Monday, January 28, 2013

Tom Swift

This entry is dedicated to Tom Swift, ALS warrior and friend who passed away January 24th: Someday I hope that others will see the Jesus in me as easily as they saw Him in you.

In the wake of recent events, much has been made of the ability to form real relationships with people we have only met online.  For many of us in the ALS community, the internet has allowed us to get to know others who share our experiences and the friendships we form are no less real than those we have with people we see regularly.  Every once in awhile we are fortunate enough to find a friend that  we just click with - you know, the kind of friend that whether it has been two days, two months or two years you can pick right up where you left off.  I have been blessed with two such friends from my life before ALS - Paul Stork and Cliff Ford, and two internet PALS - Jason Pacetti and Tom Swift, who have now both passed on. As I considered these friendships, I recalled the commitment I made when I was diagnosed; first, I would not lose my faith in God, second I would not lose my sense of humor.  I realized that Jason shared my quirky sense of humor and among other things, Paul, Cliff and Tom are all men of great faith. With this in mind, I believe the best way to honor Tom is to share  the faith that meant so much to him.

Since I entered into a personal relationship with Jesus, my eyes have seen the world in a whole new way.  I guess this should not surprise me since the Bible says "therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things  have become new."(2 Cor 5:17)  One thing I never get tired of are the ways God reveals how intimately and personally He knows me.  Now not everything is always easy for believers (hello ALS), but I can't imagine  even a normal life without Christ much less dealing with the day to  day difficulties of ALS without Him.  John 3:16 promises " God so loved the world that He sent His only son, so whoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have eternal life." If you do not have a relationship with Jesus or if you are unsure of going to heaven, please pray the prayer:

Dear Jesus, I believe that you are the son of God who died on the cross for my sins. I repent of my sins and accept the forgiveness your death made possible. I believe you rose on the third day and are seated with God the Father in heaven; I ask you to come into my heart and be lord of my life from this day forward.  Amen.

Welcome to the family, if you prayed this prayer for the first time, please let me know in the comments section.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Enter the Sandman

Let's start the new year off with some fun and games, and what better place to start than the bedroom.  Here are the rules: Each player will need one partner, you may set up your bed however you like before you get into the bed. Now let the fun and challenge begin- the player gets into bed and lies on their back and remains there without moving arms or legs. You can not turn over, scrach an itch, get a drink of water, turn or fluff your pillow or even get up to use the restroom; this is where your partner comes in. If  you get uncomfortable and need to move, simply and politely wake up your partner and ask them to help you move. Repeat as often as necessary throughout the night.

It should be fairly obvious that is how a PALs must sleep every night and also give you an idea of what our partners and spouses go through every night. The statistics vary  widely but say that an adult turns or moves between 20 and 200 times a night, I can safely recommend you don't wake your partner anywhere near that many times at your own risk. So let's say you ignore most of the urges to move during the night, but are stiff and need to turn twice and make a trip to the restroom. Even at this greatly reduced number, you will be waking your partner about every two hours during the night.  Now take into account that most of our spouses get up and go off  to a full time job and you can imagine how the constantly interrupted sleep leaves them feeling.

I started this "game" as a way to demonstrate what a PALs goes through at night, but quickly realized it is even more important to recognize what our partners endure. So a great big thank you to my bride  and all the other partners of PALs who sacrifice day and night.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Year in Review

Like  so many of  you, my year had it's share of  ups and downs. Some people may be surprised that while dealing with the physical ravages of ALS I am still able to enjoy life, but please remember that I'm still the same old Kevin, sports loving, lsu hating, sharply sarcastic, smart, Jesus loving and sometimes funny but always silly.  So here is my year:

  • Low- respiratory failure in January and two months in a rehab hospital. while there had a real scare and had to be rushed to the emergency room. i was on tube feeding for over a month and you know i like to eat.
  • high- in the days prior to my surgery i was sedated on profaphol and don't remember but the whole family came in. also i was ALLEGEDLY quite entertaining during this time  because the drugs erased my filter - I may have offered to rub Demi's butt, told my nurse it was my turn to give her a bath, got mad at my sister because she wouldn't hide under my bed and asked my doctor and possibly my pastor for a  hooker
  • low- Spent Mardi Gras, my birthday, Labor day and Thanksgiving in the hospital; spent August and half of November fighting pneumonia
  • high- more than 30 family and friends came to celebrate my birthday at the LTAC; home visits from so many friends- Pat & Kim, Donna Jo, Matt and his beers, James, my girlfriend Cyndi and so many more 
  • low- lost many friends this year, some i knew quite well and others were internet friends who lost their fights with the beast. RIP Sean, Scott, Donnie and Don, Ann, Big Al, Michelle, Tizzie and the other warriors
  • high - We welcomed new family members when Michelle married Sean in a beautiful ceremony cliff side in California in July. Then Kyle & Eden gave us our second grandson, Anthony Joseph born August 7th; and he was soon joined by Elizabeth Rose born August 30th to Nolan and Sarah.
  • low - i have lost almost all movement in my arms and legs so i go from bed to chair and back.
  • high - still get out to do the things i like - went to Hayley's wedding, Festival International, the movies, church and life group, and two Tulane games including homecoming on the field with the cheerleaders

In a category all alone as a continuing high point is the love and support i receive from so many especially Mary who is my primary caretaker, Brooke and Shana my home health nurses, pastor Jacob and pastor Rob and our entire OSC family and my beautiful bride Gina who celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary in December. I look forward to  2013 and pray that God will continue to use my life to encourage, inspire and motivate others so let's do this!