Im watching Scotland playing against Samoa on the telly, and in the interval they had a piece about Doddie Weir, a 6 foot 8 Scottish rugby player who was recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Thus far, DW hasn’t been affected very much – he still ‘ looks normal ‘, he can walk and talk and do most things. It’s a horrible and progressive disease, and he will die because of it.
They featured a high profile fundraising dinner, attended by 100’s of high profile rugby internationals, who presumably all paid to be there, and hopefully raised more money besides – in the pursuit of contributing to MND research and an eventual cure perhaps. Lots of people spoke emotionally about DW and the awfulness of MND, and the overriding message was ‘ how the amazing rugby family has pulled together in support of Doddie and his condition’.
I’m going to perhaps be controversial then, by saying that I doubt whether that support for him will endure, from those same people, as his condition progresses, and he loses more functionality – he’ll soon be in a wheelchair and then then eventually bedridden, his muscles wasting away and his appearance changing hugely. I used to play rugby, and had a lot of friends from that sport, inevitably all Male. I can honestly say that of all the sections of my wide circle of friends, that the ‘macho’ rugby players are the least well equipped to ‘ cope’ with a friend who is disabled, in the main in my experience cannot even talk to me, let alone ‘ support ‘ me in any way – they’d rather ‘ remember me as I was’. The thing is though, that I’m not dead, I’m very much still here, alive but unable to do what I could before.
Maybe the high profile of Doddie will help towards altering the emotional inadequacy of blokes in general towards physical disability, but I somehow doubt that.
Its not something that I dwell on much, having more immediate problems all of the time, rather something that I just accept, but I do wish, unrealistically, that it was different.