Coronavirus | When Does The Cycle End?

I wasn’t going to talk about this. I didn’t want to be another echo in a steady line of chatter, but I have realized two things about this Coronavirus madness. If this panedemic has taught us anything, it is that we truly are as human beings are only concerned about ourselves and the cliche phrase “history repeats itself” rings true to our new reality.

Before I get too far, I should mention that I hardly watch the news. Honestly, I don’t have to, social media is doing its best that it is plastered in every newsfeed, tweet, and vlog. I understand the panic and worry over your financials; I may be a disabled, but I’m not an idiot! I feel for every person who is sick in the hospital forced away from their families and the ones who are upset about the fact that everything is being cancelled.

For the past two days, I have been going through our DVR watching documentaries that I had piled up for a number of weeks. The two I want to talk to you were broadcast on PBS and a part of it’s American Experience program.

The first was about the outbreak of Influenza in 1918-19. I knew from the time it started it was an older episode because of the quality of color on the screen. It was talking to people who were infected or had members of their own family and possibly friends that were diagnosed with it and died.

It featured a lot of elderly people talk about their childhoods before and after the sickness creped into their cities and towns. What really pulled me in was when the narrator explained that it didn’t start with children and their weak immune systems. Instead it was the soldiers in the army camps that were being taken out first. You have to remember that at the time, World War I was going on and the need for young and healthy men were desperately needed to help fight the cause overseas.

Unfortunately, the war wasn’t the only killing machine out there. When Influenza appeared in the spring of 1918, there is a possibility that 500 million people worldwide came down with the deadly virus. Once the war was over, the men who came home were “healthy” to the naked eye but the disease lingered in their bodies to spread into their families and friends who were happy as clams to have their loved one back. All of a sudden the happiness was shattered when more and more people were being knocked down by the symptoms of the virus. The world was put on pause, and businesses and whole families were put on lockdown.

At this time, radio was the only way people could have contact with the outside. There was no TV for young children who were either bored or sick in their beds. They got by with doing chores, schoolwork, and played with their siblings in their rooms. To me, it is a surprise the stock market didn’t crash when the virus showed up because nobody would go anywhere. They were too afraid to!

Even though mainstream medicine was popular in the homes of American people, some could be superstitious and say that God was punishing them for their sins. Satan was there to claim every single person affected with the influenza. However, like with most sicknesses, as quickly as it came in, it disappeared! It had ended just in time as World War I was over and soldiers stationed in Europe were allowed to return to their homes again. Everyone was back to their old selves like nothing ever happened.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

The next morning I woke up, had breakfast and started watching my second documentary, this time it was about polio. Since this epidemic happened in the 1950’s, the talk about it was discussed a little bit more compared to the influenza outbreak. I heard it through both sides of my grandparents when I was younger. I never heard much talk about it while I was a teen and honestly neither one were discussed in school. You would hear someone talk about a fraction of what happened and that was pretty much it.

So, when I saw American Experience was going to re-air the episode about polio or infantile paralysis I knew it would keep me entertained for the lack of a better word.

Where the influenza had been affecting anyone from the ages to 20 to under 50, polio began to infect children the most. Adults were also struck with it too, such as future President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt or FDR for short. He was the one that everyone talked about in my family. I think it was to possibly show me that at one time we had a disabled President.

Anyways, the program was focused more on the relationship with FDR and his friend Basil O’Connor. He was put in charge of running the President’s fund and resort for more research done on polio. As influenza came and went fairly quickly, polio dragged on and on, infecting as many people as it could at various ages. Polio was known for headaches, dizziness, and eventually the loss of movement, which explains the technical term ‘infantile paralysis’.

If you have ever watched the episode of The Waltons, where their mother becomes diagnosed with polio. In the beginning you see this strong young woman become affected by a dark shadow one day. She could no longer control her arms or legs. She could no longer go outside by herself because it made her unable to walk or do anything by herself. This was common to everyone who had it. They could be permanent paralyzed and at the mercy of their families for support. Although for Mrs. Walton regained the usage of her body at the end of the show.

