February 2nd 2014

They sit in their chairs every morning, looking down a challenging channel, lined with wooden railings. It is not particularly long, maybe an unnoticeable three large steps to everyone else. It is a pretty self explanatory task. Stand up, walk to the end, stop, turn around, walk back, turn around and sit down. Do this as many times as you can. Some patients manage to stand up for seconds only, before flopping back to their chair. Others manage quite well stepping over and around obstacles.

Two days ago I saw a lady fall as she tired to complete this task. She was there the day before and was doing well. Other patients saw her go into an unsteady wobble before she fell towards the railing, failed to grasp it and her arm and cheek hit the floor helplessly. As the cry of pain came from the lady a look of helplessness came over all those who witnessed it. Some were only inches away but because standing is a difficulty, they were left unable to reach out and support the falling lady. There was a moment of silence between the cry stopping and the scurry of physios going to attend. The lady was lifted up, put on a stretcher and taken away. Each of the other patients returned to there chairs during the ordeal, and a look of dismay and distress came over their faces.

Then next day there was a lady with her arm in a sling and her face bandage with a dressing sitting at the entrance to channel. Slowly she stood up, shuffled to the end, turned around, shuffled back and turned around again. This time she did not sit down, she continued on to repeat the exercise several times. I see remarkable resilience and determination like this every day. It drives me on.

I’m delighted to say I will return to Cork on Friday to attend what promises to be a beautiful event. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone, and being back on home ground. It has been so long.

My stay will only be brief as I will return to Guttmann on Sunday for my final weeks of rehab!

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