Wot me? Give Occupational Therapy a hard time?

OT

The other day, a friend who reads my blogs said something that made me think.

“You give OT a hard time, don’t ya?”

Do ya think so? Well, I’m really sorry if it comes across that way – that’s not my intention at all. It’s just that my rehab didn’t really need a lot of occupational therapy as I did most things myself, see? Had my own stubbornness, see? Just had to do it myself!!

Not everyone’s lucky enough to think like me. Some brain damage needs a lot of therapy!!  Not always for strokes either. During my time in Shents, I saw OT staff do a wonderful job – so much so it’s inspired me to look into studying as an OT assistant.

So if anyone out there thinks I give OT a hard time, that’s so far from the truth; I’m only sharing my personal journey!!! The fact is, I have nothing but the deepest respect for all therapists.

I might even get there one day and assist, who knows!!

I hate studying but when I want something……!!!

Well , we shall see ey!!

 

Keys to stroke recovery – the perfect combination

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I never thought massage would really help me until I met Paul from Aurora Massage at Malaga Markets!! Oh my word! He’s bloody awesome!! My pecs have been so tight muscle-wise, I guess I’ve been working out too much, trying to force too much – and they haven’t been responding well. Cheri my personal trainer felt this tightness as well. So I’m using a combination of acupuncture on the tendon by Ali while Cheri for is helping me learn the correct way to move again.

Now Paul is the latest addition to my elite team and in half hour I can already feel it’s a vital addition! He sure knows his shit, ey!!!! For anyone reading my blogs, it’s clear to me that this combination of diet, personal training. acupuncture on tight tendons, hydrotherapy pool and good massage to help the muscles that tense up (or won’t turn off) is the key! I’ve heard people say ‘this is the way to go’, or ‘this doesn’t work’, but in my opinion – at least for me – all these elements together are working a treat. Oh and plenty of stretching too!

People out there might be thinking, ‘Well that’s ok if I could bloody move!’ Well, all I can say is these blogs are for my recovery as I am NOW – not as I was during the early days as described in my book – i.e. totally paralysed, unable to move anything but my eyes! I’ll try to keep you up to date as I go; that’s all I can do – share my journey as I continue to make progress!!

I do hope you get to my stage as time goes on – meanwhile, all I can say is, if you want it keep putting the time in……

Your recovery stops when you stop!!!     

Hospital? Hospital? More like a space station!

Perth’s new Fiona Stanley Hospital is massive! Think they need more exit signs though… I couldn’t find the ruddy way out!! It’s enormous!!!! Here’s a pic of just one section – and there are like 5 sections like this!! (You can also check it out on the YouTube link below)

Fiona Stanley - front

Futuristic, hey? They have robots taking food to patients and now only 2 men per room, not like Shents with 4 of us sharing! When everyone’s family visited at the same time, it got very crowded!

Anyway, during a tour of this fabulous state-of-the-art new hospital, I met up with David, me speechy, and also Jarrad, me shrink, Hahahaha! He loves that I’m sure! Both funny guys, which is just as well when I’m around! I took ‘em a cheesecake from good old Cookies (the best!!!) Jarrad and I had coffee together and, as a mind leech, he was keen to find out how my mind was ticking on a few subjects.One subject I hadn’t thought about since Shents (now I don’t want to upset any OTs out there – I’m saying this because it’s how I felt and it’s meant to be constructive). I told Jarrad one of the reasons why I didn’t like OT was the OT shower!! If you were down for that on the board, you had to comply. As if you’d not been stripped of your dignity in the first place, now you had to be undressed to demonstrate you could hold a shower head, turn taps, wash your balls….For heavens’ sake, man!!!

I was used to my nurses – they were my close family, but I did not want to be sitting in my chair bollocks naked to prove I could turn a TAP! Correct me if I’m wrong, surely you can do the movements dressed, ey? Though maybe not your bits. If I remember correctly, they used to seat you on a shower chair to see if you could manage a commode. Commodes used to tip up if you weren’t careful and, you’d hope, after the millions they’ve pumped into the new place, the chairs will be a lot sturdier…..and if not, why not! After all, if robots can deliver meals….ey?!!! No! Dignity is a vital factor and I personally feel that such an assessment is a nurse’s job!!

They used to encourage me to try and wash – a good nurse would anyway. “Leave them to it,” I say.  I just had to voice my view; many out there may feel the same, and sorry if I’ve ruffled feathers, but I write to share my views because many cannot!!

If you’re gonna give us robots – give us dignity too, please!

