What if you lost the ability…..

Ability

I am a lucky man! I am not rich from an American standard of living. I have a nice pension that allows me to live comfortably. Have a roof over my head,a car to drive, food on the table. I can live in a foreign country and enjoy what the country has to offer. I rent out my house in Las Vegas to afford my quiet adventure, but what if I lost the ability to see, hear, touch, smell or feel. Would life matter?

All the money, travel would be meaningless if you did not have these senses. I appreciate the early morning squawking of fifty parrots in the tree. The sounds of monkeys howling in the early morning. Barking of dogs and the meowing of the neighbors cats asking for some attention. I can live without the loud sounds of trucks and sirens blasting the airwaves. I love the sound of quiet that makes the sound of wind vibrate in my ears. Quiet would be devastating to me if I became completely deaf. If all I heard was nothing, silence is defeafening if all you heard was the ringing in your ears. How do deaf people do it? Live?

I love a beautiful sunset, sunrise and the smell of nature. Imagine not being able to see a loveones face because you had an accident that caused you to go blind. Would the memories of things and people pop in your memory and show you a vivid picture of what was? I think of these things and work at looking into people, places and things. Trying to get a memory to enjoy. It must be frustrating not to speak, not to have the ability to communicate.

My Mom had a stroke recently and Is paralyzed on the right side. She struggles to walk, but what is most debilitating is she can not speak. You can see the frustration in her eyes and body. Simple practices, like counting to ten is impossible. Saying I love you is lost. She looks at you to say something and cries in frustration. Why does God make diseases that cause people to suffer? Put me down before I needlessly suffer.

What would you do if you lost both your arms in combat? I could not imagine not to be able to hug my wife, girlfriend or child. What a devastation that must be. My heart goes out to anyone who can not get or give a hug. A simple jester of loving that some people lose. Feel is essential in my daily life. The petting of my little dogs on my lap or the hugging and caressing of my girlfriend throughout the day. I love awaking to my morning hugs. I love to hear the sounds of nature and I love the closeness an early morning hug and kiss gives me in bed.

Slowly I am losing my hearing. It comes with old age and I always had a hard time hearing. My best friend is almost deaf. He hears because of hearing aids. He and his sister were deaf at birth. Their Mom took a drug when she was pregnant that caused this affliction. They are two amazing individuals who learned to cope with deafness and you would not know they were deaf when you first meet them. Not until you try to talk to them when their back was turned and their hearing aids were not in.

My friends are examples of how you can enjoy life with disabilities. My girlfriend has psoriatic arthritis. A painful, swollen of the joints that make her immobile and in terrible pain. We get up early in the morning to get chores done. We go on excursions early in the day, because by one or two o’clock she is done. Simple tasks, like grocery shopping  needs to be done in a motorized cart. Costa Rica  at times is difficult for her because of the rock roads, no sidewalks and no electric carts to help handicapped people. She can not take long walks or hikes. Can not see waterfalls or walk in zoos or visit museums. With the help of a wheel chair we can go to some places, but not all countries have disability access.

I am a lucky man. I am reasonably healthy and enjoy all my senses. I hope I grow old gracefully.  What if you lost the ability……

Pura VIDA!

Growing Old

The muscles are stiff and the bones ache
The mind is slipping, is it too late?
No more birthdays; too many years to count
No time to sit and pout

Go for a walk in the early morning
Watch the sunrise in its orange glory
Fix a little breakfast and read the paper
Maybe play some word games a little later

Maybe go to a movie and have some lunch
Go to my favorite restaurant and visit the wild bunch
A few friends I made through the years
It’s a couple of hours of good cheer

Thank God for descent health
Just a little below stealth
Make sure I take all my pills
So I can keep walking up those hills

Have a light dinner
Check the television for a lively thriller
Stay up late reading a book
Fall asleep: only a few hours it took

To start a new day
There is a price you pay
You lose precious time
Live it sublimely
Each day I wake
An adventure I will take

Live

Have you been touched by suicide?

*Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. Risk factors include mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, alcoholism, or substance misuse. Others are impulsive acts due to stress such as from financial difficulties, troubles with relationships, or from bullying.Those who have previously attempted suicide are at higher risk for future attempts.Suicide prevention efforts include limiting access to method of suicide, such as firearms and poisons, treating mental disorders and substance misuse, proper media reporting of suicide, and improving economic conditions. Although crisis hotlines are common, there is little evidence for their effectiveness.

