How to enjoy life in a wheelchair

Living with a Spinal Cord Injury

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Welcome to Tetraplegic Living. Firstly let me introduce myself to you, my name is Penn, I am 46 years old and I live in the picturesque fishing port town of Brixham in Devon, which is located on the south-west coast of England

On May 18, 1986, at approximately 6 o'clock in the evening, I dived into an outdoor swimming pool here in Brixham and hit my head on the bottom of the pool. I then found myself floating facedown in the water not being able to move anything. After what was probably only a minute at the most I lost consciousness. The next thing I recall was lying in bed at Torbay hospital. After tests and x-rays were carried out it was discovered I had broken my neck at the C5 level. After being transferred to The Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre at Salisbury in Wiltshire, I was given the devastating news that I would never walk again and would most likely spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

Life is what you make of it

Being told that there is little chance you will ever walk again is like being hit by an articulated lorry. Everything you planned for the future goes out the window, you won't be able to see any future for yourself, it's a really horrible experience which I wouldn't want anyone to go through. In most cases a spinal-cord injury is permanent, there isn't any miracle cure at the moment so it's best to try and get your head around it as soon as possible. Family and friends will play a huge part in your recovery, but it's only you that can forge a life that you can enjoy. To put it simply, you have two options once you become paralysed, you can either vegetate in your wheelchair, become depressed and do absolutely nothing, or you can get out there and make a life for yourself. Luckily we now live in an age where technology is advancing at an astounding rate. For those of us who had accidents 30 years ago, there really wasn't an awful lot of technology to keep us busy, personal computers were very much in their infancy, mobile phones were the size of bricks, we had to listen to our music on Sony Walkmans and you only had four channels on the television. 

When you have suffered a serious life-changing spinal cord injury then life is never going to be straightforward or easy, there are always going to be challenges that you have to deal with. I've experienced my fair share of problems over the years, I've had to spend time in bed on more than one occasion. I now try and use my own problems as a learning curve, something I can pass on to other people in the hope that I can help them overcome the same issues I have had in my disabled life. All the articles on my website are based on my own experience. Please only use them as a guide, what works for me may not necessarily work for you. I'm always here to give one-to-one advice if need be, just send me an e-mail and I will be happy to help in any way I can.

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