Useful Chemistry

I found out a few weeks ago (and I’d rather not have known) that I was 2 marks off an A at GCSE Chemistry. 2! I’m happy with a B… but 2!!!

Ah well. I can’t say I particularly minded being told I hadn’t memorized the properties of oils and butter correctly. Chemistry never interested me all that much.

I’ve had my illness/injury/temporary disability… or whatever you may want to call it for nearly 17 months now. It’s been so long that I haven’t been able to run, to play sport, to walk through the woods and walk down and up the stairs with friends. I’m not particularly dampened by that, because there are still so many other beautiful things to do even when you are limited in the way that I have been, and I have found in many moments that I have thanked God for it, because without it I wouldn’t have such a great musical influence now and I wouldn’t have read or talked or listened or noticed as much of the things going on around me because most of my time was taken on the basketball courts.

It’s been difficult granted, with many of the attempted treatments failing and my pain not often reducing and occasionally worsening. Somehow God gives me the strength to pull through it all though. And although I don’t look forward to my trip to the Doctors in the morning to get yet more pills, I’m more settled with it knowing and feeling God there with me in the waiting room. And I’ve got painkillers now, Co-Codamol, which really do help to take some of the pain in my leg and hip away. Time is taking it’s toll on me I’m afraid. I’m tired. And hurting.

And yet. I’ve figured something useful out. And it’s all because of my Chemistry lessons. And my Mum. A couple of days ago I felt the most intense stomach pain and it was completely unexplainable. A tablet helped, but there was an even quicker help. What’s been different? my Mum asked me to ask myself. Think back and see if there’s been anything new. Anything at all. I thought: Well, I’ve been drinking a lot of coke because I gave coffee up for Lent. Ah! There’s a lot of acid in coke. So, I remembered what my Chemistry teacher Mrs Humphries has said to me about making acids neutral by adding alkalis. I drank a big strawberry milkshake (milk is a good alkali) and I felt better. Less pain. Still some pain and I’m not in any way suggesting that coke was the cause. Merely that coke or any other form of acid I may have taken in on top of my medication was making whatever was going on inside me worse. But, remarkably, the answer to reducing some of the pain I felt lay in my own Chemistry lessons. Not something a doctor could help me with as quickly as I needed. But my own knowledge of Chemistry!

Unbelievable. I never thought it would come in useful. I want to be a priest! How on earth would learning about soaps and oils and acids and alkalis be of any use? But yesterday I found that Chemistry helped me to feel freer! To breathe a little more. To relax a little more. Thankyou God, for milkshakes! 😛 And now it seems I can look back on five years of seeming pointlessness and realise that, actually, there was a point to it. I wasn’t wasting time there. It gives me a little more hope, and enthusiasm, for persevering with Oleanna and the (truly miserable) Philip Larkin…

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