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“They moved me from intensive care to acute spinal. I was lying on a thin, hard spinal bed. I had no movement in my legs. I had tight stockings on to protect from blood clots. I had one arm in plaster, one arm tied down by drips. I had a neck brace and sandbags on either side of my head and I saw my world through a mirror that was suspended above my head. I shared the ward with five other people, and the amazing thing is that because we were all lying paralyzed in a spinal ward, we didn’t know what each other looked like. How amazing is that? How often in life do you get to make friendships, judgment-free,purely based on spirit? And there were no superficial conversations as we shared our innermost thoughts, our fears, and our hopes for life after the spinal ward.
I remember one night, one of the nurses came in, Jonathan, with a whole lot of plastic straws. He put a pile on top of each of us, and he said, ”Start threading them together.” Well, there wasn’t much else to do in the spinal ward, so we did. And when we’d finished, he went around silently and he joined all of the straws up till it looped around the whole ward, and then he said, ”Okay, everybody, hold on to your straws.” And we did. And he said, “Right. Now we’re all connected.” And as we held on, and we breathed as one, we knew we weren’t on this journey alone. And even lying paralyzed in the spinal ward, there were moments of incredible depth and richness, of authenticity and connection that I had never experienced before. And each of us knew that when we left the spinal ward we would never be the same.”