I was never in the house, I was always outside, busy doing this or that. I was either on the job, as a full-time window cleaner, or you would find me gardening or playing golf. The only time I would be indoors would be after picking up my wife after work and getting dinner ready.

After the accident I was suddenly trapped inside the house. I could only get into the living room and the kitchen, which was about 15 square feet. I lived downstairs whilst the wife was upstairs. I couldn’t get into the front door without help. Whilst I was in hospital I would wonder how I would get on using the living room as a bedroom but you realise how you begin to adapt, no matter how bad it is.

It’s been 13 months since I’ve seen the upstairs. I would often phone my wife upstairs in the morning to ask her to make me a cup of tea.

We are in the process of adapting our home. We are converting the garage to a wet room and a utility room, widening the doors, putting in a stair lift – lots of things. It would’ve been too much at the time to sell the house and search for another. This would’ve been one step too far, especially for my wife. She hasn’t really stopped since the accident. She’s continued to go to work whilst visiting me every day whilst I was in hospital. People would ask her what she was doing all the time at the hospital. For that period, our lives had been transferred to a hospital ward; we would watch TV, share a meal, have a chat – we were just doing what we would’ve normally been doing on an evening.  

Paul and his wife in the Aspire House

We needed somewhere to live whilst the builders moved in. We didn’t really know where to go for help. We were looking to move from one hotel to another every few days. We had gone so far to book a Premier Inn as the first leg of our hotel stay. Just imagine it, carting around all of our belongings in a Fiat 500.

Soon after, we found out about Aspire’s Housing Programme; we were totally unaware that we could get this kind of help.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect but the Aspire House is so spacious.  For one thing, there is much more room than a hotel room. We’ve managed to fill it up and it has become like home; we talk about this place like it is our home. The height adjustable surfaces are great. The location is perfect; it’s walking distance to my wife’s workplace and I can easily get to the hospital where I’m receiving cancer treatment. Nothing has stopped us from going out – even though I didn’t particularly like it at first, to be honest it’s been hard work for me.

Paul washing up in the Aspire house

When we moved in initially, my wife did the Kathy Bates thing. She was frightened about me going out and getting hurt but now we go out every day; we’re on the buses, we go out to eat, we’ve gone to theatre and we’ve even managed a trip to Paris as the station is so near. I even get on the bus and travel to the hospital by myself.

The Aspire house has been our own bit of rehab. It’s a perfect base and we’re going to miss it. Happiness is having a little bit of progress each day and we’ve had that here.

- Paul 

Paul and his wife in the Aspire House

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