Total Community Care - Specialists in spinal & neurological care

Providing bespoke care nationwide for clients with spinal injuries and neurological conditions

15 May

Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day

I was an extremely busy teacher for many years, and had an active social life, including going to the gym, dancing, seeing friends, and completely taking my life for granted. In the blink of an eye my life changed forever in March 2008!

My husband and I had been travelling back from Cornwall , after a family visit. We were only seven miles from home when we had the car crash from hell, whereby I sustained a SCI at C5, C6, C7, completely severing the spinal cord. We had rolled over three times and hit a tree, plus it took two hours to cut me out from the car.

All of the Emergency Services attended the scene and I was finally airlifted by the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance to Dorchester Hospital. I actually knew nothing about SCI and when a specialist told me that I would never walk again I said, “Don’t be so bl**dy stupid I’ve just bought a new pair of red high heels!”

I was in a critical situation because I was in Intensive Care for a week, then taken to Southampton Hospital to have my neck operation, followed by Poole Hospital and finally on to Salisbury Spinal Hospital for intensive rehab for a further nine months.

Eventually I understood that my life would never be the same again, as I was paralysed from the chest down, known as Tetraplegia or Quadriplegia. In addition to this I had scalped the top of my head, which required three further plastic surgery operations to redistribute my hair, so that all of the baldness was covered. I had to get to grips with this, especially being a female who has always liked all things girlie… hair, clothes, fashion and make up, etc.

The problem with SCI is that the general public know very little about it because we are a marginalised group in society, so less funding is available for Spinal Research. Another factor for me personally is that although more women are ending up with SCI today, the industry seems to still favour men when it comes to equipment, such as the style of wheelchairs. Also I’m short and probably classed as petite, so often I find that things are far too big for me. It is interesting to note that the specialist companies also charge costs that would make your eyes water!

Furthermore there are really hideous aspects that most of us with SCI have to overcome, such as problems with bladder, bowels and pain. Let’s just say that they are subjects no one likes to discuss! Many of us with higher spinal injuries suffer from ‘Autonomic Dysreflexia’ which needs very prompt medical attention, and at its worst could potentially lead to death.

Finally I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to all the Doctors, Nurses, Specialists, Surgeons and… last but not least… TOTAL COMMUNITY CARE, who have supported me over the last twelve years. I am able to interview my own Personal Assistants / Support Workers / Carers who enable me to live my life as independently as possible. 🙏👏🏻

  • Peggy Sutton.