An ‘In the Blink of an Eye’ Goodbye – from Peter Coghlan

Well, a decision has to be made. I am sick of living on my own and it’s time to make changes……

With my 40th fast approaching, I’m moving in with a friend, putting all my stuff in storage and going on my first ever cruise.

This is the start of a new chapter in my life…..a new beginning…..I’m making it happen! 👊

The pain and suffering in my life has slowly disappeared through hard work, obsessive behaviour and my stubborn belief in a better tomorrow.

I would never have dreamed I’d be taking my mum on a cruise after her radiotherapy treatment.  And after having gone through cancer myself, then brainstem stroke and LIS I reckon we both deserve a break. Thanks to my new job, I saved a bit of money for this amazing treat. Whooohoo!

I feel very proud and lucky to have found the strength to get my body going again – from a blink & 1/2 a millimetre flicker in my right thumb to where I am now!

Although I have further goals to achieve, today’s the day I start living again…after riding the lightning for too bloody long!
“I am ready”👊

This may well be the last ever post on my blog as I move forward with my private life!

I hope anyone else with stroke, ABIs or personal battles can benefit from my story in some way….sometimes ‘evidence-based collective medical information’ can be challenged!  That’s all I wanted to prove and to give others hope.

That being said I’m so proud of the medical system and the first class treatment I received to give me a chance to rise again. Do not confuse this with a cure; it’s been bloody hard work! The struggle…the tears …pneumonia…pillow pushing…learning to talk…learning to walk..the endless knocks and falls…learning to drive…work…divorce…education!

I’m now a support worker in disability in the community (think that’s a first from a locked-in syndrome survivor) and who knows where this road will take me!

My obsession from day one has got me here. From waking with no eyesight, hearing the doctors say, “He may need a peg feed – it’s too early to tell,” I refused to accept my fate.

I’ve come out a different man that’s obvious, but I like me now more, I think! I guess I still have confidence issues and a lot more goals to work on, but that’s to be understood. In time I WILL grow even stronger!

Thank you for following my unbelievable story; I hope my life, above all, has peace now.

Before I go off sailing on my well-earned holiday, I’ve had a video made to motivate others.

Finally, whenever you feel alone in this world, and you can’t see a way forward, just think of my story and keep on punching, guys! Focus hard…get obsessive…use your pain and, most of all, “believe in tomorrow”.

AND NEVER GIVE UP 👊

Pete Coghlan signing off, Easter Sunday 2017.  God bless every fighter out there!

Hope you enjoy my video link:

You can still find me on Facebook Facebook.com/petercoghlanintheblinkofaneye or follow me on Twitter @PeterCoghlan1

 

 

 

WA leading the way in medical research!

Aquamotion Devotion

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This last month I’ve been pushed to my limits as usual. I actually started sinking after losing half my hearing in my right ear!!  (very frightening indeed). This stems back to my building days a few years before my stroke when an SDS hammer drill was used in a concrete room without warning.

Must admit depression was really trying to get to me! No surprise there – it has nearly pulled me under a few times since I emerged from my quadriplegic state after locked-in stroke.

While retraining at college, I was using my brain for a year and my body wasn’t getting serotonin, making me too tired at the end of the day for a physical workout. I hated that part!

On the plus side, I’ve been getting used to a new support role which is keeping me happy and empowered. But…I really felt the need to join a gym, as I was sinking a bit – somewhere with a rehab pool for my weak calf (it’s still giving me the shits but I’m winning).

Anyway…..I found this new gym near my area called AQUAMOTION in Wanneroo, North Perth, which is perfect for me. As well as a rehab pool, it has new machines, including a chin-up assist with multiple grip positions which just glides smooth as butter and really helps my shoulder.

It has a grinder too! Sounds ominous but that’s just a nickname; it’s actually a hand-pedalling machine.  I’ve worked out that when using two arms on the grinder the strong one takes over, so I’m just pedalling with my weak arm only and holding the seat with my other hand. (I had the same problem on the bike, but no way could I use just one leg on that!!)

