The Rise and Fall of Dean Strachan !!

8282110640_a3ce600dab_bSorry!! Its been a while since my last blog, I don’t know why really, I’ve been quite busy, various new challenges popping up, and to be honest I’ve been unable to put pen to paper, as I need to get this blog out of my head!

It all come to a head at the beginning of August just gone!! Well 11 months ago now, I’m talking as if it was Yesterday!!

Or Last Week!!

Or Last Month!!

No!!

It was 11 Months ago!!

Almost a Year ago!!

I had felt it inside me bubbling away, gradually increasing in its intensity. I knew it was coming, just didn’t know when? Or how? Or what was going to happen?

It was the last week in July, when Katie and I had an argument, she became jealous of my new friend and I don’t understand why, even now to this day I still do not understand it.

It was the final straw within me and Monday 1st August I completely lost the plot, I had to get away before I had a complete breakdown!!

I got in my camper van and left… I literally took nothing with me, no phone, no clothes, no house keys, nothing… even left my dog, Prince, as I knew I was heading somewhere really dark, I didn’t know where I would end up, and how my mental state would be, deep down I knew I wouldn’t be able to look after him. Apparently I left a note to Katie, but can’t remember what I wrote.

I ended up on the Kent coast, rather than the Sussex coast, probably best really as I may have ended up at Beachy Head!!

I ended up parked at the side of the road!

To my right, a large house, which was being renovated, it looked pretty unloved, forgotten, its character and soul stripped away, and untouched for a while, looking by the dust and weeds growing in front of the gates.

To my left, a grass bank led down to the beach, where some beach huts sat in all different colours, followed by some pebbles and then the sea.

In front, I could see the pier, to far away to see exactly what was on it, but I could defiantly make out a Helter Skelter on the far end. I hadn’t been on one for years!! But ironically my life was spiralling downwards as if I was riding a Helter Skelter, down and down not being able to see around the corner, but knew I was sinking lower and lower!!

To my rear, was my life I had left behind!!

I was away about 5 or 6 days, can’t remember a great deal about it really. I remember walking and walking for miles, I knew it was dark usually by time I’d got back to the camper, I had no watch, so had no concept of time.

I was living a basic life, no TV, no Phone, no Newspaper, just a few bits of clothing which I found in the cupboards which I must have left there from my last trip away.

Washing was a little primitive, but found an outside shower between a gap in the beach huts which was free but the water was icey cold, so showering was quick and brief.

I thought I should ring Katie and let her know I was still alive, so looked for a call box, but they don’t seem to exist these days, found a couple but they had been vandalised.

So I bought a cheap pay as you go phone and some credit, then I realised I didn’t have any phone numbers with me, all my numbers were on my phone I’d left at home.

So after a while, my home number came to me, as I rang number I wondered if anyone would answer, as we never answered the home phone normally, as it was nearly always a sales call of some sort, unless it was a Sunday or Wednesday night about 7.30pm, then we’d answer as it would be my Mum and Dad calling.

The phone answered, it was Katie. I can’t hardly remember anything that was said, the only thing I can recall is she told me that my GP wanted to section me under the mental health act!!

So now my doctor thinks i’m a total nut case, great!!

“Thanks for the support Doc!!”

He is as guilty as everyone else! Thinking why I’m not back to my old self yet!!

Why can’t people get it through their skulls!!

I’m never going to be how I was!!

I’m different now!

Yeah I look in the mirror and “YES” I look the same, maybe a bit fatter, in fact definitely fatter, but I’m not so active now! I’m not doing a physical job anymore and the fatigue is hitting me like an avalanche swallowing me up!

Feel like my metabolism has got up and rang away from me!

My mojo has also left me too without even a sign of a faint shadow!

My role as “the man of the house” has been stolen from me like a piece of sentimental jewellery, you can’t just replace it!

So 11 months on!!

How am I doing?

To be honest I feel like I’m in this bubble, aware of what’s going on but not connected to the real world, as if I’ve died, and I’m between heaven, hell and earth!!

