It sounds like a contradiction in terms to say that today was a routine-kind-of day. There is no routine here in this Centre. Things change all the time. That is because both of the owners are deeply involved. This is Pádraig’s third week with one of the owners who is not just working as an excellent therapist, but who is keeping a close eye on everything else that is going on. The energy they are burning here is something else.
Poor Pádraig and myself are completely exhausted in the evening. We have to get up early to be ready for speech therapy at eight. The two hours between nine and eleven, when physio starts, we spent having our breakfast, and me checking on emails and making some phone calls.
Pádraig is up for the best part of 10 hours now, every day. Doesn’t sound that much, but it’s huge, because a lot of this time is spent of really intensive training. The main therapy rooms are filled with people in the mornings. It’s like working in a packed gym with everybody having their personal coaches.
You have to have been here to appreciate how this works. There are more people with brain injuries here than I have seen anywhere else in one place. They all are different, at different stages of recovery, with different abilities. And all working on all sorts of really sophisticated and, sometimes, really basic equipment bought in a DIY market and re-purposed with incredible imagination.
One of the most incredible and amazing pictures is the following:
This is Pádraig ‘walking’ in the Lokomat, a ‘gadget’ that costs around 200,000 euro. Now, while this is quite a sophisticated piece of equipment Made in Switzerland the engineers who put it together never anticipated that someone taller than 2m walking in shoes size 50 would ever use it. If you look very closely at Pádraig’s shoes (at the right edge of the right-most stripe on his runners), you’ll see a purple peg that holds some of the straps holding his feet together. A cloth peg. So, here is a simple cloth peg making a 200k machine work. It couldn’t get much better than this.
The comparison may sound weird, but this is a bit like going to Lourdes on this train from the 1960s with all those wonderful people, wanting to make a difference, wanting to help, wanting to live their lives.
There are miracles everywhere.