Tuesday was acupuncture treatment day with Maralyn. We spoke about the weekends events at which Maralyn told me about the dance evening she went to with her other half on Saturday evening. It’s great to hear about the things that she does like the dance at the weekend and to share the things that we have been up to, some of the stories we share are very funny and others are quite serious but whichever the story turns out to be, we like sharing them. After the acupuncture the next treatment time was written in to the diary and I got myself dressed and, after my Wife had pulled my manual chair up to my bed, I transferred in to it and my day began.
So what happened on my Tuesday then? Indeed, what did happen, I shall check with Wifey as I can’t remember. It would appear that actually nothing happened. We tidied the house and I messed about with the games console for a half hour and confirmed that I am indeed crap! I texted my mate to arrange my lift in to TA only to be told that they would not be there as they would be attending a carol service at which the 6 Rifles band would be playing at. As I am unable to get in to the Company transport I therefore decided not to go as it would be my fuel to get there which I could not really afford to fund for a carol service, even if it was for our band. To that end I spent the evening at home and took the opportunity to have a relaxing bath. After that I got in to bed and watched television until around two in the morning at which time I settled down to sleep.
And so on to today, Wednesday. I woke very late this morning at around half ten. My Wife has left me asleep while she has taken the kids to school and `Pickle` to nursery as she is fully aware that I have not gone to sleep until late and so for that I appreciate the lay in but on the flip side it is very frustrating as it means that I am not up at a reasonable time. I used to be up and at work for between 02.30 and 05.30 every morning depending on whether I was driving to the first delivery in Newquay or if I would be as local as Yeovil. Then I would stay up until ten at night and be bright and full of life for the mornings work, mix this with a 02.30 start meaning I would have been up at 01.00 on the Friday, finish the days work and then home to shit, shave, shower and shine, pack kit and go on exercise with the TA which may mean that you would not get the chance to sleep until maybe sometime on Saturday afternoon if there was a period of downtime for our section or Platoon during the programme. I have gone from this and times of prolonged sleep deprivation on operations in Afghanistan, exercises in Kenya, The Ukraine, Georgia and other overseas exercises to barely being able to wake at a decent hour. This really does dishearten me greatly as well as frustrates me, but the truth is that if I sleep early in the night and get up at a time that would be normal for someone who would be rising to get ready for work, I feel seriously fatigued by the middle of the afternoon.
This afternoon I made the trip from the bungalow to Ilminster to meet with my Wife to collect the kids from school. Alison and her husband Steve came to the bungalow at around one this afternoon as I was finishing up getting myself ready for the “walk”. My Wife had already left to collect `Pickle` from nursery and it was around one fifteen to one thirty that we set off on our Wednesday “walk”. The journey was quite hard today, I had not eaten breakfast and neither had I eaten anything for lunch which was mistake numbers one and two but nevertheless I soldiered on. There were a couple of places that I required help from Alison or Steve along the way but then as we got in to Ilminster I felt the need to go to the garage and buy a chocolate bar and an energy drink. I was absolutely shattered which again was a little disheartening as I had been completing this journey in one hour and twenty minutes before my operation to remove the metal from my left arm in October, but then with the six weeks that I had not been making this trip as exercise it had in effect meant that I was starting again.
We made the final part of the “walk” with time to spare before my Wife arrived and boy could we all feel the difference in temperature. The temperature reading in the van at end of school time was -1 degrees centigrade, winter has indeed arrived, and this was clarified by the road gritter which passed us on our way back to Chard in the van. We arrived home and said goodbye to Alison and Steve while the kids collected their swimming kit for their usual swimming lessons which today I would sit and watch. They completed their lessons and we were met in the car park by my Wife to save us the walk back in the freezing cold for which my children and I were extremely glad of.
