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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Join Me On My Campaign For Change- 'No Access? No Excuse!'

Hi everyone, I hope that you are well and that you have all enjoyed a pain free and happy Saturday 20th August.
As per usual, my day began in tremendous pain, as a result of going out last night- (every action has a consequence in my life and I'm afraid the consequence is almost undoubtedly unrelenting pain.). After not being able to sleep until 5am thanks to said unrelenting pain, (and then having to wake two hours later to take more morphine); I then as always had to sleep until midday too receive the necessary seven hours rest that I needed to cope with my day.
When I did finally wake at midday, (which is actually relatively early for me as I'm often I'm awake all night until 8 or 9am), it was with a mixture of gratitude that I had been blessed with another beautiful day on this wonderful Earth, and frustration that a chunk of that wonderful day had already gone!
Determined to make up for lost time, I excitedly set about using my husband as a sounding board for my ideas that came to me last night after my disastrous evening of access issues.
If you read last night's post you will be aware that I had planned to go to my friend's birthday drinks last night in a bar/club in Soho. Before I set out on my journey across London, I thankfully remembered the golden rule of going out when your disabled and rang the venue only to be told a simple 'No', they did not have any access for me. As simple as that; no 'sorry', or '...we have a portable ramp that may be of some use?'- nothing! Apparently it has become acceptable for businesses to have insufficient access, despite the law saying otherwise!
Despondent and disappointed I set about making new plans, so as not to waste my reasonably well and pain free evening. To add insult to injury, the substitute restaurant that we decided to visit, ended up having six steps to the front door and when I asked if there were a ramp I was told, 'No, we've only been open five weeks', as if that were an adequate excuse to discriminate against those who simply can not use steps!
The idea that came about as a consequence of last night's sequence of events, ( prior to the above I also had an access issue on a London bus); was to start a campaign to tackle the complacency that has come about over the last six years, that it is somehow acceptable to allow businesses and public buildings to have insufficient access for those with disabilities.
I appreciate that local authorities don't wish to embark upon litigation against every small retailer in their borough as this understandably comes down as always to cost- but if we come together as a united voice to highlight the fact that this issue is becoming out of hand, then I truly believe that we can make a difference!
After the DDA was passed in 2005 there was an initial push to make improvements to the access of many larger businesses, (and some small to be fair), and money was put into insuring that they had disabled toilets and ramps for access. I believe that after this initial burst of activity, I believe that people have become relaxed and unconcerned as there appears to be nobody out there anymore actively enforcing the law.
I would LOVE to hear from one or more of you that I am wrong and that you know of people actively ensuring that this law is being upheld, but I can assure that in my area of London and the areas of London that I visit, (along with the areas of Devon, Hampshire and Wiltshire that we also visit regularly), people are not making adequate and reasonable adjustments to there buildings which is just so sad and so disappointing!
With my hastily named campaign 'No Access? No Excuse! I aim to compile a list of names, addresses & photos of businesses that could be accessible, but choose not to bother. I plan to aim high with this, as I believe that this problem should never of got so bad. If it is in anyway possible, then I will take this list all the way to government. Lets name & shame the bad & praise the good who do go out of their way to help. Please email me at discoverdisability@hotmail.co.uk with the examples of shocking access issues that you encounter to help create this list of the thousands that I'm sure are out there.
 I'd also like to praise the examples of brilliant assistance on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100002588247268  so that we can compile a list of businsesses that we can feel confident of being accessible and helpful.
I would dearly love for you to join me on this quest. If we all just add one inadequate business to the list at discoverdisability@hotmail.co.uk , then between all of Discover Disability's Twitter, Facebook and main blog page supporters, we could potentially have a few thousand before we even put in any real effort.
Apologies again for the extent of this, a much more sober rant than last night's- however still clearly focused on the subject of this issue that has got under and irritated my already painful skin!
Please help me make a difference. Together we can unite as one powerful voice. Thank you again for your time.
Have a wonderful relaxing Sunday, without hopefully any issues of access for any of you- (perhaps a little too ambitious a wish, but we shall be positive nonetheless!).
Today I am thankful for those of you who have already got on board with my campaign to make an important difference in this all to often unfair and discriminatory world. Your support has made me smile today- thank you again, Karen. x

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Injustice of the Inaccessiblility!

A dining experience in easier times, before having to worry whether I'd actually be able to physically get in to the restaurant!

