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Webchat with James Cracknell and Beverley Turner about life after brain injury (and more), TODAY, Monday 12 November, 1-2pm

(98 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 08-Nov-12 12:06:46

We're joined on Monday at 1pm by Olympic rower James Cracknell and his wife, writer and broadcaster Beverley Turner who have just published their book, Touching Distance.

In 2010 James was knocked off his bike by the wing mirror of a petrol tanker in Arizona. It had smashed into the back of his head at high speed, causing severe frontal lobe damage. The doctors weren't sure if he would recover and, if he did, whether he would ever be the same again. A year later, he suffered a seizure at home which left him struggling to master life's simple challenges whilst his family faced the challenges this brought to their own lives.

Touching Distance is an extraordinary, honest and powerful account. James and Bev confront for the first time the lasting effects that the accident has had on their lives. Send your questions to James or Bev in advance or join them on Monday at 1pm for the webchat. Send in a question and you will be entered into a draw to win one of four signed copies of Touching Distance.

BupcakesAndCunting Mon 12-Nov-12 11:45:40

Hi James and Beverley,

Just before I ask my question I would just like to tell Beverley that I think she's gorgeous and has amazing hair. envy

Anyway, Beverley, how do you avoid the temptation to barricade James into the house when he wants to go out cycling? My husband would love to ride a motorbike to work but I have told him in no uncertain terms that I could never deal with it and thankfully, he hasn't been through an awful accident. Do you worry every time he goes out on his bike?

RatherBeOnThePiste Mon 12-Nov-12 12:35:57

At the encouragement of my rowing teens, I have taken up rowing recently. Love it! Going tonight on the Thames in the dark and more than likely rain, but it is sweeptastic and I'm hooked. smile

Can you please settle a family debate once and for all?

Are pogies just for weeds?

Isla77 Mon 12-Nov-12 12:49:34

Have just finished reading your book. What an inspiring read and what a struggle to get through after such an apalling injury. How lucky you both are to have one another and your beautiful children. Good luck to you both for the future.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Nov-12 13:03:29

Bev and James are on their way but stuck in traffic shock Should be here imminently...

VivaLeBeaver Mon 12-Nov-12 13:08:02

Its ok, will give MN time to crash a few more times. wink

BeverleyTurner Mon 12-Nov-12 13:21:16

Hello! Sorry we're late. Terrible traffic...but also...I was SO grey this morning I had to get my roots done...Almost ran out with wet hair but then got a two-handed blow-dry. Looking forward to chatting to everyone.x

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Nov-12 13:21:33

James and Bev are now here. Tech hitches behind us (hopefully) and ready to start... welcome to mumsnet

Phoebe47 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:21:51

How do you get on to the webchat?

BeverleyTurner Mon 12-Nov-12 13:22:43

Hello! Sorry we're late. Terrible traffic...but also...I was SO grey this morning I had to get my roots done...Almost ran out with wet hair but then got a two-handed blow-dry. Looking forward to chatting to everyone.x

JamesCracknell Mon 12-Nov-12 13:22:43

Hope everyone's having a great day, just to say that me and my two fingered typing is in situ and about to work down the list of questions. Thanks so much for sending them in. James

VivaLeBeaver Mon 12-Nov-12 13:24:47

Hello.

BupcakesAndCunting Mon 12-Nov-12 13:26:33

You're on it, Phoebe!

BupcakesAndCunting Mon 12-Nov-12 13:26:51

Hello grin

JamesCracknell Mon 12-Nov-12 13:27:40

RatherBeOnThePiste

At the encouragement of my rowing teens, I have taken up rowing recently. Love it! Going tonight on the Thames in the dark and more than likely rain, but it is sweeptastic and I'm hooked. smile

Can you please settle a family debate once and for all?

Are pogies just for weeds?

Thought I'd ease myself in with a rowing based question. Pogies are gloves that the oar handle goes through so you can effectively row in gloves. Are they for weeds? Bit like playing football in tracksuit bottoms and as I rowed with some hardcore old guys aka Steve Redgrave it wasn't for him. As our coach used to say "old trees don't bend" he was though happy to bend when a warm weather winter training camp to Spain was suggested. Personally I think that's taking an easier option than pogies!

Piffpaffpoff Mon 12-Nov-12 13:31:12

Hello, well I'll ask the question since no-one else has -fave biscuit?

BeverleyTurner Mon 12-Nov-12 13:31:53

BupcakesAndCunting

Hi James and Beverley,

Just before I ask my question I would just like to tell Beverley that I think she's gorgeous and has amazing hair. envy

Anyway, Beverley, how do you avoid the temptation to barricade James into the house when he wants to go out cycling? My husband would love to ride a motorbike to work but I have told him in no uncertain terms that I could never deal with it and thankfully, he hasn't been through an awful accident. Do you worry every time he goes out on his bike?

