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Disability Narratives

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Video clip: Liz explains how she is still learning to have patience with herself and how the transition back to work has been difficult at times.

Yeah. It's - there are various things that I was not very good at, as an able bodied person. Which is patience. I'm not a very patient person. And I'm someone who was - who hated a fuss. Didn't like having anyone make a fuss over me. And just wanted to get on and do things myself. And being physically disabled means that everything is a fuss. And I'm a constant source of attention. So I've found that very difficult to manage.

And I need help. And I hate asking for help. But I've become better at it. So I've, I've come to realise that people genuinely want to help. And they're happy to do it. And they're happy - they're delighted if you ask. And, and so I've had to kind of go from a position where I just didn't want to ask anyone to help me in anything - and I was like this in hospital, I think I was a complete pain in the arse for the nurses, because I didn't want anyone doing anything for me. And of course I had to have everything done for me. So you know, I've made - I'm gradually making that transition. And I'm more patient. I'm just a more - I have more - Everything takes me longer to do. So, everything in my life takes three or four times longer than it did before, sometimes ten times longer. And so I've had to find it in myself to be okay with that, and to be very patient.

So, all of these things have been - you know - lessons along the way. But have been kind of useful. And I’m still learning, and I am still really at the beginning of this, but I'm - I've learned a lot already [laughing]. And found a lot of resources within myself that I didn't - I wouldn't know - If anyone had told me like two years ago that I'd be going through this, I would have said there is absolutely no way I can deal with that. You know, I can't be a person who has no hand function. I can't be a person who doesn't have legs. I'm half deaf as well, I can't be a deaf person. You know, all of these things. So I just would have said "No way." But it's amazing what you can survive.

And so it meant that I was kind of coming back to work, which was hard psychologically and emotionally to come back to work, and realise that not only was I coming back and making this huge transition to come back to work, that my physical body had deteriorated. Such that all the changes we'd planned for, were going to have to be rethought again. And that was so discouraging. It was so discouraging. It was awful. Because I felt bad, that I was having to say to people, "The doors don't work. I'm going to have to have automated doors." And I'd been told that they cost thousands and thousands of pounds. And I'd been told I shouldn't care about that, but I was like 'oh my god - you know - I'm costing the university tens of thousands of pounds, and my body's not stable, I'm still deteriorating'. And there was all the other stuff around - you know - coming back to work, and being scared of what the students would think, and all of that sort of thing. So that was just horrible. Horrible transition to coming back. Just all this combination of things.