It is still unclear exactly what happened to cause my injury in August 2021.  It seems I blacked out, fell backwards and my neck landed on a plug. The three prongs were bent over which show the force with which I landed.  I sustained an incomplete Spinal Cord Injury at C6/C7.  The damage caused by falling on a plug is quite extraordinary and has completely changed my whole life.  

Those first moments after finding out I had sustained a spinal cord injury were unbelievable.  In hospital, unable to breath without assistance, unable to move or even talk, was the most frightening experience ever.  To think back to those initial moments it seems crazy how far I have come and the changes I have gone through.  I required full medical input, physiotherapy and occupational therapy to regain functional movement.  20 months after my initial injury I am still changing and adapting. 

Being in hospital during Covid was very difficult as it restricted visitors, but also the distance my friends and family had to travel meant I couldn’t see everyone as much as I would have liked.  My daughter Rachel kept me going and she is still a huge support.  Despite my mum’s own health concerns she is very encouraging and everyone seems so proud at how far I have come.  People can’t believe the changes I have made over the last 20 months.

I first met Matthew, Aspire’s Independent Living Advisor, on the ward and would see him each week, either there or outside in Horatio’s Garden.  He is so positive and friendly, he really is a top bloke. 

I could talk to Matthew about anything and he would give advice and demonstrate how he does things.  He would show me and other patients how he accesses his vehicle and talked about his wheelchair, but even just watching how he makes a cup of tea was really useful.  He always seemed willing to help and we got on really well. 

Matthew offered so much advice and information but his referral to Phil, Aspire’s Money Matters Specialist, was particularly helpful.  Phil gave me advice about completing forms and with his help, everything was organised so quickly which took some of the stress off me. 

Todd with his daughter Rachel

I am currently waiting to receive the keys for the adapted bungalow I am moving to and look forward to being discharged from hospital care.  I am apprehensive about being at home as I will miss the security and reassurance of the staff, however I am looking forward to learning how to manage things on my own and live more independently. 

Being at home will give me the chance to put into practice some of the skills Matthew told me about; where to position my equipment when looking after my personal care and how to complete other tasks.

I feel like Aspire, and particularly Matthew, have helped in so many ways.  Matthews’s knowledge is absolutely brilliant and he showed me that there are better times ahead.  He is always so happy and positive and could really cheer me up, we used to have a great laugh and joke around. 

Many thanks to the Scottish Power Foundation for supporting Aspire's Independent Living Service in eight Spinal Injury Centres around the UK. 

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