‘What are your hobbies?’ He asked.
My mind was blank. Is it OK to say Instagram? Probably not.
Wearing my new red coat with everything, and eating Deliveroo is what I seem to be spending a lot of time doing. Naturally, I lied and heard myself say, ‘reading and going to the cinema.’
I do like the cinema – but having been twice in 2017, it doesn’t feel like that meets quantifiable ‘hobby’ proportions.
‘And what about your hobbies before?’
Maybe it’s the word ‘hobby’ that’s the problem for me – images of boys (and sometimes *ahem* fully-grown men) huddled in Games Workshop painting little figures, and looking like they could be having the best day of their lives.
Swap hobbies for say, interests, and it feels… more open. My interests ‘before’ included french martinis, travelling and running (I didn’t mention the french martinis – as there didn’t seem much to be gained by adopting a full-disclosure policy at this point).
The exchange about hobbies was part of an assessment to determine my suitability for some sessions with a Neuro Physiotherapist at a brain and spinal injury charity. It involved forms, questionnaires and talking about what had brought me to the centre – what happened during the operation – life ‘before’, and what it is like now.
‘You have experienced a trauma,’ he concluded.
The word hung heavy in the air.
‘It has been a funny year,’ I replied.
We moved on to the physical assessment. Without the cast, that I have to wear to stabilise my ankle and left foot, walking is much more difficult – because my deficits are at their most exposed.
I heard him say “the (left) foot quickly fatigues”.
I know that the neurological pathways have not yet fully recovered – remapped. I’m working on putting the pieces back together, but no one can say how long it might take or if ‘it’ will ever fully repair.
In assessments like these, I remind myself – just how far I’ve come.
My balance, walking, and ability to shift my weight in different directions were evaluated using fancy pieces of kit. I’m excited to have the opportunity to try out cutting-edge equipment and think it will be really helpful for me to make further progress.
One of ten recent appointments, and coinciding with my 7th cycle of chemotherapy it has been a busy couple of weeks.
During the quiet journey home, I thought about the word he’d used – ‘trauma’ and found myself in tears.
A year spent in waiting rooms where you are one-of-many is numbing. The departments are filled with countless disorders and countless scars – the treadmill of treatment is a distraction of sorts.
I realised then, that I’d never given myself permission to acknowledge what ‘it’ had been.
I thought it too indulgent. When, much to my surprise – that day at least – it was exactly what I needed to hear.