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Two IS Much Better Than One
Most people, by the time they reach my age, have usually well and truly left home. However, unfortunately for me, I had a serious car accident at the age of nineteen while I was studying to be a teacher. I suffered severe injuries and was in a coma for three and half months. This made accommodation prospects very formidable, like it is for so many other head injured people I have met, and a major concern for a long time. That was until recently when the Frank Quigley Homes for Head Injured Association was established.
The Frank Quigley Homes were so named after my father because he was the principal mover behind the organization which eventually gained the funds from the government for the purpose of constructing accommodation for the head injured. This works out good for me as I get to live in the first house built.
There is no doubt in my mind that, as befits the first house of The Frank Quigley Homes, we have a real class house on our hands. The tiled roof, which is orange and light pale-red looks very smart, because every few bricks have orange and pale-red stripes.
We were most fortunate in that both the architect and the builder have had considerable experience building for the infirm and disabled. Having two very experienced men designing the building has meant they have included features which we would not have imagined suggesting. Hopefully, the wider doorways will save a few of the bashes to my knuckles. Having the sink and some kitchen benches at a much lower height makes sense for anyone in a wheelchair. Built in wardrobes and cupboards give much of the place a feeling of space. A very well placed skylight provides loads of natural light.
When you consider just how long I have been unable to walk, I think most people can understand that I have a big worry about transport. The location of Our House minimizes the worries of transportation. The house is well within pushing distance of St. Paul's College, where I spend some time teaching primary school children subjects such as Reading, English, Social Studies, Maths, Science, and even Religion. I am also within pushing distance of a TAFE (Technical and Further Education) College. It seems that I will be doing a lot of pushing soon.
During my many years of rehabilitation, I have spent considerable time at the Community Integration Centre (CIC). I am involved in quite a few activities there. Some of the things we do are very therapeutic. I have been taking courses such as Woodwork, Physiotherapy, Swimming, Martial Arts, Socialization, Living Skills, and all with other people.
It's good that I am interested in and participate in many of the activities at the CIC because it was there I met Darren Pate. I am most fortunate to have this bloke, Darren, not only because is he a good bloke, but because I needed someone to move in to the house who has considerable experience in independent living. Darren is also a survivor of head injury who is going to team up and share the new accommodation. Together we reckon that we can turn the first of the Frank Quigley homes into a real show place.
In my early days of rehabilitation I was fortunate enough to hear the prophetic phrase use it or lose it. I say prophetic because it has always motivated me to a very large extent. Darren seems to agree with me and, as a result, we are going to share all our Gym equipment and turn the erstwhile useless carport into our own Gymnasium.
We will be choosing our own caregivers to come and service our many needs like eating, washing, bathing and shopping etc.
We have so many people to be grateful to that I am quite sure that no-one could remember them all.
It is our desire that the first of the Frank Quigley Homes is a real success. If this house is successful, it will encourage the Government to allocate more funds for the Frank Quigley Homes for the Head Injured Association to build more accommodation in the future.
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