Tag Archives: rehab

Back on my feet – the physio who changed my life

Three years ago I was having rehab with a remarkable physio. I’d spent 8 months flat on my back waiting for, having and recovering from two spinal surgeries and he was helping to teach me to live my new normal. Nothing would ever be the same again, but he gave me the confidence to be a better version of me, if not physically but at least mentally. He was one of the many stars of the NHS who helped me rebuild myself again.

My physio encouraged me to not think about what I couldn’t do anymore, but how I could do things differently. He appealed to my problem solving, determined side and he really believed in me. Over a period of weeks he had me doing normal things most people take for granted. Hanging the washing out, loading the dishwasher, pushing my small son to the end of my road and back in his pram and sitting for incrementally longer periods. It was all exhausting, but the few months I spent under his care cemented the foundations for how I now live my life.

physio

Although I don’t allow my disability to define me, every physical move I make is carefully calculated and internally risk assessed. The numbness in my feet and legs means I have to focus extra hard when walking down the stairs, I can’t really lift anything heavier than a couple of tins of beans and taking a bath or a shower means lots of health and safety checklists have to be scrolled through in my brain before I get the shower gel out.

Currently my bathroom doesn’t have any adaptations, but I know that at the very least it could do with a couple of sturdy grab handles. Not being able to feel the soles of my feet (everything feels like I’m stood on a sponge) means that baths and showers pose a slippery threat I won’t be aware of until it’s too late.

I know that when the time comes for us to upgrade our bathroom that a walk in shower with a seat would be very useful. There are lots of companies such as Premier Bathrooms who offer stylish bath suites and walk-in showers these days which I’ll be checking out when the time comes.

There’s nothing I can do to get the feeling back in my feet and legs. I know that rest helps if it suddenly gets worse, but how I am right now is the best I’m going to get. I’m pleased that my fantastic physio worked hard with me and pushed me to the point that if you didn’t know my medical history, you would probably think I was completely fine. And I am completely fine with that. 

= This is a collaborative post =

The night before my life began again

I wrote this in February and didn’t do anything with it. It was never meant to be a blog post, but I want to share it now, because it seems important that I do somehow.

It’s 11pm on 1st February 2014. I’ve just been standing outside in the dark looking at the stars, watching as the clouds are rushed through the black sky by the wind. I thought of all the skies I’ve seen in the past year. Vivid, beautiful and haunting in their own way. And I cried.

This time last year I’d packed my hospital bag, written letters to my nearest and dearest and said goodbye to my son. The next day I was going in hospital for an operation to fix my spine, stop my pain and give me the ability to walk again. I was prepared to come out either a very different person, or a very dead person. Either way I thought I was prepared. I still cried. I was still frightened but I was ready.

Standing outside tonight I reflected on all that has happened since this night last year. Another operation, pain, infection, depression, rehab, friends loved and lost. And I grieve. I grieve for what has passed. I grieve for the person I was who is now gone, I have a faint memory of her, but I like the person I am now, still flawed, still a bit broken, but I’m a new version of me. Jane.2 if you will.

There’ve been a lot of positives in the past year, but the pain, the physical I can cope with, the emotional less so. The 12 months of turmoil have wrung me out, left me struggling against the tide too many times. I’m broken but I’ve survived. I will continue to survive. What other choice is there? I looked at the sky and I cried, I broke down and cried.

Maybe it is a grieving process, maybe the first year is the hardest. But the sky will change in beautiful ways, clouds race, time moves on, the stars will always shine and I will heal. I will heal.