You may say “Get a grip Deano!!”

But the truth is I can’t, I’m in limbo, I’m lost in this crazy maze!!

Don’t get me wrong!!

I’m not after sympathy!!

That’s not what this blog is about!!

It’s about what I’m going through, trying to explain it in the best way I can!! Speaking as I truthfully see it!!

Maybe help others to realise that they are not alone if they are experiencing the same things as me!!

Maybe help give our friends and family an insight into our isolated world!!

No two brain injuries are the same, so this may not help everyone, but if it helps someone I’ve achieved something!!

Bye for now, speak soon x

Sink or Swim!!

It started a few weeks ago now, I was out for a walk with my dog, Prince, and we were playing fetch with his ball. There were 2 people in the distance with 3 dogs.  Eventually our paths crossed, I think one of the other dogs got Prince’s ball and it turned out to be 2 ladies, one of the ladies got the ball and threw it back in my direction shouting a sincere “Sorry!”. “That’s OK!” I replied.

Anyway it happened again and somehow we just ended up chatting, as dog owners do!

It turns out the 3 dogs belong to the one lady, and the other lady was her au pair from Spain. The topic of conversation moved onto how I got Prince to help with my recovery from a brain injury, and also to give him a better life as I rescued him from a family who couldn’t look after him anymore.

So after a chat and the dogs seemed pretty worn out, we said goodbye and left the field, only to find we were all walking in same direction, turns out we live in the same road but round the corner from each other.

So weeks weeks went by and we bumped into each other a couple of times, by the way her name is Nina, when one day she suggested that her boy Harry, who is 8, should play with my youngest Grace, aged 7 going on 27!

They got on like a house on fire, which was really great. They’ve even had tea at each other’s houses! Made cakes together! Played in a garden pool together!

Harry wrote a note to his mum saying she’s “the best mummy in the world!”

When she asked why? He said “Because if you hadn’t encouraged me and Grace to be friends I wouldn’t have had such a nice day”, followed by a massive hug. Grace was saying to Harry while they were baking cakes “My Dad has a Brain Injury”, Harry said “What’s that?”, she replied “Oh! He fell out a loft and landed on his head”.

Kids are great!! Everything is so Black and White!! They say it how it is, and how they see and think it!

I can see this even more and appreciate it, as since my accident I see things in a similar way, which I believe a lot of brain injury survivors experience. The down side is that it makes you vulnerable in the outside world which really takes some getting used too! I have come unstuck a few times now, but I don’t think it is something I’m ever going to grow out of somehow, unlike a child.

Anyway getting back to the title of this blog, you’ve probably forgotten now what it’s called, so I’ll remind you! “Sink or Swim!!”

So last Thursday Nina came straight out with it, on a dog walk I think, “So what we doing tonight! Swimming or Bike ride??” in an authoritative tone. I said nothing for a few moments, trying to absorb whether I had heard right, “Errr! I don’t know what do you think the kids would like?” Trying to deflect the question. “Swimming” she said. “Ok, swimming it is!” I replied submissively.

She knew I hadn’t been swimming or riding a bike since my accident. I started to feel the anxiety kicking in, which I think she sensed, as she explained “It’s only 1.2 Metres at its maximum depth, and there are chairs to sit at on the side if I change my mind, and I’ll try to be supportive rather than sarcastic”.

To be honest swimming was something I really wanted to try, as before my accident I was a good swimmer. I just didn’t know what was going to happen, would I SINK?? Or SWIM??

I remember speaking to my friend Andy at Headway, as he had offered to go with me, but then the Cricket season started and he has been too busy, so haven’t seen much of him.

So Nina took her Harry, me and Grace to Tonbridge pool, it was just gone 8pm, she said it would be really quiet at this time. But unknown to us, the pool was for women only on a Thursday night!! Nina was not impressed and expressed her thoughts to the man behind the desk. The kids weren’t too impressed either, I was feeling deflated too as I had put myself through that anxiety torment. So Nina suggested we go to Edenbridge swimming pool, she checked it wasn’t “MEN ONLY NIGHT!!” or “VEGAN ONLY NIGHT!!”, and that it was open. (Apologies to any Vegans).

