The lowest moment for Grace Spence Green was “when doctors told her she would not be able to walk again”, says Emine Saner in The Guardian. In 2018, aged 22, the trainee doctor was walking through a London shopping centre when she was crushed by a falling man who had vaulted over a third-floor barrier. She needed an eight-hour operation on her spinal cord and fractured neck. It was surreal, she says, to wake up “when I didn’t think I was asleep”.
Climbing was her biggest passion. She was preparing to climb El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park, and was two years from qualifying as a junior doctor. Curiously, though, “there was never any anger”. The judge at the falling man’s trial attributed his behaviour to the consumption of cannabis. He escaped without injury, but spent four years in jail. Yet knowing that she saved his life, “or that someone else he could have landed on – a child, for instance – might not have survived”, helped Spence Green come to terms with what had happened.
She says she even qualified as a “better” doctor. “I now understand what it’s like to feel vulnerable in hospital” and how important it is to make patients feel “well again, but also safe”. She co-hosts a popular podcast, This Is Spinal Crap. People are sometimes “surprised” that her five-year relationship with her boyfriend, Nathan, has lasted – “I don’t think disabled people are seen as sexually active adults” – but they still abseil and run off to Venice. (He’s great for piggybacks.) Life in a wheelchair “did not become small”. It’s “made me who I am”.
Read the full article here.