122/365 – Rural life vs city life with myasthenia gravis

Last week I became a tad obsessed with a TV show – Outlander. Having read the Diana Gabaldon book that inspired the show at least five years ago now, the story of an English woman who gets transported back in time from 1945 to the Jacobite period through a stone circle, has never left me. When I saw the TV adaption, while flicking through my Amazon Instant Video last weekend, I squealed with excitement and binge watched series one over a few days. 

The series made me homesick for Scotland and also made me consider how life would be in rural Scotland. I’ve often thought about returning from London to Edinburgh later in life, but had never considered what it would be like to live in a remote part of the country. 

I imagine there are pluses and minuses to both. Here are some thoughts my homesickness has stirred up in me this week.

For

  • Easier pace of life – living in a remote location means accepting a slower pace of life. It would be difficult to adjust to at first, however I imagine I would get used to it quickly. I have no doubt this slower pace would be beneficial for my myasthenia.
  • Exercise in nature not pollution – whether cycling, surfing, kayaking, walking or running, I imagine doing these sports in raw natural surroundings will be less damaging to my lungs and body. Also what’s more inspiring than mountains and glens, lochs and waves, for the sports above?!
  • Working from home – I imagine if I decided to live in a remote Scottish location I would need to work from home at least part of the time. My experience of this at the moment is positive. Working from home gives me freedom on days when I’m feeling fatigued/don’t have the energy for the commute. While I would get lonely doing it all the time, at least part time wfh is definitely a positive perk for people with MG.
  • Fresh food – Living in rural Scotland, with it’s ample farm shops, would make securing local fresh ingredients a lot easier. With all the discussions about chemicals in supermarket products, being able up shop little and often from local suppliers would be a delight. 
  • Knowing your doctor – I have this  naive notion that living in a rural community, you’d have a better relationship with your GP. Having a doctor who knows you well, and is hopefully invested in your wellbeing, would make life easier for someone with myasthenia. A lot of the time, patients know more about myasthenia than busy doctors do and it’s difficult to break this down when you see a different one each time.

Against

  • Specialist treatment – living in the country would mean a long journey each time you needed specialist treatment. While well this wouldn’t be so much of an issue, but if your symptoms were flaring up, and more regular treatment was required, this could be difficult and expensive for you and your family. 
  • Travelling for work– If securing a job where you can work from home is impossible, jobs may be limited unless you are willing to travel. Travel times may be long if you decide to stay somewhere remote and may not always be possible. This could mean staying over night elsewhere several times a week, which would undo some of the positives of country life. 
  • Friends – it may be harder to make friends in the countryside where there is a risk of meeting more closed-minded individuals. Also living in the country would put me at a distance from my friends in Scotland’s cities.
  • Support groups – the Myaware support groups tend to be based in the big cities so I would either have to travel to attend or would no longer be part of the myasthenia community. This would be a challenge as I find being part of the community important and useful. At least there is a strong online community now with the Facebook group.
  • Risk of becoming an alcoholic– this mildly offensive comment is a genuine concern. With less to keep me occupied, I imagine my penchant for whisky and wine would grow. Still the stress of city life also doesn’t help this so perhaps it’s about finding a healthy balance no matter where I am.

While it’s not something I am considering right now, it’s clear from this list that it would take a lot of careful planning, and a bit of help from fate, to make a move to rural Scotlabd work for me. For the moment I’ll try to remember the negatives while falling in love with Outlander’s stunning scenery.


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