So by the time we got to the pool it was gone 8.30PM. The next minute I’m at the edge of the pool, it’s as good as empty, great I thought, NO NOISE!! At this point Nina, Harry and Grace are saying “You getting in!!”. I go down the steps as if each step is covered in spikes. I’m in the pool, a clap from Nina, “Come on!” She says, “Duck under the water!”, so I do like an obedient child. “I DONE IT!!” I shout as I come back up from the water. “Do you think you can remember how to swim?” She shouts. So I try to do the breast stroke, “Well Done!!” I hear. Nina climbs out the pool to check if my legs are in sequence with my arms as it felt odd to me. “Yes, they’re fine”.

Then I try the front crawl, followed by the back stroke. “I just can’t believe it!!” I bellowed. I was so pleased with myself and so grateful to Nina.

“So when we going on the bikes?” She asked smiling. “Soon, very soon” I replied.

I’m on a roll again, I can feel it inside, the trouble is now, I won’t know when to stop!! As last time I was on a roll, back in February, I ended up in Pembury Hospital for 5 days, which I will no doubt write about another time, I’ll call it “Crash and Burn!!”,so keep a look out for it!

I guess the moral of this particular blog is if I don’t push myself how will I ever find my limits??!! Fortunately for me this time I had encouragement from Nina.

I’m not prepared to sit back and accept that this is as good as life gets, I just can’t!!

What a waste of a life if I give up!

So what will be around the corner?

Who knows, but I’m coming round it whatever!!

Thanks for reading, speak soon x

P.S. Harry and Grace had a great time at the pool!!

Only the Lonely!!

I feel guilty saying it! But yes, since my accident I have been LONELY!

I never thought I would feel this emotion at this stage in my life, an arrogant comment really!

Your probably thinking what’s this guy on?!

He’s talking a load of rubbish!

He’s just feeling sorry for himself!

Has he lost the plot?!

Well, I am on drugs, but prescribed.

And I do witter on.

I can be sensitive, wear my heart on my sleeve.

And perhaps I have lost the plot, after all, I do have a brain injury.

But seriously, loneliness is unfortunately part of my life for now!

Will it go away?

Can I make it go away?

I just don’t know.

I know I have a family! Who I love very much.

I know I have friends, old, forgotten and new! Who I care about too!

But I’m in this different world now, it’s as if….

How can I explain this??

It’s as if I’m living in a foreign country without being able to understand or speak the language, so i’m no longer understood by the majority!

My pre-accident relationships seem to be living in the past, I look like Dean Strachan still, but I’m not the same person anymore. They just don’t get me anymore, or maybe scared to understand me, I just don’t know!

It’s not their fault! I don’t blame them, but I struggle with it. And yes, they probably struggle with it too.

I feel guilty for not being able to put everything right, but I just can’t fix it.

I know the brain injury can make me selfish so I try to prevent it happening if I can. The bouts of tiredness that hit you throughout a normal day can make your mood a bit erratic, which again I try to control. Then there is the hypersensitive noise issues which can really send you over the edge and drain your energy.

It’s strange because I connect with other people with brain injury quite easily and visa versa, it’s as if we are on a special wave length, we don’t even have to say anything sometimes, but just look at each other to agree on something or understand, or we come out with the same sentence at the same time. There is none of them expectations between us, we are like a big family. We all come from different backgrounds. We can be ourselves.

The loneliness is defiantly worse when I have not been to Headway West Kent for a few days.

I try to keep myself busy when I’m not at Headway which helps to keep the feeling away. My dog, Prince, also helps.

I tend to dread the weekends as I find they can be the worst.

This probably makes no sense to most of you, but hopefully it will help someone who feels the same way, that don’t let the loneliness eat away at you, because it will if you let it!

Easily said! But hard to come to terms with!

Anyway I must go now as I have my appointment with my neuropsychologist shortly. Hopefully she won’t lock me up and throw away the key.

