Tag Archives: cerebral palsy

A brand new year with the same old clunky technology

Greetings, readers. Hello from head cold land. Don’t worry, I’m probably not contagious anymore and we are taking precautions on the laptop with disinfectant wipes. I am staying in my corner and Rebecca is staying in hers. I had thoughts of calling her off today, but we have a lot to get done, my accountant is coming, and I actually sound 100 times worse than I feel. I feel dandy, but I sound like I am breathing through mud.

I have an app on my computer desktop that I really like, that lets me see new emails and reply to them without going to my email site and logging in. I like it a lot, but it has one bad drawback. I found out from an email I sent to Darren using said app that the name Lisa shows up instead of Joseph in the sender line. It doesn’t happen when I compose an email in the site itself, just from the desktop app I like so much. I believe I have found a way to fix it, but both times I’ve tried, just when I go to hit the save button, it starts to do something and then freezes. And alas, I am still Lisa. A big technology grrr. I am also having massive computer problems today with the laptop running slow and freezing. That may be the problem with changing Lisa today, I will continue to work on this issue to get it solved.

Darren and I are doing a contract for Four’s a Crowd, with a lawyer drawing it up for us to sign. We both think it makes a lot of sense to have our agreement in writing. The lawyer’s appointment that we had scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed. It gives me a week to kick this cold and us more time to flesh out the points we want the lawyer to put in the contract.

As soon as I’m feeling better, I want to take my proof copy of the book and plow through it in a week. That is my goal. Everyone else already has their edits in. As usual, I’m the one lagging behind. More than likely, I will go to Panera, find a big table where I can spread out, listen to my music under earphones, and lose myself in a good novel … and it is a good novel.

After work hours today, I have a couple of errands to do, one of which is to stop at the market and pick up items such as cold tablets, O.J., and tissues. Alka-Seltzer Cold and Flu works wonders. If I’m still stuffed up on Friday, I’ll take a couple of packets to work. At 3:30 I have to go to therapy, and then I’ll be back for the day. I have another day off from the job tomorrow to rest and recoup and be ready for Friday. Some people can do this, I cannot; I cannot be cheerful and smiley when feeling sick. I would probably turn to a grumpy customer and say, “What the heck do you want? And here’s your darn food.”

Lastly, on a weather note, our cold snap has finally broken and we have more seasonable temperatures. The week-long single-digit temperatures were actually beginning to affect my nervous system. Yes, cerebral palsy reared its ugly head yet again. Now that the temperatures are in the 20 and 30s F, I am feeling much better. I do expect more frigid temperatures, but heck, it is only January and spring time is quite a ways away.

Please send good thoughts to me for a speedy recovery. Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

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Re-post of an entry about my Cerebral Palsy

Greetings, readers. As I wrote yesterday, I have a shift at my job today and left the blog to Rebecca. She said she would either write a new post or re-post a little-read-but-worthy one just like she did last week, and it turns out she chose to re-post. She picked one from the end of my second full year of blogging, where I wrote about my Cerebral Palsy and how it worked in my life. Thank you for reading. I’ll be back next week.

CP and me

November 15, 2013

Greetings, readers. This is my one and perhaps only blog entry dealing completely with my affliction from cerebral palsy. I have been looking at blogs and websites about CP for a project, and have connected with a couple of people in the same boat, and I now have my own case on my mind. I have mentioned my CP in this blog here and there, but I have not done a post about it and how it effected my life.

I have had it since birth and will die with it. However, thanks to my well-meaning but over-protective parents, I didn’t know I had it until around the age of 16. Up until that point, I was simply told that I had a weak left side and the whole topic of being different from other people really didn’t come up at the dinner table.

Let’s start from childhood. Vivid memories of Tuesday evening swimming lessons at the Bellefonte, Pennsylvania YMCA conjure up images of cold swimming pools and a little boy trying not to drown. I remember thinking to myself that I should be able to do what all the other kids were doing – swimming. I could just barely tread water. I knew it was time to quit when my favorite part of the evening was when it was time to leave, and I could put my quarter into the vending machine and get my plastic NFL helmet for my collection.

