Category Archives: Multiple Sclerosis

For a friend!

One of the most wonderful things about blogging is the interaction with people from around the world.  I just read a post by a fellow blogger who never gets to see snow.  So I thought I would send her a little taste of winter in Canada.  You should check out:                                 . madcapdog.wordpress.com

 Sorry, couldn’t resist!  I’m such a ham!

A Single Cardboard Box

Eloise sat back in her chair and sighed.   This would be her final move. It was a hard one, leaving so much behind. But it was time. She thought about her husband of 61 years, Elliot. He’d been gone for a while now but she was managing. He’d always loved that about her: her ability to adapt.

Hands clasped loosely on her lap, legs demurely crossed at the ankle. She had been taught to be a lady but she also knew when not to be. Something else Elliott loved about her. She smiled to herself. As she raised her head, her eyes caught the single cardboard box resting on the edge of the bed. How is it possible for 92 years to fit inside one single box?

There were so many memories. Dipping her toes into three oceans over her lifetime. That midnight buffet on the cruise ship. The smile became a chuckle as she remembered poor Elliot looking for his shoes in a strange motel after a very long night. He had eventually found them in the refrigerator! They had laughed all the way to Albuquerque. Good memories.

There were camping trips with four active and insatiably curious children. And then the children’s children, there seemed to be so many of them. She remembered the strange noises a sleeping child makes and the wild-eyed wonder when they saw something for the first time. Learning to read, learning to walk, learning to slow down. That was always the hard one. But they did it together. Eloise and Elliot. It had lovely ring to it. What a great partnership they had. And that partnership didn’t die when he did. She slept with a pair of his gloves under her pillow. He was never far from her.

She relaxed a little more into the chair, resting her tired shoulders. And she cast her mind back over her 92 years. She had earned her rest. Her memories of her childhood were all good. She’d had loving parents who had taught her to love the world and to respect what it offered. She had grown up with wonderful pets who had taught her humility and selflessness. She had friends who taught her the art of compromise and acceptance and French kissing. Yes, she had learned how to laugh early. And she laughed often. She had reason.

They had traveled the world together. Elliott was a wonderful traveler. Except for the shoes. When the children had come along they were initiated into that world. First traveling near at home and then farther and farther as they grew older and more capable of appreciating it. And then they too caught the bug. The world was theirs to explore.

As time inexorably moved on so did the children. And then she and Elliot rediscovered the wonders of each other. It was like a second honeymoon and they enjoyed it for many years. Oh, the children came back to visit. In the beginning it was quite often but as their lives became more and more complicated, that too dwindled off. That was to be expected.

Most of the children and grandchildren made it back for Elliot’s funeral. It was good to see them, to get reacquainted. But they had their own lives to get back to and in time Eloise was again alone. That was okay. She had much to occupy her. She had quite a vibrant social life and plenty of friends to keep her company. But there were adjustments. She moved to a condominium and hired a cleaning service. There were even a few male companions who were interested in more than just companionship. They were proper gentlemen when she refused. Her heart still belonged to Elliot. Besides he hadn’t been gone that long. But it was nice to have a man around to escort her to a dance.

The box caught her eye once again. It seem to beckon to her and to mock her. It was her box of treasures, precious memories, tokens worth more than any precious jewel ever could be. A single tear escaped her eye. She felt sad and more than a little proud. She wondered about the next step in her life. What was still to come? She closed her eyes.

*********************************************************************

The door burst open! A tall, young man, strode aggressively into the room.

“Where the hell is the damn thing?”

A few seconds behind him an equally tall woman sashayed into the room somewhat less aggressively.

                                    “They said it was on the end of the bed and you could pick it up                                             at your leisure. I think it’s important. What do you plan on doing with?”

The man became a little less forceful as he spotted the single cardboard box just where he had been told it would be.

“It’s just some old trinkets. What possible value could it have? “

 

 

the end

Circumstances of Childhood

 

Circumstances of Childhood.

