spinal-cord injury

Diary of the day: 7:52 AM

Headphones on, radio National playing through my phone, I scoot off down to the train station. I have taken to avoiding the footpath, sticking to the lovely smooth surface of the road. At 11 km an hour, about the speed of a slow jog (Stephen Fogarty reckons he could keep his pace going for 10 K’s and I shall test him one-day), I get to the bottom of the hill before realising that in my rush I had forgotten to empty my catheter bag before leaving home. Nothing worse than being on a train with a bagful of piss and I imagine it would not go down too well if I was forced to empty it on the floor… So I pull over and empty onto the grass. It is easier when I have someone to assist but I am set up pretty well. I have pants that are sliced up the side to enable easy access. The mechanism that opens the bag works well enough even with my cacky fingers and normally I don’t spill too much on the base of my chair. And so I go to the toilet in public. Now you have to admit that this is a really cool. One of the great advantages of life in a chair.

By now I know the stationmaster by name and he often brings the ticket outside to me so I can avoid the queue. It is Paul this morning and we chat about that inane (what do you say to someone you meet regularly but only for 5 min at a time?). He lugs a ramp onto the train and I get on. The guard is made aware of my destination and the stationmaster from Granville notified to be ready of my arrival. The system is pretty smooth and only very occasionally am I forgotten. I love the rail system. Trains are the only way to travel. I tilt my chair and read my iPad and try not to fall asleep. This is helped by the fact that I’m sitting across from an oddly dressed teenager (shorts and tight T-shirt with a red tie around his neck, rings, a hat with the crest pointing directly up. Overweight and has breasts but I think he’s a boy) who is talking loudly and incessantly on the phone. I contemplate riding over his feet with my 260 K chair but I resist the temptation. At Granville I change trains for Parramatta. Upon arrival I take the lift and scoot off to work. I arrive at about 9:15 AM. Andrew helps me set up my computer and he goes off to make me coffee. I’m spoilt rotten. Andrew is a trained barista and my late’ comes out with the shape of a tree in the foam. I spend an hour and a half writing up these blog diary entries. I should feel guilty but I don’t. But I do have a class to teach this afternoon and should turn my attention to preparation.

About Author

Shane is an ethicist and theologian, Honorary Associate for the Centre of Disability Research and Policy, the University of Sydney, and Assistant Director, Policy, at the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation against People with Disability. Shane is proudly disabled, and an occasional blogger on

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