We All Need Perspective

Thermal trousers, sweater, jacket, scarf, woollen hat, gloves, leg cover, on and off several times a day. Over the last few days, I have had enough of all this (it is not even me who goes to the effort of getting it on and off – Jane must have done it 150 times). At the end of February we are looking forward to warmer weather and fewer clothes.

This morning I was sitting in the church on my Health Service-provided powered wheelchair worth £7000 and feeling warm in my sweater. I still had a feeling of frustration about all the clothes I needed to wear.

We watched a video about the work of the Baptist Missionary Society in Nepal. It showed the work they did to help rehabilitate a man with a spinal injury, caused by an accident while driving a truck. He and his family were very grateful to have a wheelchair, to have adaptations made to their house and to have the support of an occupational therapist. Wake up Andrew!

Of course, we should always want the best for ourselves, and not to accept mediocrity. We should benefit from the services and help available in our country. However this short movie reminded me to be grateful for the warm clothes I was wearing. I won’t be complaining about wearing them any more.

Whatever our circumstances may be, we all need to be reminded of what we do have rather than what we do not have, and we need to remember that what we perceive as challenges may be less than those faced by others.

Today we said goodbye to Nicky, who has been with us for the past three weeks. She accepts our family for what it is and who we. I am filled with joy about the support, compassion and love we receive. Yesterday Tash came with another amazing Turkish dish, good humour and interesting conversation. We had a visit from Inga, Valentina and Sebastian’s kindergarten teacher. Today Sebastian was at the West Herts golf club, and was taken there and looked after by Dave all day! Valentina did art and violin at Susie’s house. The people at the Baptist Church were welcoming to me as usual. Yesterday I enjoyed some tea with my friends at the chip shop, and finally mastered the 12 months of the year in Turkish. Last week I had two Vodafone colleagues visit, Christie from New York city and Tony from Suffolk. Christie entertained the children with some American English and brought some kind words over from my Vodafone colleagues. Tony helped me with his Go Pro camera. Thomas, Sebastian’s great friend, has a look of such concentration when he takes my woollen hat off or fetches a drink from the kitchen for me. He is only nine. I cannot write about all the kind people who are helping us out in this very difficult time, but hopefully the above gives you a sense.

People ask me how I am. It changes by the hour. I am at my best when I know and feel that I and my family are being supported. 

No longer working gives me more time to spend with our children. Being less mobile means I do not do my own thing so much. I enjoy watching the children. I sit and watch Sebastian and Thomas play cars for hours.  I am grateful to be able to watch.

 

Andrew Knowlman

I am a 50-year old father of two children, married to Jane. I live in Hertfordshire, UK. I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in April 2015.

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