Monday, 17 October 2016

The Terror Of ALS

I have so many things on my mind that I would like to write about today. I wanted to let people know how tired I am after my weekend road trip to Saskatoon, and how much every bit of my exhaustion is worth it. I wanted to share some thoughts on people who ask me how they can help me, or if they can pray for me; trust me, I have thoughts on that. I also wanted to write about some significant changes that a coming soon in my financial life; short story, I have to start paying my condo fees again.

Instead, I want to write about a carton of milk. Today I went to lift a full two litre carton of milk out of my fridge. For my American friends, that's two quarts, roughly. I went to lift up the carton and was surprised at how heavy it felt. I've never noticed before how much a carton of milk weighs. They were always easy to lift before. Now, not so much.

This is the way it happens, how I come to realize I am getting weaker. There is no test, no daily grip function testing machine. There is no regular weight lifting class. All that happens is the things I do every day seem to get more difficult; not impossible, just more difficult. That difficulty level increases until it is just too much to bother with. Then, one day, I will try again and discover that I cannot do it at all.

There are always solutions to these kinds of problems, new ways of doing things. For example, I am going to start buying milk in one litre cartons. One litre weighs half of two, so it will be only half as difficult. So many other things have gone that way. Slings have replaced transfers. The commode chair has replaced getting on and off the toilet. Wheelchairs have replaced legs. So much has changed. So much will keep changing.

I can still lift the two litre carton. It's not so difficult that I give up. But I can see it coming. That's the really nasty part, that I can see it all coming. There are no surprises, no hidden changes. I can predict what will happen with the milk carton. I can predict what will happen with the bottle of wine, the laptop, the full dinner plate. I know that one day even the fork will be too heavy, full or not. So that's why I am writing about a carton of milk; not because it is heavy, but because it was, and is, predictable. That's the terror of ALS.

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