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Friday, July 30, 2010

Communicating Words

I received a phone call this morning straight out of a nightmare. You know a dream when you’re naked in public? Well wait, that never bothered me. OK, a dream of walking into class and it’s the final exam but you forgot to study! Nope, been there done that. Point is the Cobb County Board of Education was on the phone informing my caregiver I was an hour late for a paid appearance. OH SH%$! My mind raced with questions. Did I really miss a speech? The day planner I use is between my ears. Did I have my first nearly senior moment? Reviewing email correspondence my memory was confirmed, I had been given the wrong month August 29th. I was overwhelmed with regret because I had been asked to inspire educators and health professionals that will be working with disabled and special needs children. Communicating words.

There are infinite occasions where accurate communication is critical. My father dedicated over thirty years to air traffic control. Every transmission demanded perfection or lives were lost. That is quite a burdensome responsibility. Words exchanged in the relationship setting also require accuracy, in addition word selection, tone, consideration and intent carry more importance because of their phenomenal power. The utterance of a few words can catapult a life or inflict a lifetime of damage. I’m the type I say what I mean and mean what I say. The neurologist that informed me I would likely not live beyond my twenties was looking down his nose just above his black rimmed reading glasses wearing a crisply starched knee length examination coat as his frank words void of emotion embedded in my memory permanently. In retrospect it was exactly how I would like to be told I was going to die, but a news tease before the commercial break sure would have softened the landing. He was just divulging facts, but lacked consideration of the situation. I recently did the exact calloused thing to someone I care about. I deeply regret my thoughtless delivery but once launched the damaging words orbit eternally. I must and I will improve my communication.

I have been given the extraordinarily wonderful opportunity to love, share, mentor and attempt to undo the damage of abusive words spoken to six beautiful young souls. Truly an honor that will never be exceeded. My reward? Unconditional appreciative love. Life cannot get any better. Don’t ask to trade places with me, the answer is no.

The communication of words has unfathomable ramifications, choose wisely and seize chances to better lives. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Taking Chances

I have a good friend preparing for Army Ranger School. While defending our freedom in Afghanistan Seth was offered this opportunity. Quite an honor that he humbly down plays. He wants to complete his education, but he is postponing his return to college to face this challenge. They are going to kick his ass and keep kicking when he is down. In advance he is aware less than a third of Ranger candidates graduate without repeating sections, recycled, and many wash out completely. Why do it when he could be comfortable and giving me a hard time about Georgia football games? Taking chances is the only way to experience life.

I have thrived on working without a net. The greater the risk the greater the reward, but I loved discovering my limitations then extending boundaries. This held true for every aspect of my life except matters of the heart. When physically able filling days with activities made this denial nearly painless, idleness revealed the cavernous void. Disability curtailed the maddening pace of distraction, but bruising emotional losses reinforced the walls surrounding my heart. After too many precious years forfeited an epiphany, living in a shell did not shelter me from hurt it only retarded my ability to live fully.

Taking chances incorporates the opportunity to fail, it’s guaranteed. Disappointments are a certainty too when climbing out on a limb. The valleys of life foster an appreciative perspective for the times we live for. Retreating only cheats one out of experiences good and bad. Take a chance . Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Keep Believing

This will be brief, pain pills decided not to work today. Do you still dream large or has disappointment jaded your hope? Don’t let go of hope despite how grim circumstances appear. Unbelievable happenings can take place just when you are certain their occurrence is impossible.

When hope is allowed to die nothing remains. I do not know if hope is spiritual, but is a life sustaining phenomenon. I have witnessed too many friends with this damn disease die within weeks of relinquishing hope.

Believe me it is not easy to hold onto optimistic beliefs when the hits just keep comin, in the depths of despair seemingly is the time to expect the impossible to occur. A beautiful story is metamorphosing in my life, movie material, I hope to share soon that adds credence to this reality. Hang on and keep believing. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dum Vita Est Spes Est

It is vitally important for individuals to stop and reflect on which things in life are truly important. We have all heard it said that no man on his last day will say "I wish I had spent more time at work". Taking time to deeply consider these important things is a gift to those who may have lost some or all of their former abilities. Those who keep themselves too busy to stop and reflect, are the ones who are indeed missing out on a great opportunity.

