Monthly Archives: February 2017

Telly?!

A rare thing for me … i watched the TV!

My buddy, Marky, recommended a Channel 4 programme, called ‘ Escape to the Wild ‘ about a London couple who went to live in The Yukon.

Having spent a month there, in 2009, it all seemed very familiar to me… the sheer bleakness and rawness of the place, the prominence of the Yukon river, and the place’s unsuitability to man as a place to live.

Myself and Rob canoed a thousand hard miles in 6 days, 2 hours and 11 minutes – still a record – and I can’t emphasise just how bleak the place is.

Danger lurks at every turn, with little prospect of rescue or help if something goes wrong.

The place is definitely NOT wheelchair accessible, so there’s little prospect of me going back, unless it’s to sacrifice myself to a bear, a fate quite likely if you’re not careful….

3.30 am

Had a couple of good days, though not enough sleep.

Having had the opportunity to actually sleep for a  while tonight, this injury does its thing and makes sure that I can’t do that.

Thank you, Spinal Cord Injury.

You really fing rock.

Things keep happening to me?!

Pia, Mark, Mike and I all attended an  RGS lecture yesterday.

It was entitled ‘ In the footsteps of Shackleton ‘ and was held at a local school, in their drama hall, which has lots of seating.  The head of school Geography, Mike, had reserved a space at the front, at the side, which effectively was right next to the guest speaker and his lectern. He was all set up with his stuff and his laser pointer etc.

He and I had a chat for a bit, and then it was time to start.  I’d pulled my coat over my head and hung it on the right handlebar of my bike attachment.  If I put things in the floor, I can’t reach to pick things up again. I’ve also trained myself to never drop anything, and tend to grip stuff with an iron hand.  Anyway… then I hung my small, but packed and heavy bag on top of my coat.  A few seconds later I touched the bag and it moved.

It seems that it moved enough to press on the throttle of my bike attachment..

I found myself surging forward, and shot straight into the lectern and the guest speaker. I was trying to find the brake, but it was under my coat and hanging bag.

After knocking over the lectern and with the guest speaker sort of riding on the front, with me trying to slow it down with my hand in the grip ring of one wheel, it veered to the left and then stopped.

I then heard Pia saying ‘ what are you doing?!’ – like I’d done it on purpose….

I was now facing the 250 odd people in the audience, who were in stunned silence.. so said something like ‘ thank you for watching that totally planned manoeuvre. I hope you enjoyed it?’

More stunned silence as I wheeled myself ( having turned off the bloody motor ) back to my space… where by now Pia was kind of shaking with suppressed giggling.

The speaker, having composed himself from being run over, said something like ‘ that was an icebreaker ‘ – topical pun in the circumstances and lecture subject – and at that point the audience laughed ( in relief ? )  and he carried on.

What was funny was that no one there mentioned it again…?!

As his laser pointer had also been run over in the crash, and crushed, he had to kind of point at the slides he’d prepared, but didn’t make any reference to the fate of his laser pen at all …

All highly amusing to Pia, who hasn’t stopped texting me about it since.

My apologies to the RGS, the school, and the assembled audience…

It was a bit like this…

Love this message from a school mate of mine ( and one of my heros back then ). He just found out about my injury.

10:38pm Feb 7
Started looking through, by no means read it all yet but will do.I have some spinal damage myself which affects my mobility, also im now deaf in both ears and wear hearing aids.It took me time to adapt to things so i can kind of relate to what you are relaying in your blog, although i appreciate your situation is very very different to mine, saw your latest posrs about having the shits, i take anti inflamattorys for my condition and they can cause major stomach problems, im on gabapentin atm and seem to be ok with them, i was on tramadol and something else for a bit and either had shits or was constantly constipated!! you up for visitors? we could go and sit outside a gym, you in your wheelchair and me with my walking stick and reminicse about more mobile times!!

Cool in all things ..

In the pouring rain, Cherie and I visited possibly the most wheelchair unfriendly place in London tonight, to hear a speaker called Kenton Cool.

Yes, cool name ( derived from a deed poll change from Kuhle in the 40’s )  Kenton was a character in The Archers..?

Kenton has summited Everest no less than 12 times, as well as conquering many, many other peaks in his career as a mountain guide ( now based in Chamonix )  And he definitely is a cool guy.

In loads of pain, severely bloated through constipation, with consequent spasms, we got there, listened, spent 10 minutes talking to Mr C afterwards ( we adventurous types end up knowing the same people ) and then left.

Thanks to  Cherie, as always, and thanks to my social worker for today’s chat.

Also I’m chuffed to hear that my current wife has a boyfriend.

I truly wish her well with that. No hard feelings from me  🙂

 

Ouch.

Jesus, my ribs are still hurting, as is my left arm.

On waking, after a period of immobility, it all seems to seize up, and hurts an awful lot in the morning. For me, this means I can barely move. If you’ve only got your arms, and one of them is too painful to move, then you’re a bit buggered.

I did manage to put a new bolt in my Triride attachment, though given how hard it was to cut through the 3 zip ties, I reckon that they’d have held fast for a while.

Anyway, a test not worth testing, given another crash could be fatal.

Also I’m bloody constipated, which is messing up my head big time.  Not knowing at what point i might crap myself is an unpleasant place to be, given that I’m often a long way from home.

