James’ News & Progress – 08 October 2009

As it was Grand Final weekend in the National Rugby League (NRL) it was time to initiate my English girlfriend, Sarah, into the game. This meant we ended up at a very good friend’s house with a handful of others on Sunday afternoon for a couple of beers and what was a very entertaining match. The true Australian chivalry emerged as all good couch seats were offered up to the boys at an early stage by the respective girlfriends and wives. One of the pregnant girls even sat on the floor to guarantee her husband pole position. Now that’s commitment.

First thing Monday morning, I managed to manoeuvre myself out of bed and into my chair for the very first time without assistance apart from using the electric tilt function on my bed to help me sit up. It was a great way to start the week after failing on several previous attempts. The only problem now is I am expected to do it every morning and I am really more interested in learning how to get myself into bed.

On Thursday, one of my old college mates had organised a charity golf day which culminated with a big dinner at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney. Originally, I was hoping to transfer into a golf cart and spend the day talking trash with the golfers however given the 50-knot winds and chilly conditions, I chose to meet everyone at the post-match function in the dining room. A fantastic time was had by all. Particular attention was paid to the organiser (one of my more attractive male friends) as he held up one of the auction items and a textbook cougar in the audience offered a substantial sum for a night with him. Maybe we should adopt this angle for future auctions.

After explaining that evening that my next big goal was walking unassisted in my frame, early the next morning, running on next to no sleep, I requested that my usual frame assistants let go to see how I would manage. To my great surprise I managed to walk almost 20 metres on my own, which was closely followed with tears from my physio and doting mother. It doesn’t sound like much but after almost 12 months of hard work, it was an amazing feeling to be moving down that corridor without wheels and under my own stride. I cant tell you how encouraging this was not only for me but for my entire support network. Bring on the crutches.