Sketching the outline

Life can be turned on its head in an instant

me 2006 

In the summer of 2007 I went to Magaluf, Spain, for a friends stag weekend. 16 of us intending on one final weekend of madness before he settled down for good. Within minutes of arriving at the hotel I decided it would be a great idea to dive into the swimming pool (despite it being 2 AM). Turns out it wasn’t such a great idea after all.

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In the dark I didn’t realise how narrow the pool was. Just before I entered the water my head collided with the wall at the opposite end of the pool.

I lay floating, face down and still conscious, until my friends saw blood and dragged me out the water. I knew it was bad straight away.

Although I could move my head I couldn’t feel or move anything below my neck.

I broke my neck at the C2 vertebrae which is only inches from the base of the brain. 80% of the time this injury would be discovered post-mortem so I can be included as one of the lucky 20%. It was however to leave me permanently paralysed from my neck downwards.

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Showing some nipple just for the ladies

I spent one week in a Spanish hospital being operated on to secure my neck and stabilise my condition. They inserted titanium rods and pins but complications during the operation resulted in me losing the ability to breathe on my own. I am now attached to a ventilator 24 hours a day.

After returning to Scotland I spent 16 months ‘recuperating’ in the Southern General, Glasgow.

I was lucky enough that during my time in hospital a large custom designed extension was built onto the back of my parents house where I now live.
Due to my complex health needs I require two trained carers to be with me at all times. I am fortunate enough to have a great care team who I consider to be friends as well as carers.

I refuse to let my care needs dictate my social life. I am determined that this house will not become a prison, it does not need to be that way.

Now that I have introduced myself I will hopefully be able to paint a picture of what my life is like. The plan is to post as often as possible but the process is tedious using voice recognition.

I hope to examine how I feel about my life and how the accident has changed it.

I will share memories from before and after the accident, describe different challenges I face, try to make sense of why I feel the way I do, be honest about my bad days and celebrate my good days.

Opening up may be difficult at times. I will be forced to tackle some of the emotions I hide from. Hopefully I can learn more about myself through sharing. Hopefully I can help inspire or enlighten someone else through my sharing.

Bear with me….

@Stevenceltic81

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51 Comments

  1. Don’t know if ‘looking forward’ is the right phrase to describe how I feel about in future reading your personal thoughts on your situation but I’ll certainly follow your comments. Good luck Steven.

    • I am happy with ‘looking forward’ mate. Don’t know how it will go back thank you

  2. Dermot

    I don’t really know what to say,without sounding patronising ,but you seemed to have kept it together,which with certain limitations must be frustrating sometimes,but keep going the way you are,oh and keep the blogs coming…god bless

    • Thanks Dermot. You are right, it can be frustrating but suffering gets much worse than what I put up with. All over the world people have it tougher than I do.

      Appreciate the comment

  3. declan leonard

    and so it begins….i was gripped to those posts.even though i knew your story i wanted to read it again mate.looking forward to the rest #noseybastard

    • Cheers buddy. Hopefully I can keep some inspiration flowing #UnderPressure haha

  4. Trish Brown

    I follow everything you write Steven but probably for selfish reasons. I don’t know how I would cope if roles were reversed and I was in your position, probably not very well I think. The first blog I read was the one about your accident and how Celtic is a huge part of your life. I emailed that blog to so many people because it was inspirational, full of hope and very grounding. You have a natural flair for writing you make words come alive and enthral the reader to want more that is an amazing gift. I also know that you are a mad party animal and live life to the full…oh and not forgetting your lovely WAG pals. BRILLIANT Steven thanks x

    • Thanks so much Trish, very flattering.

      You may well have surprised yourself, I did. I was a bit of a selfish and lazy bugger without much appreciation for life until the accident. I don’t think anybody can predict how it would change them.

      I really appreciate your comment, no idea how much it helps X

  5. Jacks

    I cried as I read this, Steven. However, I look forward (or something) to reading your story.

    • Thanks Jacqueline, more to come when I work out how to process my thoughts

  6. Jacks

    I cried as I read this, Steven. However, I look forward (or something) to reading your story as you write it.

    ps Thanks for the nipple pic – made my night! 😉

    • Well the picture makes up for you crying!

