It is a miserable rainy Friday here in England so I thought it would be a great day to start writing a well overdue blog post. As you may know I went to Miami for 2 weeks (4th-19th April) and I thought you may be curious to know how my trip went. Sorry this post has taken longer to post than I expected but I’ve hurt my hand so hopefully I can write this up with ease.
Feeling apprehensive as our Virgin Atlantic flight began to leave Heathrow I eagerly accepted the glass of wine from the friendly steward. Being confined to a seat is something I’m used to but being confined to a seat which I couldn’t leave and may feel uncomfortable in for 9 hours was daunting. Yes, I’ve obviously been abroad plenty of times since my accident but I’d never been on such a long flight. Thankfully for around 7 hours I wasn’t too bad but I did need pressure relief every hour or so as I would get cold sweats, which is a reaction my body has to pain (autonomic dysreflexia), if I didn’t. However, after 7-ish hours I began to get so uncomfortable. My neck was in agony from being in an unfamiliar sitting position and the sweats felt awful. Finally we landed – what a relief. Mike and I were last off the plane as we had to wait for my wheelchair to be brought up to us. I was so angry when I sat in my chair as the backrest was extremely weak and the handles had been bent. Cheers for messing my chair up whoever you are!
After a stressful and anxious drive we met up with the guy who was renting us an apartment only to be told our apartment wasn’t ready. I could’ve cried. The apartment we were given to stay in on our first night was only a 2 bedroom when we needed a 3 but we had to make do. On first appearances the apartment looked fantastic with an absolutely incredible view of Miami glistening in the darkness but as I got into bed I noticed the sheets weren’t clean so I slept with my beach towel to shield myself. The next morning we couldn’t wait to leave so we went for a stroll along the beach finally feeling the warmth on our skin. At last it was time to head to our apartment! We stayed at a condominium complex in Surfside and it was lovely. I’d definitely recommend staying in Surfside as its a little quieter, has a gorgeous beach, has a few restaurants – Flanigans was our favourite, and is close to the posh Bal Harbour Shops.
The main reason we travelled all the way to Miami wasn’t for a relaxing holiday but to go to the Brucker Biofeedback Centre. Biofeedback is pretty difficult to explain but basically muscles from my neck, biceps, triceps, wrist, back, abdominals, hips and gluts were individually rigged up to a computer device with electrodes which read how much of my brain signal is reaching my muscles. I had to tense each muscle (physically and in some cases what seemed just mentally as I couldn’t feel certain areas ) for the computer to read the amount of signal. The therapists worked on each area 3 times in the 2 weeks and each time the signal got positively higher. This is because the therapy helps you to train your brain to find another way of connecting to the muscles. This explanation probably isn’t the most accurate but unless you’re there to see it with your own eyes its quite hard to explain to an outsider. I really did enjoy the therapy and although it was both physically and mentally exhausting I still felt I had enough energy to enjoy the rest of my day – Vitamin D is the best! Whilst at the centre I did unfortunately have one scary experience which was when one of the therapists was stretching my hands. She went too far with the stretch which caused some soft tissue damage to my hand. I honestly thought my hand was broken when I saw how swollen it was – thankfully it wasn’t. The reason this happened was because the tendons in my hands have gotten so tight through lack of stretching so when she stretched them a bit too far it was too forceful for my hand to take. I find it hard to trust people so when this happened I was questioning if I would get hurt again. However, I knew this was just a mistake so carried on and I’m glad I did and I cannot wait to go back. I’m still waiting for my report which has the results of my biofeedback sessions but the therapist did read them out to me before I left and each percentage was higher which is great. Going to the biofeedback centre has inspired me to work out more and continue with the exercises so perhaps when I return in the future my results are higher. I really feel I want to push myself to be stronger!
I loved visiting Lincoln Road and Ocean Drive as they’re both amazing places to people watch and absorb the Miami life. Lincoln Road is a shopping area full of bars and restaurants and Ocean Drive is a beautiful road with incredible art deco buildings most of which are bars, restaurants or hotels. Ocean Drive is also the location of the stunning yet haunting Versace Mansion. As we posed by the steps in front of the mansion it felt somewhat morbid to be posing where Gianni Versace was shot to death.
One day after my biofeedback session we decided to head to Sawgrass Mills which is a shopping mall in Florida which has a lot of outlet stores. We indulged at the Cheesecake Factory for fuel as the mall was massive. I ended up treating myself to some white converse for only $32, a gorgeous Kate Spade handbag which worked out so cheap considering the normal price, some cute crop tops from PacSun, Victoria’s Secret seamless knickers which I love, and a pretty kimono from Forever21. Whilst in Miami I also took the opportunity to buy lots of makeup products which aren’t available here in the UK so to see my CVS, Wallgreens, Sephora, Saks and Ulta haul check out this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4sIU71T8vY.
Another incredible experience we had in Miami was going to a Miami Heat game. The atmosphere was electric and the whole experience just seemed so hyper. I found it hilarious that the arena encourages you to put the opposing team off (which was the Indiana Pacers). Also, when Heat scored the commentator went crazy with excitement as he yelled the players name with pride but when the other team scored the same commentator seemed to be incoherent and simply mumbled their name. Being there was such a bizarre yet amazing experience; an amazing singer sang the National Anthem to get things started, throughout the game prizes were being handed out, music was played throughout the game and dancers would go on the court in-between quarters. With all the hype thankfully Heat won!!!
Just being in Miami was fantastic. I felt like I could do whatever I wanted. At home my muscles are constantly tense because I feel the cold so much but the warm air of Miami relaxed me and I just lived. I didn’t have to worry about relying on people who would let me down because everyone that was going to be helping me were with me. I was up and ready to go by 8:30 each morning and would fill my day with biofeedback, shopping, chilling on the beach, and eating overindulgent food at lovely restaurants. Its strange to say but I somehow felt less disabled there as I felt less restricted, less achy, and less tired during the day. Its so strange because if I workout here in the UK I wouldn’t even think of having the energy to go out for dinner or go shopping afterwards. So, with that said can I please move to Florida?
All in all Miami was a moment in my life that I want to experience over and over again. I’m so thankful for Mike, Mum, Eden and my PA Carla for making it a reality for me.
My Miami vlog https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfz_87uEte8&
Just so you’re aware I’ve popped JBone89 on some of my photos in this post because I have had a couple of people trying to impersonate me recently so hopefully by tagging my Instagram name it may put them off.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and if you have any questions please comment :) Xx