By John W. Howell

 

Available on Kindle

Shipping on October 1st. Priced at $0.99 for the introduction.

This is a different story for John. It is in the Family Life genre and tells the story of brotherly love, riches to rags, redemption and a little paranormal thrown in. Normally John writes thrillers but this time he has stepped into a different place. This book was written with love for the story and the hope it will be an enjoyable read.

Here is the blurb:

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of inspiration, riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

Here is an excerpt.

I look down at my drink and wonder what will happen tomorrow. My daughter Constance wants to come and visit. She lives in New York, and before all hell broke loose, we didn’t see each other often. I missed her so much, and it seemed as if I had to beg her even to talk on the phone. Now, it’s like she wants to be here every weekend. It’s only an hour’s flight by the shuttle or three by train, so she can come when she wants. I just can’t figure out why she got so clingy. I have my troubles, but it doesn’t have anything to do with her. No use in asking her husband either. Though a nice enough guy, I always wonder if he has someplace important to go when I visit. He never sits still and stays busy on the phone or at the computer. He makes a good living, but it seems a person could take an hour to sit and talk. I’d looked forward to some kind of relationship when he and Constance got married. It’ll never happen with him.

When I take another pull at my drink, I notice the burn feels less. It happens every time. First sip initiation, I call it. It’s like the first puff of a cigarette, hits hard then, after, nothing. I decide to let Constance pretty much have the agenda tomorrow. She and I have not had a chance to talk about anything deep for a while. It could just be that she blames me for her mother running off with that guy with the house on the Hudson. He has a title, and the old gal couldn’t resist, but I think the daughter always felt I should have done something. Her mother’s sleeping with another guy and what the hell can I do about that?

I’ll just go with the flow. If she wants to go out, we will. If she wants to stay in, we can do that too. I better think about getting some food in the house. Of course, we can always order take out. I need to move on to my drink and let this go. Tomorrow will be what it is. I remember the day she was born. I looked down at her in my arms and promised I would do anything for her. I love her more than life itself, and I hope we can somehow get to the root of whatever’s wrong. She sounded strange on the phone this morning, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I hope she opens up when she gets here.

For some reason, I feel tired. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and finish my drink. Maybe I’ll just go home and forget the burger. First, though, I’ll just shut my eyes for a minute. My hands feel good when I put my head down.

“Hey, Greg,” Jerry says. I barely hear him. “What’s the matter? You taking a nap? Greg?” I can feel him shake me, but I have no interest in waking up. His voice gets further away, and I think he says, “Oh, my God, Sophie, call 911, quick.” Now the room goes silent.

Author Bio.

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories.  His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The latest Circumstances of Childhood a family life story is available as of October 1st, 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books:

My GRL, His Revenge and Our Justice

Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

 

Listen

 

Can you hear a moon beam

As it whispers on the wind?

Can you see the hand of God

Resting on your skin?

 

Do you feel the spirit

Warm around your heart?

Do you know for certain

You’ve made the perfect start?

 

Will you be the best

That you could ever be?

Will you pay attention

To things you cannot see?

 

Are you now forever

The person that is best?

Are you living fully

Gently with the rest?

 

What are you afraid of

That stops you being true?

What are you remembering

Of the One that made you, you?

 

Can you hear the words

Spoken from within?

Safe with Him forever

Will you now begin?

Poo Soup    

 

I am sure I misheard

The words that you said

You asked if I’d rather

Consider you dead?

 

I know that’s not right

But it’s now in my head.

Such silly old me

You asked about bread!

 

There’s soup on the menu

I like that, I do

What’s on today?

You say that it’s poo?

 

Creamed, you continue

It’s special you see.

I know this is wrong

But, with a chaser of pee?

 

This restaurant is new

With a speciality palate

I am not quite there.

So the onion’s a shallot?