Faced with the most difficult challenges of life, it is comforting to know that we are not alone, others have experienced similar situations, and that we are understood. Many of life's difficulties remind us that we should live each day to the fullest.

The work of Helen Keller reveals to us that her words are quite true when she says that we will not achieve success without suffering. She suggest that struggling in life offers us the chance to see things more clearly, become inspired, and find the true meaning of happiness and success.

Quadriplegia has taught me taking action does not necessarily suggest physical movement. It suggests that we stay involved in our own lives. As long as a brain is healthy and functioning, this means that anyone has the power to continue living a full and productive life. As long as we are living we have the ability to continue taking part in really living. Even those of us who are unable to move or speak should continue living to the fullest.

No one knows on which day their life will come to an end. Anyone of us may face this at any time. How each of us chooses to live, and how this affect others is what truly is important.

Dum vita est spes est - While there is life there is hope. These are words that we must all remember when dealing with the challenges of life. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Monday, July 26, 2010


What is the calibration you use to measure your progress in life? The door facing at my grandparents’ house in New Orleans where Paw-Paw precisely scratched a notch above my head and my shoe size were the measurements I gauged progression as a child. I would gawk at the increasingly widening increments in the doorway to the kitchen with disbelief I was ever that small. Putting my socked foot on the cold Brannock Device was always a moment of excited anticipation. A larger pair of PF Flyers was certain to increase my already blazing speed. If you ever wondered what PF was the abbreviation of….. Posture Foundation.

In my late teens I decided I would be a millionaire by thirty. My wise family doctor would question progress with sarcasm. It took a few years into a terminal diagnosis to realize his sarcastic take on my monetary goal was because there was much to life than a bank account balance.

By thirty ALS had ravaged my body, but I was foolishly holding onto an old lifestyle. That is a number I was fortunate to survive.

Next April I will reach the fifty year point on this journey. I am planning on a beach bash weekend. That is an extraordinary milestone considering the odds I am facing. I am incredibly grateful I have witnessed my children become caring responsible adults. I smile when I see gray hair fall on the barber’s cape. I imagine I have some wrinkles, but haven’t seen myself in a mirror for many years. A wrinkled mug would make me smile too. I am grateful for all of these miracles though I’m embarrassed to admit I wonder too often what I could have accomplished without ALS. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Obviously I never fathomed this fork in the road. Life sure was simpler when everything was measured on a door facing or Brannock Device, but I prefer my evaluation of progress these days and likely would have a less appreciative perspective without this rocky road. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Friday, July 23, 2010

Til It’s Gone

Sorry about yesterday ALS was being a pain. I have had a severe headache since 12/07. I damaged a few nerves on the left side of my forehead with technology to access the computer. The anesthesiologist is attempting to kill the nerves with phenol injections. Wednesday I had an injection. A side effect is swelling around the eyes. This time the swelling closed my eyes and that started the wheels turning.

Of course the first thought was how horrible it would be to lose my sight and not have the ability to appreciate the beautiful features of loved ones. Even though my son has a pretty good imitation of Jesus Christ going minus the beard I love seeing his towering statue.

My biggest fear and I imagine most ALS sufferers is losing the ability to communicate. I’m down to one finger and a several facial muscles that contract on command without fatigue. I have been at a plateau seemingly for over a decade. Next to the good health of my children I am enormously grateful for this pause in progression. I have said before I cannot fathom anyone more ill suited for this lifestyle than me. I guess knowing I lived life wide open maintains sanity. I would hate reflecting on years of inactivity. I didn’t even sleep much, always figured I could catch up when I’m dead.

Life experience has demonstrated to me nothing lasts forever, difficult times pass and anything good requires nurturing to sustain. I have also leaned how precious every minute is on this journey. Have you seen someone that is capable of squeezing a tube of toothpaste until absolutely nothing remains? Not sure if that’s frugality or OCD, but it sure is a great way to live life, til it’s gone. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I really miss wiggling my toes in the wet sand at the surf’s edge. Walking away my feet would leave large deep impressions in the beach soon to fade away. Similar to many individuals that have come in and out of my life. Some creating unforgettable memories while others require prodding of the memory to recall.

