Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Phantom Flyer

Since childhood i've been a sleep walker, night wanderer, phantom flyer. on several occasions when young i was found crumpled at the bottom of the stairs, bruised and bemused after acting out a dream in which i could soar from the top to the bottom.... hands free.   even back then i had an inkling that walking was always going to be a challenge and perhaps flying would be the simpler option.  it would undoubtedly be more efficient than my usual hop along, loping, limp if only the technique could be perfected.  school was several miles from home and there was no convoy style school run in the 50's, the choice was to walk, walk or walk no matter the weather, distance or ability.   after extensive and repeated surgery on the legs a concession was made so i could use a scooter and park it with the teacher's cars. Later, roller skates became the default mode of movement, wheels might not be as satisfying as wings but a definite improvement on malfunctioning feet.
These days as decrepitude creeps inexorably into senescence a seat on top of the wheels is a much appreciated indulgence.  do you think i could persuade the NHS that the David Pompa designed, Eames wheelchair below is a good use of resources?   have you noticed how utilitarian most disability equipment looks?  it's as though chic shoots out the window as disability slithers in, or is it based on conjecture that only the very elderly need aids and the old don't care about fashion? how many incorrect assumptions can you cram into a Mini?   should function trump style or style out-vie function or are they of equal importance to those of us doomed to use them?  perhaps it's vanity but i want my chair to be an extension of my personality just as it's an extension of my body. in the same way i wouldn't go out with laddered tights and hairy legs i don't want to be seen with an ugly lump of black metal attached to the backside.   
Twelve years ago when i was given my current made to measure jalopy it was the first Northumberland NHS, adult, active user chair to be made in pink.   it had been assumed until then that only children would want a bright colour, adults it was believed, wanted something discrete, sensible, BORING!!! Now some NHS trusts offer purple, orange, lime green and GLITTER, though i haven't yet found anything as elegantly futuristic as the image below.  It seems regressive that 21st century invalidity conveyances look and perform not greatly differently from those of our grandparent's time.  you wouldn't accept a car modelled on an early era,  mass produced Ford so why must i accept an antediluvian means of transport.
Wings are elegant, they speak of liberation, grace, fluidity, a means of escape from debilitating gravity, bestowing the ability to soar beyond these broken bodies some of us are destined to inhabit.  recently on a disability forum someone asked the other users if they were impaired in their dreams.  not one answered yes.  several responded that they had superhuman abilities, all were able to walk and many, like me, could fly.   
These midnight jaunts give a momentary illusion of freedom and the semblance of keeping up with a world in too much of a hurry to wait for the slowcoach wheeling along at the back.   for a night the plodder, the straggler, the also-ran can be ahead of the pack, leading the way across the tundra of life, arms stretched wide, hair flowing  in the slipstream, soaring into a phantasm devoid of disability.  

Friday, 4 August 2017

Go Fred Go

It's a year since i held the little boy below in my arms and said goodbye.  bad tempered, semi feral and averse to touch unto his last breath the vet had to corner him in my lounge to give him a sedative prior to the final shot.  he hissed and spat, tried his utmost to bite our hands before giving up the battle and letting me gently embrace him as the light left his eyes.   For the first, and only, time i was able to groom that amazing coat, fluff up the plume of a tail, tease out the tangles, touch the tummy, bury my face in that pelt without risking an eye.  he was a manky cranky, but he was MY manky cranky and i loved him to bits.

Over his lifetime we lived in three different homes, starting off in the grime of the inner city, moving to the idyll of Lindisfarne and then a supported housing scheme in Hexham where he charmed the socks off the old ladies who forgave his foibles in order to tentatively fondle his ears.   we shared fifteen years of tears and laughter.  he provided a fair amount of the former during his angry, early years when leaving homelessness and aggression behind, and an abundance of the latter once a veneer of civilisation was accommodated and  his inner kitten set free.   there was going to be a furry shaped void in my home, on my bed and in my heart that would need filling.  
With emotions raw and bank balance depleted by vet costs, committing to another fuzzy feline felt premature but i was missing the company, the spirit lifting greeting of a little face snuffling my hair in the morning or running down the stairs tail aloft to challenge anyone entering his domain as though Attila The Hun was at the gates.   it was inevitable that conversations about fostering with Cats Protection would flower into action. a few emails and phone calls later..... enter stage left The Indomitable Fred.   

Starved, sick, scared the plan was he would be with me for a couple of months to gain weight, heal, regrow lost fur and muscle then find a loving family to provide him with a forever home.  he gets rescued, i get a furry and my heart isn't broken burying another one..... simples !!!   if ever you want to make God laugh.... tell Him your plans !!!  a year later The Fred is still warming my feet through the night and greeting me with slobbery, toothless kisses in the morning.   he may look like a bonsai panther but his health issues haven't resolved and he will never be totally well, flu flares attack at the slightest change of routine or diet and he becomes a snotty, sneezy, listless, little old man overnight, making re-homing him a risky prospect.   so it's been decided by those with The Power that he stays with me for the months or years left to him so he can live out his days quietly and stress free.  If reincarnation were proven, and we had a choice as to what our reborn creature could be, i would come back as a cat but i would have to be MY cat.... stuff The Law Of Causality we are talking theoretical here.   
His vet costs are considerable and will be ongoing as medication and regular blood tests are a necessity to keep his poor health under control and if the past year is a guide there will be rushed trips to treat flares and tummy problems, a post malnutrition inevitability.   to help cover the cost Cats Protection have set up a GoFundMe campaign page. (click the link below.)   can you help spread the word for me by sharing on social media or making a donation?  If we raise £1000.00 it should cover him for a year, and it may be his last year.   he will be able to stay with me until the medication ceases to keep his symptoms under control and he becomes the next furry to die in my arms, safe, loved, nurtured as all creatures deserve.