Hi everyone, I hope that you are well.
Although I have thankfully been blessed with reasonably manageable pain levels this evening, I have also had the unfortunate experience of having had an extremely poor meal out at a new restaurant in my town. As a result of tonight’s disappointing culinary experience, I have consumed little to no calories in the form of food stuffs such as carbohydrates and have instead consumed perhaps double that which I have consumed in solids in the form of a rather lovely Merlot! I consequently feel just a wee bit tipsy and so apologise profusely in advance if I’m not that coherent and eloquent tonight!
Following the pattern of my daily post, it is obligatory for me to state to you that which has made me smile or feel grateful today. Well, to comply with my self imposed regulations- the thing that I am grateful for today is having the support and companionship of my amazing husband Garry when I have to face the big, wide, scary and all to often unhelpful world when I venture outside the safety of my home!
On arriving at tonight’s restaurant, we were confronted with the reality of five or six steps leading up to the entrance in front of us. ‘Surely that's not a problem’, (I’m sure those of you who are not disabled nor have a disabled relative or friend are saying)- ‘…what about a ramp? Wasn't there that law thingy that was passed a few years ago to ensure that all businesses and public services make reasonable adjustments for the access requirements of those with disabilities?
Indeed, what about that law thingy, because I don’t know whether it’s just that people have become complacent about the law actually being enforced and any kind of legal action realistically being taken upon their small business, (or indeed huge international conglomerate  for that matter!), or whether they just simply don’t care that they are alienating the millions of people in the UK who have a disability and their families? Either way, I just don’t get it! How on Earth in this day and age, in this supposedly civilised society is it acceptable to discriminate and inhibit the entry to public buildings of millions of people- how?
Well, in my opinion it simply isn’t, and I will state to you now, (so I will at least hopefully have one witness)- that I intend to tackle this problem head on. I intend to do what I can to raise awareness of the disgusting inadequacies of disabled access in our country and the world for that matter!
I aim this to be a factor in what my charity will aim to address, but whilst I am consulting advisers as to whether my quest will be best served under the constriction of a charity or charitable foundation, I intend to tackle this problem as of today, Saturday 20th August.
People of Britain I ask for your assistance in helping me tackle this immense problem by helping me compile a potentially mammoth list of inaccessible businesses and services across our nation.
With this I hope to show the extent of the complacency that is currently taking place in this country.
If you have examples of this shocking situation that regularly bother you, then please email me the details of the business or service along with a photograph if you can, to discoverdisbility@hotmail.co.uk
Although I would love to believe that this problem is contained within our British shores, unfortunately, having had a small amount of travelling experience since I have become disabled, I have been witness to the fact that like a cancer, this complacency that millions of this world’s inhabitants are being prevented from entering businesses or services, is spreading and becoming more and more acceptable. WHY, WHY, WHY- maybe a little bit of tonight’s Merlot coming out there, but that is not to belittle my frustration with this subject!!
Only this afternoon was I privy to another such experience of such discrimination. My original plan for this Friday night in England’s fine capitol city was to attend my friend’s birthday drinks in a bar/club in Soho. I was all set to start getting myself dolled up for the festivities when I remembered the golden rule of being disabled-
*    Always rule out all sense of spontaneity and always call the venue first to check that you are actually going to be able to attend
…well, I think it’s fairly obvious that the answer in this instance was no I would not be able to attend, which maybe should have been a clue to call the restaurant that ended up being my back-up plan! Oh well, we live and learn painful and frustrating lesson. Painful, in the fact that my chair had to be carried up the stairs, (& at over 190kg without me in it that’s no mean feat- thank goodness I was dining with members of one of London’s finest rowing clubs!), and frustrating in that I just can not believe this is happening when in this instance this problem is so simply fixed by buying a relatively inexpensive movable ramp!
Red wine fuelled rant over, I hope that you enjoy as sound a night’s sleep as I clearly am going to and that you wake tomorrow ready to join me in my quest to rectify this ridiculous attitude that it is acceptable to exclude people from public places where it is unnecessary!
Join my rant on Facebook   http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002588247268 and email me your details and photographs at www.discoverdisability.co.uk
Night, night. Sleep well.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Reason to Smile- Interaction with Strangers & Offers of Assistance

What makes you smile?

