I took the morning off this morning. I had nothing on my planner and it was clear that I needed to give my body a chance to rest for a short time. I am unable to straighten my right arm as my muscle won’t allow it; anything I try to do cause it to give a fair bit of pain, even just pushing my wheels round is a strain.
It is really important for me to stay positive now, not just here but in my everyday life as I cannot take the chance of getting down and falling in to depression. Similarly I have to stay positive so as not to bring my Wife or kids down, and it is sometimes a little difficult. Since I left hospital I have had to teach myself to do the most basic of things, dressing being one of them. How difficult can that be right? Trust me, it’s difficult.
So who has had to assist me? Who has been the one who has stood next to me or sat next to me on my bed while I am trying to do it? Who has been the one that I have reduced to tears by shouting at her when it has gone wrong? Who is the one who has been told to shut the f**k up when they have tried to offer an idea? Who is the one who has had to give me bed baths if I have had an accident? Who is the one who has had to repeatedly hurt her back for over 8 months while hoisting me out of bed and in to my chair and then out of my chair and in to bed before we got a ceiling hoist? Who is the one who has had to get the kids ready for school and get me ready and out of bed to go with her to school as I could not be left on my own? Who is the one person who should have left and had an easier life without the hassle of looking after her paralyzed husband? MY WIFE, that’s who.
I hope that my Blog entries since my admission to Stoke Mandeville Spinal Centre have shown you how important this is to me and my family. Shown you how hard I have been working to reflect that importance and shown you how hard it has been for me to forget and relearn the things I have taught myself and also how easy it would be for me to get depressed about how much the other patients here can do after such a short period of time because they have had the proper professional help and instruction. I know that as you are reading this you must be wondering what is going on, why the change of tempo from excitement and enthusiasm to slow and almost depressing. Well, against one major thing I believe in, I am going to have to tell you. I have to tell you because I need to try to get it out of my head in the hope that it does not destroy the hard work I have put in so far and the effort and enthusiasm I will need for the next two weeks. I fully appreciate that some of you may well not bother to read until the end and I respect that. I hope though that you will try to understand how hard a decision it has been for me to write what I am going to write, and the reason I must. Furthermore, I hope that you will come back and read the Blog again tomorrow and continue to read it. I have always said that this is an honest Blog, it is written by my mood, my experiences, my emotions, events and occurrences not only for you the reader to get an understanding of my life in a wheelchair but also for me to get those things down on “paper” to re visit at later times. Times when I may be having a hard time and need cheering up, or times when I face a challenge and need to see what I have already overcome and accomplished.
Today I called my Wife, she seemed upset on the phone and I could not get out of her why. Eventually though I did manage to get her to explain to me what the problem was, I really did not want to be distracted from my aims here but obviously did not want to my Wife to feel that I do not care about anything at home simply because I am not there. On her side of things, because of the type of person she is, she did not want me to be worried about anything at home as there would be nothing I could do and did not want for me to be distracted from my aims here. What she told me disgusted me, angered me and instantly started my leg to bounce, a spasm was imminent which could potentially lock my entire body like a board. As I wrote earlier, my Wife who I started dating 17 years ago, has done everything and whilst lesser people would have left she continues to stand by me, and I can assure you that she really goes through it at times. She has her family as support and also via e mails, messages and phone calls if she chooses, she has other partners of service personnel who have through one way or another sustained life changing injuries. Those partners know what it is like to have to go through similar things and so they have their own little support network. A network that is dormant until someone asks for help, writes about a problem they are having or just simply writes for advice from anyone who may have experienced similar at which point it springs in to action. Every so often they get to meet up at days out in exactly the same way us members of the Band of Brothers do. The people that you would expect to be of support though are sometimes the very people who cause the upset.
This is where I break my own rules, a rule that you will understand and more than likely live by but for two years I have covered it up when people talk about it, I hide it through embarrassment, and even though I do this, even though I am going to write this, I know full well that this will be turned around in some sick and twisted way to land on the shoulders of my Wife. The truth is though that even though I am fully aware of this, I have to write it. The truth needs to be told, I have been covering this up, bottling it up and even defending the actions since I first remember being in hospital and I cannot do it anymore.
The evening of my accident the Police sent a traffic car to my house to collect my Wife as my injuries were so severe they thought I was going to die. My Wife instructed the Police officer to stop at the house of my Mother to collect her as she felt it was important. It is here that you can see what kind of a person my Wife is. Precious minutes that she could have been on her way to be at my side were whittling away while they had to wait to collect my Mother. I can only imagine how my Wife would have felt if they had arrived at the hospital to be told that I had passed away only a few minutes before they arrived. Thankfully though, this obviously did not happen. My Wife who was not good at driving a lot of miles, travelled back and forth to the hospital and on more than one occasion did it two and sometimes three times in one day. Then I was moved to Salisbury from Frenchay in Bristol where she would visit most days. I was in hospital a total of eight weeks in Bristol and thirteen weeks in Salisbury, until I got home. My Mother would not drive to Bristol or Salisbury and so hitched rides with my Brother. This finished when my Sister in Law accompanied my Brother as they had fallen out. My Wife offered her a lift if she was able but the offers were rarely accepted. I remember my Mother telling me time and time again on the phone when she called ONCE A WEEK, who had told her that if she wanted to visit me then to ask and they would drive her. This was because she would make it known that she does not like driving long distances, (although will happily drive to Plymouth which is further!). Despite this, no offers of lifts were ever accepted.
