Every morning, Richard Chow struggles to walk the 10 feet from his bed to the medication that will make it possible for him to function.
I am always a little disoriented. The bedroom is completely dark. The only movement, perhaps, is my dog needing my attention. She sits with her nose directly opposite my nose. If I am unresponsive, she will lick my face or hand – whichever is available.
My neck always hurts. A permanent crick greets me every morning now.
I don’t want to move. I need to urinate. But I have now trained myself to ignore the urge because the moment I try to stand up, I will be reminded that I am diseased.
The routine is the same every morning. Edge to the side of the bed. Then, roll my legs off, using their weight to allow me to push my torso and head up with my arms. Sit there for at least a minute, maybe more. Try to stand. More often than not, I will stumble and fall forward as though inebriated, bent over as though gravity has been pulling my body toward the earth for 80 years. I will be rigid and sore – more so than the day after completing a marathon.