Saturday, January 21, 2012

Delaney & Taylor, Who says 13 year olds don't get it?

First of all I won't pretend I'm Denise writing this blog. If you notice any problems with punctuation, sentence structure, or grammar please send all complaints to Mrs. Kennedy, my high school English  teacher. Remember when we used to just call it English, not Patterns of Communication or Literacy Works? How things have changed, but I digress...   About a week before Thanksgiving I was approached by two past students of mine at Meadow Glens. Delaney and Taylor were my students from kindergarten to fifth grade. They are now seventh graders at Madison Junior High. I absolutely loved having them in class back in the day. As it turns out they had both taken an interest in running. Isn't that interesting? Maybe I'm rubbing off on people.     Anyway, they saw a newspaper article on Facebook about what Denise and I were going through and sprang into action. It seems that they had a service project coming up in Social Studies class and instead of volunteering at a homeless shelter or something else they wanted to do something "for someone who mattered to them." That's where I come in. I cannot tell you how humbling that simple statement was to me. I get all choked up whenever I think about it.  In the article it said I was going to push Denise in a full marathon in New Jersey on the first Sunday  in May, and along with that I was trying to raise $26,200 (a marathon is 26.2 miles) for the Les Turner ALS foundation.  That's where the strange number came from. Basically a thousand dollars a mile. Pretty aggressive goal but reachable, thanks to Delaney and Taylor.    So the girls decided to put on a dodgeball tournament to help me with my fundraising goal. Their goal was $5,000 which I thought was awesome. How cool would it be if they could reach their goal while helping me reach mine. So on the week Thanksgiving, Dodgin' 4 Lou Gehrig's Disease was born. These girls were on to something, something big.   The way in which these girls went about this event would probably impress a 20 year veteran of fundraising. They sold oodles of Dodgin' 4 Lou Gehrig's Disease bracelets for $2 a piece, got M&M Orthopaedics to spring for all the T-shirts for volunteers and players, and instead of 15 to 16 teams they ended up with 22! They also created a Facebook page that has over 200 friends, rounded up 30 volunteers to help with the day's events, and the back of the event day program listed over 70 families and businesses who helped sponsor this event.  These girls are wise beyond their years; I'm sure they learned a lot along the way. For a first time event everything ran smoothly and a good time was had by all. Denise and I stayed for the whole event and were so impressed by the "community feel" through out the Field House.     The success of this event was so beautiful. I can't fathom the amount of work that had to go into an event of this magnitude. The girls raised over $13,000 for the Les Turner ALS foundation. Almost three times their original goal. To watch them during the event was a blessing. They thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the event from planning to participating. I was so glad they could enjoy the day and see it all happen in front of their eyes. So many times In life you have all the hoopla leading up to an event and then "BAM!" it's gone and you don't remember a thing. These girls will remember this event always, a great life lesson.     Finally, what more can I say about Delaney and Taylor? I feel as if I had a front row seat to an actually blessing from God with the help of these girls. They single handedly changed my perception of today's youth. They are focused and want to be part of change. They want ALS to be cured. They believe they can help make it happen. They are making Dodgin' 4 Lou Gehrig's Disease a yearly event with an even bigger goal in mind. These girls "get it." I am so humbled to have been a beneficiary of their kindness and grace. What a blessing these two teenagers are.     Only thing left to do, run a marathon pushing my wife, Denise. It's not going to be easy pushing "Porky" but when I'm struggling towards the end nothing will stop me from reaching my goal. All I need to do is remember back to  January 13, 2012 and that above all will get me across the finish.  P.S. Please take a minute to check out the links to the right under Home to read more about the marathon and the tournament.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Dry Run...

While I realize many of you may be thinking its time to move on to another topic and put the potty issues behind us... believe me when I tell you, I share your sentiments,and would have liked to report that the dilemma was resolved but that has not been the case.  So hang in there, and try to summon the courage to continue reading. You may find yourself wanting to look away but feeling compelled to peek the way you do when passing a car wreck...

The private garments arrived via the Internet and so the day came when I ventured out, fully outfitted for the Dry Run! I'd like to point out that this was an attempt to gauge comfort and feasibility, with the expectation to be somewhat uneventful and to quite literally experience a dry run, pun intended!  

I had no such luck, and learned quickly that I could not depend on Depends to fIt my bottom snugly enough to hold the inevitable deluge...proving my theory that they could not possibly work for a everyone between 115-190 lbs. Not having planned for the possibility of a wet run, at the age of 49, I had my first ever Commando can stop laughing now!

Desperate for a solution, I finally called to schedule "The Big Fancy Test" I had been avoiding. The directions for test preparation included arriving with a full bladder. Really? You must be joking! If a had the ability to arrive with a full bladder and not lose control, I would not need the test! I opted for sipping some water on the ride there, in hopes that some would make it to my bladder before the test began, this appeared to suffice.

