A book from my To Be Read pile but also a Contemporary /Book of Literary Merit for the January Genre Challenge.
I am awarding this book not just 5 stars but also 5 tears as I dripped through the final chapters.
This book was very sensitively written when came to the issues that surround many quadriplegics and terms of health both physical and mental and how difficult life can be for them.
We hear about the minor ailments that turn into major issues – even life threatening – within hours and how in reality they cannot go many places without a health professional accompanying them and thus how frustrating it can be to try and even go out for a day.
The chapters were written in different voices – although not describing the same incidents – and thus the arguments and story of his life was shown from different perspectives.
However, I was disappointed that the ending was so sad. I am not going to explain why as this would be too much of a spoiler, but ...
I understood a great many of the frustrations of such a life, as though not I am not permanently confined to a wheelchair, I do have to use one most years after yet another operation – I am probably well into the 20s what with procedures as a day patient and fully anaesthetised operations, and do use an electric scooter to go longer distances. My problems are skeleton related mostly but I do also have systemic issues and suffer from chronic fatigue and live off a large diet of multi-coloured pills!
I thought I might use this review to also mention some of my personal heroes – people who have taken on physical problems and not just survived but have triumphed – and no – not Stephen Hawking. He had an unfair advantage of a brilliant mind to begin with.
So here goes.
Nicholas James "Nick" Vujicic; born 4 December 1982 is an Australian Christian evangelist and motivational speaker born with Phocomelia, a rare disorder characterised by the absence of all four limbs.
As a child, he struggled mentally and emotionally as well as physically, but eventually came to terms with his disability. He presents motivational speeches worldwide which focus on life with a disability and finding hope and meaning in life.
The disabled riders in the Olympics – we went to several of the Olympic horse trials for the disabled and were so impressed.
The riders were absolutely brilliant even when they had to be strapped onto the horses.
See Natasha Baker who claimed Britain’s first equestrian gold medal of the Games. Natasha has no use of her legs and thus controls her horse through voice and seat movements.
All disabled athletes!
I also thought I would share some of my more favourite quotes about disability as I have always tried not to permit my issues with my ability to run or climb or... not affect what I do. I too have travelled the world and been to many places on my own as well as with a ‘carer’. I just adapt my life according to my capabilities that day, even that moment in time, and do what I can. My brain is still functioning well I hope you would agree and that to me would be the most problematical thing – if I lost the ability to think.
In some ways I have been fortunate, in that I trained for a career (in mid life) where I could function well even in a wheelchair and had colleagues who were almost blind or deaf doing the same work as me. And I can work from home a lot of the time as the computer has freed me up to do this. So my world is not limited.
So here are the quotes:
The thing about living with any disability is that you adapt; you do what works for you.
I think that everyone has something about themselves that they feel is their weakness... their 'disability.' And I'm certain we all have one, because I think of a disability as being anything which undermines our belief and confidence in our own abilities.
The world worries about disability more than disabled people do.
We fill our lives with all sorts of things that make it easier for us to get along in the world: wheelchairs, crutches, grabber sticks, hearing aids, canes, guide dogs, modified vehicles, ramps, as well as other kinds of services and supports. Disability does not necessarily mean dependence on other people. Stella Young
Ah yes, I have many of these….just not the dog yet! And finally, everyone should read the Saturday Times Magazine articles in the magazine section by Melanie Reid called 'Spinal Column'. Melanie broke her back and neck riding and is now an incurable tetraplegic. She tells it as it is but with humour.