 

I long for the day

When food was a breeze

A coffee was simple

And sweets were a tease

 

Now latte’s are half-fat

And waste’s on the menu

I don’t understand

That food’s now a venue!

 

I’ll just drink my tea

And snack on a chip.

Maybe I’m asleep,

And this is a trip!

A Blast from the Past

 

A Time For Change ( June 2013)
No I am not talking about changing your politics or changing your underwear . . . although . . . never mind.  I am talking about changing attitudes.    Not everyone has a problem with people who are different, just a notable minority. That process of changing their attitudes is on going and never ending.  Where we can make a huge difference is in ourselves, our attitudes.  Yes we are ambassadors for everyone in a wheelchair but we are also ambassadors to ourselves.

I have often joked that the legs at the end of my hips weren’t mine. They certainly were not acting like we had any kind of relationship. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t stand and if I wanted to move my foot I had to use my hands to do it.  Ever since I was told that I needed to give myself permission to fail occassionally I have been rethinking my legs.  Because I have no other legs to change to I will have to find a way to get along with the ones I have. As a parent did you ever have a child that would not listen to you, would not obey any rules you laid down? Those without children, did you ever have a dog that refused to come when you called?  Well my errant appendages are like that.  Did you stop loving your child or your dog because of a difference of opinion? No, you found a way to make it work.  I have an arm that is awkward to use.  It doesn’t open properly and I can’t straighten it out fully.  So I do more things with my other arm.  I adapt.  People are capable of adapting to almost any situation it just takes time and effort, and a lot of thought.

I spoke to a man once who had lost one leg to diabetes.  He was inquiring about buying my van.  During the course of the very pleasant conversation I learned that he had just recently lost his leg.  I was surprised.  My illness came on me very slowly over a period of years.  He went from two legs to one in a matter of minutes.  I don’t care how much you prepare for such an event it must have been traumatic. This man was upbeat, laughing, totally in control.  He had made peace with his situation and was in the process of adapting to it.  This man was and is an inspiration to me.  Here I am frustrated with my legs and he is moving on with his life.  I must admit I was a little ashamed of myself.  I can get hung up with such unimportant things.  I am a well-adjusted (sort of), intelligent woman.  I can adjust when I need to, it just takes a little effort.  And perhaps a change of attitude.

 

A Blast from the Past

I was looking over my posts from 2013 and thought people might enjoy this one. It is a little long but it does give a peak into my mind. (Scary place!) I didn’t make any changes.

This was posted February 5, 2013. I hope you enjoy it.

The Philosophy

I do not understand why it is considered more desirable to give up than to try harder.  It is possible you will not succeed, but you only truly fail when you don’t try. I have given in on many fronts and now I wonder if I was premature.  The doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists all told me it would be easier to give in and accept my situation.  I would never work again, never walk, never again be a contributing member of society. They told me I needed 24hr care. After I cried and spent some time being REALLY depressed, and then I got cranky.  I am one hell of a lot better since I stopped listening to THEM.  I am not done fighting.

What is it that makes us who we are?  What is it about one person that makes them pick up a gun and kill another?  Others have had as rough a time as them but they don’t resort to violence. What is different about the person we regard as ‘saintly’ and another as ‘a schmuck’?  I don’t believe there is a black and white answer but then that is what makes life so interesting, the not knowing.

Thousands perhaps millions have been spent on research to try and figure out the human quotient. WHY?  It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to change a light bulb so why do we insist we need an expert.  Have a little faith in yourself and give it a try.  You might throw some light on the situation.  Each and every one of us is different from the other.  Even identical twins are different in many ways.  We are ourselves. Once we figure that out the rest is icing on the cake.  We are all part of the same race: the human race.  Many of us are also a part of the rat race.  I must say some people are more a part of the rat part of that race than others but I digress. There is the foot race, the car race, the race to the end of the day, the race to get your groceries, the race. . . is a pattern developing?  Take a little time, smell the roses, loiter a bit, you might like it.

