Saturday, April 25, 2009

Times Colonist 10K 2009: why I should race

I will be doing the Times Colonist 10K in less than 13 hours. I have the official number and everything.I was going to say in less than 30 hours but I couldn’t finish this blog yesterday because I got too ill to continue.

I will be at that starting line tomorrow. I am also terrified. I am terrified because I don’t know even in my heart if this is just going to be a slow and somewhat prolonged way to die, starting in the race and finishing several hours after the end of the race. That idea was suggested to me by one who observes my health closely. Linda thinks it is a bad decision. That it is a decision which could kill me. Many have written that it is a bad decision, or a crazy one. And I don’t know some nights when I am grey and shaking in pain if I can do it, if I can bear the pain that long, or survive it. I say to Linda, "I don't know if I should do that race." I have been too ill to do any of the planned preparation or training.

Last year, I didn’t know if I could do a 10K either. I had never done a 10K in a wheelchair. I had just returned from Japan with a health condition which didn't allow me to sweat and seemed to give me energy at times but other times not so much. But I had wheeled a lot for 18 days and though I have never gone more than the 5K race I did in the Autumn before I thought, “Why not?”

Why not see what is possible? Yes, there was some concern about dying, or more probable, going to the hospital. But a year ago I wasn’t being revived to breath every night or too weak to move my own body several times a day, as I am now. I remember the feeling I had then and while I was ill and sick, now a year later, I am now trying to do THAT level of ‘sick’ which is between 5 times and 10 times the level of energy I have. I am trying every day and waking moement to work as hard as I can to keep up to that level. I am driven to do it. And it is KILLING ME, shortening what time I have to live. So I have to learn to lie very still. Doing a 10K is not lying very still.
During last year, each 10K race I did became slower and harder. I dropped boxing exercise entirely and did badminton until I had to drop badminton, shortly after Linda conspired to make sure I did NOT attempt a half marathon in the late autumn/Winter. So I haven’t exercised in 2009, beyond going to Sakura-con, and going to the framing shop last week which caused a great deal of pain for several days and that was 2 km in total.
The other thing in that unlike last year when I know I had a terminal disease, now I know that I, Elizabeth McClung will die. It is only that my condition is so rare that no one knows what can keep me alive or for how long. I am on a train which has no stops, no other passengers. I will never get to show people how great I am as a teacher at university, I will not have a row of my published books, I will not be able to ‘grow’ in any ways that people in society see as important (money, stature, position, self-assurance). I will not be able to right all the mistakes I made in life. No. The only question is “How long?” And listening to the description my grandmother death and her last week, it is so similar to what I live every day that it haunts my mind. Is that how close it is now? That because I did not wait for death, it is waiting for me?

So is this rebellion. Am I doing this 10K because for most of the rest of my life, if I WANT to have a life longer than a week or two, I will have a life sort of like this: a lonely party for the plushies, since Linda is at work and there are no visitors. I sleep every few hours, and I try to keep calm. But if I do this 10K, I can be, for about an hour, this instead: the old ‘I’ll do it my way’, Elizabeth, who shows up and confounds expectations? I sure WANT to be the kick-ass Elizabeth but no, that’s not why.

I am doing this because a girl’s gotta fly.And even if that girl is damaged, or hooked up to lung and other life sustaining devices. Even if that girl is scary for people to look at.
I am doing this because even I fail, I will have succeeded.

When I race, I race alone; each push, each pull, each inch will cost me in pain, and I want to show every human that one person, one woman, did not lie down when society expected her to disappear (‘oh so sad’). That for every twit along the course saying, “You’re so inspirational” there will be at least one tear of pain as I try to go up the hills (they are bitching steep hills). And they will say I am inspirational but inspired to do WHAT? Because what I do, I do alone. And if that means I flip the chair and am too weak to continue, then that is what it means.

I have a multitude of possibilities in front of me, but the one absolute way to failure, is to not even try. To never go down to that starting gate. The BC wheelchair sports doesn’t want me in this race, as they keep putting odd obstacles in front of me. See, I am not a spinal cord injuries and is a RACE. Races are about people who have trained or able bodied people or people in racing wheelchairs who have trained with an condition that is consistent and stable.

Bull!