I met John in high school. I was a jock and he did not play sports. A met him at a local bowling alley, he was drinking beer and smoking. John was seventeen years old and hand no friends. I do not know why we clicked but we became friends. So much so he went and tried out for the football team. He was tall but thin and became a center on the team. It took a lot for him to commit to the sport but he hung in and played. He never played a sport before. A couple of months in the season I would move to California. John was a senior in high school, met a girl and fell in love. A few months later they broke up. He became depressed. He was lonely with nobody to talk to. He walked down to the cemetary leaned against a tombstone and drank some whiskey. He took a knife and stabbed himself in the heart. Where was his support system? Someone to talk to.

My Brother in law David was twenty-one and in the Airforce. He was having a successful career; he was promoted to Staff Sargent in less than two years. This is quite an accomplishment in the seventies. He would work and go to school to better himself. He came home on leave and spent some time with all his family members. Individual time doing what his brothers or sisters wanted to do. He spent a week camping with his sister and  her spouse. He had five brothers and sisters. After his leave was finished, Dave drove his little yellow Datsun ( now Nissan) back to the base in San Diego. Three weeks later twoAirman were at Mom’s front door. Dave drove to the mountains of San Diego, parked, put a three fifty-seven magnum under his chin and killed himself. What caused him to take such a drastic measure. It was found that he broke up with his girlfriend. He was Airman of the month three months straight. Everything looked rosy and nobody suspected he was depress or angry. He hated guns, but used a gun to kill himself. Why? Nobody will ever know. Guilt was left by every member of our family. Why did we not see his pain?

On Christmas Eve my Father tried to commit suicide. He took three hundred prescription pills and then came out and told my  Mom. She called an ambulance and rushed him to the hospital. I remember Dad laying in the hospital bed with a thick practice hose stuck in his mouth with black stuff all over his mouth. The nurses pumped out his stomach and saved his life. The hospital took him to the psychiatric ward and  kept him on a seventy-two hour watch. We brought his empty prescription bottles and the Doctors found the cause of his suicide: Dad was seeing three different Doctors for different ailments and his body reacted to the pills. It caused him to dive into a deep depression, causing him to commit suicide. Why did not the Doctors ask him about the medications he was taken or other Doctors he was seeing? We did not see this incident developing.

It is important that adult children check in on elderly parents. My mom was eighty-eight years old and my oldest sister thought she was acting a little strangely. She decided to hunt for her prescriptions. She found fifty or so bottles of prescriptions and started calling Doctors.The last prescription the Doctor told my sister to bring her to his office now. My sister packed up the pills and took her to the hospital. Mom was self diagnosing herself and taking medicine she was not supposed to be taken. The Doctor confiscated all the pills and gave Mom the medicine she needed, giving a list to my sister who gave the list to her brothers and sisters so we could monitor her drugs. Lessons learned and prevention of premature death.

There was a time when my Wife’s family and mine had serious health problems but her family would suffer another tragedy. Her younger brother John was in a terrible off road bike accident injuring his head. He would be in the hospital a long time. He was never the same. Once a very active young man his life would slow down. He had a thriving finishing carpenter business. It was a carpenter to the stars. Famous musicians and actors would ask him to work on their homes. His wife would take over the business and help John out. A couple of years go by and John is having difficulty. None of the drugs he was taking was helping. One week John drove over a bridge overpass for the free way  five times. The next week he did it again, the following week he would stop on the road, get out of his car and jump. A friend of his was following him but was to late to stop him. His friend pulled over and could hear him yelling for help. John would die at that bridge. A brilliant, kind mind gone forever . I do not know all the intricacies of John’s story, sometimes drugs and the mind leave no choice for the patient. No matter what you do you can not stop the process of suicide.

Wikipedia  has a great page on suicide and prevention. Cities have suicide prevention phone numbers. It is important people who lost someone to suicide need to get help. Learning to cope with a death of a loved one is difficult especially if the loved one causes his own demise. An astonishing fact: there are twenty million attempts at suicide a year in the world. People over seventy are highly susceptible. Children who are bullied sometimes do not see a way out of their predictament. People must be aware of their families and friends and keep a flow of conversation going. Search if you feel a change in a love one. Do not take life for granted. Pura Vida!

