Many of you probably know by now that in addition to dear old Martha, I also have a wheelchair that I like to call Louise. Although we’ve got some fond memories together, she doesn’t get to leave the house anywhere near as much as my walking frame.
My chair is a self propelling one, which means that I could sit in it and push myself around if I had to. On the occasions that Louise does get to come out and play with me though, there’s usually someone else in control of her. I’m not very good at it and I’m always scared that I’ll lose control and bump into those around me. Not good.
The other day when I went to the hospital about my callipers , I had no choice but to take care of myself. There were a couple of incidents of me bumping into a few door frames but it was mostly fine. In fact, I found it much easier than the last time I tried it, and got to where I needed to be much quicker than I ever had before so kudos to me, I guess. I still don’t have the guts to try and do it outside, or down any ramps or hills by myself but it’s a start. When I got my first chair at about 11, I attempted to take on the ramp in my local Woolworths. Not only did I hurt my hands trying to slow myself down, I also realised that I couldn’t slow down – or stop – till I reached the bottom. I never tried that one again.
I know, I know; I should, right? Practice makes perfect and all that jazz, but truth is I’m not really in it that much. There’s not really enough room for me to do it in the house but maybe next time I’m in town I should take turns with whoever is my designated driver and say that I’ll get myself around the shops if they do the scary outdoors bit?
I’m still not sure what it was about last week that seemed easier than any other time I’ve had a go could actually be thanks to Martha. She the heaviest of any of the walking frames that I’ve had before because of her seat so I’m starting to build some muscle for the first time in my life! This makes me very happy indeed.
Maybe I should have a couple of half an hour wheeling sessions a week as best I can in the garden , just to see what happens? Maybe it could be a good thing, for the future (you never know what might happen) and for my self confidence.
Believe it or not, I don’t actually remember being told I have Cerebral Palsy.
My parents were told when I was diagnosed at around the age of two, so I know that there was a time when they didn’t know that I had CP, but I don’t remember a time that I didn’t.
I’m sure there must have been an occasion when Mum and Dad sat me down and explained it all to me, but try as hard as I might, I can’t remember that conversation. Oddly enough, neither can they. It’s a strange feeling sometimes, knowing that you know something really important but not really understanding where that knowledge came from in the first place. I suppose it’s a bit like being aware that you know the answer to that crossword puzzle that you’ve been trying to do for days, but you just can’t bring the solution to the front of your mind so that you can fill in the little boxes.
The thing is, I never really remember feeling different either. At school, while all the other children sat on the carpet and story time, I was allowed to sit on a special chair, and for a long time at my primary school, I was the only person there with a walking frame. I knew that none of the other children needed these things, but I didn’t feel the odd one out at all. I needed them and everyone could see why so it didn’t matter. All these things felt normal to me in my head because I’d always used them, so when I sat in my wooden chair to listen to the teacher, it felt no different to me than sitting cross-legged on the floor did to anyone else. At home, I would run down the hill outside my house playing Tag with everyone else. If anyone never asked me what was wrong with my legs, the answer would just trip off my tongue the way that telling someone my name or age would.
Maybe that’s why none of my family remember having The Talk (The CP talk that is, not the other talk. I remember that one, believe me). Maybe we didn’t actually have one at all, maybe it was just talked about so naturally in our house that the information just sank in somewhere without me really having to be told. I don’t know if this is possible – I don’t understand psychology and the brain that way.
I guess in the end it doesn’t really matter how I bacame aware of my disability. In many ways, I personally think that I’m very lucky to have always known that I have Cerebral Palsy.
Summer is well underway here in the UK (apparently), and slowly my Facebook Timeline is featuring more and more pictures of my friends enjoying their holidays. Some jet off to far off places and taunt me with the photos of places I’d love to go. Others stay closer home which makes me equally jealous. It has been way too long since my last one, but that’s not the point I’m going to make here. Today, I want to talk about the beach.
Sand, it seems to me, divides people into two camps: those who love nothing more than lounging on the beach all day (and why not – you’re on holiday after all), and the people like me, who can’t stand it
I dislike sand for all the obvious reasons – it gets it your shoes, sticks to your skin after you’ve been in the sea, and blocks up the plug hole when you take a shower. However, it irritates me most of all because my walking frame just doesn’t like it. Place Martha (or any of my other frames, for that matter) on the beach and they just won’t move. The wheels simply aren’t big enough to plough through the stuff, and my wheelchair isn’t much better either. My family have figured out that if they pull it backwards on two wheels then it will move, but it’s very tiring for them so I feel really guilty, especially as the beach isn’t my favourite place to be anyway.
Then I have the option of walking along the shore, but I don’t find that great either. I can do it if I have a couple of people to hold me up, but the thing about sand is that it moves underfoot so I often end up hitting the deck anyway and getting covered in the stuff. I don’t think I need to tell you how unappealing I find that. I still think I’d dislike beaches even if I didn’t have Cerebral Palsy because I suppose you could say they’re just not my scene, but I think that just makes me even less approve of sand.
Don’t get me wrong, I have played on the beach as a kid, and have some great memories (my personal highlight was the time that a seagull decided to follow my sister). I’ve played in the sea, built sandcastles, and collected my fair share of shells but that was a long time ago. These days, I find that I’d much rather sit by the pool with a good book (or four) and do the odd bit of swimming. The irony is I’d probably get a far better workout trying to stroll along the shore, but hey ho.