There is a classification for those who have degenerative conditions called ‘the Others’ but no one ever shows up. I have not been able to get a classification in over two years of asking. So I go with the partial quad classification I have, when the one classifier told me, “Don’t tell them you aren’t an SCI, or they will come up with a reason not to classify you.” I was going to wear a t-shirt stating, “Lack of nerve signals IS a spinal cord injury!” But I am not doing this for them, I am doing this for me, for Sharon, for Jane, for Collette, for Victor, for Dawn, for Yanub, for Tammy, for Fridawrites, for Lene, for Wendryn and for anyone who comes here, able bodied, impaired, degenerative, terminal or otherwise. For every person who has been chained in the mind or body and challenged it. Racing, challenges and goals are personal. BC wheelchair sports & the organizers & society forgot that.

I don’t really want my name recorded in the list of who races. I just want them to know that there was a woman who had autonomic failure, dramatic nerve function damage, who couldn’t sweat and who was ill in bed the day before and came out to RACE anyway. Because that is what participation is about right?

PARTICIPATION.

Participation isn’t supposed to be about the most elite, or those who try to be the most elite, it is supposed to be about including people. I have believed in inclusive sports and I have believe in inclusive goals and trying. I have learned that painting, that gardening, that getting out of bed so many times a week can all be ways to challenge ourselves just as much as rock climbing, dance or yes, doing a 10K. Last year Collette did FAR, FAR longer for Cancer, raising $2,000. That makes me smile. And later this year (if alive) I will be out, in my racing wheelchair or if I am too weak in my POWER wheelchair doing the Terry Fox 5K/10K. Because I am NOT a survivor.

I WILL die, and it may be tomorrow, and if it is not tomorrow, it will likely be soon. Yet, I have no intention, no matter how terrified I am to die tomorrow, to give up even one hour of one day. Because every day I live is MY day, no matter the pain I suffer.

And if someone out there who has accepted themselves into a bed and a room hears or reads that a woman sort of like them, went out and did something, something they would NEVER consider doing. And by reading that they are NOT suicidal but they might decide to go out 25 feet from their room and look at the flowers, then I did it right. Because that person is now part of society, they are included, they are participating.

I am scared. Before medical operations, even though they say that very few people die I still get terror while waiting, and before they put me out. And when my partner and my own mind are saying that I have a decent chance, maybe greater than 50% chance of dying a few hours after the race....yeah, that is vomit level of terrifying.

I am racing tomorrow not for me. Because if I finish….I won’t know how I did it except for that like in the grand tradition of Canadian military I am too stupid to know the word “retreat.” If I do 1 km, I have done one kilometer and I have tried. I did the race, I just didn’t finish. If I do five km, the same thing. What I am trying to do is demonstrate that the greatest limitation we face is ourselves and the box that we and society build in our minds, in my mind. This is going to be, I believe, my last chance to do this race: The Times Colonist 10K 2009. I have no envisioned future beyond tomorrow midday. I simply don’t know if I will be in such condition I will be taken to hospital, or if I will go home and have a fever spike and die there, or if I will just suffer in pain. I can't imagine a future.

Oh GOD will I suffer. I hope that the people won’t be able to see the muscles as they rip, and curl up under the skin. I will suffer as I race, and I will suffer later, as my body goes into shock or when my body loses control and I go into a fever while my body is overwhelmed with so many injuries. But it is my suffering.

I have always believed that choices should be made regardless of the consequences. That if something is right, then it is right and good. I believe that simply by showing up, by going through the start line, I am telling the organizers of the Times Colonist and every single person who watches the early start of the wheelchairs that I and thousands like me exist in this city alone. That I am going to participate, because I, like every person with an impairment is part of society. I am saying that if you are overweight or undertrained or smoke or whatever it is that keeps you back mentally, you CAN, with some training still do a 5K walk for cancer if you want because participation is about representing ALL people, all those at risk, all those who are affected (but you will PAY for it!). I am part of society, you are part of society, all of us.

Whatever it is you have said to yourself that you would do if only……. I will sacrifice my body to prove to you once and for all that if you believe, if you try, there is no ‘if only…’. There is only whether you show up to start. What happens after that, happens.

That is my twisted version of hope. And that is how I fly. I am chained, but I fly. Yes, I am in pain, constantly, so much that one person has changed their mind: they believe I will not die, that I will rather simply be in more pain than most humans can contemplate. I hope she is right.

