When Leon had his accident, we were working in the United States.  People knock our medical system over here, but medical care in the States is astronomically expensive, even just for ongoing prescriptions.  Also, whilst our experience of Leon's rehab there was good, it wasn't spinal focused and I'm sure people benefit from the support you get on the wards.  We kept our business going for a couple of years but when we thought about renewing our visas, particularly when we looked at the financial implications, we made the decision to come back home.

From the moment we moved back, Leon has just said yes to things.  It means I'm the one who has to stop and think things through; a friend asked us to join them at a concert soon after we came home and Leon had already accepted before I found out that they were standing-only tickets.  It makes things very hard, at times I feel like I'm playing the baddie.  I'm sure some of it is down to male pride, he doesn't want to have to think about things or say that he can't do something, and Leon has told me that I've become a bit controlling.  It's definitely something that has changed in our relationship since the accident, it's made me have to be more on the ball.

Amanda and Leon having coffee

The injury does change things.  Not who either of us are - Leon still has the same mind, the same sense of humour - but how the relationship is.  There have been times when I've had to care for Leon or when he's been incontinent and if you'd told either of us five years ago that's how things would be then I doubt we'd have believed you.  You just have to accept that there might be bad days when you have to put the washing machine on three times and remember that tomorrow will be better.  It's become our new normal.

You just have to accept that there might be bad days

And, of course, it can take the sexy out of the relationship.  You have to look beyond the issues and bring it back.  That's not always easy; we were good friends before we got together and, with the way the relationship is challenged, I'm not sure we would have survived if we didn't always have that friendship to fall back on.  We make sure that we make time for each other - life might be busy, and you might not always get quality time, but you have to take advantage of what you do have.

You also have to be totally honest.  It's essential that you talk about how you are feeling, and remember that no question is silly; if you don't understand something, or you want to know what's going on, then it's ok to ask.  Ultimately, whatever else is going on, and however much you go through, you should still be able to be yourself.

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