Sophie’s story: Finding a community during lockdown
8 March 2023
- Loves tennis
- Co-owns an IT company with her husband Kay
- Enjoys travelling whenever possible
Spinal cord injury does not only affect the individual who sustains it. The impact can change the lives of everyone around the injured individual. In Sophie’s case, her husband sustained a spinal cord injury right in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown – which made adjusting to life after his injury much more difficult.
“It was a usual Saturday night during the pandemic. Just like everyone else in the country we were sat at home, watching movies. Kay went up to brush his teeth before bed, but he started to feel dizzy and fell over. He tripped head-first into the door handle, which must have caused some kind of whiplash.”
Kay had sustained a spinal cord injury at the C4/C5 level, which had a massive impact on his life. As well as the physical impact of his injury and having to adapt to using a wheelchair, Kay faced six months of not being able to see his loved ones in person due to the pandemic. This was especially hard on Sophie, even when lockdown measures eased.
“When we finally saw each other again it was only for 45 minutes, outside and supervised by a nurse. We had to stay two metres apart, I couldn’t even hold his hand.
“That was the hardest thing really. We were still separated.”
However, the pandemic did lead to a silver lining as it led to Sophie discovering Back Up. She spent a lot of time researching about what support exists for families of people with a spinal cord injury, and ended up reading about our life-changing services on our website.
“I needed to speak to somebody who had gone through what I was going through. I needed to learn how life could start moving again. That’s why I signed up for the Back Up mentoring service.”
A mentor gave Sophie vital tips and tricks for navigating life after her husband’s spinal cord injury. This support was essential when Kay was eventually discharged from hospital. It helped Sophie cope with the chaos of adapting their home and directing Kay’s care team.
“You learn very quickly that the things you plan can often change, which can be tiring. My mentor showed that I did not have to be Wonder Woman constantly – this helped me learn that I needed to look after myself so I didn’t run out of steam.”
As well as mentoring, Sophie also found support through our digital services.. She started joining the Back Up Lounge – an online space for everyone affected by spinal cord injury which we host on Zoom every fortnight. The Back Up Lounge gave Sophie a much-needed community of other family members in a similar situation.
“We all come from different places in the Back Up Lounge. The common denominator that we all share is spinal cord injury. We talk freely about everything, the good and the bad.
“I still join in with the Back Up Lounge as often as I can, and I’ve also trained to become a volunteer mentor!”
Since encountering Back Up, Kay and Sophie have come a long way. They have started playing adaptive tennis at their local club and have attended Wimbledon two years running. Having support from Back Up has been essential in their journey.
“If your loved one has sustained a spinal cord injury, know you are not alone.
“I can easily recommend Back Up to anyone. I don’t know how things would have turned out for us otherwise.”
We’re thrilled to hear that we were able to support Sophie after her husband sustained a spinal cord injury. Follow this link to get support.