James’ News & Progress – 29 December 2009

I was lucky enough to spend Friday night with my first and only godson, James Junior, who recently made an appearance down under. I have nick-named him Bam Bam given his propensity to ‘search and destroy’. The Christening later this weekend proved to be equally chaotic with a raft of Aussies back from London, guaranteeing that many a “catch up” drink was enjoyed and that physio suffered briefly early Monday morning. Maybe this is the time of year for a natural break in routine…

Monday evening I was pleasantly surprised by the coverage Puffing Magic Foundation received in our first appearance on national television. I will let you make your own minds up… To view the short clip please go to http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-au&brand=ninemsn&tab=m164 and search for a video called ‘brain injury cop’.

Late Tuesday night, my newly bearded brother strolled upstairs for the first time in almost 50 days after paddling single-handedly down the Murray River (Australia’s longest river, over 2200 km long) to raise money and awareness for the Puffin Magic Foundation. This was an extreme physical and mental feat which only a select few have ever completed. I will forever have great admiration for this incredible effort and commitment as I know even in my heyday I would have struggled to complete such a challenge. To hear the story in more detail, please review his blog at the Puffin Paddle Blog.

Although I ended up outsourcing the majority of my Christmas present wrapping, four to five hours one afternoon was spent focused entirely on completing personalised Christmas cards for family and friends. The level of fatigue was evident with the continuous clumsiness at mealtime with the fork hitting the ground on more than one occasion.

Christmas Eve, I was joined by a small group of supporters for the much anticipated first attempt with crutches. Unfortunately, our ambitions were shattered when it was discovered that there were no crutches tall enough for me. In my mind, it was a bit of a godsend as, if I am honest with myself, “Crutches for Christmas” may have been a touch ambitious. That said, the parallel bars in the gym became the focal point of the session which proved to be quite a success as I managed to walk with relative ease around 40 metres with only the bars for support. As with many of my breakthroughs, this left my doting Aunty in tears but in all seriousness, it was a really satisfying achievement with which to welcome the Christmas break.


Physio was well and truly off on Christmas day, as my Aunty hosted a big family gathering for about sixteen of us. Given my predicament 12 months ago on the same day (when people were still hand-feeding me), it was a good opportunity just to reflect on how far I had come and how the quality of life had changed. I am already looking forward to next Christmas day in anticipation. If the generosity of the present giving is replicated I will be even happier.