      • Jacks

        lol I know you’re not writing to get tears & have people feeling sorry for you. I know by your Tweets you still do as much as you can & you’re not wallowing i n your own self pity – which would be so easy to do.

        I had never read anything about your accident before, but had wondered what had happened. Thanks for sharing, Steven. xx

  7. Benny_bronco

    I tweeted you when you first put a blog up mate and i have particilar interest in what has happened to you. When i was about 24 i dove into the shallow end of a pool. I was a lot luckier than you put i know due to the pain i had for months after it i must have been close. I still have nightmares and often think about that split second and how it could have changed my life. I don’t know if i would have been as brave or as pragmatic as you are. As someone previously said i don’t know if look forward is the right term but i will follow uour blog and thoughts with great interest.

    • I said that I don’t regret my actions. Doesn’t mean that I don’t wonder from time to time what my life would be like if I changed them.
      I have never been a big believer in fate but we certainly can’t change the past. You’d be surprised at how you would adapt.
      Anyway, thanks for a great comment and please keep in touch.

  8. andy mac

    Thanks for sharing steven always enjoy reading your posts good luck.

    • Thanks Andy, I appreciate you taking the time to read.

  9. Great attitude, Steven! Long may it continue…

    • Thanking you. I have gone through spells of having the opposite attitude and it does no good, long may it continue indeed!

  10. scottishpirate

    Steven, the very fact that you are opening up at all about your disability is a tremendous thing. You’re attitude is very much akin to my own. I want to be able to share my situation with people so they can understand disability more rather than fearing it. With bloggers like ourselves around, hopefully fear and discrimination of disability will be a thing of the past! Keep up the awesome work mate!

    • I couldn’t put it better myself, here’s hoping that we can change the perception of ‘disability’ in our own little way.

  11. Steven, I’ve found blogging to be tremendously therapeutic. I struggled with issues relating to my neurological movement disorder much of my life and my journey with Chronicles Of A Dystonia Muse has opened me up to so many possibilities not to mention bringing new friends and fresh sources of inspiration, you included, into my life. We never know where life will bring us but we can ever try to enjoy the ride. -Pamela-

    • Some people who know me were worried when I started blogging. They thought I was reliving the experience and it was getting me down. They were half right. I am reliving the experience but I’m loving it. Having the clarity of mind to deal with memories and emotions I had buried away has had a positive impact on so many aspects of my life.

      Glad I started and glad I’ve met you.

      • Steven, We can run from the truth but we can’t hide! One relives experiences with the clarity and insight of distance and perspective, often suggesting another point of view. As I revisit a childhood largely shaped by Dystonia, I’ve gained invaluable knowledge about how to best live my life, helping me to put the past to rest.

  12. Your positive and proactive attitude is very admirable, Steven! I am so glad Rachie Adventures listed you on her nominations so I could discover your blog.

    Though my journey is very different from yours, I’ve found reading and sharing each others stories to be such a healing experience. I hope you continue to find this to be as true as I have.

    I do have one question…how do you write/blog? Do you have a voice recognition software system or some other techie tool I’ve never heard of? It’s very intriguing to me.

    Looking forward to reading some of your posts…so far I’ve only made it to ‘About’ and this page, but you’ve drawn me in entirely! 😉

    • My site is still in its infancy so thank you for being another friendly face, and I guess thank you to Rachie Adventures!

      Its voice recognition I use Denise. Fantastic software. Takes plenty of perseverance to become ‘fluent’ but I can dictate faster than I used to type. I can also perform almost every computer based task that I could before. Maybe the topic for a future post….

      Any questions, feel free to ask. And thank you again.

      • That’s so funny -a friend of mine used ‘Dragon’ and when she went to read me what she’d dictated a few weeks later she couldn’t even decipher it! We had a good laugh over that! Glad you’ve ironed out the kinks in the one you use!

      • It is Dragon that I use also. If I hadn’t spent so long correcting all the mistakes at the beginning I could have ended up in some serious trouble for some very very inappropriate messages! 🙂

      • Hilarious!! That could definitely be a disaster on a blog! At least hers was just on her ipad.
        I’ll have to mention she needs to get the Dragon whip out and get those bugs worked out!

