Since my stroke in 2011 I became determined to become as independent as possible, like many I and my family were told that I wouldn’t be able to do the many things I did prior to my stroke. However, as soon as I began to learn to
walk, talk, use my arms and hands again I knew that my God had different ideas for me and that how I live was down to my self-determination.
My drive to independence started with me being nominated to carry the 2012 Olympic torch and the training I
did with my physios showed me that nothing is impossible.
After my discharge I soon realised that the only way for me to get about was in my power chair, yes, I can walk but not far without being in severe pain or becoming fatigued so I set about planning
my short term goals.
- To get on a bus
- To get on a train
- To climb a mountain
- To fly
- Go back to Australia
- Travel on a London bus
At first these goals were very daunting to think
about and I was scared of going into the unknown as a disabled person but there wasn’t a choice I had to face my fears in order to get my life back, it’s had its ups and downs I’ve learned that life with disabilities is not easy and at times
very frightening and frustrating.
This page is a pictorial story of my journeys starting after I conquered my mountain ‘Mama Tor’
I love going to London by Rail, I’ve already said the first time you try something different and on your own can be rather daunting and it was. The first time I traveled to London on my own, the things that concerned me were - will I miss my train or connections, how will I find my hotel, will my battery run out of charge, I hope there are plenty accessible loo’s etc.?
All the worry and anxiety were unfounded, my personal experiences with travel is that Staff working in the various companies i.e. rail, buses, hotels, restaurants etc. are very helpful.
The only negative thing with rail is that you can be tied to the times that you booked your assisted travel however, there have been a couple of occasions that I’ve been too early for a particular train and the station staff helped with re booking my train to an earlier time.
First class Norwich to London
I've traveled often on trains, you don't always go first class but its nice if you do especially when you have an economy ticket.
Me straddling the Royal observatory meridian line. The Observatory is up a very steep hill so beware its a hell of a push for manual chairs and very draining for power chairs or scooters.
I found a socket by the nuclear clock to charge my battery.
Its a worthwhile visit though.
Dropped and raised curbs
After disembarking from the bus which was only a few yards away from our hotel i had to cross a small road that led to know were that I couldn't couldn't cross because of the curb.
I had to go back to a set of lights about 100 yards away cross and travel back on the other side of the road passed the hotel and cross again.
Wheel chair v pushchairs
Well done London transport for making it clear that Wheel Chair users have priority.
03.10.16 One of my goals was to travel on a London bus, yippee I did it, I was a little apprehensive especially about getting off at the wrong stop. However, the buses in London have an announcement system that tells you the next bus stop and places of interest too for us it was Covent Garden.
London Central is very accessible for both solo and accompanied travelers, I always carry my charger just in case i use to much power, restaurants when you have lunch or churches are happy for you to plug in.
This area of London is great, especially London Dockland Railway where you can ride on and off at all stations without assistance, however, the nearest inner city station is Bank. The under ground is not accessible.
You can walk ride for miles on either side of the Themes, there's lots of restaurants and cafes on the way.
Fully accessible elevators to All decks. Its a must go and visit.
One of the inside deck, wonderful to see and they have high lighted the fire damaged parts its an amazing peace of renovation.
During my time in hospital (8 months) I thought that I would never be able to visit my daughter and 4 grandchildren in Australia again or even worse I would never see them again. Like many stroke survivors it didn’t take a lot to lower your mood,
my daughter and children came to see me thinking I was going to die, on the day that my daughter Sarah and her children came to say goodbye I was suffering with the NORO virus so the grand children were not allowed in the ward.
Sarah was allowed in
to see me for a few minutes only, even today I am really upset trying to write this but, I must face the memory and document it. Sarah came into my room, sat by bed then she rested her head on the bed and lifted my arm so that my hand was resting on her head,
this simple act broke my heart and still does when I think about it, I believe she was thinking the same as me, after she said goodbye and left my room I broke down and silently howled (remember I had no voice) my heart was Broken, then my grandchildren
appeared at my room window waving goodbye again I broke down completely, poor bairns had to leavewithe the memoryof their Grandpa crying.
Three or four months later I was transferred to Rehab where my physio Matt started to work on getting movement
in my limbs, after a month in rehab my recovery was swift, Matt had me standing and taking very small steps. One day I asked Matt “if when well enough will there be anything that will stop me going back to Australia” Matt replied “Give Yourself
a year then there should be nothing to stop you” Well that was the moment I told everyone that I plan to go to see my daughter and grandchildren in Australia,
18 months later Jeannie and I boarded a Plane bound for Perth WA, I’ve been back
five times and we plan to go again soon.
Flying with your own chair
Are you a wheel chair user and anxious about flying? March 2017 Jeannie and I flew to Australia for six weeks, when we traveled before I traveled with my manual chair then hired a scooter or chair for our visit.
This time I decided to take my own
power chair, firstly we talked to various air lines and asked each one "Will your company carry power chairs' each one said definitely yes all they would need are the dimensions.
Once we had chosen who would carry us (shop around for the best deal we
do all the booking ourselves) we gave them the info they needed, it's important that you have dry cell batteries any thing else you have to take the batteries out of the machine.
There is no charge for power chairs etc.
As usual we booked assisted
travel on arrival at the check in desk We always get to the airport 4 hrs early it's amazing how fast time travels at airports, I asked if I could take my power chair all the way to the gate, no problem with that but asked us to be at the gate early. My chair
was booked in all the way to Oz as there wasn't enough time in Hong Kong.
On our arrival to Oz my chair was waiting by the baggage carousel, dead easy.
On the way back I had to put my chair in with our luggage, this is not a problem as they give
a manual chair at the desk, again the chair was waiting for me at Heathrow.
As well as saving loads of money to hire a vehicle then being scared of damaging it I was stress free using my own chair which is very reliable.
Arriving at Cathay Pacific' check in Desk
Checking in our luggage and chair.
Checking in our luggage and chair, I was allowed to take it right to the gate then it was booked right through to Perth.
Oyster for breakfast
Enjoying my oyster and a couple of glasses of Chablis.
Independent travel on Trans Perth transportation system
Using local public transport system is very accessible and simple, you can pay cash or as i did purchased an oyster style card that you top up when needed. the system allows you to use trains,buses and some ferries.
The video shows me boarding the train to Perth which is about 40k from Baldivis, however, I do believe that other long distance rail travel is similar to the UK where you have to book and use a ramp.
Buses have electronic ramps and plenty of space for more that two wheel chair and a pushchair or two.
Life as a stroke survivor can be Fun.
ANZAC remembrance day with my Grand children, I had to borrow a manual chair as my daughters car was full of children.
Rockingham beach WA
I had a little trouble with balance as the sand moved under my feet but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Make your own website like I did.
It's easy, and absolutely free.