Where do I begin? It seemed that overnight my life changed from everything I had ever desired and dreamed of, to trying to absorb the reality that my life would never be the same again. As I share my journey with you, I hope and pray you will glean some lessons about life, and make the most of situations by changing them for the good. This experience has moulded me into who I am today - A woman who now understands and feels compassion for those less fortunate.
April 7th 1979…. Gore, New Zealand. It was our wedding day and I was marrying the man of my dreams, Chris. We had been dating for about three years and enjoyed a wonderful life together. We had worked hard saving for our first home, and even today I can still recall the excitement of unlocking the door for the first time, and the joy at the prospect of all the dreams and memories that would be planted within those walls. The previous owners were an elderly couple, so the house needed lots of fresh new life breathed into it and we instantly started to plan some changes.
Our wedding day was the dream we had planned. We shared it not only with close family, but also with relatives we never knew we had. Back then you invited everyone. Everybody enjoyed the day and no one wanted it to end. When leaving the reception we sneaked the toaster and electric kettle from the gift table so we could make breakfast the following morning.
For our first night as a married couple in our new home I had made the bed up fit for a prince and princess, because that’s how we felt.
LATER IN THE STORY...
He was lying completely flat with no pillow and he was wearing an oxygen mask. He winked as if to say, “Hello Wifey, glad you’re here.” I breathed a sigh of relief. He looked great and there was no sign of an injury, not even a scratch. After a short chat his eyes began to close. I was beckoned to join the doctor and Mum. We sat like stunned mullets in the doctor’s office, unable to take in what we were hearing. I had so many questions and I hoped he had all the answers. Would Chris walk again? Could he father children?
The doctor looked at us solemnly and bluntly gave us the news. Chris would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Unless his sperm could immediately be frozen there would be no children.
The room started to spin and I felt sick. I wanted to scream and tell the stupid damn doctor he didn’t know what he was talking about. Surely Chris would be different from other cases?
When I had regained my composure, Mum and I returned to Chris’s room. This time the blinkers were off. I saw a catheter bag hanging from the bedside, rolls of toilet paper and air freshener (due to bowels that worked involuntarily), jars of alcohol rub for circulation and a suction machine to drain fluid off the lungs.
I was too stunned to speak. It was just too much to take in. His spine was broken at chest height, and bladder and bowels no longer worked normally. His lungs were already filling with excess fluid because he was unable to sit up to allow them to drain normally.
THE ENTIRE BOOK IS WORTH IT FOR THIS STORY ALONE!!!