Life is an opportunity. Do yourself a favour and take a listen to this interview with Joel Sardi. It’s about perspective and living the unplanned life. Listen when you are out on a walk or sit quietly with your drink of choice in hand and hear this man speak with such grace as he shares his story. What happens when everything you know about how to live is taken away? As Joel told me, everything he thought a man was meant to be, he could no longer do. Have any of you had to relearn how to breathe or communicate?
This is the story of a young man who spent 5 years serving with the Australian Army, including deployment to Afghanistan. On the 31st of August 2014, Joel had a fall and broke his C2 and C5, T3, T4 AND T5 vertebrae, and also his sternum. The injury caused irreparable spinal cord damage and he is classified as a ‘C-5' quadriplegic. He talks to us about the initial challenges and those he now faces daily.
Every day since doing this interview, I have felt gratitude for things like the ability to walk up my stairs, to feel sweat and not having to worry about a crease in my pants. Imagine feeling lightheaded and needing someone to come and push their fist into your stomach to compress your diaphragm.
This interview with Joel is both uncomfortably voyeuristic and total joy. If you’ve ever wondered how a physical disability impacts people in your workplace or community, or like me, you feel a responsibility to learn more about what disability even means, then please log in.
What happened to him recently that really hurt? Is discrimination in all its forms alive and kicking?
This conversation is of course going to involve topics like mindset, values relationships and personal growth. And warning – Joel does show us his catheter! And the words ‘bowel’, ‘bum’ and ‘sex’ are used in this interview so it won’t be for everyone. I learnt so much from Joel and found myself googling terms like ‘autonomic dysreflexia.’ I thought about editing out his mum appearing in the background, and editing out my totally inappropriate and awkward sex reference. And I especially wanted to edit out that I said, ‘you’re not special …' But it’s all there for you to see because - that’s kind of the point.
This is an important conversation. Let’s all focus on the things we can do.
Listen to the interview here: