There’s something in my living room that I’m finding upsetting to look at.
Every time catch sight of it, every time I think about it, and every time someone mentions it, I feel impossibly sad. It’s something that until three days ago felt like the most beautiful thing I own. Thinking about it filled me with hope and optimism. Now it’s become a painful symbol of uncertainty.
It is of course my amazing new wheelchair, through which I’d found such liberating freedom of movement. I last used it exactly a week ago when I went back to my parents’ house for a family get-together. It was a clear crisp day and after lunch we went for a walk. I raced ahead of my family in my chair, and glided past a passing stranger who, smiling warmly, said ‘I can see you’re enjoying that’ and I really was.
But on Boxing Day my hands locked up. Since then I’ve hardly been able to move them at all and this makes using my chair independently impossible at the moment. I tried it the other night while Fat Sister, who was supporting me, was asleep and I couldn’t even move it round my living room. I pushed it back into its usual place and I’ve tried not to think about it since. This is of course easier said than done.
Every time we get ready to go out someone asks, ‘Which chair are you taking?’ At the moment there’s only one answer – my standard one because it’s much easier for other people to push.
I know this isn’t something I should be worrying about. I need to stay focused on getting to the bottom of what’s happening to my hands. Looking on the bright side, staying positive and thinking practically are more important than ever right now. Worrying about the chair or about the future definitely isn’t helpful.
But it’s hard not to let my eyes or my mind linger on the chair. I might move it into the support worker’s room for a little bit – then it’ll be the elephant in the other room until I’m in a position to enjoy it again.