On a brighter note I saw the amazing Alisha, my physio, who was helping a lady take her first steps. She gets them all walking, ey! She’s ace! Of course, all therapists are ace – it’s just that Alisha was special. As I explained to Jarrad, Alisha’s positivity was the key for me; it made me look forward to going which is very important.  Get your patients to love you and they’ll love coming. Alisha probably can’t stand me, really but she’s a bloody great liar, then!

This new hospital is unbelievable!! I still worry it’s a little too far but as the city grows it’ll be ok, I guess….providing you stay alive long enough! Hahaha! (Apologies for my sick sense of humour!) Seriously, though, about the only thing I could fault the place on was there were no bloody bananas in the cafe!! Hahaha! Me and my bananas! I need them to stop me getting fatigued.

Perth is truly privileged to have such a state-of the-art hospital.  I just wish every city in the world had a facility like Fiona Stanley!

And, as you’ll see by this picture, it’s got charisma in spades!

Shovel loads

 

 

 

 

Getting bullied? Don’t let them get you down!

Is there anyone alive who has never been bullied? I certainly was….right from secondary school. Young lad moving from the city to a rural town, well, it was inevitable really….in small country towns tribalism rules! It started with ‘that new lad thinks he’s hard, we’ll show him!!’ mentality.

I was 14 years old, and after walking my girlfriend home one night, everyone in the local youth club had appeared outside the chippy. I heard someone shout out:

“There’s that new lad from the city – hey! Think yer ‘ard do you?!!” (I didn’t miss the H!!! This was Derbyshire tha know’st!)

“Oy !!! I’m talking to you!!”

I just kept walking, thinking to myself, “There’s too many to stop – Just keep walking, Pete”.

Next thing I know, the sound of footsteps running up behind me and Bang!!! Punched in the back of my head! I picked myself up and walked home feeling so deflated. “I hate this new town!!”

I didn’t want to leave my house; going to school was fearful every day. All because I was the ‘new lad’. It was shit. I had had this for at least 3 schools – High school, I mean. That’s my excuse for shit grades!! Never could concentrate, me.

One lad used to stare me out in every lesson…strangely enough there’s a lad I now talk to on Facebook who used to scare the shit out of me every lunch break. Punched me a few times to! I was capable of fighting back but I had no confidence back then. I was fearful of others joining in if I had a go back!!

Looking back, I wish I had, because I feel doing nothing made it worse. Others figured you were weaker and then they would try it on! Luckily I wasn’t gonna let that happen and eventually I did start sticking up for myself. It took a long time, but I won a few fights in a park and my jiu-jitsu was giving me new-found abilities.

The army was the start of it again all over again. We would spend too long on ops waiting on standby. Some of the lads found it highly amusing to bully us CROWS (Combat Recruits Of War) – fresh meat, you know, new solders).

This confidence I’d built up was now getting knocked down again, slowly but surely. You couldn’t fight back as they were senior to me in rank or time, and there was a strong platoon feeling, a bond. I was in shit this time!! Signed my life away for 3 years with no way of getting out, no going home. You were living with them. After a while in the army I realised it was just a handful; that no one would have backed them up. But I didn’t know that back then. They would do stuff like make us run around broom poles as fast as we could, then try walking while our heads were spinning, and if you didn’t make them laugh and fall over, they’d make ya do it again!!

Or like the time a guy made me get on the 4-tonner truck on the way to the ranges. “Keep your eyes closed,” he said. “This is a test for all soldiers to see how strong they are.” So I closed my eyes and they sat on each arm and said, “Lift!”

I tried to lift thinking, “No way, this is bollocks!!’ Next thing a guy squats down on my face and rubs his ass on it! I was so sick – Mortified!!

This was funny to them, but I can honestly say it was the most demoralising time of my life…..well, besides nurses shoving pills up my ass and they were NICE! But when a pretty girl puts pills up your bum you feel awkward, I tell ya!

No, bullying has a massive effect on you, but I’ve learned that these events have made me a stronger man. And you should never think it will always be the same. Things change; kids are cruel; men can be animals. But I guess there is a point, a line.

No matter how badly you have or are still being bullied, never stop believing in yourself, even in the hardest times. By the way, I now talk as best mates to that lad in the playground, he’s had his fair share of shit now and he’s seeing life so differently. Most of us grow in life – ok, some never do, but most do.

We’re all given a life path, one that will change and shape us, whether we like it or not. I say to those who may be bullied out there, be proud of who you are and one day you’ll see how amazing t is to be you!

