Where now?

All this time, since that fateful day a little over a year ago, I’ve had my mind focused on getting to this point. I’ve had it in my head that making it one year will big a big turning point, and everything will start to get back on track. In some respects, this has happened, and I’ll explain how below. However, there are still so many things that I have to deal with on an almost daily basis. Read on to learn and listen to me complain!

As part of a spinal cord injury there are a few complications that come along for the ride. If we were to use a car analogy, if you have any kind of spinal injury then even the base spec comes with a set of complications, designed purely for your inconvenience. I’ve spoken about these issues before, but as a quick reminder: bladder and bowel issues often mean people have to use catheters, have a specialised bowel management programme (basically a plan on which they go to the loo), and the combination of having to have a specialised plan with an uncooperative body can often lead to, let’s say, accidents. So that obviously is no fun at all. Unfortunately it is all just part of daily living with an SCI, and is the part that thankfully is usually unseen by the greater majority of the population.

We hear the term ‘invisible disability’ used a lot nowadays which I think is brilliant, but whether or not a disability is ‘visible’, it doesn’t mean that one is easier or simpler than the other. There are so many parts to any given person that go unseen, and when you have a disability you simply add to your facets. The reason I mention parts of an otherwise obvious disability is that just because someone is in a wheelchair, that isn’t necessarily an indication that the only obstacle they face is physical movement and access, as even when they can move about freely there may be difficulties to overcome such as accessing toilets, using standard tables, turning around without taking the paint off the walls… the list could go on forever.

In a very positive move, I have been offered a super exciting job, doing something I really think I can be good at and sink my teeth into. However, even the prospect of starting work is daunting for someone like me. I plan my life around medication times, management of the plumbing as I mentioned earlier, and of course I have to take into account everything from how long it takes me to get ready on a morning, the time getting in and out of a vehicle, using accessible entrances… As someone very much in the infancy of their lifelong disability, the idea of going back to work is both incredible and terrifying. How will I work my medication times when I work night shifts? How will I have time to shower and get ready when even putting on my socks takes minutes and not seconds like it would if I were still able bodied? As I said above there are so many things that go unseen with any given disability; these questions and so many more are just waiting to be answered, although how and where I will get the answers from remains a mystery for now.

One thing that really does play a part in disability (or at least in my experience) is mental health. Obviously I have talked about it a bit before, but I am going to focus a lot more on it in future; both in practice and in my writing. Something like a new job is obviously a very exciting time, but it is unbelievably stressful too, and not just for the reasons above. As well as them I have to think about silly things such as the uniform; if the trousers are going to leave me with pressure sore risks, I’ll have to speak to occupational health. What about using a desk and computer at the right height? Will I be able to navigate the building easily? I know all of these things are easily resolved and are a while away yet, but you can’t help but worry; it comes with the territory. Thankfully I do have Sarah to keep me thinking straight, but in turn I do not want to pass all of my stress onto her, as she has her own life to get back to. That said she is my rock, and I like to think I offer her at least a fraction of what she gives me in support. Like every couple we have ups and downs, good days and bad, but at the end of those days we have each other and for that I am thankful.

Well, that’s it for another one. A nice bit of news there I think, although some of you may have already known about the job as I can’t keep my mouth shut I’m that excited. Plenty more to come soon, possibly as soon as monday. Watch this space, and thanks for reading!

One year.

Before we begin, this post was meant to go up yesterday (July 29th) but quite simply I didn’t know what to say. Rather than worrying about that, Sarah Amelia and I went to my mum’s house for a party of sorts, just a little gathering with family and a few friends to commemorate the day. It was exactly what I needed; just a nice afternoon with a few drinks, a lot of laughs, and making new memories to associate with the day. My sister Ciara made me one of the most incredible gifts I’ve ever had, which is a scrapbook full of photographs and messages from friends and family. I’m not going to share that on here as it is deeply personal, but I want to say a huge thank you to Ciara and everyone who was involved.

Well, that’s it. One year to the day that my entire world changed. One year since I almost died, but didn’t. One year since I became paralysed, but managed to keep pushing forward. All in all, it’s been one hell of a year.