Friend or Foe??

It was Friday just gone, 17th June, a rather wet and miserable day. The only thing I can remember about the morning was that I printed off a “To Do List” which I had typed up Thursday night before bed. A copy of my list is below.

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It has nothing ticked off and is still laying beside me as I write my blog, so much for lists, Eh!

You may say “But thats not true! Your doing the last thing on your list!”

But I’m not, because the note was to remind me to write about a completely different subject all together. So you’ll have to wait for that one!

Anyway, getting back to Friday, the morning had disappeared into oblivion, but I had to get to Paddock Wood Advice Centre to drop off a letter before 1.30PM, (not on my to do list) which I did with 10 minutes to spare. Then I was going to take Prince, my dog, to a  local Country Park, but the heavens opened..

So Prince and I headed diagonally across the road to Costa Coffee which had an undercover outside seating area. After my second cup of Cappuccino, the rain started to ease up, so we went back to the car, it was gone 3pm, what a waste of a day. So I headed to Borough Green to drop off my repeat prescription.

While I was in the area I thought I would pop into my old local car repair garage which I used quite a lot when I was doing a bit of buying & selling of cars, a side line to my gas heating business, more of a hobby really. It is made up of 4 guys mainly. The two partners, Steve and Graham who both work in the workshop, Steve is more jolly, happy go lucky and more approachable, Graham is the complete opposite really. There’s also another Graham who mainly does the MOT’s, we usually have a bit of a natter when he’s MOTing one of my vehicles. Then there is Martin who works on the front desk, he takes the bookings, orders parts and answers the phone etc. We would also have a good old chat about all different things really. I was known as “Lucky”, and usually got greeted by anyone of them “Alright Lucky, how’s it going then?”. Or when I rang them up I would say “Its Deano from Lucky Autos” and I would be greeted back with “LUCKY!!” bellowing down the phone.

So since my accident last year I have not seen much of them at all. As I pulled up Steve was just going out the yard, he stopped, smiling and said a quick “Hello and how am I? etc”.

In to the office I walk and Graham the owner is talking to a customer and Martin was in and out like a yoyo, from the workshop and on the phone. So I helped myself to a coffee from the drinks machine while i waited.

Martin and I then started chatting about life in general etc, he asked if I was back to work and I said that it was highly unlightly I’d return to work. He asked how was I surviving money wise, i just said i was on unemployment benefit as i didn’t really want to discuss stuff like that.

I then remembered about my old camper van was due for MOT and I needed to get it booked in as it has a starter motor issue. He said to give him a call next week, as I was leaving I remembered that they had not met Prince, so I said to Martin “You haven’t seen my new dog Prince have you?” as I was going out the door.

With that he replied “Who pays for the dog? Benefits?”

Well, I stopped, you could have knocked me over with a feather, I hope I did not show the horror in my face as I turned round, I don’t know how I thought of a response so quick “No, Katie pays for him to help me get out”.

Was it said as a Joke or in Malice??

If it was a joke, it wasn’t very funny!

If it was in malice, I’m pretty appalled!

I felt I had been instantly judged, it made me feel bad, its been going around my head all weekend.

I feel I need to go back and ask if he was joking or not, either way its going to leave a sour taste in my mouth what ever the answer is.

I just can’t understand why you would say that.

So hence the title of my blog “Friend or Foe??”

You think someone is your friend, and they probably aren’t. It hurts, it knocks your confidence, you start doubting yourself and who’s who? I felt like I was committing a crime, perhaps he’s right.

Should I have a dog and be on benefits?

As far as I’m concerned Prince has helped me so much, and I hope I’ve helped him have a better life.

Speak soon x

A fundraising chat at the 19th!!

Jamie SpenceIt was Headway West Kent’s fund raising Golf Day, Friday 13th May 2016.

What a great successful day, the sun was blazing, the mood was joyful and everyone involved was a delight to talk to.

So the golfers done their thing in the morning around the beautiful 18 hole course of Nevill Golf Course, Tunbridge Wells.

