Im a C6 Quad from a rugby tackle in 1975 I made ACC act by several months, even though we grumble about the service my life would have been more difficult without their input.
My wife Evelyn was pregnant with our now daughter Jodie. We had been in our new house in Masterton for only 9 months. I was meant to be constructing the garage and laying out the grounds.
Flown to CHCH after my accident I was in public ward 13B, which has a reputation which is well known today.
All the boys from that era are remembered for being robust and stubborn. There were no computer technology or remote TV. If you wanted to do anything you found a way of doing it yourself. No sitting on your bum pushing buttons.
Being an Boiler maker welder any return to work was out of the question, the first 3-4 years we spent bringing up our daughter and getting use to what a disability was.
We always have had a wonderful support and input from all our families and they to pitched in when we needed a boost or help.
Wondering what to do with my time I took up painting which lead to a life time love, I started my own business Colours For Art selling art materials and doing demo and art classes. Working from home I sold materials from a small shop in our garage.
Evelyn decided to find a job as we both agreed it would be good for our relationship. She worked in the justice department first as a PD Warden then a Probation Officer. I was always at home so when Jodie returned from school I was available.
Getting carers has always been a major problem, they are paid very poorly and after several battles with ACC I have employed them privately and locally through an agency.
Over the 38 years I have been in a chair there are to many stories to remeniss, but Im sure I could write a book about the good the bad the funny and the down right ridiculous.
We sold our first home in 2001and build a modern large new home. Jodie had long left to go to varsity and after doing her OE moved to Blenheim.
Life was getting pretty tough my health had deteriated and I had opened a retail framing gallery and art supply business.
I employed a wonderful framer to do all work from Fri-Mon. But I was working 6 days plus painting evenings in my home studio.
We were struggling to keep up with life so after a lot of thought Evelyn resigned after 26 years of hard dedicated loyal years to the Justice Department and I managed to sell my 12 year of retail gallery business with my framer retaining her job.
We sold our house in Masterton in 2013 and bought a brand new speck house in Blenheim.
Our lives have taken on a new focus. Living here we spend a great deal of our time with Jodie and Justin, our son in-law, and our two wonderful grandchildren Patrick 6 and Ryan 4 life is different with neither of us worrying about work retail clients or work pressures.
We are getting into a routine as Evelyn does a great deal of my personal cares, we managed to find a excellent care giver it took a long time and finding good carers is a battle but it does make life easier.
Looking forward after nearly 39 years in a chair my body is complaining bitterly, so some times day by day is a battle.
Focusing on our grandchildren which gives us amusement and entertainment and though sometimes they need reigning in they give us back enjoyment and love.
Evelyn has joined the gym and gardening cub and I have set up my painting room in the 4th bedroom; it is a far cry from my old studio but its confined and a lot less messy than previous.
Getting to know the local galleries and framers I hope to set up an exhibition this year. I am producing the best works I have ever done.
Maybe having more time and less pressure gives me time to focus more. I used to sell a great deal of works through my gallery so now the stock pile of finished works are growing.
We have been married over 42 years so I hope for many more, thanks to my wife and family I couldn't function without them.
The best way to keep your mind and body happy is to keep busy, after spending 4 months on bed rest this year I decided to write a book to keep focused. Its finished but Im not sure what to do with it although if its never read at least it gave me a focus and filled in the blank time.
I awake at 2 o'clock in the night thinking of my next chapter. I think me and the burglars are the only ones awake and working.
I have done many things and looking forward to future chapters in my life book so bring it on Im up to the challenge.
- Jim Campbell.
NZ Rugby Foundation
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