On 14th May 2023 my life changed forever. Following a fall, I was operated on for dislocated C6 and C7 vertebrae and became tetraplegic. Several months of complete bed rest did little to improve my morale and my feelings of isolation and being cut off from the outside world were only exacerbated by not being able to use my mobile phone. Although I started to slowly recover, my hand function was still severely limited. 

That’s when I met Drew.  Despite my reluctance to interact with anyone at that time, he was friendly and unassuming and put me at ease.  Drew patiently explained how to set up voice control on my phone, showing me the practicalities and leaving me with a list of commands and his email address should I need to contact him for further help. Voice control allowed me to contact friends and family, with text messages being my preferred manner of communication; being able to dictate what I wanted to say was a huge deal to someone whose fingers refused to work. When I was later gifted an iPad I was able to apply the same principles as Drew had applied to the phone in order to use it.

I felt less alone knowing I could still connect with the outside world.

Part of our rehab programme is a series of 14 talks making up the Patient Education programme. Not only was Drew responsible for the smooth running of the on-screen presentation, he also left himself open to any questions that patients needed to ask, often coming onto the ward if we weren’t comfortable broaching these subjects in public. If there was anything we weren’t certain about, Drew would email this to us to allow us to study and absorb the information in our own time.

Then it came to wheelchairs. Not something the average person chooses to study in an attempt to increase their knowledge just in case they ever need it. I mean, who thinks they’re going to end up in a wheelchair? The date for my wheelchair assessment arrived and I was advised to prepare in advance any questions I had. Once again Drew stepped in, furnishing me with the information I needed to ask sensible questions and make considered choices.

Drew is without doubt an asset to both Aspire and ourselves with his patience, gentle demeanour and calm manner. He offers help before it is requested and I feel very fortunate to have met him.

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