Planning a wedding on no sleep and with only one arm is no joking matter.

I have discovered that weddings are exceptionally stressful. Mine is about 7 months away now, and frankly, it’s beginning to fry my brain.

The worst source of my stress is Pinterest. Far from helpful, I feel bombarded with emails about flowers and cakes and table decorations. I open one link only to find 25 other similar posts. Everyone of them claims to have the 37 best examples of rustic, vintage, stylish, expensive, DIY, magical, inspired, charming, amazing and mind blowing. Frankly, it’s too much. All I want is a wedding that is inspired by all the magic of a Mid-Summer Night’s Dream but without a groom called Bottom that looks like an ass. I already have the groom sorted and unless things go downhill drastically, he doesn’t look like an ass. So why is it so difficult?

I have put off ‘dress shopping: round two’ for as long as possible. I am still traumatized by the flamingo incident and the feeling of deja vu that came with trying dress after dress that looked splendid.

‘What do you think?’ they ask.

‘Looks lovely,’ I say.

Then comes the next one. ‘What do you think?’ they ask.

‘Looks lovely,’ I say. ‘Hmm…. A conundrum’.

Then comes the next one. ‘What do you think?’ they ask.

‘Looks lovely,’ I say. Each time the question comes round, I feel slightly less assured.

Don’t get me wrong, I have narrowed it down. To eight. I was told not to worry. ‘The right one will come along and I will know when it happens,’ said my mother, all shop assistants and most other marrieds that I know. When none of them smacked of ‘the one’, they said that maybe thinking back on the experience, one dress would stand out more than any others. That hasn’t happened. I haven’t dreamt of a single dress. Instead I have dreamt, for example, of the cat proudly bringing me a box of blueberries accompanied by a dead mouse. He wasn’t dressed in a wedding dress at the time. So round two is set to begin again soon.

I say soon, because I can’t start just yet. Whilst at the NEC for HOYS, I popped across the road to the Nike outlet and purchased two sports bras. These are not the bog standard kind of sports bra: they have criss-crossing straps at the back and one is even a bit shiny. Because I try to avoid wearing anything but sports bras except for ‘proper’ occasions – weddings, funerals and if I was ever invited to one, Bar Mitzvahs – I was rather pleased with my purchases. I proceeded to try one on. And got stuck. The problem with criss-crossy-strappy bras is they don’t come with instructions, and because they are super supporting (read solid), once you get it wrong, it’s very difficult to re-negotiate your way out. I wrestled and wriggled and tugged and pulled at it. I contorted myself into new and unusual shapes to release myself. I was breathless and red-faced by the time I got out of it, but rather chuffed with myself. I beat that bra in the end.

I’m eating my words. The bra has had the last laugh. Because by the next morning, arm-gate had begun.

For 15 nights now, I have slept on the sofa because I have experienced the sudden onset of excruciating pain in my neck, shoulder and arm. It is intensified if I lie down, and further intensified if it becomes cold. This is making wedding planning hellish, because now that I am on a reduced yard-duties until the mystery is solved, I have far too much time to google table centerpieces even though looking at a screen and using my hand to type sets my arm and neck straight into ache-mode. I’m not exaggerating, this post has taken a diazepam, a co-codamol and a heat patch to see me through.

I can’t lift my left arm above my head. It’s not that it’s too painful, it just won’t go. If I use the other hand to lift it, it goes completely dead and falls back to my side once I have let it go. This has so far baffled an osteopath, a physio, an acupuncturist, a GP and an orthopedic consultant. It has also traumatized two radiologists who I instructed through gritted teeth to strap me flat onto a solid plank for my MRI scan (it was the only way I would manage to stay still) and then cried solidly for 20 minutes in the machine.

It’s also made washing my hair a nightmare. In fact, maintaining standards in general has become something of a nightmare. I can’t ‘do’ my own hair and even had to get poor Maggie to attend to my armpits before seeing the consultant. I haven’t broken it to her yet, but before I leave for my appointment next week, she’s going to have to channel her inner barber again. Perhaps we should both simply be grateful it’s not my groin that needs scanning.

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