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Karol 

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As an antidote to cabin fever I hope you forgive my indulgence in sharing this:

Many years ago as a pre-registration pharmacist in Liverpool together with 20 or so of my graduate colleagues I attended a series of seminars at Fazakerley Hospital. The last seminar before lunch was to be on spinal chord injuries.

We started to get restless because the speaker was late in arriving. When finally he arrived the room quickly hushed to silence. The speaker manoeuvred his wheel chain to the front of the centre aisle and then with a bowling action hooked his arm behind one of the rear push handles of his wheel chair. David was a strikingly handsome man with piercing blue eyes that just melted the ladies in the audience. For a full two minutes or so he didn't say a word but just smiled and poured his gaze across his audience. Finally in his rich Scouse accent he said:

"It's alright for you blokes, you can bash your bishops any time you like. Me, the closest I get to an orgasm is when I have a shower and the water sprays on my face."

To say we were instantly captivated is an understatement. In one master stroke he had cut through the awkwardness and taboo of talking about living with and managing disability. He went on:

" You see, as a tetraplegic not only am I paralyzed from the neck down I can't feel anything from my neck down either."

From then on I got to know David very well and spent many evenings visiting him at the Younger Disabled Unit at the hospital. I remember vividly one night we went down to the hospital social centre for a pie and a pint which turned out to be a cola and a pie for me as David had to observe a strictly restrained diet on account of the severe constantly life threatening difficulties that tetraplegic patients can have managing the spasticity of their bowels and bladders. In conversation David explained how he had broken his neck.

As a happy go lucky eighteen year old David had gone on holiday with a gang of his friends to the Med. On their last day their flight was delayed so the gang decided to go back to the beach. For the past week they had been diving and jumping off of the rocks on the beach which they proceeded to do again. Tragically, as David took his last dive the sea swell dropped to reveal a large rocky outcrop which he impacted head on and broke his neck. David died twice and was resuscitated twice before finally being transferred a few weeks later by air ambulance to the UK. David freely admitted that shortly after his accident he had wished that he hadn't been resuscitated but that had changed and that he had learned to live a different but fulfilled life. He went on to explain the work that he was now doing as a counsellor and one particular story he recounted has stayed with me.

A young suicidal female patient was referred to David for counselling. David asked her why she felt suicidal and she replied because her life wasn't worth living. So he asked her want she did in her spare time and she said she did some sport and that she liked tennis. David went on to explain that he would referee the ping pong between the biplegic patients at the Younger Unit and by parking his wheel chair at the net he could exercise his neck by following the flight of the ping pong ball to and fro. Next David asked her if she had a car. Yes she said. I have a BMW to which David replied that he had his motorized wheelchair which gave him freedom which he wouldn't otherwise have but that he was peeved that he had been done by the police for going through a red light when he had been forced to use the road because the local paths were in such a bad state of repair that he couldn't use them. David then went on to ask the female patient if she had much of a sex life and she confided that she had a fella and her sex life was reasonably well fulfilled. We know how David responded to that subject ;) . Finally David asked the patient what she did for a living and she confessed to having a well paid sales and marketing job (hence the BMW) which took her around the country and occasionally abroad. David went on to say that he worked as a counsellor but that he didn't get paid but that was alright because the state was paying for his care, food and lodgings at the Younger Unit.

Needless to say the female patient went away with a completely different perspective on life, one which was no longer suicidal.

