Sunday, 24 August 2014

Miss You...

There are days - probably too many days - when I spend time just thinking about things that I miss, post MS, that I used to be able to do so easily. There are also those oh-so frustrating, annoying moments when I suddenly realise that I won't be able to do certain things any more.

One of the latter types of 'miss you' moments occurred to me just yesterday when I tuned in to the live coverage of practice for the Belgian Grand Prix. I'm pretty sure you don't need to be a formula one petrol-head to appreciate the moment (though that might help), but the Grand Prix in question used to be one of my favourites to visit each year.

The race is held at the Spa Francorchamps circuit, high in the Belgian hills; a location that is green and wild, and altogether charming.

But please note one of those words - hills.

Like all events, my MS is nothing more than a nuisance when I get to a position where I can witness them without having to move around any further - but that's where hills come in to the equation. To actually get to a circuit like Spa is a matter of getting on the right transport - not too much of an issue unless I have to stand around and wait for long periods - but once there you need to walk a long way to viewing points. And that 'long way', already a painful experience for me these days, is exacerbated no end when hills become a part of the equation. Spa, I am sad to say, is beyond me now.

The same applies to any event that I would have to stand through, so memories of rock concerts are just that these days - memories. I love music and live music especially, and I have fond memories of standing for hours and hours watching all sorts of groups - although the time I saw the Rolling Stones playing 'Miss You' seems rather ironic these days...

Football in the UK wouldn't be too bad if I could get to the all-seater stadiums that are the only types allowed these days, but it's the getting there that's the pain now - in more than one sense of the word. Trains can get you quite close but then there's the fun and games of the final walk.

And it's not just me and my wobbles. There are plenty of wheelchair-bound and walking frame-dependent would-be spectators, but for all the ramps and 'easy-access' areas, the actual getting there is so very difficult and the time needed to get anywhere has grown to crippling (no pun intended) proportions.

The sudden realisation that viewing something you used to love so much is now impossible, is by far the worst thing, though.

I've just watched the Belgian Grand Prix itself from the relative comfort of a chair in my front room which I reached without the need to limp and wobble my way up or down a single hill (the stairs weren't easy, but I can live with all thirteen of them). It might be true that I saw all of the race incidents in glorious Sky TV detail - and I won't comment on the stupidity of a certain driver - but I didn't get to hear the cars' engines or their tyres squealing or the crowd roaring, cheering and jeering. I never got to smell the petrol burning, the tyre rubber overheating or, come to that, the aroma of the crowd...

The experience was still fun for a confirmed formula one petrol-head like me, but it was lessened. And that 'Miss You' feeling will last longer than the event itself in my mind.

I seem to have a growing collection of Miss You moments these days so I guess it's a good job that I have a whole set of new and sedentary goals. Now all I need to do is stop coming up with other ideas about things I could do to entertain myself - which further thought points out that I can't actually do any more...

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