Yesterday, 7 years ago in 2014, I spent my last ever day as an ‘able bodied‘ woman and teacher.
After a spontaneous Sacral spinal/pelvic fracture during lesson 5, my life would never be the same. The pain was horrific and then made so much worse by 5weeks of physio (can you imagine? ‘Hello Mrs Broken Bone, I know, let’s make it better by lying on a tennis ball so that the fracture just gets worse & causes more damage!‘ 🤦♀️🥺)
Now as I look back, 7 years later, with nerve damage, a constant pain syndrome and a super-cute electric wheelchair in the boot of my car, I have learnt the following things.
- Ladies, look after your bones, stop thinking that Osteoporosis only happens to old ladies, I was 47 when I had a major, life changing fracture….
- NEVER confuse your work/career with your actual life – they are not the same, your actual life is far more important…..
- People who work, make sure you invest in your friends outside of work as once you step off that crazy spinning work merry-go-round, your work colleagues will keep on going and you’ll never see them again. It’s not their fault, you were once that crazily busy too and you never had time to visit people either…..
- One thing is certain, the people you think will surround you and help you, won’t and you will be very surprised at the people who do…..
- Speaking of work, make sure you join a union and get some kind of income protection. Without them, I’d be out of a job and out of my home with two months salary in my pocket….
- Cherish your family as they are the ones who have to look after you when you’re in trouble….
- If you’re in trouble, ASK for help as nobody will offer if they don’t know you need it….
- If you need professional help, get it. There is no shame in it and I couldn’t have come through all this without the the 3months of counselling that I had. My counsellor was fantastic and allowed me to completely empty my fears and worries onto her lap and helped me pick through them and process them all……
- Don’t be like me and answer every ‘how are you doing?‘ with a ‘I’m not too bad, thanks‘ Tell people how you are feeling, you’ll be surprised at their reactions….
(Plus many others including the classic, don’t be freaked out when you see pixies climbing up the curtain, it’s the morphine/Tramadol talking……..😆)
Do I miss teaching? Absolutely but that chapter has closed and a new one began and this is my life now.
And I’m ok with it. It’s taken a lot of time and work to adjust my life to my newly acquired disability and loss of career, but I’m kinda ok with it now. I tried to help as many young people as I could throughout my teaching career and it’s been their comments and their appreciation that has helped me the most as I look back at those years. I am still in touch with many of them and that is a wonderful gift.
Some of their comments I had as I published some of these thoughts on social media were so heartwarming.
“You are a fantastic teacher” – Steve (Governor)
“You are an amazing teacher, you and Catrin (another teacher in my department) are the reason I got my grade and know the Welsh I now teach to children in school 💕” – Emily
“Rwyt ti’n athrawes anhygoel, paid anghofio💓💓💓” – Shauna – “you are an amazing teacher, don’t forget that” (I was a Welsh teacher! 🏴😄🏴)
“Forever an inspiration 😘” – Hannah
Also, reflecting back to how I and my husband and family adjusted our lives has been a very interesting and cathartic exercise.
Letting some of these thoughts out has been a weight off my mind; some of them have been bundled up in my gut for years and have stayed there, constantly nagging away at me and desperately needing to be said.
Some of those thoughts I still can’t physically say out loud but I can write them down and that’s a good start. Often the course of ‘getting these things off your chest’ isn’t as easy as it sounds as they’re so hurtful and upsetting but they must come out or they will continuously eat you up.
That’s why reflection and actually seeing how far you’ve come is so important and allows you to have more hope for your future. And I have a lot of hope about my future, I really do. 😘