Some of you might have read some of the articles I’ve written over recent months in the Broadstone Link and on Broadstone.net. Here I would like to write a little more specifically about The Wimborne Wagtails Swimming Club for the Disabled of which I am chairman. One thing people are not ready for is the camaraderie, mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together. We are a group of very mixed (dis)abilities, physical and mental – post surgery, stroke survival, cerebral palsy, Autistic spectrum, Down’s, learning disabilities, arthritis. To prove the point here is an e-mail from one of our newest members, a bright young lad with Asperger’s, following a skittles night at Hamworthy Social Club:
The skittles night was a nice night out with my friends. I got to chat with some of my friends; the food was great and the skittles was a nice game to play. I do wish the ladies had done better in skittles, but it didn’t ruin the evening for me.
I think all events should be like this; friendly, welcoming, plenty of opportunities to socialize and make new friends and has good entertainment/games to play. I hope we have another event like this very soon.
Personally the club has been therapeutic for many reasons, not just the obvious ones. At the first session I had with The Wimborne Wagtails Swimming Club for the Disabled I said to the lifeguard that I had had a major stroke and epilepsy. If he saw me thrashing about in the deep end then please come and fish me out! I thought I would tuck in behind someone who was swimming crawl up the swimming lane at about the pace I would like to go at. It was only when we reached the end and stopped, allowing all the bubbles to subside, that I realised he only had one leg. I couldn’t resist the old schoolboy joke: “I met a man with one leg called Rusty – I’m not sure what his other leg is called. Boom! Boom! One of his legs is an above knee amputation! He is also completely blind!! He has a heart pacemaker!!! He has lost one kidney to cancer!!!! His remaining kidney works at 25%!!!!! He has a thoracic aneurysm!!!!!! He needs an injection of vitamin B12 every three months as he suffers with pernicious anaemia!!!!!!! He has prostate cancer!!!!!!!! He has polymyalgia rheumatica and needs a regular deltastab, (steroid), injection!!!!!!!!! If he consults a new doctor and the doctor says: “What’s wrong?” Rusty’s reply is: “Can we start with what’s right – it would be quicker.”
So, what was my problem? I might have a hole in my brain but I can’t compete with this. Rusty has all these conditions and yet still remains bright and cheerful and attends the swimming group regularly. He goes horse riding every week. Food for thought. Talking of which I am amazed when we are out at a pub and Rusty has a meal. Next time you are out for a meal close your eyes and eat the plate of food. Not easy. Think about modern food presentation – where they stack one thing on another. The way the chefs pile the chips up I reckon they are frustrated “Jenga” players. It is little things like this you take for granted.