I’m so buzzing right now! Joining Aquamotion was just the injection I needed to keep focused and mentally stimulated! (Happy injection 😀)

I’m at a new level of my life recovery now. Holding a job down AND being able to train again! That means I’m back almost back to a regular Joe Bloggs – Or should I say to “a regular Pete Cogs”?

This place will be my new church in future – it’s gonna make me stronger and faster👊

You know you hear about these 12-week challenges at gyms? Well … I’ve just finished my half decade and AQUAMOTION is the start of my SECOND decade!

“AQUAMOTION” I HAVE THE DEVOTION!

Proud to be smashing it in your gym👊

 

 

 

Certificate 3 in Allied Health Assistance

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It’s arrived!!!!

I’ve done it!!

Many said I would never move again!.Others said a high level of care would be needed: ”He may make a few small gains.”

Well….I’m proud to say that I didn’t listen to ANYBODY!!! I just pushed and pushed and never stopped looking forward. Forward-forward-forward!!!!

And here I am with my Certificate 3 in Allied Health Assistance!! Proof, if any were needed that there IS life after Locked-in!

Every millimetre! From getting every spoonful of porridge to my mouth…to pushing pillows in bed with my legs (Wow, that was so hard!)

The first stand…to first step…to over 1,000kms! I wanted Pete back!

Many people left my side, probably a good thing as I was in a different world, a different mind frame!  It’s like adrenaline for years!

All my training and discipline over my life helped, I think – my sense of humour especially 🙂 – though there were more tears than laughter, I promise you that)

But yes!!! I DID IT!!!!!!!! Whoowhooooo!

I think I’m the first man in history (at least in Australia) to have broken out of Locked-in syndrome and bounced back into health care as an Assistant Therapist!

Yet this is no power trip. This is very important….many stroke and brain injury survivors are still in dark places trying to battle their way home.

My message: I can’t give you my strength, as I’ve very little left in life after this, but I have shared my journey from the  start, hoping to prove to you that if you’re 100% committed to getting there, you will make gains. I didn’t even have the new clot-busting drug either!

I pray my story gives fuel and hope around this (sometimes) cruel world!

Remember my words and challenge everything!  Sometimes the experts and people at the top only know what they are taught – just like the rest of us!

Human Will is still the Boss!

Thanks also for a great Health Service, Australia! I urge the government not to cut nurses’ jobs health care costs; from what I can see, the system struggles enough.

God bless all in the health services! My heroes!!

 

Hang tough, Strokies – and Focus!

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When I feel the need to write, nothing matters till the words are down! Today is such a day.

I do sit n cry now and then when I’m alone – and am not ashamed to say so, either. This feeling of gratefulness hits me, memories of trying to swallow litres of spit after my coma and trying to lift my head up too – it was so heavy, like a cannon ball.

I cannot fully express the happiness I feel at the moment. I love having a purpose again!  Working in the community seems to be bringing out the new Pete; working over 20 hours is still a struggle but, all in all, I don’t suffer with fatigue any longer. Insomnia and fatigue was hell for what seemed like forever!!

The company limits my hours for now, and I’m also finishing the last part of my Certificate 3 in Allied Health within the company (thanks to Michelle Jenkins!)

On completing this, I’m very grateful after fighting my way back from locked-in-syndrome, total quadriplegia and speechlessness to getting a Allied Health Certificate 3 and a Community Care Support position.

Now you see why I cry!

My fight to gain millimetre after millimetre for half a decade has made me this new man.  I’m still a bit obsessed there I think, as I can’t stop rotating my wrists or trying to lift my legs in shops.

Know  what I think? I think I like the new me better! The limping,  non-drinking Pete is very, very content, more positive and laughs a bit more – well, a LOT more at  myself, actually! Haha. My life’s slotting back in place in a much more exciting way.

