“Weird Things I have Around Home To Help Me Mobilise. Weird Thing #2: Hand Controls”

Ok, hand controls are not, strictly speaking, around home. But they are probably the single most important item that enables me to be mobile and independent. I don’t know how I would live without my hand controls. Seriously, I don’t know how I would live without them.

Hand controls are fitted to my car and enable me to accelerate and brake without using pedals. Ever wondered how people with limited or no leg function can drive? Lots of people assume we can’t. An automatic vehicle takes care of not being able to use a clutch, and hand controls let us control the speed of a car.

Last week I drove solo to Auckland for the weekend. Just me (and my hand controls) and my music … and a new tic … This time the spasm caused my right hip to flex, taking my right leg into the air and me with it, then down to the ground. No problem when I was driving, but as soon as I stood up and took a step … woohoo, I was on the ground. Crutches couldn’t save me, nothing could. I had to stretch the hip flexors before I could walk, but I had to walk somewhere so I could stretch my hip flexors. Something of a conundrum. This new tic trick was also, for a fleeting microsecond, an excruciatingly sharp pain.It started to get me down until I heard Nina Simone sing “Ain’t Got No” :

Ain’t got no home, ain’t got no shoes
Ain’t got no money, ain’t got no class
Ain’t got no skirts, ain’t got no sweater
Ain’t got no perfume, ain’t got no beer
Ain’t got no man

Ain’t got no mother, ain’t got no culture
Ain’t got no friends, ain’t got no schooling
Ain’t got no love, ain’t got no name
Ain’t got no ticket, ain’t got no token
Ain’t got no God

What about God?
Why am I alive anyway?
Yeah, what about God?
Nobody can take away

I got my hair, I got my head
I got my brains, I got my ears
I got my eyes, I got my nose
I got my mouth, I got my smile
I got my tongue, I got my chin
I got my neck, I got my boobs

I got my heart, I got my soul
I got my back, I got my sex
I got my arms, I got my hands
I got my fingers, Got my legs
I got my feet, I got my toes
I got my liver, Got my blood

I’ve got life , I’ve got my freedom
I’ve got the life

And I’m gonna keep it
I’ve got the life
And nobody’s gonna take it away
I’ve got the life

That thought got me a long way. I was still smiling as my new tic sent me sprawling in the middle of the lobby of the hotel where everyone who works there knows my husband by name!

I have a confession to make. The next day I was determined to get on top of this spasm, so I went to walk along St Helier’s Bay. I was approached by a middle aged man who was very pleasant and interesting and we chatted for a while. He suggested he pray with me. I’ve strong views against this, but for some reason I felt comfortable accepting this. I would even go so far as to say I felt humbled when he commanded the pain in my leg to go. I’m not sure what happened … maybe it was coincidence, maybe it was all in my mind. It’s easy to be cynical, it’s harder to take a leap of faith. All I know is that I’ve not experienced the pain or that spasm since.

This doesn’t mean that I’ve changed my views about people who want to pray over me. But somewhere out there is a man with whom I felt comfortable chatting and who, for a few minutes, I trusted to pray with. And that really bad pain has gone.

And I had to drive to Auckland to meet him! And to drive to Auckland I needed my completely indispensable hand controls!

By the way. I could live in Auckland. It’s warm there – I can go outside knowing I’ll be warm in just a t-shirt and shorts. I can live with the traffic, the high house prices – I like being warm. I like being warm.

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