Down but not out. The dream continues…..

pete 1

I was very disheartened last week – so much so I didn’t want to tell my followers that, for the first time since my stroke, I was gonna quit.

It all started when my insomnia came back. I was trying to keep up on my course – sometimes I was saying anatomical terminology in my sleep, or I’d be awake for most of the night. So I had to see Dr Lucinda who knows me well. I told her my issues and asked her for sleeping pills: “Just to keep me going.”

But her answer came as a shock: “Sorry Pete, I can’t.”

I looked at her with disbelief, so she went on to explain:  “Pete, you’ve been through that stage now; I’m not happy you want to go backwards! As your doctor, I feel it’s not in your best interest, so I can’t give them to you, sorry.

‘What you need is to back off,” she continued “You’re pushing too hard. Your concentration isn’t what it was, and you haven’t studied for 20 years! Just think what you have done, take a step back and go part time.”

So I left with my telling off and took action, setting up a meeting with Darren and Liz, principal lecturers at Tafe. I told them I was struggling and they were very understanding about it, coming up with a good suggestion: I should hit the course in two halves – go away, work on my recovery, then come back in July with a fresh head!

I’m so grateful for that option! Also feel a great relief, as I was going to quit – and that would have destroyed me inside! I had a direction and it was my first real one since wanting to walk!! Now, I’m really happy again.

Finding a balance is the key, I guess. You can’t do 5 years of physical then just switch to full on study! I was stiffening up and getting depressed too.

From now on….Slow n steady Pete. Slow n steady!!

Thanks Mt Lawley Tafe!!


‘Brain drained’ but loving my course!

Those of you who are following my endless journey from the pits of hell will know I am studying at the moment (or at least trying to keep up!), training to assist professional therapists. Well that’s the plan….

Some days I wonder if I’ve taken too much on; I’m used to focusing on one thing then smashing it!! That’s just a life in the building game, I suppose, and my military start in life.

Today, I’m learning more that I ever thought I would – cultural diversity, empowerment and terminology as well as all the physical aspects including manual handling, body systems and their functions, movement and, of course, infection control!

I have great lecturers but it’s not all sinking in yet, but they tell me by the end of the course it’ll all come together. Already, a lot of it is beginning to make sense and I’m loving it, despite being ‘brain drained’.  And, being the only lad in the class I’m bound to fall behind – just can’t compete with the fairer, ey!  You know you’ll never win!!

I’ve been missing out on my rehab in the gym n pool or practicing my new pastime, playing the guitar, so that’s a bit depressing, but I just can’t do everything!!! For now, I need to concentrate on my course and I’m giving it 100%! Yesterday at 4am I worked on my assignment, had 4 hours in lessons plus 3 hours doing computer tests in the library as one test failed to register (I hardly swore at all!) Then, after college, I spent the evening doing another assignment that I’d got behind with, working until midnight with help from my good friend Sue, who’s an advocate for disability in Perth. Thank you Sue, I needed a bit of guidance!

And thanks also to Zona Rens at Curtin University who’s very kindly lent me a brain for my highly professional neurology talk. Hahaha! God, I hate talking unless I’m relaxed; breath support still affects me when I get nervous – even talking about nerves makes me nervous!!

Anyway, I seem to be getting there – but talk about a challenge after a stroke! Only people in my shoes would understand! Itis a new stage for me and I need to do this for my own security, I want to follow a career I know I’ll be good at.

Looking forward to placement – I think I’ll enjoy and excel in a work place. I’m not at my best in a classroom environment – never was! Juliana, one of my lecturers, has set 4 of us up to do a mini class presentation on the nervous system – the brain being the obvious place to start. I get to learn n talk about the pons, the magic control box to your body where I was so badly affected and which left me in a vegetative state. How mad is that!!! Talking to a class about it after being locked in!!!!

Life’s just unbelievable! I never dreamed I would be doing this!! Really, I’m so glad I never looked back – Positivity sure can change your life!! I cry now n then with disbelief and am just so grateful for my third chance in life. Like a cat, I’ve another 6 chances to go…….I hope!!

Thanks to my lecturers:

Pass or fail I’m a  proud man!!

This is where I’m studying: Central Tafe Mt. Lawley Campus

Mt Lawley entrance2