January 2nd 2016
Today I served a man with Multiple Sclerosis. He was bound to a wheelchair and could only use his left hand. “Typical” he told me. “Considering I’ve been using my right hand for everything all my life.”
He was by himself, he didn’t have a carer or a family member with him. Which I found odd, and the ring on his wedding finger told me that, if he isn’t now, then he once was married. Although he was severely restricted by his condition and by his wheelchair, he was oddly independent. I opened the doors for him, I portioned salad into a bowl for him, I didn’t have to do much else. I don’t think he’d’ve let me. He struggled with entering his PIN when I gave him the bill, but I doubt he’d let me do that bit for him.
I’m scared of that. Or at least, scared of something a bit worse than that.
Of getting to a place where I lose my independence. Where I cant cut my own food, or wipe my own nose, or brush my own teeth. It’s horrible. But this man just dealt with it. He just got on with it. He didn’t feel sorry for himself, nor did he expect that from anyone, he just dealt with it. Admirable.
Ironically I spent the evening watching The Theory Of Everything, the Stephen Hawking biopic. Which basically tells the same story. About a man who refuses to let his condition stop him from living.
In that film Stephen changes as soon as he gets a voice. His depression lifts, as does his smile. Because with a voice he can express his thoughts, and his thoughts are what make him him. And as long as he’s got that, he can deal with anything else.
Until tomorrow, I couldn’t.