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Thread: Interesting Perspective

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Melbourne, FL USA

    Interesting Perspective

    Paralyzed From the Neck Down
    It doesn?t feel like being encased in stone. Your limbs simply don?t understand you?they?re not interested.
    By Anthony Weller
    April 10, 2015 6:26 p.m. ET

    The strangest aspect of being paralyzed is that nobody ever, ever asks you what it?s like. This may be from concern over not hurting your feelings. Or not wanting to bring up the issue. Or superstition that your paralysis might be contagious if discussed. It?s still odd that nobody inquires. It?s the elephant?the screaming banshee?in the room, and it?s mighty big.

  2. #2
    Yes, it's odd. I've been asked only by children and by a couple of close friends. It's much more common to be asked about which muscles I can or can't control.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Melbourne, FL USA
    Sorry Didn't realize you did not get guest access for some articles. Its a multiple Q&A article and w/o posting them all, here is one:

    Q: “Was that a spasm? Or were you squeezing my hand?”

    When I was a smart-aleck teenager in the 1970s, I made the usual jokes about people “paralyzed from the neck down.” You never suspect that it will be you, half a lifetime on.

    I’ve been immobilized for five years. In addition to losing incalculable personal pleasures, like daily walks with my wife, I also lost a musical career as a jazz and classical guitarist, though I still teach a few advanced students. I published several books of fiction and nonfiction before the disease hit, but my days of roaming the world as a journalist are over. Now I write by dictation.

    The process isn’t as awkward as it sounds: After he was overtaken by blindness, John Milton used dictation. At times, so did Henry James and Mark Twain. I have no excuse for second-rate work.

    The first thing you have to get used to is total helplessness. You’re dependent on somebody else for everything. If you want your ear scratched, you have to ask. You soon learn that you can’t ask every time the problem arises, or you’d be asking the whole day. And you remember all too vividly the itch that assailed you in the middle of the night before last, the one that wasn’t worth waking somebody up to relieve.

    Say goodbye to any sense of personal space, too. People can pat or adjust you however and whenever they like. You’re everybody’s puppy, and if you’re lucky, people find you amusing. If you’re very lucky, they recognize you as intrinsically yourself.

    Sometimes, of course, you make them profoundly uncomfortable. Like the old friend who visited one afternoon a year ago and who I never heard from again.

    And if you’re not thoughtful by nature, you certainly become thoughtful. There isn’t much else to do. You find yourself reflecting on what it means to be human. The abilities to stand up and walk are pretty fundamental, and when you no longer have them, you no longer feel fully human. This seems unavoidable, alas.

    Think all of those whom paralysis strikes has these thoughts and experiences in one form or aother.

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