I don’t really have a great deal to say, well at least nothing that I’ve not said before. There have been ups and downs, plenty of both in fact, but at the end of the day I’m just happy to be alive and well enough to spend every day with the people I love. I have lost people along the way, grown distant from people I’ve known forever, and have felt let down by people I didn’t expect it from. In a polar opposite to that I’ve met some incredible people I will now consider lifelong friends, reconnected with people and bonded through our respective journeys, and realised who and what is actually important in life.

By far this was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me; let’s be honest, nobody wants to become a paraplegic at the age of 21. That said, this life I find myself living is much better than the alternative of having no life to live at all. And so, with the negativity out of the way, I’d like to go forward with this post focusing on positives.

Obviously I’ve said thank you to everyone I can as many times as I can, but if we’re going to look at positives then I need to look at the positive impact the people at the start have had on me. From the incredibly kind lady (Trisha) that was in the car behind me who stopped to help, to the firefighters immediately on scene and the ambulance crew, to the doctors and nurses that kept me alive and well enough to get me to a place I can begin my rehab… there are plenty of people who were absolutely vital in those first few days and weeks. My bosses from HM Coastguard Steve and Steve were there immediately, and I will never be able to repay them for that. My mum and Sarah were in the hospital, so A) I’m sorry and B) thank you. My dad and step-mum shaz were on holiday, so sorry for spoiling that (and your birthday, thank god you’re 50 again this year). There was an overwhelming amount of support I received, most of which I have covered in previous posts, and if I said everything this post would be far too long, so here’s just a few more people: Leanne, for organising the crowd funding that allowed us to turn what was a shell into a home we now love. The Coastguard Association for again helping us financially during the initial weeks. Jonny, Corey, Isaac, and the rest of my mates that came through to see me and keep me company playing poker. My step-dad Jon, not only for supporting my mum, but for all the comforting words and doing whatever you could to help. Debi, Eileen, Amy, Di, Caroline… there were so many staff that were either directly or indirectly involved in my care but took the time to come and see me just to check I’m okay. All of the people mentioned here, and so many more, have been instrumental in my recovery, and even though it doesn’t begin to cover it, thank you.

As part of my journey I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my time in hospital, and there was definitely a lot to think about. That said, there were some stand out moments, and I’d like to share a few that I’ve already probably mentioned… Irene and her lovely dog Poppy coming to visit me first in HDU (as well as all my other furry friends I’ve made along the way), meeting my now very good friend Ify, Lots and lots of moments from the physio gym, once again the list is too long to write everything down. The point of this though is that although the hospital experience as a whole is not necessarily a positive thing, it’s important to remember that there is always something positive to bring away from an experience, and thankfully I had many positives. I made some great friends, developed great relationships with many of the staff, and with some of the opportunities I have had/ I am going to have I will hopefully be able to make a positive difference for future patients. Since leaving hospital I have continued to meet people (despite covid ruining everyone’s plans) and I have made so many improvements.

Although it is one year to the day of my crash, in reality it is one year since my recovery began and that is the important bit. Sarah Amelia and I have had to rebuild our lives, and this one year mark is a significant point in that, as one year ago everything changed. Not for the better by any means, but not necessarily for the worse. Life is certainly more complicated now, and lots of things are more difficult, but as our experience grows so does our knowledge of how to make life easier, and more importantly how to make it better. I have a brilliant trainer in Alex from Peak Potential, who pushes me to be the best I can in everything I do, and then pushes some more. I have my mum and dad, and of course Jon and Shaz, who are always there for me and do everything they can to help and make sure that our lives are as close to normal as possible. I have some great friends who, same as before my crash, are so accommodating and go out of their way to see us in our home so life is easier… what more could I ask for?

Well, one thing I did ask is for Sarah to marry me, to which she thankfully said yes on christmas morning. I couldn’t get by day to day without her; she is my rock when I need support, my stick when i need prodding to get moving, and the hand that sometimes very literally drags me up when I am down. Going through what we have this past year really makes you think about what, and who, is important in life. It may sound cliché, but life really is too short to sweat the small stuff. We may not have the biggest house, or the fanciest things, but we have happiness in our lives. As such, we recently decided on a date, and we are getting married next year! I think I speak on behalf of us both when I say we can’t wait to share this day with those that matter the most to us but more importantly, we can’t wait for this new chapter of our lives together.