I was already in awe of David but for me, what really touched my heart was when I went to visit to collect him on the day he had agreed to come and speak to the British Pharmaceutical Students Association who were holding their annual conference in Liverpool that year. I entered his room to find him out of his wheel chair lying on his bed. He couldn't even turn his head to greet me as I came in and he struck such a helpless and pathetic figure so completely paralyzed and immobile that I was truly stunned. Up until that point I had only ever seen David in his wheel chair where he was able to move his arms and have what appeared to me to be a reasonable degree of mobility. What I hadn't realized was that he used his armchair to hook one arm and then used his neck to cantilever movement in his other arm much like the little wooden snakes I used to play with as a child but otherwise he had no physical control of his arms or legs whatsoever. What I also hadn't realized is the effort that it took David and a whole team of nursing staff nearly three hours in all to prepare David for his venture not to mention the small army of volunteers to transport him from Fazakerley to the students union in the centre of Liverpool. There was this man living in unbelievable hardship with all of the indignities of being so disabled and yet he would always make time for others and would always go out of his way to help people whenever he could.

An inspiration beyond words.

Would love to hear other stories of inspiration.
 

Apple 

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I was in a pretty mangled state after being run down by a drunk when riding my motorcycle.
Skull in an Aldermastern Halo and leg about to be amputated, both arms broken.
Douglas Bader walked into the ward and sat with me for about 20 minutes... found out my Father had been in the RAF and immediately got me a ration of Guinness from the RAF association.... inspirational after all he had been through!

Yeghes da
 

pargyle 

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There are so many, in no particular order ...

My English teacher at Grammar school . .. taught me to appreciate the power of the English language and how to use it properly.

My maths tutor who taught me modesty is a more effective weapon than pride when he thrashed me 6:0 6:1 at tennis in front of the whole school whilst playing in borrowed shorts with an ancient racket and wearing odd tennis shoes.

My first boss when I started work at Woolworths, a welshman who had a really rough time during WW2 who told me ... 'if you are looking at something and can't see anything wrong then you are not looking at it closely enough - always ask yourself what's wrong ?'.

A Sales manager when I worked for Faberge who gave me a really hard time but who taught me the power of positive thought and gave me the words to 'A Man who thinks he can'.

David Attenborough who, in an inspirational evening, convinced me that we need to change the way we look after the planet.

Henry Cooper who I spent many hours with and who believed in and showed me that the bucket was always half full not half empty.

My woodturning mentor, Eric, who harnessed my enthusiasm, tempered my impatience and showed me how design works.

My father who somehow, without me knowing it, filled my head with knowledge of the natural world, nature in general and passed on his love for growing things ...

They all have one thing in common (with one exception) they are all dead now ... and there are more of them in lesser ways ... and I really, really, wished that I had told every one of them how much they influenced my life as a result of my contact with them whilst they were still alive. I didn't appreciate their wisdom and influence at the time. I'm sure every one of them would have been mortified to be told they were all life changers but they were.
 

happyculteur 

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What I think is amazing about Karol's original post (apart from David of course) is all the time effort and money that is dedicated to keeping him alive and very partially functioning. It speaks volumes for the values of the society in which we live, and for which it is worth fighting.
 

Curly green finger's 

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Well I'm still young and I'm hoping to be inspired by hopefully more people throughout my second part of my life.
But at this time now and for the last 16 years I would say my love and best friend Melissa who has inspired me to be a better father, taught me so much about how to look truly at life, given me courage, strength and upmost support in what ever I have wanted to achieve without any thought for herself, I have never met a woman like her she is a very rair soul indeed.
We often talk about souls and mine is young in comparison to hers, she has lived many an age, and is wise beyond her years even though she is actually younger than me.
Some times it's the people you get really close to that inspire you the most.


Hi karol, there is some very selfless wise people out there that have been through some terrible things and it is not surprising that they inspire so many people. Thanks for sharing, and to the old geasers above :).

C. G. F.
 

Karol 

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Well I'm still young and I'm hoping to be inspired by hopefully more people throughout my second part of my life.
But at this time now and for the last 16 years I would say my love and best friend Melissa who has inspired me to be a better father, taught me so much about how to look truly at life, given me courage, strength and upmost support in what ever I have wanted to achieve without any thought for herself, I have never met a woman like her she is a very rair soul indeed.
We often talk about souls and mine is young in comparison to hers, she has lived many an age, and is wise beyond her years even though she is actually younger than me.
Some times it's the people you get really close to that inspire you the most.


