It was three years since I’d seen my best mate Nigel. The last time had been when we said goodbye at London City Airport after our three-day sozzled sojourn (OK, drunken trip) round the Scottish Isle of Islay. To the uninitiated, a pilgrimage for those who worship peat in their dram of whiskey, but that is another story/column. Our wives met us airport arrivals, and were suitably impressed that we’d made it back.
What you need to know is that both of us are disabled through sclerosis (he’s only had the one, though it was the size of a category 5 hurricane) and had became friends in the days of our able-bodyment (yes, another column). We hadn’t seen each other, partly due to geography (I’m a Londoner, he’s on the South Coast), but mainly because of maladies. For either him, or me, every plan sunk.
This time it was going to be me. I was in some sort of agony round my left hip. It had been slowly gnawing away at me for the past few weeks. The pain increased my fatigue exponentially.
I was going outside on my trip — it had been good enough for Scott of the Antarctic. Sure, he was bravely facing death, but I, too, might not finish my trip. I might not even make it to the car! There was, though, the anesthetic of a night of drinking incredibly good malt whiskey to claw myself to.
I made it! A good time was most definitely had. It hadn’t helped my physical well-being, but it sure cheered me up.
None of this was going through my head a few days later when I was somewhat preoccupied by the shower cubicle effectively eating me.
This will take some explanation …
By now there was so much pain shooting through my left hip that it would just collapse. Unfortunately this happened in the shower and I ended in a fetal position in the bottom of the pan. It’s a quarter-circle cubicle, so there is a bit of room. I’m six-foot tall and even at my athletic best (in my youth I’d been a capable all rounder club cricketer), I was not lithe. There was no way I could have ever consciously attempted this, especially with MS. Yet, here I was, crying for help and whimpering.
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