In 2013, Adelia Hallett was injured in a horse-riding accident that snapped her leg. That moment – and the two years it took to recover – changed her life and opened her eyes to the fact that sometimes, even ordinary activities like making a cup of tea or getting dressed can be be extraordinarily difficult, while more complicated things can be impossible. “It’s the kind of thing you can know in your head, but not understand until you go through it,” she says. “You think ‘yeah yeah, I’ll have to spend some time with my leg up and then I’ll have crutches’, but you don’t really comprehend what that means until the reality hits you square in the face.”
Being disabled also made Adelia realise that there isn’t a lot of information available for the newly incapacitated. Questions like “what happens now”, “what happens next”, and, critically, “when can I get back to normal” were all racing through her mind in the days, weeks and months after the accident, but she never found satisfactory answers. “What I wanted,” she says, “was a brochure telling me what I could expect to happen. I wanted – needed – all the information in one place that I could keep going back to, because I didn’t have the energy to do my own research, and although the doctors and nurses had told me lots of things, my brain was too befuddled with drugs and pain to take it in and remember it. When I left the hospital I asked for a brochure, but they said they didn’t have such a thing. It crossed my mind at the time that I could write one for them. I’ve never quite got around to that, but I hope that this blog will bring together the information anyone struggling to come to terms with a disability will find useful.”
Adelia lives with her family in Northland, New Zealand. In her day job, she is the climate advocate for the environmental organisation Forest & Bird. She has worked as a journalist in newspapers, magazines and radio, and, with her husband, publishes New Zealand’s only sustainable-business daily newsletter and website, Carbon News.