Every so often we see, on Facebook, and perhaps other social media sites, a drawing of someone in a wheelchair – accompanied by a question along the lines of “If this happened to your partner, would you stay?”
Most people who reply say “Yes” but what of the vast majority who don’t comment?
Then there are sad tales such as people who use wheelchairs saying they don’t want to be a burden and telling their partners to leave them. Others who say that they are getting used, or have got used, to being alone since their partner left and still others who say that being in a wheelchair means they will never find a partner.
But there is hope as many people with disabilities do have loving relationship that survives one of them becoming a wheelchair user.
In my case, I have multiple sclerosis and have mobility issues and so need to use a wheelchair if there is a need to travel more than 10 metres or so; otherwise I have to sit and take a break.
Lisa is my second wife. We were married in 2011 after both of our previous marriages ended in divorce. But, here I must say that my first marriage did not end because of MS. I kept nothing from Lisa before we got married; She knew I had MS and what it could mean. Yet, knowing the problems, Lisa said “yes” to my proposal and we were married on a Florida beach at sunset on October 31 2011.
Long ago, when my grandfather was still alive, all I ever heard from him is that he wished God would take him. See, he had MS and I, as a child, didn’t know much about it. In fact, at that time, no-one knew much about MS. My grandfather chose to ‘suffer’ from his disability while Ian ‘lives’ with it.
You might argue that everyone suffers from MS but that is just not true. Ian decided long ago that he would focus on those things that he can still do and not fret about what is no longer possible. We have a very full life.
We both enjoy travel. While Ian felt more free riding about on his scooter while on holiday, I prefer that he use a wheelchair, mainly for selfishness on my part. He, on the other hand, is anything but selfish and the scooter has now gone1. He cares about others who live with MS because he knows that he is in a better position than most.
Sometimes I worry about how MS will progress inside of him in the years to come. He doesn’t worry about it at all and he is right, there is nothing he can do about that, so why worry.
1 Yes, the scooter has gone, for the simple reason that, if it ran out of power, it was difficult and painful for Lisa to push me. We know, it happened just the once. Now, I have two wheelchairs, one powered, one manual. The power chair gives me independence to do things by myself while the manual one is more useful for short trips and if we go out in a friend’s car. Anyway, Lisa says that she loves ‘pushing me around’. LOL. Oh, and the power chair can be pushed if it ever runs out of ‘juice’; best of both worlds.