Milton Keynes was the unlikely spot for my brief whoosh of whooshiness. And Xscape the appropriately named building where, just for a fleeting while, I was as absent of MS as I'm likely to be for a while. It was emotionally and physically exhausting, but I'm still on a mini-high...
Without expert trainer dude I'd have been all over the shop and breaking bones in seconds. With his guiding hands and strength I was able to soak up - or suck up! - the amazing sensation of free-falling, without a care in my shrunken MS world.
It's not that I think about multiple sclerosis all the time. Though I do, too much. I know.
It's more that most waking moments involve subconscious planning of my next few seconds, my next hour, the rest of the day. Can I reach that book? Shall I bother then? What can I use to haul myself up? Will my walker get past that pile of clothes? Time for drugs? Should I self-catheterise yet? Time for a nap? Energy to talk? Safe to cut a slice of bread? What was I just intending to do? What's that sharp new pain in my leg? Am I sitting like my physio told me to? (No, usually). Will I get to the phone in time? (No, usually). Is it too late to have some water before bedtime? (Yes, usually). Hey ho. It's what I've been used to forever, so the disabled me just treats it all as utterly normal.
To experience moments of utter clarity, utter focus on a new and sometimes bonkers sensation is just... bliss. Priceless bliss. I've skydived three times, I've ventured out in an ingeniously adapted tall ship, I've flown in a glider. And there are plenty more adventures on the bucket list. Hopefully Mrs W will join me on some of them. Amazing, courageous in so many ways, my fantabulous wife. But scared of heights. Awkward.
I digress. I only clicked afterwards, but what set my "iFly" experience apart was the 'awesome' (that's eleven year-old speak), precious opportunity I had to share it with my older son. High 5's and fist bumps with him as we both took our turns to 'fly' were more special than he'll really know. I can't be there to kick a rugby ball about. Or fight a Nerf gun war. Or chase seagulls on the beach. I wasn't there to teach him to ride a bike. But I was there to share some silliness in a gusty concrete block in Milton Keynes.
(PS, He got all his mum's good looks)