For those of you who are new to my Blog and simply know I had an accident I am going to put you in the picture of how lucky I am to be alive.
I put a tear in the sack that the brain sits in, I damaged the nerves which control the eye muscles which resulted in my vision being double. I shattered my eye socket requiring it to have a metal plate inserted. I had to have a tracheotomy due to complications. I fractured a number ribs. I suffered a collapsed lung. My left forearm broke requiring a metal plate and as the wrist was also damaged I had to have an external fixing to hold it all in place. My right forearm had a complicated fracture also requiring a metal plate. My spinal cord was damaged between T3 and T4 and I broke T4, T5, T6, T7, T8, T9, T10 and T11. Also some other little bits and bobs. A medically induced coma was to try to stabilise my condition to keep me alive.
I think it is fair to say I was a bit of a mess and that my road to recovery was going to be a long and difficult one. To my mind, any parent would want to be there to support, either by helping with the Grandchildren, taking them to school, taking them out for the day or having them for tea. A parent would clearly want to be visiting as much as they were able but that did not happen. When I came home I was sleeping on a hospital bed in the front room and my Wife was on the sofa. Understandably we asked for people to call before visiting rather than just turning up as my Wife had to not only sort the kids, cook the food and also take care of me; I was unable to go anywhere in my house and so if I required the lavatory I had a commode in the front room. I am sure that you will appreciate the need for people to call first as I did not want them to come in to our house if my Wife was up to her eyes or if I was needing the use of the commode. To that end, one day that my Mother came to the house, my Wife told her that she needed to call before coming up. At no point did my Mother offer to cook, or take the kids to give her a break. One morning when I was not at all well, my Wife called to ask her if she would be able to take the kids to school. The school which is a ten minute walk from the house. She was unable to assist with this as she was not yet dressed, (even though there was over an hour before school started and so would have had time). Consequently, after my Wife had asked my Mother to call before visiting, she never bothered to visit again. Point to note, my house was no more than 500 meters from her house!
In February 2012 we moved to our bungalow approximately four miles from our old house. Despite my Mother passing our bungalow weekly on her way to see her Father she has never visited, because she has never been invited by us. I did not realise that parents had to be invited to their children’s houses. My Wife has suffered hearing from others how my Mother and Sister have said horrible things. My Sister continuously says some appalling things on the social networking sites, one of which said of how I put myself in a wheelchair in my own time, and that had I not being riding like a t**t I would not have had an accident in the first place. Point to note, accident occurred at less than 40 mph in a 40mph limit when a car pulled out on to the main road from a side road in to the path of my motorcycle. All this coming from a SISTER who did not come to see her Brother who was close to death and called only to see if she could get a key for the bridal shop that my Mother owns to get her wedding dress and got married the very next day. On many occasions my Wife has been really upset by the comments made but still she soldiers on. The latest though is the reason for this airing on my Blog, the reason that I now have to break the silence and let people know what is really going on. My Mother has told people that My Wife is only with me for my compensation payout, difficult when after two and a half years liability is still in dispute. That she will drop friends after using them, I can only assume that this would be referring to my Sister not visiting or talking to us after falling out with our Brother, (not sure how that involves us but still). She tells people how well I am doing when they ask how I am, despite not visiting me for over a year and has not spoken to me for the same amount of time. The same goes for my Sister. Until now I have always said thank you for asking when people come to me and tell me that they always ask my Mother or Sister how I am doing, I do not say any more than that but now I am afraid it has gone too far. From now on I will simply give my web address and tell them that if they want to know how I am dong, to read the Blog because that is exactly where My Mother Jean and my Sister Julia get their information. Even while I am writing this my spasms are causing me problems, they are reacting because I am angry that my own Mother and Sister can be so evil. I have no idea why any Mother who came so close to losing her Son could be so spiteful, so hurtful, so downright evil as to do what mine is doing. Most Mothers would be proud of how their child is battling through the pain and difficulties and change of an entire lifestyle, and that the woman he married had not thrown in the towel and simply buggered off. A mother I would have thought would have tried to help, tried to understand the changes in routine, the needs and complications, not done everything they can to make people think the worst of the woman who has so much to deal with.
