Episodes

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01The Stairlift20200706An honest and sometimes funny account of living with a disability.

Louise Halling's unflinching and sometimes funny account of living with a disability.

My name is Louise. I’m a mum to Jacob, wife to Mark, and therapist and friend to many. I also live with a degenerative, muscle wasting disease - a type of Muscular Dystrophy.

A few years ago, my hospital consultant asked a medical student to describe my condition. “Well,” he said, “she walks like a duck.” After a stunned pause, my husband and I howled with laughter. While I doubt the hapless student received the same reaction from the horrified neurologist, his clumsy response provided the perfect title for this documentary series.

The premise is clear. I don’t see myself as a person with a disability, yet that’s what I am. I don’t spend much of my life thinking about disability, yet my mind is filled with it 24/7. I wouldn’t choose to listen to a programme about disability, yet that’s what I was desperate to make!

It’s because living a life full of dependency and loss, my voice - and the voices of others like me - are so often silenced, so feared is the mirror of human weakness that others see reflected in our bodies.

A year in the making, the audio recordings in this series skip from the micro - the exhaustion caused by picking up a box of dropped crackers (when my day’s energy must be meticulously budgeted) - to the macro, such as asking questions about our collective, fearful disregard towards the chronically ill.

Amid all of this, are the real, raw and sometimes amusing sounds of my daily routine - I do live with an 8 year old, after all! - and some personal reflections on the acute emotional and physical pain caused by my diagnosis. I've tried to be absolutely honest in a way that has occasionally been exposing for me, to tell you what my life is like living with a disability.

Epiosde 1: The Stairlift
It’s all about the love-hate relationship I have with the most amazing piece of equipment which I spend seemingly endless minutes on. Its whirrs and beeps are a constant soundtrack to the day. Down for breakfast and up after the school run to work in my office, down for the Tesco delivery and up for a nap. If I fail to plan the day properly, I have to make extra trips – wasting precious energy and infuriating me with its interminable slow trundle. We wish we could jet propel the thing, but even as it is, I couldn’t live without it.

Presented by Louise Halling, with thanks to her husband Mark and her son Jacob
Produced by Catherine Carr and Jo Rowntree
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

Photo © Muscular Dystrophy UK/Chris O’Donovan

02Equipment, Equipment, Equipment20200713My name is Louise. I’m a mum to Jacob, wife to Mark, and therapist and friend to many. I also live with a degenerative, muscle wasting disease - a type of Muscular Dystrophy.

A few years ago, my hospital consultant asked a medical student to describe my condition. “Well,” he said, “she walks like a duck.” After a stunned pause, my husband and I howled with laughter. While I doubt the hapless student received the same reaction from the horrified neurologist, his clumsy response provided the perfect title for this documentary series.

The premise is clear. I don’t see myself as a person with a disability, yet that’s what I am. I don’t spend much of my life thinking about disability, yet my mind is filled with it 24/7. I wouldn’t choose to listen to a programme about disability, yet that’s what I was desperate to make!

It’s because living a life full of dependency and loss, my voice - and the voices of others like me - are so often silenced, so feared is the mirror of human weakness that others see reflected in our bodies.

A year in the making, the audio recordings in this series skip from the micro - the exhaustion caused by picking up a box of dropped crackers (when my day’s energy must be meticulously budgeted) - to the macro, such as asking questions about our collective, fearful disregard towards the chronically ill.

Amid all of this, are the real, raw and sometimes amusing sounds of my daily routine - I do live with an 8 year old, after all! - and some personal reflections on the acute emotional and physical pain caused by my diagnosis. I've tried to be absolutely honest in a way that has occasionally been exposing for me, to tell you what my life is like living with a disability.

Episode 2: Equipment, Equipment, Equipment
I am the proud owner of a car with slidey doors, a granny walker called Speedy, a wheelchair, some crutches, a stairlift and a mobility scooter called Brian. My life is pretty logistics-heavy and there’s a part of my brain constantly dedicated to thinking about the thing I will need next to get me to where I need to be. I’m grateful for all the stuff I have to help me - of course I am - but I do often wonder if many people have any idea what it’s like to live a life intertwined with equipment.

Presented by Louise Halling, with thanks to her husband Mark and her son Jacob
Produced by Catherine Carr and Jo Rowntree
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4
Photo © Muscular Dystrophy UK/Chris O’Donovan

An honest and sometimes funny account of living with a disability.

Louise Halling's unflinching and sometimes funny account of living with a disability.

03How Do Others See Me?20200720My name is Louise. I’m a mum to Jacob, wife to Mark, and therapist and friend to many. I also live with a degenerative, muscle wasting disease - a type of Muscular Dystrophy.

A few years ago, my hospital consultant asked a medical student to describe my condition. “Well,” he said, “she walks like a duck.” After a stunned pause, my husband and I howled with laughter. While I doubt the hapless student received the same reaction from the horrified neurologist, his clumsy response provided the perfect title for this documentary series.

The premise is clear. I don’t see myself as a person with a disability, yet that’s what I am. I don’t spend much of my life thinking about disability, yet my mind is filled with it 24/7. I wouldn’t choose to listen to a programme about disability, yet that’s what I was desperate to make!

It’s because living a life full of dependency and loss, my voice - and the voices of others like me - are so often silenced, so feared is the mirror of human weakness that others see reflected in our bodies.

A year in the making, the audio recordings in this series skip from the micro - the exhaustion caused by picking up a box of dropped crackers (when my day’s energy must be meticulously budgeted) - to the macro, such as asking questions about our collective, fearful disregard towards the chronically ill.

Amid all of this, are the real, raw and sometimes amusing sounds of my daily routine - I do live with an 8 year old, after all! - and some personal reflections on the acute emotional and physical pain caused by my diagnosis. I've tried to be absolutely honest in a way that has occasionally been exposing for me, to tell you what my life is like living with a disability.

Episode 3: How Do Others See Me?
I haven’t always used a wheelchair, and I used to dance. In my student days, I lived on the fourth floor and backpacked round India. I wonder – now that my body is so much weaker and people watch me becoming increasingly dependent – how do I seem to them? I know how I feel when I see other people struggle. It’s hard to watch. At the time, it was a huge deal for me -using a stick, then a crutch, then a wheelchair, walker and scooter, feeling my identity in the eyes of others change and morph. In this episode I ask people who have known me the longest, and those I have only known for a little while, to be honest about how they see me.

Presented by Louise Halling, with thanks to her husband Mark and her son Jacob
Produced by Catherine Carr and Jo Rowntree
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4
Photo © Muscular Dystrophy UK/Chris O’Donovan

An honest and sometimes funny account of living with a disability.

Louise Halling's unflinching and sometimes funny account of living with a disability.