Peeps.

Divorce creates an interesting dynamic.

Women side with women, full stop. It’s the man’s fault, whatever the situation. He was either neglectful, too demanding, had the affair, or deserved to be betrayed because of something he’d done.

Men aren’t so judgemental, but aren’t prepared to condradict their wives. They keep their heads down, for fear of dropping themselves in it somehow, by supporting the bloke.

This is how I’ve found it. In private, males are far more honest about what they think, but in public they keep their heads below the parapet.

Women rule the world, behind the scenes. Men zip it – anything to avoid being given a hard time at home by the wife, or to avoid awkward questions from the wife, to explain why they’re supporting the male.

Of course if asked, the majority of people will say that they wouldn’t dream of taking sides, and never would.

That’s bollocks though.

However, worse things have happened to me…. I’ll be more than ok.

I watch and listen,  and find all the behaviour a fascinating study in  human psychology,  as indeed  I’ve found it since my injury.  Sometimes I challenge people’s actions, but not often.

When I do I see the squirming, and it’s as I have predicted it to myself, but I don’t get pleasure from that, so I rarely bring up the topic.

 

Cable ties – essential survival kit.

Last night’s mechanical involved a bolt failure on my Triride attachment.

At 15mph the thing jackknifed and I hit the ground very hard.

In situations like this, men are very capable. In subtle things, like moving a chair out of the way, or opening a door, they’re not. But in lifting a Paralysed fella off the pavement carefully and sticking him back in his wheelchair, they’re tip top.

As I can’t just be stuck  in the chair, with the Triride attached, it has to be taken apart first.

As blokes are very good at listening to coherent instructions and carrying them out, exactly, I was glad that my helpers were male. Men and women have different traits, and the mechanical instruction thing is definitely better observed by men, I’ve found. I was actually amazed by how precisely they followed my requests, as I’m used to asking women to help me – I live with 4, and have female carers, and I know that what I ask and what is then done are rarely the same thing.

Anyway, I digress.  They detached the Triride, lifted me into the chair, reattached the Triride without the essential bolt, and then clearly followed my instructions to use 3 industrial quality cable ties ( which I’m never without ) as a bolt substitute.

After they’d finished, I said ‘ thanks for helping a Welshman ‘ Obviously, it being the first day of the  6 nations, that got the response ‘ fuck, if we’d known that, we’d have left you on the pavement ‘

Humour in adversity- always my specialty.

I had no choice but to carry on my way, with 4 miles to go, as a bus wait in the cold promised to be 30 minutes.

I ‘drove ‘ slowly and carefully for those 4 miles, ignoring the cold that was seeping into my body from my still feet upwards, but by the time I got back I was shivering quite violently.

Today I can hardly use my left arm, and my left ribs are sore.  Thankfully I’d crashed to the concrete on my intact rib cage side rather than the broken side, which may well have just collapsed upon impact.

What a fun day I had, overall then.

As usual, I’ll swallow it and carry on.

This shit doesn’t get easier..

Today has been fairly disastrous.

The spasms that woke me just kept coming. Drinking water seemed to make it all worse.

After about 3 hours, my catheter ( supposed to stay in for 3 months ) suddenly wasn’t in anymore.  .

It’s a tube that is inserted into the penis ( or ureter of a female ) and is kept locked into the bladder by a small balloon that is then inflated with a syringe of water. The balloon is about the size of a prune. In my case the prune had pulled out, through the internal valve, and right out of my ? end.

If I’d been able to feel it, I’ve no doubt it would have hurt like hell. As it was, it didn’t, but has no doubt not done me much good, internally.

Without the bloody catheter in, my bladder just filled up to a crazy degree, with associated spasms that looked like I was a horizontal extra from Riverdance.

In a slight panic, I called the District Nurse, who should have whizzed the 600 metres from the Health Centre to see me, and put a replacement in. Instead she told me that she was quite busy and it would be at least 2 hours. She suggested that I call 999 and get an ambulance to hospital, where a nurse would eventually do it.  In disbelief I did call them, but then attempted to do it myself, having a spare catheter in a box.

After a fair bit of guesswork, I managed to get it in and got the balloon bit inflated, and 3 litres of pee slowly came out.  That’s a f*** of a lot of pee.

I cancelled the ambulance, and a urology nurse then arrived, who checked my handiwork and verified it was ok… but said I need one with a larger balloon ?

I took that as a compliment.

Eventually I made my way to Richmond and spent a bit of time with Pia and her daughter Holly.

My trip back was then extremely disastrous, but I’ll thank Toby and a few pissed rugby fans ( fresh from Twickenham ) for their assistance.  Let’s just say that I had a degree of mechanical failure, and that it was just as well that I hadn’t had a drink myself.

Thanks to my social worker for her help today, too.

And also many thanks to Kim.

Funny night.

My university mates being only reliable in their unreliability, a reunion for 12 turned out to be a reunion for 4.

It was however a very, very funny night. We laughed a lot about quite a lot of  the stupid things that we used to do.  Basically we were all cruel to each other all of the time, in a way that modern kids just wouldn’t be imaginative enough to be.

Great to see Adam and Sal Sharp, and the one and only Charlie Perkins.