Living with disability

From a discussion in my last blog about suicide to now about living!  Recently I have become acutely aware of the confines and constrains physical disability has on my life. Having worked for a number of years with children and young people who had severe physical and mental disabilities I had no real idea of their internal struggles of not being in control of their own lives.  Now I am experiencing all this first hand. The shear frustration at the lack of independence (being in control); privacy and dignity and how often have I had to accept family and friends showering and toileting me – this is all acutely embarrassing, maybe not for them but for me. 

I am now beginning to make good progress towards some level of physical recovery, indeed I am now able to use my stick to walk independently. I can now walk up and down our staircases (with Duncan’s support) all thanks to my physiotherapy.  I attend a super gym facility, a charity set up by an orthopaedic surgeon (Rachel) and a boxer (John or Mr Shouty as I call him!!) the gym is for those with a disability or needing some form of physical recovery. Called Able2be in Norwich.   At this gym I was introduced to Scott Rowbotham (physiotherapist) and a member of his team, Jill (personal trainer) both of them are fantastic – they understand not just my physical wellbeing but also my emotional and mental wellbeing, and how these impact on my physical recovery.  They also both acknowledge my experience and background, thinking of ways in which this can be used.  We have great fun together (believe it or not but I now even look forward to my gym sessions – who would have thought I would actually be saying this!).  One of the aims I have is to increase the movement and some function in my arm and hand so I am prepared to enter the upper limb restoration programme at the hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queens Square, London, led by Professor Nick Ward. [With thanks to Nigel Love for the introduction].  Whilst I cannot hold any great expectations, I feel I have some hope.  If I can get some form of restoration in my arm and hand it would make a massive difference.  The loss of function in a limb causes huge Limitations. It is a devastating consequence of a stroke. Thanks to Scott I am beginning to learn to walk without a stick (haven’t tried it at home yet!). It is a very wobbly start but I cannot express enough my happiness that this is happening. Suddenly what I thought was impossible and never going to happen again has now become a possibility. When this lockdown is truly over, and things get back to some sort of normality, I feel I will now be able to walk into the Auction sale rooms and look at the items I want to put bids on!

Joy of joys. I am now on my mower again (with a little lift up from Duncan!), another thing I never thought I would do again.

Don’t get me wrong I still get distressed, feeling incredibly sad about my loss but there is a ray of hope as I continue to make progress towards some form of recovery.

I am totally in debt to Duncan for his massive support, love, care and especially his patience with me!

Peter xx