A few years ago, she lost almost all her possessions in a wild fire that gave her and her husband 30 minutes to vacate their house. This summer was like a deja-vu when her chosen hometown of Napa just North of San Francisco was threatened by a huge wild fire, leading to forced evacuations and the closing down of her school.
Having spent a few days with us, one of our oldest common friends went back to the West Coast, the wine country. Last year, she had organised a huge welcome party for my co-cyclists and myself at the end of our 1000km ride from Hollywood to Napa, raising funds and awareness for severe acquired brain injury and An Saol. On the first day in months that the heavens opened, it poured, and the town was literally flooded!
She did, a few times in her life, what I feel at times I should be doing. Make radical changes. Leave everything behind and go where life is exciting. Stop talking about Alaska but pack up and go there. Stop fighting for miserable hours of therapy, stop explaining why a highly vulnerable non-verbal ABI survivor cannot be cared for by a non-experienced, non-qualified, non-track-record-holding taxi driver, stop writing letters and emails, stop making phone calls, stop pushing that rolling stone up the hill from where it will inevitably roll down again, and instead embarking on an exciting tour of adventure and discovery, going where no wheelchair has gone before, blowing our minds and imagination, having insane fun, experiencing the wonder that the world is, breaking out of this self-imposed locked-in syndrome.
Isn’t all that Pádraig is doing training to prepare for this? Standing, turning, lifting. Cycling the MOTOMed, using it as an arm trainer and a leg trainer. Getting the circulation going. Brining up the oxygen. Keeping fit. Recovering muscles that you can loose in a flash and have to fight for to recover.
Getting ready. Preparing.