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My Disability Diary By Mandy Edwards

Mandy Edwards
Mandy Edwards

I have to admit that the thought of beginning a regular blog about my life as a disabled woman feels a bit scary,

a bit like inviting over the new neighbours in the hope that they’ll not only accept me, but will also be able to ignore the social cobwebs. My social life over the last nine years seems to have existed mainly around hospital wards, outpatient departments, and hydrotherapy sessions, and my most enduring relationships with a string of different specialists! As any survivor of a spinal cord injury will tell you, it’s never just a ‘broken back’ thing, it’s also a bladder and bowel thing, and a pain management thing, interspersed between daily physiotherapy routines in an attempt to reboot damaged nerves. Having been through seven major spinal surgeries, one fancy electric wheelchair (thanks to the generosity of the Mobility Trust) and the on-going dedication of a Canine Partner, I’m finally at a place in my life where I can start looking ahead and that’s the journey I want to share with you all. Am I nervous? Am I heck! My off beat humour may has got me though many tricky manoeuvres in the past, but it remains to be seen if it will work for you too!
For the majority of the last nine years, my life has been essentially home based, as basic tasks proved time consuming and tiring to master alongside regular spinal surgeries and systemic management systems. Without my canine partner Tally I would never have got as far as I have today. I can still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when my mum passed me that article in the British Medical journal about canine partners. A doctor, a keen skier and newly diagnosed paraplegic, had been frustrated by the limits of an overburdened NHS and so turned to the charity Canine Partners. I remember that moment so well because I actually laughed mockingly at my mum. How on earth could a dog possibly improve my rotten life? I’d half sneered as I glanced angrily down at the article (I didn’t cope well in those early days!). Yet from that moment on, the rusty cogs of my independence began to turn! Tally came into my life eighteen months later and was to become my personal carer, motivator and physiotherapist during some of the toughest times of my life.

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