If you can, please tell me your name when you comment and a little bit about yourself because I love what you have to say and want to know you better or maybe I just don’t know that I already know you. I do love all of you though and believe me, pre-ALS Carla would have thrown up into her mouth a little bit to hear ALS Carla say that. People change. Thank goodness.
Meanwhile back in ALS land I had a good clinic appt. Besides the Maximum Inspiratory Pressure or MIP score, which dropped from 52-35 and the tongue problems which Dr. K could clearly see but not hear (big ups to voice training!) I’m holding my own and have a lot of strength in my arms (not hands) and legs. My lithium dose has been reduced and I’m back to an every 3 months visit instead of every 2 months. Jodi, the mama-bear clinic manager and OT lent me a documentary about a comic writer in LA named Scott Lew. Funny cat. I saw a lot of my decline – the way he made use of his hand, the way he walked using his Dad’s shoulder, napping with the annoying bipap machine etc and I also saw myself in the way he laughed through it all until the tears would ambush him. I could really relate to him though I am not looking forward to what clearly lies ahead. If you want to be inspired, I’d check out the DVD which is called “LIVING WITH LEW.”
( http://www.livingwithlew.com/news.htm) I’m not up for watching that kind of documentary in general but in this case I’m glad I did.
I spent the last two days at the Muscular Dystrophy Camp learning from 52 gurus – kids from 6- teens with muscular dystrophy. Some of them had symptoms so mild you would never know they had a disease and one girl had a 24 hour nurse, a tracheotomy and oxygen machine and almost no movement at all. I fell in love with several of them including Angelina – a pretty dark haired girl with streaks of green and yellow in her hair who sized me up with a somewhat inscrutable look then asked “Are you riding that wheelchair for fun or is something wrong with you?” “ I have ALS” I said. “ I can walk but I fall down and get tired.” “Me too” she replied. Once I passed her sniff test, she and her buddies – a couple of live wires themselves – coached me on how to be Paula Abdul for “Camp Idol” where I was to be a celebrity judge. “If you don’t like someone’s singing, just compliment their shoes” she told me.
I also loved Adrian and Callum – both 7 year old rappers. Adrian rocked the mic so hard from his wheelchair I threw my scarf on stage ( it takes wayyyyy to long to get my underwear off nowadays and it might scar him for life anyway). Callum – a round, pugnacious little fellow straight out of Little Rascals did a hilarious wriggle that was meant to be a “hyphy” dance and said things like “All the babes say YA.” My eyes filled with tears of fury when I was told that this little kid asked his doc for a power wheelchair because he wasn’t fast enough to escape his tormentors at school on his wobbly feet. I wanted to go to that school and scare the shit out of each and every one of those little bastards. The angel doctor is getting him the power chair.
I sang at the camp at the request of the director the perhaps ill-advised choice of Kiss by Prince. I’ve now been hooted at and catcalled by kids in wheelchairs with fatal diseases. I can die content. I would sing “I just want your extra time and your…” and they would holler “KISS!” Heaven. I was aware of how much my voice has deteriorated even since the last time I sang it and just when I felt the dark clouds descend, I looked at Hannah who can’t breathe on her own and V who may not make it long enough to be back at camp next year and Daniel who fell down while singing and just laughed and kept going and I got over myself real quick.
If I’m physically able to, I’ll be back to camp next year because I was genuinely sorry to only have 2 days with these awesome kids.