“People are always asking me if I know…Samantha McInnes”

Ever since Sandra Bullock passed her driving test when we were 17, we have been on many a road. From our very first one over the Campsies and up to Stirling Castle in her black mini, there have been unwritten rules of a road trip. These are as follows:

1) The first rule of a road trip is you don’t talk about the road trip! Hang on, that’s the rules to my Fight Club…

2) A good soundtrack. Like a good movie soundtrack, the songs played on a road trip will set the mood for the entire journey. A soundtrack can make or break your 3 hour drive to god-knows-where. Anthems are what are needed, songs to sing to. It is also important to mix up the genres to match the different personalities within your vehicle. What is not appropriate is obscurity, no one wants to sit for three hours listening to album tracks of a band that they don’t know or care about. Some essential tunes always on my road trip playlist are: ‘Free Falling’ by Tom Petty, ‘You Oughta Know’ by Alanis Morrisette, ‘Perfect Gentleman’, Wyclef Jean, ‘9 to 5’, Dolly Parton, ‘Africa’ by Toto and ‘Always’ by Bon Jovi and finally ‘Belle’ from the hit Disney musical ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

3) You must bring munchies! There is nothing worse than having a road trip and dying of starvation before you reach your destination. However, be very aware of how much you drink through out your time in the car. No one wants to stop every 5 minutes for you to pee.

4) YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO FALL ASLEEP. If the driver fell asleep everyone would be dead. Don’t be selfish and fall asleep while they are trying to stay awake.

5) No reading materials. Reading is a solo activity and if you read while driving you are isolating yourself from the Road Trip bonding…and it’s rude.

6) Bring with you topics of conversation to avoid times of awkward silence. Some of my favourites are; who would play you in a film about your life? What is you theme tune to life? And who would you like to be your celebrity granddad?

7) Wear deodorant and do not fart. A car is a confined space and bad smells travel quickly. I carry these rules with me still today.

So when I embarked on a car journey to Manchester for a conference in February, I came prepared. At 6am on Tuesday 8th February Posh Spice, Kylie, Tyra Banks and I embarked on our 3 hour journey to the land of Oasis, The Smiths, Coronation Street and United. As usual I was prepared for the journey ahead. I had one of the best playlists I have ever made to date, munchies in the form of Percy Pigs and I smelt as fresh as a daisy. Now any M.E sufferer knows that a good night sleep is essential to having a good day and so getting up at 5am is not the wisest thing to do, but I thought, ‘I am sitting on my ass most of the time, I will be fine’. By the time we got to Manchester, sitting in a car as small as a dodgem didn’t do my legs any good. In all honesty, does that do any one’s legs any good? They were aching and sore but this was not unusual so I just shrugged it off and attempted to get on with my day.

After lunch we were taken into a cinema hall for a presentation. Through out the day the aches and pains in my legs had started to get a lot worse however it wasn’t until this point that they started to become unbearable. Sitting next to Kylie, I tried my hardest not to show I was in agony. I either didn’t try hard enough or the pain was just too much to handle because straight away Kylie noticed my pain stricken face and attempted to clear some space in an extremely crowded cinema hall to allow me to stretch my legs. After the conference finished the road trip back to Scotland was not the usual pleasant experience. Not even Percy Pigs or singing “Always” at the top of my lungs helped my legs. I naively thought that all I needed was to go home and go to my bed and that by Friday, when I was back at work again, everything would fine.

 

 By the time Friday came I could barely walk. I was however, still determined to get to work even though now looking back I have no idea how was going to stand on my feet for 8 hours serving customers. When Posh Spice came to pick me up, I wasn’t able walk out to the car without her holding onto me and supporting my weight. At least one of us has common sense, as at this point, Posh decided that the only place I would be going was to the hospital. You know the advice that you should always wear matching underwear just in case you are in some kind of accident? Well this is advice I should really have listened to. When you go into hospital reporting numbness, pins and needles, weakness and aches in your legs there are certain tests they have to do to rule out spinal damage. One of these tests is for the doctor to stick their finger up your ass to make sure you still have control of it. So when the doctor said this would be the next test she would be performing my immediate reaction was not, “Oh god I really don’t want a finger up my ass” it was in fact, “This was a really bad day to wear my superman pants!” After running numerous tests the doctor came back and said it’s probably just an M.E flare up and I should just make an appointment with my GP and at that, she left Posh Spice to struggle to get me out of the hospital and get me back to the car by practically carrying me.

The ironic thing is that 2 weeks prior to this I had been watching one of those programmes where people want to move abroad and some blonde women helps them find a job and a house. This particular couple were moving to Spain for a more relaxed pace of life as the wife suffered from M.E and was unable to walk without being aided by a walking stick. I remember so very clearly thinking at this point, “I am so lucky, I may have M.E also but at least I don’t need help to walk”. As soon as we were in the car I phoned to get an appointment with House and was told I would have to wait until Thursday and all they could offer me was a phone appointment even though I stated that I hadn’t been able to walk for almost 3 days now. At this point, I felt totally helpless and I would be in a state of Limbo for the next 6 days…

*Please note all the names of people in my blog have been changed to their celebrity or fictional character counter part to protect their identity. Under no circumstances should this be a reflection of the named celebrity or fictional character.
Title taken from a quote from “Fight Club”
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