Monthly Archives: June 2014

Carrying on.

Tickets for Centre Court at Wimbledon today, via the public ballot ‘lottery’. Thanks to Wendy F for applying for me.
Debs and I are going ( to the wheelchair section ) which is pretty high up, so good view.

For a non tennis fan, going to both Queen’s and Wimbledon in 2 weeks, is a little odd, but hey, I’m certainly not complaining.

I’m not sure who’s playing today but it’ll be a treat I’m sure.

God, I’ve had a busy week, whilst Dani was away walking Hadrian’s Wall. She, Pia, Sarah and Anna were supposed to do it last year, this week. Guess who messed that up for them ..?

Massive thanks to Chris and Caroline Bennfors for having me for the weekend, with my girls, including staying the night.
It’s the best sleep I’ve had in months ie not in my kitchen at home.

Thanks to Larry for a crazy night out on Friday – yes, proving again that the chair doesn’t stop me having a laugh.
Thanks to Mark for bringing his shotgun round for me to try and hold, to see if shooting clays is an option. Not long ago I’d have stuck the narrow end in my mouth … But I’m past that now.

Thanks to Sonal for helping me at work yesterday to do my job, to Ina for dinner last week, to Karena for the same, to Carol PS for her visit, to Cress and Marta and Debs and Pia for ensuring I don’t smell too badly, to Cherie for keeping me mobile, to Emily for her beautiful company, and for coming with me to watch my darling Amber in her school athletics match ( she won the long jump ), to Andrew and Lisa likewise, to all my friends kids for being so friendly ( really, it’s strange but post injury kids are so much more attentive… I think they just want a go in my chair…), to Arti, Irinder and Sonia for a great night out.

So, life continues to speed up, not to the velocity it was before, but not far off.

I try to exercise pretty hard most days, and don’t eat very much, determined not to make mobility harder by becoming a fat git.
Yes, that is a choice I still have. The same rules apply – calories in vs energy expended. I can’t move lots of me, but I can burn calories with my arms and shoulders, so that’s what I’ll do, for as long as I can.
I try an arm bike on Monday – one I lie down in and arm pedal. I hope it’s good.. We’ll see. Theoretically, with my arms I should chug along pretty well, but who knows.

I’ll be sure to watch out for motorcyclists….

I was trying to explain to my lovely friend, Debbie, yesterday, what it was like for me, earlier in this journey.
I’m not sure people realise at all, just how horrendous it was, though that’s perhaps doing anyone who is close to me, an injustice.

To think its about not being able to walk, barely scratches the surface of the reality.

I realised that I couldn’t move pretty quickly. That was bad enough.
What was very quickly coincident with that was the nightmare dawning that I’d lost my physique, I’d lost my identity, I’d lost my self esteem, I’d lost my personality, I’d lost my sense of humour, I’d lost my appreciation of joy, I’d lost my confidence, I’d lost my voice, I’d lost my looks, I’d lost the life I had, I’d lost the rapport I had with my children and wife and friends, I’d lost my authority, my independence, and my freedom.

And I was locked in an austere hospital, like a prison, with no friends.

That was then, and it doesn’t seem that way any more.
The bit about the walking still applies, but the other parts are reversible, indeed many of them have already been overcome.

I can see now that there is a point to me being here. For a long time I was convinced people were just being nice but actually, in effect lying.

Now I know they weren’t.

A message.

I am hoping that the support shown around you has/will make you realise what a very special person you are. There is no one on this planet that could have received the amount of love and support that you have, which can only mean one thing – you are truly the loveliest person ever russ and your suffering has caused everyone around you so much pain. So, to hear and see you turn a corner is truly the best news ever. love you. xxx

A message.

14th June is a date none of us are going to forget waking up firstly to Dani’s text, then finding out the extent of your injuries still makes me shiver when I think about it, its one of those moments you always know exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard it. Seeing you yesterday looking fit and strong again with all the cheeky banter we know and love, is a miracle. More than that, what I have witnessed these past 12 months is the unconditional love you and Dani have for each other, irrespective of the accident, this is a love most people never experience in their whole lives.


