Ataxia UK
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Hi I had a RTA in 1980

Hi, when I was 16 I was riding my motorbike as I usually did going as fast as possible. On this occasion I rounded a corner of a single track road, to find my father on his motorbike coming the other way. Somehow we had a head on collision, with my front wheel connecting with his engine. My brake peddle went though the sole of my Airwair boot, something went through the toe to cut my big toe. My wing mirror snapped and the stem cut into my thigh as I went over my dad. I landed on my head, making a small cut to my right eye, and was unconscious for the next ten days.

My mother had a visit from the doctor and she expected the news to be about my dad. She didn't expect the news to be about both of us! Dad was in a right mess, with his right thumb broken, in her words "he looked as if he had been dragged through a blackthorn hedge frontwards, backwards and sideways". The Doctors told her not to worry about him, it was her son she should be worried about. She visited me to find I just looked asleep.

I spent six or seven weeks in the N&N and can only remember bits of the last week. I was then transferred to Cambridge Addenbrookes where I spent an additional six or seven weeks. I feel like I was released too early from Addenbrookes, probably due to the complaining I did about the evenings when I had nothing to do.

Forward too today, I now write left handed, I can walk, with a limp, unlimited distance, I don't take any medication, I just suffer from a mild Ataxia with the biggest symptom being a shaky right hand particularly when tired. By profession I have been a Delphi computer programmer for in excess of twenty years although now I find myself redundant for the second time in a year. It is memory that lets me down, particularly short term memory, it is as if my brain evaluates everything and often says "nah I don't need that" and hence things wash over me!

9 Replies

🙂Hi Stephen, the whole incident must have taken its toll on your family. After an accident I imagine the main line of thought is focused on recovery, acquiring a debilitating condition is like insult to injury. My memory can often let me down, it was one of the reasons I gave up my job. You may come to recognise that both stress and tiredness are triggers, debilitating symptoms often become harder to cope with. Some types of ataxia effect cognitive function more than physical disability. You had a high tech job, it must be very frustrating for you, have you any thoughts about using your skills in a less stressful environment🤔xBeryl


Thanks wobblybee, yes stress could be a factor. Less stressful environments are what dreams are made of aren't they? I don't know where I could find one!


🙂 When you find one, don't keep it to yourself😉xB

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I hàd a car crash in 1991 and then brain surgery in 1994. Similar shaking but on my right side. Still have headaches and walk like I get drunk for free. I tend the gym helps as it keeps the mind and body active. Found a new hobby helped as I do fast passenger rides in exotic cars. Just relieves the stress and boredom from not working anymore and not working physically anymore. Doctors don't seem to be clued up on this ataxia so I go to Oxford now and they really help. You sound like you coped well with the accident but it's hard now?

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Sure is, when PIP replaced DLA I lost my allowance. It was only the lower amount but still, then I lost my job when BHS closed, I maintained the software that a supplier to BHS, Debenhams, Argos used to trade with retailers.

I also have a shaky right side, I sympathise with you re the walking drunk comment. Another major symptom is the slowness of speech, luckily I live in Norfolk locals all tend to talk slow here, so it isn't noticed so much.

I never got a penny re accident, the insurance said it was on a private road to the farmhouse we lived at, so no cover. I tried taking my Dad to court but as it was over 5 years later and I have no memory of smash (2 days pre till 4 weeks post is all a blank) I never got anywhere.

I can drive a standard manual car, have a wife and 2 kids, but we are now living of my redundancy payout once more. Don't know what to do!


If you apply for pip again, Google "pip questionaire answers" that will help you to answer the questions, gather as much info as you can from doctor, family, friends even yourself about how things affect you. These pip guys are real hard on people as thats what government want. Im on higher rate and lodt it. Told them i wanted to go to court over this as they only stopped my benefit as sometimes i have a support worker therefore i was more able to do things. I tokd them i wanted to go to court and all of a sudden they doubled my points. Keep your chin up fella. Your wife and kids will be worried about you. If u cantt get anywhere keep in touch. Whatever you sent to the council make sure you keep a copy and send recorded delivery. If you wer on lower dissability dal then there is no reason why you should still be if it's pip. Don't give up, regards, clive

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I meant dla benefit which I presume you were on


Some great replies.

That is horrid and so unfair. It must have been so hard for your mum too. Sounds like you got the best medical help though.

My memory is dreadful. I have to write stuff down (hard to read though!!). My husband is great though and I send him a lot of emails x


Well at least you have a rock 'n' roll story! I am in the same position and have just gone through ( although my story of how l ended up with ataxia is less glam- I consider any speed demons glam lol) the pip debacle and doing it again now, as have got much worse v quickly ....(hence why I have been quiet)

The council can also offer direct payments, to pay for someone to help you – it's madness isn't it -

We pay our taxes and work all our lives, and end up with hardly any help - pip doesn't cover my outgoings, never mind pay for any help!

Employment support allowance is about 75-125 a week, that's a 'help' you apply for that thro dwp?

I think you can also apply to the council for a reduction in your council tax, and some energy companies offer a discount ?

It's extremely hard to negotiate with a fuzzy brain , but it can be done - The citizens advice bureau can help you fill out the PIP form - but if you follow the guidance notes, you are probably best placed to do it yourself, or dictate to Mrs speed queen ?

I wish I had a magic wand to make it all a bit better and allow us to live without worrying - we live in a cruel immoral society, shame on them all, but love and light to everyone here - we are not alone ✨☮️🌈💕

'The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members'

Mahatma Ghandi


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