chapter  NINE
8 Pages

Becoming free

ByAnne Green

In about 1986 it was suggested to me by the disability team that maybe it would help to go and see a counsellor. Not because I wasn’t coping with life, but because I had a lot to cope with. For example, I had cerebral palsy, and in 1978 I had developed ongoing problems with my voice, which is quiet at best of times but can disappear altogether. However, I never knew from one day to the next how it will be and, if I were having a bad patch, how long it would last for. In 1979 I had developed problems with my bladder, and in 1983 it became difficult for me to swallow. By 1986, quite suddenly, I was unable to swallow liquids at all. The liquid would sit in the front of my mouth and, when I attempted to swallow, most of the liquid would explode out of my mouth. I soon became dehydrated and had to find another way to obtain nourishment. This is why I was given a permanent gastrostomy, which is a feeding tube that is inserted directly into the stomach, by a surgical procedure. I was aware that I was receiving the best possible medical treatment and support that I could regarding my physical problems. However, I needed a lot of emotional support and reassurance. The medical profession dealing with me did not have the expertise and time to give me the additional emotional 105support I needed. Therefore they suggested gently that maybe I needed to go and see a counsellor.