Kia Orana, I’ve recently graduated with my Diploma in Proofreading and Editing. This is exciting, rewarding and a wee bit scary. It’s like being handed your driving licence with the well-quoted words, “Here is your licence, now go and learn to drive”. I began this journey primarily as a career plan B. My career plan A was hugely rewarding (not in the monetary sense) and I wasn’t intending to retire from it any time soon.

I was an intensive care paramedic and I absolutely loved my job, most of the time. Then along came one of these blink of an eye moments when your world gets thrown up-side-down. I was in Rarotonga with my husband, he’s a paramedic too, we were on the safety boats for Vaka Eiva (an annual outrigger canoe festival). Conditions were a bit hairy and another person in ‘my’ boat lost his footing and hurtled across the cockpit into my knee. Apparently, I was very polite, well my outside voice was, inside voice wasn’t ladylike by any means. A trip up to the hospital in the back of a van and I was told my knee was “munted”.

Back in New Zealand and my knee was put back together with a few bits of metal to hold it, but there was some worrying nerve injury signs present. One of the nerves that runs down from the knee was ‘twanged’ when the initial injury happened. For the medical people out there, it was a depressed lateral tibial plateau fracture with peroneal nerve damage. This saga began in November 2014. With phenomenal amounts of physio and rehab I was hopeful of returning to my career, I’d been told it would be a few months, but it should return to normal function.

After three and a half years and several trials I’m sadly not back to work. It has been an abysmal few years, not only did I lose my career, in the space of three years I also lost three most precious and loved family members. Sometimes life just sucks.

But, one can’t sit around and feel ‘woe is me’. That doesn’t achieve anything apart from making you feel worse. Admittedly there have been LOTS of times when I have been ‘woe is me’, as would pretty much anyone in a similar situation.

Enter an NZIBS post on my Facebook page, proofreading and editing, yeahhhh, that sounded like something I could do. So I did, and here I am with a diploma sitting proudly on my office wall. My office in its previous life was our garage, now we have a lovely wee office and a smaller garage. Fortunately, we have a very obliging neighbour and we keep our boat in his garage.

Out of bad things there often come good things, of course I wish I hadn’t ‘munted’ my knee, I’ve had many moments of climbing the walls with it, seriously contemplating the chainsaw option, anyone with neuropathic pain will understand that. BUT, we have made some very very close friends in Rarotonga, we now visit there two or three times a year, stay with friends and get the use of another friend’s ute, what’s not to like about that? Before and after the munted knee, we have done, and still do, quite lot of training work with the ambulance and hospital staff in Raro.

Back to the proofreading, I’ve managed to secure bit of work, most of it at no charge in exchange for references and to get a foot in the door. (Should I get my good foot in the door or the munted one, if I put my good one in and the door slams shut it could end badly.)

I’ve just been given the job for proofreading a Cook Islands’ Ministry of Health document, also a series of small books for kiddies written by one of the physios I’m working with, another short story for kiddies from the NZIBS noticeboard postings. Another friend runs a private training establishment and I’ve got the PAID!!!!! (as in real dollars) job of proofreading quite a large amount of training and resource material for them. With time I’m aiming to specialise in medical work, for now a short story for kids is fine by me, we all have to start somewhere.

Onwards and upwards from here, I’m out there learning to drive.