Hi guys, I hope that you are well this evening and that you have found something in your life today that has really made you smile.
The thing that has made me smile today is in a way related to yesterday's post, which focused on the love and appreciation that I have for my beloved dog Barley.
On the days that I am well enough, I walk Barley in my nearby park in my electric wheelchair. This is something that I adore doing now that I am well enough, as it gives me such a wonderful sense of liberty and freedom that I am doing something that is so simple and so normal, after months and years of being unable to do such things at all. Having been in a wheelchair for a relatively short period of time of near on five years now; and having had a dog for about the same length of time- I can happily report that I have noticed that both of these factors seem to strangely draw people to talk to me so much more than they did in my life pre 2006, (which is when I had my car accident), when I would simply walk in the park sans dog and wheelchair and barely have any interaction with strangers at all!
I don't know quite what it is that makes this so, but it really does happen and happen daily; yet this is most definitely not something that I complain about and is infact something that really makes me happy and smile and feel extremely grateful.
All dog owners that I know say that this increased interaction with strangers is applicable to them too and that they notice that having a dog definitely triggers the start of conversations and friendships in their local area where they walk their pooch: I also notice that when I go out without my Barley dog, I seem to have more people talking to me than I did before I became disabled, through simply being out in my wheelchair.
Virtually all of the interaction that I have when I am out in my chair with my dog is positive and consequently restores my faith in human nature that people want to offer their help or assistance to me; however I do hear that some people are not so comfortable with this and would prefer to go about their shopping trip, dog walk or commute, without somebody offering them assistance or asking if they are ok.
Do you find that people offer you help when you are out in your chair, or with your sticks, or limp
 etc.? Do you like that, or would you rather they didn't 'bother' you? I personally can't really relate to the feeling of not liking somebody kindly offering their assistance; but then again, I've only been disabled for five years and I am a generally a chatty sort of person both now, and pre-disability- which highlights another extremely important point, that we are all different characters in life, whether we are disabled or not and if we are generally a sullen person who avoids interaction with strangers before we become disabled, then we are not naturally going to become jovial and tolerant of people stopping to ask if you are ok every two minutes, simply because you have had an illness or injury that has now made you disabled.
People's reactions to offers of help is certainly an area of discussion that I would like to return to in the very near future, but in the meantime I welcome your comments and opinions on this subject and anything else that you would like to get off yoiur chest on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  http://twitter.com/#!/DDisability    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002588247268 
I'd also love to hear on these social network pages about what makes you smile, as I personally feel that when you are facing the challenges of trying to come to terms with becoming disabled, or experiencing new twists in your illness, or infact experiencing anything that tests or challenges you in your life- then it is imperative that we do our best to focus on positive and joyful things so that we can try to avoid slipping into the holes, pits and dips of depression that naturally occur along these difficult paths in life.
Well that's what I feel anyway. What do you think?
Today, the kindness and interaction of strangers has made me smile? What has done the job for you? Please join, 'LIKE' and discuss on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  http://twitter.com/#!/DDisability    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002588247268 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

My Barley Dog Makes Me Smile This & Every Day!

