Turn it Up


“Crank it up to 2 there Anthony.”

Anthony laughs. He gives me a look that asks “Are you sure?”, answered by a swift nod. He increases the Motomed to 2nd gear.

I’m trying to pedal a machine that’s a bit like an electric bike, except that I can pedal from the comfort of my wheelchair. It feels a little like cheating. I’m not really pedalling. I’m pushing a little against some very mild resistance and the ‘moto’ part of the Motomed is doing the rest. I love it, though, because it feels like my legs are doing something useful and it reminds me of fun times cycling at home in Leitrim with Electric Bike Trails. It’s not that I cycle often, but to think it might be possible fills me with hope.

I imagine Anthony thinks I’m a bit mad. He’s monitoring my progress and seems amused that I want to increase resistance. He’s a physio technician. He’s helped me with some of my physiotherapy sessions and seems to be the designated Motomed man. I’ve only managed to build up to 10 minutes on the machine but for someone who was told 5 weeks ago that her legs wouldn’t work again, I’ll take those 10 minutes wrapped up with a bow, thank you very much!

The worst part of having rubbish legs is that I depend entirely on nurses to position my lower body when I’m in bed. Some can make you perfectly comfortable every time. Some can make you feel like a contortionist. With hips, knees and ankles in all sorts of weird and wonderful positions, I often spend nights in agony, wishing simply for enough control to wiggle my way to comfort.

The prognosis for the lower legs isn’t good, but I’ve found a cure that no Doctor can prescribe.


Vance Joy has a lot to answer for. There I was, lying on my bed, minding my own business and listening to some tunes on my favourite Spotify Playlist. Feel free to get in on the playlist action here. ‘Riptide’ came on. It’s one of my favourites. Luckily, I’m quite the chair dancer. I’ll still be able to shimmy those shoulders and bob my head about in my wheelchair. I did just that while lying on my bed, hands drumming along on the mattress. I was oblivious to my legs – as you might expect when you can’t feel them – so when I looked down, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

I had to video it (don’t worry, it only lasts 9 seconds):


My useless left knee had taken on a life of it’s own and was bopping to the beat. That’s when I knew for sure that I can beat this thing. There’s power in those legs. I just need to keep building it up and keep on dancing!

So Anthony better prepare himself, because next time, we’ll be cranking it up to 3.

11 Comment

  1. Fiona says: Reply

    Love it!! And make sure listen to riptides “it all works out” !!!? That’s one on my playlist of daily anthems to get me through each stage!! When I was getting my mask.made for radiotherapy it was obviously “phantom of the opera”!!! They were amused I hummed the whole time!! I was disappointed I wasn’t allowed to sing it!!

    1. Rambling Ruth says: Reply

      Oh, that’s kind of funny. Hope you don’t mind that I had a giggle. I can just picture the scene. Hope you’re doing ok and think we need a proper chat one of these days instead of just messages!

      1. Seamus Gibbons says: Reply

        That’s my girl you keep them legs a bopping and defy all medics

        1. Rambling Ruth says: Reply

          Thanks Seamus! I’ll be bopping and hopping and possibly even cycling before you know it 🙂

  2. Jayne Orr says: Reply

    Hey Ruth, I have been following your story..
    I had paralysis of my legs in 1987 which resulted in major back surgery.
    It took a long time to recover, I now do triathlons.. and many other things in between!!
    Keep the faith girl!!

    1. Rambling Ruth says: Reply

      Wow! Huge congrats. That must have taken a lot of determination and positivity. I very much hope to be back on my feet and making better use of them in the future instead of taking them for granted! Thanks for following and for getting in touch. It does the soul good to know that kind of recovery is possible

  3. steve says: Reply

    Keep it up!!!

    1. Rambling Ruth says: Reply

      Thanks Bud

  4. Claire says: Reply
  5. Mary says: Reply

    Ruth I think of you often.. And wishing your dreams come through….. Keep strong. Xxx

    1. Rambling Ruth says: Reply

      Thanks Mary x

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