Lieutenant Dan and Me

Well. It’s finally happened. I’ve regressed mentally into a toddler. Of the many faces of MS, this has to be one of the more unattractive. All I’m missing is stomping my feet. Let me explain.

All I wanted this morning was a hot cup of instant coffee. (I know, I know. The purist in some of you will recoil at that but I happen to like its taste better than I do the perked variety.) I couldn’t manage to stand up from my wheelchair to reach the microwave. I struggled and struggled until I finally had to call for help. I responded to my husband’s statement: “Why didn’t you ask me to do it for you?” with a petulant: “Because I wanted to do it myself!”

Now I can understand my three year-old grandson using this reasoning. He’s just mastering the art of self-reliance. Coming from the mouth of a mature adult, it sounded foolish. But it’s irksome that some routines are now problematic.

Tying shoelaces is no more, playing Battleship with its teeny-tiny pegs is a memory, vacuuming, dusting, washing floors, toilet cleaning are history…hey, wait a minute. Those last jobs aren’t so bad to give up.

Putting on jewelry (necklaces, bracelets) is now a challenge. My brother-in-law has suggested a new career for himself in his retirement years: He’s going to the old folks’ home and help the ladies adorn themselves. I, personally, have discovered magnetic-clasp add-on’s to my “jewels.” They’re a brilliant idea.

I’ve recorded from TV, and have watched several times, the Fox channel’s interview with Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer-prize winning syndicated political columnist. He is also confined to a wheelchair following a diving accident at age 22. (He is now in his mid-60s.) Krauthammer is my hero, along with my friend, Joe Genera, (whom I actually know) because of their full lives despite having been handicapped at an early age (Joe, also at 22, due to being under a faulty auto lift when it fell-he’s now in his 50s).

It is inconceivable to me that either one of these fellows would crab about their fate. Although, come to think of it. Lt. Dan’s (of Forrest Gump fame) rage against God during the shrimp boat-in-the-hurricane scene was pretty impressive. It’s too bad, though, that I can relate more with Lt. Dan and not to the calm dignity of Charles and Joe. Maybe I will…in another 20 or 30 years.



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