"When I was 12 years old, I came out of hospital after a traffic accident and numerous operations and was unable to walk. Being unable to walk for over two years however, didn't prevent me from getting out and about with the help of my father and sisters Mary and Eileen.
Dad made me up a bunker (now called a go-cart) from four old pram wheels, an orange box and a piece of string. Going down hill I could free wheel and then wait for someone to pull me back up again.
The bulk of looking after and fending for me came from my sisters Mary and Eileen who used to pull me wherever I wanted to go. I was part of a large Irish family on a council estate and these were the days of no television in the home; only a permanent line of washing hung out to dry or in the process of being ironed. We made our own fun and invented our own games and activities from the availability of everyday items found within every home with no more than a bit of imagination borne out of a mend-and-make-do mentaltity of the times. As for treats, the occasional penny for some lemon sorbet, a gobstopper or a penny lolly was sufficient to satisfy our needs; along with a gang of mates and an abundance of fresh air and grazed bones which kept one occupied every evening and weekend from dawn until dusk when bedtime arrived.
Initially, upon leaving hospital I had a spine injury and was unable to move my body below my waist. I was told that I'd never walk again. I was determined not to stay in the house though while the other boys and girls were having fun. A time did eventually come when I did get my mobility back. It returned gradually, but because I enjoyed my sisters carting me around everywhere, they were the last people to discover that I could stand and walk very slowly again. When Mary and Eileen eventually learned of this deception they dumped me on a low-level wall on Third Avenue and ran off home laughing their heads off.
Incidently, these were also the days when estates were counted in Avenues one to twelve and all the fancy-named roads weren't invented until the Jones' families of the 60s and 70s came onto the scene. I miss that old bunker, but even by the age of fourteen years, my sisters Mary and Eileen ensured that I was getting used to being 'dumped' so that if it ever happened again (which it did), I'd be acquainted with the experience and would be able to take it in my stride.
I go into hospital again today for another Cat Scan to see if the chemo treatment I am receiving has reduced or removed the presence of the cancerous nodes throughout my body. While I know that my terminal condition means that even if they have gone and I am in a temporary state of 'remission', that they will one day return with a vengeance. However, I pray that time will be a long way off as I have yet too much to do with my life.
Tomorrow will also be spent in hospital on my drug drip which will commence the fifth month in my six-month chemo course of treatment. It is strange how a sixty year gap can still bring instant recall to those days when the hospital worked miracles with me. Who knows what the future holds for any of us from one day to another as 'there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy'." William Forde: August 6th, 2014.