By James Dwyer
This month marks 12 months since I left hospital.
The 5th October 2018 will always be the day my life changed forever. I never imagined when I left home that morning that it would take 4 months to get home and that the next time I opened the front door would be so emotional.
Rolling back into the life I’d walked out of conjured up both positive and negative feelings. I had been aiming to get home for a long time but when leaving hospital apprehension crept in. In hospital everything is made to be comfortable, from having nurses to help at the touch of a button, through to every room and corridor being wide and flat enough for a wheelchair. Going back to a small apartment, into a community as the only one using a wheelchair, in a world where everyone walks, is very different from the relative comfort of hospital.
Many who have sustained a traumatic injury that results in having to permanently use a wheelchair will say one of the hardest times is leaving hospital to your home and that felt to be the case for me, however only for a short time.
As you learn to adapt to your surroundings, hospital life is quickly forgotten and you move on with your life, often with more gratitude for those around you than you had before.
The last 12 months have been the busiest or my life.
I have tried more sports then in the combined 20 years since leaving school. I have rekindled friendships with those who have been there, and moved on from those who weren’t. I fit in time to mentor others through SCI as a Peer Support volunteer along with carrying on the same day job I had before my accident. – I know a lot of people don’t get this opportunity so I take time to appreciate it every day.
Next week I will be completing a half marathon which I am excited for having done several when I was able bodied. Later this year I plan to be the first paraplegic to take on a 100 mile off-road challenge to raise money for the Spinal Injury Association and showcase our beautiful accessible English countryside.
Most importantly I am a husband and father again, two things I didn’t believe would have been possible after my accident. I am the same person I was before, I’m just sat down now.
Those first few weeks at home are tough, but anyone that has gone through Spinal Cord Injury can do it with the renewed courage, strength and resilience that comes from this journey we are on.
– Follow James on Instagram @