Having a bridal shop and having done fundraising shows in the past for other people you would think that she would be able to put something together to raise funds for her Son to assist him purchasing equipment he would like, especially if he was finding ways to fundraise himself but no, instead she fundraises for people who are not even related to her. Today, after two years of saying nothing and even defending her using the excuse that maybe she was finding it hard to accept that her Son had gone from hard working driver , Soldier and Father to a man in a wheelchair, I finally had to do what I should have done a long time ago and defend my Wife more aggressively. So I called her. At work. In her bridal shop. I could not believe what I heard her say, it actually angered me to the point of spasm and a feeling of sick. “Hello Darling, how are you?” This is the woman who tells anyone who asks how I am that I am doing really well. For the first time in God knows how long she has asked me how I am, but now is not a good time to ask that. Throughout the very one sided call I told her that she has no idea how hard life on a daily basis is not just for me but for my Wife and my Kids. I told her that what she has said to people is disgusting and I said and I quote; “I am asking you politely to back off. You have chosen not to be involved in our lives, which is fine by me, I have no problem with that but you need to back off and leave us alone. So again I am asking you politely, will you please back off and leave your comments in your head and leave us alone?” I did not get an answer and so I repeated the question. Again no answer and so I told her and I quote; “It is a yes or no answer, is it yes or is it no?” It was at this point she said that she would have liked a reply to a letter that she wrote to me and left in my post box a year ago. I said that I was not going to dignify it with a reply and again asked her to back off. As she would not give me an answer I was left with no other alternative and I said; “You and Julia were at each other’s throats and everyone including the neighbours knew it but then when she chose not to come round to visit me because of our Brother you were best buddies. I have no idea what goes on between your heads and I am not interested but I am going to ask one more time. Will you please back off and leave us alone. I thought that my accident would have made people grow up and get along. I expect it from Julia but not from you and I am very disappointed. So I will tell you this once and once only, back the f**k off, leave us alone and keep your evil and pathetic comments to yourselves as all you are doing is making yourselves look stupid. Apart from to the people who are as pathetic and evil as yourselves.” It was at this point that she started to talk but I had no interest in what she had to say, I wanted an answer to my question, a polite and civil request for her and Julia to maybe get a hobby to entertain themselves rather than to spend their rather sad existences targeting my family while we continue to adjust to our new way of life. So I simply informed her that the conversation was over and hung up. My spasms at this point were really kicking off, I knew that Julia would be on her social network sites giving it large and manipulating everything to swing it around and portray herself as the victim which she has always been really good at. It is unfortunate though that my Wife will be the one who has to deal with all of the fallout while I am up here. It is a certainty that this will happen but I live in the hope that people will actually realise what the pair of them are doing and that they will have no one that will believe their evil and wicked tales and that we can carry on without the worry of what is being said.
I am sorry that the Blog has not been what I try to make it but the problems that this has caused me today by way of worry about my Wife which has caused the spasms and how the spasms have caused me problems while trying to do my transfers today. The day has seen me distracted to the point that I have done nothing right, I could not get the chair apart to put in the car today and then could not get it right to assemble it without nearly falling out of the car. The split level transfers were shit, no height, dragging instead of lifting, essentially a wasted day and that is why I had to take the chance on having people leave my website and possibly never return, to clear my head to concentrate tomorrow. When I finished my telephone call some of the nurses came to my bed space, they looked concerned, I had unfortunately had to have the call in the bed space as it was too windy to hear outside and as a consequence they had heard the entire conversation. I said how sorry I was that they had been present during the call and they said they were just concerned if I was ok, my spasms were a bit of a giveaway. I asked them who they thought I may have been on the phone to and they looked a little blank, “It could be anyone right?” I asked to which they replied “Yes” it was at this point I said, “So would it surprise you to know that it was my Mother?” I asked. The looks on the faces were of sheer shock and disbelief, as I hope yours are too.
So you see, it is not just the pain I am in daily, or the time it takes to do anything. It is not just the routine I have every single morning or the need to have people do things for me. It is not just the embarrassment of breaking wind every time I lean forward as I have no working muscles to stop it or even the occasional accident I may have if I do not get to the toilet in time that I am dealing with daily. It is not the relentless cleaning up that my Wife has to do, or the times that she had to help me get dressed if I am struggling. It is not just the sleeping in my Daughter’s bed if my spasms are so bad she gets kicked all night unless she moves or the having to wake up in the early hours because I am shouting in my sleep that she has to deal with, all of which she could simply leave behind if she chose to and I really would not blame her for doing so. It is the selfish, pathetic comments and actions of two of the very people who should be supporting us that we have been having to deal with as well. If you have read to the end I thank you for your patience and I hope that tomorrow you will re visit to see how my day has been. Another Friday tomorrow, people go home for the weekend and people stay, I am not sure what I will be doing but I quite fancy a look round some shops! With that lot out of my head I should sleep without too many spasms and get up tomorrow ready to work hard on some transfers.