I managed to have a one to one chat with a professional golf called Jamie Spence, I got a picture of him in action as above. He was also our guest speaker at our lunch today.

I also had been given the honour of speaking after Jamie Spence in front of just under a 100 people I’d never met before.

So I wrote my speech a few days before the event and Lisa Rye ( CEO of Headway West Kent) tweaked my speech very slightly and stuck it on card for me to make it easier to hold.

It was a great challenge for me, and I knew I had to give it my best shot, pardon the pun, I had a lot of great feedback after my speech which I didn’t expect, and I hope I made a few more people aware of this invisible disability which goes unnoticed by so so many people.

So this is my speech:

My name is Dean Strachan, I am 48 years old, I know, it’s hard to believe, I often pinch myself in the morning to double check.

Just a year ago l was a highly qualified gas boiler engineer running my own business. I had reached the end of an average day fitting a new boiler and was clearing up in a client’s loft, when as I descended their loft-ladder, it collapsed!

l was driven head first to the floor. It all occurred in a split second, but has had a lifelong impact on my life, my family’s life and also my friends lives – well, the friends who stayed around that is!

Ripping the signage from my vans was one of my saddest early moments of this crisis when I knew I would never work in the business again and the vans had to be sold. I had been one of the 2% of the nation’s gas installers who held the prestigious official Accredited Installer status with the industry leaders, Worcester Bosch.

So…

Headway West Kent.

What’s it all about?

It’s about helping people like me.

People like me who appear to be, excuse the expression “NORMAL”.

Brain injury is an invisible disability not recognised most of the time.

The support Headway has given me is difficult to put into words, but what I can say is that I would be a broken man now without them.

With Headway West Kent’s help I now have my head in the clouds, and this picture I took over Pembury, Tunbridge Wells represents my thoughts.

Head in the clouds

Headway is my safe place in the world.

HOME IS MY SECOND SAFE PLACE!

I struggle with family life. I have 3 children living at home, Grace 7, Harry 10 and Savine 18. Daisy 19, my eldest lives at Crayford.

I struggle with routine, even though I need it.

I struggle with organisation, as I need constant prompting.

E.g. making a cup of tea. I put the cup on the side, put in the tea bag, then it starts to go wrong. I may forget to add the hot water after the kettle has boiled or I add the hot water and forget to remove the tea bag and add milk. Sometimes maybe 20 minutes later I think where’s my tea?, or I forget about it all together.

Simple tasks which you would do yourself like ordering a drink from the bar is a big deal for someone with brain injury.

Firstly, you have the anxiety as you go to the bar, you may stutter a bit giving your order, you would be reciting the 4 drinks you have to remember over and over in your head, you’ve ordered 2 drinks, you think your halfway there, then the bar attendant asks you “ice and lemon?”. Damn! You hesitate, you think about the question, you can see the bar attendant waiting for a response with bated breath. There are other people looking at you waiting to give their drink orders. So in the panic you answer with the 1st answer you think of, whether its right or wrong. Then the dreaded question, “Anything else?”. Your mind turns to mush, and you totally forget any of the other drinks, even if its your own drink. You return to the table with half the drinks to find out who you’ve missed out and it’s usually the Mrs!!

So next time you’re in a queue behind someone who seems to be taking their time, just give a moments thought that they may have a brain injury and they are trying their best!

I’m also hypersensitive to noise, you will often see me in my hoodie which helps to deflect the noise.

I suffer with anxiety, low mood, daily headaches/migraines, poor body temperature control, poor balance, slow information processing, poor short term memory and attention impairment, fatigue and a disruptive sleep pattern.

Apart from that I’m on top form!

So what am I doing now you may ask? Or perhaps it would be easier if you asked me what am I not doing now??

I am one of the lucky ones who can still drive, so I have some independence. l have a new circle of amazing friends at Headway, which includes the staff, volunteers and clients. We do various activities, theatre trips, meals out, Tia Chi, Pottery, Gardening, Relaxation classes, quizzes, scrabble, to name a few.

