Sunday, 26 October 2014

My Kind Of Normal

It's going home day today. We have a flight at 5:00 PM over to Kahului on Maui. After a 3 hour layover we board an Air Canada flight from the tropical treat of Maui to the icy reality of a Calgary winter. Even though it is only early fall, just a month past the autumnal equinox, the frost and cold of an Alberta winter is settling in upon us until next April, our only relief the occasional Chinook.

I don't mind heading home. I am kind of looking forward to it, to getting back into my own home, my apartment where everything I need is near at hand, where friends will come to call, where I will make dinner and wine, where my routine will once again settle on me, a mantle of the familiar. Travel is certainly wonderful; I will do this again and again until I can do it no more. Home is wonderful; whenever I travel I will look forward to my return to what I laughingly call "normal life".

Of course nothing is normal about my life. I don't work, I sleep more than half the day, I go out late at night whenever I can. I was thinking about this yesterday, how there really is little in my life that resembles what it used to be. Perhaps the only holdover from healthy days is my social activity; I had that before ALS, I have it still. I am thankful for this.

Normal for me is looking at my feet, curled over at the top, claw like, the toes a deep purple, lifeless, motionless. Normal for me is seeing the dead muscles in my legs, bags of useless meat surrounded, kept in place, by the skin container that holds them. Normal life for me is wheelchair struggles and tired arms, slings and lifts, handicapped toilets. Normal is not normal.

Yet even with this abnormal normal, I have a pretty good life. Here I am in Hawaii, packing to go home after a wonderful week of adventure and fun. Here I am with a friend, making me laugh as she moans about her lack of packing ability. Here I am getting ready to cross an ocean by jet plane, sleeping at 35,000 feet. Here I am planning another expedition already, one for January. Here I am planning dinner with my daughter on Wednesday, hunting next week, a visit to the coast to see my Mom, my children, my grandchildren.

That's normal for me. Busy, active, living. This week Hawaii. Next week Calgary. The following week the forests and mountains of BC and then the coast. After that? Who knows!

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