Monday, February 14, 2005

D+6: Amputation Derby!

Here's a fun game: what body part would you be willing to part with in exchange for being thereby cured of ALS?

You might think I'd give up an arm and a leg quite happily so that I would not DIE! But people are always trying to get the best deal for themselves, always scheming and calculating...

See, I have this gut feeling, perhaps totally foolish, that I will live long enough to witness a treatment that will stop the progression of the disease.

So, since a stop-cure is coming anyway, why lose a foot over it? OK, actually, maybe losing a foot today would be worth it because, who knows, in five or 10 years when the cure comes around, I may no longer be able to stand up. So yeah, in that case, it might be worth it.

But in this game, you don't get to make conditionals like that; you don't get to see the future. You just have to place your bet, slap that body part on the table, and await events.

So I'd give up a foot (the left one), because they have great prosthetics these days. Or the externals of both ears, because that's just cosmetic, and I'd still be able to hear just as well even when wearing rubber lobes.

Hands are a different matter. Not willing to lose a hand. Both pinkies, sure. One of the middle fingers, OK. Thumbs? No. OK, maybe the left thumb, since that hand is pretty messed up anyway.

Hey chubmaster! In this game you are not allowed to treat adipose tissue as a "body part!"

Facial disfigurement is pretty disturbing, so I'll just give you my left leg below the knee joint.

But you have to play on the assumption that some mysterious entity will reject your bid if it's not high enough -- and you don't get to make a second offer.

A couple of years from now, if I'm lying on my back, unable to move or speak, I may wish I had been willing to pay more.

But if I'm riding a bike while talking on my jaw-phone a couple of years from now, I'll be feeling pretty smug.

I hope that this kind of flippant post makes clear to you readers what a lucky case of ALS I have had so far. Though it appears to be the same syndrome, it attacks us all in different ways and at different rates. Before those motionless people listening to the ventilator breathing for them, I stand as a complete newcomer to this condition. A billion microscopic dominos now clicking on their run will determine whether, and how soon, I become one of them, laughing at, or probably just ignoring, the bravado of people such as I am now.

We Shall See.

Left grip strength today is 47. My lovely wife and I are going to the ALS clinic for a checkup, so I'll have more numbers for you later.
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