Jenni Osborn

Eastborne Pier

The Unwanted Helper

There is an unwanted helper in my hallway. The kind that really wants to be of help and really will be of help if I can just get my head around needing it. I was talking to a lovely friend this week about the way our brain processes memory and events: I’ve known for 13 years that something isn’t right with my body, that my body seems to be in far more pain than many other bodies I’ve met. I’ve known for 3 years that I have arthritis in my cervical spine (neck). I know that this is degenerative and progressive and will have an impact on my whole body, because all the nerves and other vital supplies to my whole body go through my neck. When that is compromised the body becomes a confused mess of pain signals and twitchiness that is mostly comical, sometimes frustrating but only NOW today, has it hit me that while I will have easier days than today, it’s going to get worse.

I’m 44 but today I feel like my body is 84. I’m 44 but today I went to pick up a wheelchair so that I can go out and about with my family because since the lockdown began 4 weeks ago I haven’t been able to walk further than 1km before my body starts to seize up.

The unwanted helper sits in my hallway waiting to be asked, waiting to be used. The unwanted helper represents both freedom and restriction. The wheelchair will mean I can go further and be a part of more family life despite my body’s restrictions.

The unwanted helper will become a part of my family life, if I can just get my head around what it means to need that kind of assistance.

I’m 44 but I feel 84. I’m exhausted.


I came back from a very slow walk around the block this evening feeling very sore, and fed up. Since then I’ve had a zoom call with a bunch of good friends and laughed a lot, which feels good and was certainly very much needed. A great help in taking my mind off the pain and vulnerability I have been feeling.

I’m 44, I feel 84 and am exhausted but I’m also thankful for helpers, in their various shapes and forms.