Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Locked In

I am housebound; well, almost housebound. Were it not for the fact that my truck is parked indoors, underground in my apartment building, I would be trapped by the blizzard which has struck Calgary and environs over the last couple of days. There is a deep, heavy snow on the ground, the depths reflected in the snow collected on the branches of my tree, the tree in front of my living room window. The snow continues to fall, lightly and sparsely, the grip of this storm not yet fully past.

There will come a time when I will be a complete shut-in, unable to move my body, unable to force my muscles into walking, or even managing a wheelchair. When I lose my hands and arms completely, I will need full-time care; I will be unable to move a muscle, to even speak. When people reach this stage of paralysis, the medical community calls it "locked-in syndrome". I'm not there yet, but being trapped indoors by snow is one of my early indicators, one of the harbingers of my future.

There are services, primarily focused on senior citizens, for those of us who are shut in by the weather. It is one of the distresses I deal with daily, that sense of being old before my time, needing services for those who are infirmed by age and not by ALS. If I ride the complimentary bus to the local Co-op to go grocery shopping, the average age of my travelling companions is 80. It's not that they are not nice people; they can be wonderful people. It's just that I am surrounded by the effects of age and I am only 58. My clock is running faster than most others; my time is running out before my time. I would rather take my truck while I still can.

So here I sit, wondering about my day, thinking about the snow, wishing back the time when I would kick the drifts as dust, watching the snow blow away in the wind. Here I sit, thinking about the cold winter air, wishing back the time when I could feel that biting wind as I stood tall against it. Here I sit, looking out my window at the falling snow and wondering what next year will bring, what losses will come. The losses are coming, someday, tomorrow, in the future.

For now I am locked into looking at the snow out my window and remembering last year, when I could walk over to the mall, when I could still feel the crunch of snow under my feet, the bite of winter on my face as I strode the road across. For now I am looking at the snow from my wheelchair, able at least to get to my truck and generate some sense of freedom and mobility, artificial as it is. For now.

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