On that note I am ending this post, and I will be back on your web browser soon with an update on some exciting things heading our way. Until then, take care folks!

One year on, one year stronger

One in the same?

In this post, I’d like to talk about spinal injuries in general, but specifically how different they can be. Read on if you want to learn a little (or a lot) and be bogged down with really annoying medical terms!

I think one of the first things I need to explain is that I, despite having a spinal cord injury, am no expert on the subject. There are so many types of injury, so many nuances, that it would be impossible for me to even pretend to understand them all. Another point is that ‘better’ and ‘worse’ are really poor words when it comes to talking about injuries, as they are not comparable. As such, I’ll try my best to not compare anything, but if I do it’s purely to show the differences. I do not intend to cause any offence, or to discriminate against any injury etc. On that fun note, let’s dive in!

There are a few points I aim to cover in this post, which include spinal injury vs spinal cord injury, complete vs incomplete injury, and levels of injury. As I’ve said before the topic is so broad and far reaching it is impossible to cover everything; in fact I doubt there is anyone alive that could claim to be an expert in every part of the world of spinal injuries. That said, I do have a very rudimentary understanding, purely through sustaining my own injury and learning as I go.

So, where to start. Well, I guess at the back; more commonly known as the spine! I’ll mention a bit of basic anatomy, that way we’re all on the same page. The spine, in a very basic way, is a collection of little round bones known as vertebrae. These bones are sectioned into 5 groups: starting at the top there are 7 cervical vertebrae (which make up the neck), 12 thoracic vertebrae, 5 Lumbar vertebrae, the sacrum and the coccyx (which together form the back). The last two are solid, whereas the first three sections are separate bones, which is what allows us to bend and move freely.

If you were to break your back, chances are that it would be bone damage much like breaking your arm, and it would heal good as new. Whilst painful and obviously potentially dangerous, this is not the type of injury that will leave you paralysed. The problems start when the spinal cord, which runs through the middle of the bones, is damaged.

The spinal cord is essentially an extension of the brain, and carries the nerves that control the body. The nerves branch off at different levels of the spine, and the level at which the spinal cord is damaged dictates what type of injury occurs. So for instance if someone broke their back and damaged the spinal cord at the level of the 4th Thoracic vertebrae, the nerves which branch off below that level cannot send or receive messages from the brain, and therefore anything below the level of that injury is paralysed. Obviously the whole thing is a lot more complicated than that, however in basic terms thats how a spinal cord injury works.

The next part is complete vs incomplete injuries. This is a very complicated topic, but thankfully can be summed up in a very succinct way: a complete injury refers to a spinal cord injury in which the spinal cord is damaged to such a degree that there is no sensation or movement at or below the site of injury. An incomplete injury is still a spinal cord injury, however there is some muscle control and sensation retained at and below the injury level. Neither of the two is better or worse than the others, and they both come with their own set of issues. That said, no two injuries are the same. Two people with exactly the same injury can display vastly different signs and symptoms. With an incomplete injury, it is possible that the person will walk again, and may be able to live what is considered by many to be a more ‘normal’ life. However, incomplete injuries are still a spinal cord injury, and they are still a huge deal.

With both complete and incomplete injuries, there are a few common themes: difficulty in controlling the bladder and bowel, reduced touch sensation, and the need for long term, intense physio and rehabilitation. People with incomplete injuries often need the use of wheelchairs just as those with complete injuries do, and anyone with a spinal cord injury is just as valid as another whether complete or incomplete.

A final point I’d like to raise is that there are many causes for both complete and incomplete spinal injuries. When you imagine the reason behind someone becoming paralysed, chances are that you think of something traumatic like a car crash, falling off a roof, or something spectacular like a climbing accident. However, that’s not always the case, in fact it rarely is. Conditions such as infections, tumours, and many many other amount of things result in people having a spinal cord injury, and as such it is important to bare in mind that whether traumatic in nature or not, an SCI is a life changing event. There are complications during surgery, Cauda Equina Syndrome, genetic conditions… the list goes on and on.

I think that’s a good place to leave this post. I hope this has been somewhat educational (if you’ve made it this far) and I hope that it has been a small window into other people’s realities. If anyone has questions feel free to get in touch, whatever it’s about I’ll do my best to answer. There are some awesome charities to provide support and information, and I’m always happy to signpost. Take care folks!

