Post Traumatic Growth

I like this concept. It’s useful to me. Because even though I have been hugely affected by my amputations and by sepsis, I feel stronger and more confident as a result of everything that has happened since.

Take this week, for example. It’s been eventful.

Monday was the last day of my 6 month contract as a writer for business and I was very sorry it had to come to an end. I’ve been writing articles, copy and features for business magazines and websites, it’s been a steep learning curve, but I feel like I’ve improved a lot as a writer and I have been able to work from home, and that suited me very well. I’d been working in the call centre for 13 years after my sudden disability, so the writing job felt like a huge step forward. But there was nothing I could do about it finishing. I don’t feel it will be easy to find sufficient and reliable freelance work to replace it (I hope I’m wrong), so it seems like what could have been the start of a great new career has suddenly disappeared.

On Tuesday, I started back at the call centre. I’d had a long break, so it was a very strange feeling. I’ve been doing half an hour’s walking every day for the last few months to try and shake off my diabetes, so I decided to walk across Oakham to get to work. I set aside a full hour to get there, but I was anxious about being late and I hurried along too fast. I really bruised the stumps of my legs, and I’ve been paying for that ever since – it hurts a lot when I try and walk. Going back to my desk in the call centre was a hard thing to do, after the excitement of the writing work, but I just put my head down and did what I had to do. The managers there know me very well and they were very kind and friendly when I arrived. That meant a lot to me.

On Wednesday, we were guest speakers at the NHS Primary Care Respiratory Society conference in Birmingham. This is the UK professional body that supports healthcare professionals delivering high-value patient-centred respiratory care. They’re the people who keep us breathing when we’re seriously ill in hospital – saving lives and making recovery possible. There was a really good mix of GP’s, consultants, nurse leaders, clinicians and technicians there, and we told our sepsis story at length, highlighting all the key interventions that helped keep me alive. It felt particularly poignant for Nic & I because Wednesday was our 20th wedding anniversary. I was keen to let everyone know how important her caring presence has been to me throughout two decades of crisis and rehabilitation. Carers matter.

A fascinating week. We watched the World Cup football along with the rest of the country, and celebrated the wonderful rescue of the young soccer team in Thailand. Our warmest congratulations go out to them, and to their brave rescuers – a story of true resilience if ever we heard one. Otherwise, the national and international news is full of controversy, and Brexit threatens to fragment the fabric of government. So much is changing, so fast, for all of us personally, and for the nation. When we’re up against it as we are, we need to be so very careful what we say, to think about the words we use. Words have consequences.

Post traumatic growth. I’m determined to build on that concept, to explore and champion the positive things that emerge from change. I’m still going through it, I’ve kept as many of the best bits of who I was before my amputations as I can, and I’ve tried to be a better, kinder person too. More aware, more understanding, more loving – for all the life there is left.

Have a good week everybody.