Monday, 3 March 2014


My left arm continues to hurt, the muscles slowly losing strength, aching from the overuse of what I have so I can continue what I do for as long as I can. This morning my hand slipped off the M-rail on my bed as I reached to get clean underwear from my dresser. Of course everyone slips now and again, so I cannot say for sure whether it was just another slip, or another in the continuing series of slips and drops that I have had lately with my left hand.

Still, I got dressed. I retrieved my clothing, rocked and rolled on the various pieces, and finally forced myself vertical so I could pull up my pants. This morning activity is one of the few times I am vertical these days. Sometimes I force myself up in the kitchen to get things from the high cupboards. In both of these cases I am noticing it takes a bit more to get there, the effort of lifting is getting to be more difficult, especially with my left arm.

Yet with all of this I caught myself thinking this morning that I was still functional. I can still dress myself even though it takes extra effort. I am still going to take the day and clean up my apartment after the work of the weekend. I will unload the dishwasher and load it with more dirty dishes. I will put away the clean dishes and wipe down my counters. I will probably even take a stab at vacuuming the hallway area where we left a mess yesterday from construction work.

I say "we" when in fact it was my friends Anne, Dan and Brian who did all the work. They came at noon and worked until 9:30 PM, putting in bracing and cement board so the tile crew could work on my shower today. As a counterpoint to my own reminder that I am still functional, this amazing help reminds me that my functionality is limited and I am dependent on the kindness of others. I am in the midst of this slow transition, still living, still dying.

As my progression continues and my position worsens, I will need more help. That help will move from asking friends to having home care workers come in. This starts today, with a visit from the home care Physiotherapist. It is another step down the path, another move in the transition from freedom to dependence. It is the nature of ALS.

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