I’ve had the most brilliant assistance from my brother, Stu, this week
Nothing is ever too much trouble. He’s pushed me about, been out riding with me, serviced pretty much everything mechanical I own, and driven me around.
He and Gerry didn’t take no for an answer when I doubted my ability to drive a hand controlled go kart, meaning that after they lifted me into the thing, I could race them and the kids too, like a normal Dad.
It was great to be included, not to be sidelined. I should add here that it’s often my reluctance to be a nuisance, to stand out, to slow everyone and everything down, that sidelines myself.
I still suffer from the embarrassment of being this way, feeling different from everyone else, effectively being prejudiced against myself. I’m not sure if and when that will pass.
However, once in the go kart, it was a blast. I actually was only interested in driving near to my two girls, seeing their faces, hearing their screams, breathing in their excitement.
The last time I drove a kart was on my stag day/night. Gerry and Stu were there that day too, back in August 1995. Driving the kart was pretty much the last thing I recall of that day. It wasn’t until Stu sent me some photos 3 weeks later that I even knew what they’d made me do that evening…. So drunk I’d genuinely no recollection of the terrible events that passed for a male celebration of my forthcoming marriage.
It was a wonder I even made it to my own wedding.
Anyway I digress. Back to hand biking.. Not getting any easier, but I am dead excited that some very generous friends have clubbed together to buy me a new, proper one – my own size, modern spec, with all the bells and whistles a paraplegic could want.
Then I’ve no excuses for my speed… other than the one about having no legs and crap lungs.
I’ve got to do 40 odd miles a day on the third weekend of September, for 3 days, rain or shine, accompanying my buddies from my crash day, as they canoe from Devizes to Westminster in my honour.
The fellas have been training hard at Richmond Canoe Club at all hours, coached by Richard Hendron mainly, along with Tony, Rob and Peter.
They’ll see that endurance kayaking is hard work, but should love it, plus gain a skill set that’s always going to be useful.
We went to a Waterpark yesterday. They charged me to get in, but wouldn’t allow me on any of the rides. No matter, I could watch them have fun, and get a kick out of that. I did get to hold a golden eagle too, although it was apparently a little freaked out by the wheelchair. It and me both then.
Being splashed by the rollercoaster was funny though, as per the video clip above.
Before my injury I was certainly more childish at Waterparks than the children, so it was a bit odd not to partake. I know that they realise how I feel, and they are very loving to me, which does help.
Soon I go back to work, full time for 2 weeks, to do an induction for 3 new student optometrists. Unable now to physically demonstrate lots of things, I’ll have to talk a lot instead. It’ll be harder, not being the old me ie really hands on… but I don’t have a choice.
Also soon I go on a 3 day intro to para rowing camp. As I can’t sit up straight in a wheelchair , it’s going to be a real challenge in a boat, but I’m sure the boat people will be used to paralysed people potentially falling out of boats so will have a plan to prevent that.
The first day is theory and capsize drill.
Can’t wait for the floundering about in the river followed by rescue part. Other than dragging me into the rescue craft by my arms/life vest, I can’t see how they would save me… Maybe throw a rope at me, then drag me to a shallow bit of the river?
All will no doubt be revealed.
I’m also soon going to a beginners hand biking weekend at Stoke Mandeville track. As I’m now not a total novice ie I’ve already crashed at speed, I’m hoping for a bit of coaching instead, plus better technique for getting in and out of a lie down bike. My regained muscularity is against me in terms of flexibility required to get from lying down to wheelchair, dragging still quite heavy and stiff legs behind me.
Yep, it’s all going on.