Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Wheelchair Kamikaze – an Unexpected Visit
If you’re not familiar with Marc, he authors the blog called Wheelchair Kamikaze. His website combines outstanding writing, photography, video production, and research analysis to create what I’m pretty sure is the most widely read MS blog in the world. He was gracious enough to give me some much-needed advice when I started my own blog.
As Marc and I became friends we spent a lot of time emailing and Skyping about treatment options, our mutually beloved Red Sox, or anything else that popped into our heads. We agree on most subjects, but not all. For example, we both embrace the concept of a multiverse- the idea that there is not a single universe but that there are many. Marc likes the theory that slightly different versions of Mitch, or anyone for that matter, live in each of the different universes. I tend to believe that there is only one Mitch, and no alternative Mitch’s are running around (or wheeling around) in the other universes. With such disparate views on the essential nature of our being, it’s a wonder that we can remain civil toward one another.
We chose a nice seafood restaurant for dinner, right on the water. It’s about a 20 minute walk from our house along a paved trail with scenic views of the ocean and the Portland skyline. A homeless friend of ours, Carrie, was staying at our house for a couple of nights, so the reservation was for five.
Throughout the walk to dinner Marc and I tended to end up side-by-side in our wheelchairs, so that we could chat. We compared notes on MS treatments, discussed the best way to grip a joystick on a wheelchair to minimize hand fatigue, and acknowledged how fortunate we have been in the marriage department. By taking up so much space, we often blocked the path for the walkers, joggers and bike riders who we shared it with. Sometimes we got out of the way, and other times we were too deep in conversation to notice. The only remarks we heard from other people were their unnecessary apologies. Wheelchair users can get away with anything.
It was nighttime when we exited the restaurant after a wonderful dinner. Much of the pathway home was unlit, but Kim had brought a flashlight. We soon learned that a single light for five people was about four lights too few. In fact, at one point a bike rider startled our homeless friend, Carrie, almost hitting her. She issued a spontaneous scream, and when no collision ensued and nobody was hurt, we all laughed about it.
After we returned home from dinner Karen and Marc were able to hang out for a while at our house and pose for these pictures before continuing on their way. This was a memorable visit from two wonderful people. I’ve made so many friends over the Internet in the past few years, but it’s particularly gratifying when I’m able to spend time with them in person.
I suppose I should clarify one item. Our “homeless” friend, Carrie, and her husband Mark have been two of our closest friends for over 25 years. Carrie was only homeless for two days because she had closed on the sale of their house in Maine, and she was waiting for her flight to join Mark at their new place in the San Francisco area. We miss them already, but wish them all the luck in the world on their new adventure.
(Darren, I expect to hear from you re: multiverse.)