Monday, August 27, 2012

Kiwi Magic

I recently was diagnosed with Coeliac disease which means that anything with Gluten in it causes the lining of my small intestine to get very grumpy and lose it's ability to absorb important nutrients. What this boils down to is avoiding anything with flour, wheat or cereals in it - and this includes bread a beer! Happily for me there hasn't been too much of an alteration in my diet as the Young Bride has me on a fairly strict "leash" anyway when it comes to eating healthy food. But for many, I can see that becoming "Gluten free" could be a big challenge..... but then again on the scale of "things that can go seriously pear shaped", it is a relatively minor issue.

I was reminded of this when we went shopping and as I was waiting for the YB, I sat and observed a large black van parked in the disabled zone with the number plates of "Kiwimagic". At first I thought that some selfish person was incorrectly using the bay when it dawned on me that I knew the person who owned that car and I couldn't think of a more worthy user of the disabled bay than this guy. I literally leaped out of my car to go and find this amazing man, and found him buying fresh meat at the butcher. Well actually, he wasn't doing the buying as he's a Tetra-plegic on a respirator, but his carer and driver was doing his bidding and buying the meat!

My dear Kiwi mate grinned from ear to ear - about the only muscles he can control, and ones that he uses all the time - when recounting how the Wallabies had been "flogged" by his beloved All Blacks at the weekend. He then told me that he had spent 4 weeks traveling around NZ during the Rugby World Cup and as a by-the-by that he had also spent 3 weeks in Intensive Care as a result of a clot whilst touring the "Shaky Isles". When I told him of my experience 3 years ago for 2 days in ICU he winced with genuine care and compassion, such is the generosity of spirit of his humanity.

This is a young man who many years ago was "cleaned up" by a motorist whilst waiting for traffic lights to change: a devastating accident which has left him at the mercy of a mechanical machine and the genuinely tender care of a team of care-givers that he needs 24/7. In the ensuing time he has found time to sponsor an orphanage in Asia, fund sailing adventures for fellow spinal cord victims such as himself, and give inspirational talks to school kids on how to make the most out of the precious gift of life.

For me, this man is a one in a thousand, a man whose powerlessness is his real strength and who has disarmed the world with his smile. When it comes to dealing with our minor adversities, we can all learn from him.

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