When does 30 yards seem like 30 miles?

Not very wheelchair friendly grounds

Not very wheelchair friendly grounds

It may not look like much…………but Julie and I were in a “fix”.


After taking what looked like a small “Coal miner’s” elevator to the top of the Acropolis,….you are dropped off on a wood deck that has rails and you then can wheel yourself away from the outside cliff and onto what seems to be an island of  Greek monuments.  The Parthenon is there and a must see if you are to travel to Athens.

 The only other way to get up top to see everything was a steep staircase,… way on the other side of the steep cliffs that surround the grounds.

 The wood decking atop the elevator extends about 20 feet from the edge and then you are on your own.  There are no paved pathways and nothing about the roped off sections where you are supposed to walk is “wheelchair friendly”.

Soft and deep “pea gravel” here,… and rough and rugged ancient stones there. Julie and I would definitely have our work cut out for us.  Thank God it was a little overcast and cooler outside.  The body and the MS do not like heat……especially when I have to work at something like mobility.


Slowly we made our way around the grounds.  Many times I got out of the wheelchair to walk slowly with the cane.  It was just going to be easier.  It was free entrance at the Acropolis because of the weekend and it was sometimes pretty crowded in areas sectioned off around the monuments.

We didn’t have the mobility, time or the strength to see all the sites, so we said our goodbye to Mike and Dennis and split up.  Julie and I decided we would attempt to go around the Parthenon and then back to the elevator.  It looked pretty smooth sailing as far as we could see.


Once we got to the other end of the Parthenon, we rounded the corner and there it was.

About a thirty yard section of ancient bumpy stone. Oh…… and here comes the hot sun finally burning its way through the clouds. Oh Joy. You know how some of us MS’ers love the heat!! (LOL)

This little crossing was going to be interesting. I rose to my feet and Julie and I started to take the first of many crippled steps over a very uneven, HOT surface. The spastisity in the legs was now at an all time trip high.  I had no medication and the legs were just not co-operating.


Then all of a sudden we hear:

“Would you’al like some help?”………she asked.


Enter David and Debbie Dermer from Atlanta, Ga.


David asks me: “What would you like me to do?”

“Come on this side and put your forearm out like this.”……I told him.


David would struggle w/ me for the next twenty minutes as we crossed the 30 yards of uneven ground.  I don’t think they realized how much that meant to Julie and me.  We were both already very tired …and to have someone just come up, ask, and then deliver in English, the support you needed, was huge for us at that moment. David and Debbie are both very patient and in that situation……..it was exactly what we needed.  No panic……just help and calm.

I wish I would have got their picture.  We had plenty of time to chat during my resting and planning out of my next few steps during our little 30 yard sprint.  Dave was a little warm when he first introduced himself.  He was sweating pretty good after he had helped me such a short distance and we said our goodby’s. The two of them were so patient and so calm during the whole thing.


You see………..it’s the littlest deeds that sometimes mean the most.  To them it may have seemed like no big deal………but when you are that far from home and everything with your disease is working against you,……it just seemed at that moment……..as though somebody was looking out after us again.


David and Debbie………..Thanks so much for your help that day…….you turned a very difficult task for us into kindness that Julie and I will never forget.

Much Love and Be Well,

Todd and Julie Small