Around the age of 10 or so, I suffered what I still call to this day my klutz year. I was a normal active boy enjoying Nerf football and Whiffle ball, but in the span of twenty-one weeks I suffered three broken fingers, one smashed elbow, and a broken wrist … all on the same arm. The arm that I tended to fall to – the left. I was cast-free for one week before I smashed my elbow, then for one day before I clobbered my wrist. Not deterred from wishing to feel normal, I continued to play outdoor sports.

In my 20s, I remember playing racquet ball, with my friend from high school, which can be a brutal sport. We created our own game and called it Tenaquet. We served overhand and we gave each other two ball bounces rather than one. That aided my bad balance and Jim’s bad knee. What fun we had. When my knees and my back started to go haywire, I had to officially ‘retire’ from sports.

Around this time, it was becoming painfully obvious that attending Penn State University day classes was not for me. I was having a very hard time with taking notes and I was a horrible test taker. Later I figured out why. Even though I can read, my retention isn’t quite up to par. I had to withdraw and never did finish. I think Mom understood, but was in denial that her son couldn’t finish college. Just a couple of years ago, I found out from my Godmother that Mom had the measles when she was pregnant with me. This could explain why my brain didn’t develop correctly. Perhaps in some strange way she felt responsible. Which of course was ridiculous. Things happen.

As I briefly mentioned in other blog posts, things like my balance and fine motor skills are effected; not to mention the fact that I have seizures. But every day I do the best that I can do. I can just give people 100% of all I’ve got on any particular day.

On the positive side of my mild CP: I can walk, I can jog, I can drive a car. I can write. And I can give a fairly proficient air guitar show. Also, with the help of Flight Simulator X, I can even be, in a way, what I always wanted to be growing up as a kid, which was an airline pilot.

Overall I would have to say that my life has been good and I have learned to live with my mild disability as best I can. Having the knowledge as a child that I have CP may or may not have made a difference. Who knows, I might have been worse off. Unless someone invents a reliable time machine, I will never know.

Until next week, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Yes, another one from me

As Joe wrote yesterday, he has a follow-up doctor’s appointment for the foot he hurt in a fall last week, so I am bringing you today’s blog post. It seems like I have been doing this a lot in the last couple of months, for one reason or another, starting with Joe’s annual trip to Bear Spring Camps in Maine and then both of us have had some personal appointments on Thursdays. I like writing here, but I am aware that regular readers probably come for Joe’s unique voice and what he shares on this blog page.

Those of you who are long-time readers know that this is not our normal pattern, we usually go a month or so between From Rebecca posts, and Joe does both the entries each week. Life is hectic for us right now, and Joe’s job at a fast food restaurant has pulled a lot of his energy and time, but I do expect us to go back to the normal writing schedule soon.

I first met Joe in high school and we remained friends since then. I became his writing assistant in 2010, mainly to type for him as his cerebral palsy makes it slow and difficult for him to do that task for his writing work. He started this blog in December of 2011, with him dictating, me typing, and both of us editing. We have a good system down that we have used to put at least one new blog entry on this site every week for almost six years. I am very proud of that, and I know that Joe is too. When I post this entry, if will be the 654th one on this blog site.

We see from this site’s statistics that daily views are steadily getting higher. Joe has big spikes in views once in a while, usually when he writes something about Bear Spring Camps and links it to their Facebook page, but it looks like some people are staying around after the surges. To all of you who are long-term readers, thank you so much, we really appreciate you coming here so long. To all of you who are newer readers, welcome, and we hope you enjoy the voice and topics so much that you stick around.

Joe will be back next week, and as far as we know now, he will do the blog entry for both Wednesday and Thursday. As he would say, until then, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

The joy of paying forward

Greetings, readers. I’ve watched many YouTube videos dealing with the phenomenon called paying forward. It is a concept where a person receives a blessing from out of the blue, usually from a stranger who does not expect anything back. At some point in the future the person who received the gift may do a good deed for someone else, paying the blessing forward. This idea fascinates me and I think I am going to start doing it.

As I frequent Panera café, an easy opportunity for me to pay forward would be for me to pay for the lunch of the person standing directly behind me. I’ve not done that yet, for fear of the person becoming offended. One day soon, I might just get up the courage to try it. In this world of hatred, war, and injustice, doing a little deed like paying for a meal, contributing to a charity, or leaving an extra generous tip is a way to brightens someone’s day.

