In Hospital

I No Longer Have To Listen to the Word “Can’t”!

by , under In Hospital


Following the amazing weekend last weekend with the boys doing the charity ride to help me get to Project Walk in the USA in early February, I was finally discharged from hospital on Wednesday. It was an amazing feeling to leave and head to the outside world with Moni and Ash by my side who have supported me unbelievably from the moment I landed at death’s door in hospital on the 28th of June last year. I think the most pleasing thing for me is that the word “can’t” will no longer be jammed down my throat by the wonders of the public hospital system that we have in Australia. There is a wonderful man who works at Royal Talbot who I’ve talked about before and it is Campbell. Campbell is a paraplegic and he has really helped show everybody out there that dealing with this condition is all about what you can do. It is a real shame that the system that he works in continually tells you what you can’t do.I will leave it at that, but now it really is about what can I do!

I would like to thank individually the boys who did the charity ride in my honour last weekend. Their efforts have allowed us to stay for an extra three weeks in San Diego to attend Project Walk and I do not intend to disappoint them giving the best effort that I can give to the program whilst I am there. So thank you to Peter Grant, Mark Mathews, Adam Conquest, Andrew Leyden, Kent Cuthbert, Nathan Gridley, Paul Grant, Graham Gee, and Mark Crudden in an amazing effort where they covered nearly 400 km in two days to help me out. An absolutely humbling experience. It was awesome to meet up with these guys in Port Melbourne and do the last 8 km with them. It was absolutely appropriate that it was headwind to plough into to finish and I would be lying if I didn’t say I was absolutely buggered with about 2 km to finish! The day itself was an amazing milestone for me knowing that I was checking out of hospital three days later I look forward to going for a ride of my own while guys like this go for a ride of an appropriate distance and meet them at the end of their ride a lovely cafe breakfast! Now this is living in anyone’s language!

Now for Project Walk.
With six weeks intensive physical work I am aiming to be able to use my function to transfer in and out of the wheelchair. To go from bed to chair or chair to couch or chair to car using my own function will mean a massive life change. I’m also hoping that this sort of function will be a stepping stone to greater things. My goal over the next year is to be ready to walk my daughter to school on her first day in late January 2010. I will need to cover the distance of 200m, but luckily friends of ours (Cam and Michelle) have bought a house exactly halfway between us and Elwood Primary School. It is very considerate of them as there is no doubt I will need a rest halfway! At the very least, I will need a refreshment!

Also a thankyou to Anthony for his work in organising a benefit dinner, of which you will hear more in the next couple of weeks. The dinner will be held on 28th March as a bit of a welcome home when we return from Project Walk so pop that date in your calendar and hope to see you there. Oh, and a last quick note: the wonderful cycle kit that appears in our photos is available now at Spoke(n) and both the CBD Cycles stores in the city. Thanks to the guys who run these stores for having the gear for display. Get in there and check it out. It is selling really well and I look forward to seeing more of it out on the road.

Thankyou to everyone for all your support, visits, food, good wishes, thoughts and motivation since my accident. I look forward to seeing you all when I get back. So I look forward to joining you on a ride the cafe pitstop upon my return or seeing you at the dinner to really celebrate life and what it has to offer despite the odd bumpy road.

Keep well.

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Merry Christmas to all!

by , under In Hospital

Just a quick post to wish you all Merry Christmas. Monica’s family has begun to descend on us already with brother Simon and his wife Alexis and two kids arriving yesterday. I am looking forward to enjoying the festive season where my rehab and my health are not the centre of attention. I’m looking forward to focusing on the kids and enjoying their smiles and laughter over the next few weeks as we no doubt shower them with far too many gifts!

I am also looking forward to beginning a new year. This one has brought a little too much bad luck! My accident was bad enough and then our awesome dog Charli passed away last week. I had a dream to walk again with her and it breaks my heart that I can’t do that. I know that when I walk again no matter how far it is that she will be walking with me, looking up at me, stopping at every second tree to relieve herself, and of course seeking out food wherever it may be.