  13. After reading a couple of your blog entries I feel humbled and honored that you would follow my blog. You sound like an amazing man and I am looking forward to reading the rest of your entries and your new ones.

    My name is Linda…

    • Thank you Linda, very pleased to meet you.

      I came across your blog and read your post titled ‘insecure’ http://lindafrindt.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/insecure/ and I thought it was refreshingly honest. Very brave of you to share your self-perceived weaknesses so openly. I hope you are just as willing to recognise your qualities.

      Thanks again,
      Steven

      • Thank you Steven. One thing I try to be with my blog is very transparent. I’ve done prison ministry in the past and learned early on that they see right through you when you’re trying to snow them, so I’ve become very transparent about my life and issues in hopes that I can help someone else on the journey.

        I’m trying to figure out who I am through writing and so I am still searching for all the good qualities that make me unique and special.

        I do know that writing everyday has been an amazing experience for me.

        Linda

      • I share many of the same sentiments. Helping someone else, even without knowing it, would make it all worthwhile. I also understand the process of finding yourself through writing, I am doing the same.

        I wish I had the ability to post every day but using voice recognition makes one post a tiresome process. Makes it all the more rewarding when I click that ‘publish’ button!

        Steven

  14. I admire what you’re doing here and you’ve given me a deeper sense of thankfulness for my pain and disability. Thank you Steven

    • My pleasure Linda, thank you.

      Make sure and keep in touch!

  15. Thought I saw my own face brightened at “I refuse to let my care needs dictate my social life.” I admire the spirit!

    And thanks for following. 🙂

    • Glad to bring a smile to your face!

      Thanks for dropping by

  16. Bless you for reaching out here…I hope it helps and know that you certainly help many with your posts by just being you.

    • It does help, it’s been the response that has surprised me more than anything. Keeps me motivated when I can’t be bothered, thanks CL

  17. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    I respect you enormously, being able to face all this, vocalise and share it – and not bitterly.

    My son goes to a swimming hole here in Melbourne (in summer, that is) and I have said and said and said to him to never dive in without sussing the water depth and sticks and rubble. He said he doesn’t dive in but jumps off a rope. Same principal. God, I hope he “gets” it, understands. What you share here is enormous. Thank you so much.

    In an instant. God… Sincere best to you.

    • Thank you, very much indeed. Keep pestering him, it only takes one bad decision.

      Thank you

  18. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    I was just thinking – though you don’t have to answer, but I hope your friends are still with you. If not those friends, then more choice friends.

    • I’ve had the best of both to be honest. My closest friends are still around me, anytime I need them. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet some great people who have became good friends over the years.

  19. Hi Steven, I wanted to share with you that “thing” I am doing in connection with what we spoke about on my last post. If you are comfortable sending me an email…I would love to tell you about it. My email is: colleenbrowntkd@hotmail.com

    I know many folks don’t want to share that….but hey, maybe this is the next level of my stalking duties that I have been terrible at keeping up with. 😉

    • Common sense says not to indulge my stalkers, it only makes matters worse. However, you have me intrigued! I’ll send you an e-mail shortly.

      • You should always listen to your common sense. But since I haven’t quite mastered the stalking thing yet…I think you are safe. 😉

  20. I hope you find fulfillment in your writing to inspire other people in your condition.

    • Thanks Derek, I’m getting there with that one. In a better place now than I was three months ago so it must be helping!

      Cheers

  21. Just stumbled across your blog, I’m so sorry to hear what happened to you. As you say in a comment above, one bad decision. So true and so scary.. Your attitude and writing is so refreshing and honest. It’s seems so patronising to say but I’ll say it anyway – you come across as so brave and strong you are an inspiration. Hope you manage to keep that positive attitude. Hope you find a balance between blogging and ‘life’ as selfishly I look forward to following you.

    • Thank you. It’s not patronising in the slightest, I appreciate you saying so. I can’t see me ever losing the positive attitude. I have done in the past but now I can look back with a clear mind and realise it’s horrible place to be.

      I am on the run (metaphorically speaking) at the moment but I’ll stop by and check out your blog as soon as I can.

      Thanks again

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