December 11, 2015 | 5:00 am | By Pants Up Easy
ALS (A.K.A. Lou Gehrig’s Disease) is an insidious condition for many reasons, but there are two attributes of it that I think are worst of all of: 1. ALS is a degenerative disease, which means it will only get worse with time. You can slow this progression, but never stop it. 2. Eventually, ALS will put you in a wheelchair. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Eventually, the degenerative condition will strip you of the use of your legs.
However, not everyone who has ALS needs to be in a wheelchair. At least not yet. If the condition is diagnosed early, it’s fairly typical to still be able to walk around for a while. But the real question is, should you?
When you spend your days in a wheelchair, you start to focus on risk aversion. Basically, you don’t want to put yourself in a situation where the wheelchair or your condition becomes a liability. And even if you’re not in a wheelchair, it’s time for you to start adopting a similar mentality.
ALS doesn’t render any part of the body useless overnight. The progression is slow, which means you’ll definitely notice gradually intensifying problems walking before you’re in a wheelchair permanently. You might find yourself tripping unexpectedly while walking down the street, or previously mundane tasks (such as stepping over a curb) suddenly become much more difficult. Eventually, you will reach a point where walking might become one of the toughest task you face. It’s at this point where you have to ask yourself an important question…
What’s keeping you out of the chair?
I know that being in a wheelchair feels very limiting, but you know what else is limiting? Not being able to control your feet the way you want to when you walk. Or not having the strength to make a walk across the parking lot when your favorite store is busy. Instead of looking at the glass half empty, why not adopt the mentality espoused on the website ALS on Both Sides: imagine the freedom a wheelchair will grant you:
“Freed to move around independently, freed from exhaustion, freed from being homebound and isolated, freed from broken bones that will plague you forever, free from falls that can kill you, free to add normalcy to your life!”
Safety should be your ultimate concern
In the end, safety should be the priority here. If being in a wheelchair is going to make your life safer and remove risks, then it’s a sensible decision that you should consider. I know putting yourself in a wheelchair seems limiting, but there’s no reason it has to be. If you need some inspiration on how to live a full life in a wheelchair, look no further than our blog. We have plenty of articles discussing the fun activities you can participate in as a wheelchair user.