After Basil O’Connor met Jonas Salk, he began to look into the science behind this nasty curse. In 1953, it was announced that Dr. Salk had discovered the source of the problem and gave treatment on a number of people to test it. A year later it was said that the vaccine had worked and they moved to have it be given to everyone in America. Forty-four years later, it was said that polio had became extinct

Yet here we are again, in our own crisis, dealing with a brand new illness with really no end in sight.

History will continue to repeat itself over and over, to show us what we need to see again. When each sickness rolled into town, people seemed to be kind and stayed at home. They followed quarantine rules and religiously practiced social distancing, so to not affect anybody else with the virus. So, as we keep modern day Americans, Italians, English, etc keep gathering together for fun, we are only making everything worse.

I know you’re bored. I live at home, and rarely get to go out when the air is clear. It’s been over two weeks since I have seen my sister, brother-in-law and little nephew. Yes, I have seen and talked to them on FaceTime, but I love being face-to-face with people. So I ask you to please do everything you can to help eradicate this new virus, so we can go back to our normal lives and forget about it just like our ancestors did before us.

Thank you!

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A-Z Disability Challenge | H : Asking For Help

Yes, I am going to try to get back to my A-Z Disability Challenge! I have been kicking myself for not doing it for so long but I think I am finally ready to start on it again. If you have missed any of the other letters, I have them at the bottom of this post so you can check them out afterwards.

This week I will be talking about the notion of asking for help. Although it is a fairly popular topic of other disability bloggers and YouTubers out there, I think it’s a good idea to have many pieces out there for people of different generations in multiple point of views to help people learn more about what they should do if they ever found themselves in a situation where they want to help, but are not sure on what to say or do at the time.

I will be firstly talking about why a disabled person will probably never ask for help. It’s honestly a mixture of things, I think the most important reason is because we don’t want to look weak. We actually love doing things for ourselves. Every ounce of independence we get, we relish in it for as long as possible. However, the day it runs out, it is a heartbreaking day. For example, after I had my back surgeries in 2002, I wasn’t able to jump back into my regular physical therapy, we did a lot of moving around and my body wasn’t used to all of that yet. Our main objective for me to learn consisted of how to transfer from wheelchair to couch, chairs and toilet. I finally re-learned how to transfer again two years after I recovered. Unfortunately I never learned how to get on my bed by myself, which was probably the biggest blow out of the whole thing. I can scoot down off, but I do not have the strength to pull myself back up anymore.

If you were raised like me, you basically had full rein on what you could do, and it made you feel “normal” for once. We love to challenge ourselves in our daily lives. and being able to learn something new is the biggest drug we can seek out. Unfortunately, some of these challenges can be more complicated with some of our limited movements. So, we can sometimes be slower than not only we would like, but for other people too. I’ve realized in the recent years is that our families are usually the ones that have the lowest points of patience of the bunch for some odd reason! They don’t like to see us struggling, especially our fathers, so they want to “help” us. What they don’t know is that they’re doing more harm, as it is better for us to learn how to complete a task than leaving it for someone else.

I do understand the reason why people feel like they should help us. Even though you should always ask that person if you can lend a hand, we will try our hardest to make sure to let you know we don’t need you. Something you may not know is that we have a huge sense of pride within ourselves. Giving up on anything that lets us be like everybody else is the worst thing possible ever. So, when we can’t finish what we started, we will reluctantly ask for help. We will not be very happy with ourselves, but at that time it will be something that needed to happen.

I have always had a difficult time accepting help. One thing that I despise is when someone close to me will automatically do something for me, when they know I can clearly do it. I love trying to find new things to do with my feet, nothing really makes more happy in life than discovering new ways to do ordinary tasks around the house or out in public, but it does make people nervous, they think I’m going to get hurt, so they try to dodge that obstacle as fast as they can and yes, it is very annoying but you have to let it go and hope for the next time. You have to realize your patience is not the same as others so in a way, I think both sides need to keep that in mind when it comes to these things. It also ultimately depends on them on if they can learn to grow to trust you with the various tasks you know or learn later in life..

