Monday, 13 July 2015

Silver Linings

I have recovered; the panting has stopped. When I transferred from the bed to my wheelchair, my cushion curled up underneath my right leg. It happens a lot. To uncurl it I usually do an in-chair lift and either uncurl it myself or ask Katherine to help. Today it seemed to take far more effort than normal, perhaps because the foot pads were not positioned properly on my wheelchair. Nonetheless, it was quite the performance. At the end I said to Katherine, "I've moved fucking fridges with less effort." Then I apologized for swearing. I don't do it all that often, but when I do I want it to count.

While there is all kinds of this stuff under this black cloud of ALS, I am reminded on a regular basis of the silver linings in my life. Many of them are here because of ALS; others have become more apparent because of ALS; some might have happened anyways, but they have happened sooner because of ALS. While I would not recommend this disease as a life enhancement strategy, there are bright moments peeking through those clouds on a regular basis.

Katherine is one example. Without ALS I would never have met her, never have had her sharing these wonderful adventures with me. Sure, I might have met someone else. Sure, I might have had other adventures. I might have taken up with someone really terrible too, if I was healthy, someone who didn't really care about me at all. I'm looking at what I have here, not what might have been. What I have is pretty darn good.

Cheryl is another great example. Here is a woman who would likely not have come into my life were it not for ALS. I have learned so much from her. I count on her compassion and love. Without her in my life, I would not have shared that wonderful adventure in Europe. I would likely not have explored or gone to the new places she found for us. More importantly, I would not have come to know how wonderful she is.

Then there are all my other friends, those who have been with me for years and who have come even closer with the onset of this illness. That closeness might have happened regardless, but it has certainly happened with the struggles of this illness. They, too, are silver linings in my clouded future.

There are lots of other things that can be looked at upside down. The elevator situation forced me into an amazing road adventure. Being forced to sell my boat meant other kinds of travel to places I would likely never have gone were I busy each and every summer on board ship. Being in a wheelchair brings lots of struggle, but it brings good parking too. Getting to eat whatever I want means being fat, but that also means living longer.

There are lots of upsides in my life. They are hard for me to see when I am struggling with getting into my wheelchair. They are difficult to appreciate when I tire so easily. The lustre comes off the silver when I think about my future. What I need to do, what I try so hard to do, is live in the sunshine that peeks through the dark cloud of my life, to live in the bright reflections cast off of those silver linings.

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