There was a specific time in my life when I was being tested to the max, mentally and physically. In some ways, one might say I am still recovering from being kicked whilst I was down albeit at my own pace, which is one foot at a time, one day at a time.
One of the simplest things I remember from back then, that gave me some momentary respite from all the heaviness and darkness that was in my heart and soul. I just had to take a picture of that precise moment, as a personal reminder for posterity.
Here is the photo that I took…
This reminded me, to keep on going with the flow however hard it felt to try to stay afloat because the answer one would find would be blowing in the wind.
This frozen moment in time gave me hope, a sense of purpose, and a smile once more in my heart. To try and keep remembering my favourite things but most importantly, to remain patient and to keep the faith.
Upon reflection on how The Tree House has been nurtured since the seed of reality was first planted one year ago, how it has grown into a strong foundation and radiates with the warmth of the light from within. It is those who are able to welcome, include and consider diversity – all the various communication needs or abilities regardless, who exhibit a true strength of character.
Combine that strength with a sense of mutual respect for all and genuine intent to effect change for the better. Barriers are slowly but surely being broken down as the way forwards is being paved by those unsung, for simply being true to themselves and others in standing tall with courage.
With each and every one of you, wherever you may be – over the past year, there has been something inside growing ever so strong. Moreover, because of you wanting to be accepted for whom you may be and to have your voice – you are why we continue so. Onwards and upwards – wherever it may take us.
We are truly honoured to have been graced with the pleasure of your company.
Here we humbly share with you our very first anniversary tribute.
Can you tell who is hearing, hard of hearing, deaf or deafened in this video? Can you tell who relies solely on sign language to get by? Can you tell who is a CODA? Can you tell who is a lip-reader? Can you tell who tries their best to adapt to present company? No because that is the beauty of being so diverse and inclusive of all. All of which is not obvious in making this video and soundtrack possible.
Unfortunately we could not include all the clips and photos we were provided for this compilation as we sadly could not fit it all in order to show the full extent of the diversity. Thanks ever so, to all of you who contributed and supported us in the making of this video. It is very much appreciated – more than you realise. Please take your hats off to Paul for his time and patience in editing and compiling the videos together which produced the awesome final cut.
What seems to be quite a famous incident that is still talked about also left such a vivid and shared memory by all those who were present on a particular fateful day in 1990, at a particular boarding school for the deaf. On this day, which seemed to start out like any other school day, we went about our usual routines unaware of what would happen next.
Having just attended assembly, we all started to make our way back to our designated form rooms. My form room happened to be the one beside the Home Economics room, which was directly across from the assembly hall so there was no urgency or hike back to gather our books for that morning’s timetable. Momentarily, a couple of us paused in the communal area outside the assembly room for a quick “Hello”.
A classmate of mine had said something to me there and then and in annoyance I ran after him. He proceeded into our form room intending to close the door behind him but as I ran after him, I stopped the door from being closed onto me and tried to continue running after him. However, I could not, and I was being held back. I did not sense anyone holding me back so I could not understand what or who was holding me back. My arm seemed to be held into place – glancing down at my arm and then my hand. It immediately made sense – I could see the door handle protruding from inside my hand. “So this is what was stopping me!” I thought…. I could not contain my anger so screamed, shouted and kicked at the blooming door – for hurting me like that. Mind you, I was only thirteen years old at the time.
A couple of sixth formers came to my rescue, shielding me, controlling and deflecting the building crowd of onlookers who were startled by my screams. The headmaster, Dr Tucker suddenly appeared alongside the school nurse and Mrs Fenney, the cookery teacher. There was this brick of a mobile phone too. I do not think I had ever seen one before then except in the films – Dr Tucker was calling the emergency services who very quickly appeared on scene.
A mask was offered to me, “Breathe hard until it clicks” I had no idea what I was going to breathe in or what I would experience! There was a click and I soon drifted off to “sleep”.
As I was being sat down by supporting hands, the groovy effects from the gas and air wearing off – I was “waking up” again, looking around me to pinpoint where I was. I was somewhat disappointed to find I was still in the very same spot and turned towards the school nurse saying, “I thought it was all a bad dream”. She responded albeit with tears in her eyes “So did I”. Dr Tucker started to look overcome with relief.
