See My Chair, See Me

Lily’s doing my overnight support this evening – we’ve finished brushing our teeth and we’re getting ready for bed.

After doing my teeth she helped me transfer out of my wheelchair and onto the toilet. While I coaxed my wee out Lily brushed her own teeth. When she accidently flicked some toothpaste onto the seat of my empty chair, she said:

“I’ve accidently got some toothpaste on you.”

This immediately filled me with appreciation – though she didn’t realise she’d just said something remarkable.

As she wiped away the splatter I explained, ‘I think of my wheelchair as part of my body. Intellectually I know it’s not, but if it get’s knocked, scraped or thrown through the air by baggage handlers, it makes me cry out or wince as if I’ve felt actual pain.’

When Lily made her comment my chair was nowhere near me, but despite our separation she still seemed to recognise that my unoccupied chair was part of me. I was a little taken aback by how elated this made me feel.

Lily and I have spent loads of time together recently traveling in the USA. This means she’s really familiar with my body and how it moves. As I settled into bed I wondered if it was providing such intense support that had prompted her reaction.

I’m glowing with emotion looking out from my bed at the glowing Lamp-Post outside my bedroom window. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have written about the Lamp-Post so much that people will think of the two of us as a single unit too.

I already certainly think of the Lamp-Post as a member of my family.

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