READER REPORT:

Few friends after accident

JOHN
Last updated 05:00 07/06/2014

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At 52 I had a head-on collision in Angola, after a day out surfing. I was fit and socially out going. That all changed.

I received a burst vertebrae at L2 and couldn't feel my legs. I had crushed nerves in my buttock. This proved to be far worse than the back.

I'm not friendless, but there are very few people who have stuck by me. Over-all there's a stampede in the opposite direction as people avoid this now needy/moody/bewildered creature.

I've tried to understand people's reasons. I can be difficult at times. 

I refuse invites out 70 per cent of the time because I feel unwell and 30 per cent of the time because I've lost confidence.

A few good hearted people persist and I go out occasionally, but it's a fraught business in pain management with the next few days being gross.

This is the thing with pain, you have to be OK with the after-effects of going out socially.

What I long for most is occasional pop-ins from people, but we don't really do that now-a-days do we? People are so busy.

I was part of a Christian community but no longer believe God exists. I've done a lot of thinking on this subject. I would trade a cuppa for a prayer any day now.

ACC have been pretty fantastic, a life saver.

It's been four and a half years now and there is is a glimmer of hope as four ACC-funded surgeries have gradually improved symptoms. It's a very slow business the nerve business, we talk in years not months.

I still surf a little and did a desperate seven-day solo sail in my yacht, do or die.

I do most things alone now. I guess people would tell me I'm too stoic, but I don't know how to get out of this loop. You develop a highly tuned B.S. detector, so you know when a person is bored with your condition.

I'm a bewildered old coot with a rooted body, and I'm not very sure how to re-enter society.

I think about changing city a lot, making a fresh go. I could improve a few things, tell people what I can do. I would love people to ask me if there's something I'd like to do.

It's important to make visitors comfortable with your circumstances.

It's important to explain calmly (without drama) your limits.

I have some good mates and family who have stood by me. I think they may have saved my life.


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