Wheelchairs… wheely?!

What’s this? Wheelchair Sam actually posting again?! I wonder why that is!I’ll tell you why, I’ve had my fitting for my new wheelchair! It was a few weeks ago now, but never mind, it’s still a big thing for me. Now, whilst that may sound simple, straightforward and rather boring, it’s the exact opposite for me. I’ve been waiting a little while for this, and so the day finally arriving is actually rather monumental.

When something like my injury happens, something meaning that you’ll never walk again, it’s not as straightforward as being dumped in a wheelchair and shown the door, thankfully. There are occuplational therapists, physios, brand reps… the list goes on and on as to who is involved. These are all important people, but the important bit, the wheelchair itself, is what this post is about. If you’re interested, read on to (hopefully) learn a little more about the wonderful world of chairs on wheels!

So, as you may or may not know, there are many types of wheelchair available. They can broadly be put into the categories of manual or powered. The latter meaning they are battery powered and move under their own steam, the former being, well, manually powered. However, it gets much deeper than that. There are many types, variations, brands and specifications, all of which are decided upon by the patient and professionals mentioned above. I personally use a manual chair, and that is because I am fortunate enough to have the ability and willingness to do so. I do know a little about power chairs, but not quite as much, so I’ll mainly discuss manuals so as to ensure I’m passing along correct information. Four wheels on a chair, nothing more to say, right? Right. However, there are many variations. There are active user chairs, attendant only chairs, bariatric, paediatric, tilt in space… so many variations are available that it simply wouldn’t be sensible to list them all here, so I’ll stick to the basics.

When I was ready to start going in a wheelchair, I was given what’s known (at least to my knowledge) as a self propelled wheelchair. This is your standard, two big wheels at the back two little wheels at the front big back rest sticking out push handles type chair. It is designed for people who can move themselves, but also have people help them get around often enough that it is practical to have fixed push handles. The small front wheels, known as castors, are actually rather large and this allows for comfort over uneven ground. These chairs usually have folding swing away foot plates to aid transferring in and out, and they more often than not can be folded for transport. Another common feature is armrests attached to the side clothing guards. As with all chairs they come with a seatbelt, though most users choose not to use the belt.

The compromise (as there always is) is that these chairs are heavy, slow, and don’t really turn all that well. The version I have is made by Invacare, and the model is an Action 3 NG. This is at the better end of the scale, and has served me very well for over 6 months of daily use. However, the time now has come for me to upgrade, and the jump is rather big…

An incredibly filthy self propelled chair, showing large rear wheels with rims for pushing, 8″ (large) front castors, and removable swing away footrests. Please ignore the crocs and daddy pig socks.

My new chair, when it arrives, will be a huge step up (if you’ll pardon the pun) and will make my life so much easier. The style is an active user chair, which essentially means it is designed for somebody with a lifestyle equivalent to that of someone who has full function of their body. It is designed to enhance the abilities I still have, whilst remaining supportive and useful to make up the difference. So, what does that mean in English? First of all, my new chair is much lighter. This is achieved through better materials, less parts, and smaller sizes. So, there are push handles on the back, but they are fold down and have no bar between. There are no armrests, just clothing protectors that are very lightweight. The chair itself is one piece, so there are less moving parts, which means less joints, which means less weight. Woohoo! Other parts of the chair are a bucketed seat design, meaning my posture will be better and my balance will improve. Being only two wheels, the chair and a cushion, I will be able to get it in and out of the car myself. Finally, with all the changes, I should hopefully be able to become a lot more independent. The chair I am getting is an argon 2, made by the company quickie. Hopefully it will take less than 2 months to arrive, and I really can’t wait.

Well, I think that’s enough boring tech info for now. When my chair does turn up, I’ll give everyone a guided tour. Take care folks!

Happy Father’s Day!

With more posts planned for the coming week, I just wanted to drop a quick post to say happy father’s day to all the dads out there; whether I know you or not, I hope it’s been a good day for you. My thoughts go out to everyone missing out on that all important family time today because of Covid/ Lockdown, and I hope you all get to make it up soon.