The technition who performed the test was very pleasant and explained the procedure in detail before she began inserting tiny long tubes with electronic sensors in very private places. Once again humbled by the embarrassment of my business exposed, and with the added pleasure of being wired to measure fluid levels and contractions, I decided this was the equivalent of having Chris in the delivery room, had we shared the experience of the birth of a child. This was a new level of intimacy that would certainly enhance our marriage...good grief!

Although, I still maintain the opinion that a non-invasive catheter is an oxymoron, when it was all over and done with, I'd have to admit it was not that bad. I'd been through worse, and I had minimal discomfort following the procedure. 

Two weeks later, we met with the doctor, our own Christina Yang, and learned that my overactive bladder was contracting intensely when it was filled far below capacity but it was otherwise functioning normally. Since the medication I was taking was not helping, there were two others I could try before resorting to more radical approaches to resolving the problem. 

She went on to describe a procedure where they use a pacemaker to regulate the nerve impulses that cause the contractions, and although that sounded interesting, I was still hoping one of the two medications we had yet to try would do the trick. In the meantime the nurse suggested we try the XL size kids pull ups, as I would likely fit into the size range and prevent leakage in the event of another incident.

Another two weeks have passed since I started the new medication and I am happy to report that it appears to be working. Unfortunately, there were some side effects I should have paid more attention to that resulted in an unscheduled visit to the ER last week, but with extra fluids and a extra large bowl of Raisin Bran every day, I hope to avoid a sequel to that unpleasant trauma...

While the pull ups with the cute butterflies, hearts, and peace signs are much easier to laugh about, I'm ready to give them up now... So let's hope this is the last you'll hear of my dysfunctional plumbing; I think we're ready for some new material...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Always Looking Sexy...

When we got home from the last plumbing appointment, I read through the paperwork describing the two tests that would be potential next steps, and decided the prescription was going to have to work! 

I began taking the medication and tried to convince myself it was working, but three weeks later, I was still unsure that anything had changed. I took some time to research the medication online, and read that you could take as much as 10mg daily and I was only at 5mg. So, I decided to call and ask if we could increase the dosage, hoping that would work. I was given the green light and informed that sometimes the medication took time to work and to give it a few weeks.

Wanting desperately to avoid the tests, I increased the dosage and willed myself to believe it was making a difference... but in the end, in the battle of mind over matter,  my will could not prevail, and embarrassing events began to occur more often than I'd like to admit. 

It had gotten to the point that I had to seriously limit my fluid intake, especially if I dared to push my luck and leave the house, but it really wasn't the best solution as the lack of fluids in general made me feel worse. 

While at the clinic for a study visit, a sample was requested, and since I was unable to comply,  I had to admit to my less than brilliant strategy of fluid limitation.  I was warned of the harmful effects of dehydration, and encouraged to utilize protective products to deal with the situation. After all these high tech garments were invented for the astronauts, there's no reason why I should be embarrassed about using them!

Oh sure... Use the high tech argument with the geek! Just because I like computers, and software doesn't mean I'd be eager to wear Depends!  However, I had to humbly admit, I needed to try some kind of a protective garment, at the very least when out of the house for extended periods of time. 

Okay, so the way I figured it, the most discreet way to handle this would be shopping for them on the Internet, and seemed to carry everything I've needed so far, and the search commenced. 

I wasn't prepared for the expansive selection, and the attempts at persuasive marketing to lure potential buyers. Although I needed them, it was apparent to me that I was not their target customer when I felt no excitement after reading "Now in new soft peach!"

The product features were interesting: 
Size: small/medium fits 115 - 190 lbs -This was of concern to me; how is it possible that one garment could properly fit individuals that range 75 lbs in body weight?  

Two ways to change: step-in & pull-up OR easy change with 4 secure Velcro® closures, sounded too much like the description on diapers for toddlers. 

Maximum absorbency, captures and locks in odor, okay, sounds useful...

Quiet and comfortable, you mean to tell me these make noise when you wear them? That ought to be hilarious!

Made in the USA from domestic and imported materials... Seriously?

And Unisex? It's been a while since I had to purchase diapers for my daughter, but I do remember them being gender specific, why would that change for adults?

At any rate... I had to make a choice and none of the options were going to come close to matching my favorite French lace bras, so I had to find some way to have fun when it came time for a dry run with my new undergarments.   And well... wearing my matching panties over the soft peach granny pants doesn't mean I've lost my mind, it's just an example of my resilient sense of humor!

Sorry Honey... ALS does not stand for Always Looking Sexy!