During my academic career I would not have been mistaken for the studious type. As a class clown getting a cheap laugh out of the students took little effort, talent and timing was demanded to make a teacher laugh as they instructed me to go to the vice principal’s office. That was a daily goal. I loved school while few subjects rarely inspired my interest several teachers had life altering influences on my future. The first was David Slater. Mr. Slater taught 7th grade history. I had no idea teachers had a sense of humor and could make learning enjoyable. He birthed my passion for history and politics. I was class president my senior year and Joann Phillips was our class advisor. While I was extraordinarily busy having fun she saw things in me I had no clue were in my possession. Mrs. Phillips fostered the belief I can accomplish anything I decide. Finally, dear Miriam Worsham who told me I was not university material. While she was dead solid perfect with her assessment the delivery would have deflated most young spirits, but it was the first time I felt challenged. Yes, a University of Georgia diploma hangs on my bedroom wall, my name is even inscribed on it. A daily reminder the impossible is possible.

A few well placed words or deeds can be miraculous on someone’s present and/or future. More impressive in magnitude are attempts to destroy others’ self-esteem. The longevity is eternal. We remember verbatim the negative assaults. For the males that abuse and manipulate women and children I hope their hell makes the sun feel like a cool dip in a pool. If you have experienced this or living with it presently know and never forget their words are lies attempting to drag you into their cesspool of misery. Pity them and ignore. I repeat, their words are lies!

We leave footprints everywhere, some fade quickly others lasting a lifetime. Take the time and make the effort to improve someone’s day. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No Complaints Here

Do you have acquaintances that never say anything in a positive light? I cannot call them friends because it is exhausting to be around them. I am certain they are so practiced they become oblivious to their verbal regurgitations. I say this because able body individuals have stood beside my chair and let lengthy negative diatribes rip.

Please don’t think just because I’m seated in a wheeled throne no one else can possess problems. There are many walking I would not trade places with regardless of how many figures on the check.

The rants that are disturbing consist of issues one is incapable of altering or most frustrating problems where solutions exist if effort is exerted but they would rather bitch.

In our deteriorating society too many desire for their problems to be resolved by others or without working to achieve a goal. Yes, I could go off politically with few standing when the dust settles, but that would be complaining without action.

No one can comprehend my problems better than me therefore no one is better qualified than I am to seek solutions. There is a resolution for every problem. The solution might not be personally palatable or too much effort required, but that is a decision within your control. OK David, I have terminal cancer what’s the solution sport? Speaking in realities, we are not guaranteed anything at birth, not even a year on parts. We do have the present and it is in everyone’s power to decide how one will live it.

I have learned how precious time is and every tick is gone forever. It is much too valued to waste complaining. No complaints here. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mistakes and Regrets

I said goodbye to my precious friend Friday morning. It was a struggle not focusing on a lifetime of pain and hardship was mercifully ended. Heather would be very disappointed knowing I entertained that thought. She was the living example of carpe diem. I feel certain in her 29 years she possessed no self inflicted regrets.

She gave it her all every day, she had to in order to function. Dismissing severe pain as the price of admission she lived with a smile. What a phenomenal example.

The last two months were plagued with health issues for Heather. I was unaware because I keep telling myself I was too busy, but no comfort is found. Add that to the list of life long regrets.

Making mistakes is part of humanity. Learning from mistakes is the most effective teaching tool in existence. Admitting and facing mistakes are other shortcomings of being human. Denial anesthetizes reality, but keeps one anchored firmly eliminating development of self more important dream realization.

A stock broker after college I found it amazing how individuals would refuse to sell stocks that were tanking. Hoping their stock would resurrect was a fa├žade, they refused to confront a mistake. Isn’t that the reason we avoid a problem of our creation? Correcting a mistake requires change, change often involves others. That is not easy or painless, but bold moves and bold risks must be taken to make great dreams become realities. What a waste of precious time if our goals are not enormous and we just go through the motions instead. I want to burn out rather than fade away. Thanks Neil.

The clock is ticking. As we age the second hand elapses in seconds. Don’t let your hopes collect dust in the bottom of a drawer due to reluctance. I am in a position that many things are impossible, regret sucks. While there is no such thing as no regret, confront, forgive and get busy living boldly.