Whether it is 25 steps, whether it is getting out of bed, whether it is standing up for your rights; you can fly, you just need to try.

39 comments:

yanub said...

Huh. I thought you would do the race using your power chair. Why not? It will be hard enough, challenging enough, to just be outside, operating that puppy up and down hill and around runners and walkers. I am with Linda on wishing you wouldn't do something that will surely harm you. When a girl's gotta fly, is there any reason not to use an airplane? The Icarus method is urgently not recommended.

Whatever you do, I wish you the best and most satisfying results.

wendryn said...

I am terrified for you,and rooting for you, and wishing the best and afraid of the pain you will be in. YOu are still EFM, and you still need to prove that you exist. I understand that. Xander, in the background, as I am crying over this post because I am afraid to lose you, said that one of the reasons he understands you to an extent is that he can see me doing many of the same things.

I'm wishing you luck and good painkillers. I don't know what else to hope for, but I am glad you are still alive.

*hugs*

Anonymous said...

You GO GRRL!!

PROUDyke
(NC/BC)

Raccoon said...

I fear for you. When I talked with Linda last night, I wanted to ask "why is Elizabeth doing this race?"

You have to do what you feel you have to do.

This post just explains it to the rest of us.

You don't need to finish the race. You just need to participate.

Good luck.

FridaWrites said...

Elizabeth, I admit I am worried about this race, especially since you haven't been able to train this year. It's also okay to show people by example that sometimes they need to take care of themselves. Either way takes a lot of courage. And either way, yes, you're still teaching. And the teaching and writing you do now through your blog--these are as important as a row of books.

I am supportive of you and love you and will be thinking of you and mentally sending my best wishes tomorrow.

drowngoldfish said...

I'll be thinking of you today :)
High five for being so brave!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Yanub: The Times Colonist is an official "points" race which means that power wheelchairs are not allowed, nor I believe are even assisted devices (being pushed) - So even if a high level quad wants to do it - they would be put in a chair like mine, with the same gloves and learn to let the mini grip pull their arms up so they can push down - the race times for Wheelchair sports is rated according to the SCI condition which is why in the same race some people get 39 minutes and win their division, someone else gets 52 and wins theirs. Since BC Wheelchair sports has, after 15 years of being told to integrate for non-SCI conditions kept saying "it is too complicated" (Please see Microsoft for an explaination on how it is embedded and a seperate or new model can't be created). So that is how I must race to participate.

Yeah, I've really negative things about the Icarus method.

As long as I show up at the start, I will be satisfied, I am not there to win, and I am not there even to finish, though, once I actually START something with people WATCHING and all, that is hard. My goal is to use break packs to cool me down, use oxygen, and get to a place, that might be the finish or not, where I have done my best.

Wendryn: Well, since I decided that starting was the goal, I am a little less terrified, since I CAN stop - I just have to wonder if I will? Yeah, I guess I do have to wonder if I will. The good news is that Linda does not believe I will die in the race anymore. "So why are you still against it?" I asked.

"Because of the AFTER."

Good painkillers and enough strength to rest without going into shock, heart failure or respitory distress is my hope - the rest is just...well, you know, the pain thing.

Anon: Thanks.

Raccoon: I think the same reason you have a party. I want the world to know I am still alive. Or I want to know that I am still alive.

I don't have to finish the race, just participate - I'll be thinking of you.

Frida: Well, I consider Seattle a little training and I did try to go and wheel a couple km a couple times a week, but no, I just kept getting sick. Odd that. The sick thing. Which is why I want to do this, cause I have a feeling that is going to happen more and more. And if I have this chance, I want to take it.

Thanks, I'll be thinking of you tomorrow too!

Drowngoldfish: Thanks. I think brave is when I have to face the other wheelchair racers who will be like, "What the hell are you doing here....and is that oxygen strapped under your chair?"

Kathz said...

Good luck! Do what you must, but remember that even 1 kilometer - even 100 metres - may be your victory. And if you decide that you aren't able to do it, or that you won't participate out of concern for Linda or because, on the day, you can't find the strength, that may be a victory too, because you did what you could in wanting to race and writing about it. Your blog is also a form of public participation.

And I can only hope it doesn't hurt too much - for you or Linda.

