Monday, 30 January 2017

LAST WALK ( Ullapool medical practise )



We left Lochinver wae the weeks meds and some supplies from the Spar.


Headed tae a wee stepping stone a few miles ootside and settled, over the next days we calmed doon and got back intae the simple life . Mel calm again and the stress at last left behind.


But all the while knowing that we would have tae face the wall again in a week or less. but we put that to the side and as i said  tried enjoying some good food films and simply watching the mountains at play.

over that week we slowly made oor way tae Ullapool even driving slowly was taking it’s toll on Mel now,having been all but bed bound for over 8 months or so . 


eventually though we made it and parked up at the medical centre ready for the next day. and the wall as we tried again tae get a months supply o pain meds.


We hadn’t been back there since the day many months previous when after visiting the surgery , Mel came oot in tears . YET AGAIN. even then it shocked me the strength Mel showed getting oot her bed to walk in.. 


the previous Thursday we had run oot o meds after a really bad week or so. and made an appointment to get some, this time Mel asked if i would go in as they weren’t listening.


we sat there in that we office and poured both oor hearts oot. Mel explaining , she didn’t want any more treatment at the Hospital or any more tests, didn’t want the whole subject brought up again. simply wanted tae get a months supply o pain drugs and go to the beach etc . more and more we let oot until we both just looked at each another. exhausted . the doctor seemed to listen took notes etc and we left after asking again can Andy please come in for the scrip if i can’t make it in. NO, again was the answer. but at least the subject o tests etc would NOT be brought up at the next appoinment. Both o us when asked “ do you know what is happening “, said together aye . Mel knew her time was limited as did i . but over and over we were asked . did we talk aboot things etc etc . aye aye aye.  we left happy . and the appointment was made so we could come back on Tuesday and get the full months meds.


at last at last we said together over and over . i went tae Boots got the meds annd we pulled oot o Ullapool for a couple o days , not bothering tae go far as we knew we had tae return Tuesday.


Tuesday arrived , Mel woke up happy as was i at last things were sorted , we could get the meds and head off on the bimble.


Then , within a couple o oors we were back tae square one, Mel in bits walking back tae the wee van. for ages she simply couldn’t speak the pain and anger raging. eventually though she explained what had just happened.


At the appointment she wasn’t simply given the meds. again the subject o the hospital tests etc was brought up, even the mention o more radiotheraphy the doctor explaining it’s only radiotheraphy.  and then questioned the drugs . in the end she was given the months meds and left.


It took days tae calm Mel doon , in that time i gave everything we had at Droma away including two caravans burners etc and we headed as far as a tank o fuel could take us. vowing NEVER tae go back there..


well here we where , sitting feet from the door in the carpark. Mel now in a wheel chair but bed bound as it was simply too painfull tae even get oot the bed.

Waking that morning .


we had coffee and oor ususal ten cigs , me trying tae make her smile, but i could tell she was worried. then she tried but failed tae get oot the bed , we tried over and over but no.


picking up the phone , Mel pressed the buttons and waited .


the receptionist came on, some Mel knew.


Mel explained she needed more meds and was to get a months that day , but couldn’t get oot the bed, she asked can Andy please come in.



a pause as she went off tae check if that was ok , returning she said tae Mel , NO, the doctor says you have tae come in for them, Mel crying said i cant get out off the bed.


back and forward the conversation went Mel getting more and more upset. i said i would go in but Mel said NO. and continued explaining how much pain she was in and COULDN’T get oot the bed. by this time we were both shouting and crying

THEN the phone went flying wae Mel screaming  “ right, fuck it  i am coming in “


i begged her tae stay in bed , i will go in , but somehow she got oot that fucking bed , crossed that carpark, got her meds and came back tae the van, i never got tae see ma wee warrior walk again. it took her days tae recover tae the point the pain left.

i drove us doon tae Boots and again got the meds , we headed off . i wanted tae take her tae Gairloch and her favourite chinese . we never made it . stopping at Dundonnell instead for a few days . that was when Mel said she couldn’t travel anymore and asked me tae take her tae Droma , knowing then that her death was close . we headed off on the final journey .

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A wee film about us on STVs the HOUR SHOW click on STV logo to see the film

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Andy the Daft Hermit lives 45 minutes outside Inverness with his wife Mel in an old bus parked in a layby. This current home of theirs is the longest they have ever stayed in one spot. “I’ve been travelling now 25 years,” said Andy Lowe. “Mel’s been travelling 15. One of the reasons we’ve come and stayed up here is because of Mel’s health. I wanted to bring her to the mountains for fresh air and clean water and just a slower pace of life.” Mel has had breast cancer twice, skin cancer once, and for three years believed she had bone cancer after being wrongly diagnosed. Andy’s belief in the restorative powers of the north made them pack up ‘The Black Bus’ that they live in and cross the border into Scotland. New Highland home for hermit couple Andy and Mel “I think we both believe in trying to get to a more simple way of life,” said Andy, “but it’s strange for us because we are sort of hermits, or we like to live separate, but it’s not being anti-social… it’s just the way we are that allows us to be creative.” Andy first began travelling when he left the army. Fed up with bureaucracy he packed a rucksack and left for France and has been travelling ever since. By investing any money the couple have earned into solar panels and wind generators they now live a self-sustaining existence, without electric bills, and collect rain water “straight from Heaven”. “It’s not easy,” said Mel. “There might be time when there might not be enough facilities around, but you always find a way, you know?” Rather than rejecting technology, Andy blogs about his travels online and collaborates with artists from around the world via his ‘Scratchy Heid Film Studio’, which he runs from a static trailer next to the couple’s bus. He explained his philosophy: “My belief is that if you can go through life and you drop dead and you’ve got a balance there that slightly outweighs the good than the bad, you’ve done alright. “Yesterday, with what Mel’s been through with the cancer and all that, I had a woman on one of my sites there that thanked me for the writing, for the positive things, and to me that’s worth everything. You can keep your millions, we’re not interested. That is what we do.” To check out Andy’s artwork and video projects check out his website. MORE FROM THE NORTH

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