Thank you Heather! Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dear friends

My friend Heather’s death has consumed my thoughts, I am emotionally spent. Her mother deserves any strength I can summand and my undivided attention today and tomorrow. I will get back in the saddle and return Monday.

All the best,


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Seizing Every Moment

I woke to horrible news this morning. My precious friend Heather Rose Brooks died.

A difficult delivery was responsible for the severe Cerebral Palsy. I am overwhelmed with anger reflecting on how much this sweet Angel suffered her entire life.

I have blogged about Heather previously. My life was enriched in the spring of 96 meeting the strongest person I have ever known. I assisted Heather with learning the augmentative communication software I use. She was a quick study.

The only movement that did not throw her tiny distorted body into spastic convulsions was tapping her right toe. This warrior educated herself through high school a tap at time. Our disabilities created similar health challenges. Heather would tap out long detailed emails describing her current health obstacle seeking my advice. The last ten years of her life they were numerous and terrible. She never once complained. One time Heather confided she was scared prior to one of her multiple surgeries. I asked the source of her fear, she was scared her respiratory system was not strong enough and would be ventilator dependant burdening her mother and caregivers even more. A child said this to me. The entire length of our friendship she never experienced a pain free day. Not one day free of severe pain yet she was always genuinely concerned in my well being. Despite the enormous burden a smile rarely escaped her face. Laughter easily erupted.

The greatest honor of my life was escorting Heather to her senior prom. I was asked after her father declined. He was embarrassed. I do hope he has the nerve to appear at the funeral. He will know my opinion of his character. Heather and I danced the night away in our wheelchairs.

Heather taught me you never have to look far to discover someone with a heavier load. I am thoroughly embarrassed that I have ever felt sorry for myself. I had 26 years of experiences she never knew. Even as a quadriplegic my challenges are pathetic in comparison. Heather, from this day to my last I will never pity myself. I will boldly charge ahead seizing every moment as you did my young mentor. I love you, David

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Friend Indeed

Wallace was a quiet boy when we met at W.A. Fountain. This school was the brain fart of the Clayton County board of education. Get the picture, an entire school of hormone enraged seventh graders. Yeah, I agree. This was my public school indoctrination. After six years of knuckle slapping Philadelphia nuns Fountain was the wild wild west.

Discovering Wallace enjoyed the two things I was certain made this world go round at twelve, deer hunting and football I felt good about friending him between the gunfights. In time we would participate in both activities together and add cherished fishing. Hunting and fishing was the culprit our freshman year of college for making a dean’s list.

Wallace blindsided me January 1, 1981 on the turf of the Superdome. Celebrating Georgia’s national championship victory over Notre Dame the upright snapped off the goalpost, the end was feet away from crushing my skull. He saved my life.

During the decline into paralysis he was among the very few friends that crossed the bridge to disability. When still able to fish Wallace would pick me up and put me in my boat.

The last several years I had been blessed with a benefactor that made independent living possible. Sadly the gentleman recently passed away. Wallace picked up the ball and initiated a fundraiser.

It seems I’m always on the receiving end. I can only hope at some point I have been half the friend he continues to be. Do you have you have a Wallace in your life more important are you a friend indeed? Thanks so much for everything buddy! Thanks so much for reading everyone. Have a great day! dj

Monday, July 12, 2010

Facebook status

I will be back tomorro. Have a great day! dj

It is unrealistic to expect life to be fair just because you are good. In this uncertain world we grasp for control as obstacles and challenges impede our travel. The only control we have in life is our decisions. How are you going to react this morning when someone cuts you off on the interstate? Every situation is a life changing opportunity, seize it!

Enthusiasm is often like a 24 hour bug, it doesn’t last long, but it is contagious so spread it.

Looking in a mirror what do see, a success or unrealized dreams?

For too long after my diagnosis I would bargain with God, heal me and I’ll be a Christian motivational speaker. I’m slow but it eventually dawned on me; there are no draws in this game, play the hand you’re dealt or fold. When you accept this suddenly your potential knows no boundaries. I can’t speak, but I give speeches. Believe you can accomplish the impossible then Just Do It! Have a fantastic weekend.

