Post from the Front Line

I’ve been writing this blog for just over a year now, and I thought I had the measure of it. In my mind, its subtitle was “Thoughts on Nature, Identity and Politics”, and it was slowly growing up to be a well-behaved child . . . a little predictable, perhaps, but essentially well-mannered and nice.

But suddenly it has grown up to be a therapy-cuckoo!

I didn’t want it to be my surrogate therapist. I wanted it to be about flowers and animals and trees.

It has decided it’s going to be about my recovery process. Or about my slow slide into decrepitude. It has decided to be about my attempts or failures to come to terms with the possibility of life in a wheelchair. This means, I think, that it might contain a lot of anger, sadness and frustration, but it might also contain some insights and, I hope, some wisdom.

What I am discovering is that life in a wheelchair is slow, really slow.

I’m not talking about the speed of the chair. I’m talking about the thinking and planning. Everything takes longer than you can possibly imagine. It takes longer to get up in the morning and longer to go to bed at night.

A shower takes a lifetime, and has now become physically dangerous.

Imagine you are watching television, and you decide you want a cup of tea. Before I was in a wheelchair, that’s all I had to think, and, hey, the job was done in the time it takes for someone to tell you that a silver-coloured car with one company logo on the bonnet is infinitely superior to an identical silver-coloured car with a different logo. And if you wanted a biscuit as well, you might miss the black and white shots of moody, deserted streets or moorland roads down which the said car effortlessly glides.

But that was all.

Now, it requires logistical skill and an extensive risk assessment, as well as a certain amount of effort and bravery.

Yesterday, I spent five . . . yes, five . . . hours, going to the toilet. By the end of the process I was exhausted and embarrassed. The toilet itself ended up blocked and I ended up in tears in a heap on the shower floor.

I’m sorry to be so explicit, but these are the things no-one talks about and that come to dominate your life and leave you in emotional tatters.

Amazingly, the joy and gleeful anticipation seem to go out of life. The flowers are not quite so pretty anymore.

I only hope . . . for my sake and for yours . . . that my next post from the front line will be more positive!



About stevehobsonauthor

I am blind, and I hate it. It stinks. But life is still sweet. I have multiple sclerosis, and that stinks too, but life is still sweet. These are my musings.
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8 Responses to Post from the Front Line

  1. Appreciate the honesty Steve. Better than fake posititvity. Hope that by the next post you have more reason to feel cheerful but if not keep it as grim as it needs to be.

    During my fortunately short brush with illness I remember having to time having drinks so that I could limit toilet trips. At my worst a trip to the toilet took so much energy that I couldn’t move for the next couple of hours. Practical stuff like toilet trips can take over the day but is rarely discussed. Glad that you’ve done that even though I wish your situation was different.

    Having the window open, even on cold winter days, so that I could feel the breeze and hear birdsong, was the thing that helped me most, a reminder to me that there was life going on and that it wasn’t just the practical hurdles even if they loomed the largest.

    Thinking of you. Only wish there was anything that could be done or said that could help.


  2. Bonnie says:

    Sorry you are having such difficulties. I honestly can’t imagine but I am very glad you shared this. I’m sure you will have bad days and worse ones. But I also know that flowers will be brighter again and birds will be singing. Hugs!


  3. Katy says:

    I agree it is a slow brightening of flowers, like life a wheelchair it takes mental adjustments, physical adaptions and to go though a lot of negativity to see the colours, contrast and refeel the textures of life. x


  4. Katy says:

    I am fine thank you Steve. Your last post inspired me to comment as I had to learn so much patience in a wheelchair as everything takes so long. There is always a chance for working out your own way round a problem (an alternative route) and rediscovering the colours, beauty and strength of your nature, wild life and especially flowers. It takes time.


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