There are 9 year children in Ireland who are experiencing snow for the first time. Isn’t that incredible. To allow everybody having a good time together, there won’t be any buses tomorrow and practically no public transport. Schools will be closed not just tomorrow, but also on Friday. From 4pm tomorrow there will be a curfew (well…). The government is telling everybody to stay at home. In Dublin, shelves are empty and there are reports on bread vans being hijacked. Pubs have special offers (a pint and a slice of bread) for civil servants.
I’ll be getting up at 3 tomorrow morning to catch a flight to Frankfurt to attend the annual after-care congress (Nachsorgekongress). The big question is: will the airport be open?
Given that a lot of therapists couldn’t drive in the snow today, we had a bit more time to ourselves. Time for conversations with Pádraig. Time to ask him how things are going for him. How he is feeling. What he misses most. What he would like to do. To make it easier, we asked him to answer on a scale from 1 to 3. “1” being the least interesting or least missed, “3” being the most interesting or most missed ‘thing’.
Turns out that he misses being able to talk (2), but not terribly. He really wants to get An Saol going and go out every day, rather than being stuck in the house or his room most of the time. He didn’t have very strong views on what he misses or cannot do. By contrast, he has very strong views on what he wants to do: travel and getting around.
He knows that travelling isn’t easy for him. Spending long hours in the wheelchair, being transferred on planes and spaces that are not really comfortable for him, to say the least, being ‘accommodated’ in cars that are too small or beds that are too short for him is not fun, I am sure. But all that fades into nothingness in comparison to what he seems to be getting out of his travels. Being amongst people, Seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, tasting what is going on in the world. Living. That is what he wants. Even it it is not always easy and, at times, and literally, a bruising experience.
What really impressed me most was that, while he did acknowledge that he is missing things and, for example, the ability to communicate better, his focus is very clearly and unambiguously on what is possible.
I am learning from Pádraig. Every day.