I will write more about this at another time, but one way I am paying forward right now, is with a GoFundMe page to benefit a cerebral palsy charity. I started it a couple weeks ago, and although it has gotten off to a slow start, my site appears to in full working order now, and I look forward to, at some time in the future, giving the donations to this charity. As some of you may know, I have a mild case of cerebral palsy, that while not getting worse, will never go away.

This coming Christmas season I plan to donate to the charities that have volunteers who stand on the corners each day and ring their bells. I’ve only done that a couple of times over the years, for fear that charities are not what they claim to be, but if you can’t trust the Salvation Army, who can you trust? I’m also going to buy a toy or two and drop it in the Toys for Tots bin. That will make a little boy or girl a little happier on Christmas morning.

Other ways that I can pay forward? It is a matter of keeping your eyes open and looking for opportunities to make someone’s day happier. I remember one time many years ago, a person who was down on his luck wanted to buy a cup of coffee at McDonald’s with exact change. He didn’t know that the prices had just gone up and he was four cents short, and the cashier at the time would not sell him a cup of coffee. I gave him a five dollar bill so that he had not only enough money for his coffee but also a McMuffin of his choice. He almost cried. What did I get out of the exchange? Only the pleasure of seeing someone who wasn’t expecting any good fortune turn and smile as he walked away with his breakfast.

I think if more people would do this in their daily lives, not only in this country but around the world, there might just be little less hate. With the talk of nuclear missile tests, wars, and other atrocities, it is time for some good news. It is time for change. It is time for kindness to replace anger and indifference. Let’s each of us make a vow, my readers, in the next month to pay forward. Then, in the comment section, tell me your story and we will share it with everybody.

Until tomorrow, I bid you a good day, take care, and happy reading.

This morning I had a minor health issue while playing my new video game

Greetings, readers. I’ve never enjoyed talking about my cerebral palsy and all of its side effects. But this morning something happened which really had me concerned. I had slept in a wee bit and had taken my meds later than usual. I then settled down with some coffee for a few hours of my new game, WWE2k16. After the first 40 minutes, even with that annoying screen shake toggled off, I felt a seizure coming on. Everything started to go black, I felt shaky, and I instinctively grabbed both chair arms and held on for dear life. It didn’t last very long, I must say, since I was able to ward off the actual seizure. I immediately turned the game off, shut off all the lights in my apartment, and did what I do best, took a nap.

When I awakened at 11:15, all was normal once again. I’m really going to have to watch myself when playing this game. I can play MLB baseball indefinitely with no issues. I think in this wrestling game, the flashing lights of the arena and all the simulated pyrotechnics are just a little bit too much. From now on, I’ll play for an hour or so and then take a break. I am really enjoying this game and want to get better at it, but to do that I have to play. It is frustrating when I have to stop all the time because of my condition.

I first saw this game on YouTube, being played by a gamer who calls himself CMPuLs3 (pronounced c.m. pulse). His channel is excellent and his wrestling videos are introd by the actual WWE champion, Seth Rollins. Way cool! I want to thank CMPuLs3 for getting me into this game and making super cool videos, especially the James Falcon series.

I’ve written to this person on Facebook, asking him for any help on how to play the game for people with bad hands. Luckily, and to my surprise, the game will play computer versus computer, so I can watch and at least learn the moves. Next, I need to know how to do them, quickly enough. I’ve played four matches now. I am 0-4, with an average losing time of 8 seconds.

How cool is this? I created my own character called Thunderbolt Jimmy Storm, paired him with Stone Cold Steve Austin, and we are now a tag team tentatively called The New Foundation, working our way up the ranks to hopefully take the title.

Lastly, it is a rainy day here in State College and I might have to keep the gaming machine off. That is probably a good idea considering what happened this morning.

Until Wednesday, when we’ll be back to a normal week, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Tweet, Tweet, Twitter

Greetings, readers. For approximately two years I’ve been on the social media network called Twitter. I like it very much and it’s great fun. I follow almost all the Star Trek stars, some of my personal friends, and tons of sports teams. It’s nice to keep up with what’s going on in short little Tweets, as they say.