Baba Yaga said...

I once did a (legs-type rather than wheels-type) half-marathon on a fortnight's training. I was pretty fit at the time. & no way was I giving in to merely feeling awful. I learnt that it was a damn' stupid idea, all the same.

If you must start, you must. And clearly, you're the only arbiter of that. We'll hope for a good, cool day for you.

Only, please, in the spirit of the new Elizabeth, pay attention, and, for the love of all of us, also stop, *before it kills you. Pyrrhic victories aren't recommended.

rachelcreative said...

All the very best of luck and success to you today Elizabeth. Thinking of you.

Catriona said...

Elizabeth - I'm worried about you, but am glad you're being supported to make your own decision about this.

Defying gravity said...

Thanks for the postcard... beautiful picture. I hope the race is... what you need it to be.

Kita said...

HI Beth - good luck for today and thank you for your excellant points of view. To participate is an excellant thing indeed!

Lene Andersen said...

Living safely inside the box vs. doing it your way. I'm proud of you. Want to smack you upside the head and make you not do this because I'm afraid of the consequences for you, but I understand why you're doing this. Facing the fear, trying, doing it anyway, not buying into the designated role of the terminally ill. Doing your best.

I'll be cheering for you.

Kate J said...

Hi Beth, definitely thinking of you today. London marathon has been on TV this morning and I know a couple of people running in it... but watching all those thousands of people, it was you I was thinking of. I do so hope you're OK, and that it was worth it. EFM rules!
love & peace

Neil said...

I had other plans, but I cannot let you race alone. I can't find my camera lately, but I will be going out for 10K on the bicycle again; I just need to stop surfing and grab some breakfast.

If it's your last race, make it a good one.

Love and hugs,
Neil

Elizabeth McClung said...

Hey! I finished the race in 1:03 and didn't even need the first aid tent thanks to Linda and Cheryl's prep. On the down side I sort of went into shock my hand is black and I am on a rebreather mask and it seems that lips are purple and my left arm pulled and is all torn up. I thought I had to do the race between 2 and 3 km with just the right arm and was thinking of stopping when suddenly....ALL the pain went away! And I felt GREAT. And for the rest of the race, I had no pain at all. And now no pain. Linda and Cheryl think that will not remain. Also, that I will have a fever later. And turn funny colors but we are taking pictures.

I am going to sleep now and so I finished the race! Now we have to find out if I am:

1) Lucky stupid - did the race, feel no pain, suffer over the next week or two or

2) Unlucky stupid - Cheryl says I am decompensating now in oxygen so they have to get my legs up, will see when the fever hits and write about that - to me this is all funny, because I am still high as a kite - endorphins are GREAT! Let's see what my opinion is after this race.

This isn't my last race by the way, just my last 10K race - as there were 15,000 people there and in my way! So I am hoarse from "Clear! Clear! Take out your effing I-pod, wheelchair behind you! Clear!"

Report #1 done!

rachelcreative said...

It would be great to bottle the feeling you have after finishing to see you through the lean times!

Hoping you are lucky full stop.

Anonymous said...

well, congratulations, you madwoman!

hoping for lucky...

Lene Andersen said...

Woo! You did it! Congratulations! I thought you might not finish - had apparently forgotten about EFM. I'm so proud of you I could burst.

Enjoy the high. Nutthin' like endorphins. Am sending you strength and imaginary endorphins for if things get bad later on.

JaneB said...

I am so glad to hear that you started, that you lived through the race - but now, for all of us who love you, rest, take care of yourself, live to carry on writing and teaching. I'm praying for rest and good pain pills for you, and that the reaction is only bad not terrifyingly bad. You are an IDIOT (I hope you can hear the exasperated, affectionate, sisterly/motherly tone of voice I'm saying that in, grinning too much to frown) - and I am SO PROUD of you for getting out there and participating - but - new Elizabeth, please, for as long as you can, rest and take care of yourself.

Nancy said...

I'm so pleased that you made it through, and that you did it on your own terms! I'll be thinking about you over the next few days, and sending good wishes for the recovery process.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Report #2:

Thank you Jane (haha, made me laugh) and Lene, Nancy and everyone.

