Saturday, 23 July 2011

Page 26 Re-learning how to get the bus and swim!

She then taught me how to get a bus, and to put notes on the front door to remember to take my keys and a purse and coat, to go out of the house.  She got me the bus timetable and I had to cross one road and a crossing to get to the bus stop.
This was all so I could go swimming, as I had been told by the hospital, it would help my recovery.  
For the first six months after the accident I couldn't do anything other than the excercises the hospital gave me to do.
Then when the hospital suggested I go swimming, I couldn't go at all on my own, so Alan took me once a week for the next six months.  He would help me into and out of the pool. 
I couldn’t swim at all, he spent months, trying to teach me to swim, I could only do ‘Doggy Paddle’, lol no laughing! Even then I could only do a few strokes at a time.  Alan would have to hold me, while I found the floor on the pool, and struggled to put my feet back down. 
The OT suggested I buy a trolley case as I couldn’t carry a gym bag at all, not even empty!  This worked, but the bus didn’t!
I found it too painful sitting on the bus, on my pelvic sits bone, and for my lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine.
There was another problem!  I had to walk back through the space where buskers and beggars were in Poole to get back to the bus station to come home.
I would just open my purse and give them all my money, without realising it was my bus fare. 
Many a time I ended up stranded in Poole with no phone, no money and no way to get home.

Because of my Brain Injury it would take hours before I could work out what to do to get home.  I would then realise I could make a reverse charge call to Alan, but then I would have to wait for him to come home.
So I wasn’t allowed to go Poole swimming after a while. Although I had learned to love swimming, it turned up several more problems, in itself.

When I got in the pool I noticed I couldn't feel the water was cold until it got almost up to my bust line, when it would take my breath away.  I couldn’t feel hot or cold properly, from my abdomen down. 
Wandering off for a moment. I spent years because of this going out with lacey dresses on unable to realise I was cold, because I couldn't feel it from the chest down.

I also had terrible trouble with the light reflections off the water, which was worse the more the water moved.  I just could not see, I had to shut my eyes. I think this was something to do with the epilepsy risk which is related to Brain Injury. There were a lot of shops I just couldn't go into because the lighting would make me ill.

I was unable to lower myself into the pool or pull myself up out of the pool on the steps to get out.  I’d have just hauled myself straight out on to the side before my accident!

It was six months before I was able to swim just a few strokes of breast stroke.  I couldn't coordinate my body to swim, I know it sounds crazy, but I just couldn’t do it.  I had perfect co-ordination before my accident, but now I couldn't co-ordinate my own arms and legs.

I was unable to swim more than a few strokes without having to stop and grab hold of the side of the pool.  I kept going though, and managed as much as I could, then I would go into the Jacuzzi to recover for a while and go back in the pool again.  I was that determined in the end to get better. 
I spent whole days doing this at the Dorset Racquets and Health Club which I joined in the end. That was just up the road from me and I could get there without crossing roads.  

We asked Karen Thompson of Lester Aldridge whether I could claim for this and she told me, I most definitely could not! It was completely unecessary as I had to go for the cheaper option of going by bus to Poole Public Swimming Baths. But we felt it was easier and safer for me and the lights on the water didn't blind me so much. So I went there and Alan paid the membership. 

I ended up with huge muscle bound legs, that wouldn't even lift me up stairs. After everything I tried for years to get better and build my strength up, I still had none. 
Everyone knew this, but nobody did anything. 

This was the very reason the opposition lawyers and Professor Trimble ordered the MRI of my spine, because I had this unexplainable weakness in my arms, legs and hands.  
We now know why, they suspected syrinx, and they were right, which is why no one ever told me I had the scans, let alone the results.

When I would swim, my hands and wrists would just bend backwards, and I had no strength in my legs either, so I just wouldn't get anywhere. I became very proud, when after years I got to swimming a whole width and then years later a whole length!

I tried to float on my back on several occasions, but I would immediately become unconscious and Alan would have to put his hand behind my neck and head and support it, then I would become conscious again.

I told everyone at the hospital about these problems, but no one ever told me why they happened or investigated them. 
I was to wait 15 years to find out they were due to my much more serious and undiagnosed injuries.

I was simply told not to float on my back ever again and to just keep going with my swimming, because it was good for me.

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