‘Humour’ and ‘sudden paralysis’ are not typically two terms that would sit hand-in-hand. However, a new book has combined the two to deliver an alternative take on dealing with a life-changing spinal cord injury.
“By incorporating humour into a book about sudden paralysis, there’s an element of controversy, though the people that deem it to be controversial are usually not people with a spinal injury,” explains Dr Anthony Papathomas, a lecturer in sport and exercise psychology in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University.
Anthony is the man behind the publication, titled The Very Alternative Guide To Spinal Cord Injury, which tears up your typical, dry, medical-based support materials. Instead, the 96-page guide brings to life every day scenarios and social barriers through a variety of inventive illustrations and photographs provided by co-author Joe Robinson.
Joe’s own experiences of living with a spinal cord injury complements the extensive research carried out by Anthony within the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport at Loughborough University. This allows The Very Alternative Guide To Spinal Cord Injury to tackle even the darkest topics, such as depression, in a sensitive way – albeit with a funny twist that allows for an engaging read for injured patients, as well as their family and friends.
“Our book was about providing something for spinal injured people first and foremost,” continues Anthony. “Their life stories, from the research conducted, always had a central theme of humour and fun about those tales. ”
“Suffering a spinal cord injury is a sudden and traumatic event that takes considerable adapting to and resources that can support the adaptation in the early stages are very important. The book is about coming to terms with sudden paralysis, adapting to a new life living with a disability and going on to live a full life.
There are some real lows along the way and we wanted to do justice to those lows and for the book to represent an authentic experience in an interesting and humorous way.”
The Very Alternative Guide to Spinal Cord Injury has been well received by healthcare professionals. Many are set to use the publication as a way of delivering support to new patients and NHS spinal injury units have already purchased the book.
Helen Smith, consultant clinical psychologist at London Spinal Cord Injury Centre, adds: “After a spinal cord injury or illness, we know that humour can help, information can help, and support can help. This book brilliantly combines all these elements.”
The Very Alternative Guide to Spinal Cord Injury was funded by the Loughborough University enterprise project. The book can be ordered online for £16.99.
By Dane Vincent