Here are previous letters and their links if you want to check them out now!

Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita | Building Trust | Be Truthful To Your Children | Dear Disability Community | Events | Treat Your Friends The Way You’d Want To Be Treated | Long Term Goals

Home Away From Home

It’s happened again. I still feel like its May and the summer’s just starting, instead it’s ending and my sister is gone to her new school for the year. This time, she’s a little bit closer to home but it’s still pretty difficult to wrap your head around as she’s been at home since the first week of May and had a job. Now she’s gone somewhere else to sleep and be for the next six months until Christmas break comes around. I’m sure she’ll come back before any of the major holidays but still though. I was for sure that by the time we left the house this afternoon to get her settled into her dorm room, my mom was going to lose it and just start bawling her eyes out. Well, she did but it was for something else or so she told us. Blondie seemed to do better this time around though, her face turned red but that could’ve been the heat warming up her cheeks too. Yesterday, it was a beautiful calm and somewhat cool temperature wise kind of day, today it was the total opposite and hot as hell. Thank god there was a breeze or else the three of us could have melted into a puddle just packing her stuff from the parking lot to her dorm building. Getting there wasn’t the problem, it was happened while we were trying to find a way to bring everything inside in one load that pushed us to our limits. 

I’m pretty used to my family using my wheelchair as a mule and carrying their heavy bags and stuff, but I just thought that’s all I would have to carry inside. Uh-uh. My sister had to have like four pillows, a large black blanket, and her St. Louis Cardinals teddy bear that I ended up carrying inside the building. Oh my gosh, I had the blanket behind my back and I had to lean back to make sure it wasn’t going to slide right out of there. My mom put the two medium size pillows on my lap and I held her teddy bear in between my hand. Somehow I managed to keep everything in their places until we got inside and then everything started coming undone from their places. My mom carried a large size box and my sister had the doyley and that had like four different things on it. So you should have seen the two of us going up and down ramps from crossing the streets. It was an event let me tell you! When we got inside, there were people inside but it wasn’t too packed. We got in there and my mom and sister were trying to figure out where the elevator was as my sister was trying to get her key for her room. They didn’t have an elevator in the building, at least not a public elevator. Some random guy that was helping out the incoming students fill our their forms and get their keys asked rudely up in my mom and sister’s faces and asked, Why do you need an elevator? My sister put him in his place quick with My sister’s handicapped and she needs an elevator to get up there to help us. I couldn’t help but think to myself and wonder if I had too much stuff on my chair for him to think I was driving a wheelchair into the freaking building. They let me use the maintenance elevator and considering the size of it I felt like I was back at school again.

It was incredibly small! I remember the elevator my Elementary used to have to get up and down the stage in the gym was pretty small. I’m pretty sure this sucker was smaller though. I had to follow these two people, now the guy that I rode with I never asked what his name was and I asked him a lot of questions and sadly that wasn’t one of them. Darn it! The girl though, her name was Patricia and she was nice, they were both very nice. She asked me while we were walking to the elevator, where I was from and I told her and she asked us about the drive and I told her it was pretty short than the last time and then she asked about random things about my hometown, the question that made me feel very weird was when she asked me if we had a Wal-Mart. I told her no and then she started naming off different places and I kept saying no, but I told her we had a JayC’s. I had never felt more like a hick in my life. I’ve NEVER felt like that before getting those questions and I wonder why we get made fun of on a daily basis. After we got upstairs, to me the whole dorm looked and felt like a prison. I mean, the room was nice and everything but it just felt weird and it might be because Blondie’s first dorm building was brand NEW and so it had that fresh feeling about everything to it. Mom and Blondie unloaded my back-end of my chair and I went back downstairs with this awesome no-name dude who ends up being a firefighter. If you’re wondering yes, he was cute!

