Richard fell down the stairs, a simple accident that can happen to anyone, at anytime. He ended up with several life threatening injuries and a brain injury. After a stay in hospital he came to QEF's Neuro Rehabilitation Service to help him regain core skills such as walking and talking, and to help him rebuild his life. Richard feels that 'QEF gave me back my life'. Watch Richard tell his story here:
But Richards journey with QEF doesn't end there. After he returned home he was booked in with QEF's Mobility Services for a driving assessment to check he was safe to drive again. His doctor had cleared him so all he needed was the assessment. But then the coronavirus pandemic hit and QEF's Mobility Services had to close. Richard talks about what that meant for him and his experience of lockdown:
"Because I was in QEF for 5 months my driving license was suspended. I was meant to go to QEF’s mobility centre a few weeks ago for a driving assessment, but all their services have had to stop. So even though the doctor and optician have approved me to drive, I can’t drive yet because they can’t get the test done. It’s so frustrating sitting here and not being able to just get in the car and go out for a walk on the South Downs. I’m very fit and healthy now and my passion is walking – two years ago I was walking the Rockies in Canada and I love fell walking in the Lake District. Not being able to get out to go walking is a real challenge.
QEF have been brilliant. They call me every few weeks to see how I am doing and have promised to let me know as soon as there is any information about the Mobility Centre opening up again. Obviously since I was due to have my test on April 24th lots of other people will also have had strokes and brain injuries so they will be busy, but hopefully I won’t be at the bottom of the queue, they couldn’t have tried harder for me though. I don’t have any timings at the moment though.
Because I’ve had pneumonia twice since my accident I am classed as vulnerable at the moment. But I have popped out to the local shop a couple of times with a special scarf across my face. Because I have lived in my village for so long I know so many people, so each time I see 10 or 15 people that I know and it feels a bit awkward seeing everyone wearing masks. But it doesn’t make me freak out. I do find myself thinking how long will this go on for though. But I don’t have anxiety attacks anymore and I’m not depressed anymore.
One of the things I really liked about QEF was how friendly they were. They would come in and sit on the end of my bed and we would have a laugh and joke. I had my own kitchen so I would make my own breakfast and they would come in after 9.30 to tidy up but I’d say something like I’m not ready, and they would joke around with me and say no choice Richard, were tidying up and we’d all be laughing. It was really comforting and heart-warming - we became good friends.
When I left there was lots of hugging and eyes watering. And as desperate as I was to get home at the time, within a few weeks I really missed the place; I missed the company and how they had kept me active every day."