Monday, 22 August 2011

Seven Years today....

This time seven years ago, I was sitting in ICU wondering what the next minute was going to throw at us.

Today is the anniversary of the day Andrew broke his neck, and the anniversary of the day that really did change our whole way of life.

This post is  a 'wind back' to that time..I have a book full of newspaper and  similar articles that were collected during this time, below are just some of them.... (if you wish to read any of the articles just click on them to make them larger).

This photo was taken not long after our move from Christchurch's Intensive Care Unit to Burwood Spinal Hospital.

I took these photos as Andrew was being 'sat -up' for the first time since his injury. Sitting up is not as easy as you may think it would be after a long period of lying down.

Andrew is still attached to his breathing machine at this time. He was very lucky to eventually learn to breathe on his own again, thank goodness, because I got very tired carting this machine with us when ever we made an escape from the hospital...when the doctors and nurses were looking the other way!

Lunch time never used to be like this!

Here is Andrew taking a few worrying minutes off the ventilator.Some people at this level of injury never get off these machines...we were lucky!

...and even luckier to have the amazing support of our local community behind us. People are good!!!!

Andrew's lungs collapsed not long after arriving at Burwood, so here he is being stabilised before being carted back to ICU. One of Andrews lungs never recovered from this collapse, so breathing is always going to be laboured to some extent. And for this same reason he has to be carefull to try not to pick up colds and flues.

Two months on and the wonderful folk back home are still rallying around for us!

...mean while I seem to be doing alot of 'sitting around'

...Looking back I really should have made the most of sitting around, because I had no idea at this time just how busy my life was going to get, or just how much worry and stress was in store.

...And still more support....Incredible!!....

Andrew had the brightest wall in the Spinal ward, people used to pop in just for a peek at his walls.

 Here's my dad arrived for a visit. Mum and dad were kept busy at home looking after our Children. We could have moved them to Burwood for a while, but it made more sense for them to carry on with the life they knew, rather than up-rooting them at this time.

We were never short of visitors.

...or support....

 Burwood quickly become home and we slid into daily routines. Andrew spent his nights at the hospital and I lived in a little unit on the hospital grounds. We  made some very  lovely friends, who had sad stories of their own to deal with. 

We met and befriended some wonderful people in the hospital as well. The Doctors, nurses, and other patients were all cheerful, something that amazed me in our early days here.

In this photo Andrew is playing blow-darts with Anaru, with the help of nurse Lyn.
The boys worked out this challenge where by the looser had to have their finger nails polished...Andrew lost and went around with red nail polish on for quite some time!!

Eventually is become lovely to escape the confines of the hospital, even if it was just to sit outside in the garden!

Some where along the way the sitting around ended and the hard work begun. There was plenty I had to learn before we had any chance of being able to think about leaving this safe place and heading back home to carry on with our life.


 Who would ever have thought that being paralysed was anything other than just not being able to walk...its sooo much more complex than that!

I remember well the day that 'Superman' died. Christoper Reeve's death brought  a somber day to the Spinal Unit. This man had been an amazing advocate for spinal injured people everywhere.

School holidays were great. It was kind of squashed in my little unit but wonderful to have the children back with us. And once Andrew was able to cope with being up in a wheel chair for a few hours we would all leave the hospital and spend time being a family again over at my little home on the hospital grounds.

 A real high for us, at this time, come when Aimee was chosen to be part of the rep soccer team who would go to the UK. day we went home, only our house was too little for all of the equipment that now had to accompany Andrew. So we all moved to Oamaru for a year. Our two oldest  children were at boarding School in Oamaru by this time anyway and our wonderful friends Robyn and Graeme transported Camden back and forth to Duntroon School each day for us.

...Our home now looks like this..although usually we do not have the snow !!

And from time to time, when Andrew's health goes belly-up we trip back to Burwood. In a strange way it kind of feels like 'going home'.

Thanks to everyone of you who joined us in some way, big, or small on our journey.
We could not wish to live in a more wonderful community!!

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin--real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.-- Alfred D. Souz


Axel....{Carol} said...

You guys are amazeing,truly im not sure i would have managed at all.And what a wonderfull community you live in,where people still care about each other.Thank you for shareing this Sonya you are such an awesome woman xxxx

Sandra said...

What an incredible story and journey you and Andrew and your children have had.....and what an awesome testimony of love, commitment, dogged determination and community spirit your story tells. You are an inspiration Sonya ....and I've never even met you ;-)
Huge love to you and your family.
Sandra xo

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Wilma said...


I always admired your strength, but with this story you touched my heart. I think you're all so brave! Thanks for your neverending inspiration for quite a few years now! I wish all my best wishes for you and your dear relatives!

Greetings Wilma.

Brenda said...

Thankyou for sharing this Sonya, you and your Family are amazing. What an incredible journey for you all..Awesome community spirit too. I admire you for your strength and inspiration to others..
Big Hugz from me..

Cherie said...

Thanks for sharing this summary of your last 7 years! You are truly one amazing lady to make the time needed to do all that you do. I loved the quote at end of your update and you guys are one remarkable family. Keep it up! Love & kisses Cherie xx

Rachel F said...

ditto to all the above ladies- inspirational and amazing!
Thanks so much for sharing part of your journey

Robyn said...

I love you guys so much and the memories came flooding back.... the tears +++,I.C.U., the quote searches, The nights at burwood, the wine, trying to wake Andrew up at night when we had had a few lol, the laughter,the shopping,your courage and determination and the holder of hope. We held the hope too xxxxxxxxxx you are amazing !!!!!

Today for Tomorrow said...

Sonya and Andrew you are an amazing inspirational couple with a very special family. Thank you for sharing your courageous story. Best wishes and Take Care.

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Here is my finished latest painting
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Finished at last- I think
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