Sunday, 8 June 2014

Once More

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more... William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1

Today  is the day. It is almost like being back at work, rising early with the sun, my radio alarm reminding me that time is nigh for me to be dressed and gone, coffee ready and breakfast beside me. Today will be a long day, a testing day. It will begin with Betty's Run for ALS here in Calgary along the northside banks of the Glenmore Reservoir, surrounded by friends and other PALS. It will end at the Holiday Inn, Bloor and St. George, Toronto, across the street from the university, where, tomorrow, Kate will receive her Masters Degree in Public Health Administration.

I am ready, girded for battle, with my special wheelchair wheel and my water bottle holder, a different kind of athlete, running a different kind of race. Today the sun will shine on my face, the warmth of the day percolating down through me. I will feel the breeze off the water, smell the scent of marsh and meadow. Today people will surround me, the people who have been, and are, my constant support here in Calgary.

Within the crowd at the run there will be others, other People with ALS. I am now an "old timer", a long time member of this club, having three years with this disease. There will be others with longer durations and others with shorter, there will be those lightly touched and those who are near completely locked in. Some whom I met when I was diagnosed will be missing this year. Others will see me and wonder what their future looks like, if it looks like me. Yet we will be a small group, us PALS, members of a club that we are all dying to get out of.

After the run it will be off to Toronto. I am packed, my gear and clothing all set to go. I have my medications and personal grooming supplies ready to put in my carry-on, along with a good deal of my clothing. My larger bag is dedicated to the tools and devices needed to keep me safe and steady in my wheelchair and through my travels. I am hoping the airlines understand my challenges and can at least make some minimal allowances for the challenge of wheelchair travel.

For this battle I am ready. Unto this breach once more I shall climb. It will not be my last charge at life but it will most certainly be full tilt. I don't plan on living it passively.

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