Monthly Archives: May 2014
Column III: Understanding
Today, I heard about a sandwich shop sponsoring it’s annual fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network. I told my boss and he sent me over to pick up the order. As I was about to enter the store, I heard some yell, “Help! Can someone help me?”
I walked over to a man with a cane. He had one foot up on the curb and one on the pavement below. He was shaky and unable to lift his remaining leg up the curb. I assisted him under the arm while he lifted his leg. After both feet were in place he was still shaking, so I helped by holding on. When he was ready we proceeded to the store, I opened the door while holding onto him. He thanked me and was now able to walk further with his cane.
What took so little of my time helped me more than him. We forget what a blessing it is just to be able to walk.
Recently, I had tripped and fell walking up a curb into a store. My wrist hurt all that weekend.
I wrote a column a few years ago on these thoughts: Understanding
“On Christmas morning in 1993, while helping my son Kevin deliver newspapers, we saw the most brilliant display of Northern Lights etched upward in the predawn sky.
Afterward, I soaked in a warm tub of bubbles to ‘thaw out’ and went back to bed to catch a few more Z’s.
When I arose for the day, something unusual had happened. I was numb from my ribs downward. Upon touch, my legs and abdomen had an extremely painful tingling sensation. My muscles had lost all strength and tone. It was difficult to walk or climb stairs – my legs just did not cooperate. My left leg was weaker than my right one.
That first day I was in denial, thinking that whatever it was would soon go away. Eventually, I went into the emergency room. The neurologist on-call tested my balance, strength, and reflexes. He hinted at multiple sclerosis and requested that I schedule for MRI scans both thoracic and abdominal to rule out M.S. and any spinal injuries.
At the time I had no working vehicle and it was difficult to bring my 10-month old son, Josh, on the bus. I could hardly carry him and walk, let alone climb stairs. My mom took time off from work to assist me. She was as frustrated as I was. We wanted answers. We wanted a cure, a diagnosis, a prognosis. The neurologist had no report whatsoever.
After a couple of months of pointless appointments and no change, he finally prescribed Prednisone, an addictive, hormonal drug that is given in regulated doses for a short period of time.
Fortunately, the drug knocked the unknown disease or virus out of my system.
My strength and muscle tone took longer to regain. I rode bike, walked, and swam all that spring and summer as much as possible to overcome my weakness.
That autumn, my daughter, Kaira, and I started the first of four years delivering two routes of daily and Sunday papers, the early morning walking, stair climbing, and commitment on the job rebuilt the strength in my legs. The quiet sunrises and change of seasons helped me spiritually.
Later, during a physical for a new job, a different doctor believed that my former symptoms pointed towards a syndrome called “Guillianne Barre.”
Some people believe that they are immortal and invincible. One never knows when a debilitating disease or a disabling accident could occur.
Sometimes I believe that my experience took place in order to give me better understanding and empathy for people who are challenged with disabilities.”