28 Mar 2008

Post number 31: Bad vs Good things for the first time

There have been all sorts of things that have depressed me since being at the TLU, losing Tash, my awful feelings of inadequacy and helplessness, the patheticness of my walking, How exhausting I’m finding physiotherapy despite getting on fine with the therapists, the appallingness of my physical condition, the robotic sound of my voice, the fact that I seem to be getting more tired and not less, endless tedious sessions with what I consider to be largely ineffective staff, stupid agency staff and residents that I often have little in common with. On the flipside there have been plenty of things that have cheered me up: Finding Carlie; the improvement of my relationship with Sonja (the TLU boss and head psychologist), rehab assisstants that I’ve really liked (Particularly pretty, caring and intelligent Nicole, Toni and Felicity. Good lads Patrick, Derek, Paul and Niall), The incredible loyalty of friends and family, the becomeone that just about raised £2k for the trust, seeing the Oxshot option take shape, going to see Bill Bailey, Occasional kind and lovely messages via email and facebook, facebook ,eating a Nandos, Rupert Everetts autobiography on audiobook;Last night was one of the things that really cheered me up. Many of you will know (or at least of heard of) Jackie Kennard. If you haven’t she was until her retirement last year, my old bosses (the wonderful Helen KC) secretary at John Lewis, She took me under her wing while I was there and(for some reason) treated me like a bit of an errant son! Thank god she did because without her influence, I would undoubtedly made more of a pigs ear of things than I did! Since my stroke Jackie managed to raise £14k for the two hospitals I spent the early days in ( Charing Cross hospital Neuro unit, and The Frank Cooksey rehab unit at Kings College Hospital. Not only did she organise the sale of samples that suppliers had sent John Lewis with military precision, She publicised it well enough to drum up the sort of interest that is required to raise that sort of sum in the first place. I also genuinely believe that it was that sample sale that first raised awareness to my plight at John Lewis who have been such an incredibly supportive former employer. Since her retirement this support has not waned, both because of Jackies continued activeness in John Lewis circles (it’s a wonder the company functions without her!) and through her passing the torch so effectively to great friends of mine in JL, Simon Dawes and Anna Micallef. Jackie was up to her old tricks last night:She had organised a fundraising lecture and auction going to the trust. Not only were the lectures (on Shackletons 1914 expedition to the South Pole and Charles Dickens female characters) interesting and informative (they managed to keep me awake despite the hour, the shortness of my attention span and the dreadful tiredness I now suffer from) Both lectures were beautifully delivered, the Shackleton one by a guy who had actually been on the expedition giving a slideshow illustrated account of the incredible hardships they faced. It really put my struggle in perspective, to realise the incredible strength of character these guys had to survive. It really was incredible how indomitable their spirit was. I was profoundly moved by this but was also profoundly moved by the generosity of the large crowd in the auction (about 100 people made up of allsorts rounded up by the indomitable Mrs Kennard). For a start the prizes were nothing short of sensational sourced through the extensive contacts of alround top man, Selwyn Kennard (Jackie’s husband and secretary of Tandridge Golf Club). I’m not sure how much the ensuing auction raised but early indication were £3.5k to which we obviously have Jackie and Selwyn to thank but also the super charismatic auctioneer Chris Evans (the Tandridge golf proffesional) for coaxing such high bids out of the crowd, and of course to the crowd itself for its generosity and for coming in the first place. The evening of course belongs to Jackie. Its success is all down to her skill in mobilising and motivating people. I am so lucky to have met the people I have and to be part of my family.I don’t think anyone could have hoped for a better response from the people that know them to the cataclysmic event that has befallen me.

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