We have a small apartment in Portugal that we bought jointly with family about 8 years ago.
Since my crash, we’ve had it adapted for my new needs.
To be honest, it’s far easier here than it is in London, as I can access the lounge, the kitchen, a bathroom, and both bedrooms.
One of the best bits is that I can get onto the sofa, cuddle up to the kids and watch the TV.
And then I can even go into their bedroom and give them a goodnight kiss, not possible at home…
There wasn’t a single night at home pre crash that I’d forget to do that, however late I got home, and whatever state I was in… So not to do it for 9 months weighed heavily on me.
Yesterday we went for a drink to a bar on the nearby lake and met a load of friends.
As Dani helped me up the kerb, a lady was being pushed out of the bar in a powered wheelchair.
She had no arms from above her elbows, and no legs below mid thigh, so effectively just a torso and a head.
She was probably 60 or so. No attempt had been made to ‘cover up her stumps’, exposing them to the world.
She gave me a lovely smile and we talked for a few minutes. I asked her what had happened to her.
She told me that 8 years ago she’d contracted meningitis, with the consequent loss of limbs.
She was far more interested in me than she was in herself, asking me ‘how’ and for how long..
She talked about the dark days and the lows that I was undoubtedly getting, this ‘first year’.
Compared to her, my injuries are insignificant, yet she smiled cheerfully the whole time, and was so very caring, about me!
When I go out now, I wonder what people are thinking when they see me. I see people averting their gaze, people sometimes pretending not to notice me, maybe not moving their chair a bit to help me wheel past, when I know they have seen me.
If she can go out, in the ‘state’ she’s in, what issues do I have, by comparison? She can do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for herself.
Nothing except be a shining example of the power of the human spirit.