This time last week my little baby boy turned five years old. Now those of you, who know me personally or have been following my rambling thoughts for a while now, will know that I haven’t in fact yet been blessed with the gift of children; and the little boy that I speak of is actually my Golden Retriever dog- Barley.
I’m sure that many of you are thinking, ‘baby substitute’alert, but I can assure you that that is definitely not what he started being, although if I am completely honest with you and with myself, there may be a very small element of that in play now. He is my baby boy and I love him to pieces!
In fact, when we first decided to get a puppy, my husband, (then boyfriend), and I were in a very different position physically, financially and emotionally to that which we are today!
I was truly living the perfect life that I describe so often in my blog- the perfect job, getting paid to jet around the world as a long haul air hostess, whilst also falling deeper and deeper in love with my gorgeous RAF pilot boyfriend. Life was nothing short of a dream, but unfortunately, like with all wonderful dreams, we have to wake up when morning comes, and however much we may try to doze off back off to sleep to recapture that euphoric state that we felt in that dream, it simply slips away never to be felt quite the same again.
Before my metaphoric dawn came to wake me up from my heavenly life, things for me were made all the more perfect in 2006 by the decision of my boyfriend and me getting a puppy.
It was what I had always longed for and on top of everything else, this dream was now coming true too!
Having decided to go with the wonderful breed of Golden Retriever’s we set about visiting potential litters of puppies to choose from and I have to say whatever doubts or concerns that may have been expressed up until that point were swiftly evaporated as we held the gorgeous wriggling bundles of fluff in our arms!
The three weeks that we had to wait between meeting and choosing our litter and actually picking up our little boy to take him home, felt like an age; but all the same gave us the necessary time to choose a name- Bracken, Bailey, Barley and Nugget, (don’t ask about that one!), they were all in the running, but no one name could be finalised. Thankfully when the fateful morning came to drive to Somerset to get our puppy and we still had not decided between the three ‘B’ beginning names, the difficult decision was made for us when this little boy that we had had our eye on, climbed up Garry’s leg and simply looked like a Barley to us all! Thank goodness for that! Signed off work as I was unable to move very well nine weeks after my car accident, I was able to enjoy being at home twenty four- seven with our puppy and have the priveledge of witnessing his bursts of manic energy that would see him run laps and laps around the sofa, again and again and again which would invariably end with him collapsing in a ball on the floor or more favourably on my lap to sleep for an hour or so before the running of laps would begiun again! Having a puppy in our home was so wonderful and a fantastic distraction from the frightening challenges that we were unaware lay a mere week around the corner!
I genuinely believed even nine weeks after my car accident that I would return to work imminently.
I irrationally ignored as long as I possibly could the increasing pain, strange neurological twinges, numbness in my legs and bladder and bowel problem, (related to the spinal injury), and naively believed that mind of matter would prevail and return me to my beloved job any day or at worst any week now.
A week on from picking up our Duracell battery powered ball of fluff that we affectionately called Barley, I was told that with  my increasing neurological symptoms, I needed to attend A and E immediately where a consultant would be waiting to see me.
My husband and I had no idea of the extent of my injuries and being a Friday evening as I lay in the A and E examination cubicle in my gown with Garry at my side, we jovially  discussed how we would perhaps drove down to Garry’s sister’s Devon smallholding to introduce our gorgeous boy to her rabble oft rescued chickens, rabbits, ponies, cats and one-legged dogs, we excitedly discussed having a fish and chip supper by his sister’s wood burner in her idyllic cottage in the countryside when the consultant returned with reinforcements. Four people of whatever job title stood before me as the consultant proclaimed that they may not in her opinion perhaps not rush me to Bristol Spinal Unit for surgery tonight, but maybe wait until the morning as it’s getting late.
‘Sorry what did you say?’, Garry and I asks, utterly flabbergasted, and as the consultant calmly repeated the proposed actions, No talk of serious injury or spinal injury or surgery had been mention at all until this point and we both believed my problems to be muscular in my back on top of the whiplash in my neck. I remember clutching Garry’s hands as I saw him gaze straight ahead in complete shock, an emotion I was mirroring combined with panic and sheer disbelief that this was happening to me and not a character on Holby city or Casualty!
I was a trainer dancer didn’t they know? I lived for travelling, running, cycling, swimming and snowboarding- there is no way in the world that is could be happening to ME! They MUST have it wrong, they must; and to a degree they thankfully did.
Due to the complicated and grey situation in my spine, I had to stay in hospital for a few days whilst all manner of tests and scans were performed, but was thankfully able to return home to my new puppy with instructed minimal movement whilst they decided what to do.
The deliberating of the consultant and registrars actually went on for just over a year whilst I was pulled in to hospital over and over again whilst they decided quite what to do to avoid the evasive and potentially paralysing surgery that they knew that I needed but at 23 would do all that they could to avoid.
In April 2008 the decision was suddenly made for us when the situation became critical, but that was not before having to stay in hospital for weeks on end, time after time in those difficult eighteen months.
Being in hospital so much I missed important milestones in my little puppy’s life, and each time I returned home he would seem huge and all the more like a full grown up dog every time!
During my hospital admissions Garry or my parents (or Garry was away with the RAF), would bring my little Barley to the hospital car park and if I was well enough would wheel me down to see him.
If I wasn’t well enough I would join the other lovely ladies who I shared the orthopaedic ward with in waving at the confused little creature from the first floor hospital window!
Simply speaking, Barley became my world, my entertainer when I needed a smile and my comforter when I was finding the world all to unfair with many a time that is his head would become covered in snot and tears if a tissue were not to hand!
There was even time when I slipped in the bath and almost screamed loud enough for the whole of Wiltshire to have heard me, instantaneously my little boy came storming up the stairs with a concerned look on his doggy face, (well, that’s what I’d like to believe anyway, it may have been fear or confusion!), and began licking my hand until Garry managed to drag him away and calm him down enough to stop covering me with his saliva!
Post surgery during my six months, completely confined to bed and 18months around 80% confined to bed my Barley boy would not leave my side and would spend all of his waking, ( and snoozing) hours with his head on my tummy or licking my hand!
What I’m trying to say, as always with FAR too many words, is that my little boy, (OK dog!), has been a HUGE factor in getting me through the last five years.
Having got Barley just after my accident I often think of how wonderful it would be to simply run and play with him like Garry and my family do, but I can not focus on what I will never have, I have to grateful for that which I do which is a wonderful support and now thanks to my new power chair ‘The Beast’, I can have a little play with Barley and whizz around to have a form of play.
Today, my Barley dog reaching the amazing milestone of five wonderful years old is making me smile.
I am so blessed to have both of my boys, although I have to say that the four legged one is a little less problematic and troublesome- (he also talks back a little less!).
What are you feeling blessed and thankful for today?
I thank God for my wonderful dog Barley- I pray for his health and happiness every day.
I wish you the same everyone. God bless you all, be thankful for those things and people in your life that you see everyday and may just become a little complacent with.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Reason to Smile- The Perfect Chair

