I am up early this morning, at least early for me, in order to take a friend to a doctor's appointment. She slipped on the ice the other day and broke her wrist. The cast makes it almost impossible for her to drive, and certainly dangerous. So I volunteered to be the driver this morning. I have to leave in a few minutes.
This whole situation proves to me once again that I am not really disabled, but rather enabled in some ways and not in others. I can drive, she can't. I can cook, others can't. I have abilities that others do not, and others have abilities that I do not. So perhaps helping my friend is really a way of helping myself.
The whole "getting into the truck" routine is becoming more challenging. I can still transfer myself from my chair to the lift seat, although slopes or snow or almost anything in the way truly stretches my ability. Driving itself is relatively easy. It takes only the coarsest of muscle movements to make the truck point in the right direction, courtesy of power steering. Using the manual controls is still possible although I do shake a bit when holding the brake on for more than a minute or two. In those situations, I just put the truck in "PARK" for a moment or two, then I am fine.
I can still do long distances when I drive. On the way back from my ill-fated trip recently, I drove for several hours nonstop, including going through customs. I am thankful for cruise control when I high the highway, but often enough I forget to use it and find an hour has passed with me holding the acceleration bar in position. It's not all that difficult.
These are the things I can still do. These are the things that are still possible. Yet things requiring exertion, things requiring endurance, they are becoming too much. If I have to lift something heavy, I cannot. If I have to wheel up a steep ramp, I need help. I try to keep myself to the things I can do; I am not always successful, sometimes I need help. Sometimes I ask for a volunteer. That's why it's so nice to have that shoe on someone else's foot for a bit. It's nice to have someone ask me to help.
The blog was posted originally on January 20, 2015.
About the Author
Born in Victoria, British Columbia, far too long ago to make a difference here, Richard McBride was, up until recently, a lifelong resident of the Vancouver and Fraser Valley region of Canada's most western province. McBride has had the joy of a very diverse career ranging from his first career as a stockbroker to training consultant and technology consultant to project manager.
Major changes in his life before his diagnosis of ALS meant his relocation to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was there that he received the diagnosis in November 2012. McBride continues to share his life and experiences both through his blog titled Richard is Living with ALS and through a tremendous group of friends, support specialists, and most importantly, with his four children and three grandchildren, with a fourth on the way.