Friday, March 26, 2010

Songs of Spring.....

Spring is roaring into the mid-south (of the USA for my off-shore friends) with clear skies and warm temperatures. Daylight Savings Time now allows me to leave work before dark (7 PM) and the light lifts my spirits a bit.

Trees are blooming in my backyard. I remember planting them as saplings. It seems like last week. I also just noticed my sentences are getting shorter. What's up with that?

I bought myself a toy a while back that is great for bird "listening." I take a walk with my dog into my trails and sit on a bench that sits under a large pine tree and just listen. At first the birds are screaming alarms and threats as we enter their territory. Slowly, as I sit motionless, the clamor changes to the songs of spring. Mating calls and territorial announcements abound.

My listening device brings many unseen birds into view, at least in my mind's eye. Far off crows protesting an owl's presence, high-flying red-tailed hawks screeching to warn off potential interlopers, and mockingbirds reaching for every possible song never repeating a verse. It is peaceful.

I sometimes let my mind leak to thoughts of "the end ." I hope it comes on a spring day as I listen to birds.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Frozen Shoulder....

When I had my last cycling crash, during a 150 mile Multiple Sclerosis fundraiser, I damaged my right shoulder and had a bunch of "road rash." That was September, 2007. A year later I was diagnosed with CBGD, right side specific. In the ensuing months my right hand and arm have become club-like and increasingly rigid. Normal for Corticobasal Ganglionic Degeneration.

A debilitating side-effect has been the development of a "frozen shoulder." It is a very painful syndrome and seems to be worsening as my right side becomes more rigid. I think my CBGD would be tolerable if this source of constant pain could be managed. I've had regular cortisone injections and they help for a week or two but the shots are painful in their own right.

My doctor has prescribed pain medicine but I've been avoiding them until I can no longer stand the pain. That time is near and I'm fearful of the line I'm about to cross.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Kel On Wheels....

Through this blog I have found a support group of sorts, many of whom either have CBGD or know someone who has it. This illness (syndrome, disease, pain in the ass) does not limit its effects to the victim (patient, sufferer, babe in the woods). Many people are touched in many different ways and respond in equally different ways. Some go the route of denial. Choosing to ignore the progression of the handicaps. Others become worried caregivers. Trying to do too much at the expense of their own well-being. Then there people like the friends and relatives of Kel.

Kel's wife, Karla, stumbled upon my blog while looking for answers about the issues Kel and I share. She has been a regular reader and commenter and recently told me about a The Kel On Wheels benefit bike ride. Love of cycling is another thing Kel and I share and if I could I would be there on July 17. But alas, I can't, but some of you could. If you can't make the ride how about Sponsoring Karla.

This is a rare malady and therefore doesn't draw the big research dollars that are needed to help or even cure us. Every little bit helps. Thanks!


Coming soon, Springtime! (version 2010)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I'm tired of saying goodbye.....

Superwoman and I enjoyed our San Diego trip.....for the most part. She was held back a bit by my limitations and I was intermittently very happy and overwhelmingly melancholy.

I was born in San Diego and spent many very happy years there. I've traveled a bit and still believe it is one of the earth's beautiful cities. Chances are very large that I'll never see it again.

The primary purpose of the trip was to visit my sister and brother and their families but it morphed into me visiting some of my favorite places, evoking emotional upheavals, then trying to contain the waves of sadness knowing I would never lay eyes on them again.

The San Diego Zoo, where no matter how old you are you can always find a sense of wonder and amazement at nature's diversity. In a time gone by I'd walk the miles of trails until the Zoo closed and then sit outside the fences well past dark to listen to the howls and screeches that a typical Zoo visitor never experiences.

The Ocean Beach Pier that extends so far out into the ocean that the sound of the breaking surf is a distant whisper. Years ago I would use fishing as an excuse to escape to that place where salty tears mix easily with ocean spray. There was an understanding among the characters that fished the deep waters that we were all casting more than bait into the vastness. Vietnamese families fishing for food hoped that the place somehow offered security. Mexican men laughing away their burdens as they sipped warm beer from cups as there was no alcohol allowed. We would quietly stare into the water waiting for the tug of some creature. There would be bursts of energy when someone hooked a stray mackerel, attracting the stares of pier-walkers and the short-lived admiration of other fishermen. Then quiet would return, allowing waves of unwelcome introspection. Hours after sunset I would walk the long pier back to the beach. Each step bringing the sound of the breaking surf ever louder and reality ever closer.

There was always a lightening of burdens as if each cast of my line was throwing away unnecessary cares. In truth it was the time spent alone, in the salty air, allowing unbridled introspection. Staring not into the water but into my soul. I became a better man fishing that pier. Never would a visit to the OB Pier not leave me feeling lighter. Until this visit.

Sunset Cliffs has many of the same qualities as the Pier except the waves crash violently and loudly against the eroding sandstone rock. Each visit was different. The surf higher or the tide lower, the wind gently caressing or blowing hard enough to require a lean as I would near the cliff edge. There were no epiphanies in my relationship with Sunset Cliffs, only a profound appreciation for its beauty. That must be why I broke down and sobbed when it was time to leave.
I will never stand precariously at the edge of those crumbling cliffs, hear those sounds, or smell that air again. I'm weary of saying goodbye.