When we got back downstairs I voted to stand guard of everything by the doyley and watch my mom almost trip on herself going up the damn stairs. I didn’t even see it per se, I just heard her say softly “shit” and quickly recover and then I realized what happened. While they were gone, I was basically trying to keep to myself but be polite to everybody coming and going into the building. During the third time they went upstairs, this guy came up to me and his name was LeRoy and oh my god was he cute! He actually came up to me and started talking to me and I was very impressed with myself, I didn’t stutter my words like I usually do. He asked me some of the same questions the girl did, but I told him that I tried to go there at the school once. When he asked me what I was going to major in, I felt embarrassed to say it in front of him but I told him that I don’t get along well with music theory. I was going for Audio Recordings. His friend and another staff worker, came up to me and introduced himself to me and he was so nice and handsome. He even gave me this Christian kick off party slip and I think I freaked him out when he tried to put it in my head and I lifted up my foot instead. It’s always nice to freak people out especially when they’re good about it too. He put it in my foot and I held it there for a bit before giving it to Blondie as she’ll be going there and not me. When we finally got everything unloaded, we left and went across to Financial Aid which was in it’s last hour before closing and then we got everything set up for her parking too. I think we were there for three or four hours but since it only takes like an half of hour to get there, it wasn’t that big of a hassle.

I find it every year that we do this, even though this is the second year we’ve done this. I’m REALLY glad that I’m not going to school. I know that I say that every day of the normal school year, but I still don’t want to go back to college. It’s been four freaking years since that first year and I still have very clear memories of how I acted towards my family and how much I hated everybody for not giving me the chance to do something that THEY knew wasn’t such a good idea. I wanted to live on campus REALLY bad, but to me like everybody else. My mom knew that I’d only want to live on campus to go to the parties. I wanted to get out of the house bad. I wanted to start living on my own, but since I’m stubborn I couldn’t see all of the things it takes for me to even be left at home alone for thirty minutes. Now that I’ve realized all these different things that goes on, I can’t just think of my “wants” and “needs” there’s so much more than what I think, or in this case thought. Blondie isn’t handicapped but she still has lots of things she needs to know before getting herself into first. Sometimes I feel like the more she lives this house, the quicker the time will be before she’ll get an apartment or a house one day and I’ll still be at the same place. Maybe one day things will change and I’d figure out what I wanted to do in this world, until then I’m pretty comfortable with blogging and listening to music.

I took this just before we left and this was my mom's backseat and this picture doesn't even give it justice as to how full it was back there, but it wasn't as bad as Plummer.
I took this just before we left and this was my mom’s backseat and this picture doesn’t even give it justice as to how full it was back there, but it wasn’t as bad as Plummer.

My mom found this in the hallway. At least they knew that everybody will eventually go to a college party in their lifetime.
My mom found this in the hallway. At least they knew that everybody will eventually go to a college party in their lifetime.

I found Blondie's room a lot bigger than her room up at ISU honestly and as you can see, they have carpet. Another difference!
I found Blondie’s room a lot bigger than her room up at ISU honestly and as you can see, they have carpet. Another difference!

It Had To Be Done Part 1

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I’ve survived my first biker rally.

Yes, you read that right. I originally wasn’t supposed to go with my parents, but somebody ended up changing his or her minds. It started after my parents went to the rally last month. I heard all this talk that Boogie, which is the one held in early July, it has a lot of hills and isn’t very handicapped accessible. When my parents got back from it, they agreed that I wouldn’t have lasted long being there and driving my wheelchair around either. When my mom came in my room that day she picked me up from a friend’s house that they were going to go to another rally in two weeks. I was instantly jealous and angered because in TWO weeks they’d go to another one! Our plan was to leave me with my sister for the whole weekend. I think she could do it. It’s not like we’ve never been at home alone before, you know? Well, then last week my mom was washing my hair and she told me something that I just wasn’t expecting because it’s usually her doing this sort of thing. Apparently, my dad had second thoughts and wondered about taking me with them this time around. When she said this, I was a bit amazed.

