Occupational therapists: You can be the starter motor in the patient’s brain

Thank you, all you 3rd year OT students
at Curtin University, Perth

Well, I just got home after talking to a large group of occupational therapy students and their teacher, Zona who set things going by interviewing me about my experiences with locked-in syndrome.

And what a warm welcome I had! I know the students have been following my blog, so this is for them really, all 100 girls ‘n’ one lad!! He’s one smart guy ey! Free career advice to all you likely lads out there!!! OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY!! (Stay focused Pete!)

Ok, what I really wanted to say is “Thank you” for following my story ‘n’ myself. I hope you can become amazing OTs out there and that you’ll remember what I said:

Connect first, forge the bond, find out what makes that person tick, find out WHO THEY ARE!! Then you can start to work together.  If you don’t get to know them, they may not want to move forward, but I‘m sure you’ll do whatever it takes to gain the patient’s trust.

So, good luck, you’re ready to help – only they may not be ready BE HELPED! Not yet. Accepting what has been thrust upon them is so big you’ll never fully understand – but a good OT, I feel, must be able to read people first and connect with them.

I was a little blown away at seeing you all – never seen so many smiling young girls in my life! Wow! I am sooooo jealous of that guy! Damn! Damn! Damn! Dad, why didn’t you tell me to be an OT?!! Hahaha.

After the nerves settled I was better and thankfully Zona helped me through, otherwise there was no way I could have stood up in front of 100 pretty faces. That was big!!

One girl at the end of the session was a bit emotional (Vanessa, I think her name was). I guess following my story then meeting was a bit too much for anyone with compassion, but I hope my visit helped in some way.

Thanks also for the messages. I’m gonna read them now, probably cry too! That was big for me and I feel like I may have helped, maybe change a few ways of thinking out in your field.

When you’re on the ground, make that difference ‘cos for the next 30 years or so you are gonna change the world! Help thousands. You have the hope in your hands. You can make all the difference. You will be the starter motor in the patient’s brain. You give them the will to move forward…..

It’s so massive you have no idea! All you therapists or nurses have no idea just how much you touch us!

Really proud of you! Wonderful to meet you and thanks once again for your interest.  I won’t forget that in a hurry!

Pete x

(And a handshake to that guy! You’re the cleverest bloke I know, Hahaha)

Thanks Zona x


Rhapsody in a G-String!

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll recall I took up the guitar a while ago, So, here’s how I’ve been getting on. In fact, you can see and hear for yourself by clicking on the video link below.


And here’s my teacher, Steve from the guitar shop – Luis J Customer Service next to Aurora Massage in Malaga market.  One thing about markets – they often have more to offer than the shops, ey!

Steve - guitar teacher

Bloody great feeling!

I always thought I was musically challenged; now I realise it’s all about putting the time in. After battling locked-in syndrome, that’s one thing I knew how to do! Hours n hours that took.
But learning the guitar came a lot easier – I did it in a week (4 cords). Apparently, 4 cords can play a thousand songs. Now all I gotta do is learn ‘em so I can have a little fun!

I also find since I’ve been playing I’m calmer in the mind. A strange peace has come over me. Making music helps take my mind off all the suffering I’ve seen and memories of my stroke. It’s a special place where I can slip away.

Before my stroke, I always dreamed of playing the guitar. The stroke has made me learn because now I don’t take life for granted….now, I’m doing shit!!! While I can, ey!!!
Play you my first song next. Then the Big One – gonna team up with my mate in Boston – Valerie Giglio – can’t wait to play together (pardon the pun!!!!)

Try try try at things….Life keeps surprising me whenever I do, Imagine what I could have done at school if I’d wanted – and if there were no girls to distract me!!!
I could have been Dr Coghlan! Next!!!