I slept for four hours and when they came to wake me they pulled back the covers and my left arm was lying across my body and was so swollen, it looked like one of those special effects from when they find 'floaters' in mystery movies. Shame no one took a picture. I told them, once I was up and awake, that the "bloated" look is the total rage this season. I have never actually seen a limb swollen so the skin it totally taunt before, it was very interesting. Anyway, I had to release my watch several notches and my left hand is about 1.5 times the size of my right which gives a very "Creation of Frankenstien" feel to me when I look at them, "Hmmm...I remember the hand on the right, but the one on the left....?" - I also for reasons unsure can't feel half my tongue or my mouth and lost mouth control (biting my lip, my side of my mouth instead of my food) and was bleeding but couldn't feel it (gee, what a surprise). I sometimes go into shock but for the most part can hold a conversation. My Shoulder and the section on my back on the left are swollen and giving off lots of heat as well. So perhaps it wasn't the "Miracle of kilometer 2.5" soon to be made into an afterschool special about 'if you really BELIEVE' but more like, "I have few nerve ending, and they went, "Oh geez, like I can transmit ALL these pain signals, I don't THINK so!""

Oh well, other racers showed up from Vancouver and.....left immediately afterward. It was a very bonding experience!

I will try to put up a blog tomorrow or maybe tonight with pictures as I think tomorrow I will be feeling pretty funky and keeping the pain pills handy. The para's were cruising - like in 30 minutes I think. I finished pretty much on pace for last year when I was training (another 3-4 minute drop) so I am puzzled as I expected to do much worse, but while it seems I can exercise, I am still losing autonomic function. And did for example stop breathing a few times starting sleep.

However the most distressing aspect is the loss of the last of the five body vascular points as places to sweat. To put it in the plan vulgar, my upper body doesn't sweat, my lower body doesn't sweat but my vaginal area, or where all the arteries and veins meet going to a from legs and torso used to sweat giving me after badminton or races the wonderful wet look spreading out and down, exactly as if I had peed myself. Today, nothing. So absolutely no way to cool the blood at all (at this point) except external devices like ice packs).

Oh, and I found out from the Vancouver crew that 'wearing shoes' while racing isn't like 'racing' - oh well, plunky old amateur me, not having bare feet just because I can. As I was told, "You can't feel them." - "True I responded, but I am against 'black toe' syndrome" - or as Linda I think said afterward, "Yeah, and you can drop a cinder block on them too, but it ain't always the brightest thing to do!"

FridaWrites said...

Oh, I'm so glad you met your goal and are okay! I am impressed, superhero.

cheryl g said...

You were right Sis. Today was YOUR day - NDY! I swear you accomplish more on sheer determination than anybody else I have ever met.

I had fun irking the pompous dude at the first aid tent and I was not impressed by the other wheelchair racers. Yes, they were fast but they were also very unfriendly.

Now, rest, rehydrate and take care of yourself!

One Sick Mother said...

Elizabeth,

I think you're completely mad.

...and I love you for it.

OSM

Raccoon said...

Elizabeth finished the race and she's still alive! Hallelujah!

Relax and take it easy for the next few days?

And to keep the pain pills handy...

thea said...

Notice I'm not saying give up or don't do it.

I'm scared for you, but that applies whether or not you race. I guess most of all, I don't want you to feel alone and left out. So if you are part of it all by doing the race, if you show you are part of things...

I second not using the Icarus method.

desdemona said...

You are nuts. In a good way ;-)

Ever since reading your blog yesterday I was kind of pacing the floors in my mind. I thought about emailing but decided you need your rest more than my emails... Besides, I really wasn't keen on getting no reply ;-)

I'm glad you made it and made it relatively well at that! WooHoo!

Lots of hugs!

Victor Kellar said...

Coming in with a late comment but I've been here reading:

Congrats for finishing. Congrats for overcoming your fear. Congrats for surviving.

Thanks for the mention of Collette's achievement, we are cranking ourselves up for this year's walk and I know that once she reads this post you will, again, serve as a major soure of inspiration for her ..and no, not as in "oh look what the crippled girl can do" but more like "yes, we have to participate,we have to try we have to DO"

I received my post card, thank you so much, I loved the armour

Diane J Standiford said...

For some strange reason this post inspires me. (as did your comment on my blog, thank you btw) So, I am awarding you on my blog. Don't get too excited before the race finish. I'm still working on that one step. And, of course, if YOU can do it, so can I. (And you will.)

