Phil v2.0 (part 2)
Traumatic brain injury survivor story
I am now going to outline some of the ways in which I now fill my time. Hopefully this will illustrate how full of alternative (but nevertheless, meaningful) occupation, the life of Phil v2.0 has become. I can most certainly (for the reasons that I have already mentioned) vouch for the positive impact of such a state of affairs on my emotional wellbeing.
Here are a few things that now fill my days:
First, I seem to have become “professionally” (albeit in an unpaid kind of way!) brain injured.
Some time ago I was given the opportunity to present “my story” to delegates at a regional Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) event. Seemingly, this was well received and, as a result, I was asked to deliver a similar presentation as the closing plenary speaker at the 2019 RCOT National Conference. In addition, I was involved in the delivery of a smaller group session in the same conference. I have also, jointly delivered two lectures to occupational therapy degree students.
Further, I was asked to be the speaker at an event, which marked the opening of a new regional office of a significant care management organisation. Having done so, I was asked to speak at another of that organisation’s events.
I now write and publish a brain injury survivor’s blog:
I have been asked to write (and indeed have written) the foreword to a new textbook, which focuses on the role of occupational therapists in the promotion of mental wellbeing. And, last but not least, I have been made a committee member of my local branch of Headway. I was also asked to be a plenary speaker at its (postponed) 2020 national conference.
I take pride in all of this and accordingly, it is definitely contributing to the achievement of my objectives. Further, it all serves as a reminder of how far that I have come and provides optimism for onward travel.
As I have already mentioned, I can no longer pursue my career. I am however still able to undertake voluntary work - and do so, for a few hours a week at a charitable centre for the benefit of the visually and hearing impaired. In respect of the latter, I have studied and obtained an initial qualification in British Sign Language.
I love to swim, cycle (albeit on a tandem – due to visual impairment) and run. I also enjoy combining them in triathlons. Since my accident I have joined both a running and a triathlon club and have taken part in a number of related events.
In 2015, I organised and undertook a sponsored event (in favour of the aforementioned charity). This involved me and some others in swimming 2 miles in Lake Windermere and (on a different day!) undertaking the Coast-to-Coast cycle ride (about 150 miles) in a single day.
In the photograph I am about halfway through it. I am the chap on the left and I’m not sure which one of us looks the most knackered?! Hardly surprising though. By its nature, the ride started at sea level. The photograph was taken very close to the highest point on a classified road in the country – as you might imagine that morning had involved a fair bit of hill climbing!
Mind you, it was worth all the effort - I am pleased to say that we raised approximately £4000 for the charity.
Playing music has always been a big hobby of mine and it continues to be. Since the genesis of Phil v2.0, I have taken up an additional instrument – the synthesizer. I have also dipped my toe into the previously uncharted waters of composition and home recording. I don’t think, however, that a fusion of modern classical, modern jazz and ambient techno (true) is likely to trouble the charts!
I have joined a book club and, in addition to its social benefits, I have been introduced to many new and enjoyable authors. In particular, I have developed a taste for Georgian/Victorian “chick lit” (Brontë’s etc.)!
And that’s not all ...
I trust you will agree that I have developed “a full and worthwhile lifestyle which fosters enjoyment and pride”. This is most definitely pushing me firmly in the direction of a “positive acceptance of my alteration, to Phil v2.0; and this includes the acquisition of a true sense of self-worth”.
If I may quote Michael Stipe, frontman of the band REM:
“A three-legged dog is still a dog; it just has to learn how to run differently”.
Well - I am still Phil (albeit Phil v2.0) and through my own efforts and with the help of others, I am learning to run again.
Phil v2.0 Allen