Hi karol, there is some very selfless wise people out there that have been through some terrible things and it is not surprising that they inspire so many people. Thanks for sharing, and to the old geasers above :).

C. G. F.
It seems we have something in common. Reflecting on my experiences I recognise that I have been blessed to have encountered so many truly inspirational 'ordinary' people. I say ordinary because that's how they perceive/d themselves but they are and have been anything but. Much like you, top of the list comes my wife who is my soul mate and the rock in my life. The inspiration I draw from her extends far beyond our relationship which lord knows in itself is probably an inspiration in female suffrage. By a strange twist in fate my wife works as the lead pharmacist for the national spinal injuries centre. She works in a gruelling incessantly demanding draining understaffed job forever frontline on the wards constantly striving to do the very best for her patients continuously saving and making desperate lives better all completely selflessly with no fuss and always with compassion, empathy, respect and always with a smile even when completely drained and exhausted which is pretty much all the time especially in the face of this damned Covid pandemic.
 

Arfermo 

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It seems we have something in common. Reflecting on my experiences I recognise that I have been blessed to have encountered so many truly inspirational 'ordinary' people. I say ordinary because that's how they perceive/d themselves but they are and have been anything but. Much like you, top of the list comes my wife who is my soul mate and the rock in my life. The inspiration I draw from her extends far beyond our relationship which lord knows in itself is probably an inspiration in female suffrage. By a strange twist in fate my wife works as the lead pharmacist for the national spinal injuries centre. She works in a gruelling incessantly demanding draining understaffed job forever frontline on the wards constantly striving to do the very best for her patients continuously saving and making desperate lives better all completely selflessly with no fuss and always with compassion, empathy, respect and always with a smile even when completely drained and exhausted which is pretty much all the time especially in the face of this damned Covid pandemic.
Sounds very much like my adorable wife who, following her training 1959-62 at a London teaching hospital topped her class and was selected to x-ray Winston Churchill no less, rose through the ranks of Radiography to become the Superintending Radiographer in a private clinic but now at the age of 80 has alzheimers and cannot even get to grips with the TV remote with any certainty as to what happens. I am now her sole carer with minimal help from anybody as that is what I prefer whilst I have the capacity at 86 to do the necessary stuff. Ordered her a new bra yesterday!!! Fingers crossed it fits so I can order another but ladies lingerie is not quite my forte - and never was actually. :) :)
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Ordered her a new bra yesterday!!! Fingers crossed it fits so I can order another but ladies lingerie is not quite my forte - and never was actually.
That's easy, SWMBO is a size 15 3/4.....
One fits nicely into my bowler hat which is a 7 3/8 😁
 

Newbeeneil 

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That's easy, SWMBO is a size 15 3/4.....
One fits nicely into my bowler hat which is a 7 3/8 😁
Shouldn't that be 14 3/4 then? Or is there a bit of over spill? 😉
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Chapel hat pegs anyone?🤔
The old Bethel which I look after has rows of them anywhere there's space
photo7.jpg
Often when I give walking groups a look around some lady will ask 'What are they on the walls' the sniggering usually starts before I actually say 'Chapel hat pegs madam'
 

Hachi 

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As an antidote to cabin fever I hope you forgive my indulgence in sharing this:

Many years ago as a pre-registration pharmacist in Liverpool together with 20 or so of my graduate colleagues I attended a series of seminars at Fazakerley Hospital. The last seminar before lunch was to be on spinal chord injuries.

We started to get restless because the speaker was late in arriving. When finally he arrived the room quickly hushed to silence. The speaker manoeuvred his wheel chain to the front of the centre aisle and then with a bowling action hooked his arm behind one of the rear push handles of his wheel chair. David was a strikingly handsome man with piercing blue eyes that just melted the ladies in the audience. For a full two minutes or so he didn't say a word but just smiled and poured his gaze across his audience. Finally in his rich Scouse accent he said:

"It's alright for you blokes, you can bash your bishops any time you like. Me, the closest I get to an orgasm is when I have a shower and the water sprays on my face."

