It’s usually best to write with time for reflection.
I often feel like a foreign correspondent reporting from the front line of my own bedroom! The shells of multiple sclerosis (MS) explode within me, and I’m suddenly airlifted into new territory. It’s like being yanked from the street troubles in Belfast to the jungles of the Vietnamese conflict. (American, French, Japanese — take your pick!) A whole different set of complex issues need to be grasped and understood while struggling with your new injury.
The ol’ heat of battle lends immediacy to copy, but standing back — all right, sitting back — allows for analysis.
I was seething.
MS had finally taken away my ability to stand without help.
This might not sound like much, but it was soul-destroying. (OK, I don’t believe in souls, but try finding a better English term. “Angst” doesn’t cut it.) It was far worse than losing my ability to walk, which, toward the end, looked more like the tentative swaying of a parade-leading stilt walker who’d spent the night at the “Animal House” “Toga! Toga! Toga!” party.
In the days when I played wheelchair tennis, I could still walk a bit, unlike the majority of my comrades. But fatigue and lack of strength usually meant they helped me get into the building. Pushing my sports wheelchair ahead of me was a trifle laborious, especially when I occasionally had some 200 meters to negotiate. The speed humps in the car park acted as my own personal mountain range.
Once in, the others whizzed around. They were disabled, but their arm strength was consequently tremendous. There weren’t any cars — well, maybe not those with four-wheel drive — they couldn’t get into. No disabled toilet they couldn’t hoik themselves onto. There was no speed hump they couldn’t climb.
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