Obviously I want to say a huge happy father’s day to the legend that is my dad, Dave! I’ve not had chance to see you today, but hopefully we can have a beer in the week and make up for it. He was meant to be in Tenerife as of yesterday, but once again the power of covid strikes again, not that I’m that upset because I was only jealous anyway! You’re a top one dad, love ya. A few other important mentions are my granddad, who I’ve not seen in a long while due to the restrictions, and to my stepdad Jon for being a brilliant guy all around. I’m lucky in that I can say I have some incredible people as inspiration around me.

I won’t get too long with this post as it’s just meant to be short and sweet, but suffice to say I’ve had a good day. From lovely breakfast in bed, to matching star wars T- Shirts with Amelia, to a lovely sunday dinner, all in all I can’t complain.

Don’t worry, you’ve not suddenly started following ex wheelchair sam… this is from my dad’s wedding pre- accident!
Passing along the star wars love!

Give us a clue?

If anyone could point out the nearest exit to this whole pandemic thing, that would be great. I really am so saddened every day watching the news, and there are so many reasons for that. The almost celebratory way in which the daily death toll is announced is disgusting. These are not just numbers, they are people! The number represents another loss, another waste of life, another person countless medical staff fought to save… I could go on, but I think I make my point.

Anyway, that’s enough negativity. Once again I’ve not had a great deal to say, so rather than blogging with empty words I thought I would save it up for a good, worthwhile post. So, here we are! I have been well since my last post, albeit a little bored and feeling a little cabin fever setting in. Sarah and Amelia are well too thankfully, and so far we seem to have avoided getting unwell (touch wood). We have really enjoyed the time together; it’s not necessarily easy all being stuck in a small house, but we have each other for company which is incredible. A lot of my friends live apart from their significant others, and I can’t begin to imagine how difficult this whole situation is for them. Hopefully we the relaxed rules they can at least see one another again.

One really good thing I have to share is that I’ve started having regular training sessions with a wonderful lady called Alex. She is a sports therapist, and is helping me with improving my fitness, strength and overall health, and incredibly I’m actually enjoying myself! Currently we have virtual sessions as the lockdown rules mean we can’t physically meet up, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. After an initial assessment, she has built up a plan that involves free weights, resistance bands, and even just my own (not inconspicuous) bodyweight to help me improve! It really is good fun, and more importantly it is working! Obviously it’s early days, but since leaving hospital I’ve had absolutely zilch in the way of further rehabilitation, so this is an incredible opportunity for me. She really is brilliant at what she does; by taking the time to get to know me, my abilities and limits, our sessions are perfectly tailored and I feel that with time, they will really help me and make a huge difference in how I live my life! For anyone interested, her Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/peakpotentialsportsinjury/ and Instagram is https://instagram.com/peak_potential?igshid=1xb1ocsaeowcu. Please, if you have a sports related injury, need sports massage or are interested in anything I’ve mentioned, go have a look! I couldn’t reccomend anyone more highly.

Another thing is that my assessment for my new, active user wheelchair is rapidly approaching, and I am incredibly excited. I’m sure I’ve written it before, but until you find yourself in the world of wheelchairs, you don’t realise just how many types, variations and things to consider there are! It’s very much like buying a new car; there are so many options available it’s often hard to know where to look! Thankfully the NHS wheelchair services team seem fantastic, and I have a meeting with them and one of the big company reps very soon. Perhaps once I’ve had that I’ll do a bit of an educational post about wheelchairs… someone might be interested!

In other news I’m still waiting to hear about being able to order a new car, but there are things moving and other options in the pipeline, so if anything plays out I’ll be excited to share that with you all! On the opposite end of the scale, Sarah has been able to take advantage of some of the great weather we’ve seen and has been out walking in the woods. I won’t say I’m jealous (which I most definitely am) but I’m glad that someone at least gets to have a nice trek out.

So, short and sweet, that’s all for now. As above please go and check out Alex’s pages, she really is great. One of the things I’m going to start to make a point of doing is sharing pages I find interesting, or I’ve come across on this journey that I think everyone needs to check out. Obviously I’ve mentioned one in this post, so I’ll have a few more ready for the future.

I hope everyone is keeping well and staying safe; hopefully the new normal will begin to look like the old normal fairly soon and we can get back to living a little!

