Saturday, April 30, 2005


It has occurred to me more than once, and I believe I have written here, that my current easy sense of contentment is sustained by the reality that I continue to be able to function around the house, am still able to get everything done. It's true that I cannot run, but though I loved the exercise, I have been able to drop that from my life. Yet some day, not sure when, I will be unable to do certain things without help. Maybe it will be getting a lid off of a jar, or opening a door. Getting dressed. Not sure. But when that happens, my desire for control may overwhelm me with a sense of frustration and loss.

One other thing that will go unheeded: Twenty years ago when I was starting out as a reporter, I argued against the use of the phrase "confined to a wheelchair." My colleagues argued, well, but they are. However, no one is confined to a wheelchair. They sleep in bed. They can move out or be taken out of the wheelchair. Confined, according to Merriam Webster Online, is a verb meaning "undergoing childbirth." There's a whole sexist history to that usage which I won't go into. But more probably, what the writer means in reference to use of a wheelchair is "to hold within a location," "imprison," or "to keep within limits." None of these accurately describes someone who uses a wheelchair. But this phrase is comfortable, well-known, and will continue in usage despite being odd.

By the way, now that I am lame, I still don't object to the use of the word "lame" to describe something that is substandard. It's a metaphor for something that hobbles or is weak, such as "a lame argument" or a "lame song." I don't take it as an attack on disabled people such as myself.

Left grip is 45 pounds (37, 45, 40), right grip is 97 pounds (91, 93, 97), left leg balance is 9.2 seconds, and inhale volume is TK mL.

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