Have you ever noticed that when a stranger is dealing with someone with a disability they tend to speak louder, or assume they are not too bright, or couldn’t care about a situation?  Well I have.  Not often thankfully, but more times than is reasonable.  I have, on occasion, answered rather tersely that “I have a disability, I’m not stupid.   Don’t treat me as if I am!!”  That usually gets me a blank stare, rarely an apology.

People have to realize that I was a person before I was disabled.  Ergo, I am a person with a disability, not a disabled person.  Cars are disabled, electrical appliances are disabled, not people.  And for the record I am not CHALLENGED.  Everyone faces personal challenges.  That is simply a phrase intended to make people without disabilities appear to sympathize instead of pity.  “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet . . .” Pity by any other name is still pity, and it ain’t pretty!  I don’t need your pity I need you to treat me like a person.  HELLO, I am a person!  Stop looking at the wheelchair and heaving a quiet sigh of relief that our roles are not reversed.  Accept me for who I am, not what disease I deal with.  I want people to see me, not my wheelchair.  I AM HERE!

Okay, enough of the sermon.  I can get rather riled.  Of course you may not have notice?????

Each individual must look deep within themselves and decide what they want to do.  Okay winning a big lottery is not what I meant.  But rather, do you want to live or do you want to have a life.  The first is easy, just keep breathing.  The second is much harder if your living circumstances are compromised.  For example, you used to be a dancer, now you can’t walk.  Modify your criteria.  Write about dance, design dance studios, etc.  It won’t be easy to find something that you love, can do, and get satisfaction from.  Life is still worth living even if the playing field has changed.  Change your approach or change the field to accommodate you.  You have a lot of years invested in yourself, DO NOT GIVE UP, OR GIVE IN.  Life is for the living and there is still a lot of living to be done!

I have two feline companions.  Sometimes I look at my cats and I wonder if they are happy.  Am I off in some strange tangent?  Not really.  Are you happy?  My cats are fed, brushed, played with, cuddle, etc.  But they don’t get to experience the great outdoors.  Are they missing out on life or are they safe inside where they can live.  I don’t know.  I do know that I am not a cat.  I need the interaction with those outside my apartment, the great outdoors.  I need to be needed and I need to contribute in some way.  My cats need a clean litter box.  I need a life, preferably my own.  Now I have to find a way to get what I need.  My cats need me, but that is not enough.  I need to be important, even if it is in only a small way.  If my words, my tirade helps one person then I have contributed in a positive way.  Is my work here done?  Not by a long shot.  I have years to go before I sleep and people to pester on my route.  And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Here is a question for the Philosopher in you.  Are we programmed to fail?  Think about it.  If a Doctor or someone in authority tells us we will fail does that presuppose that we will fail?  How about the alternative?  If a Doctor or someone in authority shows enough faith in us and encourages us to win, to overcome our difficulties, does that not then predispose us to succeed?  The power of the mind is an exceptional thing.  It is a machine (in simplest terms) that ‘programs’ our body and our behaviour.  How then do we ‘reprogram’ this marvelous tool?  I don’t know. But now that I have thought about it, I am going to find out.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to BELIEVE in oneself.  Let’s face it, we can’t change the facts.   We have MS (or any other really bad condition), that is self-evident.   What isn’t self-evident is how we live with it.  Yes certain realities will have to be met, the scooter, the canes, the wheelchair, etc., etc., etc.  When you wake up in the morning, make a conscious decision to smile, to live that day to the utmost.   Make the decision to LIVE not just exist.  The truth of the matter is that death is easy, living is hard.  And anything worth having is worth the effort.  Anyone who lives with a debilitating condition knows just what an effort that can be.  So concentrate on the positive.  Accentuate the positive.  You get better parking.  You have a youthful appearance. You have all your teeth/hair.  You get the idea.  It may take a little time to find the positive in your situation but it can be done, with, you guessed it, a little effort.

 

(I didn’t even fix the spelling mistake!_