Living without

All of us know what it’s like to have to carry on without something we have always had before. How do we cope?

Every time our dog gets a chance, she gets one teddy and unfailingly does the same thing: bites off its nose, dropping it on the ground nearby. My dad stuck that nose on countless times when we were staying with them but last week, it was decreed that we don’t stick it on again and leave the teddy without a nose ☹️. He’s still smiling though. Last week my husband dropped his phone and is still waiting for it to be repaired. Doing without that has been a real challenge for him.

Every day I feel the frustration of my inability to stand or walk without support. But this week I discovered one solution. I watched a walking tour of the Yorkshire Dales taken by Nina Wadia and her handheld camera. The scenery was beautiful and I was able, as she walked, to go with her. Every time my family go out somewhere, they know to send me photos so I can see some of what they see. I often ask them to ‘be my legs’ when I can’t make it somewhere myself.

I have seen people making things that help them do otherwise inaccessible activities. My husband’s granny used to close her curtains with her stick. I use mine to close doors. On Gardener’s World someone without legs had used grabbers and lowered tables so he could still plant in his allotment. If you watch the Paralympics you see amazing designs to enable people to compete. The rule seems to be never say you can’t; always ask how you can. If I waited to be able the way I was before, I may well be waiting forever. Like that poor panda waiting for his nose

Nina Simone had it right when, after listing all the things she hasn’t got, she names everything she has. Someone tweeted that MS had taken a lot from her, but she still had her smile. I wonder if you can look away from what you miss and note down all you still have? It really helps…

‘But what have I got?
Let me tell ya what I’ve got
That nobody’s gonna take away
I got my hair on my head
I got my brains, I got my ears
I got my eyes, I got my nose
I dot my mouth, I got my smile
I got my tongue, I got my chin
I got my neck, I got my boobies
I got my heart, I got my soul
I got my back, I got my sex
I got my arms, I got my hands
I got my fingers, got my legs
I got my feet, I got my toes
I got my liver, got my blood
Got life, I got my life’*

*Nina Simone, ‘I’ve got my’

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