Whatever you have planned for the festive season all the best, keep well, and be safe.

Cheers,

Mike.

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Swallowing my pride… in a good way!

by , under In Hospital

It has been quite a few weeks!

I know that it has been a number of weeks since I posted a message. I apologize for this but it has actually been quite difficult to get a good block of time where it is quiet enough for me to “write” a message. Since I have been going home for weekends I’ve been super busy doing therapies during the week at Talbot and spending time with the family and friends on weekends. I’ve also been doing therapies on the weekends with massage and a bit of trampoline activity [but don’t tell them at Talbot]! I also fit in at least one fes bike session on each day that I am home. This device has been a wonderful part of my rehabilitation so far. Sometimes after a busy weekend I get back to Talbot for a rest!

I really am getting used to this new body now. It really is like that. Your body works differently, sends you different signals than what you’re used to, has different physical capabilities, and you have a different level of health. For example: prior to the injury I had a perfect heart rate, a perfect blood pressure level and was able to regulate my temperature well. I now have a slightly higher heart rate, slightly low blood pressure and my temperature regulation is quite poor. I only have full sensation from my shoulders up. Initially with the injury I would wake up and for a brief moment you expect your body to be what it used to be. You then faced with a disappointment of the realization of the new body you find yourself in. About halfway through September I had my first dream that involved me in the new body I was in. From this point onwards I have begun to accept this body, work with this body and my rate of improvement has been much greater. This really is a mental battle and reaching that point was a big step in my recovery.

Can you believe I’ll be riding a recumbent!ÂÂÂ

I really have had to swallow my pride Re: recumbent riders. Those of us who are used to riding a race bike generally have pretty poor opinions of those who choose to ride a recumbent. At the moment however I am literally dreaming of riding one of these machines. My recovery has been good over the last six weeks and I have been able to power the fes bike partly under my own steam. This prompted a trip to a factory out in Ferntree Gully called Green Speed. A lovely man called Michael Rogan went through with me what my capabilities were and we came up with a bike design that we think I will be able to ride!

Green speed GT 5I have included a picture of what the beast might look like with a few modifications to cater for my disability. I’m certainly swallowing my pride with this vehicle but could you imagine how good it feels in my head at the moment to think that I might be able to do something  keep myself healthy and even fit? This wonderful company has looked at their production schedule and been kind enough to slot me in before Christmas. This has really given me a goal with my rehabilitation and riding this will become a part of it. I wonder how night staff will feel when I ask them to help me get up at 5:30 in the morning so I can do laps of the Boulevard before breakfast? Realistically I’ll start riding this bike on a basketball court, then my aim will be the car park, then the bike path along the beach, then Beach Road, and then who knows! I apologize to all my friends who look upon these vehicles with disdain but surely you will agree I have a valid excuse to ride one!ÂÂÂ

Competition

I would like to run a competition to come up with a suitable bumper sticker for the vehicle. Please reply to this post if you have any ideas for what might be a suitable message to be displayed. My current idea is a play on the Fox truck slogan: “You Have Just been passed by another quadriplegic”. What do you think? If you have any other ideas please send them in!
(Although at my current output of 5 watts for a total of 10 minutes not sure how much passing I will be doing?)

The trip I had to Green Speed was fantastic. And apart from thanking the company for accommodating my needs, I must also thank Campbell who works here at Royal Talbot. Campbell is a paraplegic who managed to load me into the van and drove us both out for a look around. We had a wonderful conversation in both directions on the trip. I’ve been assisting Campbell to fix the hand cycles they have here at Royal Talbot using my knowledge of bicycle maintenance and Campbell’s nimble hands. It’s been a lot of fun and great for my morale doing something I’ve always enjoyed.

That will have to do for this post but before I sign off I would like to thank everyone is continuing to help me on my road back to life. Friends and family are everything to me at this moment and I cannot possibly thank the people who are helping me enough. But thank you anyway!

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