the physical therapy required (including hydrotherapy if they give it in the UK), he’ll have a marvelous recovery! He might even feel better than new! So far the only limitation I have is the inability to bend over far enough to trim my toenails! But I now have an excuse for regular pedicures! Men just don’t know what they’re missing, but perhaps Charlie will now. It’s been 11 months since my second surgery and except for a few rather ugly scars, I’m as good as new or better. Anyway, it’s great to hear that you are both re-assessing with positive attitudes and I wish you both the very best. Take it from me….it does get better!

  9. My god Jules I can’t even begin to imagine how horrible that must have been for both of you. So pleased Charlie is on the mend and heading for a change of career – sometimes we do need an almighty shock to propel us in a different direction. And one more silver lining: you now have a bionic husband who can out-beard Lee Majors any day of the week! Wishing Charlie (and you) a speedy recovery. Xxxx

  10. You both seem like such lovely people, and being able to find the positives in a bad situation I feel is key to being able to recover both physically and mentally. I’m sure you will both benefit in the long run from this horrible nightmare. Sometimes it takes a life changing event to enable one to take stock of ones life and goals. The important thing to remember is you still have each other and life is too short to sweat the small stuff! Good luck to you both. XXX

  11. Reading this at the hairdressers, feeling a bit teary thinking how bloody awful those hospital hours/days must have been for you both….then snorty laugh at the juicer finale, (lady at next chair giving me a few concerned “looks”…) I hope the juicer is taking a caning & the sliver lining keeps shining for you both!❤

  12. Such a bold and honest sharing. There may be no delicate words to describe what you’ve been through, so swearing is most likely mandatory! All the best wishes for smooth and total healing for your Charlie, and for you, as the role of caregiver is a challenge of its own.

  13. My first visit to your blog. All I can say is I am so glad that your husband will be alright. How awful for both of you to have to go through that accident and hospital visit; the first among many I am sure. The best to you and your husband, and I hope you and yours enjoy a Happy Christmas.

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