It’s been an absolutely amazing week, not in terms of wheelchair progress, but in terms of Ada’s achievements.
As I’ve discussed before, many people who suffer with M.E. also suffer with depression. In an attempt and prevent this from happening to Ada, she’s been setting herself goals. Some are little goals like spending time with friends, some are a bit more challenging, such as getting up and down the stairs by herself, and much to my delight she set her ultimate goal as getting to the top of Snowdon.
As we were driving home from her Wednesday appointment I decided to take charge, kidnap her for the week, and put some real effort into helping Ada achieve her goals.
The next evening we had the first goal ticked; swimming. Whilst in the pool, not having to use her walking sticks or being confined to a wheelchair, I imagine she might have felt like she was an equal. From the moment she got in until two hours later when I’d said for the tenth time “it’s time to get out”, Ada was grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
The next day she attended her first lesson with a home tutor and managed to get up and down the stairs all by herself, not once, but twice. Another two goals ticked.
When Saturday arrived there were no signs of delayed onset muscle soreness from the swimming, in fact, she seemed more lively than she had done for a long time. It looked like she was feeling the benefit of the exercise. She even went to the park with her friend and the two of them sat on the swings chatting for an hour. Considering how isolated she’d been feeling this was quite a breakthrough and another item crossed off the list.
Improving on the previous day’s goal, another of her aims for Saturday was to go up and down the stairs four times. This was easily achieved and she was showing no sings of additional soreness or tiredness.
Sunday was the most important day though…
Finally, I’d pulled myself away from the mountain wheelchair project long enough to realise that it was high-time I went up into the loft and retrieve the Christmas decorations. I carried Ada up the stairs and plonked her on the landing as I prepared to open the hatch to the loft.
Having never been in a loft, Ada asked if she could come with me. I asked her how she expected to get up and down the ladder to which she replied she’d use her walking sticks. “It’s a ladder Ada”. When she said she could just walk up, I asked how she’d get back down again. She said she’d come down on her bum. “It’s a ladder Ada!”. Not put off by the ladder, Ada climbed up. This in itself was amazing, but not as amazing as what happened next.
She climbed back down the ladder without difficulty, stepped off the bottom of the ladder and started talking to me. I looked at her in amazement wandering how long it would take her to realise. All of a sudden her expression changed; her jaw dropped and her eyes widened. “I’m standing!” she shouted.
Ada was standing up! And with out any support.
She was so happy when she realised she was standing up that she couldn’t hold back the tears!
Mummy arrived later that evening and was asked to sit down and brace herself. When Ada stood up and started doing star jumps there were more floods of tears.
Remarkably the next morning (which is when she’s usually at her most sore), she woke up, stood up, and walked into my bedroom happier than I’ve seen her in a long time.
Today was going to be a good day! The sun was shining, I had time off work, and Ada was walking! Opting to make the most of this opportunity we packed the climbing gear in the car and set off in search of a cliff-face.
It’s been so long since Ada’s done any climbing I thought it would take her several attempts to pluck up the courage and drop herself over the edge of the cliff. Without hesitation she dropped over the edge, smiling all the while. “Again” she shouted when reaching the bottom.
I carried Ada back to the top of the cliff where we sat, admired the view for a moment and prepared ourselves for another abseil. In that moment, I’m not sure which one of us was the happiest.