The Wilson Centre is a rehabilitation unit for children and young adults, it began as a home for Polio Victims – after the majority of my surgeries, I went there for rehab.
My time at the Wilson Centre spans a decade, I started going there when I was 7 in order to rehabilitate from a soft tissue surgery that loosened my spastic hamstrings enough to make my legs STRAIGHT which is a big deal as before then they were at a 90 degree angle, so prior to the surgery I looked like I was constantly ready to “get down” (if only I had boots with the fur). Now at 17, the centre has become my second home, although no more surgeries are expected for me, and I can say for sure that every corner of the place holds some kind of memory for me. I was talking to someone today and we somehow got onto the topic of the centre, I realised I had never shared this story with you, I have never told you about the centre or the establishment and how much it means to me.
It’s incredibly hard to put 10 years into a post, so I found some photos from some of my surgeries – I am going to explain each one and tell a story to go along with it. My hope is that by doing this you see both how special the centre is and also how much people go through in order to maintain mobility. I don’t complain about nor do I resent any of my time in the hospital or in rehab, but straight up – it is not for the weak, which is why it is so inaccurate when people pair disability with weakness.
Here’s my Wilson Centre story in photos
The first surgery I had, I was 7. The first time I went to the Wilson Centre was to be videoed prior to that surgery, I remember my aunt was over from Melbourne at the time and she put lippy on me in the backseat of the car, as she came with us to the Centre.
The first time I was at the centre I stayed there with my mum and brother for around 6 or so months, I was the youngest there at the time. It wasn’t my first time in casts, but it was my first time having therapy in that depth, every day twice a day. That surgery was very successful and the rehab enabled me to have greater mobility.
Wilson Centre (which was then known as Wilson Home) has a hydro-therapy pool, the second image here shows you my first (of many) times after surgery using it and the last photo here also shows you that I haven’t changed much – I love my food.
The last photo is of me in the Christmas Grotto that the Wilson Centre puts on for kids to enjoy every year.
This photo still sits in my room framed I love it, in this photo I am 12 – this surgery was one of my more ‘intense’ ones – the girl next to me in this photo is named Ellie, she was around 16 (same age I was last time I went to Wilson for rehab) at the time and I admired her greatly. It was really awesome to have a girl older than me at Wilson during that time, we were all able to support each other. That’s what Wilson is about.
I went to Wilson twice more between 2012 and 16. But I don’t have any photos.
This photo was before I found out about the surgery I would have in November of 2016. The lad in this photo (Sam) carried me round his farm and introduced me to a sheep named Starfish (there were also chickens but my best friend Ciara and I both hat chickens, so we repressed that memory) Also on the morning of my surgery Sam told me jokes about tents being intense and the first blog post I wrote was about Sam’s artwork – I wrote that post from my hospital bed, as you can tell Sam and Ciara both hold very special places in my heart (even though Sam now spends his time mostly thousands of miles away from me in Thailand and the like)
Above (hospital bed) : This photo is the only one I have of Ciara, Molly and I. Ciara messaged me every day and visited when she could (she was in CHCH during my rehab I think) to ask me how I was, she remains my best friend, and Molly – Molly visited me every week, she is one of the only people who truly knows how I struggled at times, she was there when I lost my crap and wanted to throw in the towel, she brought me food – I love her and Little and Friday.
The lovely Holly and Caitlin gave up a day in their summer holidays to visit me and I cannot tell you how much that meant, because I didn’t realise how much they meant to me until that day – they are truly two of the raddest chicks and having their support meant the world, because, at that point, other than my family and Molly n Ciara, I didn’t have a lot of support. Which I am not mad about, but having them come visit meant heaps. Also on that same note, the photo below is of a lad called Jacob, we met a couple of days before this photo, at Wilson he was volunteering for his school, somehow we traded numbers can’t quite remember what happened and he came back a few days later with cake. As I said, during this time I didn’t have tonnes of support (but what I had meant the world) so support from someone I didn’t even know that remains one of the kindest things I have ever had happen to me.
I also remember putting this photo on Instagram and getting messages back asking who that guy was because he was hot, true story – (I didn’t say who it was don’t worry, I don’t roll that way)
These photos (above) were taken after I got my legs back and during my castings, I was in casts for 12 weeks – and I got some sick Nikes when they finally came off. #Silverling
Below is a photo of Dean and I this was the first outing I went out on (With Branden my favourite smoothie buddy) after my casts came off. The week after this photo I walked for the first time wearing a Find Her Smile singlet – as you can see below.