Suicide

Forgive me
I did not see your pain
Or feel your emotional restraint
Or in your quietness you were engaged
In desperation’s silent rage

In fragile darkness you set your plans in motion
It was time to end the emotional commotion
You found your bridge of relief
You leaped and ended your grief

Forgive me for not being there
To help you in your time of greatest despair
You are in a better place
No more desperation must you face

I hope you found peace

*wikipedia

Reflections in a mirror

Have you ever looked into a mirror and asked yourself, who is this person in the mirror. * In the book “Dorian Gray,”Oscar Wilde shows a troubled young man looking in a mirror and he sees a distorted face of himself. Oscar Wilde first published this story in a magazine where the editor cut out many of his words because it was too imflamatory for the times.Oscar Wilde felt ,” Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience deceptive, judgement difficult.”In expressing a general truth, principle, or astute observation he was showing how power sometimes corrupt. In the distorted  view  of himself, Dorian Gray was visualizing a terrible end because of the havoc he caused in life.

The mind plays many games. My wife reached the point in her life where she asked me  to take a mirror down in the bedroom. She would wake up in the morning and sit up in bed and see a vision of herself she did not want to recognize. Because of the medicines she was taking made her look bloated, puffy and in her terms ugly. It started her day in an unpleasant fashion. She was fighting Brain Cancer and no matter how many times I told her I only see her beauty, she only saw ugly. There was never a discussion about the mirror. I took it down immediately. The perception of oneself is the most important in people. What do you see?

A few months ago I was looking in the mirror. I was a little groggy, just awaking up from a peaceful sleep. I looked in the mirror and swore I saw my Father. I blinked twice and my Older Brother was there. I thanked God that I did not look like a Dorian Gray characticure . I hoped it was a sign that my Father and Brother were proud of me and was given me a visit. What do you think?

* excerpt taken from Wikipedia

PURA VIDA!

Mirror! Mirror!

Father
I woke up and took my morning shower
Giving me exhilarating power
Dried off and looked in the mirror
Saw my father and older brother

I saw them in my reflection
As if they wanted my attention
Giving me permission
To continue my life’s ambition

I thought how they would embrace
Costa Ricans easy pace
A change in their personal life
A way to leave the city life

I wonder if they would see
The beauty that thrills me
Willingness for adventure
Eager to start a new venture

Embrace the people and their ways
Enjoying the chance for a new life and place
Slowly their images disappear
As I smile in the mirror

Grateful for their visit
The time together was exquisite

Memories

Are you at that age where little events pop up past memories? The other day, Corina was baking brownies and it brought back the memories of my mother’s cooking. How I would sit there and watch her make the batter. How she would look into her Betty Crocker Cookbook for just the right recipe and she would alter it. Make her own version . She would smile and hand be the beaters for me to lick.

I would taste the batter and say “yummy Mommy ” and she would smile a sense of approval. Her little critic gave her the nod of acceptance. We would have chocolate frosting on the brownies, she always said brownies needed chocolate frosting to be brownies. No powder sugar! Of course I always voted for frosting because I licked the beaters.

I woke up  this morning at two A.M. I had the taste of those brownies in my mouth so real I felt I was nine years old again. I sat up realizing I was at home in Costa Rica. Not in Pottawatami Hills, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois where I grew up. Dreams can be so vivid. Do you have this happen to you?

My mom was the reason I became a restaurant owner. She gave me the spark to enjoy cooking and develop my own recipes. I would school my self in the art of country cooking. I was never inspired to become a culinary chef. Just the art of country cooking. My sister is an exemplary candy and cake maker. There is not a candy she makes I do not devour.

I normally do not remember my dreams. Memories seem to come and go. At least , I remember fond memories. Those memories that put a smile on my face and an extra vitality to my walk. How about you ? May you have fond memories😊

Pura Vida

Morning Reflections

In Costa Rica, I seem to reflect more

Especially in the early morn

As the rain softly taps on the window pane

Calling me awake this day

Bringing back memories

Those childhood remembrances of family

Playing basketball in the backyard

Chasing little brother around the yard

Sitting in the shade on hot summer days

Playing monopoly all day

Sipping on cool aid

Laughing as we play

I remember riding my bicycle down our rocky roads

Bouncing to and fro

Holding the handlebars tight

Bouncing up and down on the seat real high

Mom calling us with her whistle

Louder than the sound of a guided missile

Calling us from play

Lunch must be ready

The quiet nights with mom and dad

Watching television, we were Bonanza fans

Those days I wish to remember

Brining back loves ember

The rain pounds more loudly

The skies grays cloudy

Memories fade as the storm strengthen

Lightning and thunder cracking

Fondly, the memories fade

Until I awaken to another day