I know all about these biker rallies, what goes on and what apparently comes off. The drunks, naked people smoke, and a sea of motorcycles. Lucky for me, I’ve seen all of these at some point in my life. I didn’t see anything bad in it. When I got up Friday morning, I got up WAY too early. I got up at 9am and I had a late night. My mom had been dropping hints all morning long. She shaved my legs, asked how much money nana owed me, and washed my hair (which was something she was going to do anyways) so I kind of already knew but I didn’t want to get myself all excited and find out they weren’t going to take me. My parents came into my room yesterday afternoon and asked if I wanted to go, I was a bit indecisive because I didn’t want to ruin their fun but I was already beaming from ear-to-ear that I could not contain my excitement anymore. My dad had already been up there once getting everything ready, as far as registering and setting up our tent.. Oh, yeah and I camped outside. I was in Girl Scouts while I was in school and that was the one thing you couldn’t pay me to do but I knew that this would be an adventure for not only myself but also my mom, whose never camped out in a tent either. We took my powered wheelchair and even took my little commode, which ended up being the most difficult thing to do then besides getting me in and out of the tent

When we were finally loaded up and everything I was in rare form, a mixture of nervous but excited. Dad drove his bike up there and my mom drove her car and I rode in the front seat as the whole back-end of the car was too packed for even my butt to sit in the full seat. It was kind of strange for me to be asking my mom all of these random questions of these rallies. Even though, she’s only been to that one she still had some answers to my questions. We ended going into one of the first places I remember growing up. Washington, it was so weird because anytime we go there we only end up still on the main highway and going to the restaurant or Wal-Mart. So when we ended up going through one part of the town, I was looking around like a kid in a candy store, remembering different things that has changed drastically. Like, there is this hotel that for years advertised on the sign when you drive right past it, said “Free cable.” Now it the sign says “Free WiFi” I didn’t know if I should be surprised or not. Things has changed around since I was last there. The pool has been turned into a damn water park. It was all a bit weird to me, it made feel old. We went through two other towns after that, Plainville and Elnora. Plainville was the place as kids, my sister and I used to call it “stinky town” because it smelled awful. Still does. Elnora is nicknamed “cheesy town” and another childhood memory for you, they have these two brides and my sister and I used to raise our butts off the seats in the back of the car and lay our heads back and watch the ralls from the bridge above us pass us by. I can’t do that in my mom’s car and yes, I tried.

When we finally hit Newberry, and saw this little sign that said “last stop before Plummer” that mixture of nerves and excitement hit me again for the second time. We we got there, my mom had to sign a couple of papers and then this lady came up to my door and my mom rolled down my window so she could put the bracelets we needed to get in and out of the property on my right ankle. Once that was finished we finally went inside and it was so surreal. All these people walking around and leaning up against their bikes. We pulled up against a part were our neighbors were and set up camp there, but the only thing we need to set up was getting my stuff off the back of the car. Our neighbors knew I was going the entire time but couldn’t tell me. It was okay, I had temptations of telling my friend Sammy that I was coming and I was like, no I want to surprise her. Well, jokes on me! After my mom put me in my wheelchair I was all ready to walk around and check out different venues and see the different bikes. Yeah, blame that second part on my dad. I’m as into these damn bikes as he is, but that’s how I was raised though. Being around all of these bikes and hearing them reff up everywhere you turned your head was such an adrenaline rush. I think it took us about ten or twenty minutes before we just starting walking around the place and meeting different people. Everybody was no nice and greeted you so sweetly. I’m slightly a shy person at first so it takes me a bit to get comfortable with random people but I try to stay grounded and polite as possible. Going around the first time wasn’t so bad. I knew I had to watch the hills and the gravel, as I have a problem with the heel of my foot slipping of my joystick without a warning. We went into some venues that sold patches and the guy that was doing the first one we went into gave me a Sylvester and Tweety Bird patch. Looks like I’m going to have to get a leather jacket now.

