He's been off work for the past few days. Something is changing, he tells me. Last week, he fell twice. On both occasions, he fell backwards. The first time was at home, outside the back door, but the second time he fell backwards on his way into a pub (yes, you read that right - on his way 'into' the pub). Happily, he was with friends. His bottom, back and head hit the pavement but although he was very shaken and a bit bruised, there were no serious physical consequences. It worries me that he may fall again - he's shaky on his legs, standing still is very difficult. He fell even though he was using both sticks.
He says that since the second fall, he feels as if he is entering a transition period. Something is changing in his body and psychologically, he has to adust. He's not sure if the strength he has lost will return for a time, as it has before. That he is losing strength in his legs is certain. He is also losing confidence. He didn't go out much over the weekend. The other night in bed, he turned to me in the darkness and said 'I'm afraid to go out.'
He is battling against the wheelchair. He has a point. 'If you don't use it, you lose it,' he says. But safety is important and if he 'uses it', falls and injures himself, he might never stand up again after he recovers. So where do we go from here?
I don't want to nag him into using the wheelchair - God knows, I don't want to rush him into it. Everyone says he has to come to it himself. Yes, but he's so stubborn and let's face it, he's not always right.
So - it was a gorgeous day today and I suggested a walk down to the High Street. I need to get used to pushing the chair and there is no way around it. He will need to get used to this. So we did it. Our neighbour, Christian, came with us. There's a lot to think about when you're pushing the chair. I tried not to go too slowly or too fast. I never realised the pavements were so uneven and bumpy! You have to watch for low branches sticking out from hedges. I found it a challenge when the pavement sloped on one side or the other. I think I did okay. I was lucky - Christian was the one pushing when Roch was smoking a cigar so he got the smoke blowing back in his face!
How did Roch feel? It's losing his independence, losing his power. He says he feels diminished as a person. He knows this isn't so but he can't help feeling like this. I feel for him. But it will give us more freedom to do things together. For instance, we can go back to Kew now. He can't walk round himself anymore. He used to love Kew. Maybe it would be too sad for him to go back to Kew. I know it won't be the same, and I can't hope to understand the depth of his sense of loss, but it's not over yet. He's right, we are entering a different phase, a significant phase. I know it's different for him. But for me, it's not the worst thing I'll have to face.
I'm proud of us today.