I’m gonna dance like nobody’s watching, I’m gonna sing like nobody’s listening, I’m gonna kiss you like we are all alone
‘Cos this world is ours……
Above is the opening lyrics from I Got Love by The King Blues.
Finding love can be tricky. I’m fortunate to have found love. When in hospital and first diagnosed with a spinal cord injury (SCI) and hearing the brutal news of my paralysis, I never expected to find love.
Some people are fortunate – Finding Love
While in rehab, there were rumours of nurses and other staff members being in relationships with patients. I later discovered some were in love with people they cared for and still are. I suppose it is wrong to call them patients, as they are lovers, husbands, wives or partners (this is 2022).
I seem to recall I hoped I might end up in this group; I remember thinking a relationship with someone in that profession would be easy. Less explaining about the faults and complications that come along with SCI. Maybe I didn’t qualify to be a member, or no one liked me?
Home to parental love
When my daunting discharge date arrived, I left the spinal unit to go home, to the warmth and love of my parent’s house. With my mum and dad having a toilet and shower room downstairs and me without the use of my legs, I had to inhabit the front room.
This occupation lasted six years. I was young. My mates, some of them, had girlfriends. I wanted one. But I felt I couldn’t entertain a potential sweetheart in my current living situation and who would want to date or get married to a guy in a wheelchair?
I had a sloppy relationship; I think it was in the second year after my discharge, I had started driving but hadn’t found work. This girl came round one time and saw my living situation. That relationship soon finished.
I got my own gaff
I appreciated my parents giving up their front room for me over those years but eventually got a place of my own. I thank them for all the support. They gave me love and were keeping me warm, my belly full of food, and in clean clothes. But once I was out on my own, it was time to start courting.
The only problem I had was finding an opportunity to meet a young princess. I’m classed as disabled; who would want to be in a relationship with a guy in a wheelchair?
The pub would be a good place to introduce myself to a potential lady friend. Over the years, building up to my departure from the front room, I had spent some time, quite a lot of weekends actually, in this possible courting arena. I occasionally got a kiss and a hug but nothing serious.
Now though, I felt I had better chances. Nothing could cause embarrassment like my mum’s paintings on the wall or ornaments lining the shelves of my sleeping chamber.
But the only thing holding me back was communication. I can talk; I am confident…. now. But in the early days of my SCI, I wasn’t as confident, which can be a bit of a hurdle when trying to develop new friendships.
Growing and flourishing
Over time, I thought beer may have been an excellent support to build communication chances and end up with a love life. Now, I realise it may have been a hindrance, and it made me look more incoherent than anything.
After several poor attempts of finalising a date, I got lucky. I met a girl in a nightclub. Somehow I got a lift home from her boyfriend, and the next night she was knocking on my door, wanting to see me again. I couldn’t quite believe it either!
Details, why the relationship didn’t last are in short supply. Although it had been my longest to date, however, a hurdle prevented a longer-lasting bond between us; it was a shame.
But this alliance made me more assertive — it gave me more strength in finding my destination and finding love.
Years have passed, miserable, lonely winters moved into bright, fresh springtime, and there is another chance of a perspective bond. A few different dates had been nice, but the crunch came when I decided to ask a pretty girl for her number and if she wanted to meet up sometime.
After her acknowledgement, we dated for a few years and with a confident smile on my face, I finally popped the question.
Nearly 14 years passed, and I couldn’t be happier. In the house, the roles have been ironed out. Expectations of each other are confirmed, and who’s cooking. Everything is looking rosy.
Subsequently, the work-life balance is good. Both of us work, I get plenty of opportunities to teach wheelchair skills. We are both good parents to our son. Life certainly hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would back in 1993……