Thanks for the hair love! Honestly - if I left it, It'd be white, frizzy and flat...! But life is too short for bad hair. Ok, I know exactly what you're talking about with the whole safety / worry conundrum. If it was up to me, James would never go out on a bike again. BUT...I have to be fair about the risk v reward. He loves cycling and is always safety conscious - bright clothes, helmet, sensible route, not rushing etc etc..having said that, accidents do happen. I just have to realize that asking him NEVER to cycle would be an over-reaction on my part. As long as I feel reassured that he takes all sensible precautions, then so be it...HOWEVER, I HATE motorbikes. Sadly, since the accident, James has epilepsy so can't drive which has conveniently negated the need to discuss motorbikes! I think once you have children, it's much harder for blokes to justify any kind of potentially dangerous activity - for me, motorbikes come in that category! x

desserttime Mon 12-Nov-12 13:32:34

Hi Beverley and James

was so sorry to hear about James' accident, as a friend had just recently told me about it. Really hope you are both doing well and having just sneaked a peak at a few reviews of the book I'll be getting it for a few people this christmas!

I would really like to know one piece of advice you would give to people about how to stave of depression and how to keep strong in difficult circumstances?

Thank you!

BeverleyTurner Mon 12-Nov-12 13:32:36

Piffpaffpoff

Hello, well I'll ask the question since no-one else has -fave biscuit?

Those chocolate digestives with caramel in them...bloody heavenly...

JamesCracknell Mon 12-Nov-12 13:34:04

babybarrister

Can I just ask a direct question to you both, as well after my thoughts above - what have you both said to your 6 year old son to explain Daddy's brain injury and the angry outbursts as it is something that in the same position as yourselves I find very difficult to think of a good explanation for. Thanks

Really hard and emotional question to answer and I'll be honest was tempted to avoid it. Bev has been forced into dealing with the fallout to our lad especially in the first few months as I wasn't aware of my behaviour. He knew what had happened but as I looked okay and healthy he couldn't understand why I'd react differently to certain situations/behaviour than I had in the past. It was the lack of predictability and the speed with which my mood changed that effected him most and looking back hurts me the most. The reality is the impact on Bev, the kids and my parents, sister has been worse than me. I'm the one that gets sympathy but they have had to learn to live with someone who's different from before.

JamesCracknell Mon 12-Nov-12 13:36:20

BeverleyTurner

Piffpaffpoff

Hello, well I'll ask the question since no-one else has -fave biscuit?

Those chocolate digestives with caramel in them...bloody heavenly...

Sadly since the accident I've got no sense of taste so my enjoyment of biscuits has diminished. Pre-accident custard creams hit the spot but Bev said they weren't very classy!

BupcakesAndCunting Mon 12-Nov-12 13:38:24

"I think once you have children, it's much harder for blokes to justify any kind of potentially dangerous activity - for me, motorbikes come in that category! x"

I couldn't agree more!

BupcakesAndCunting Mon 12-Nov-12 13:40:08

Custard creams are the best biscuit in the world! (Sorry Beverley!)

I know I've had one question already so do feel free to not answer but James, what are the chances that you will ever regain your sense of taste? I temporarily lost my sense of smell ergo taste and it before then it was something I had taken for granted.

BeverleyTurner Mon 12-Nov-12 13:41:12

desserttime

Hi Beverley and James

was so sorry to hear about James' accident, as a friend had just recently told me about it. Really hope you are both doing well and having just sneaked a peak at a few reviews of the book I'll be getting it for a few people this christmas!

I would really like to know one piece of advice you would give to people about how to stave of depression and how to keep strong in difficult circumstances?

Thank you!

Thanks for msg and adding the book to your christmas list! How to stave off depression in tough times is a great question...It sounds strange, but it helps if you know what makes you happy in the easier times...women in particular tend not to be very good at that. We're so busy running around and keeping things together that we rarely stop to think, 'what actually makes me happy?' For me, it's time with good friends (the ones who make you laugh are gold-dust); feeling I'm on top of things practically (lists, organizing, planning) which can be a drag to do, but unfailingly makes me feel better afterwards; not being afraid to ask for help if you're feeling swamped; not feeling guilty about time to yourself, even if it's just a quiet bath! I also find writing stuff down is a massive help. There's something about leaving problems on a page that seems to lighten the load. Book something to look forward to - it doesn't have to be expensive - I recently took the kids to Bognor Regis beach for the day in the rain!! It should have been completely miserable but they absolutely loved it and slept all the way home in the car. x

JamesCracknell Mon 12-Nov-12 13:43:15

dinkystinky

James and Beverley - thanks for coming on. Your story, and Babybarrister's, are so painful - thank you though for sharing them with us, as so often families struggles when an awful accident happens are kept behind closed doors. My question: did you find writing this book cathartic and how is life nowadays for your family?

Lovely question. Yes is the answer because despite thinking we had spoken about what we had been going through the reality was we hadn't. As we're lucky enough to have three kids time that Bev and I spend alone together is limited and if we're honest have used that as an excuse not to talk to each other about how we're feeling. Before reading Bev's parts of the book I'd only cried once in over two years but when I saw in black and white for the first time what Bev had and is feeling I kept breaking down and could't read it all in once go. She's an amazing person and I wouldn't have made the recovery I have if she hadn't been prepared to ask the tough questions which made me confront issues I was avoiding.

desserttime Mon 12-Nov-12 13:49:10

That's great advice, thank you Beverley. We quite like days on rainy beaches too!

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