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Switches

October 22, 2020

Breaking your back is a ‘head f**k’. There’s no two ways about that. One guy I was in hospital with was larking around on a bicycle late one evening. He fell off, like he’d probably done a thousand times, and yet this time he broke his neck. I’ve never known anyone deal with it so well. He seemed to accept his ill fate without question. Another guy jumped over a wall running away from the Police only to find out there was a quarry the other side that he fell into (or so the story goes). He broke his back, a similar injury to mine, and I watched his skeletal framework crumble before my eyes, his body becoming more and more hunched over as he slouched in a wheelchair. That’s what depression can do to you!

An ex squaddie, who drinks in my local pub, knows of the struggles that wounded soldiers go through. The mental struggles more than the physical. He asked me ‘What the switch was for me?’ He sees me happy and cheerful and doing well with my physical stature, and he’s looked at my website and film (www.spinalroots.uk) and appreciates the work I’ve done to heal my body. He understands that I couldn’t have achieved what I have without first getting my head around what had happened. I’d never thought of there being a switch so I simply replied that, ‘I get up each day and do what I can to take life forward’. Isn’t that what we all do?

Reflecting on this, later, I realised there were lots of switches. In my last blog post, ‘Years of Practice’, I talked about a previous accident. Managing to overcome that and turn my life around was the first switch that held me in good stead. I was used to living with injury which made it easier to deal with something more catastrophic. On top of that living with damaged legs was a struggle that largely went unrecognised and yet when I became paraplegic, society seemed to want to bend over backwards to help. It was soothing to experience a compassionate side to life.

Good fortune and fate have played their part. Rather than wait for the authorities to find me somewhere suitable to live I took it upon myself and came across a beautiful place in Brockham, my favourite village around my home town. An annexe to a bungalow where my landlord and lady lived with a little smallholding in the garden. Right up my street! A couple of years later I came across the Lodge at Heatherley Cheshire Home; a run down old cottage with a large garden and unkempt field beyond. Here I found the opportunity to create my own smallholding and to offer my skills to a community of disabled people. Following my dreams and pursuing a thirst for life was seeing me on my way.

Heatherley Lodge – Always at home with a good project

Then one day I bumped into Leonid Blyum who was working nearby in East Grinstead. From that day my rehabilitation entered a whole new realm, and that’s another story.

2 comments

  1. Steve, it’s time you wrote a book about your journey. Love reading the posts.


  2. Am finding your serialised blog interesting.

    Take care

    Luv B x



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