“In chess, checkmate is defined as a position where the king has been captured and has no place to go. I am trapped like the check-mated king.”
This is a direct quote and the first line of this book. The author, Rick Lunkenheimer, has a sitting disability. He is unable to sit for more than 10 minutes at a time, when the pain starts shooting up. Sitting – the most basic activity that even a child can do at the age of 9 months, and when a person is unable to do for more than 10 minutes, I shudder to think about the struggles, the uphill life which the author undergoes in his everyday life. An action which we take for granted and if that causes us pain…
As a doctor, I do understand the pain, when the patient runs pillar to post searching for a diagnosis and he hits blank walls. The same happened with the author when he underwent various tests to get a diagnosis. His pain and helplessness in the face of the world which did not understand his problems, including his doctors, comes off in waves in the book.
I love the way Rick writes his prose, straightforward putting his points and feelings across, without an ounce of self pity. He describes his feelings in a direct manner, when the world mocks him for his chronic pain. In this book, the author describes his mode of transport, how he manages his travel in public modes of transport, the years of trying out various therapies, various doctors, surgeries, his other medical conditions, and the medicines he is on. He talks about how he has modified his life, dealing with his afflictions and suffering, how he has found his own middle path to minimise his agony.
Chronic pain is a lonely path, which no one understands, other than the person suffering.
While reading the book, I understood the difficulties the author had to undergo throughout his life and that raises my respect for people going through all this, and yet managing to live a life.
Reading about the day to day life of the author and the painful process of living his life, showed me a different view of this world. Rick taught me how to be brave. A man who has gone through so much and is still going through… I am in awe of his courage, there are no words to explain my feelings when I read the book. I still cannot let go of this book; I go back and keep reading his words.
This book is a saga, a saga of strength, a saga of facing life, a saga of moving on a path which is so different from the rest of the world. Every word written in the book touched my heart, both as a doctor and as a human being. Even dictating and editing the words in this book, caused the author intense pain, yet he has done it, to help educate others and to take away the shame for those who suffer from a sitting disability.
I can go on and on about this book, and the inspiration I draw from Rick’s life, but I will end the review with a line from his book as quoted by the author
“I wrote this book because the sitting disability does not have any literature about it. But for me, getting these words out on paper helped me remove the negative energy in my head. It was cathartic”
What was cathartic for you is an inspiration for me. Hats off to you, Mr. Rick Lunkenheimer!! Well penned book, written with a self deprecating humor too. Kudos!!
My rating : 5 stars
About the Author
Rick Lunkenheimer is a former computer programmer who has given up his career due to his disability. He has been living with a sitting disability for more than 17 years but refuses to give up hope. He lives in Chicago, Illinois with his partner.
Publication date : 4th January, 2018
Publisher : Self
Language : English
An inspirational and touching memoir