When you’ve nothing nice to say…

It’s proving rather hard at the moment, finding what to say. We’re all in very different boats I think; some are merrily drifting, not really sure which direction but we will get there. For others, the ride isn’t so smooth, and there are storms galore along the way. Thankfully I am not in hospital any more, and I am part of the drifting crew. Is there anything we can do? Well, according to the government’s ‘updates’ each day and the lockdown rules no, there is nothing we can do yet in regards to relaxing the lockdown. However, that doesn’t mean that we should lose hope.

I’ve found one of the hardest things is finding enough to do in order to tire myself out so I sleep well, but ensuring that I don’t do everything in one day and therefore have nothing to do for a few days. If I do that, I don’t sleep well, which makes me tired, which makes the days longer, and so the vicious cycle continues. Something I have taken to doing is watching/ reading foreign news coverage of the situation here in the UK. It is extremely saddening that we now have the highest death toll in Europe, and we’ve not even included all out of hospital deaths yet. Every single person that has passed away from this awful illness has family, friends, loved ones… all of those people ignoring the rules have family, friends and loved ones and yet are still allowed to roam free, with the police given next to no powers to do anything.

The latest developments, such as unlimited exercise and plans to attempt to reopen society, are encouraging. However, I have had a little setback; I received a letter advising me to stay at home for 12 weeks. Obviously I wasn’t a high priority as I received it at the end of April, but oh well. On the other end of things, I’ve had calls from both wheelchair services and motability which hopefully means things may start moving again pretty soon! Swings and roundabouts, ey?

Today has been a fairly good day. We had a lovely walk around the estate; I say we walked, what I mean is Sarah walked, I rolled and Amelia finally managed further than a lamppost on her bike! In my world, that is a fantastic success. Despite her not being at school, she is still learning plenty of new things, most just seem to be the type of thing they don’t teach in school. She enjoys many different types of music now (Read heavy metal) and is extremely helpful around the house. She is getting bored of it all, but how can you explain all of the craziness in the world to a three year old?!

I can only apologise for the lack of posts recently. The problem with every day being the same is that nothing happens, and I have nothing to write about. Hopefully with these new rules I may have a little bit more to share.

Close to Home

As with many people, I am trying my best to follow the social distancing/ lockdown rules in order to protect the NHS and therefore do my little bit to save lives. However, my mum Sharon is one of those people working in a hospital, doing what she can to help those helping others. She is not a nurse, in fact she is not clinical in any way, but is currently redeployed out on wards ensuring that the vital PPE staff are using is being used correctly and safely, and thus hopefully no more staff will contract this awful virus. Anyone willing to put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others is a good person in my book, but I have to say I am incredibly proud of my mum.

Not normally one for a uniform, I think my mum secretly loves her new scrubs!

As well as my mum, I have lots of other people in my life that are ‘key workers’, still taking themselves off to work to ensure that we can all be safe at home. My dad, Dave, is one of these people. He is a truck driver with a small firm, driving artic tankers most commonly filled with fertiliser to farms all around. Without people like him, in three months’ time we will have no fresh food! His wife, my stepmum Sharon, is a senior in a care home (senior member of staff that is). Without people like her, dedicated to her job in a risky environment, people in care homes wouldn’t get the care they need and the virus’ mortality rate would be much higher. My stepdad, Jon, is a podiatrist who is self employed and works in the community. Whilst he has seen a dramatic decline in work through people isolating, he is still willing to visit those vulnerable people who need his skills and services.

We all take our lives for granted, whether we realise it or not. Without people like my mum, taking up the roles that were created in response to the virus, we wouldn’t have a hope in hell of ever getting back to relative normality. We have seen some incredible acts of bravery, courage and selflessness throughout this entire pandemic; from nurses and doctors carrying on working despite the risk, to captain Tom completing his walkathon and raising thousands in the process. However, I would like to dedicate this post to the unseen heroes; the people who have taken up the mantle not left by others but created through this situation. The people who receive no recognition, but still crack on through and do as much as they can. The people like my mum.

When life gives you lemons…

Rather than making lemonade, we decided that today Amelia would finally learn to ride her bike! Now before anyone gets upset, this is on a private driveway, and although there is a public pathway running by, we ensured we observed social distancing protocols appropriately.

