Thursday, 4 June 2015

I Get Angry

I get angry sometimes. A great many people would say "Of course you get angry. You have ALS!" But it's odd sometimes, the things I get angry about. Most of my anger devolves out of feelings of frustration, of loss, of feeling diminished, different. I'm angry because of what I have to deal with. I am angry because other people don't have to deal with it. Somehow they get to keep going, keep living. I get to fight this awful disease and then I get to die from it. That's enough to make anyone angry.

The other day I went to Trivia. I was strapped into a stair climbing machine and driven up the stairs like so much cargo, like a meat delivery in an upstairs butcher shop where I am the side of beef. Once up there, with everyone able to see my predicament, I had to be lifted into my wheelchair by my friends, All of this in full view of all the "normal" people, they upright and me crippled by ALS. It made me uncomfortable, frustrated. I felt diminished, like I was an oddity. I got angry.

Then I had to sit at the "children's table", low, out of the conversation, unable to fully participate in the trivia game. I was unable to make eye contact, unable to have a full conversation, unable to share my contributions without exerting the effort to get someones attention. I felt left out, insignificant, unnecessary. I got angry.

But then there is my anger where it has no right to be. The other day I saw a man who was clearly older than me out running; not jogging, not ambling, running. I have never been a runner; my preference has always been bike riding. Nonetheless I saw him, well beyond my years, running, healthy, fit. I saw a young couple walking along the way, holding hands, watching their child run to and fro, playing with him. I saw a woman on a bicycle, peddling and pumping by, pushing her legs, the muscles pulsing as she rode on. And I got angry.

Oddly enough, the fact that I will die from this disease doesn't make me angry. I heard today of a friend of a friend, only 25 years of age, who just died from cancer. That young person had a right to be angry. I've had a pretty good run at life; dying is just the natural conclusion. It's living with ALS which gives rise to my anger.

If I seem a little churlish at times, a bit more touchy than I once was, perhaps it is because this anger has no place to go, no rational handling mechanism. I simply have to accept the fact that I am angry with something I can do nothing about. I have ALS. I am crippled. I am continually weakening. I am an oddity. That makes me angry. Please forgive me if it shows now and again. It's going to happen.

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