To say we were instantly captivated is an understatement. In one master stroke he had cut through the awkwardness and taboo of talking about living with and managing disability. He went on:

" You see, as a tetraplegic not only am I paralyzed from the neck down I can't feel anything from my neck down either."

From then on I got to know David very well and spent many evenings visiting him at the Younger Disabled Unit at the hospital. I remember vividly one night we went down to the hospital social centre for a pie and a pint which turned out to be a cola and a pie for me as David had to observe a strictly restrained diet on account of the severe constantly life threatening difficulties that tetraplegic patients can have managing the spasticity of their bowels and bladders. In conversation David explained how he had broken his neck.

As a happy go lucky eighteen year old David had gone on holiday with a gang of his friends to the Med. On their last day their flight was delayed so the gang decided to go back to the beach. For the past week they had been diving and jumping off of the rocks on the beach which they proceeded to do again. Tragically, as David took his last dive the sea swell dropped to reveal a large rocky outcrop which he impacted head on and broke his neck. David died twice and was resuscitated twice before finally being transferred a few weeks later by air ambulance to the UK. David freely admitted that shortly after his accident he had wished that he hadn't been resuscitated but that had changed and that he had learned to live a different but fulfilled life. He went on to explain the work that he was now doing as a counsellor and one particular story he recounted has stayed with me.

A young suicidal female patient was referred to David for counselling. David asked her why she felt suicidal and she replied because her life wasn't worth living. So he asked her want she did in her spare time and she said she did some sport and that she liked tennis. David went on to explain that he would referee the ping pong between the biplegic patients at the Younger Unit and by parking his wheel chair at the net he could exercise his neck by following the flight of the ping pong ball to and fro. Next David asked her if she had a car. Yes she said. I have a BMW to which David replied that he had his motorized wheelchair which gave him freedom which he wouldn't otherwise have but that he was peeved that he had been done by the police for going through a red light when he had been forced to use the road because the local paths were in such a bad state of repair that he couldn't use them. David then went on to ask the female patient if she had much of a sex life and she confided that she had a fella and her sex life was reasonably well fulfilled. We know how David responded to that subject ;) . Finally David asked the patient what she did for a living and she confessed to having a well paid sales and marketing job (hence the BMW) which took her around the country and occasionally abroad. David went on to say that he worked as a counsellor but that he didn't get paid but that was alright because the state was paying for his care, food and lodgings at the Younger Unit.

Needless to say the female patient went away with a completely different perspective on life, one which was no longer suicidal.

I was already in awe of David but for me, what really touched my heart was when I went to visit to collect him on the day he had agreed to come and speak to the British Pharmaceutical Students Association who were holding their annual conference in Liverpool that year. I entered his room to find him out of his wheel chair lying on his bed. He couldn't even turn his head to greet me as I came in and he struck such a helpless and pathetic figure so completely paralyzed and immobile that I was truly stunned. Up until that point I had only ever seen David in his wheel chair where he was able to move his arms and have what appeared to me to be a reasonable degree of mobility. What I hadn't realized was that he used his armchair to hook one arm and then used his neck to cantilever movement in his other arm much like the little wooden snakes I used to play with as a child but otherwise he had no physical control of his arms or legs whatsoever. What I also hadn't realized is the effort that it took David and a whole team of nursing staff nearly three hours in all to prepare David for his venture not to mention the small army of volunteers to transport him from Fazakerley to the students union in the centre of Liverpool. There was this man living in unbelievable hardship with all of the indignities of being so disabled and yet he would always make time for others and would always go out of his way to help people whenever he could.

An inspiration beyond words.

Would love to hear other stories of inspiration.
Is David still with us Karol?
 

