A different life - with a unique perspective.
It was 1989, and I was lying on the ground, crumpled and broken with a crowd of people standing and kneeling around me.
I wasn't in pain at that point in time. Instead, I felt like I'd been cut in half as I could no longer feel anything below my waist.
The May sunshine was burning my cheeks. Above me, an open window was flapping - laughing.
Next door to the property was an almost identical building - a large nursing home.
As it was a hot day, the manager was beginning to get the back garden ready for a tea party. She turned to face next door and saw the top window being opened, a figure step out "as if she was walking into the air" and immediately drop at speed out of sight. She raced around and found me unable to move on the ground.
As she relayed what she saw to the others who joined the scene, a memory flooded my brain - of being higher than even the most majestic trees, of a moment of slow-motion falling, before I caught sight of the ground racing towards me.
I had landed with my heels hitting the ground first, the shock and damage going up through my body stopping at mid-lower back.
As well as breaks to bones in my lower body on both sides, I had burst unstable L1, L2 breaks, with spinal cord damage, that required emergency surgery. A year later I needed another big operation on my back. The scar begins just below my neck and ends just above my bottom.
LIFE GOES ON (part one)
So began my challenge to create something positive out of a collection of 'life-changing' injuries that included spinal cord damage at L1, L2. Burst unstable fractures (with spinal cord injuries) have the worst prognosis, but I would only find out that later.
I had a lack of feeling and mobility below the waist with bowels/bladder and other internal organs affected.
While I spent months in hospital, I decided to work with people who for whatever reason were left out of main society.
A throwaway comment by my surgeon, to do as much as I could while I could - proved to be true. Ten years after my original injury I began to deteriorate with an amputation (and spinal cord injury related osteoporosis to come.)
This decline would be to such an extent I could no longer work and required care at home.
I became one of the people left out of society, increasingly reliant on the threadbare social care system, that had been systematically starved of funds.
Again, I tried to find a positive and the only one I could find was my position - working in service provision and then being reliant on care providers gave me a vantage point from which to tell the stories of those who are suffering under this system, those whose stories normally wouldn't be heard.