Families is powered by Vocal creators. You support Jo McGarry by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Families is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

The Life of Brian

Blog Introduction

Welcome, everyone, to my first post, and an introduction to the overall topic of this blog.

The topic of this blog and many of my posts will be my grandfather's disability before his recent passing. Many subjects will be covered in the discourse of this blog. Examples of this are; how did my grandfather become paralysed? What is quadriplegia/tetraplegia? What further health problems can this cause? What the UK health care service did to help, what is autonomic dysreflexia, what was his life like before he was paralysed, and other topics.

From this blog, it is desired that others who have relatives who are paralysed can read something relatable, or for those who want to learn more about people who have disabilities. Furthermore, I also hope to carry on his legacy through this blog to ensure that a life confined to a wheelchair will mean something and help others as he constantly did.

If any readers wish to reach out, contact details will be provided, and hopefully from this blog, a YouTube channel may form.

So...you may be asking yourself: Jo, what made you want to write a blog about your Granddad and his disability. Well, the answer is; he was a very large part of my life growing up. He was an amazing, selfless person, and his disability really taught me some great life lessons. Also, his disability meant that I matured very quickly and became very responsible. 

Before we get into the parts about his life and his disability, I will briefly explain a bit about myself first so readers here have an idea of what kind of person I am. I am a 21-year-old, special effects makeup artist from Northern Ireland. I have one brother and I am from a single parent family. I live in the coastal town of Portstewart. I am the eldest grandchild in my family and I have recently finished my final year of university, studying SFX makeup. 

I mentioned at the start of this post that my granddad recently passed. This happened on February 24th 2018. Sadly, at that time I was 330 miles away from home (Northern Ireland) at my university halls in Grimsby, England. Getting home quickly was no easy feat either. I couldn't just get a bus to the airport. I had to take a three hour train from Grimsby to Manchester Airport and then get a flight from Manchester to Belfast international airport. But, when I landed in Belfast, I still had a one hour car ride home to my grandparent's house.  

This epic journey was made worse by the fact that towards the end of his life, he was sick; however, until the day he was passing away, the doctors on the wards were never one hundred percent truthful with my family because they didn't even know what was happening. As a result of his disability, his immune system was weakened, meaning that he would frequently get infections if anyone in the family had even so much as a cough or a runny nose. This meant that many times a year he would need antibiotics to cure his infections, and when antibiotics are used a lot, the body gets used to them and stronger doses have to be administered. We were told by doctors in previous years that eventually this would happen but there was no way of estimating how long before this would happen.

It is also important that I explain how my Grandfather became paralysed. In September 2001, my Granddad was a marathon running, bee-keeping, avid cyclist. He decided one sunny morning to go cycling and went about his journey. However, there was a cattle trailer parked on the wrong side of the road and he crashed into it head first, severing the spinal cord between the C2 and C3 (Spinal Discs), meaning that movement below the neck was cut off. After many months in hospital, he was given a wheelchair, which operated through a joystick that he pushed with his chin.  

This topic will be touched on more in the next post, but for now, thanks for stopping by and reading this blog.

My Granddad (Brian)

The Amateur Photographer

Now Reading
The Life of Brian
Read Next
Teen Mom Vs. School