Tuesday, 20 June 2017


We are in and down at the Daviot Lodge in Inverness. The town itself is about five miles away, while we are in a country setting just up the way from Culloden Moor, of the A9 on a narrow country lane, half the time paved, half the time gravel. There is even the obligatory Highland Coo in the yard here. Bucolic to say the least. Quiet, comfortable, relaxing after a long day of driving for David and a difficult day of bodily functions for me.

How I would do this without David I simply do not know. I can only say thank you so often, only apologize for my mess so often, only ask for help so often. It is difficult to deal with my physical failings on my own yet he seems so casual and calm about it all. He does all the loading, all the unloading, pushing my wheelchair, helping me with my commode chair, getting things I need, helping me dress, ensuring I am okay. It's amazing, and for this I am truly grateful.

This morning, after I got cleaned up from a night time disaster and not the jug kind, we headed out of Edinburgh, crossing the Firth of Forth, driving north into the Highlands. Our first destination was St. Andrews, ostensibly to take a look at the famous Old Course. In reality we were more interested in the University, the old castle and the old cathedral. Both the castle and cathedral are mere remnant walls, ancient reminders of what once stood proud against the sea and all enemies. Time and battle have taken their toll. All that remains of the castle is some of the outer wall. The cathedral is almost completely gone except for the two bell towers at the front and an aging graveyard.

We left St. Andrews, heading north to Inverness. The drive through Cairngorm Park was lovely, a classic highland setting, steep hills covered in low green browse, gorse here and there, heather abounding. We passed any number of distilleries as we moved down the Spey valley. Perhaps the most exciting sign I saw all day was the Speyside Malt Whiskey Trail. It is a further drive down the Spey, a few miles back of us. That is our plan for tomorrow.

We are taking it easy, not pushing too hard. Both of us are struggling with the seats in the car, bucketing us back into discomfort. For me, the seat makes it almost impossible to use my jug with any sort of ease. I had a catheter on this morning but the angle of the seat caused it to pinch, and ultimately to come loose, something I discovered just as we started touring St. Andrews Castle. I've done my best since then, continuing to struggle with dampness and leakage all day.

This is the real challenge of travelling in the wheelchair, of travelling with ALS. If I get wet, I cannot change easily. If I spill on myself, I just leave the stain until end of day. I can do little to help David, and even less to help myself. Yet here I am, thanks to David's help, touring the Highlands of Scotland, ready to explore the Speyside Scotch region tomorrow. It's still pretty good.

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