The picture of the week.

Ist das nicht der absolute Hammer?
This rocks! – ¡Dios mio!

If there ever was proof needed that a picture tells more than a thousand words, this is it. When I took the picture, I thought it was special.

Now, looking at it, I see that it is spectacular. You can write a book around this picture. There are dozens of messages here.

And not just that Pádraig is very tall.

People in wheelchairs often miss dealing with the world and the people surrounding them at eye level. This is one experience Pádraig doesn’t miss. Even in his wheelchair, most people are still at his eye level. It’s when he stands up that he looses that eye-to-eye contact.

Oh lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz. My friends all drive porsches, I must make amends. Janis probably never made it to Bavaria and never drove a car manufactured by the Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) or a ‘beamer’ as they are affectionately known by young urbans in Ireland. Maybe it’s just that ‘BMW’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘amends’.

An old friend of mine had one in his living room for a few months, while he was trying to fix it. And before you ask. No, he did not live in a mansion, it was just that the “beamer” was rather small. Three wheels, a true ‘front’ door, and a bench just slightly wider than a ‘normal’-sized driver would require. I couldn’t believe my eyes, when I saw a pristine “Isetta” parked around the corner here. After many decades, this was the first time.

Another ‘car’ I saw last week is also worth a mention. When I was a kid, big trucks collected the bins with a couple of men jumping off the back, running to collect the bins, getting them emptied by a mechanical lifter into the truck, and finally leaving them back where they had picked them up. – A distant memory in the country that invented “Vorsprung durch Technik”. The truck is still there, but it doesn’t need people anymore to pick up the bins, it does it by itself.

After all this excitement, I went to a street Café where I ordered an espresso. What I got was a perfect, dark and strong and short coffee on a special saucer, with a ‘glass’ of water and the, for such a delicate, elegant setting, required biscuit.  The waiter was not particularly happy about my order, I noticed. When I paid, I knew why he wasn’t happy. All around me, people had ordered expensive, hand-made ice creams with tons of rare fruit, chocolate and fresh cream on top. My espresso turned out to cost 1.60 euro. I checked the receipt. It wasn’t a mistake.

Pádraig’s therapies this week were like a lesson in neuro-rehab. There are endless possibilities to position, sit and stand Pádraig. To support his posture, to develop his core, to adjust his hips. Not all was new to us. We knew about the tilt table for standing. Pádraig sits at his own table at home, especially for meals.

But he had never sat on a regular chair, a ‘turned around’ chair – which worked out incredibly well. He also had never tried to stand up with his back against a wall, providing him with very firm support and giving him a sense of security he wouldn’t have just standing against another person. Other ways of standing we tried out were a bit labour-intensive and required a few therapists to support him from the back and the front.

The week went well and we even had time to chill a bit in between. We are still watching CNN to get the latest from our brothers from across the big water. Surprisingly, so far we are managing to listen to even the most incredible horror stories without falling into utter depression. We are also listening to some podcasts and a mix of Irish, German and Spanish radio stations. The biggest challenge I find is not to loose my sense of time and space. Days run into each other, the surroundings don’t change. Weekends are a bit different. There is less structured rehab and more casual or social activities. Less therapists and more family for everybody here. It’s a reminder that this is what life is, or should be all about at its core: Having a good time with your friends and family.

Having adventures, I should add. Having plans. Being enthusiastic, committed, full of smiles and love and rock ‘n roll.

Whether it’s in a Mercedes Benz with Janis, in a Porsche with her friends, a tiny BMW or a bus on the road to Alaska.