This is my father in his early 40's outside our old family home. He contracted polio in his right arm when he was 8 and had to spend a year in an iron lung then learn to do everything with his left hand, including writing.
Because Father rode motorbikes, fixed vehicles, put down hangi's etc and always lived by the motto "There's no such thing as can't" I never saw him as 'disabled' and it was only when I got this photo developed when I was 18 that it really hit me - that I actually saw his arm for the first time.
He always called me Daughter and my brother Number One Son and when we were younger he'd yell out for us to come help him. He'd tell us what he wanted us to do and patiently watch as we fumbled away for him. After we left home, he always made the most of anyone with arms who could do something for him and a few of us used to mockingly call them Fathers Slaves.
In a few weeks he'll be 70 and over the past 10 years his left shoulder had been deteriorating until a few years ago when he had to have an operation on it to repair the ligaments.
Can you imagine what that was like? An independent man like my father having no arms? It doesn't take much imagination to think of all the things he couldn't do for himself because that would be zero.
Worse yet, that procedure didn't work for very long so he had to have another operation to have a titanium shoulder put in. My brother and I were completely out of our depth and were just so thankful he was entitled to live-in carers while he healed.
Over the past few months a niggling pain in my right shoulder got to the point where I couldn't ignore it anymore so I went to the doctor. An ultra-sound confirmed that it was a frozen shoulder and although they can heal by themselves, it takes a long time so a procedure to push it back to where it can work again is often the recommendation.
I knew straight away where I got it from. I had an intense period of working online with two screens that required so much mouse work that my arm would just stop functioning altogether toward the end of the night.
It started off being inconvenient but now it's got so bad I can barely brush my teeth or wash my hair and now I find myself storing up a list of jobs I can get help with if someone comes around.
Over the past week I've been beating myself with feelings of shame. Shame that I could have been more helpful to my father, but more-so that I should have been more respectful to those who did, but despite those feelings, I'm just so grateful that I've had this experience because it's made me really, and I mean really appreciate what my father has been through for the past 55 years and I feel closer to him than ever before because of it.
Pimp My Attitude
You need to know, right now, this is all about me. I'm not educated. I don't have any (non-driving related) qualifications therefore, I'm not about to tell you what you should do - I know my place.
And here you are.
At my place.
So - welcome.
If you're here for 10 seconds, I won't even know so I won't be offended that you left early.
If you're here for hours and keep coming back, I will consider you a friend because the only thing my diverse yet loyal friends have in common, and what I appreciate most about them, is that they just keep coming back..