The Good, The Bad and the Ugly …!

(plagarised lines) A long time ago, in a life, far far away ……!

I started writing this piece a couple of weeks ago, some out there might know the feeling when you feel a certain way and you believe that others will never understand, that said, 2 weeks on, dips are no longer dips, love is still love, friendship is stronger than ever, and cricket still makes me laugh. Thank you Crooky ….!

On the 12th April 2011 I collapsed a tad dead in the en-suite. A blood clot had travelled through my deep veins, into my lungs and heart. The damage it caused “enroute” at times since that day, has been, lets say, problematic. That said, with the support of the #NHS , loved one’s, family, friends I have made huge strides to regain my life, and strides will always be taken.

Then ……

On the 16th August 2013, my lovely wife (Ellisa) and I were caught up in an horrific RTC. Apparently, if you drive a huge Mercedes you’re allowed to speed, use your mobile phone (allegedly) and run directly into people (don’t think this is actually in the Mercedes Owners Manual). So there I was 60 feet down the road from our car, a tad broken, as it turns out I was also full of holes and rather “open” in places. The lovely Ellisa, well she had “boinged” over the safety barrier and landed on the verge….! True this sounds a lot more romantic than the actual reality. Translate “boinged” to “crash bam wallop”, and “landed on the verge” translate to; “missed all of the Mc Donald’s litter, Coke cans, traffic cones .. etc … etc ..etc …!!”.

The huge strides that I had taken post April 2011, were now being hugely tested. I discharged myself from hospital the following day from the RTC, my concern over my safety and health had been challenged when I was refused my lifesaving medication by a nurse, as the doctor “had signed that I had already had it.” I had not. I had to leave Ellisa in hospital and that was one of the worst moments of my life.

Consequences of the RTC? Well good old PTSD came galloping back into my life, depression knocked on the door and said hello, and my self worth (in my mind) plummeted.

At times like these, I tend to look back at a lot of things, I loved my days playing cricket, the competition, the friendships formed and just a little bit of exercise…! When you realise that a career in the sport you love is not going to be an option, I had built a very successful career in the City, ending up as Director of Marketing and Communications for a FTSE 100 Finance organisation. I loved it, work was hard, busy, intrusive but ultimately fun.

So there I was in August 2013 dealing with the demons in my head again. I had survived before, and this challenge wasn’t going to stop me. There, sat in my office at home (The Old Village Sweet Shop) were the Charity Oars, and so the journey back to life began.

Having made contact with my good friend Dean Headly, we had our first signature, rehabilitation and confidence building began. As the campaign of awareness (that is the Charity Oars) progressed, we’ve met some truly amazing sportspeople, actors, actresses, musicians, politicians and crazy adventurers.

All was looking rosy …….!! Then last month, we received a report from one of the specialists who are supporting our legal case against the driver of the afore mentioned Mercedes. In a single sentence, within the report, my life was turned upside down; “Paul will likely never be able to return to work.”

Such a statement bought me down to earth with a thump. Having what we perceived would sadly be the result of the RTC, it made it nonetheless traumatic to read it in a report. Those in the know, will understand that I took a major “dip”, my good friend for a crisis Mr Gordon and his chum eau de tonic raised their cheery numbing heads…! Hitting a dip is scary, you can’t stop it, loved ones know but can’t do anything, it just takes time, awareness and yet more strength.

A week into the dip, I had the absolute pleasure to be attending Crooky’s Runs4Funds charity cricket day at Althorp Hall. The day was in support of a local charity called Alfe’s Cause. Could I cope with attending? Could I cope with the travel, the day, with “mingling”…!….?

Turns out Crooky and Alfe’s Cause are one of Life’s tonics ……!

During the day, Karen, Alfe’s mother gave a heartwarming story of her son’s journey through being diagnosed with cancer, his treatment and now his desire for the charity to help others. Karen explained about the bead rope that Alfe was holding, it was a timeline of his treatment. From days in hospital, blood transfusions, surgery and remission. This young chaps life, all in a long string of beads, a timeline of his and his families journey through diagnosis and treatment.

As the day progressed, I had the pleasure of chatting with Karen, her empathy and understanding of the implications of mental health on survivors, their loved ones and family was natural and respectful. It inspired me and gave me back my strength and focus.

On the drive home, I reexamined the sentence in the report; “Paul will likely never be able to return to work.” That part of my life is now over, I know I can’t return to it, saying goodbye to what was a strong and secure career I knew wouldn’t be easy, but 4 years on I now had to face up to this fact. Since the RTC in 2013 I have faced and overcome many new challenges, the Charity Oars have been therapeutic as well as bags of fun. We have literally saved lives, raised awareness of Thrombosis UK, of the signs of a DVT and met some of the worlds best sportspeople, actors, comedians, musicians and politicians (and Boris Johnson) …! lol…! Sorry Boris old chap….!

The support I have personally received from so many people has an immense impact on my life. I’ve made some true friends at County Cricket Clubs, International players, comedians, broadcasters, Olympians, Paralympians, agents, personal assistant’s and other charity supporters.

I guess what I’m trying to say is Thank You to all of those people who have supported me and the Charity Oars, supported me through some very dark days, and to everyone who knew that the Charity Oars would become something that would be a crazy and at times a “wacky” way of raising awareness of Thrombosis and the charity Thrombosis UK.

So there I was, driving home. Good chum Crooky had been a wonderful host, it had been a pleasure to support Alfe’s Cause and everything that Runs4Funds were working so hard to support. We had again met some amazing sportsmen and women, it was a real pleasure to meet and have a chat with Ellie Robinson, she truly is a real diamond. Still love the walk she gave at the Paralympics in Brazil.

So I returned home, sat down with the lovely Ellisa and we talked. Hours later we were still talking. Life apparently should be easy, that said, a boring life might be easy, but one filled with challenges, mischief, fun and mayhem, albeit more challenging, will be a much more excitable rollercoaster of a road.

So I survived a massive pulmonary embolism, survived a very serious RTC, I shan’t mention my rugby tackle of a Labrador, but life and all its adventures ahead are going to be so much fun.

So let’s keep raising awareness of Thrombosis UK, DVT awareness, and realizing that out there in the big old world, there’s so many people, cultures, religions all f whom offer friendship, guidance, support, laughter and peace…!

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