I have also started to go bird watching with my dad. The feathered type that is.

This got me into Photography which is my new found passion, and I hope my skills will continue to improve.

I have also started a blog a couple of months ago.

I have started a Headway sponsored weight loss challenge which I’m halfway through.

Life for now is a challenge — A NEW AND UNEXPECTED ONE!!

Thank you for listening!

So, thank you to Richard (Dickie) for introducing the speakers, Jamie Spence ( Team Leader UK Golf Team for this years Olympics in Rio), Lisa Rye ( CEO Headway West Kent ), Jennifer ( Fundraiser Headway West Kent), Nevill Golf Course, Tunbridge Wells, everyone else involved in arranging the golf event and last but not least the golfers who entered the fundraising golf event.

Thanks for reading my blog, speak soon x

Living with the Angels!!

It is the 7th April 2016, and its my eldest daughters birthday.

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She would be a young woman of 22 today.

I wonder what she would look like now ?

I wonder what type of job she would have now ?

I wonder if she would be in a relationship now ?

I wonder…

I wonder…

I wonder…

The hole inside me is infinite. They say time is a healer, but i wouldn’t say I’m healed!

Even now as i write, the emotion is still so raw.

The lump in my throat is increasing, my eyes are saturated, my heart is longing, but i know deep down she is watching over me!

When she passed away, they sent a black car to collect her instead of the usual black private ambulance. I remember carrying her in my arms from the house to the undertakers car, and we sat her in the back seat as if she was sleeping, put on her seat belt and one of the undertakers sat next to her. I think that was the most difficult thing i have ever done.

I have great memories in my head, which i’m so grateful my brain injury has not impaired these.

Today i’m going to share a copy of a note which i read to her before i placed it in her denim pocket at the Chapel of Rest.

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I have kept a copy of this note since that day, in my wallet along with a photo (as above) and one of her mauve hair bands, she had the most gorgeous auburn hair, which in the summer used to have natural blonde highlights.

So to some people a brain injury is devastating !!

To me it isn’t !!

Loosing my daughter was and still is !!

Thanks for reading. Bye for now!

I’m off now to go and place a basket of flowers made by my mum at the church, I probably take my dog, Prince, for some talk free company!

Oi! Who do you think you are? David Bailey!!

It was a phrase said in jest by people in my younger years, when someone was trying to take a photo. For the benefit of the younger generation, he is a famous photographer.
I have always been interested in photography, but have only ever been a point and shoot type, like most of us, i guess.

IMG_1540Since my accident my dad has taken me bird watching, for several reasons really.

Firstly, it was to get me out and about.

Secondly, it was a peaceful and relaxing environment.

Thirdly, my dad has always had a great interest in it since he was a lad.

So i decided to take a camera and try and get some photos of the birds and wildlife on these trips.

Various people have commented on my pictures, and that got me thinking, don’t laugh i can think sometimes 🙂

So the other day i booked myself on a Level 1 Photography Course run by Jessops.
So, Saturday came, i arrive at 10am on the dot at the Training Day. For a change i’m on time as i’m usually running late.
I’m feeling anxious, not knowing what or whom i’ve let myself in for. I keep telling myself “You can do this!!”, “You Can, You Can!!”.

As i walk into the room i come face to face with a guy in his late twenties, with a friendly face, he introduces himself as Carl. “Take a seat we are waiting for one other”. As i sit down i say “Hello” to another gentleman sitting at the head of the table, he looked around retirement age. So i settled in pretty quickly and wondered why i was so worried. Then, the Trainer Carl stands and says “We must get started now!”, followed by the door opening and the third pupil walks in to the room, he was 6’6″, late twenties with tattoos canvassing any visible parts of his skin.

We start by introducing ourselves and the course commences.
The trainer told a story which just stuck in my head.