A message :)

Hey Russ. Thinking of you today, your survival and ongoing rebirth. Glad ur luvly girlies can celebrate Fathers Day with their Dad. Mine did and still think I’m a knob. Lotsa love from Jockland. Xxxxxx

Father’s Day

Today I got 2 cards, one totally random, covered in Despicable Me minions, apparently representing me, Dani, Lily and Amber herself.
She’d written ‘Happy Birthday Daddy, crossed out Birthday and squeezed in ‘Farther’, crossed that out, and put in ‘father’…

The other was an altogether more classy affair, A4 sized and perfectly geometric in every way.

Both cards exuded love for a chap that this time last year lay in a coma, looking very unlikely to pull through from the darkness of virtual death, to the light from a Toulon hospital window.

That same chap has gone from not wanting to live to laughing with his beautiful daughters and wife this special morning, and every morning from here on, celebrating life itself.
Not the life he had before, but one worth living, one even more precious than before, savoured more acutely for having nearly lost it altogether.
To think that this day, Father’s Day was so nearly going to be for ever after the anniversary of my death, that every year my daughters, rather than make and send me cards, would cry with their mum… Well it’s too awful to contemplate.

There are so many people I don’t think I’ve thanked properly for all their contributions over this last year.
One that’s just sprung to mind is Steve Barrett for coming round and changing lightbulbs and fixing a leak on our flat roof, months ago, two things impossible for me now.

But you know, climbing out the first floor rear window to investigate a leak was never that much fun anyway…

From my Mum and Dad.

Dear Russ,
We are back where we were a year ago, in White Rock, B.C. when we had the phone call from Alwyn which changed all our lives.
Our memories of that day are probably the most ” hazy” of any day in our lives. We have virtually no recollection of the drive back to Seattle. Alwyn was amazing inasmuch that he was able to book us on to an emergency flight via Iceland to Heathrow in spite of everything that was happening around him. While we were en route to HR he tried desperately to get us a flight to any of the S. Of France airports, but to no avail. On arrival in HR we caught the first available Nat. Express coach to Newport and then a taxi home. Within an hour we were on the road to Dover, crossing the Channel at 11 p.m. We took two blankets with us and stopped for 30 mins. , our first sleep for three days.
All the way down Alwyn and Stu were ringing and texting, “”How much longer, how far away are you .?” When we got to the hospital car park, Stu was waiting,and we ran to the ward, not knowing if you were still with us.
All we can remember then were “tears”. We stayed in Toulon for 3 weeks,went home for10 days and then came back again so that Dani could have a break. Our memories of Toulon were quite desperate, but also tempered with the wonderful memories of all those lovely people who came to see you. Having our car turned out to be a bonus because it meant that we could ship so many back and fore to airport , station etc..
A year on so much has changed for the good and the comments of your physio in the last blog are no surprise to us. Onwards and upwards, just think where you are going to be a year from now .
All my love, Dad

The phone call from Alwyn was the stuff made from nightmares. As I listened to his words in total disbelief, our world collapsed around us. The unthinkable had really happened to our beautiful, son. It just was not possible. That journey down to Toulon was the longest journey , the most painful journey of our lives. We did not know whether you would be alive or dead when we finally reached you. The pressure to reach you was intolerable and when we finally were by your side , you were still here , in a coma and hanging on by a thread so fine that it was invisible, but , still with us.
The support of Alwyn and Stuart , our joint families and your amazing , remarkable friends lifted us and sustained us over the weeks ahead in Toulon. We willed you to live, to survive , to come back to us. I talked to you about your life and the love that we had for you. The first sign of a response was tear that ran down your cheek whist you were still in a coma. Later, you squeezed my hand. It was the gentlest squeeze but it was real. I rushed out to find a doctor who, in disbelief came back with me to witness another squeeze of my hand. A small sign, a massive miracle. You were coming back to us.
The rest you know , the rest is history.

Your progress has been phenomenal. You will always go from strength to strength .
All my love
Mum xxxxxxxxxx


Oh darling we love you more than ever now …you are a beautiful person and your strength and fun side have got you through this year you are so positive and your family and friends love will carry you through the years to come. Me Neal and the kids will always be there for you and i cherish the moments you and I have spent together over these past months we’ve shared so many laughs and a few tears.. Looking forward to tonight xxxxx