Thursday, 30 August 2012

Be inspired...

The Paralympics got under way today with the medals already being distributed and various records being set. Even as a Wheelchair Boy, I have huge admiration for all of the athletes. Not only have they got to battle with their disability, but practice their sport every day and as a result are extremely talented. Sarah Storey, who only has one arm, is a shining example of this. She is so quick on the cycling track that she marginally missed the Team Pursuit in the Olympics. Just as Oscar Pistorius proved, disabled people are just as talented as able bodied people so should be given the respect they deserve. That is all disabled people want; to be treated normal and not be marginalised by society because of their disability.

One particular woman that amazes me every time I hear the story is Martine Wright. She has no legs and will be representing Team GB in the sitting volleyball. I am in awe because she has gone from a victim of the 7/7 bombings to the London 2012 Paralympics. My disability (Friedriech’s Ataxia) is a degenerative condition so has gradually got worse. I was a clumsy child who appeared drunk and knew that I would end up in a wheelchair full time. So, that is why it is difficult to imagine walking one day to being wheelchair bound the next. I had time to get my head round being in a wheelchair whereas she didn’t. That’s why being paralysed out of the blue and then going on to become a top athlete is unbelievable.

I just hope that you enjoy the games but also can reflect on the incredible athletes and what they are doing. I’m lucky enough to be going to watch Handball and Boccia next week. I’ll report back.

Bye for now!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

To infinity and beyond...

Prior to the operation, my mum was concerned with my transfers. My condition was deteriorating and as a result, weight bearing was becoming difficult. I could still just about manage it but it was becoming dangerous with all the twisting and falling. I needed to find a new, safer way and at Stanmore; the physio suggested a standing hoist. She rolled out the Arjo and we all could immediately see that the machine was what I needed. I could lean on the hand rests and pull myself up by the handles. There are pads to keep my knees locked and a strap to keep me upright. When the machine goes up and I move from sitting to standing, I look like Buzz Lightyear taking off.

Transfers were going great in hospital thanks to this hoist and I could easily get out of bed which was helping my recovery. However, 10 days after the op when I was released from hospital, the OT had just got an ordinary sling hoist. I was not happy as they’re not comfortable, difficult to get on and apply too much pressure to my wound. In 2010, they kept using an ordinary hoist and the scar kept opening up so it was no surprise that when I was transferred to the bed, a small leak appeared. I didn’t want to return to Stanmore so I refused to use a sling hoist and told my OT to order the standing hoist right away.

This didn’t happen. A standing hoist eventually turned up at my house but it wasn’t an Arjo. It was an Oxford which was completely different and not suitable. It hurt my back and the hooks were eye level so I didn’t feel safe. Even a professional rep assessed me and concluded that the Arjo was the only machine suitable for me. The OT was still reluctant but her hand was forced (plus I threatened to sue). It arrived a few days later and apart from a dodgy battery at first, it has worked a treat. Transfers are much easier and safer now.

I just wish the OT had acted quicker instead of worrying about the £5000 price tag. A hospital admission and yet another op if I fell over because I had the wrong equipment would cost far more.

Bye for now! 

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sky's the limit 2...

Small ants on a green carpet. That is what everyone looked like as the plane went higher. In hindsight, it was a stunning view. The blue sky meant I could see for miles over the pleasant English countryside but my nerves meant that I couldn’t enjoy the scene. My instructor informed me that we were now 10 000 feet up and it was jump time. I weren’t even sure if I was securely attached to him but for some reason, I couldn’t speak. It turns out I was because I’m here to tell the tale.

The freefall from the plane until the parachute opened only lasted 30 seconds but it felt like forever. I thought I was dying as the wind pushed against me and I struggled to breathe. But that is only part of it. The feeling of falling through the sky is truly indescribable as words would not do it justice. When the ‘chute opened, I could relax and take in the sights as we floated to the ground.

When I think back to sitting on the edge of that plane, I honestly don’t know how I done it. But I don’t regret it. In fact, I’d recommend Skydiving to anyone, young or old. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Also, I raised £4, 500 for Great Ormand Street Hospital so thank you to all who donated to this wonderful charity.

Bye for now!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Sky's the limit...

The recent ‘mini heat-wave’ has got me reminiscing about one of the greatest days of my life to date in June 2010. Perhaps it was being a James Bond fan that made me interested in skydiving but it was something I had always wanted to do. I was eagerly awaiting my 16th birthday so that I could. But, if my dream was to come true, I’d have to organise a jump prior to the spinal rods being inserted in my back. I decided that I’d raise money for Great Ormand Street Hospital seems as they were the Arsenal Charity of the Season and they’d done so much for me since diagnosis.

Sunday 4th April 2010 was the big day. Or was it? Technical issues with the plane meant that it was postponed. The new date was Sunday 18th April 2010 but again it was cancelled, this time because of Volcanic Ash. I began to think it was never going to happen as Sunday 16th May 2010 saw poor flying weather. I had a cut off point of when I could jump as the doctors advised me to allow a few weeks between the skydive and my op. Meanwhile, I had a bit of a scare with my heart, probably stress and anxiety, but the heart specialist gave me the go ahead.

