Eddie is so happy.  He hasn’t been this happy in forever.  He has legs again.

The Internet has been quite an issue for a while.  It’s always seemed like his way to sexuality which is only fine-ish, to be honest.  If he were just my older brother I simply wouldn’t want to know about his sex life…I wouldn’t talk about mine with him.  He was a bit of a man-whore…I have always honored sexual connection as sacred.  He definitely would have laughed at me the way older brothers can dismiss anything important to their little sisters.  In a perfect world I wouldn’t have anything to do with his sex life, but he wanted access to the Internet a zillion years ago.  Once he got it he accessed porn and sex chat sites that infected his computers over and over again the way his body would have been infected had his sexual encounters been in person instead of virtual.

His infected computers have been a pain that I leave mostly to my sister as punishment for leaving this town…for leaving the day to day issues and need for contact of my mom and brother to me.  It is an annoyance for her that makes me chuckle a little…the way lip smacking in her ears and putting my dirty bare feet did when we were younger.

But over the years the Internet has gotten faster than Ed’s dial up.  We haven’t up-graded him because in the past land-lines were somehow more secure for virus’, especially Ed’s cyber-sexual viruses, than wireless.

About six months ago his dinosaur of a computer and the land line that seemed to be run by squirrels on a wheel somewhere in India began to fail him.  His access to his chats sites dissolved…one by one.  He tried to tell us…but we ignored him…because we thought it wasn’t the end of the world…just less access to his sex life.  We…my sister, me, his staff…silently agreed this wasn’t a disaster and attempted only mildly to remedy the problem.

About a month ago he began to get depressed about it.  So I finally sat down and asked him what was going on.  It seems that over the decade that he’s had the Internet he developed friends…real friends on-line.  Ed doesn’t have real friends….he is cognitively too high functioning for most of his head injured peers and physically too low functioning for the staff.  His friends are in the cyber world…they don’t know what he looks like, how he speaks, what his disabilities are….(except for spelling…Eddie could never spell!)  He’s just a guy.

When we spoke about losing the chat rooms he said he’d been talking to some of these folks for about ten years.  He worried they didn’t know where he went.  He worried he might never find them again.

So…I spread the word to everyone that this was actually a huge issue in Ed’s life…in his need to connect, to share his thoughts, to develop friendships.  And…we all pulled together and got him a new computer (this came from the facility) and wireless….and now….Eddie is so happy.

We talked today about it and he said, “Beth….it’s very important to someone like me…the Internet is my legs.  I have my legs back.”