Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Helping the Birds

Our dryer is out in the shed. That's where several people around here have their dryer hookups. So when I do laundry, I have to take the wet clothes from the washing machine in the kitchen, and go outside to the shed in the carport. You might think that's a crazy place for a dryer until you consider that this is Louisiana. In Louisiana summer temps can break 110 with stupid ease. In tiny houses like ours, having a massive heat element inside when you're trying to keep cool is counterproductive. But then, I didn't want to go on and on about drying clothes in the shed. I want to talk to you about birds. Stupid birds. Better than that, I want to talk to you about helping them.

Yesterday, I walked into the carport and thought that the dryer had suffered a blowout. Lint was everywhere. The dryer was fine however so I dismissed the issue until later. I brought the issue up with my wife later on the phone. It wasn't a complaint, rather "hey, guess what happened to me today". That's when she informed me in casual repose that she tossed the lint out into the yard and it must have blown into the carport.

Before I go any further, let me toss one point in that will quickly become important. It's been raining here. It's been raining a lot.

Now dear wife explained to me that she avoided the trash can standing next to the dryer, took the lint out and tossed it over the backyard gate in order to help the birds. Stupid birds.

ME: Do you think the birds need your help?

HER: Well, no, but it's nice to do.

Is it now? Well folks, let me ask you; have you ever seen a pile of wet lint? I have. Just past my backyard gate, draped over one of my son's toys he left out. It looks like an 80 pound cat hawked up half its fur. It's about as pleasant to step in, I can tell you that. Feeling the mass slide under my shoe had me thinking of anything except wet lint.

Do the birds really need out help with nesting materials? Has anyone gone outside and actually looked at the ground lately? Birds don't need our help. Arguably, they get too much of it already in our super littered world. And what are these birds good for? All a bird does is eat bugs, pump out eggs and crap on cars. No, I know better than that. Don't get mad. But seriously, they don't need our help.

But then she said this: "I've seen them make nests with ribbon."

This morning as I write this I would like to point out that she is not giving them ribbons. It's hairball material from the guts of the dryer. It's hair, dirt, and clothing fragments. I know I did not step on a pile of slimy ribbon. I have yet to see the dryer regurgitate ribbons as our laundry's cast off. No. It's not ribbons. It's crap.

So, it seems I must suggest an alternative or two. 1) Give them actual ribbons maybe? 2) Toss out bird seed; it's far more entertaining than stepping slime. And it's a far better way to enjoy your birds.

I love my wife very much and she knows this is all in good humor. Be well everyone.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Throw the spaghetti!

It's been a tough MS week over here. When I make spaghetti, I break the strands in half. Normally that's no problem for me, but last night I lost my grip and threw them all over the stove top. A couple caught fire and I went into panic mode. This triggered the beginning of a sensory overload because of the sudden stress and panic. Normally such an accident would be hilarious, but I wasn't seeing that at the time. My wife came to my rescue and helped me pick up all the noodles like a game of pickup sticks. Dinner wasn't ruined and we got on fine. If it weren't for a stark hatred of MS, I might of felt like laughing later, because it had to be just a little bit funny. I have these days once in a while where I go from dropping something, to immediately tripping over it, than standing up and bumping my head on a cabinet door. If anyone saw me, they wouldn't be able to help themselves in laughing. I wouldn't be feeling it though.

Several days have been rocky like this so far. Today, not so bad. I'm inking new artwork and pushing forward in my projects.

That's just how it works. It  grabs you and throws you down and you struggle to get up for a day or few. You utter some choice words as you spill and drop things or throw them all over the room because you flinched weird. It's hard to see the slapstick comedy of such accidents when they feel more like an insult from your medical condition. But there it is.

Tough MS days also come hand in hand with depression. Your enthusiasm is about as active as a dead fish. That's been mine the past couple of days. I recognize it too. I know it's happening and I'm open to admit it during the course. And I feel bad because it rubs off on others and makes the day sad for everyone. So I have an internal wrestling match, trying to cough up a chuckle or two. Sometimes it works, but it feels fake to me. And it is.

What can you do when you are having a low MS time? Not much. Ride it out. Get an extra nap in. Take a walk if you can. Watch funny movies. All the basic tools against depression as you wait for the MS tide to go back out again. When you do feel better, you best take advantage of it. Try to do those projects that you've had to put off for days on end.

Finally, you have to remember that it's not your fault. You have MS and it's a rotten demon to live with. You didn't ask for it or invite to live with you. It pushed its way through the door on its own. Keep your chin up and keep fighting the good fight.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Multiple Sclerosis: What you don't see

I saw this image today on Facebook from MSstation and knew what I would be writing about today. First, let me tell you that MSstation is an educational group page on living with MS. If you live with MS and you are on Facebook, check them out. On this infographic there is a list of what we live with in MS.

Numbness and Tingling sensations are both listed and they go hand in hand. I can't sit in one position for long or my legs will give me hell. It feels like circulatory problems. According to tests, my circulation is fine. It's the MS.

Tinnitus: ringing in the ears. I don't get this one as often, but I have it about once a month.