Karol 

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Is David still with us Karol?
Tragically not and very sadly missed. David married a nurse who became his full time carer and he left the Younger Disabled Unit to be cared for in their new home. I never got to see him in his new surroundings.

Life expectancy in higher spinal chord injuries that result in tetraplegia whilst improving is nevertheless considerably shortened.
 

Karol 

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I don't know if you've seen the film 'A full measure' but I was surprised by how much it resonated with my memories of my grandfather on my father's side. Deported to the Siberian gulags in the winter of 1939 together with his wife, three sons and daughter, the family survived two Siberian winters before being given amnesty by the Soviets (Jack Dee eat your heart out 😁). My grandfather enlisted into the free Polish army under Gen. Anders and whilst travelling to the army muster point he came across an orphanage of abandonned starving Polish orphans. Rather than leave them to perish he took it upon himself to get them out of Siberia which he managed to do saving some 40 orphans who made it to the Polish refugee camp at Valivade in India via the Black Sea and what was then Persia. Those orphans became global emigres raising families of their own all over the world. Towards the end of the film 'a full measure' the impact that the hero William Pitsenbarger had was wonderfully portrayed when the whole of the audience attending his posthumous award ceremony acknowledged his part in all their lives. I confess that at that moment I welled up thinking about my grandad and how many people would stand as his audience as a consequence of his selfless endeavours. I suspect it would be a very crowded gallery. And much like many of the characters in the film he came back a broken man suffering PTSD after serving in the artillery at Monte Casino in Italy so much so that he just could not relate to his own family.
 

Helen Tworkowski 

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I don't know if you've seen the film 'A full measure' but I was surprised by how much it resonated with my memories of my grandfather on my father's side. Deported to the Siberian gulags in the winter of 1939 together with his wife, three sons and daughter, the family survived two Siberian winters before being given amnesty by the Soviets (Jack Dee eat your heart out 😁). My grandfather enlisted into the free Polish army under Gen. Anders and whilst travelling to the army muster point he came across an orphanage of abandonned starving Polish orphans. Rather than leave them to perish he took it upon himself to get them out of Siberia which he managed to do saving some 40 orphans who made it to the Polish refugee camp at Valivade in India via the Black Sea and what was then Persia. Those orphans became global emigres raising families of their own all over the world. Towards the end of the film 'a full measure' the impact that the hero William Pitsenbarger had was wonderfully portrayed when the whole of the audience attending his posthumous award ceremony acknowledged his part in all their lives. I confess that at that moment I welled up thinking about my grandad and how many people would stand as his audience as a consequence of his selfless endeavours. I suspect it would be a very crowded gallery. And much like many of the characters in the film he came back a broken man suffering PTSD after serving in the artillery at Monte Casino in Italy so much so that he just could not relate to his own family.
Thank you for talking about your grandfather. My fatherspoke of General Anders as a saint and hero.
 

Amari 

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I don't know if you've seen the film 'A full measure' but I was surprised by how much it resonated with my memories of my grandfather on my father's side. Deported to the Siberian gulags in the winter of 1939 together with his wife, three sons and daughter, the family survived two Siberian winters before being given amnesty by the Soviets (Jack Dee eat your heart out 😁). My grandfather enlisted into the free Polish army under Gen. Anders and whilst travelling to the army muster point he came across an orphanage of abandonned starving Polish orphans. Rather than leave them to perish he took it upon himself to get them out of Siberia which he managed to do saving some 40 orphans who made it to the Polish refugee camp at Valivade in India via the Black Sea and what was then Persia. Those orphans became global emigres raising families of their own all over the world. Towards the end of the film 'a full measure' the impact that the hero William Pitsenbarger had was wonderfully portrayed when the whole of the audience attending his posthumous award ceremony acknowledged his part in all their lives. I confess that at that moment I welled up thinking about my grandad and how many people would stand as his audience as a consequence of his selfless endeavours. I suspect it would be a very crowded gallery. And much like many of the characters in the film he came back a broken man suffering PTSD after serving in the artillery at Monte Casino in Italy so much so that he just could not relate to his own family.
What a heart warming/rending account Karol.