Tonight I spoke to a guy who went to school with my wife who is also in a wheelchair about a few subjects that I wondered if he could help with me with. He spoke about a couple of websites and chat forums that could be beneficial for me to look at and also informed me of some meetings that I should go to where talent scouts look out for potential people to train in various events for the Paralympics in 2016 in Rio. When I was shooting a few weeks ago my eye was still relatively in being as I hadn’t shot for over a year so it may be that I will take the opportunity to go and see what the event is like. It would be good to try some different things just to satisfy my own curiosity if nothing else. As well as this I spoke about my dilemma with regards to the spinal unit. Do I request a transfer or not, he listened to what I had to say and then put his ideas on it. I have decided that as my consultant has not backed up what he said at my last visit some four or more months ago and that it appears to me that he is not very interested, mixed with the fact that my last consultant could be compared to that of tits on a fish, and apart from the nurses who would help me wash and dress and put me to bed at night and the new physio who has helped me on the three appointments I have had with her, the spinal unit which was sold to me as “one of the best in the U.K” was actually a complete waste of time who failed in their task of my rehabilitation. To that end, whilst I am sorry that I will lose my physio there, I am certain that I will be sending the letter requesting me be removed from the “care”, (using the term looser than diarrhea) of the spinal unit and transfer me to somewhere that might actually be interested in helping me. I currently suffer with spasms of my legs which prevents me from transferring easily amongst other things and with my bladder which prevents me from staying away from home. These were things that I had no idea about before my accident, my ignorance about paraplegia made me think that it meant that walking was the only thing that was affected for the person in the wheelchair, but I was wrong and I now am having to cope and deal with them on my own as my so called consultant does not make efforts to check on my progress.
I was discharged from the unit as I had required an operation on my right wrist. As I had been told I could not partake in any rehab exercises or physiotherapy until the cast had been removed there was no reason or point in staying there. I had not done any exercises for a few weeks before my operation and had done very limited before that with all reasons for the lack of progress coming down to the injuries that my arms had sustained. This was ok to start with but at the end of the thirteen weeks I had achieved the sum total of bollocks all. This was when I approached my `consultant` and requested that I get used to adapting to life outside of the hospital bubble while my wrist healed and then, when the cast was removed I would come back to the unit and begin my rehab. This was agreed, and on the 16th of December 2011 I left the unit and struggled to cope with the day to day living. I contacted the unit when the cast was off and now, nearly a year later, I am still waiting to begin my rehab. I have taught myself all that I know, and I have had to fight to get any physiotherapy which I have only managed to get over the last few months. Now I am having to develop and learn the techniques to carry out the tasks I have taught myself to make them easier. I also have lots to learn about other things and also to get spasms and bladder under control.
While I try so hard to stay positive and let people see that I am staying positive, I have this constant niggling in my head that if I had received the rehabilitation and teachings that I had been told of at the spinal unit, then I may not be fighting the problems I have to cope with now. To have been so incredibly let down by such a specialist unit is hard, no impossible to swallow and accept. It seems to me that because I did not complain, did not show if I was feeling down, did not wallow in self pity and spent my time encouraging others at the the unit who were down or struggling, that they decided I would cope with it and therefore did not require help and simply turned their backs. Well I am announcing here and now on my Blog that I did and do need help, that I struggle daily to do things that should be so simple. That I dread going to bed at night because of the pain the spasms in my legs give me and that I constantly have to remind myself that actually I can not go and stay away for the different opportunities that I am presented with because of the lack of help I received at the so called spinal unit. I am not this amazing bloke who just cracks on regardless,
I was able to help people in the unit with encouragement and a shoulder to cry on because that was my job when with the Army, the welfare of my blokes was my priority, and still is despite my being unable to carry out the role I had, and I guess that I naturally did that in the unit which as it turns out was clearly my downfall. I have rarely been so let down but must try not to dwell on it, I must try harder every day to overcome the problems I have with the ultimate aim of being able to reclaim some of my life that I miss so much, being able to spend time away in whatever role I am given with the Army.
And so now with the kids and my Wife all tucked up in their beds I am writing the last couple of days of my life while watching Gladiator on the television, holding off the inevitable of going to bed and enduring the pain of the spasms in my legs. Sleep tight.