So don’t let the bastards get ya down. If you’re ever feeling you can’t deal with it, don’t give in – Talk! Tell a teacher. Seek help. Or punch the bully back right between the eyes like I should have done from the beginning! You might not win but they’ll think twice before picking on you again.

I started punching back and I will never stop now in anything I do in life. Bullies are usually not happy with their own life in some way or another, so don’t take it to heart

Be strong out there!!!!

 

Flipping’ eck! I’m bouncing back!

As Peter Kay says: “It’s the future that is!”
Aerial Fun-Logo-White-Blue-Landscape-01
I’m sure God is showing me how to recover in his own way. Some time ago,  I was driving past a place in Malaga which has recently opened – a massive building full of (wait for it!) trampolines! So me being a nosy so’n’so went in to have a look and asked the guys behind the reception desk about how much etc….
14 dollars an hour (about £7-£8).
I thought about it and thought about the muscles I needed to strengthen and I figured this could be it!! Trampolining will stretch my tendons, build my ass muscles (‘glutes’  I think I heard Alisha call them), improve my balance and help my lifting movement by getting me to bend my knees more.
In short, it’ll help with pretty well everything, every single muscle.
At Trampoline World (formerly known as Flipout)* everyone is welcome, and people with special needs – brain injury, strokes, any recovery –  are given assistance if needed, but most folks are just out to have fun! They take group bookings too.
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It’s gotta be the way forward! As my favourite comedian Peter Kay says: “It’ the future, that is!” Sunshine indoors !! Shit that man makes me piss myself! Maybe he appeals to me ‘cos he’s from Greater Manchester, i.e. Bolton, not far from Stockport where I grew up. Gonna see him live one day! Some people want the Caribbean; me? front row for Peter Kay is top of my bucket list! Laughing is everything to me in life!
Anyway I will let ya know when I start  somersaulting. I guess this new chapter of recovery is me bouncing back to to freedom. I’ve got a really good feeling about this!!
If you live near Perth and want to have a go sorting ya self out, get down to Trampoline World at 1968 Beach Road, Malaga, Perth. Who knows I might bump into you (well, I’ll try not to! Hahaha!)
Aerial Fun-Logo-White-Purple-Landscape-01

UPDATE!!

*My pal Rob has just bought Trampoline World. He’s a great bloke and lets me use the trampoline half price, which has been wonderful for my recovery! Thanks to him, I’m jumping higher than ever!!
Wheeeeee!!

Thanks to Jo, I’m counting my blessings again!

I often try to push on others with my blogs but I know I can only reach those that have the opportunity to fight back. Many are not at that stage and have other battles to overcome first. Strokes don’t just floor you physically; they can affect other things like sensation, memory, vision, thinking process and such like – too many to mention really.

When I think of people who are dealing with those type of issues it makes me mad; mad ‘coz I want everyone to get to the top of their mountain.  I want to fight their battles for them. It’s total shit what people have to live with, so it makes me push harder. I’m gonna make a difference one day – not sure how yet but if God will show me the way….

I spoke to my friend Jo this morning  who lives on the other side of Australia. She’s had it so tough and lost so much, it’s not funny, especially as she has kids! Sadly, they’ve lost their home and she’s been finding things impossible.

Jo suffered serious head injury during a flight when  due to severe turbulence  aircraft to plummeted suddenly and violently multiple times. This caused damage to the aircraft – and, of course, to Jo whose life had been severely put at risk.

Today, Jo has  hung up the wheels so to speak, and just needs a little help from her crutch. She still has a few sensory issues but she and her husband are so strong…she’s not letting anything stop her! What a family, sticking together!  They’ve lost more than me, as I didn’t have that much to begin with, although I cherish those times before my stroke. Looking back it’s all seems a dream. Life can be shit ey?!!! But I just hold on to my belief it will all be good again…..that’s the attitude! You have to think that way because if you think otherwise, it just won’t happen, that’s for sure!

So, thanks, my lovely friend Jo, for helping me put my own problems into perspective. I may have been feeling down with recent problems but now, thanks to you, I’m counting my blessings again.

Tables will turn for you too, Jo – I know that just by listening to you. You’re an amazing woman! I admire people who just hang in there no matter what. All you people out there that get up day after day and deal with your shit, I take my hat off to you. We are all dealing with different mountains

God bless you all
Pete x

 

 

The art of the possible

Well I thought I would share a quick video with you that demonstrates the art of the possible. I am not showing off just proving that this can be overcome and once more your life can be restored to its former glory!