CatWalk Talks to Radio Broadcaster, Sally Wenley
CW: What has caused you to be in a chair and when did it occur?
SW: A bus went over a bank in Hawke’s Bay in 1987. Five people were killed and I was sitting in the middle of the back seat. I ended up with head injuries and a broken back.
CW: Are you a paraplegic, tetraplegic or a quadriplegic?
CW: Have you had any surgery that you think has been of particular benefit eg steel rods?
SW: I had a bone graft from my hip onto my back, and metal rods down either side of my spine. But I had them taken out after a year as found them too restricting. I have also had horrendous neurological pain down my thighs - although I don’t have any sensation in them - so I had surgery a year and a half ago. This was a cordectomy where they snipped the slither of spinal cord that had been tethered in the mushed bone around the break area. When the surgeon cut it he said the spinal cord retracted about a centimetre up the canal. Since then my pain has been virtually non existent. This changed my life as I can now sleep properly and concentrate more.
CW: What is your gym/work out regime?
SW: Work out?! Well that would be lifting a glass of bubbles or chardonnay at Ponsonby bars and then the exercise bit is wheeling home! I don’t believe in wearing make-up, lycra and exercising all at the same time so don’t go near a gym. I have just taken up sailing which is lots of fun... especially when the wind gets up.
CW: Who or what has been your key support ie medical and personal?
SW: My biggest support is a decent wonder bra ... and fantastic friends as well as family.
I am getting married in December and my fiancé' is a star - from fixing punctures to getting me into boats for a spot of fishing.
CW: Tell us about your job.
SW: I am a journalist with National Radio. I went to Massey University in Palmerston North and completed a BA in English, then off to Broadcasting school in Christchurch.
I worked as a junior journo for TVNZ, then a doctors magazine and have been with RNZ for about seven years. It involves shift work and every day's different. One day I may be driving out to a shooting in west Auckland, then
interviewing gang members in south Auckland. The next day could be at a High Court trial or District Health Board meeting, or maybe even a protest march up Queen Street.
Yesterday I was in a tattoo studio interviewing a guy while he was torturing some poor lad getting a big Maori design tattoo on his arm. I was almost tempted to get one myself!
CW: Have you had to make any specific alterations to the work place and/or home?
SW: I have had a ramp put in at home and a bigger shower.
CW: Is there anything else you think may be of interest to our readers?
SW: I met my husband-to-be while working. It was a cold Sunday night and I was outside a supermarket with microphone in hand asking the public about how the surge in fuel prices was affecting them. Dave said he had to drive for work and when I suggested he could may be use a bike he said he was way too unfit for that! He asked for my phone number, the cheeky bugger, and I gave him my business card. One year on we got engaged.
CW: Congratulations! And thanks for talking to us.