Monday, November 12, 2012

Today's heroes: Jane and Hilary

Just got this quote from Cousin Ted in NYC:

It all makes sense now - gay marriage and marijuana being legalized on the same day. Leviticus 20:13: "If a man lays with another man, he should be stoned." We've been interpreting it wrong all these years! 

So, in some states in the benighted U.S., marijuana use is decriminalized; here in humane, wise Canada, penalties even for minor use have just increased. A howl of rage in today's "Star" from Christopher Hume: cities worldwide are adding bike lanes like crazy, but here in Toronto, the Jarvis bike lanes will start to be dismantled today, because they add a minute or two to Rosedale's commute home.

Not much to be proud of in Canada today. And after yesterday's heavenly sun, it's dark and rainy to boot.

But there are Canadians to be proud of, and one of them is my friend and former student Jane Field, a phenomenally brave and open woman, and her British partner Hilary, likewise. Jane's story of disability and recovery is too long to go into here, but briefly, after years as a quadriplegic (she came to my class in a power wheelchair and wrote using a voice-activated computer), she was re-diagnosed, laboriously regained mobility over a few years, and plunged back into her busy life. Suddenly, this year, she was afflicted again, back in hospital, completely paralyzed except for minor movement in one arm.

I just got a long email newsletter from her in the convalescent hospital - she can now use an iPad. With her occupational therapist, she is learning to walk again in a kind of Jolly Jumper, is managing to cook meals and play pingpong from her chair(!), and despite the effort involved in transporting and caring for her, she and Hilary have managed several weekends at their cottage. She writes:
I've gone out on day passes most weekends. We've seen a few movies, attended a fabulous benefit concert celebrating the music of Phil Ochs, met friends for lunch, and gone home for a few quiet evenings. I attended the 40th anniversary celebration of Wendo Women's Self Defence and performed a song I wrote after being inspired by the program a number of years ago. I've also managed to attend my choir practices on Wednesday evenings, though I usually have to leave early in order to get back to Lyndhurst in time to be put to bed. But it's great to have a regular activity outside of hospital.
Her strong and loving partner Hilary has made most of this possible. "I really am the luckiest woman on earth," concludes Jane.

A reminder: life is short. Live with gusto.


3 comments :

  1. The opening of this blog post is everything.

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  2. Yes, it's wonderful. Thanks for writing, Shawn.

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