I was worried that I would not wake in time for the gym induction scheduled for 07.30 this morning and to stand half a chance I went to bed at around 20.00 last night. I didn’t sleep particularly well and woke at 04.30 this morning, I lay there for a while hoping I would go back to sleep but alas it was not to be and so I was up and in my chair by 05.00. I went to the gym induction and was shown the equipment I could use, all I need now is a “battle buddy” as we say as you are not allowed to use the gym solo. This is something that I will have to look at later. I went to the dining area to get a cuppa, breakfast smelt amazing and looked as good. A full English including black pudding. I wanted to go and load my plate with the breakfast that I was so used to when we were away on courses or on ops if I was in camp but knew that this was not possible due to my being unable to shed the weight, as a result I simply went in to the next room of the dining area and had my cup of tea.
There are only a few of us in at the moment so it is not particularly busy and as many of them have been here before as residents they did not have to do the same things as me in as greater detail. After breakfast it was a muster `parade` to ensure who was supposed to be in was in and then there was the house induction. As I said, I was the only one who needed this which was actually a good thing as I could ask questions as we were going around without having to wait for others. The house is incredible with some interesting areas and one area in particular which is astonishing, it is essentially a room which has been converted to resemble the first class area of a British Airways passenger aircraft complete with aircraft windows and views and reclining chairs. This is an area that you can take yourself off to for some quiet time and was donated by British Airways, you have to see it to appreciate it but if you were to fall asleep and be placed in that room and woke up, you would really believe that you were on a plane, amazing. The gymnasium is as fully kitted with the most up to date equipment you can think of, even the paralympics team train here occasionally as the kit is so good. There is a ski slope machine which is a belt that keeps going as long as you can and they have a mono ski for people like me, at least I would start on my ass and not end up on it! There is also a wave pool so that you can swim but not actually go anywhere, really clever.
The rest of the house is also really good with an IT suit, games rooms to chill out in, a library where you can sit and chat, watch a film or the television or curl up and go to sleep, this is also where you can get a brew 24/7. There is a cafe and a number of rooms for `interviews` and chats with the support staff. It was one such room that I was in at 11.00 this morning where I was talking to and answering questions from my support worker and a military `social worker` for want of a better phrase. I think it was an eye opener for my support worker to learn that despite there being “One Army, regular and reservists” as they advertise, this actually only applies when it suits. She could not get her head around the fact that I was not entitled to the same care as a regular service person, as my accident was not while mobilised for active duty but was on my way back from my civilian workplace. Had I been injured on my motorcycle in my own time as a regular service person, I would have had full entitlement for a start to attend and be rehabilitated at Headly Court. Needless to say that she is going to be rolling that around in her head for a fair while. I chatted with her for a good hour and a half about a lot of things and she wrote things down that she wanted to look in to further, eventually though it was lunch time and our meeting had to end. I will be seeing a lot of her though during my stay, the first meeting of which will be tomorrow morning.
I skipped lunch as my appetite has gone again and instead returned to my room to take my medication, one of those annoying things that is now becoming second nature and part of a routine, a routine I am going to have for the rest of my life, lucky me. After the lunch break we loaded in to the minibus and headed for the local academy where we would be doing a cooking activity. The Chef showed us the first part of the cooking task and demonstrated what we had to do, he gave us written instructions as you would find in a cook book and we went to our relevant workstations in the classroom and cracked on with it. We were making chicken chow mein with egg fried rice! I set my pans and chopping boards etc and made a start. Boil the rice and cut up the chicken, boil up water for the noodles and throw the chicken in to a bowl with some flour and soy sauce to marinade it. Chop up the veg, drain the rice, chuck in the noodles, add the veg to the chicken, drain the noodles and chuck in with the chicken and add some more soy sauce and then whisk the egg to add to the rice to put in a pan to heat again. Washing up as I went in no time at all the cooking was done and I transferred it to the foil containers that you would get from the local Chinese takeaway. With all this done all that remained was to wash the rest of the dishes and wipe the surfaces. It actually tasted really good, but as the lesson came to an end I put my containers in to a carrier bag for ease of carry and we loaded back on to the bus to go back to Tedworth House. My appointment scheduled for the Skiplex was cancelled for this afternoon and so I made a couple of calls that I needed to make and then headed back to my room. I didn’t bother with tea as I had eaten a bit of my cooking lesson and I’m still not hungry.
I have spoken briefly about a hand cycle today and they have one that I could use if I’d like and so that is going to be one of my aims this week. I really hope that I can get to use it as I really enjoyed it when Jo got me on the one at Stoke Mandeville, although I only went round a track it was a feeling of freedom that I had not felt for quite some time and that is exactly why I want to get one of my own. Tomorrow I have another packed day of activities and I am looking forward to taking part in them. I’ve been really down today, really down, I have always tried to encourage people to get on with life and I almost feel a bit of a fraud now. Until a very short while ago I was the first to laugh and joke about my situation. Putting people at ease about talking to me, trying different things that I had not done before to raise money for charity and to hopefully trigger a spark in people both able’d and less able’d to try things that they had thought “NO WAY” before. But for whatever reason it has been too difficult to do of late and I have suffered a bit of a crash, hence my staying at Tedworth for a while. I don’t think that the crash has finished yet and I do think that there is a nose dive coming, and I’m going to be brutally honest, I am frightened at what that will bring. I remember in Stoke Mandeville the evening before I left after sports club, sitting in the corridor next to the spinal gym with a few of the patients who had obviously formed quite close friendships, and I said to one of the young ladies there who was shedding some tears that I had not been fortunate enough to shed tears about my injuries or my new way of life. I told her it was good that she could and that I did not know if it would happen to me or not. One thing that I did say to her though was that I was petrified that if it did happen, whether I would be able to cope with it and what damage it would cause. The problems my `wobble` has caused so far are disastrous. I know that I must talk to the support workers here, that is why I am here, but now I am worried about what may happen when I do start talking.