I was in my mid 60s when I had a fall and broke my leg. I found crutches really difficult to cope with, so I hobbled about and probably twisted my spine because, a few weeks later as I turned to dry my hands, an awful pain shot down my leg. A disk had imploded and I was unable to move my legs, which is why I am in a wheelchair. In some ways I consider myself very fortunate; if this had happened when I was younger I think it would have been much more difficult for me to cope with.

I try to keep happy and optimistic, but sometimes I get frustrated 

I used to do lots of gardening but now I have some pots on the terrace and I just keep an eye on the rest of the garden. We thought of raising the flower beds, but it seemed such an upheaval just for me. I lose myself in reading, it’s such a great escape, and I’ve learnt how to use a computer with Aspire in one of their assistive technology suites. I find the internet marvellous; I spend time online on Google or shopping for all sorts of things. I have also researched our family ancestry and got quite a long way with it, but I have now handed it on to the children to continue; it was taking up so much time!

My weekly swim in the excellent Aspire pool at Stanmore has been my lifeline. My husband drives me to the Centre, and then I take myself off to change and do my lengths while he goes to the gym and exercises. We meet up again for lunch in the café afterwards – both fairly shattered but knowing it’s done some good.

Jane swimming in a pool

I try to keep happy and optimistic. I do sometimes get very frustrated and cross with myself but try to be grateful when people help me, even when it’s something I could do on my own. I remember years ago visiting some elderly people in a home and realising how difficult it was to spend time with someone who was miserable and complaining, whereas everyone enjoyed being with people who smiled and had a cheerful outlook. I think it is vital to accept what has happened to you and look forward, realising you are not the only person in the world that this has happened to.

As my Mother used to quote: “Laugh and the whole world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone.”