Tuesday, 25 November 2014

My Arms Are Getting Tired

The weakness in my arms is progressing; not as fast as it could, but steadily. I see this in different things, in the ways I handle some tasks, in my abilities. These days, for example, the transfer from my wheelchair to my bed is failing more often than not. With better strength, I would push myself up and rotate sideways to sit on the bed. These days the best I can do is sort of balance and bounce off the wheel of my wheelchair, shifting sideways onto the bed. Soon my only method will be using the infernal sling that is there for when I am truly weak.

Other things tell me my arms are growing weaker. When I drive my truck, it takes a bit more effort to stay stopped at a stop light. The instantaneous strength is there for stopping, along with using the accelerator. It's the long term hold that gets to me, or the micro-adjustment in throttle that is tough. I use the cruise control as much as I can, something that is near impossible through the mountains of BC. I notice the subtle difference; others do, others do not.

Then there is the simply act of holding my arms in the air, or holding something up for a bit. I can still pick up a cup of coffee, and, thank God, a beer. The issue comes when I have to hold it up for some time. My hands shake almost the instant I hold something up. The shaking worsens if I am tired or it I have to hold something up for more than a moment. I can do it, but the duration is getting shorter.

I also notice a greater willingness to rest my arms whenever I can. Whether I am sitting or in bed, these days my arms are supported most times. It's not that they are terribly weak; they just tire quickly. They need to rest. When I am reading in bed, I am more likely to have whatever device it is, book or tablet or phone, resting on my chest within my hands, rather than held up. Rolling over or sitting up in bed is getting harder too; my arms are losing their ability to lift me up.

When people say "You're looking good", they don't see any of this. It's hard to see unless you see it every day, all of the time. It's easy to dismiss a single incident as aging or tiredness or all kinds of other things. You only truly see ALS when you are with it every hour of every day; unless, of course, you are near the end. I am not yet near the end, but my arms are getting tired.


  1. "I can still pick up a cup of coffee, and, thank God, a beer. The issue comes when I have to hold it up for some time."
    Thankfully, beers don't last more than a little bit, if you're doing them right. They should be empty in no time; then a brief rest before moving on to the next one!

  2. I agree with David lets go lift a drink or two and see how that works.. sorry for your loss Richard

  3. My dearest you are so brave. I am grateful you can still hold a cup of cheer for the season. It is so tough that your arms are shaking all the time.