Hi guys, you may have seen on yesterday's Reason to Smile post, (if you managed to wade your way through last night's morphine induced ramblings that is!), that I gave you a link to the site http://www.switchsticks.com/ which is where I found my snazzy walking sticks that I love!
After spending months on end searching for these sticks as an alternative to the grey, boring and clinical looking NHS issue ones that I had been given; I then faced a further search to find a new powerchair that would allow me to travel on all terrains, whilst also allowing me a decent travel range and that would also collapse or dismantle to fit into the boot of a car so that I would be able to be taken out by friends and family.
The search finally culminated in us finding my beloved Alber Adventure power wheelchair, which I bought from

If this helps you with your personal search for the right equipment then that is great; but if it doesn't help you personally then I want to let you know that I am in the process of compiling details of all of the power wheelchairs that I came across on my search for my ultimate chair, to as soon as possible be able to provide you with a comprehensive one stop shop for all information that you need and is helpful when you first find out that you are disabled and need to start looking for the right disability equipment and resources.
In the meantime here are a few links that I found useful during my six month long search for my ultimate wheelchair.

Finally having the right wheelchair for me makes me smile everyday as it has given me back an element of my freedom and my life in general!
Good luck on your own quest for what suits you and your requirements the best.
If you have a wheelchair, or piece of mobility equipment that you want to shout about and have included in my list of recommended wheelchairs and aids, then please email me the details at kazreader@hotmail.co.uk .
I hope that you've had a wonderful Tuesday 16th August. Safe driving everyone!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Just Can't Keep Up!