Finally, on Sunday 23rd May 2010, the weather was impeccable and the jump was on. There was no going back. The butterflies intensified but the beautiful sun and incredible blue sky done a lot to calm my nerves. After being strapped up, it was time for a miracle as Wheelchair Boy walked onto the plane (with a lot of assistance). As I sat down, it dawned on me what I was actually doing. The plane door slammed shut (oh no, there isn’t one mum). I waved at my family before the plane sped down the runway and began to climb up into the sky.

To be continued…

Bye for now!

Thursday, 16 August 2012


Today was one of those momentous crossroads where the path for the rest of life can be determined. As I have said before in a previous blog, I wasn’t confident at all and just hoped that I could scrape the three B’s needed for Brunel. I thought that I’d be able to find out if my application was successful at midnight. But, my friend told me I’d have to wait until 8 in the morning to log onto UCAS. Understandably, I found it difficult to sleep but as soon as I did, I was immediately woken by a noise from my phone. An e-mail. At quarter to 8. From Brunel.

As soon as I read ‘We are delighted to confirm that you have been accepted onto your chosen course at Brunel University, a huge smile ran across my face and I punched the air in delight. I soon woke the house up and told them the news. I was so ecstatic about getting my Uni place that I was now relaxed and not too bothered what grades I got.
I did eventually head into school and pick up the magic envelope which read Media- A Philosophy & Ethics- B and the dreaded History- A??? That was a shock. All summer, I was hoping to simply get my three B’s but to get two A’s and one of those in History was unexpected to say the least. But, it just made the day even better as I had overcome another hurdle; History had caused me immense pain and heartache in the past year but it was worth it.
Bye for now!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Tour de St. Albans...

What with the success of British cyclists at the recent London 2012 Olympics more and more people will begin to get on their bikes. But is there a need to tear up an existing pathway and cause a lot of disruption to put in speed bumps in case cyclists go too fast. The St. Albans council thought this project was the best way to waste tax payer’s money and failed to consider others, including the disabled, elderly and parents with buggies. 

These new speed restrictors are not well thought out at all. They wouldn’t actually slow a bike down or the cyclist could go around it. They simply are unnecessary. It is difficult for a wheelchair or the like to go over it and because of my spinal surgery, any bump causes discomfort. Also, the path has been made narrow to accommodate this new cycle route but the uneven surface means that it is difficult for two wheelchairs to pass.

Understandably, ‘Wheelchair Boy’ and my brother was angry. He contacted the local paper who quickly followed up the story. See here:

Work is ongoing down the park as the council seem to be ignoring complaints. Perhaps Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish are moving to St. Albans.

Bye for now!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Nervy wait...

After overcoming my spinal surgery, another obstacle stands in the way before I can get excited about University- my results. In just under a week, (next Thursday) I will discover whether Brunel have accepted me or not. I’d normally be quietly optimistic about achieving three B’s in History, Media and Philosophy & Ethics but ever since I got a D in my History AS, my confidence has been shot.  Although I did receive help with exam technique last year, I’m still not sure if I passed.

Still, if I do miss out on Uni, I’ll continue on my path as a journalist but it will be the hard way. I’ll have to build up my own experience by applying for jobs here and there. I’d have to teach myself instead of learning from a lecturer. It would be a blow if I didn’t get in to Uni but life is about recovering. Anyway, I’ll just have to continue biting my nails until next week.

Bye for now!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


The reason I haven’t been posting lately is because I have become addicted to my new mobile. On Sunday, I decided enough was enough with my out of date Sony Ericsson and I would go to the shop to choose a new phone. As I have said before, I struggle with touch screens so iPhone and the like were out of the question. The only real alternative was a Blackberry. I decide to go for a Bold 9900 because it had the largest keys to type with plus it also had a touch screen for navigation.

It is now the fourth day and I’m really pleased with my purchase. It is really easy to use, I can chat to mates and most importantly, go on Twitter. The phone has definitely helped to cure my boredom. I just need to learn my number off by heart so I can give it to women who take my fancy. Now I’m used to it, I will try to blog more often unless of course I’m distracted by Whatsapp.

Bye for now!

Friday, 3 August 2012

The verdict...

I woke up this morning with a feeling of great anxiety. The butterflies got worse as I entered the hospital and my mum noticed I was turning pale. Being the doctor I am, I thought I’d need another X Ray but I was wrong so had to join the already full waiting room. It seemed like eternity but an hour or so after the original appointment, my name was called. It was decision time.

Entering the room, I was a tad nervous to see 2 other people but before my parents could sit down, the main surgeon explained that a screw had come loose but it was basically a spare or extra so was not important. He also told me that the initial ‘ping’ against the raw muscle was the cause of the pain and this would stop, which it already has. He explained that the fusion was fine and the screw wasn’t a danger.

I have to admit that is a huge relief and I can now get on with life. The next hurdle is results day before I can get excited for Uni.

Bye for now!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

D Day...

Tomorrow, I shall find out whether I will be operated on again. I will probably need another X ray or scan before the surgical can make a decision whether to intervene for the third time. One part of me really doesn’t want to go in but at the same time, I want it sorted out before Uni.

The weird thing is that the excruciating pain has disappeared but I don’t have a clue what that means. It might just be that my body has become accustomed to it. Suppose, this time tomorrow, I’ll be in the know about what’s happening.

I know this was a short update but thought some may want to know. I’ll blog tomorrow to tell you the news.

Bye for now!