September update

Someone asked me recently how my health is doing and I came up with some rhetoric which I thought people might like to hear:

my health is as good as can be expected in this situation, it’s never going to be perfect and is usually a reflection of the effort I have put into maintaining my health. I strike a balance to try to enjoy life, which doesn’t always preclude to healthy activities. I like a good night out with unhealthy food, slightly excessive alcohol consumption and late nights without enough sleep, loud music and not enough pressure relief. These factors can all contribute to bad health but without which I think my life would be a little mundane. I like to think that if I could do exercise I could maintain more of a healthy lifestyle whilst enjoying myself, as I think I did before my accident.
The other balance is to do with time, I could maintain my health through performing passive exercise for a large proportion of the day, performing many stretches, leg/arm exercises and standing routines. This should maintain my joints, BP and ligament health to a level near that of someone without paralysis. I could be working with physios three days a week trying to slowly improve the range of movement/strength of the accessory muscles I can control in my shoulders and upper arms. Slowly it would improve and I would be able to move slightly more but there is never any guarantee of a functional improvement (an improvement which aids me in everyday functionality). I could be spending time researching potential cures for all associated effects of paralysis (bladder infections etc), stem cell research and robotics but this is not my area of expertise at the moment so I let others do this and rely on the hope that if something revolutionary appears I will hear about it indirectly.  Although I do spend some time performing the above tasks to maintain my health, it is that, just maintenance. I have decided that for me it is more beneficial to work on and improve existing functionality so that I can be productive in everyday life rather than spend a seemingly disproportionate amount of time gaining small improvements in areas that are not guaranteed to facilitate an improvement in my living standards.
This is a personal decision that everyone makes and I’ve decided that my time is too precious to spend on tasks with no guaranteed return on investment. I have become a little more selfish and definitely more driven since my accident probably because I understand how valuable and short my time is.
There are redundancies at work but thankfully I’m given immunity as a graduate, the new project starts soon….
Best wishes to all, if you want to watch a good film: Adventureland, if you want to listen to some good music: Matt Pryor

3 thoughts on “September update”

  1. Hey Tom – hope you’re all fine after the BIG party.

    I always read your posts with interest and am always humbled at what comes out whenever you write… this time what you said stemming from what someone asked and in part of your reply: “This is a personal decision that everyone makes and I’ve decided that my time is too precious to spend on tasks with no guaranteed return on investment. I have become a little more selfish and definitely more driven since my accident probably because I understand how valuable and short my time is.”

    I understand fully what you’re saying, I don’t think it’s selfishness but rather a choice as you say and feel. This stems from your strength, conviction, courageousness, dominance, strong will, ambition, positivity, independence, self-confidence and damn there is no such a word as doubt in your vocabulary, and they are self-controlled. Born leader, either in support of, or in revolt against, the status quo.

    You’re doing fine you know – because not many people can boast the freedom in which you’ve lived your life and continue to live up till now…

    I say you’re doing fine… keep well and always be you – please!

    Loads of love and hugs to you and yours… say hi to the “team” from me and I’m sorry I couldn’t party with you all recently!!


  2. Hi Tom,
    Your comments on not devoting your entire life to tiny uncertain physical improvements when you can live a life as it is struck a chord. I remember when quite a lot of pressure was put on Gordon to accept a 3-days-a-week attempt to get him to a) stand and b) walk all dressed up in a fancy external skeleton. He thought about it for a while and then said he’d rather spend the time teaching and researching – from his wheelchair. I think you’d have been on his wave length all right. He also traded off risks and ‘extreme events’ against boredom; and sometimes did very silly things just for the hell of it.

    In the end his mantras were ‘seize the day’ and ‘don’t let the bastards grind you down’ – and they tried much harder than you sound as though they are trying on you! Long may it last!

    Had reason to think about all this this weekend as we went to sunny Eastbourne, which is where Gordon’s PA Julie lives. She is as much a larger than life character as he was. A lovely punk feminist – in her late 50s now!

    Eastbourne was the happening place to be in late Victorian times and the Duke of Devonshire let a sprawl of grand mansions be built which have stood the test of time. I never imagined I’d enjoy walking the suburbs of eastbourne – but I did. Julie adored Gordon and it is always a shock to see so many pics and photos of him in action – playing with his band, pantomiming, entertaining the students (I guess he taught them something too) and often with glass in hand.

    You have so many friends, I guess that you can ask each of them for a LITTLE drink at an event like your dad’s swinging 60th party, and end up quaffing a huge amount!

    We walked up the hill towards Beachy Head yesterday in a fine dusk and down to the beach and pier with an angry sea and seagulls with lots of attitude today.

    So you might go skiing again? That is wonderful and amazing! Fingers crossed for the Hawkingsmobile meanwhile.

    love from us all, Barbara

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