Once again I have to begin my post to you tonight with an apology that unfortunately I was unable to write last night’s ‘Reason to Smile’ post as I was too unwell and ‘out of it’, due to an increased amount of morphine that I had to take last night as a result of trying as always to do it all- and sadly failing miserably!
Since leaving the womb I believe it would be fair to say that I have lived my life at a million miles an hour in every respect and my lovely Mummy even jokes that as I was even too impatient and eager to get living before I even came into this world, that I got stuck during my birth, ( an image that I’d rather not dwell on for too long- yuck!!), and had to be delivered by caesarean as a consequence- so I suppose that should have been an indication enough to my family of quite what lay ahead for them and how much of a handful this tiny bundle of joy would so become!
As the second child of Jane and Doug Spurgeon, I, (along with my lovely oolder brother Michael), was blessed with a wonderfully nurturing and loving childhood.
Despite our parents both working, (my father as full-time men’s outfitter and my mother a part-time secretary and full time ‘Mum’s Taxi’ driver to facilitate our hectic lives!), we were so extremely fortunate to have the support to take on any activity that we so desired, and I did desire it all- horse riding, gymnastics, athletics, ice skating, hockey, netball, acting, singing, orienteering, flute, guitar and piano lessons and of course my beloved dancing in every form imaginable!
From an early age I felt that I had an acute awareness of just how fortunate I was to be able to experience such a variety of hobbies, on top the blessing of being taken on wonderful holidays both in this country and abroad to experience different cultures and customs and most importantly to get my taste and love for travel in all it’s forms!.
My blessed existence as a child, carried on into my teenage years when I had to begin to streamline my activities to a chosen few of athletics and dance, that was until at thirteen years old when I experienced my first taste of injury/illness affecting and focusing one’s life choices, when after a severe athletics injury my decision between my two beloved pursuits was made for me.
From that moment in my life I was set on my goal of being awarded with a scholarship to an accredited Dance college at sixteen and so make my career as a dancer and musical theatre performer.
On reflection, I can appreciate that I perhaps neglected the act of being a ‘typical’ teenager in favour of achieving my goal of  being a dancer, as all of my time post school, (in fact even my lunch breaks in school), were spent in the pursuit of becoming such. Pretty boring I’m afraid, not many tales of drugs, drink and debauchery in my closet, I was focused and fired up to become a dancer and there wasn’t anything in my naive teenage mind that could possibly stop me.
Well, determination paid off and I was awarded with a scholarship to an accredited dance college and enjoyed two fantastic years of dance school before ‘strike two’, and I was served with my second dose of illness/injury affecting my life.
After months of battling with trying to keep up with college days which started at 8.45am and finished at 7.30pm, (minus a lunch break!), with a three hour commute either side, and topped off with a weekend spent travelling from London to the Isle of Wight and back to teach dance- I unsurprisingly on reflection, began to get bugs and viruses and was unable to recover fully before the next would come along to bite me again.
Before I knew it I was very poorly indeed and being passed from consultant to consultant around London who were all trying to find out just what was wrong with me- finally I was diagnosed with untreated Glandular fever that had now developed into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ M.E...
Despite battling all that I could to continue with my life’s path, I had to say goodbye to my scholarship and dreams of making it big in the business; a blow that at eighteen years old felt like somebody was ripping out my heart.
After time and a terribly kind and patient boss, I was able to make a career as a resident choreographer and performer in a professional company as well a teacher of dance and theatre craft to children and adults.
I loved my life, but after recovering, (enough to lead my then life), from my illness I needed a new challenge. I had ALWAYS loved travel, so one summer whilst performing in and choreographing The Wizard of Oz, I was relaxing flicking through ‘Cosmo’ magazine and saw a recruitment advertisement for cabin crew for Virgin Atlantic.
That was it, despite having zero experience, (which only dawned on me with a thump as I was sat in the waiting room with the other well experienced candidates!), I nailed the interview and turned my life a complete 180 degrees within a matter of weeks and was soon jetting around the world having the absolute time of my life!
Yes, it’s true, it wasn’t always glitz and glamour, there was a fair amount of jet lag and air sickness to deal with, but the tropical beaches and phenomenal experiences in countries all over the world certainly made up for that for me I can assure you!!
After meeting my RAF pilot boyfriend, (now husband), life was pretty much as perfect as it could possibly be for me, that was all until the 29th July 2006 when whilst on a road trip with my best friends I was involved in a minor car accident.
Despite initially walking away from the collision, my jet setting life that I had loved so dearly was over completely from that point onwards.
The life that I had once lived at one hundred miles an hour had now come to an almost complete standstill and I was sadly now confined to bed without the ability to even read a book, write a letter, or even hold a conversation due to the morphine that I required, (and still do), to even bare my chronic pain.
Besides giving you a little background on myself, (this crazy lady who insists on subjecting you to all of her thoughts and feelings daily!), I choose today to discuss the differences in the level of activity in my two lives, as I am currently getting increasingly frustrated that despite having the same drive and determined personality that I have always possessed; my body just does not work to the speed that I require and simply refuses to play ball!
