I am The Loris

Hi doc, how’s it…Oh yeah, the cane. Yeah, got that when the joint stuff really started to flare up, it’s pretty cool actually, see how it folds and…My joints? Yeah pretty good, why do you- oh shit the cane, yeah that’s…ok so basically I’m like, they’re not, like, working, my legs aren’t working so well, so. Like at all. Some days. Sudden muscle weakness!

Sudden muscle weakness, is what I’m dealing with.

Different to the anxiety induced fainting spells of uni (yeah no I never fully understood that either), the creaky joints that have been improving in recent months on the new exercise programme (whodathunk?), and the weakness brought on by ‘oh good Christ will these cramps never end’ days/weeks/months (refer to posts marked ‘Hell’). Some days, out of nowhere, my legs just stop working, and I’m on the floor. Clear headed, apart from an initial panic at the sensation of suddenly losing sensation, and annoyed at the disruption to my day.

How am I handling this, you ask?

Well, it’s a process, people, it’s all a process. Like anxiety, like life, you find ways through, of accepting your limitations, so on and so on.

For instance, two weeks ago I found myself crawling around the flat at 6am, getting ready for work, considering ways of balancing a coffee tray with a set of crutches before admitting defeat and calling in sick. The next week I lurched around the cafe for a couple of hours before collapsing in the staff room, wondering how best to summon help, and how up to date we were on the pest control checks. On Sunday, feeling a now familiar pins and needles shooting in out of the blue, I asked a manager to help me to a table where I sat considering every damn doctor’s appointment and scan and exam and pill I’d taken up to this point and where the hell this would lead next.
And politely fending off customer requests to fetch the wifi password, without getting too deep into the whole ‘I might not be able to walk’ thing.

‘Oh. So the password is…’
‘Just by the counter there.’
‘Right just there, sir.’
‘Oh. All…that…ways…away?’
‘Right exactly where you’re pointing sir, yes.’
‘I guess I’ll…go over there and…get…it…myself…’

Safe travels, sir.

A little while before I moved up to Liverpool, a friend and I made a last trip to London Zoo. A farewell to our dream of an unrealistically fabulous and affordable sitcom flat in town, days of drifting about coffee-swilling, smoking, and snarling, and to the animals we’d found comfort in projecting our struggles onto. The meerkat slumped on a mound of dirt, staring glass-eyed at a raincloud, wondering if his degree from St Martin’s was worth the effort. The otter separated from her pals on the other side of the pool, yelping to herself that it doesn’t matter if they ditched her, she’s her own otter god damn it, and ok maybe she shouldn’t place so much importance on outside validation but does it really make her any less of a feminist to crave some kind of reassurance of affection?

And then the loris. Oh how we loved that loris. That loris was everything to us. Wide eyed, a little cautious, a little out of step with the energised, go-getter bats, rats, and what-have-you of the nocturnal section, but determined to find his own way on his own terms.
On this particular visit we found the loris cowering behind leaves, a single arm waving for a branch, reaching for an escape from a photographer tapping on the glass, flashing lights, demanding a picture, demanding an answer, what are you doing, loris? Who are you, loris? Tell me! Now!
The loris could say nothing, the loris could do nothing but retreat, and figure out a way through this intrusion, this disruption to his day…Oh loris. Where are you now?

So I don’t know, is how I’m handling the latest medical nuisance. I don’t know. Right now, I’m just handling it.


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