Thursday, 1 August 2013

Up at the O2

Yesterday Maurice the pump and I managed to make it to the summit of the o2! Considering I'm afraid of heights, climbing up to the top of the 52 metre high structure is an achievement that I'm pretty proud of to say the least. Just looking up at a tall building makes my stomach knot.

I climbed the O2 along with my sister, uncle, cousins and their uncle. Our climb was at 20:15 pm, it was supposed to be the sunset climb but, we live in England so there was no sun to look at really- it was trapped behind all of the clouds. Anyway, we ended up climbing at around 20:45 maybe? or earlier? I'm not too sure but it was starting to get dark. It was light when we began our ascent but it was pitch black and the city lights were beaming by the time we finished. It took about 45 minutes to get right over the top, this includes the time that you have at the summit which is about 15 minutes and you can take photos and take in the absolutely amazing view.

You can choose whether or not you want to wear a suit, so obviously we chose to wear the suit just because it's funny and adds to the effect. Then you have to strap yourself into a harness and attach the climbing cord onto the harness- it literally felt like I was wearing an oversized baby grow- "The smallest size we have in the suits is probably about 6ft" sorry what? I'm tall but I'm not 6ft, I'm 5ft11. Okay nearly 6ft but still. Anyway the suit had the longest torso ever and it basically stretched down to my thighs but the harness hoisted it up slightly so I didn't look too much like a penguin- although the suit made me walk like one. We also got given these really trendy (not) shoes to wear as they had more grip than our converse. After a few safety lectures and having given my glucose tablets to the instructor to hold we were ready to walk up the stairs ready to start.

Once we got to the top we had a group photo taken, in which I look absolutely hideous but I'll post the photo here anyway so you can see how hilarious we all looked in our climbing gear.

I'm on the right, looking like a troll. I hate having my hair up. Anyway behind us is the first ramp to climb up, you think that's it but actually there are a lot more after that. It takes about 10 minutes of climbing to reach the summit. 

When you're climbing you have to attach the metal cord that you can see dangling down from our harnesses to the wire in the middle of the ramp and just pull it along. You can see that the cord is in a sort of triangle shape, right? So if you push up the pointy bit of the "triangle" it makes the hole that you can see if you look through the yellow ball bigger and that makes it move along the wire- so when you climb you just have to hold it as you pull. Releasing the "triangle" makes the cord lock so you can't go anywhere- this saved my cousin Francesca from sliding down the ramp as she somehow managed to fall over which was pretty funny. 

After some negotiating with the wire on the way up we finally reached the top and the view was absolutely amazing. I had never even been to the O2 before let alone climbed over it- you could literally see the whole of London. The olympic park was up ahead, to one side was canary wharf, the gherkin, the leadenhall building, otherwise known as "the cheese grater" to the other side were the cable cars...and so many more iconic buildings that make up the London skyline. Standing at the top made me feel like I was on top of the word and it just felt so exhilarating and I didn't even mind that we were so high up because it was so beautiful. 

The wind was blowing quite a bit but it was okay...it was funny though because before we went up the instructor said "there is just a slight breeze" and everyone was thinking- "a slight breeze?" It was a bit more than a "breeze". At one point it got pretty strong and the platform we were on began to vibrate- it made me feel a bit uneasy and I said "are these vibrations safe?" Haha it was pretty unnerving but the wind settled down. I loved looking at all the beautiful lights, it sort of made me feel proud and I just thought "wow, this is the city that I live in" and it was so breathtaking because I had never once seen London in the way that I saw it yesterday. 


Seeing and doing things like that just makes you realise how amazing the world truly is and being able to climb the O2 was a massive experience and I will never forget it. I feel like I could probably do better with heights now because I managed to climb it. Plus my blood sugars stayed perfect and diabetes didn't come into my head at all- apart from when I was at the top and I was looking at the buildings with an immense sense of pride and I thought about how far i've come in dealing with my diabetes and it didn't stop me from climbing the O2 and it can't and won't stop me from ever doing anything in my life. 

I felt like screaming at the top of my lungs "In your face diabetes!" because it doesn't need to stop you from doing anything. You can do anything that you want despite living with diabetes- as long as you have your blood sugars under control and you're prepared for whatever it is you want to do it then all is fabulous and I enjoyed that climb as much as anybody else did. 

Life is too short to waste time sitting around, go out and experience life and look at the world around you. Just because you have diabetes it doesn't mean that you can't. Use diabetes as your drive, use it as a drive to get up and do all that you want to do and show diabetes who's in charge because it definitely isn't diabetes.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin] 


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