My life’s quality

In the 1999 movie The Bone Collector, Denzel Washington played a quadriplegic crime scene investigator. As I become more disabled, I have become interested in this story line.

Quality of life is tied to perception of ‘meaning’.

The quest for meaning is central to the human condition,

and we are brought in touch with a sense of meaning

when we reflect on that which we have created,

loved, believed in or left as a legacy.

–Viktor E. Frankl ‘Man’s Search for Meaning.’ New York: Pocket Books, 1963.*

I talked to another MSer a few days ago, and she told me that she’d only been diagnosed a few years but that she had decided that if the disease progressed to a certain point (she didn’t say what point), she’d arrange for assisted-suicide, that she didn’t think she’d have any quality of life left.

Wow.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this disease SUCKS!!!  No argument there.

I’m 20+ years on with it, have an embarrassing lack of bladder control, deficient vision and very little strength or energy most days.

I can’t walk without some kind of support now (does the wall count as support in your house?), have walkers on both floors of our two-story house, and (horror of horrors) use a wheelchair when others take me out, an electric scooter when I do it myself.

I can still get myself up and down the stairs, sandwiched between the hand-rail and the wall, but I can’t do it more than once or twice day, usually down for dinner and TV at night, sometimes for coffee in the morning, but sometimes not.

But I’d never describe my life as lacking quality. 

Yes, there was a time when I was first diagnosed that I kept an old, scuffed up pair of high-top sneakers to wear when I became confined to a wheelchair so that others would know I used to walk.  After a few years, seeing no progression, I threw them away.

I remembered seeing the 1999 movie The Bone Collector with Denzel Washington as quadriplegic crime scene investigator and noting at the time that it was based on a mystery novel. In the movie, his injury was prior to the story, a tragic recent development on the job.

I have become interested in this story line: that how you think about things is unique to you, and transcends your physical body.  That your life can still have quality regardless of whether your body works, or even IF it works.

I wanted to read this book, which turned out to be a series.  In my online paperback swap, I requested the first book. I’m about halfway through it now and am hooked by the premise.  I look forward to getting to know these characters.

Now I’m wondering what kind of author happens onto this premise WITHOUT first-hand experience?  Hmmm: this calls for more research…

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*I copied this quote from another website but couldn’t find it for myself in the book, so I cannot be 100% sure of it.  However, I can and do whole-heartedly recommend the book Man’s Search for Meaning.

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