Good morning everyone! This is an exciting morning for me. After years of encouragement by others, recently Doug Bradley and Ann Bertschin I am launching a blog this morning. I am frustrated by the text limitations here. You can read and subscribe at I will post a link here daily to read updates. Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

More thoughts on “I hope your plan B isn’t more of plan A” An undeniable fact is life happens and often demolishes the best laid plans. Have a plan B more important don’t fight it or be bitter. Salmon fight the current swimming up stream and die. I’m definitely living plan B. I have experienced the greatest joys and accomplishments of my life I would have never known if not for ALS.

Today is a bittersweet. May is ALS awareness month. I have lost count of the number of friends claimed by this horrific disease. I am not an accurate representation of ALS. The reality is someone unable to speak or move, starving and drowning in their saliva. Their longevity is counted in weeks and months not years and decades. Please visit and make a donation if possible. Many thanks, David

A dear friend says, I hope your plan B isn’t more of plan A. I love that statement because it says so much. Often we fear facing our mistakes and continue driving head on into the train or paralyzed and will not act for fear of failing. Believe in yourself and take action. You’re definitely going to make mistakes and fail, but learning and getting back up are the ingredients for success.

Before speaking Friday I reflected on what an exciting time for these graduates. I thought about my graduation, no sleep, black gown and May heat in Sanford Stadium. Back to my point. The excitement of new possibilities exist no matter your age. Life can become routine glazing our eyes and diminishes the flame of hope. Splash your face with optimism and fan that flame. Opportunities await you. Have a great day!

A young photography assistant knocked a boar’s head off my office wall Tuesday and felt horrible about doing so. I attempted to comfort him by saying it was attacking me too when I shot it. He continued to feel bad through out the shoot and it affected his work because he was now too careful. Life happens and acceptance is the only way to move forward and live fully. Have a great day!

I keep an African proverb in mind when the going gets tough: A smooth sea does not make for a skilled sailor. I am obviously a slow learner because I repeat this lesson often, but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. When the storms are raging have confidence in yourself that you will come out on the other side a better person strengthened in character. Have a fantastic day!

Do you find yourself stuck in a rut, searching for the excitement life use to hold or just burned out? I make a conscious decision every morning when I wake, Today WILL BE a great day! No, it doesn’t prevent the crap from flying, but when you start the day optimistically things tend to roll like water off a duck’s back and when good things happen the appreciation is so much sweeter. So have a GREAT day!

With this beautiful weather memories of winter have quickly escaped my thoughts, but I cannot keep from wondering up north do you apply for the job to place THIN ICE signs? On a serious note I know someone that was laid off yesterday. This economy is still losing jobs so if you’re searching for employment don’t lose faith especially in yourself. Difficult times don’t last forever. Have a great weekend!

Be sure to laugh today and often, especially at yourself. If I didn’t make it a daily quest to search for the humor in this paralytic hell I would go insane. Laughter diminishes the magnitude of life’s obstacles and challenges. To be bitter or sarcasm void of humor is such a waste of precious energy.

Just pondering again……. Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? Do agnostics and atheists insure for acts of God? And finally, can agnostics or atheists be charged with perjury after swearing on a Bible?

We learn from mistakes, right? I should be near perfection by now.

Helicopter pilots live by a philosophy if something isn’t broken it’s about to be and I guess when you swing your wings around at supersonic speeds it is difficult to think differently, but going through life thinking like Eeeyore you cheat yourself out of countless opportunities and experiences. Carpe diem!

Are you avoiding problems or fears in your life? Face them with boldness and confidence. Often our minds manifest much worse scenarios than reality. When real problems and fears exist avoidance makes them exponentially worse. Set yourself free today, turn a negative into a positive. Have a phenomenal day!

You know guys, we always get lambasted for having one track minds, but the truth is we can multitask with the best. Ladies you disagree? You want proof? We read on the toilet. Have a magnificent weekend!

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut when life piles on and we come to expect nothing will improve. That is the perfect time to dream big and make your dreams realities. The burden may be heavy even more than you think you can bear, just shake like a wet dog and have an attitude adjustment. You possess everything to change your life. Have a fantastic day!

What makes life precious for you? What makes you keep going when the tide is against you? What keeps your hope alive? Hope is a fire that must be kept burning by finding a little good in every day, a little good in every situation. I am having a small operation this morning, a last resort to get relief from this headache. I will greatly appreciate your prayers. Have a hope filled day!

