So because I cant see, its hard to do things that others take for granted in here. Like, for example, going to the dining room to eat. I’ve been avoiding it mostly. However this morning one of the nurses asked a girl in my ward to walk me down to the dining room. And she did. I feel embarrassed walking with someone. Like I am a burden. Like they have better things to be doing than leading me and showing me where to go. But I complied and went with her. I didnt eat breakfast though. I just drank a cup of tea and took my morning medication. The same girl brought me back to my bed afterwords again. Then I asked if I could have a shower and the nurse asked me if I needed someone or could I manage on my own. I told her if she showed me where it was I thought I’d be able to manage by myself. And I did. Usually I wouldnt feel embarrassed by the fact that I cant see, but sometimes, it gets to me. Like this morning it did. I just want to be normal like everyone else on the unit.
FOUR YEARS AGO, adventurer Mark Pollock, who was the first blind man to reach the South Pole, became paralysed from the waist down in a fall from a window.
The fall happened just three weeks before he was due to be married and he was in hospital for over a year. Since then, he has been through intensive rehabilitation at the Project Walk in San Diego and became the first person in the world to own a personal set of robotic legs made by Ekso Bionics.
This week, Pollock will tell his incredible story at the TEDx Hollywood event, hoping to raise awareness of needs to be done to help people in wheelchairs.
“Doing a TED Talk has been something I wanted to do for quite a while as it’s a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of spinal injury with influential people around the world,” Pollock said today. “There’s no money in it but that’s not the motivation – it’s to spread the word to the world that spinal injury needs attention.”
One of the main things I’m going to talk about is the dichotomy of acceptance and hope. When I broke my back, I was advised to accept my situation and move on but unless we have hope, how can we ever change things. Without acceptance there is no start line but without hope there is no finish line. Somewhere in the middle is making important progress.
The talk will be available to view online in July and will form part of the closing sequence of a feature documentary called ‘Unbreakable’ about Pollock’s journey, due to be released in October.