Everybody was so nice while we were just walking around the park. Moved out-of-the-way without hardly any complaints from anybody and it’s been a few years since I’ve actually ran over people’s feet and out of all the places to break that record you go to a biker rally were they have concerts and backing up in a slow speed with three or four around you keeping you safe from strange body parts from hitting you, you’re going to run over some feet. Luckily, I knew I would do it and didn’t bother me as much until I realized I actually knew about two people who I ran over with my back tires, one of which had flip-flops on. She hasn’t seen me in years and I ended up getting her foot last night. My bad! I was very impressed with myself on how well I was able to stop and get through all of the bikes, all the while point to my favorite ones to my mom throughout both days. We had to been back at the camp site around 5pm. It was hot and I was just starting to feel the heat. My mom had brought stuff to make ham and cheese sandwiches and I was starving by that time so I stuffed one down and I was doing a pretty good jump on keeping myself hydrated and a family friends let me borrow this awesome cooler wrap of some sort. It was (excuse my language) fucking cold on my neck but really worth it when my mom and I decided to go on another walk. We hit the same venues but this time I found and got a shirt. It was the one I originally wanted but it still looks badass though, it’s white, gray, and pink/purple and it’s got a bike on the front of it and a pair of angels on the back and it was only $15 too. The whole time the different bands that would be playing that night were doing soundchecks and around 6:30ish one of the bands were already starting. We were back up at the camp when they started and I was enjoying everybody’s company around me.

We spent about the rest of the evening down by the stage watching the bands perform. We didn’t get back to our camp until I think I remember my dad saying around midnight. You should have seen all three of us getting into that damn tent. That was probably one of the most weirdest things ever, the fact that my dad and I couldn’t control our laughter because I thought it would be easier for me to sleep in between them in case I fell off the air mattress, which is what happened when my mom put me in there. I went to roll over away from the door and I went tumbling right over the damn mattress. I was stuck there until I flipped over with all my might. Sleeping in the middle was actually a smart idea at first, since my pants kept getting caught on the mattress I basically had to use my dad as leverage to turn around. I also didn’t have to worry about being cold because being around the both of them I was warm and toasty. We knew that before we left the house it was supposed to rain/thunderstorm sometime Saturday morning. It started around 4am, and I’m not a fan of lightning or thunder in the house and I don’t know why but I felt so comfortable with having a somewhat front row seat to all of the intense sounds, hearing and feeling the ground shake underneath after a big boomer was pretty interesting, you wouldn’t think there would be a difference than being inside a house or laying on the ground but there was. It felt at one with the Earth and no, I am/wasn’t drunk during this time! One of the things that I was really enjoying was how many females bikers there were. When we first got through the gates, the first bike I saw was a woman driver and I don’t know why but it made me really happy. A lot of people think that only men can drive a bike or should be allowed to drive one. I firmly disagree with that statement. I think sometimes a woman on a bike can look more badass with some of these men. My neighbor, we call her “Mama” in our little clique, she drives her own motorcycle and I feel proud of that. My mom will never get her own bike. She likes riding on the bike on the back of my dad’s too much. I wish she did though so I could take her place on dad’s bike.

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Five Sentence Fiction: Lucky

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What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.

The week: LUCKY

The sun soars from the east to the west, the birds sing in the early morning til sundown, the morning dew absorbs in from the ground and travels a long way to the trees to make it bloom again.

Temperatures rise from the winter cold, people are finding their favorite flip-flops and sandals, and kids are counting down for spring break and summer vacation.

Clouds come and go, but it will never stay for there some peace in mind for those who give themselves some hope and feel the bad times were heaven-sent to them to show them to the right path.

So think to yourself as you feel your heart beating strong, someone is hearing theirs go softly and their breath keeps growing shallow, as you can take a few deep breaths in and out.

You should consider yourself lucky for everything around you, the people who you surround yourself with, and the nature that continues to grow as the seasons end and begin again.