©2013 Edward C. Lunnon
Tuesday 25 June 2013: 6 years 9 months on …
Physical: Deuce / Mental: Advantage ED
The month of June is International Motor Neurone Disease Awareness month and Friday 21 June – our winter solstice day – is also International MND Day.
The local branch of the MNDA of SA arranged an awareness breakfast on Saturday and on Friday the movie “I Am Breathing” was screened.
Ironically, I have NOT been breathing – at least not well!
Last weekend (15 June), feeling well, I spent time at the Patensie Citrus Festival. Friday night I visited Eppie and Lande Ferreira (with Matt Sexton, Kings coach, and his family) and I slept over at Pietie and Coba Ferreira (and braaied with them and ex Helshoogte boarder Corne Muller.)
Saturday morning, we did a tour of the Citrus packing sheds and then “did” the festival. Stalls, music, singers, beer tent, people from far and wide … I was humbled by how many people, even here in Patensie, recognise my voice from radio. It is a measure of how the message of neurological illnesses is being spread far and wide. I am most grateful to AlgoaFM for giving me the time each Wednesday for our programme “ED is in wED”!
I returned late afternoon to Port Elizabeth because we had a farewell dinner with the Stapletons – they have headed off to Thailand for the holidays!
Everything changed on Sunday morning – Father’s Day. I woke up with a cough and feeling grotty. For the first time in almost seven years since I have had CBD, I was also ill with something else!
I stayed in bed and wafted through the next few days being Father’s Day, Youth Day, Public holiday, long weekend, Monday, Tuesday … and whatever day it was. I am not quite sure anymore which was what!
I saw Dr Butters and he confirmed that I had bronchitis – the last thing that anyone with a degenerative neurological illness wants (bearing in mind that our chest muscles are affected, we breathe shallowly and we eventually die from lung complications and illness such as pneumonia.)
For the first time since I have had CBD (seven years now), I have been confined to bed (other than when I broke my elbow some five years ago.)
It’s been a test of my resolve and a wake-up call of what lies ahead.
Watching the movie – the story of Neil Platt’s fight with MND – also did me no good. But in between, I went to listen to Elvis Blue sing at Grey, saw the public screening of the movie and attended the breakfast on Saturday. Alan Solomons spoke about the Kings rugby franchise – beating the odds – and it reminded me so much of the fight that we have with MND. Mandy Gurr, a local ex-theatre personality and singer who has fought the illness for some 15 years now also spoke (with difficulty but with so much courage). She leads where we still have to go, and what an example of courage and determination she sets for us who battle with so many different kinds of illnesses that life throws at us.
“Raising awareness” is the term that we hear so often when we talk about illnesses of various kinds. Often the “raising awareness” goes hand in hand with “raising money” because most cases of battling illness go hand in hand with battling finances. Becoming sick becomes a financial battle as well! That’s often why we have these “awareness” days and functions.
But I have also come to realise that unless dread disease and severe illness hits us personally or our immediate family or close friends, then – quite frankly – we don’t give a damn!
We don’t prepare for it, we don’t care for it and we simply ignore it and hide it away. We live our lives as if it will never hit us – others yes, but not us.
It’s only when it comes like that “thief in the night” that we are forced to pay it much attention.
Hence, my motto, for those who have the gift of good health – LIVE.LIFE!
Last night, I went to listen to Prof Cyril Karabus speak about his recent traumatic experience in the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi). (He had been found guilty on “murder” charges in his absence as a result of a young patient of his having died from leukaemia ten years ago when he did a locum there. Now, he was detained when passing through the airport on his way back to SA from a family wedding in Canada.)
In a moment, his life, and that of his family, was changed by the course of life!
I’m starting to feel better. It’s time to LIVE.LIFE again!