Tim Ferguson living A Fast Life on Wheels
COMEDIAN Tim Ferguson says he lives a fast life on wheels these days, thanks to his Multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis.
“My eyes had gone a bit wacky so I got crossed eyes, which was kind of endearing in a Barbra Streisand way,” Ferguson said.
“I kept bumping into things, I got nasty pins and needles that felt like actual pins and needles and I felt numbness up my face so my face stopped working.
“My face muscles didn’t move for a couple of weeks, which is ok because I’m a comedian so I did deadpan.
“There were all of these things that seemed completely unrelated, so it was kind of a relief when a neurologist said ‘hey presto, it’s all one thing’.
“It sounds silly to say it was a relief, but when you put it that way it’s ok because I had thought maybe all these things were adding up to the fact that I was going to die; so sunny side up.”
Defying the challenges of MS since 1996, the Doug Anthony Allstar lives by the motto: “I don’t suffer MS, it suffers me” and considers himself “pretty damn lucky” to have only MS and no life-threatening illnesses.
“I’m in the irritating, annoying stage of MS, which is otherwise known as secondary progressive where you really want to keep up the physio,” he said.
“The helium is slowly leaking from the balloon but there is no kidney failure, no liver failure and no male pattern baldness, so people will say that I won the lottery of life.
“Some things are more of an effort than others, but really after awhile you get used to having difficulty getting out of bed and you get used to someone coming and showering you in the morning.
“It’s not that bad, they just have to be good looking. I refuse to let ugly people shower me.”
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In 2015, Sydneysider Ferguson went from “carrying a big stick” to his wheelchair for comfort and safety reasons and continues to travel Australia-wide and overseas to the US and UK with his comedy.
“It’s always fun arriving at a hotel you’ve never been to before and seeing what they think is a disability accessible room,” he said.
“That definition is definitely wobbly and sometimes it just means that you can get a wheelchair in the door.”
His latest solo comedy show A Fast Life on Wheels is partly autobiographical and focuses less on MS and more on equal opportunity for people with disability in the workforce.
Ferguson said people with disabilities were in the same position, if not worse, than women were 120 years ago before World War I.
“So part of the show, in a fun kind of way, is to shame employers and to try to wake people up to the fact that I can do a job and I know people who are blind as bats who can do a job,” he said.
“I make it funny so everybody laughs as they kick themselves.
“It’s about making people feel positive and scaring them a little. I am a Doug Anthony Allstar and at the end of the day, I want to make them laugh until they scream.”
What: Tim Ferguson – A Fast Life on Wheels
Where: Heath Ledger Theatre
When: June 7 and 8