Gee Rawlings, 22, is making huge progress at Neurokinex – but the gains in her confidence, resilience and sense of social acceptance are every bit as important to her as the gains in her physical capabilities. Gee was just shy of her 18th birthday when she suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury in her neck when she fell backwards off a swing in a freak accident on September 22, 2016.
Gee was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and spent two weeks in ICU before being transferred to Sheffield Northern General’s spinal unit. She spent nearly six months there before being discharged home. At that point, Gee had very minimal movement in her left arm and was told there was little hope of improving on this.
Back at home, Gee’s mum, dad and younger sister became her 24/7 support network. Adaptations to their house included a lift from the living room to Gee’s bedroom and hoists in her bedroom and bathroom. While the family did all they could, Gee needed expert and specialist rehabilitation. Sadly, her community physio simply didn’t have the necessary skills to help with Gee’s level of injury.
“While in hospital, I heard about Neurokinex and vowed I would try its therapy,” says Gee. Despite living near Lincoln and having a four-hour round-trip to Neurokinex in Hemel, Gee’s parents take her twice a week for a two-hour specialist therapy session with Jamie. Gee started at Neurokinex in September 2017 – a year after her accident.
“We do a lot of arm work focusing on my triceps and biceps, using the Skierg machine and also Wide Pulse Stimulation training,” says Gee. “While I’m still very limited in the use of my arms, I do have moment in both now and my left bicep strength is getting really good. Considering I was told I’d never get any movement back, that’s a massive gain for me.”
Gee is now starting on the Neurokinex standing regime and is gradually building up to use the ‘Power Tower’. “It was pretty nerve-wracking to start with as I’m being encouraged into a standing position for the first time in over four years,” says Gee. “I don’t trust very easily but I have absolute faith in the Neurokinex team and that helps me work through difficult transitions like this.”
Mental and social gains
Gee is delighted by her physical gains, increased strength and improved mobility thanks to Neurokinex. But she also highly values the emotional and social support she receives from her trainers and the wider Neurokinex community. “Sadly, a lot of my friends disappeared when I had my accident and while I made a few friends in hospital, it wasn’t until I met the Neurokinex trainers that I started to feel accepted and at ease,” says Gee. “It really helps that many of the trainers are similar in age to me and their easy conversation means the world.”
In tune with my body
It has taken Gee a long time to accept what happened to her. “For a long time, I found it very difficult and at times I refused to get out of bed or do much of anything. But I reached the point where I realised that nothing is going to change if I don’t change it. I’m now more in tune with my body and what I can/can’t do. I get up every day – even if I don’t want to – and get out to the village and on with my day.”
“Neurokinex has helped me get through the worst time of my life,” says Gee. “I’ve had days when I think ‘I can’t do this’ but they just don’t give up on me. I don’t think you could find anyone more passionate about their work: they will do anything to help you get through.”
Gee’s mum, Michelle, echoes this sentiment. “The change in her confidence and her ability to cope better is largely down to Neurokinex,” she says. “You can tell that they deeply care: for those two hours Gee is their special project. Their compassion, communication, chat and banter is all so genuine – I don’t think I’ve ever met a group of people so committed to their work.
“Gee is still young: and we have high hopes for future possibilities. With Neurokinex, we will keep going and see what the future holds.”