Monthly Archives: March 2015

Saturday March 28th 2015

Sheila has been an absolute star this week.
We’ve been out a lot, and she’s rarely left my side.
She’s been about as helpful as a person could be, and I’m going to miss her once she’s gone.

I certainly owe her one, and for what it’s worth, I’ll be a friend to her for life.

We both met a 14 year old, named Kyle, in the gym on the 9 th floor of the hospital.

I asked him what had happened, to put him in a chair.
Perfectly calmly he said that it was a gunshot.

After a short pause, he clarified, saying that he’d been taken to a party by his parents, at the age of three.
Whilst there, he wandered into a bathroom, where the owner of the house had left a loaded gun.

With which an innocent 3 year old had shot himself in the chest, the bullet passing through his spinal cord, paralysing him from the point of injury downwards.

My eldest is nearly 14, and I think it would be fair to say, that other than the pain of my injury, has led a stress free life. She is a very happy teenager.

I looked at Kyle and yet, despite their drastic differences in fortune, could see no difference in their apparent state of contentment with life.


March 25th 2015

As I wait here, to be carried on to the plane, another ( much larger ) gentleman arrives in a chair.
He is being pushed, and holds a very large Coke.
The small wheels at the front of his chair catch on the lip of the carpet and he flies forward out of his chair, onto the floor.

As he picks himself up and gets back into his wheelchair, I’m impressed that he manages not to spill a single drop of his enormous Cola.

Full on.

Ok.. So I’ve seen Alan and Wendy, Dylan, my parents, spent lovely time with Debs, seen Sophia, been to work, met Niki properly, been to Dorney lake to watch Lily rowing ( with Julie ), met a lot of other school parents, met Neil ( the Vicar )

I saw Mike Smith, Dickon and Catrin Stainer, Jackie Hawthorn, a few of The Feltham Crew, Dom the Surgeon, Irinder, Sonia, Ina and Jayna, former Miss UK, Sima, Heidi, my new mate, Huw, and so many more at the boxing.
Forgive me for missing anyone out.

Roy Merritt dropped in too.

My long suffering mate, Charlie Perkins had organised a University reunion to coincide with my being in London, and it was especially good to catch up with Hartley ( not his real name ) who talked about the last time he’d seen me – battered and freshly injured whilst in London Bridge Hospital in August 2013. I remember him visiting and noting how nervous he looked. What I didn’t know was why. He explained that before entering the hospital room, it’d been explained to him that he’d be shocked by my appearance, and cautioned not to let on that I was 3 stones lighter than I was aware of, had lost patches of hair, and had big, bloody, weeping holes in my face.
I would hardly be able to speak to him, having a tube stuck into my throat, and would perhaps not make much sense.
I recall him coming once, but not the other two times, so much of back then being a blur to me, both now and I think at the time.

Most of those at the reunion were at the one a year ago, and back then I wasn’t long out of hospital. I don’t think I wrote about it at the time, but the reality was that all of the women talked to me and most of the lads hardly did.
At the time I was upset about that but didn’t, I think, talk about it.
I brought it up on Thursday to a few of the guys ( men that I’d played rugby with at 18-20 years old, drank with, later went to weddings with, and that id regarded as friends ). I asked them why they couldn’t speak to a guy that desperately needed to be spoken to.
Nobody avoided the conversation, and all confessed to having had no idea what to say to me. I’ve found this a fair bit, since my being in a wheelchair, there being a male awkwardness, a not knowing how to act or what to say. It may be hard for some guys, but however hard it is for them, believe me that it’s worse for me, that feeling of being avoided. Women that do it are few and far between, but there are some. I saw a lady on Friday who has looked the other way on several occasions, but this time couldn’t avoid being obliged to say hello.
It’s easy to tell when someone is pretending they haven’t seen you, and the irony is that i remember those people more clearly than the people acting normally…

Thank you to Bret and Chrissy for inviting us to Bret’s party, for Andy Richards for organising a table for a lunch, to those that came to it , namely Trudy, Emma, Marta and John, Cress and Toby and Vanessa, all of whom accommodated me, to Larry and Sarah for hosting a dinner (kind of) in my honour, and for the well of good feeling that flows my way from most of the guests at the 3 different occasions.
Thanks to 6 of Amber’s friends for making me smile all day at, and on the drive to and from, her 11th Birthday zip wire party, and to my wife for organising just about everything, as usual.

Thanks to Alison Stretchworks Evans for so much, likewise to Cherie Duir-Howe, and thanks also to the lots of people who tried to arrange to meet up to say hi ( especially Amber, who I let down) but where we just couldn’t fit it in.

Thanks to Chrissy and Bret, and Pia, and also Phil ( and Chrissy ) for the push across 200 metres of grass to watch Amber play netball on Thursday.

Plus to Alan, Wendy and Dylan for their love.

I saw I think literally hundreds of people that I knew, and realised how good it is to be at home.
I try not to think about home, whilst in America, it getting me down if I do.
But it’s a very positive thing, knowing that if I can make being in America tolerable ( even happy ) then I have the prize of my return to London, ahead of me.

I also realised that, of those that I met with, hardly anyone looks at this blog ….

So hello Mum, Pia, and the 5 others that are reading this.

My ex employee, Sheila, arrives tomorrow, having volunteered a week of her time to keep my company, and help me with stuff.

I’m not all post injury fiercely independent, as some are, rather taking a maybe more common sense approach that if it’s far easier for someone else to help you with it, then swallow your pride and let them.
I hope I’m not betraying the Paralysed Brotherhood by saying that, but there are some, I’m sure, that might think that way.
To be honest, I get very lonely, very quickly now, so having someone cheerful around, with a bit of intuition, is an opportunity I won’t pass up.

I’ve hardly seen Sheila for the last 7 years or so, so for her to offer to give me a hand for a week, 4000 miles from her husband and young son, really is an act of generosity.

I really hope that it’s not something that she lives to regret…. So desperately hope not to upset her in any way.

Watch this space.