Author Topic: WHEN I WALK (2013)  (Read 176 times)

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Offline agate

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WHEN I WALK (2013)
« on: June 27, 2014, 05:20:13 am »
WHEN I WALK (2013 documentary)

Jason Da Silva, a filmmaker by occupation, was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis in 2006,  when he was 25. He soon became severely affected, rapidly losing the use of his legs.  As he has proceeded over several years he made this film, which was aired on the PBS "Point of View" series recently and is available in streaming video format for a limited time.

Jason is shown visiting Lourdes in the hope of a miracle cure. He also tries the CCSVI procedure that enjoyed a brief popularity a couple of years ago--a procedure based on the theory that clogged veins ("chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency"), once reamed out, can relieve the symptoms of MS.  Neither Lourdes nor CCSVI did much for Jason.

He meets Alice, the young woman he eventually marries. Alice's mother has MS, and by the time Jason meets Alice, he is already using a scooter.  He asks her several "what-if" questions, including "What if I can't feed myself?" She doesn't have a ready answer for him. He sees himself as probably not living past 50. 

We see the couple through her pregnancy and miscarriage, and Alice at one point expresses the burnout she's feeling as his constant caregiver, pointing out that normally she'd go hiking several times a year but now she hasn't been hiking in two years. She takes off for a hiking trip in Utah (she and Jason live in New York City).  Presumably Jason is in the care of his mother and grandmother, who appear in the movie as well.

Sometimes the dialogue is incoherent but this is a movie that makes many important points about a chronic neurological disorder, about the way it needs to be addressed many times a day, every day, as the person adapts to new ways of getting dressed, eating, using a computer.

He makes the point that "there are no cabs in New York for people in wheelchairs," although this is not exactly what the situation is. The movie makes clear that there are cabs for people in wheelchairs but you have to hail them, and they are hard to find because there aren't many of them.

Presumably he's lamenting the lack of transportation without any waiting time. New York, like most metropolitan areas now, has a paratransit system designed to meet the needs of mobility-impaired persons who need door-to-door transportation and/or lift-equipped vans. However, the rides have to be scheduled a day or two in advance.

Omitting mention of this system, which is very widely used in any large city, indicates that Jason is a young man with high expectations when it comes to getting from point A to point B with little advance planning. He could be taken to task for misleading his audience in this way, but he's a young man and eager to get on with his life without being hampered by his disability.

Jason Da Silva has done the world a favor by making this movie. He has been willing to share personal details of his life. It took courage to make this film, and I hope that the audience comes away with a better understanding of how devastating a disorder MS can be.


One can only hope that Jason, who must now be only about 32, will have a long and happy life ahead of him in spite of his disease.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 07:27:06 am by agate »
MS Speaks--online for 12 years

SPMS, diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2007-2010.

Offline agate

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Re: WHEN I WALK (2013)
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2015, 08:33:34 pm »
"When I Walk" has won an Emmy award.  More about it in this press release (September 30):

http://www.pbs.org/pov/blog/pressroom/2015/09/pov-films-win-two-news-documentary-emmy-awards/
MS Speaks--online for 12 years

SPMS, diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2007-2010.