After being able to regain a little more mobility and ability in my daily life thanks to my diagnosis and increased morphine and medication regime, I have since been pursuing my dreams to establish a charity that will help others who have become disabled through illness or injury and who are subsequently going through the difficult emotional transition to accepting and embracing this new life.
I endeavour to ensure that there is an appropriate psychological care infrastructure in place for those who become disabled like I did, as well as for their partners or parents such as mine, who are living this evolution into this new existence with them.
I am passionate about making this happen, as well as evolving this blog website to include a forum and information centre to help those who become disabled out of the blue to access the support and help such as benefits and blue badges that are available to them. I also want to try to improve many aspects of disabled travel and disabled access that are so shockingly poor in our so-called civilised and developed country.
With the start of this website, and with it the initial launch of phase one of my big plan to achieve all of these challenges, I am amazed at how incredibly blessed I have been with meeting some truly wonderful people who have so kindly offered their services in making my mission materialise. I could not be more grateful to them and to God, (or whomever or whatever you believe may or may not influence our lives), for making such mammoth meetings take place- my only problem, that is becoming increasingly as these opportunities get bigger and better, is that my body and even my mind simply can not keep up!!
The frustration that this evokes in me is so immense I can not even describe it to you concisely and eloquently as even thinking about it makes me want to cry, shout and thump this computer all at the same time!!
It is just one more thing for one who becomes disabled after living an able bodied life to deal with; one more thing that I have personally found has been the hardest blow.
This no doubt seems a little strange to those of you who have not lived this experience yourselves; ...after all, you’ve lost your career, lifestyle, ability to drive, possible facility to be able to have children and of course the ability to walk around and even get out of bed at all some days- surely many of these must have a harsher affect than simply having to live at a slower pace of life?... I’m sure you are thinking. In actual fact however hard many of these changes in my life have been, on the whole, at five years down the line, I have been able to deal with most of these factors to a satisfactory extent and have started to stop mourning my old life and embrace my new by making the most of my love of writing and by trying my best to make a positive difference to the lives of those who become disabled like me. I feel that as of seven months ago, (when my procedures, surgeries, investigations and rehabilitation had settled down), that my life had begun again and with the pride in my heart of having picked myself up and attempted to get back on with things, I have been knocked for six with this new realisation that however positive and inspiring my desires and plans to not let my disability affect me may be, my pace of life is still ruled by my disability and the subsequent morphine that has to be taken for it, which then has it’s own restricting affect on my life also.
In my life pre car crash and subsequent disability, if my goals had so required it, I would have worked through the night to get my show choreographed or have worked extra flights to enable me to take the time off to perform as a dancer again once I had begun working for Virgin Atlantic; simply explained, I would have just knuckled down and made it happen whatever the physical price.
As I’ve discussed on my blog before, there are indeed some people who have become disabled who can still do this to a degree, (such as those who have a physical disability that doesn’t give them severe pain or complications and can so take part in extreme sports and challenges without serious repercussions), but unfortunately my disability, (although more fortunate than many in some respects), dictates me with chronic indescribable pain that requires immense amounts of morphine 24-7, 365 days a year and so restricts me from knuckling down and just getting on with it, as when the pain gets so bad I have to take extra liquid morphine on top of my daily dose, I am then physically and mentally incapable of doing anything but lay on my bed and stare into space whilst slowly becoming consumed with frustration.
As I found myself  about to jovially write, it’s ok though, I’ll get there, I shall conquer this challenge, (to top off the post with a positive statement), I re-read the start of this immense post where I wrote…
‘’…as a result of trying to do it all as always…I sadly failed miserably!’.
I therefore instead round up today’s rambling morphine influenced post, by stating that I won’t ‘beat it’, or ‘do it all’- I will instead do my best to accept that which I can not change and embrace that which I can; meaning in this instance, I will endeavour to come to terms with the fact that I can no longer push my body to the limits to just get something done or achieve a goal, and instead utilise the small windows of time and workable pain levels the best that I can, by perhaps being a little more organised.
To get the most out of this new life of mine, I have to realise that it has to be treated in a different way to that of my previous life; it has to have more realistic physical goals, and has to have more help with the emotional side of things.
I WILL achieve my goal to establish and make successful my charity to ensure better psychological support for those who become disabled and the loved ones around them, and I will do my very best to highlight the atrocious inadequacies in our travel system for people with disabilities, as well as make the lives of people with disabilities as easy as is possible through the measures I have planned- but what I am learning of late, is that I will just have to do these things over a slightly longer time frame than I would like and would have done previously.
It’s just one more thing to come to terms with in becoming disabled and being unable to live the life I used to, but I will do my best to do that also, I shall achieve it! You’ve heard it here folks, you are my witnesses- make me make this happen!

Today's Reason to Smile, is a link to the website where I found my lovely snazzy 'non clinical looking' sticks.
Take a look at the lovely patterns that are available. They've certainly made me smile since I've said goodbye to my old NHS stylie walking sticks that's for sure!!