I then found my right hand resting on a pillow, which had been placed on my lap – the door handle had been unscrewed away from the door. It was decided that the handle should be left inside my hand in case of any serious blood loss or nerve damage. The door handle had gone through my skin between the middle and ring finger and still protruded outwards, where the handle bends. It felt quite uncomfortable but not painful, at all.
Being wheeled outside of the school, I spotted an ambulance – I had never been inside one so I anticipated a great ride! So I thought. It inched ever so slowly down the country lane heading towards the motorway. Much to my dismay because ambulances to my knowledge were always whizzing around and here I was, having what felt like a race with a snail. It had to be so. Because the aforementioned door handle impaled my hand and they did not want any further damage to be inflicted. Bless them.
I learned afterwards, that my classmates were watching the ambulance carting me away, from their Physics lesson in the science block, in what one described as a “rather sombre mood” – I had got out of doing physics – go me! In all seriousness, one person was feeling extremely upset and overcome with guilt.
Two hospitals later (because the first was only very small with no hand specialist), armed with my x-rays, it was finally deemed safe to remove the door handle, from my hand. I watched as a nurse treated my hand like a pincushion turning the area numb and ready to be handled (pardon the pun!) – holding my hand upright, the handle was slowly being edged out. It came out cleanly with such care and ease. Was blood going to spurt out? Was it going to be like in the films? Blood spurting everywhere… Alas no, except a cavity was left behind, tissue had been pushed down upon meeting the handle. A huge syringe filled with sterile water washed out the cavity, of which was kept above my line of view so I could not peer inside. This massive curved needle suddenly made an appearance and was guided through each edge of the open wound, gradually closing it together. I had a new addition to my collection of scars – sporting six stiches!
As my hand was being bandaged up and arm then put into a sling – there was a message for me.
“In future, never run after the boys – let them run after you!” said the ambulance staff that had looked after me earlier that day. This witty remark somehow made my day.
My writing hand thankfully, was not seriously damaged. With physio and time – it would heal. To this day, whenever it aches, this lets me know it is going to rain heavily within the next 24 hours. My very own barometer.
Mrs Fenney who had stayed with me throughout, I will never forget her for her kindness and patience. My mother joined us and we decided to buy a box of chocolates – not for us but for one particular person. Arriving back at school, everything became a haze. People wanted to know what happened, how I was…. Then much to my surprise, the person whom we had given the box of chocolates came to see me, they had saved the very last chocolate – just for me. He was being such a gentleman. I will always remember the apologetic look on his face yet he had nothing to be sorry for because it was purely an accident and besides, he got a box of chocolates whereas I got a door handle!
The door handle was presented to me, with masking tape on it indicating the depth of the meeting that took place. To this day, I still have it and I write this for posterity.
Now you will understand why, all the doors at the Mary Hare School were replaced into much safer (push open) ones that especially had no door handles!
A heartfelt “Thank you” to all those of you who supported me on that very day x
Whilst out and about enjoying the Christmas cheer, a friend came up with an idea and asked for my technical know how in making this possible. How could I possibly turn down the challenge?! So in true Tree House spirit, the day was well and truly seized albeit adding my own twist!
This video we hope will help to lift everyone’s spirits and make you smile for “A smile is free and does wonders” – to quote the founder, Sara.
On behalf of The Tree House, we would like to present our parody of “Let it go” from the film, Frozen; “Let ’em go”
Please help The Tree House to stamp out any form of online abuse by not condoning it in any sense. Many thanks.
“Let ’em go” because The Tree House is positively moving onwards and upwards.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; thats why they call it the present.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt.
On this exceptionally memorable date, I would like to extend my annual show of gratitude to the doctors and nurses of Charing Cross Hospital who several years ago gave me the best birthday present one could ever ask for.
A second chance to cherish life and being able to watch my beautiful children grow up of which I intend to make the most of.
I never ask for much but I would very much appreciate it if you too could show your gratitude to our NHS services, especially the Doctors and Nurses who devote and dedicate so much of their time and passion to ensure we get the best care around the clock – please could you join forces against any NHS closures and get involved?
For if Charing Cross Hospital had closed down then, I would not be around today.
And last but not least, to our beloved Tree House and its dwellers for creating such a unique place without any barriers.
It is what we all make it.
Please accept this dedicated post as a token of my gratitude for being true to yourselves.
Thank YOU, to each and every single one of you, my family and my friends – for putting up with me 😉