Now for the fun bit! We tried this the day before yesterday, but unfortunately it didn’t quite go to plan, and we ended up writing it off as a bad job. However a new day has dawned and we have been graced with sunshine, so it was back to the pedals. Helmet donned and tantrums averted, we headed outside, and immediately forget what we had learned the other day. Oh well, let’s give it another go. Amelia actually did incredibly well considering her lack of experience and confidence, and only ate dirt once! she hopped straight back up and back into the saddle, and I have to say I was incredibly proud of her. I wasn’t sure if her knowledge of my accident would make her scared of bikes and the like, but it doesn’t look like it.

It was at this moment, Sarah knew, Amelia had messed up…

It’s becoming more and more difficult to keep Amelia (and occasionally Sarah) entertained throughout this lockdown, and I’ve really learnt to appreciate how much we have available and take for granted all the time. Local parks, beaches, lakes, farms, woodlands are all fantastic and vital to children, as they provide space and education that cannot be found in a classroom. I can’t wait for the day that we can start to head back out to the open spaces like this properly, and let her run wild once again. We are very fortunate in that where we now live has a playpark on the estate, approximately a five minute walk from where we live, and so as soon as we are allowed out again we will be frequenting that often.

In other news, I had a great phone call with a lady from my local wheelchair services, and I am pleased to say that once we are safe enough to live a little again, I am on the priority list to get assessed for a new chair. I think I know what I want, but I will be meeting reps from different companies and will have the chance to get something that suits my needs much better than my current tank.

I hope everyone is keeping well and following the rules as best you can. It is a strange and scary time we are living in, but I am very confident that we will be over it soon enough. I was reading this morning that human trials for a vaccine will begin imminently, which is very reassuring. As is custom on a Thursday, I will be on my doorstep at 8PM tonight clapping for all of our key workers, and I hope you will be too.

There are some incredible stories of how people are coping and uplifting other’s spirits floating around at the moment, so if something online makes you smile, please share it around and try to brighten someone else’s day throughout this time. I still maintain that if anyone needs a chat I am here, as are many others. The internet is absolutely our best friend at the moment, and there are some incredible resources available. We are still having almost nightly quizzes, so if anyone needs a quiz just let me know, I’ve written a few now!

On a final note, I would like to say thank you again to everyone who has helped me, not just during the current situation but right from the beginning: the list is endless. I started this blog as a way of coping and recording my story, but it has become so much more than that for me; it is my outlet, and I am extremely grateful that people take the time to read. I can only apologise for the slow pace of new content at the moment, but I simply have nothing to write about! Hopefully there are lots of adventures to come, and I can share it all with you. Take care everyone, it’s a mad world out there.

The smiling faces that keep me going

Four walls and a straightjacket

We might be in the middle of the most difficult times our country has seen since the second world war, but life inside still goes on. Unfortunately for me that means another day, another pressure mark. Even more unfortunately for me is that another pressure mark means another day in bed. So today, with the sun shining and the breeze swaying the trees, I was still in bed at 5PM.

This one was my own fault, I thought I’d straightened the elastic on my boxers before going to sleep but evidently not. The lovely red stripe around my hip has meant that today, when I planned on being productive (editing a podcast), I’ve sat in bed instead. It’s hard enough being unable to go anywhere or do anything, but this is taking me right back to being isolated in hospital. With only netflix for company, those were some of the hardest days. At least this time Sarah and Amelia are here, and I’m in my own bed.

I hate these days with a passion. Skincare is so much more than a cleansing routine for anyone living with a condition like mine, and it’s also harder to maintain. From a little bit of ‘stuff’ on my seat, to the elastic of my boxers, literally anything can give me a pressure mark and leave me stuck trying to heal.

There are many people like me, and there are many people in a much more difficult position than me. Those who have been advised to stay isolated for 12weeks, those who have had care provision cut due to the risk, those who are now stuck in a dangerous position due to being in closer contact with abusive family members… in the last week, the domestic abuse hotline in the UK has seen a call increase of 150%. That is scary.

Luckily, I’m up for am hour or two now the mark has faded, so I’ll hopefully get some fresh air and the last of the sun. It could be worse!

I’m not a big believer in ‘signs’, but the love heart above Amelia cheered me up.