On a vastly more pedestrian level: My paternal grandfather served in France as a private in the Ordnance Corps in WW1. He was in his mid 60s when I was born. All he seemed to do was sit by the fire in the range and the only time I remember him speaking was to tell me off for using too much toilet paper in the privy. Otherwise he never spoke.

More recently I've wondered whether he was suffering from PTSD. I never thought to question him or my late father.
 

pargyle 

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What a heart warming/rending account Karol.

On a vastly more pedestrian level: My paternal grandfather served in France as a private in the Ordnance Corps in WW1. He was in his mid 60s when I was born. All he seemed to do was sit by the fire in the range and the only time I remember him speaking was to tell me off for using too much toilet paper in the privy. Otherwise he never spoke.

More recently I've wondered whether he was suffering from PTSD. I never thought to question him or my late father.
Both my grandfather's served in WW1 - one was REME and as a former bricklayer he spent most of his time digging tunnels under the enemy lines to lay the 'mines' - they had the worst of it as when there was an attack he had to go over the top as well. My other grandfather was in RAOC - re-mount section .. he rode as the lead horseman on a 6 horse team pulling ammunition carts to the front line - he was blown up by shells twice, one that killed all his horses yet he survived. My father was in WW2 .. he was in the front line at Monte Cassino although the only thing he would ever tell me about it was that the Salvation Army brought him chocolate, cigarettes and clean socks up to them in the front line when nobody else came near.

I'm certain, looking back, that they all had PTSD to some extent although it manifested itself in different ways - I can't think that anyone could survive such experiences and not be affected for the rest of their lives. If they overcame the trauma it could only have been buried skin deep - there was no help in those days with counselling or even acknowledgement that there was a condition.
 

Amari 

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Both my grandfather's served in WW1 - one was REME and as a former bricklayer he spent most of his time digging tunnels under the enemy lines to lay the 'mines' - they had the worst of it as when there was an attack he had to go over the top as well. My other grandfather was in RAOC - re-mount section .. he rode as the lead horseman on a 6 horse team pulling ammunition carts to the front line - he was blown up by shells twice, one that killed all his horses yet he survived. My father was in WW2 .. he was in the front line at Monte Cassino although the only thing he would ever tell me about it was that the Salvation Army brought him chocolate, cigarettes and clean socks up to them in the front line when nobody else came near.

I'm certain, looking back, that they all had PTSD to some extent although it manifested itself in different ways - I can't think that anyone could survive such experiences and not be affected for the rest of their lives. If they overcame the trauma it could only have been buried skin deep - there was no help in those days with counselling or even acknowledgement that there was a condition.
I believe that the RAOC = Royal Army Ordnance Corps received the "RA" in 1918. Before that it was simply Ordnance Corps, so our respective grandfathers served in the same outfit!
 

pargyle 

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I believe that the RAOC = Royal Army Ordnance Corps received the "RA" in 1918. Before that it was simply Ordnance Corps, so our respective grandfathers served in the same outfit!
Souds like it.. my Grandfather joined up early in 1914 as one of a 'Pals' battallion, he would have been 18 years old ..he had always worked with horses on the family farm and the army recognised that he knew horses and drafted him straight into the remount section ... he went right the way through but he came out very broken according to my Aunts. I remember him well sitting in his chair by the range, smoking a pipe and eating Bluebird toffees which he also gave to me ... he spent most of his working life tending pit ponies in Denaby Main Colliery in South Yorkshire and the few words I remember were his comments that you could always rely on a good horse or a dog when you couldn't trust a human. I have a selection of his horse brasses and a few faded photos. He died in in his early 60's - heart failure .. just worn out I think as many from that generation were.
 

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