Trigeminal Neuralgia: There's a fun one to say. It's a nerve condition that causes shooting pains in the face. I get what feels like cramps around my ears and into my jaw.

Speech and Swallowing difficulties: Oh yes. I bite myself while trying to talk and mess up words into gibberish. I also have esophageal spasms throughout the day. They make it look like I'm choking, but I'm not. They can cause actual choking if I'm trying to eat.

Optic Neuritis-Diplopia and Nystagmus: In order they are inflammation of the optic nerve, double vision and involuntary eye movements. My vision used to be awesome and it still kind of is; except when I can't focus my vision. Because this happen intermittently, glasses won't help. So my vision can come and go. May have my regular awesome vision one day, blurry the next.

Depression. Who wouldn't get depressed? I've dealt with depression all my life. This explains a lot.

Bladder Control. I definitely have to go more than I used to. I also have a stretched bladder due to my career before being disabled. Basically, I was too busy with emergencies to stop for bathroom breaks. But that's another story.

Tremors. The bane of an artist. My handwriting was never good, but it's horrid now. I used to able to write letters, but now they must be typed. I have to make a lot of adjustments for my artwork. The finer the detail I try to draw, the more it will just be a wavy mess.

Restless Leg Syndrome. My legs will kick or just shudder. Tough MS days always make this worse.

Insomnia. I definitely get sleepless nights. This can be made worse by fatigue that takes me down during the day and messes up my sleep cycle.

Nocturia. Overnight waking up to urinate. Like sleep problems weren't already an issue.

Constipation. Nuff said.

The MS 'hug'. It feels like you have a vice around your ribs and your being crushed. Mostly I just get a cramp on one side of my ribs, but it's pretty painful.

Balance issues/stumbles/trips/falls: There's a T-shirt out there that says: I'm not drunk, I have MS. Get the idea?

Dizziness/vertigo: This can be triggered by nearly anything. Sitting up, standing up, bending over, kneeling, or a jolt of physical exertion. It's hard hitting and the landscape looks and feels like it's tilting sideways for me.

Headaches and migraines. Hand in hand with everything else that happens at head level.

Cognitive Issues. I have trouble finding words and get confused over nothing at times.

Debilitating fatigue. Anything can exhaust me for no visible reason. Basic household chores have to be done in parts to make it through my day. Fatigue makes all the other problems act up worse.

A couple I'm adding:

Joint failure: Particularly in my knees. It's like having someone tap you behind them to make you dip. I've fallen a couple of times as a result. I also drop things or miss when I reach for something and smash my hand into something.

Susceptible to temperature and barometric pressure: Moderate temps are fine. Heat will sap energy fast and cold just makes everything tighten up.

Every single thing your body does is dependent on your nervous system. Without your nerves, your heart will not beat, your lungs will not breathe, your organs will not process and ultimately you will die. That's why it's important to slow the process of MS any way possible. I have injections for this and there are new medications being worked on even now.

So, for all you see on the surface, there is a war going on underneath.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sensory APP for therapy worth a look

Routine, routine, routine. If anyone is sensitive to routine, it's our autism kids. Not only that, there's a massive amount of sensory built into this. It can make your world chaos in more ways than one.

Recently I was approached through my Galaxy Zento page and told about an app that helps with schedule and sensory routines. I don't have an iphone because I'm archaic, but if you do you should check this out. LINK.

Sensory Processing Therapy is by Sensory Treat Ltd. Not only does the app have suggestions for activities but you can schedule and tailor to your child's specific needs. It boasts over 100 color coded activity illustrations. The activities are designed by occupational therapists (be sure to click on the description on the page for a very comprehensive list of possibilities).

Of course I'm posting some of the screen shots here, but if you scroll sideways on the page where the screen shots are, you will see several more.

I'm amazed at what's possible here and the suggestions for kids activities. Not only can you form a routine that works with your day and your child's needs, but they all have therapeutic value. I'm impressed.

You can put in your child's entire daily routine, enhance it and schedule the simplest of tasks or events. We all know how the littlest things have a mountain of effect on our kids. This is like having an assistant to help guide you while you spend your time redirecting and working with your child. It looks to me like an app that can help regardless of your child's functioning level.

Our kids' success is all about having the proper supports. This may just be one of them. Now it is pretty new so there aren't reviews to show. But I think they have demonstrated the possibilities very well in what you see.

One of my exact purposes in writing this blog is bringing things to my fellow autism parents that may be of help to them. I think this is worth a good look.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Helping a friend: What would you do?

He's the giant on the right
Everything I can and that is what I'm doing. I want to introduce you to a friend of mine. His name is Ircik "Tim" Homstad and he's a student of University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He's had an uphill battle and been dished more than his fair share of crap. All the while he never gives up.

This man served his country in the US Marine Corps where he was permanently affected/injured by chemicals. Currently, he's fighting cancer for the second time, but things look promising with chemo.

He's fought to maintain a good life. He ran his own security company. Then he found work trucking and had some more bad luck. It wasn't his turn to drive so he was getting some down time in the back when the semi was rolled. The crash was devastating and, for a man his size, he's luck to be walking as well as alive.

But more injuries of permanent nature and long waits with insurance is what he got for it. He's still struggling with the injuries today.