The point of this blog was to say to others with ABIs (Acquired Brain Injuries) or stroke: “No matter how far or how long it takes to achieve the smallest of goals, you must keep trying, and you just never know how far or how much you’ll achieve!

Please!  Focus only on today. If you do this then, one day, tomorrow could surprise you! Be stubborn. Get obsessive. Keep positive. Believe. Keep trying.

Above all, hang tough and focus.

God bless you!

Pete 😎 👊👍

First day on the job – I’m now officially a Community Support Worker

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Quickest blog ever!  I’ve just completed my first day in my support role in the community and am now officially a Community Support Worker…..but you can call me Pete!!

Feeling proud ‘n’ privileged Fisted hand sign
From being comatose, quadripleagic and speechless to having a support role!!
Put that in ya pipe an’ smoke it! Yes!!!!!
Yo Adrian…….i did it Fisted hand sign

Technology’s amazing, but there’s no substitute for sheer hard work!

 

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As usual I am waking up with an itching desire and need to offload my mind!

Forgive me for diving into a random subject!! But it’s one that’s been bugging me for a long time. I have to talk about it, as I got a phone call from the US, from a young guy building interphase technology!  He’s putting together these headsets that read your brain patterns and can actually read what you are thinking – bloody amazing!!!

Why I want to discuss this is to document my thoughts, as he wanted to know my thoughts on it being used for LIS, you see. I was very honest and just spoke straight from my heart as I always do. “I said look, what you young guys are doing is totally amazing and you’re changing the world!! but…..!!!!!!

And it’s a big but!! We’re forgetting that we can’t count on this technology to fix us; all it’s doing in some cases is taking away the need to try moving and speaking for ourselves, which in turn fixes us! Here’s what I think today’s problem is, and I’m sorry this will be a long blog, but those people I know who read these blogs will be interested in my thoughts.

It’s very simple to me! A baby cries for a reason for years of its life, developing speech by exercising the voice box, the lungs and muscles in the diaphragm – this we know, yeah? It’s not rocket science!! So why are we looking to bypass the habits of a baby to regain speaking with interphase or iPad apps? We know by constantly trying to pronounce a letter or word it improves over many years. What I’m afraid of is, those who could otherwise regain the power of speech are not going to be trying anymore! They’re simply given a clever system and put back in the community!

If I was given this at the point when I couldn’t speak, I tell ya now there’s no way I would be speaking now, no way!!!! The brain will take the easy way every time!  You give your 1-year-old an iPad with a speech app and do you think it would keep developing? No way!

The other thing I want to touch on is, I met a couple of guys here in Australia – Shri Rai and Fairuz Shirataddin from the School of Engineering and Information Technology, Murdock University – who are working on some awesome computer game therapy, so I just had to see it in action….

I watched my mate and fellow stroke survivor Craig try to play this game; he was hooked up and, like Batman had to fly though these rings. He tried to move his affected arm to lift his (virtual) wing! It was really making him try (this part I loved about the game) but I could see him having so much trouble lifting – he was lifting his shoulder incorrectly.

I explained to the team how I got the use of my arms back – through pulley systems and counter-balanced weights. This gave them an idea to improve the game.

My theory is: You take away, say, nearly all the 4-5kgs weight of an arm and instead start the game with the arm trying to lift the weight of a box of matches. Then simply add more weight as time goes on. This allows for correct rotation, training the arm to move correctly without damage to the shoulder joint.

Hope they listen. I strengthened my arms by using homemade pulley systems (without games) in my back garden for years – and it worked!! I had to be strapped in at first, as my hand couldn’t hold on, so had Velcro straps to strengthen my grip.

Me and the guys exchanged emails and I hope to get this game adapted further to help strokies like me. I’m excited about the advances I see around me in the stroke world; a lot of positive gains are being made with physiotherapy. We’re on the edge of great times!

I wanted to document this blog, as I know Curtin Uni read my blogs and so do LIS sufferers!

Ok I can sleep now. Thank you for reading!

Night 😴