If you were struck with amnesia and were told about your life would you be pleased with the revelation?

Do you still possess that childlike belief that anything is possible? I have to believe. Don’t cheat yourself out of grand possibilities becoming extraordinary realities.

Is forgiveness rare for poor personal decisions or worse hold yourself responsible for life changing events where you had no control? Let it go. If you are responsible for a bad decision learn from it and move forward. If someone has damaged your self-esteem trust your heart and know it is not your fault. Life is waiting to be lived

Everyone has a gift or talent. Have you discovered your talent and possessed the courage to develop it? Your life will be enriched as well as the lives of others when talents are exploited.

Live life without regret. Disappointments are assured and love can hurt deeply, but take a chance and risk the emotional capital because regret is forever. Most important, that chance sometimes pays off unexpected phenomenal dividends.

I awake this Christmas Eve morning with a fresh perspective. I can see after 22 very long difficult years all aspects of my life falling into place for the best year ever. I am embarrassed to say my faith had become weak many times, but hope never died. The timing and ease is too remarkable to be anything but Christ’s hand. Merry Christmas!

Are you one of those people that has a conniption fit behind the wheel or are you an observer of said fits? I have experienced both sides of the track and life is so much sweeter when you self medicate on chill pills. They say patience is a virtue, in my case a must. It can be learned. Have a chillin day everyone!

Is life piling on and you're certain you cannot handle another obstacle? When life gets that way for me, like right now, I depend on my faith, I know the darkest hour is just before the dawn and difficult times never last forever. We will get through it, might be just in time for another round but hang in there you'll be magnificently rewarded.

Are you pleased how you are living your life? Notice I didn’t ask are you pleased how life is going? True, we are powerless to the external forces in life, but we maintain absolute control over our reactions. You will always have the power to decide the quality of your day and discover the good in every situation. Have a great day and blessed week!

You know you’re getting old when dinner and a movie becomes dinner or a movie,

Many of my friends are approaching fifty or already there. Lots of folks our age birthday wish is not to be reminded they have a birthday. I have to say my wish is white hair and prune skin )).

I have to laugh as I age when 10 pm rolls around. If I’m out it is definitely time to start heading home when in the past it was time to head out.

Isn’t it amazing the things your parents said to you as a child that you swore you would never say to your children hold so much wisdom now?

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Next Rock

The house I spent my formative years in had a creek flowing through the lot. There was a ten foot ravine surrounding the drainage pipe that went under South Parkwood Drive. That was my wilderness. I could escape and be a million miles from the nearest soul though the illusion would be revealed when one looked up to see the houses built to satisfy the initiation of the baby boom.

All the neighborhood kids referred to ravine section as the deep part. While lacking originality it was appropriately named, because summer thunderstorms turned the lazy stream into a raging torrent which gorged the earth around the pipe. The deep part look like ideal water moccasin habitat and occasionally it was. There was always an excited rush of adrenaline when scrambling down the bank scanning for thick dark sticks that suddenly moved.

Rushing to complete the volumes of nun assigned homework the uniform was stripped and cutoffs donned it was creek time. Countless hours were devoted to slowly lifting rocks. The anticipation grew as the rock’s edge gained altitude. Would it be a crawfish, salamander, mudpuppy or snake? Almost always the expectation was rewarded. A quick grab to examine the prey closely then off to the next rock.

It seems the expectancy became an addiction that molded my character. I have spent my life wondering what is under the next rock. It has made awaiting the next sunrise worthwhile. Regardless of how difficult travel becomes on this journey, how defeated I feel in time wonderment rises out of the despair renewing the ascent to the top.

Keep turning over rocks. Yes, you might find a snake, but incredible possibilities await under the next rock. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Thursday, July 8, 2010

That’s Life

There are two songs not found in church hymnals I hope are played at my funeral: Delbert McClinton’s Had A Real Good Time and Frank Sinatra’s That’s Life.

Often I say “life” when things happen beyond my control. I could waste a lot of energy and time getting upset, but why? Youthful inexperience baited me into the trap decades ago, but I had a buddy that really cut a shine when things didn’t play out according to his plan of perfection. His Mom called them fits. He did come by it honestly from his Dad. That was my first experience being embarrassed for an adult. An indelible impression was made and I didn’t take that fork in the road.

