Paul’s Story

Paul is a force of nature, full of positivity and ideas. He cannot be held back!

Paul is a C6/7 Quadriplegic following a discectomy in Dec 2010.

Paul attended his initial assessment in August 2011 with his wife, Seren. He had been told he had short arms and would struggle with his transfers. He was using a sliding board and sliding sheet with maximum assistance from his wife when transferring into his wheelchair and performing car transfers. He had poor posture, trunk stiffness, no balance and poor bed mobility skills as well as poor transfer technique.

After working with Paul for several years. Paul is now independent in most transfers including sofa and standing frame and can get onto the floor to play with his grandson. His balance is great, he is independent in his bed mobility and has an extremely busy life involving running Leeds power football, playing with his grandson, being fully involved in family life and getting outdoors as much as time will allow.

Paul has had the opportunity to review and improve his seating and wheelchair, prior to going on holiday in Turkey he attended hydrotherapy, so he and his wife could enjoy a daily swim in the sea. He has used FES on his hands and tried FES using the bike.

 He has attended demonstrations to try: the ReWalk, REX, the Batec, e-motion wheels and the freewheel, the TEK RMD, and the carbon hand.

Paul has his own home programme to help prevent any shoulder problems and to give him shoulders for life. We now review him every 8-12 weeks.

It may not be the life he envisaged but Paul has made it a life full of experiences, positivity and involvement. We are very proud to have him as a #Teamtops member.

These are his words:

How did you hear about Tops?

My introduction to Tops or rather Natasha was as an in-patient at Pinderfields Spinal Unit in early 2011. I had been “chosen” as the lab rat for the day when Natasha came to deliver a session with the Physios on site. However the session never really got started for me as I was whisked back to the ward.

Upon discharge in June 20111, having spent the summer months getting back to ‘normal’ at home. I decided after a long chat with a fellow patient that Tops might be the next natural path to go down to improve my predicament.

What challenges were you experiencing prior to using Tops?

It was my intention to return to work as soon as possible after discharge, to achieve this goal, physiotherapy and learning new skills to be more independent were critical. At the time I had long periods at home without support so the ability to do more tasks for myself and to be confident in doing them was paramount.

I left hospital with minimum skills, “treat em and street em” is phrase I hear today and it is no coincidence that people leave hospital ill equipped to cope back in the community.

What were your goals?

Initially, to get back to work and develop independence. Everyone wants to believe they will learn to walk again but reality soon kicks in, so you become more realistic. Can I transfer safely? Can I identify techniques to improve the quality of my life? Can I reduce my dependency on others? Can I get back to doing the things I did before injury? Most importantly could I learn to come to terms with what I couldn’t do but improve the things I could?

What are your goals now?

Identify equipment and methodology to continue to improve my situation. Show others what can be achieved with excellent physio and motivation. To give back to others, showing what you can achieve with hard work and determination.

How is the service helping you?

The service is invaluable. There is the interaction with staff and other clients that always promotes a positive can do environment. Access to additional therapies, exposure to other professionals offering equipment to enhance and promote well being.

The social experience of meeting others, just waiting in reception for your session is brilliant for sharing and interacting not just with other physio clients but the general gym clients too.

Support for partners too, offering guidance on supporting the client, keeping that positive atmosphere going.

In what ways have your achievements enhanced your function and quality of life?

I am as independent as I think I could be at this point. I might not drive yet! But who knows. Quality of life is immeasurable, ability to take myself off on the Batec, E-motion wheels and Freewheel (all introduced by Tops).

The ability to engage with my grandson, to do things together that 5 years ago would have seemed impossible. The freedom to confidently engage in new ventures, taking on new challenges such as the Super Heroes Triathlon event which included camping but really the biggest is the confidence as a couple to travel overland to Turkey in a motorhome and all that entails. We have done the trip 5 times now and each time we become more confident of tackling new challenges.

I have become involved in a new sport and then excelling in it. Using my experiences to enable others to set bigger ambitions for themselves.

What other services have you used?

FES for a period, prior to acquiring my own. Sports massage and all the various demos of new equipment, talks on new therapies

Do you like the way we work at Tops?

Is there a more positive, can do, you can achieve environment out there? Staff who take their role as a vocation rather than a job. The commitment to push, challenge, encourage and reward clients is clearly a cornerstone of the Tops success story. The confidence to push boundaries of treatment to squeeze the last bit of improvement out of clients who then are able to truly benefit from it.

The humour, banter, camaraderie and bond between staff and clients is extraordinary. It’s not a physio session, it’s much more, and I have never left a session in a state other than motivated and keen to get stuck into the next big thing.

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