Yesterday the sun was shining and our garden seemed to beckon me outside. Grabbing my 2 yr old by the hand, I swung open the door and we leapt out into the blissful spring sunshine. It was a day for play.
My son led me straight to the garage, where all the fun is kept, and we hunted down a ball or two and a bike. All the while, a niggly little voice was jabbering away in the back of my mind, “What the heck are you doing? You can’t ride around on a bike. You can barely kick a ball and don’t even think about going on that trampoline!” Brushing the voice aside, as I always do, I enthusiastically tapped the ball with my leaden foot and hobbled after it in an attempt to impress my child with my substantial sporting talent.
My son is still at the stage where he thinks everything I do is awesome, and so is not particularly hard to impress. All the same, he gave a good show of being more overwhelmed than usual by my skills with a ball. Alas, the ball game was short-lived. My son had spotted the trampoline, which had been patiently sitting at the back of our garden waiting for winter to pass while gathering a collection of storm debris, including twigs and puddles around its rim.
Giving my son a knee-up, I stood next to the trampoline, desperately searching for a place to perch that wasn’t already occupied by mud, sticks, leaves and rainwater. I hadn’t been searching long when my son suddenly yanked me by my hoodie-hood and demanded that I join him for a good ol’ game of bounce.
You may recall that my bounce fell victim to my MS a long time ago. I haven’t successfully managed an actual real-life jump in many years. But surely a trampoline would be different. The bouncy nature of a trampoline, with all its springs and things, means that the effort required to bounce is taken care of.
But, before I could discover just how hard it is to jump on a trampoline when your legs are weighed down with invisible cement, I first had to find a way to clamber into the trampoline – not an easy task, surrounded, as it is, by a towering net whose only point of entry is through a child-sized zip-slit.
Willing my legs to cooperate, I clumsily heaved my right foot onto the bottom step. So far so good. Then, with a wobble that a Weeble would be proud of, I managed to lift my left leg onto the next rung without falling over. Thank goodness this wasn’t a long ladder; having just 2 steps – I was nearly there! I stood for a moment or two, paralysed while my legs decided how to react to the rather unexpected exertion. They didn’t react well and refused to budge. There was only one thing for it – I would just have to let myself fall forward and face-plant the twig-strewn mat. Ouff.
Safely inside, it didn’t take me long to realise that I would be best off sitting in the centre while my little bouncy-boy bounced circles around me.
The real trouble occurred when it was time to get off. Climbing out forward-facing wasn’t working so I attempted to nudge my way out backwards. Feeling for the ladder step with a foot that cannot feel was disconcerting, but I’m used to that by now. The difficulty I had was in trying to lift my other leg out through the net. It wouldn’t lift over the small lip of net and I found myself stuck with one leg in and one leg out.
I was, in fact, stuck this way for quite some time, at least, long enough for my child to run a few laps around our modest little garden and have a few failed attempts at mounting the slide by himself.
Reviewing the situation, I realised that I had 2 options. I could allow my right leg to collapse onto the puddle-strewn frame pad in order to free my left leg and crawl my way out and, in doing so, get very wet. Or, I could stay put, legs asunder, until someone rescued me, which would likely be some hours away.
Ultimately, there was really only 1 choice –