Music makes life worthwhile

The biggest impact (of my injury) was in my relationship with my son - we found each other again, and we relate well. Now we also wrestle again!

Dex Goodman was shot late one Sunday afternoon. That was four years ago. A paraplegic from the shooting, Dex says the incident has not had a dramatic effect on his lifestyle. "The only thing that has changed is that I need people to pull me upstairs. Other than that my lifestyle has not undergone a dramatic change."

He is planning to move to Cape Town at the end of this year and he says that is more likely to have a bigger impact on his life. Not that it has all been plain sailing. At the time of the shooting Dex was self-employed. "My older sister helped me with medical bills, but I had to recover quickly to get back out there to earn a living."

It helped that he had worked in Information Technology most of his working life. “This probably made it easier for me as I did not have to find or train for a new career.” Today Dex works as an IT controller for a coal mining company in Johannesburg. Having his own transport and being able to drive has also made life easier.

Listening to Dex explain the positive experience the past four years have been, it strikes one that it is his attitude that allows him to view what happened to him in this light. To him it is all part of the journey of life, and, as he puts it, it has been a gift in many ways". He quietly explains this saying: "The past four years have been an amazing journey and spiritually I have grown so much. Make no mistake I know that I am fortunate in many ways. I do not underestimate that for one minute ever.

“I believe there is a vast difference between the challenges a paraplegic and a quadriplegic face. Had my injury been more severe, my life would probably have been dramatically changed.”

Where he saw the biggest impact of the shooting was in his relationship with his son. Today his son is 12 and one of the reasons he is moving to Cape Town.

“In the beginning my son struggled to relate to me. We had a real “boys” relationship and would wrestle and do the physical-type things that boys do. This changed for the first five or six months. However, we found each other again and since then we relate well again. We also wrestle again!”

Dex has another reason for moving to Cape Town: music. “I will be taking a year off to concentrate solely on my music and see where that takes me.”

Music, Dex believes, is the learning curve of his lifetime. “Music is a life’s work. To me it is next to breathing. It helped me emotionally and mentally to get through the shooting incident and its consequences. Without it I don’t know what life would be like.

“I have played the alto saxophone for about 12 years. Before that I played guitar for 14 years. Playing the sax is one of those moments in your life that just happen. A friend of my sister left his saxophone at our house. I walked past, picked it up, blew on it and in that instant knew I was hooked for life.”

Dex does guest spots and jams at various places. Getting in and out of these does not bother him. “There is only one thing that restricts your access – both physically and mentally – your mind. At one place where I play there is a tiny staircase. It does not stop me, I find a way up.”

You can go listen to Dex play at the Bohemian in Richmond on Wednesday nights till the end of December.

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