Friday, 12 April 2013

I Am Grateful

I was going to start my day with a bitch session, a full description of why having ALS makes my life so much harder than yours. What a joke! My life is easy compared with the vast majority of the people on this planet. Let's face it, if you are going to get ALS, Canada, and Alberta in particular, is the place to get it. In fact if you have any major illness, Canada is the place to get it.

Thanks to our Canadian health care system and the tremendous support provided by the ALS Society of Alberta, I am well cared for, both financially and physically. While my life may be drawing to a close, it does so with incredible opportunity and support. I am able to travel and continue to explore the world around me. I am able to see things, do things, be places, hear sounds, taste tastes and experience life fully. All I have is this minor health issue to worry about.

It's all in your point of view. I admit to being a glass half empty kind of a guy, but my point of view is that, even with a half empty glass, I still have something to drink. And hey, it might be scotch in that glass. All a half glass of scotch needs is a bit of water and some ice. Given the things that I have, my plan is to enjoy them fully.

Let me give you an example. I really appreciate my son being with me these days. Despite our differences and challenges, he is making this road trip better, and he is working hard at doing that. I could still do this trip alone; I have proven that already, both to myself and I hope to others around me. The modifications to the truck and my own sheer bloody-mindedness would have ensured my travel so far. Yet having Ricky with me has made so many things easier, much easier.

It's not just the mechanical things like packing the luggage or loading the truck or even driving. In fact I have done more driving than Ricky. It's the things nobody really sees that count. Today I was going to get on the elevator after breakfast. A young man with a cart full of luggage came roaring out of the doors and just about ran into me. His eyes were at "normal" level and in my wheelchair I am well down in the vision line. He saw me at the last minute and all was well.

When Ricky is with me, pushing my chair or standing beside me, I suddenly become visible, in the normal line of vision. He is my "flag" that people see when we walk together. And on occasion he is my bodyguard and aide-de-camp. In other words, without him I would get ignored more or missed more, or I would just have more trouble getting around.

So I can complain about someone who sleeps half the day and misses almost every free breakfast in exchange for a fast-food breakfast on the road, or I can be grateful that I have someone who will be there to part the crowds, who will be seen in the line-up, who will go to the check-in and look after the luggage and make sure the room has a toilet that works for me.

I choose to be grateful.


  1. That's good Rick, I am grateful that RIcky is there for you. He is a blessing.

  2. I like your Optimism, Richard.

  3. I admire your son. Im sure he would rather hang out/party with his friends than with his "old man". You are so lucky to have such an awesome son at the same time, you did a great job raising him. All the best to you both.


  4. Hi Laura

    He is a good kid, a result of efforts by two parents. I am sure his Mom has had a lot to do with his nature. I am proud of him.