Now, he's been a student for some time and doesn't have far to go for his degree. But he's tapped out resources for tuition and needs 2,504 dollars to stay in school. Of course, the school could be more understanding, but they want their money by Tuesday January 20th. That's why I'm breaking my blogging schedule to put this out.

He's my friend and a good friend at that. There's every good reason to help a friend stay in school, especially with the world we live in today. Especially when he keeps on kicking no matter what life throws at him.

To sum up, he's dealing with injuries from an accident AND cancer AND trying to stay in school. Let's help a guy out.  Here's the Gofundme page at this LINK.

Oh, this just in: proof of his owed amount to University of Nebraska, Lincoln:

Monday, January 12, 2015

The great Muslim debate

Ever present in my Facebook feed, are the commentaries regarding Muslims. Some people say they want to kill every single one of us. Others say that only the extremists want to kill us. I've come to a couple points of logic on the matter.

The thoughts come to me by comparing our own Christian bible with the talking points on the Quran. I'm sure you know the ones I'm talking about. The ones that say to kill all infidels? And it's true, the Quran does say that all "enemies" or non-believers should be killed. Yet, in all fairness, our own bible does much the same thing, having roots in the same area of the world.

Take 2 Kings 2:23 for example where the Prophet Elisha called a curse down on some unruly children causing them to be mauled by bears.

Deuteronomy 25:11 where it explains that any woman who harms a mans family jewels shall have her hand cut off. Show her no mercy. So all you ladies out there who ever kicked a man in the nads, so sorry!

Deuteronomy 23:1 where it explains that any man who has had his nuts crushed or unit removed may never enter Heaven. If you want to really put this in perspective, Google Lorena Bobbitt. Never mind all us poor saps who've ever been racked in life.

But here's the thing (while some of you are fuming at me for supposed mockery), I've never been to a church service where any of these things were taught to me. Have you? I'd say I've been to a fair share of services. Not one, not a single solitary one ever taught me to cut anyone's hand off for messing with my junk. I've been to a variety of churches too!

Yes. Those things are in the Bible. Why? Historical significance. They are not there for us to teach people to do in this day and age. Funny how similar that is to the Quran. So maybe we should stop looking at the book and start looking at the people?

The way I see it now, there are two kinds of Muslim. One kind is chopping off heads and declaring that we all need to die. The other condemns this behavior. Oh wait, I've seen comments where people don't believe that. Let me show you:

Go on, check it out. And there are more gatherings just like it under #notinmyname. It's a vast movement with Muslim citizens in France, Germany, England, and yeah, even the good ol US. For some reason, they don't agree with going around beheading people. Imagine that! 

So no; not all Muslims want us dead. It's time we learned the difference.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Sherri Tenpenny stirs media firestorm in Australia

Sherri Tenpenny is understandably frustrated. She's due to visit Australia in February and March with intentions on doing some public speaking on the evils of vaccines. Unfortunately for her, she's having a hard time finding a venue for her little show. The reason for this is substantial public outcry that's making local businesses think twice before accepting Tenpenny's "Get rid of SIDS" production. But, if she's so renowned, why is she having so much trouble?

The first thing she and her "company" did wrong was to mis-represent themselves. "Get rid of SIDS" is nothing but a platform for "Get rid of vaccines". Her opponents in Australia and more than one of the venues she wanted, thought her attempt seemed hoakie and dishonest in its presentation. In my opinion, Dr. Tenpenny knew exactly what the public response would be if she called it what it really was. So she veiled it and tried to pass it off as something else. No one likes underhandedness. That got the fire started.

Now her followers are hopping mad and making things worse for her. They recently compared the opposition to Tenpenny to the terrorists who killed 12 people in France this week. Does that sound like the rationale of people you'd want to let into your country? There is currently a process of decision regarding revoking Tenpenny's visa. Behavior of this kind will likely become a determining factor. Of course, causing civil unrest is a major factor already.

Before that, her followers started calling out "FREEDOM OF SPEECH!" in their demands to let her into Australia. Uh, Australia has no such amendment in their constitution. Besides that, it's their country and they can decide who gets to come in any way they damn well want. Freedom of speech is not a magic weapon that gives you access to any door you want to crash through. This is especially true when it comes to entering someone else's country. Freedom of speech, does not protect you from public backlash of what you represent. Just another area of distasteful behavior on the anti-vax side that is going to affect the decision making process.

The very fact that Tenpenny wants to go there and charge people 200 bucks a head to listen to her flap her lips about getting rid of vaccines in the guise of preventing SIDS has a moral majority of people really pissed off over there. Yes, she charges 200 dollars per person to attend her "seminar". Interestingly enough, that's the cost of a lifetime of vaccines (not including flu). But, as anti-vaxxers often say, it's all about money.

There is one more bit that's just plain sneaky. Word has it that Tenpenny is applying for a vacationing visa when she needs a business visa. If that's true she could face criminal charges in Australia. But I think getting revoked is the more likely response.

So let's add this up. Unprofessional sneakiness + rabid irrational followers+ causing civil unrest before even getting there= NO you can't come into our country. Pretty simple.