Life after a spinal cord injury: “it’s just a change, and it’s a new adventure”
Spinal Cord Injury BC Peer member with a T6-T7 paraplegic injury
Interviewed at Fintry Provincial Park, in the Okanagan, on June 22, 2013
My name is Thorston, and I’ve been in a chair since 2007. I am from Kelowna.
How did you hear about Spinal Cord Injury BC?
When I had my motorcycle accident, I ended up at Vancouver General, and then I went to GF Strong, and that’s where I learned about the Paraplegic Association.
Since you’ve been a part of Spinal Cord Injury BC, how has your life changed?
I’ve been doing a lot more stuff. Not hanging around the house. Still I’m learning and exploring more and more. And it’s a good resource in finding new ways in doing stuff that would be a challenge for us now.
Tell me about your life before you were involved with Spinal Cord Injury BC what did you do?
When I was an able bodied person, I used to be a mechanic, a level-B welder, I used to be a fabricator. I really loved to build things with my hands. I really loved the outdoors, climbing, fly fishing, going into the woods where no one can really get to. And from actually that, my life has changed dramatically. I have good memories of it. But it’s just a change, and it’s a new adventure.
What makes hanging out with Peers different than hanging out with your family or with friends?
Well it’s actually more about knowing what each one of us is going through, and being able to help each other. We’ve created a really close bond within our group, and it’s been wonderful to be able to help each other.
Do you find that there are things that you can talk about with Peers that you can’t talk about with family or friends?
Much easier. It is. If we have to talk about bowel routines and personal things, at least we can talk to someone that will talk about it, and actually they have experience about it, instead of a nurse that has been trained to take care of us, but don’t actually have a clue. So it is a big deal actually having people that have gone through it themselves. Even though, each one of us are actually different, and there will be someone that will have a different point of view.
How have our Peer events had an impact on your social life?
It helps us in getting us out of the house. Instead of staying in, it pushes us to do more and more.
What would you say to someone new to GF strong about life in a chair?
I would probably say that there is always someone that has it worse than you, it’s actually not bad. It’s how you look upon it yourself and how you handle it yourself. Because if you do have the will there’s a way, there’s always a way.