Having set this blog up only recently I had all sorts of exciting plans to share hints and tips with you all. But since then a lot has happened and I felt that writing articles about staying safe and well on the fells might be a little untimely and inappropriate!
So as I’m a physiotherapist with an interest in motorsport and outdoor pursuits, any blogs I had lined up would just be rubbing salt into the wound; so until we’re good to go I’ll pop those on hold.
However, personally, I’d wanted to keep my promise to send out monthly blogs, so had been thinking about what, you; my readers might find useful and semi-interesting.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has spent a lot of time reflecting during this pandemic. The head space has been great. Especially in recent days. Having chatted with friends about what could I do. They said, ‘What about you, Emma?’
At first, I didn’t know what they meant. Then it sunk in. They meant that I hadn’t actually introduced myself to any of you and kindly added that in my 31 years of living I’d done a lot to inspire them. This was so touching, and I’d never thought of my life as being remotely interesting, let alone inspiring!
So here you go. This is a short story about me; the ups and downs, the long slogs and great times…
In the beginning….
I was born in Surrey but have lived all over the country and abroad. My dad is a doctor and my mum, a nurse. In fact, my whole family is medical; either doctors or nurses, but I broke the mould and became the first physiotherapist! And my sister even more so, & has an amazing vegan bakery in Central London! (She even does UK postal orders; perfect for these lockdown days! @HeyLovelyBuns)
I don’t really have an accent. Well I lie, many people say I do; if I’m down south all my friends say I’m northern but If I’m up north all my friends say I’m southern. So I don’t know what’s going on!
After Surrey we moved to Baltimore, back across the Atlantic to the Lake District, then further east to Newcastle, but most of my life was spent in North Yorkshire, where my folks still live. After moving out I lived in France, traveled around the world for a bit, returned to France for another spell then moved to the Lake District. Phew!
Why the Lakes? Well, my Granny was born in Maryport and lived in Dearham before heading to London to complete her nursing training; this is where she met my Granddad. Later in life they retired back to the Newlands Valley in Cumbria. Me and my sister spent many happy holidays exploring the Lakes so it’s always held a very special place in my heart.
I know there will be many GCSE & A-Level students worrying about their studies and Uni options. My advice is to follow what the government is suggesting and don’t give up. But also remember you don’t only have one shot at this.
I’m dyslexic and hated doing my A-levels. I loved my GCSEs and actually surprised everyone on how well I did, including myself!
Then at sixth form, it all went downhill. I chose subjects I loved and would help me get into physio, but after just a term it was obvious, I was struggling. I had extra support outside of school and locked myself in my room determined to get into uni. One day in Biology, my teacher leaned on my desk and said, ‘Emma you’re not clever enough to be a physio, and you should consider an easier career (now this is the best bit) such as nursing.’
Well firstly, can we just address the nursing situation here! I don’t know about you, but nursing is not an easy career option. And I really hope she has seen and recognised all of the nurses on the front line fighting this pandemic.
Secondly, I didn’t want to be a nurse. It didn’t interest me, and I didn’t have the attributes to be a nurse. I wanted to understand human movement and I wanted to be a physio.
Anyway, after my 2 years of hell was up, sure enough I flunked my A-levels and well, that was that.
School failed to inform me that there were other options; to them I had failed and was never going to uni.
Luckily, I have the most supportive and understanding family. I had already planned to take a gap year and spend 3 months coaching swimming in the townships of Port Elizabeth in South Africa. I loved every second of this life-changing experience and made friends for life. In fact this is where I met Matt Le Voi there who also moved to the Lakes, having met his lovely wife Naomi who is a true Cumbrian! Matt owns Lakeland Mountain Guides and Naomi owns Lakeland Dog Walker.
After returning to the UK I decided I was going to join the police. I applied to be a Special Constable but, in the meantime, needed a job until I could apply for the regulars.
I started as a health care assistant in theatres (HCA) and I absolutely loved it. By day I was a HCA and by night a Special Constable.
I was then offered the opportunity to complete my foundation degree.
Wow, I was actually going to uni!
I loved my busy life: Uni one day - HCA 4 days a week - studying and working as a Special Constable in the evenings. Pretty hectic stuff.
Uni was when I first heard about physio assistants. ‘What was this?’ I wondered. They worked alongside physios, and there was a job coming up. So, I applied; long story short, I got it! I was gutted to be leaving surgery but excited that I could work with physios until the regular police force started to recruit. (see how I still didn’t think I was cut out for Physio?!)
I finished my foundation degree with my specialist module in physiotherapy. Then Jill Kent came along. Jill is the most loving, fun, motivating and caring person I have ever met. She told me I should consider applying for my physiotherapy degree. I remember laughing at her and telling her how Mrs 'Twit' Teacher had told me many years before that I’d never make it as a physiotherapist. She smiled, nodded and told me I had all the UCAS points I’d need. And reiterated I should seriously consider it. So, I did. And look where it has led!
As a student I said yes to everything. I was a student rep with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP); by this point I’d stepped down as a Sergeant in the Special Constabulary as there just weren’t enough hours in the day or night! I then went on to be a regional rep and during my final year sat as the Chair of the Student Executive Committee.
I passed my degree with a First Class Honours, and can honestly say I enjoyed every second of my studies.
Bumps on the road…
I completed my junior rotations at a large trauma centre which was when I fell out of love with physio. It was awful, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I hated going into work and didn’t feel like I was making any kind of difference. I handed in my notice, sold my house and asked my parents to look after Raffles (my dog).
I was going traveling, something I had longed to do for many years. If not now, then when?
So in 2016, I took a career break.
After working as a chalet host, I embarked on a round the world trip with my sister, Alice and her boyfriend, Lewis. We started in Iceland, took a road trip across the USA, travelled down into Mexico (where Dave, my then boyfriend, now husband, joined us for a few weeks!), explored Central and South America then hopped on over to Fiji, New Zealand and Oz!
My plan was to come home, but an opportunity to work as a physio in France during a second ski season came up and I went for it. It made me fall back in love with physio and also confirmed my belief in the principles of ‘hands on’ treatment.
After this stint I returned to the UK and moved in with Dave in Cumbria. Following some locum work as a physio I fulfilled my dream and established Fellside Physio. This was encouraged by my amazing Isle of Man TT family; 2 weeks of hard graft, volunteering and helping all the racers of this crazy road race! I’ve got the bug. I love it!
Which brings me to where I am today.
I suppose what I want to say is that even during this difficult time, my experience proves that there is more than one road to where you want to be. I certainly took the scenic route and it taught me so much!
So, to those who resonate with my story, stop holding yourself hostage to your weaknesses. Stop telling yourself that your past experiences define your present.
Instead, start acknowledging your strengths and recognise that your life is made up of the stories you tell about yourself… and that you have the power to write new ones.
Stay Strong Everyone, Best wishes