I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1984, when I was 27. Now, over 30 years later, MS had left me with no function in my arms or my legs. This has put me in the position of having to make many decisions on how I lived my life.
I was determined not to give up the joy of reading, and after I lost the use of one arm, it became very difficult to hold the book and turn the page at the same time, with only one hand. My solution? I went from tree books (those you buy in a bookshop) to e-books. I tried audio books, but found that the constant, dull sound kept putting me to sleep (memories of childhood bedtime stories, maybe?). I kept falling asleep halfway through a story, and then didn't know where I was up to, as the book would keep going until the end of the story. I then had the problem of trying to remember where I was up to, and rewinding the tape to that spot With e-books, I had no such problem – even if I fell asleep, the pages wouldn't keep turning unless I did so myself (which I couldn't do, because I was asleep!).
But with e-books there were other problems, which weren't really important, as I still got to read my story, but were still significant. Gone was the smell of a paper book. Gone was the feel of holding a book in your hands as you read. Gone was the satisfaction of seeing the many physical books on my bookshelves. Gone was the need for a physical bookmark to mark your place when you stopped reading. I couldn't even use the dreaded dog ears on the corner of the page to mark my place.
Above all, however, the important fact was that I got to read my story. E-books became all the more important when I lost the use of my second arm – everything was done through voice controlled software on my computer (my new best friend). I now couldn't type anymore, and so had to rely on the voice controlled software to do all my work. This turned out to be very efficient, though, as I could speak faster than I could type! I could do most things on the computer that I could do before, even read my beloved books. And, as I found out, many things are possible with voice controlled software, even writing a book.