Luce Freedman said...

"Since BC Wheelchair sports has, after 15 years of being told to integrate for non-SCI conditions kept saying "it is too complicated"

I for one would love to see the source of that quote. Who exactly are you anyway to say what the agenda of a race that was organized by someone else should be? This race is not about participation, it's about competition. Wheelchair athletics has strict categories to ensure fairness in competition, not to arbitrarily exclude participants. Using a wheelchair for weakness and paralysis are not synonymous when it comes to athletic prowess. Power wheelchairs are excluded from events like this for safety of the participants as well, not to make the life of quads more difficult (which, btw, you have no business speaking for). WC sports has had a very difficult time being taken seriously for years and not being associated as the special olympics for gimps. big shocker they wouldn't welcome you with open arms after you publicly berate them repeatedly and disrespect their entire mission.

but you do have a point, although you missed it. one of the founding principles of the independent living movement is about having the ability to take risks. it also means you have to be responsible for the consequences. it may have been foolish for you to enter the race considering you are barely holding onto life, but it's still your choice to take that risk knowing what the potential consequences would be. hope it was worth it.

Veralidaine said...

Beth, you are truly amazing. I know this COULD have killed you, but somehow I saw this and already knew that one of the 28 comments below it would be you saying you finished and you're okay. Your wings are still strong, even if your body is failing.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Luce: You are a hoot! I love ya! - "I for one would love to see the source of that quote. Who exactly are you anyway to say what the agenda of a race that was organized by someone else should be? This race is not about participation, it's about competition. Wheelchair athletics has strict categories to ensure fairness in competition, not to arbitrarily exclude participants. "

Hey, I for one would love to hear you list the four catagories for competition in a wheelchair; or even the four subcatagories for the T-ratings. And did you know that 'autonomic failure' is one of the TWO main deciders?

"Power wheelchairs are excluded from events like this for safety of the participants as well, not to make the life of quads more difficult (which, btw, you have no business speaking for)."

How odd, since that is what I am rated? A quad. Nor did I say that they are excluded for the safety of the participants, since Gravity and a racing wheelchair is far more dangerous than a powerchair in my opinion (this course I can get up to 35 mph - not a good speed to be hit at). And sheesh dude, make up your mind, first you want me to haul in all the people for you to inspect (whom you have no business speaking about, though one is an international level ranking judge - we can all want things, but we don't always get them....at least not through me - well if you read back you could, since I already did mention it), then you decide who I get to talk for? Um, Yanub wanted to know why I didn't use MY power chair and I was explaining why and giving examples of chair use (of course, the funded quads have flat wheels which make riding up of the arms WAY easier). So unless you were next to me on the starting line, wearing the same quad gloves as me; please put a cork in it on that! If Raccoon wants to give me a blast, that's fine, or Ruth who had a tennis racket tied to her arm and dragged herself down stairs to practice. But you? If you are Rick Hansen, I am passing on a message from someone who knew you and Terry when you competed and....yup, Terry still thinks you are a dick.

"Using a wheelchair for weakness and paralysis are not synonymous when it comes to athletic prowess." - so you know nothing of the rating system do you?

"WC sports has had a very difficult time being taken seriously for years and not being associated as the special olympics for gimps. big shocker they wouldn't welcome you with open arms after you publicly berate them repeatedly and disrespect their entire mission." - Actually I showed probably more respect to BC wheelchair sports than they showed to me. I don't have a problem with wheelchair sports, I have a problem with BC wheelchair sports, particularly the race series as they seem to make decisions which aren't theirs to make, they are an facilitating body, they need to act like it (not to mention slight conflict of interests when the only coach for the province competes against those they coach).

You do have a point, that Luce is the arbitrator of all - and no, when you have 15,000 people doing a 10K, it isn't a race (ever heard the phrase 'personal best'?). Which you can do on your blog 'Sticks and Stones' - which you don't. I appreciate your reading, and I find your comments highly amusing. Because, your comments reflect a view that this blog exists (as do I) to serve Luce. I don't mind having an interchange. But try to control yourself a bit: "Who are you.." - Elizabeth McClung (see photo next to comment!).

SharonMV said...

