7:00, Friday the 13th April
Never underestimate the psychological benefit of feeling useful. It gives the subject that satisfaction of importance to society. Being the sociable creatures that we are, we need to feel important.
Today I was the subject being rejuvenated by that feeling of importance. And so in regaining that, I regained an identity.
This morning I woke up slightly earlier than usual and was kindly given a quick shower, even though it was not my turn. Patients get one shower every other day. I was fed and successfully opened my bowels twice by 10am. My Mum thus picked me up from the unit and we began our journey up towards Oxford so that I could showcase the dissertation research that I’m getting published. Arriving at Oxford Brookes University, we popped my grandmother’s disabled badge on the dashboard and set off towards the newly developed campus entrance. As we entered through the disabled access side door I spotted a wild Madam Corinne Larkworthy, AKA Larkers (my old housemate). Chasing and shouting after her we got ambushed by all my other old housemates. So good to see them on cracking form. I soon discovered, true to her character that Sophie had just pulled an all nighter in getting her dissertation finished. Thinking that she wasn’t looking her best she had printed an extra copy just for posing with, after handing in the other copies. Leaving the girls, mum helped me do a quick pee in one of the many disabled loos before
venturing towards the ‘Forum’, where my research was being showcased on a poster that I’d put together.
Throughout my education I have always been the bottom set dyslexic kid who could never finish an exam on time, all my grades were A’s and B’s for effort and 4’s and 5’s for attainment. I chose my subjects around which ones contained the least writing and now I find myself sitting in front of a poster based upon a 10,000-word dissertation that I wrote. It all feels very foreign but at the same time hugely relieving.
Sitting by my poster, two men approached me, one holding a gyroscope with an IPhone clamped inside. Clearly for serious filming. They asked if it would be alright to film me? I of course said yes, not sure whether it’s because it’s good to present a wheelchair in their video or whether my poster is actually ‘very good’. But anyway, I will take whatever help I can get!
Being my first attempt at explaining the poster and my first time under the lens I fluffed it up a little, not explaining it as well as I could have. The interest in my research was slow to start off with but picked up as more people drifted past and I was able to draw them in. It didn’t take long before I had a quick and simple breakdown of my research and was able to make it interesting enough for the listener.
“What’s that? You want to know what my research is about?”
“Here is the clearest and simplest breakdown I can deliver in one big poster:”
Near the end of the event I wheeled away from my poster to see what everyone else’s research was about. One piece caught my eye in particular, it was about the measurement of progress in neuro-physiotherapy. Many of the tests I had already completed and I was able to give my input. I gave the student my email address in case she wanted me to come and talk about my first-hand experiences of neuro-physiotherapy and then I made my way back to my poster. My last visitor was a lecturer at the university for the retail marketing module and wanted to use the research for her students. As I said it is nice to know that I am contributing to society, so I said yes.
Leaving the University, I demonstrated my wheelchair skills by sliding down the grand ramped entrance leading out of the University. I’m sure my friends and mother thought me a nutter when I threw in a handbrake turn but I enjoyed myself and that’s what counts.
We said our farewells. It had been a great day and one that has rescued my patience.
Thank you for reading.
Until next time. Bon Voyage!
By Angus the academic.