STILETTO – a high pointed HEEL on a woman’s shoe or a small dagger.
WHEELS – a medieval instrument of torture or a vehicle for personal mobility.
I am a dedicated follower of fashion. I love designer clothes (yes, married men can love clothes too!), particularly less mainstream brands, although that said, my favourite piece is a full-length autumn-leaf red linen Dolce & Gabbana coat. Very distinctive but hey, I like to stand out.
That all changed when I had my accident. Now I’m a wheelchair “rider” as they say in the States - not sure I particularly like or understand that term - full length coats don’t work too well. I didn’t want to cut my D&G coat down to size as I hope one day my son will want to wear it.
The thought that I’d not be able to wear any of my designer clothes any more really got me down when I was in hospital (for a very long fourteen months). I’m a high level para (T2 complete), so have poor balance and a big tetra tummy. I thought I’d be wearing the standard cripple uniform of tracksuit bottoms forever.
I had to confront this fear. So when I left hospital, I went to the Designer Warehouse Sales. This is an incredible place, where I used to buy all my clothes. Huge range, massive reductions, wondrous range of customers and staff. My D&G coat should have been £1,000. It cost £100.
Anyway. I remembered the venue (the old one – they’ve now moved) was on two floors and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get around. I went with real anxiety. I need not have worried. I could get in. I explained my (fairly obvious) situation to the staff. They were utterly charming and offered to help in any way they could. So, I had two men carry me upstairs. I had two personal shoppers who looked for stuff that might meet my needs (I particularly wanted a new, short coat to replace my D&G, and trousers that could accommodate my ever-expanding waistline). I could get around easily by myself, reach all the racks. I had a brilliant time, found loads of fabulous new clothes, including a gorgeous lime-green lightweight Macintosh jacket. I felt invigorated and restored.
My life as a fashion victim wasn’t over.