OH has become the craigslist master, finding free stuff in the ads that he needs to finish construction on our house. Not just bay windows, but hardwood doors, a complete closet system, even lumber.
And one of the things he recently found for free is a wheelchair. It doesn't have its footrests, but when the humanitarian who was offering 4 free, used wheelchairs learned that I have M.S., he told OH that he would reserve the best one for me.
Ever since we went to Bellingham and used the borrowed wheelchair, I have realized how useful a wheelchair is to accommodate us together. While I do have my scooter, a wheelchair allows OH to stabilize himself while pushing me.
When I was diagnosed in 1991, I was told to go home and start preparing to be in a chair soon. I even saved some ratty Chuck Taylor Converse hi-tops to wear while in the wheelchair so that people wouldn't see me and feel pity, that everyone would know I used to be able to walk.
But as time went by, I stopped waiting for the possibility. And I believed what the doctor told me in 1991, that I could assume the severity and progression of my disease could be gauged by the initial five years after my diagnosis. Obviously wrong.
Now the wheelchair is folded up in the living room corner, calling to me. I'm always aware and worried when I am hobbling around that I will fall down. It's tempting to know that I could be less stressed about it by sitting down.
The author Nancy Mairs who chronicles her M.S. in books like Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled recounts that she had a serious fall on her head then decided she would "give up walking" after she "had another such mishap."
However I don't want to "give in" to the deterioration prematurely. And "sitting on your ass" is synonymous for being lazy. So how will I know when it's time?