Inside looking out

Please note: The current Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is fast moving, and reactions to it seem to update not just day-by-day but minute-by-minute. Obviously, this site was not designed to bring you the very latest developments in a ‘breaking news’ story such as this. Instead, this site will continue to include news and opinions relating to major events, policy changes, and so on.


This article, written by me, first appeared in the online forum of the International Association of Independent Journalists on May 30. 

People all over the world are beginning to breathe collective sighs of relief as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased because the coronavirus pandemic looks to be winding down.

Most are relieved that they can go out, meet family and friends, and get back to normal or, at least, their new normal – whatever that means for them!

But those of us with disabilities affecting our mobility see things differently. Let me explain.

wheelchair beach

This is me, in my wheelchair on a beach visit I can no longer enjoy,

I have multiple sclerosis which causes me severe mobility issues. I cannot walk, not one step without falling. Every day I spend all my time between my sofa, my wheelchair, and my hospital style adjustable bed, or being transferred between those via a patient hoist, a type of mini crane.

Life for people in a similar position to me is just like lockdown has been for everyone.  And, by that, I mean living inside looking out.

We spend our days indoors, visitors rarely come, we can no longer go shopping so have to shop online and await deliveries. Our televisions are always on; we binge-watch Netflix.

In my case, I give thanks for computers. My laptop is my lifeline. It keeps me in contact with the outside world. It is the one way I can ‘leave`’ my home – in spirit if not in body.

Skype and WhatsApp

I can use Skype to talk to people in far off lands. Using my cellphone, I can use WhatsApp.

My laptop means I can still write. After a long and successful career as a professional journalist, these days all my articles are written without expectation of monetary reward. I specialise in opinion columns on topical matters. After all, while I no longer report first-hand, I am a seasoned leader writer and opinion columnist. Today I write opinion columns for The Locus, an online publication that prides itself on the truth of independent journalism, and have my own blog.

Being inside looking out is the reality for people with a mobility disability. Lockdown or not, it is my reality, my normal. Not ‘new’ normal, it’s been my normal for a while. So, while the world begins to recover from the weeks of regulations, my life continues unchanged. Life’s restrictions are my normal.

While most people can say goodbye to being cooped up, I cannot.

If you are fortunate enough not to have a disability, then you have had a few weeks seeing the world through our eyes. As you get your normal vision back, please spare a thought for those of us who remain inside looking out.

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Please note that being born in the UK, all my posts, are written using British English spelling.

For example:

Centre                              not center (except in names, Centers of Disease Control)                  Colour                              not color                                                                                                                      Diarrhoea                       not diarrhea                                                                                                  Haematology                not hematology                                                                                Haematopoietic          not hematopoietic

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Ian is not a doctor, so cannot and does not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely his own unless otherwise stated.


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