When I first began, I had a devil of a time compacting my thoughts into the 140 character allotment. I kept forgetting that every hit of the space bar counted as a character. In two years, I think I’ve gotten somewhat better at being more succinct. It’s actually a challenging writing exercise for me to think of what I want to say and then make it fit. I will confess that on a few occasions I do need to compose two connected tweets because what I need to say just can’t be chopped down.

My pros for Twitter are these: I like its current format and relative ease on how to find everything. Now that I am used to it, that is. It is easy-peasy to follow people and 35 people have followed me back – including the Minnesota Vikings pro football team.

My cons for Twitter are these: My biggest one – I know it’s because I’m not famous – is that almost no one replies to me. I can count the number of responders on one hand. Including my cousin, and a video gamer who goes by the handle Jamin000, and an inspirational blogger with cerebral palsy. Another con is that sometimes, especially early on, my blog entry would not appear in my Twitter feed as it should have, and I would need to go back and re-establish the link in WordPress. In the last few months it has been working much better in both my social media places.

Now here is something that is both a pro and a con: You don’t need to have someone following you to follow them. That makes lurking a little bit easier. On Facebook, you have to either like someone if they are famous, and have them like you back, or send a friendship request and have that person accept it before communication begins. To me, I like that little bit of added security.

Rebecca and I both have the habit of checking Twitter and Facebook one after the other. The two seem to go together. I must admit to liking Facebook a wee bit more. However, the more I use Twitter, the more comfortable I get with it.

If I had to give Twitter a mark out of 10, I would give it a healthy 8.5. I’m not the kind of person who would stay on something such as this if I didn’t really like it.

Until next week, have a great weekend, stay warm, and happy reading.

I hate the blasted winter

Greetings, readers. Thanks to this lovely nor’easter in the middle of February, the State College, PA area is in the process of having up to 7 inches of snow be dumped on it today. Now I know I’m crying big tears; I shouldn’t, because as Rebecca pointed out to me, the south-east including the D.C. area and Philadelphia have gotten zonked by much more snow. But it is still a lot for us to navigate in. Looking out on the roof of the parking garage from my window, the fresh white snow looks pretty, I must admit. But I know that by later today when all the cars have turned it to black, mushy gunk, it will lose its charm.

I’ve already had one of my two appointments for the week called off. So my long-awaited haircut will have to be another day. That reminds me that as soon as this blog entry is posted, I am going to have to go on-line and re-schedule said appointment. At this particular establishment, all appointments are made via their website.

I’ve probably said this before in other posts, but it bears repeating. One of the side effects that comes from my cerebral palsy is bad balance, so I would have a very good chance to slip and fall. All in all it is a very good day to make coffee in my apartment/office and just stay home. I have my Star Trek: The Next Generation library book, so I think that at 3:00 when the work day is done I shall begin it and take notes.

Next Wednesday, weather permitting of course, I must talk to my accountant about getting two chairs removed from my living room and a new replacement brought in. It’s becoming paramount now because Pop’s old recliner is starting to creak and feel a wee bit unstable. These chairs are just not sturdy enough for sleeping in night after night. I blame myself for its premature death.

In case people are wondering why this post is being written today and not tomorrow, it’s because Rebecca has the day off for Valentine’s Day. Next week, I am going to have a top ten list, which are always fun for me to create. If you are in the bad weather zone, please drive safely. Rebecca and I love are readers to view our work from their home computers, not from a hospital bed. So take care, have a happy Valentine’s Day, think spring, and happy reading.

On the NFL, writing, and watching television

Greetings, readers. I am flat on my back with another one of my lovely back spasms. Thank goodness for Rebecca and her ten typing fingers. Today I am going to get you up to date on what was going on with me since Friday. This past weekend I watched most of all of the post-season playoff games on Wild Card weekend of the National Football League. None of my four teams won. First, the Chiefs blew a 28 point lead over the Colts. I was throwing things. Then the Pennsylvania representative, the Philadelphia Eagles, lost to New Orleans in the final seconds. On Sunday, I watched the Chargers win over Cincinnati, and the 49ers defeat Green Bay at Lambeau field. I don’t think there has been a weekend in quite a while when at least one of my teams didn’t win. So now I can officially say I no longer care about the NFL until next September.