A famous photographer went for a meal in a restaurant, the chef came out to greet the photographer saying how much he loved his great work and pointed to a beautiful picture landscape on the wall, “Look!” he said, “I have one of your pieces on my wall, I bet you took that with a great camera!”. The photographer smiled and nodded gently. Later, after his meal, as the photographer was leaving he was again greeted by the chef. He said to the chef “The meal was delicious, you must have cooked it in a great oven!”
It made me smile, thinking of how i would feel if one of my customers said “Thanks for fixing my boiler, you must have great tools”.
Anyway, i won’t bore you all with the details of the course, but i enjoyed it!

So i booked myself on three more courses, my Photography Level 2 course, a Motorsport Photo Workshop and a Birds of Prey Experience.
So i now have another interest to think about now, and hopefully i will become a better photographer. Who knows i might start another blog to run beside this one, to share my photography experiences.
Thanks for reading my blog!

Bye for now, David Bailey 🙂

A Trip to the Doctors!

My trip to the doctors started 7.25pm Sunday night. I had to fast from this time until 9.25am Monday, which was when I was having some blood tests done to see why I’m suffering with these constant headaches.

So to prevent any temptation or forgetfulness, the later being the more obvious, I decided to go to bed early. Monday morning came and my daily routine kicked into action. Bathroom, teeth, shower and get dressed. Then downstairs to the kitchen,where I got greeted by my dog as if I had been missing in action for 6 months, I headed for the kettle and was greeted again, but by various posters of “Dean Only Water”IMG_1536.JPG “Dean No Breakfast Only Water” IMG_1535.JPG

and my white board “Water Only”!!IMG_1537.JPG

My routine was now interrupted, I could feel the anxiety bubbling away inside, right I need a plan, I’m trying to think what to do, “What can I do? What Can I Do? WHAT CAN I DO?”, when I’m prompted by my fury friend, my dog Prince. I know, I’ll take the dog out for a walk (as if it was all my idea not his), and by the time I get back it will be time to leave for the Doctors.

On arrival at the doctors I book in with reception, and am told to go into the Waiting Room. As I approach the glass wooden framed doors I could see its contents, I’m sure if there were seats on the ceiling people would be on them too. As I went through the doors I’m greeted by coughing, sneezing, spluttering, sniffing and wheezing. I quickly grabbed the last breath of fresh clean air, and i’m sure I covered my mouth with my hand.

The Waiting Room is like a large through lounge, as if it was two separate rooms at one time. So I went to the far end and grabbed the last seat. I was sitting opposite a middle aged lady, I thought to myself this isn’t a bad seat after all. Then the tannoy boomed “Tom Green Room 2”, I nearly ended up on the lady’s lap. The lady opposite then rifled through her bag and produced a nail file, every to and thro action felt like it was passing through one ear and out the other, then the two children behind me decide to play on this toy where you push the beads along twisted bits of wire, I didn’t realise how much noise a toy could make, then the tannoy would boom into action as if it was all a well timed orchestra of chaos! I can feel myself getting more and more anxious, I again talk to myself “I can’t stand this! I’ve got to get out of here!”, I try to focus on something else, wishing the tannoy would sing my name. I notice a guy diagonally to my left, he was dressed in his tan coloured steel toe capped boots, black combat trousers and a thick fleece. I used to dress very similar just over a year ago when I was working. I felt an envy come over me, and I started to think about my working days. The tannoy boomed again which made me and the guy I was staring at jump, I looked away quickly so as not to be caught staring. I noticed the lady opposite was staring at me, still filing her talons, I’m running out of places to look, so I look up at the ceiling, then I check the time, I’ve only been here 5 minutes, seems more like 25 minutes. Then a soft ladies voice comes over the tannoy “Dean Strachan Room 8”.

I can’t even remember leaving the Waiting Room, the next I’m in Room 8 with the nurse. Its peaceful and quiet, and I feel myself relaxing, sinking into the soft chair, even though I’m having a needle put in my arm and now filling 5 test tubes of blood.

So a simple day to day task of going to the doctors can seem like a huge task for someone with a Brain Injury. I’m improving though because I went on my own, a few months ago I would not been able to do this, I would have needed someone to take me.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Cappuccino with a sprinkle of People!

