There is an old joke which doesn’t need spelling out here, ‘Why does a dog lick his…?’
‘Cos he can’, is the obvious answer. Now I was asked recently why I write and the answer is pretty much the same. Because I can, though he cannot.
No, not the dog, but my grandson. An oversight (I’ll be kind) by medical staff left him starved of oxygen on his way into the world and when he eventually made his entry, many of his brain cells had not survived. Now, as an eight-year-old, he is confined to a wheelchair by cerebral palsy. People such as him were once called ‘Spastics’; we now shy away from the derisory term which comes from the Greek meaning ‘broken’, even though most sufferers had no idea it was a word applicable to their condition. However, it was a word that had been distorted into a term of derision and generally hurled abusively at people who were not smitten by cerebral palsy. Like the ‘N’ word, we feel guilty that we once used the term as an insult and we now care for the victims of the condition with far more respect. Yet proscribing a word does not go far enough to help. Are we doing enough to reverse the damage, damage of the type that we see as being right and proper to be repaired for those injured in the service of their countries? My grandson is unable to walk, makes sounds that only mean something to his family and his greatest pleasure is eating, followed closely by watching Mr. Tumble on the television. That is his life and his parents have to deal with it every day.
I love him to bits as he is, but would give my right arm to see him doing the naughty things that most children his age get up to. I’d endure his judging me as a fat old fool not worth the time of day. I’d understand if he decided that he never wanted to see me again. I’d be happy if he made those decisions…in fact I’d just be happy if he could.
There has been much revealed about the advances medical science has made on restoring the damaged brains of soldiers in the Afghanistan conflict. Good luck to them, I hope that most will resume a full and active life. Yet these advances should percolate through to the many people unable to volunteer to serve their countries, unable to stand up, let alone be counted. I live in hope that one day my son will telephone and tell me that there is a new but proven surgery that will rectify my grandson’s injury, albeit he needs thousands of pounds for the treatment. Why do I, fast approaching those three score years and ten, need more than I have already?
So why do I write? I write because one day soon I trust I will have that telephone call and I hope I will be able to step up to the plate.
10th September 2015
At the end of December 2014, *Lewys' Hope* was the second blog I posted on my new newly created website and I still await that telephone call. It is his birthday in 10 days...this is why I am