The leading causes of death were said to be “drink, drowning, and drowning while drunk” – no, not in Ireland. In New Zealand. Amongst men. 125 years ago. And this was one of the reasons why, so says the New York Times, New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. 125 years ago this week.

Not all were convinced though.

Apparently, one of the country’s largest newspapers, The Press, said “We believe that a very large number of women do not desire to vote. They shrink from having to go to the polling booths on election days. They would much prefer staying at home and attending to their household duties.”

Well, even if they still believe this today, which I don’t think they do, they would not admit to it.

One day soon, nobody, even if they still believe this, which I don’t hope they will, nobody will say in public, or worse, to the parents, or even worser, in the presence of the conscious victim, that it might have been better if he had died in the accident and that spending any money in his rehabilitation would be a waste of precious and very limited resources in the health system. As did a nurse. As did a consultant. Say to us.

Today, Pádraig, as a first, lying on his back, pushed up his hips really high up towards the ceiling, lifting them up completely off the ground. In the afternoon, we did a pretty complicated quiz out of a brain rehab exercise book with him, one he would clearly not have been able to do earlier in the year, and he managed it with flying colours.

Of course, women should have the right to vote.

Of course, one day, survivors of severe acquired brain injury will have the right to rehabilitation.

The incredible thing is that it is up to us to prove this to the health system. As if they did not know already.

Prisoners convicted to life in prison have the right for their case to be reviewed regularly before an appeals board. Because this is their human right. And rightly so.

The same right, i.e. for his case to be reviewed regularly, is not afforded to Pádraig and others in his situation.

That human right still has to be asserted.

PS: Don’t forget: An Saol Café this coming Saturday, 2-5pm, Odin’s Wood HSE Day Centre, Kildonan Road, Finglas West, Dublin 11. Meeting, chat, coffee, cake, discussion about setting up the An Saol Support Group, planning for the rest of the year. All welcome.