Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Going Too Fast

Yesterday I drove my truck on the Bonneville Salt Flats at 100 MPH, that's 160 KPH for Canadians. The flat salt track seemed to run endlessly and had I the enthusiasm for it, I could have turned off the speed governor in my truck and gone even faster. Why not? I wouldn't survive an accident at that speed and, in my mind at least, that is a plus. Yet I did not; the work required to reprogram the truck's computer really wasn't worth that particular thrill. And after all, I can still drive.

I think a lot about the things I can still do, my abilities that are still with me. I can still eat and drink, I can still cook, I can still laugh and tell a good story, I can still have an adventure. Then I think about the things I cannot do, the things I will never do again. Then it gets dreary, my spirits dampened by the sadness of these losses. Some say I should focus on what I can do, not what I cannot do. It's not so much what I cannot do, but what I could once do and can do no more. This is the real sadness, the real loss.

I will never stand up again, never use my legs with any sense of purposeful or meaningful movement. I will never walk upright in the sun, stand in line for a coffee, run after a grandchild, stand on the foredeck of my sailboat and feel the wind on my body. This is not something I could never do; these are all things I could once do that I can no longer do.

I will never get dressed normally again. Sure, I can still slide and slither into clothing which inevitably sits rumpled and poorly fitted to my body. I will never put on plain socks, ordinary socks, unless I take the risk of not wearing my compression socks for a day. Perhaps the bloating and swelling is worth it, just to gain one thing back from this awful disease. Yet the rest of me cannot be clothed as one would normally do so; it's just never going to happen again.

I will never have sex again, never feel the physical thrill of a woman beside me. Perhaps I should say "probably" in this case, as it may happen. Yet even if that miracle were to take place, it would be a very one sided affair. I can no longer take my body to the places it needs to go in order to fulfill my side of the bargain. And of course the wheelchair thing is a whole 'nother kind of barrier to this unlikely event.

There's lots of other things I could once do that I will never do again, too many to list, too many to come. So the best I can do is enjoy what I can do, while I can do it, like driving at 100 MPH on the Bonneville Salt Flats. I can still go too fast.


  1. It is sad Rick, so many losses

  2. You still write brilliantly!

  3. Rick -

    I posted yesterday, but somehow it is gone today....

    If you are in Bonneville, you are halfway to our place. We'd love to see you again, and get your opinions on the wheelchair accessibility of the new house we're building.


    1. Alas, Rob, we are headed home. David has to work on Monday. I make this commitment to you, that I will do my best to get to Texas this winter. I'll need a break from the snow.