I was taken out for dinner on Thursday by 4 good looking girls, there for my last night.
I’m not sure what the staff make of me, having had more visitors in a typical week than a lot of patients get during their whole stay. Good for me, tougher for them, I fully realise.
Having been wined and dined, I was delivered safely back to my bed.
Thanks girls, it was a great way of distracting me from the very mixed emotions of leaving the safety of the unit to restart my life.
I didn’t sleep that well, my bloody legs twitching half the night, keeping me awake. Ironic, isn’t it, that I resent the very thing that I yearn for, movement of my legs.
Friday, I had an hour in the pool of trying not to drown, then that was pretty much it.
I had a surprise visitor in a colleague, Baljit, who had coffee and lunch with me, and kept me amused for a couple of hours by virtue of her charming company, and then I bumped into Issy Bailey.
Issy is 19, injured at the same time as me
Pretty, vivacious and clever, she was 9 days away from winning her first Senior England hockey cap, when a girl she vaguely knew gave her a lift and overtook in a dark lane, resulting in a head on collision. The driver was fine, but Issy is like me, paralysed from mid chest down, with zero use or sensation of anything below.
I feel so much for her, and so want her to succeed in life.
She’s got the challenge of going back to Uni, living student life in a wheelchair in adapted accommodation, having the further challenge of having relationship(s) with boys, with all the ‘trust issues’ that would entail. Any girl/ lady reading this will feel her pain and anxiety I’m sure.
Incredibly, whilst in hospital , she tried wheelchair pistol shooting and realised that she was fantastic at it, despite never having picked up a gun before.
Since, she has entered various competitions and largely whipped experienced men at their own game.
Given that start, it’s realistic to expect to see her shooting in the next Paralympics for GB.
She’s so modest, she wouldn’t say that that is her destiny, but I think everyone else knows it is, if it’s what she wants…
Her family and young friends sound just incredible, encouraging and cosseting her in equal measure.
Of all those I met, whilst ‘incarcerated’, she is the one I found most inspiring.
Good luck, Issy.
I got my proper wheelchair too, at the last minute, Dani collecting it from Twickenham and bringing it to Stoke Mandeville for ‘fitting’ to me.
It feels ok, in as much as any of them have. Sitting in a chair isn’t like you sitting in one, relaxing with your feet up. It’s tiring, and after a bit uncomfortable.
I’m told it gets better, but it’ll be slow.
For now, the only ‘comfortable’ time is when I’m asleep, to be honest.
I’m writing this, lying in bed, in our kitchen, at home, with the Olympics on.
The falls the boarders and skiers have make me wince, looking far more spine breaking than the one I probably had.
The difference, I guess, is soft snow vs sun baked french Tarmac and 25 vs 46 years old perhaps too?
Still, every fall makes uncomfortable viewing for me.
I do hope no one there in Russia pays the price I have for their endeavours.