It’s nearly 10 years since I visited Australia, a 3 month trip that will stay with me forever. One particular day sticks in my memory.
A group of us had booked a 3 day trip around one of Darwin’s national parks, Kakadu. There were 6 in total plus a guide. We hiked through the park, checked out ancient aboriginal cave art, swam in billabongs ate BBQ and drank beer..It was ace.
On the last day we were hiking back to camp we came to a small creek, about 3 feet wide which was easy enough for us to jump over. The guide went first and then we all followed; as I waited for my turn I was reflecting on what an amazing trip this was, then I heard it. A scream, a scuffle and a lot of commotion. Those of us left on my side of the creek were told to stay where we were and not to move. One of the guys had been bitten by a snake, a brown snake. After a few minutes we told it was safe to come across. At the time I had no medical training or experience so of course I was the obvious choice to help the guide, who was a trained medic, in applying a tourniquet. The bite was just above the ankle and didn’t look like much, two tiny puncture wounds…but what the fuck do I know. After the tourniquet was applied the guide had to run back to truck to radio a medevac. I was told to keep the guy talking, keep him calm and try not to let him fall unconscious.
I tried just that. Asking pointless and inane questions and up holding a blanket so as to create a little shade. I felt totally inadequate, completely useless and a little stupid. In essence I was helpless…helpless.
Now the above story is nothing more than fiction. But that feeling of helplessness isn’t. My wife, Marlo, is in a relapse. She was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis.
All I can do to make things easier for her are as inane as an English tourist helping a snake bite victim who is potentially seeing out his last minutes by asking stupid and irrelevant questions.
She was prescribed a course of steroids, that in her words, rips your body apart and makes your bones feel like glass. She still finds the energy to get up, get dressed and go to work. She does all this and still looks amazing. She also raises our two children and is writing her second book…yes, second!
It pains me that there isn’t much I can do apart from make tea, hot water bottles and watch Harry Potter with her. It really is testament to her character, and anyone with a disability, that she finds the energy and strength to get through the day.
I woke up this morning with a cold…