“Some people get their kicks, stompin' on a dream.” The world is full of naysayers. I just don’t get their philosophy. I say dream beyond the stars and enthusiastically encourage the hopes of others! Infinite possibilities exist just waiting to be seized by dreamers.

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn and a king.
I've been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing:
Each time I find myself, flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get back in the race.

Sing it Ole Blue Eyes! I despise the word quit and hate that I have tried. There is too much life to be enjoyed. Disability has curtailed the number of activities only because I do not like burdening others, but some of my grandest accomplishments were checked off the bucketlist when I couldn’t even pick my nose.

If you find yourself up or down over and out stay in the race. Any long distance runners know a race is a journey not a destination. I loved when the “runner’s high” kicked in and all pain vanished then the run could be savored, because that’s life. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Give It A Day

Has life pushed you to the edge? At your wits end? Thinking thoughts out of the norm? Pulling your hair out? Certain you can’t take it any more?

Boy howdy, I know those emotions well. I’ve been to hell and back so many times I no longer need MapQuest. It is such an isolating experience being at the edge armed with the certainty there no are solutions within grasp. Helpless. Helpless. Helpless.

Where is God when it hits the fan? Talking to a priest a decade ago when working through a tough time he told me many of the saints felt abandoned by God. While I’m lightyears from a saint it remained a comfort knowing my feelings were not unique. I have spent most of the last twenty years feeling forgotten by a Devine Creator. There have been instances during the 20+ years believers would say that is the hand of God, but it could have been logically explained away. I’m going to share a story contrary to my soapbox preaching, but in my mind conclusive proof God is with us at all times.

For those that do not know me when I decide to do something it is a done deal, no doubts, no regrets just taking care of business. That applies to suicide as well. Two times during this ALS adventure I exceeded my limit. So how does a quadriplegic kill himself or herself? Sounds like a question that needs a punchline. On my old wheelchair the ventilator was not attached to the chair back and it was possible to recline the chair enough to crush the hose and cut off the air flow. Near my house is a horse park. During the week typically no one frequented the area. The plan was to drive there and take care of business. The first attempt I was nearing the street to leave the subdivision when a neighbor I had never met stopped me to introduce himself. After twenty minutes of conversation it was clear he was not going to leave my side. He with me back to my home. I was pretty certain that was Devine intervention, but time dulls the memory and impressions made. I just couldn’t do this any more for a long list of legitimate reasons beyond exhaustion and depression. Off to the horse park. Nearing the area I encountered my neighbor the street was clear I felt a sense of relief. At the exact location my neighbor thwarted the first attempted my chair suddenly turns 90 degrees and crashes into the curb. The impact knocked my head off the headrest and off the switches I used to drive. Totally helpless I begin laughing uncontrollably. OK God I am certain now was my thought. I felt the weight of the world lifted. I knew I am suppose to be here and no more pity parties.

I do not recommend pushing the Godly envelope rather remember this story. When you reach your limit have confidence in your endurance and know the light of a new day will illuminate things differently. Give it a day. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Getting Back In The Game

You don’t have to tear off many calendar pages before experiencing hurt and disappointment. That is a certainty during our visit on this big blue marble. Much of it originates from decisions one makes sometimes poor in nature, but most often with the best intentions. Other hurtful transgressions are beyond control, the most damaging are the inexplicable acts of others on the innocent. All deteriorate trust.

I am very uncomfortable always referring to myself, but it’s the story I know best. My fiercely independent lifestyle prior to this seated journey did not lend it itself to fostering deep meaningful interpersonal relationships. The truth is when things encroached a little I was making tracks. When Lou knocked the count was in the pitcher’s favor.

This damn disease has taken away nearly everything I held precious. Others made decisions that were more devastating than the illness. Trust? What trust?

My heart felt nothing. It was a survival tool, but such a perfected waste of treasured time. Sadly too many years elapsed in this state. I had lived life fully in my activities, it came a time to experience life completely before regret was not an option. Since deciding to live with an exposed heart hurt and disappointment have not vanished, but I feel life now the good and bad. I say this with all sincerity, I’m sorry it took ALS to reach this destination, but I would not trade lives.

