What is the best age to lose the use of your legs? You may think that’s a strange question to ask, it’s never a good age surely? It is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately though.
I lost the use of my legs suddenly, I’d say overnight but it was more like throughout a day. One day I could walk, the next day I couldn’t. I have a rare condition called Transverse Myelitis and it’s a condition that has no preference of age, creed or gender. It doesn’t always take away your legs, it depends where your spine is affected, it can also take your arms, or your ability to eat or drink. It can take away everything from the chest down, or just your feet or your hands.
On my support groups we have all ages from babies to the elderly. When someone comes along and says their young child has it the reaction from a lot of people is the same.
“It’s so awful that it’s happened to someone so young, at least I manage to live most of my life before I became disabled.”
It’s as if the older ones have just accepted that they are getting on and expect debilitating illnesses to happen, but it’s so awful for a young child to get to it. Maybe they are right, it is awful, but it’s an awful thing to happen to anyone.
I’m 50, so no spring chicken, but I have a lot of life left in me yet. I have three children under ten to care for, I’m not ready to be an old lady. I miss being able to walk and run with my children. I miss being able to jump on the bus by myself and go wherever I want. I miss being able to drive my car and the freedom it provided. I’ve had all these things for many years and I was used to them. I didn’t want it all to be taken away, I took it for granted that I could walk, I think everyone does. I’m not full of self-pity, I’m getting on with things and hoping and praying that I can recover. It’s tough thinking about how I used to be though, and it’s really hard getting used to being like this. Really hard.
So how hard would it be for a toddler? One day they could be learning to walk and then next they are back to being baby like. What if they had to spend the rest of their life like that and never recover? It can happen. Yes it would be hard, but what would they miss. They would never know the joys of running around the playground with their friends, but they wouldn’t miss it because they would have never known it. They would face a tough life, but it would be a life that they are used to living from the start so would they cope better?
What about a teenager? Maybe late school years, just doing their exams, looking forward to leaving school and starting life as a grown up. How would they feel if they were suddenly wheelchair bound? They would miss out on a normal future, the one they were expecting. They would miss their past life of being mobile. The changes would be enormous. They would be expecting life to change after school, it’s sometimes a difficult transition, but is it going to be more difficult now they are immobile. Or would they cope, would they become strong and deal with their new disability? Would they even embrace it and make their lives better?
Now, how about someone a bit older, with a job, maybe a young family? How would they feel? Suddenly the life they are used to, their routine, their incomes, their responsibilities, everything they do would change. They will have others trying to deal with the changes too. They would grieve for their past and feel low about their future. Would their family be the ones that pulled them through? Would it be their responsibilities that gave them the strength to carry on?
What do you think? How would you feel at your stage of life if you suddenly became disabled?
It’s never a good thing to happen to anyone at ANY age, but we are human and we fight all we can and deal with what hands we have been given. it’s amazing what strength you can find within yourself to carry on.
I’ve reached the final of the MAD blog awards and voting closes in just a few days. If you’ve not voted yet I’d really appreciate your support for Raisie Bay in the School days category. Thanks x