Meet Dave the Intrepid

Posted on 14th Jul 2012 by ian under Travel Tales | No Comments »

In my online travels I have been fortunate to meet a number of fascinating fellow gimps who have MS.

Dave from Albuquerque in New Mexico is one such chap.  Until I met Dave my only brush with his base was in Bugs Bunny cartoons when that wascally wabbit would pop out of a burrow, lost… “I shoulda turned left at Albuquerque”… well, Dave has been turning left and right from Albuquerque and popping up all over the world, a lot of it since his MS diagnosis in 2006.

Sometimes Dave needs a little help from a cane, poles, walker, wheelchair or his darling lady, but he has ventured to places even the most abled adventurer would consider a challenge.

Today, Dave’s Moroccan memories… some of which are so vivid and rewarding that they will be life-long.  I like people who travel to collect experiences and memories rather than colourful cocktails and souvenirs.

Dave in Morocco

Dave’s memories include worrying about his MS meds freezing while camping in the Sahara desert where Christmas night got down to 36 degrees (32 is freezing), getting run over by donkeys on the narrow stone paths of Fez and fending off snake charmers and monkey wranglers in Marrakesh.  Nothing, however, could have prepared him for his encounter with a public bath, called a hammam.

On one side of the equation you have sauna-like, steaming hot rooms with eel-slippery wet tiles and no means of support – no railings, no benches, no chairs.  On the other side of the equation is a mobility and balance challenged MSer in bare feet.  Fortunately Dave had been assigned a strapping young guide.  Well, sort of fortunately…

The guide led Dave through the hammam, then lowered him to the ground in the hottest room… and on that warm tile floor, wearing only swimmers, he was given a damn good scrubbing.  Those with MS know that the nerves/skin can be very sensitive and this damn good scrubbing was from ears to toes… using everything from coarse soap to loofahs to possibly a brick wrapped in sandpaper.  How would Dave know, his vision disappeared!

The last time Dave had been stood up was in a bar many years before but he was stood up here.  One swift tug had the squeaky clean American on his feet with even sketchier balance and no sense of direction.  In minutes his vision returned and he was back walking as abnormally as usual – but would he delete that experience with hindsight?  Never!

You can follow Dave’s journey with MS and other uncharted destinations on his website, ActiveMSers – http://www.activemsers.org/