IMG_1533Cappuccino  with a sprinkle of people! What a terrific combination! Sitting outside in the sun at my favourite coffee shop in Sevenoaks, Nonna Cappuccini’s, watching the world go by whilst sipping at my Cappuccino.

I was going to be meeting a friend this morning for a coffee and a chat, but unfortunately they was under the weather, so I thought rather than waste an opportunity I’d still go and took my dog Prince too. The staff there always make a fuss of him, so he enjoys himself too, he loves to people watch also.

You have the elderly couple helping each other along, still holding hands after 50+ years of marriage. You have the stressed mother struggling to keep any sort of order as the children run ragged. You have the flash harry on his mobile at full volume informing everyone within a 100 yards of his wise boy antics. You have the bored husband skulking past the pub as his misses drags him to the next clothes boutique. You have the young man looking at his reflection in every shop window. You have the kept woman with the handbag more expensive than your average car. You have the first date couple struggling to make conversation. You have the teenagers glued to their phones, yet still they walk along without bumping into anything. You have the foreign exchange student trying to work out the menu of the coffee shop. You have the click clop of the horsey type in their riding boots and jodhpurs. You have the people charging along dodging the daydreaming shoppers. You have the lost delivery driver pushing along his loaded sack barrow. You have the clueless 5 abreast strollers expecting everyone else to get out their way. You have the snippets of conversation that you try to piece together and make sense of. You have the pair who are obviously having an affair. You have the single dads who only have those few precious hours on a Saturday with their children.

Then you have me! In his hoodie, tracksuit bottoms and trainers with his Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross breed dog. What would your first thought be??

EXACTLY!!

We are all guilty of it! We judge a book by its cover. We make our minds up before we know anything. It’s just human nature.

The reason I wear tracksuit bottoms and a hoodie is because they keep me warm as my body temperature sense is damaged so I’m always cold, and I’m hypersensitive to noise so the hoodie helps to block some of everyday noise. As for my dog, I got him a month after my accident,  I rescued him when he was 6 months old, to give him a better life and to help with my recovery.

Thanks for reading my blog, speak soon x

A Year ago today !!

A year ago today was the 10th March 2015, a date which will stay with me for the rest of my life!

It is among a few dates which I will never forget, for some who know me well they will know these dates, and for those who don’t will no doubt find out if they continue to follow my blog.

Anyway getting back to the topic in hand, I was at work fitting a replacement gas boiler in a customers house, a pretty average day, the sun was out and life was pretty good, my business was expanding, we were close to doubling our turnover for this financial year, only another month to go and the diary was full. My company had a great reputation, and a Accredited Installer for Worcester Bosch ( 1 of only 2% of heating installers in the country) and Vaillant.

The new boiler was up and running, only the tiding up to do.  DISASTER !!!

The customers loft ladder that I was at the top of broke, and as I fell, I was heading towards the stairwell, I kicked off the wall, which sent me backwards but head first, impacting my head twice.

So today I had a choice!

  1. Do I mope around feeling sorry for myself?

OR

2.  Do I get on with living life?

I CHOSE OPTION 2!

So this morning I treated my damaged body to a Swedish Massage! I enjoyed it too 🙂 !!

You may think what a strange thing to say, aren’t the body and me the same thing? Well in laymen’s terms they are! But after a brain injury they are not, your body does not always connect with the brain, so what you want your body to do doesn’t necessarily happen.

The massage was expertly performed by Katya of Light Hearts UK

After that exhausting massage it was lunch time, so I headed from Tunbridge Wells to Sevenoaks, to my favourite coffee shop Nonna Cuppaccini’s and had a Chicken Escalope Ciabatta. The food here is always excellent, so is the coffee 🙂

Your probably thinking what a life of riley he’s living, and your right, 10 out of 10!!

I AM LIVING A LIFE OF RILEY, I’m not going to let my life changing brain injury stop me from living!!

Well I’d better get some rest as I do witter on, and its the early hours of Friday morning.