On to writing news, on Sunday evening I began a short story which could possibly be an entry for a third camp book. I at least wanted to have something for Rebecca to edit today. It was frustrating after hours of thinking, and typing as best I could, I only completed one page. But I most admit it felt good to give it the effort. As far as me making a career of this … let’s just say when I get back from camp this August, I will probably have to get a job and truly have writing be my hobby. We’ll see.

I thought I would have to find another place to get my nails done. Due to my cerebral palsy, my left hand does not work well enough to control scissors or clippers and I can’t take care of my nails myself; thus they get long and jagged if I don’t have them professionally done. I have a place near where I live that is convenient and in my budget. I thought they might be closing up shop and was looking for a replacement place, but now it seems the shop is in different hands, getting a new paint job, and still doing nails. That solves that problem.

Lastly, in my Futurama marathon watching, I finally got to the season which was picked up originally by Comedy Central channel. I know that for certain because the writers went so far as to make a joke about it in the opening scene. I will admit after having now watched at least half of the series, I am no longer laughing out loud at the show’s humor. I suppose I’ve learned how the writing team writes and, although it is still well-done, I can kind of see what is coming next. Liking Futurama as much as I do is almost enough to make me want to give The Simpsons another try. I watched a few episodes of The Family Guy and one episode of The Cleveland Show. The Family Guy might be my next show to invest my time in, but I must say I just didn’t find The Cleveland Show funny at all. With the ultra cold weather that we have been experiencing, staying inside and watching TV is certainly a good past-time.

Until next time, take care, stay warm, and happy reading.

I was an emotional boy

Greetings, readers. As I sat in front of my TV set New Year’s Eve waiting for the ball to drop, I had some time to think about the last few years. With much knowledge acquired recently about my Cerebral Palsy and how it affects my emotional state, I’ve made observations about my health. When I was a little boy, I would cry at the drop of a hat. Leaving Bear Spring Camps in Maine was especially difficult for me. Yes, I loved the people and it was hard to say good-bye, but no one else was crying. I figured I must be different somehow. Jump ahead to a few years ago. When I heard I had a certain type of CP along with depression, many questions got answered. The reason I bawled at almost everything remotely sad was because of a weak emotional system caused by my condition. Now that I am on anti-depressants, things are much better. Or are they …?

I’ve begun to think. Sure, feeling happy is a good thing. But is it an artificial happy? Am I taking part of who I am away by dulling the emotions? So, I began to do a little experiment. I have temporarily ceased taking my nighttime doses. My emotions are still under control though every now and them I feel the way I used to feel when something touching is shown on the TV.

As Rebecca and I have been discussing points to add to this blog entry, it has made me realize that a note to the doctor’s office might be prudent. I suppose the question is this: should an artificial happy win out over who I was meant to be? With no ill effects from the anti-depressant, taking it certainly wouldn’t hurt me. And most times I’m a bubblier person. But is it real? I’ve never been great at philosophical debates, that was my dad’s thing. He was the professor of philosophy. I suppose all I can do is get advice from doctors and friends and weigh what they have to say against what I feel. Once I’ve done that, I’ll make my final decision.

Until Wednesday, friends, stay warm, take care and happy reading.

Bad weather coming

Greetings, readers. The State College area is expecting freezing rain and then snow in the next twelve hours. Rebecca and I have some things to do before the storm hits. I am letting her go early. So this blog post will be short.

I have trouble in the winter, because of my bad balance from cerebral palsy. Ice on sidewalks and crosswalks is the worst. I am stuck inside during sleet and freezing rain and have to wait until it stops and the walkways get treated. We are expecting both this evening. Snow is okay if the sidewalks aren’t slippery. And I get along just fine after a snowstorm and the walkways are shoveled, though I go slowly as I watch my footing. I have fallen on icy sidewalks a few times in the past, and it was horrible. I am very careful to avoid that happening again.

I know there has been a lot of bad weather across the nation (and in other countries) recently. I wish all of you safety if you are going anywhere, comfort when you get back home, and that you stay warm and dry.

Before I close, I also want to say R.I.P. to Nelson Mandela, who passed away yesterday. Sometime next week, Rebecca and I will do an official R.I.P. piece about him.

So until next week, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.