Dear Beth,
I am so proud that you got to the race and finished. Glad to hear that the pain & suffering during the race was not too bad. I hope the swelling has gone down, & that the pain is endurable. Please rest, rest, rest! And take your meds. It's & hard to take that you've lost more function - it seems that there is always another loss, more grief, even in your times of triumph. Please take extra care if you get the fever. I know it's unpleasant lying on a bed of ice packs, but do it if you must. I've spent many an hour lying on a pillow of ice, with fans blasting me.

I had a nice visit with my sister. She met Chloe. We talked & watched TV &DVDs. Dennis is due back this evening, so I only had to spend one night on my own (except for the kitten who kept me company).

Thank you so much for the gift package & post card. I'll e-mail you about them.

Sharon

















Sharon

Neil said...

EUnoia12Beth dear, you're wonderful. I had assumed you were planning some elaborate form of suicide, as in Heinlein's "Time Enough for Love" but I am glad youre still with us, and still able to joke.

The swollen arm, though; that sounds more than somewhat ungood. Ripped up muscles and tendons, I'm betting?

As most ofthe other say, rest, rest, rest. We love you dead or alive, but we'd prefer you alive.

As for trying to clear the runners out of your way, did they put the wheelchairs at the back of the start? Even the race car folks figured out that the fastest people should be at the front of the grid!

Still proud of you, wearing a lovely wristband at work tonight in your honour (it's usually on the shoulder strap of my backpack, which I use almost daily, like a purse), and still sending positive, healing energy. COOL, positive, healing energy...

Oh, I did 10K myself with you, yesterday, though I was on the bicycle and freezing. WHEN will spring arrive??

Love and hugs,
Neil

FridaWrites said...

It must be fun to go 35 mph!

I think I'm going to blog about wheelchairs and sports (including power wheelchairs) on Blogging against Disablism day. Katja at Broken Clay had to sign an odd waiver, and I've just researched some local 5Ks only to find out that I can't participate with my kids and husband--even though the children's orthopedic hospital where I went as a child is a beneficiary.

If the Komen Foundation, MS Foundation, Arthritis Foundation, United Cerebral Palsy, and others can safely include power wheelchairs then others can do so. I don't know about the specifics of Canadian law, but ADA prohibits exclusion and segregation from any public event, and I imagine Canadian law is similar. There aren't exceptions for "safety."

Anyway, great job, Elizabeth! I read a lot about wheelchair racing today after reading Katja's blog and info on local races (as you've encouraged me to do). I'm really not sure what classification I'd be (spinal arthritis throughout spine, slow pusher) if I used a manual chair.

I'm proud of you and you have me looking at these events now too and gearing up for more intellectual marathons.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Frida: I think you would be like me, 'The Others', which do have sub-catagories as for example, since riflery is a paralympic event giving someone with spasticity a rifle isn't the brightest idea so for example once rated those who need mounts and there are two DIFFERENT mounts for the two DIFFERENT classifications including those who cannot consistantly pull the trigger I believe. Same with archery - I was just BEGGING to be ranked for archery so I could turn up at events - bwahahaha!

But most are integrated with all classifications as for example swimming has 15 which include from Spina Bifida, amputation and missing limbs (one boy with no arms is the fastest on the team - so he has a restriction due to being so fast....), CP, JSA, about 20-30 forms of diseases which include nerve degeneration or no nerve or limited nerve signals to extremities, or other parts of the body and pretty much any other condition where the person can float and use something to propell themselves - have seizures is something that is pretty standard, for the team where there might be 12-15 different impairment, diseases or other classifications. It is really odd, the Paralympic Coach things.....people, kids, regardless of impairment or disease, should swim if they want to (and can do so safely - she has said, "Well honey, you know when you keep sinking to the bottom of the pool and drown because of no oxygen, that makes for a BAD racer." (I was like, "That only happened once!" - she was, "Out of..." - Me mumbling, "Two times."). Once I get the scuba gear I am on that swimming team!

FridaWrites said...

Oh, okay, I guess I would belong with "others"--I thought they were ranking everyone by para or quad classifications and thought, wait, where's me?

Swimming does sound most integrated. I do enjoy it, though I don't do it for speed. I can't wait until the pools are warm enough in a month to go (can't pay the gym membership for the warm pool now). That will be great and I'll have to figure out something to get conditioned in the fall again.