Enough about me. If you’re living in a bubble as a result of life events self inflicted or not shake it off like a wet dog and get busy living. To heal often the medication tastes awful. Forgive yourself, forgive others and get back in the game. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Wishing everyone a fun and safe holiday! I’ll be back tomorrow. Just a brief rant. Our great nation was birthed by hard working responsible self reliant individuals. That seems like a foreign concept in today’s political climate. Both parties are responsible for their cowardness to address the real issues with common sense solutions. The exponentially widening minority education gap is a rapidly growing cancer I fear is terminal. That is everyone’s problem regardless if you have participated in white flight and falsely protected yourself in suburbia. Without the distraction of fireworks, cookouts, mountain vistas or crashing waves I am quite sad this morning reflecting on where we have traveled. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Friday, July 2, 2010

Roll With The Changes

Those surrounding my age remember REO Speedwagon and their great song Roll With The Changes. The frustrated lover makes an offer that should be impossible to decline, but guys you know women )). His attitude works well for this post.

Before I matured somewhat, last week, testosterone ruled and roll with the changes, go with the flow, don’t make waves were incompatible with my anti passive personality. My hard head was always bruised and battered from constantly beating it against the wall.

Now don’t misinterpret the proceeding paragraph I still love to mix it up, but the testosterone cocktail is cut with a jigger or two of judgment. Most of my hair turns loose before it turns gray, but time is responsible for an amazing metamorphosis of one’s perspective.

There are issues that must be addressed no matter the degree of difficultly or how much pain will be endured/inflicted. When the house cleaning is complete life can be experienced with enormous ease when you allow issues that are insignificant in the big picture to roll off like water on a duck’s back. This is a practice that requires development. When you boil it down the only thing that holds true significance is giving and receiving love. ALS has taught me I can live without anything but love.

Issues are guaranteed to arise and many at first blush will appear gianormous, take a breath then don your duck’s back. I love the movie For Love Of The Game for various inspiring reasons, I especially enjoy when Kevin Costner says, “Trigger the mechanism” to silence the crowd in his mind and get in the zone to pitch. When I near my maximum carry capacity I say, trigger the mechanism. It is mind blowing how much it relaxes me and puts me in the appropriate mindset. Try it you’ll like it.

Roll with the changes so you can let the good times roll! Wishing everyone a happy independence day! I really appreciate your time to read. If you enjoy my nonsense please share the link. Have a fantastic and safe weekend! dj

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I thoroughly enjoyed playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire when Regis Philbin hosted, but thought “lifeline” was over kill as a name especially for simple $100 questions. Of course I’m a multi millionaire from playing. Aren’t you?

I have two physical lifelines, a feeding tube just above my innie belly button and a tracheostomy tube in my throat connected to a ventilator 24/7. They have been the source of my existence for a combined 31 years. They are part of me to the extent they rarely enter conscious thought. That is quite embarrassing to admit because I should have more appreciative celebrations.

Do you have a lifeline? Is it a mantra, support group, a friend, equipment? I recently participated in article discussing ALS and the internet. WOW, is that ever a lifeline for us severely disabled. Several years ago just after the advent of instant messaging a message pops up on my laptop screen from a friend saying her house was on fire. Her mother left something on the stove and went outside. Two states away the internet enabled her rescue. Now that’s a lifeline!

Are lifelines being tossed to you but being refused? Is the refusal motivated by pride, modesty, lack of perspective? Man, grab on you’re sinking! I was literally killing myself early in my diagnosis because I foolishly refused to use adaptive aides/equipment to prevent life threatening falls. A physician tossed me a lifeline in the form of advice. Fortunately common sense overcame foolhardy thinking and she saved my life.

Look around, are there individuals in need? Make the effort the reward is priceless. Something to consider when doing so in certain cases, enable and empower the person not solve the problem yourself. A dear friend recently shared a beautiful story with me. Years ago her daughter wanted to help a classmate that was a victim of bullying. My friend said, toss her a life preserver instead of jumping in and both of you drowning. What a fantastic metaphor! What a great Mom!

There will be a time you need help, accept it. Opportunities will present to assist, toss that life preserver. Grabbing onto a lifeline or tossing it out we are all in this together. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj