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Inside Looking Out

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Joined: 01 May 2011
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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2020 4:59 am    Post subject: Inside Looking Out Reply with quote

Inside Looking Out

By Ian Franks (Spain)

People all over the world are beginning to breathe collective sighs of relief as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased because the coronavirus pandemic looks to be winding down. Most are relieved that they can go out, meet family and friends, and get back to normal or, at least, their new normal – whatever that means for them! But those of us with disabilities affecting our mobility see things differently. Let me explain.

I have multiple sclerosis which causes me severe mobility issues. I cannot walk, not one step without falling. Every day I spend all my time between my sofa, my wheelchair, and my hospital style adjustable bed, or being transferred between those via a patient hoist, a type of mini crane. Life for people in a similar position to me is just like lockdown has been for everyone. And, by that, I mean living inside looking out.

We spend our days indoors, visitors rarely come, we can no longer go shopping so have to shop online and await deliveries. Our televisions are always on; we binge-watch Netflix.

In my case, I give thanks for computers. My laptop is my lifeline. It keeps me in contact with the outside world. It is the one way I can ‘leave`’ my home – in spirit if not in body. I can use Skype to talk to people in far off lands. Using my cellphone, I can use WhatsApp.

My laptop means I can still write. After a long and successful career as a professional journalist, these days all my articles are written without expectation of monetary reward. I specialize in opinion columns on topical matters. After all, while I no longer report first-hand, I am a seasoned leader writer and opinion columnist. TodayI write opinion columns for The Locus, an online publication that prides itself on the truth of independent journalism, and have my own MS, Disability & Living Life blog.

Being inside looking out is the reality for people with a mobility disability. Lockdown or not, it is my reality, my normal. Not ‘new’ normal, it’s been my normal for a while. So, while the world begins to recover from the weeks of regulations, my life continues unchanged. Life’s restrictions are my normal. While most people can say goodbye to being cooped up, I cannot.

If you are fortunate enough not to have a disability, then you have had a few weeks seeing the world through our eyes. As you get your normal vision back, please spare a thought for those of us who remain inside looking out.

Ian Franks in his wheelchair on a beach trip he can no longer enjoy.
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