Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stuck Part 2

After getting out of the iron lung, plus many months ( actually years) in rehabilation, little David learned to walk with braces and crutches. He had steel and leather braces that went all the way up his body to just under his armpits. He could only use these contraptions for a few hours a day, as they were very heavy and cumbersome, especially for a little child. David spent the rest of his days in a wheelchair. He wasn't able to go to a public school until he was in 7th grade. Numerous hospitalizations, surgeries and extensive therapy, caused him to be stuck at home or in the hospital with various tutors. Finally the day came when he was allowed to go to school. The school board had wanted him to go to a special school, one that catered to children with developmental disabilites, mainly mental retardation. David's mom fought for him to be mainstreamed into a regular school. She had to prove he was up to grade level in all subjects and basically that there was nothing wrong with his brain, just with his body. David always spoke highly of his mother, declaring she was his hero and champion, that she had made him feel that he could overcome anything and that he deserved to be treated like anyone else.

Upon entering school, David faced many challenges. Wearing his braces became more trouble than they were worth. To go to the bathroom required assistance from a couple of people to remove the braces which were not just covering his legs but his lower torso. Often he would fall and getting him up entailed finding help from several people. At age 12 David chose to live the remainder of his life in a wheelchair as it actually gave him more mobility and independence than the braces. At first David's parents fought him on this decision but after conferring with his doctors, his teachers and friends, they saw the wisdom of his decision. His legs would never develop muscles, he would never be able to stand, or walk without the extensive braces, which were getting heavier with each growth spurt in order to support his weight. David moved on from being stuck in the braces, to being permanently stuck in a wheelchair.

Life in the wheelchair did not slow my husband down. He was very popular in Jr. High and High School. An excellent student, a reporter for the school newspaper, an artist, the ultimate gearhead and an all around nice guy. When the March of Dimes asked him to give a speech at his school to help raise funds for polio research, David gave such a moving speech that his small school in Los Gatos, California became famous for the amount of money raised from one student body. The kids emptied their pockets of their allowances, their lunch money and organized fundraisers. That school raised more money per capital than any other school in America.....all due to the words from the heart of a guy stuck in a wheelchair.

To be continued..............

Friday, October 29, 2010


Do you know what it is like to really be stuck? Helpless, unable to get yourself out of a place or a situation ? I want to write a book about my husband and I'm going to title it Stuck....because that word sums up so much of his life. Not always in a bad way, sometimes it was good, but often it was difficult and ultimately it was the cause of his death. I hadn't looked at David's perspective of life from that point of view of being stuck until I told my son about the way David died.

Jason (also known as Boddhi) had a close bond with Da. That is what my kids called David...Da, sort of a cross between Dad and David. David was their step-father, my second husband. He never had any children of his own and was thrilled to have a ready made family. He was there for the births of our first two grandchildren and truly felt that he was their Papa.

Anyway, back to being stuck. David had polio as a child. He was not quite 5 when he contracted polio, it affected him from head to toe. David spent an entire year in an iron lung. He was stuck in that contraption and was only allowed to view his parents through a window. At that time polio was considered very contagious and anyone with polio was put in quarantine. The only people allowed to touch a polio victim was a nurse or doctor. They would change their clothes and scrub themselves before leaving the room. And a little 5 year old kid would just gaze at them from a machine that breathed for him. I can't even imagine the terror and loneliness that must have been for that little boy. But David survived. Eventually he was able to breathe on his own. All the therapy that he received had gone to his upper body, to enable him to breathe, to use his arms. After a year, his little legs were atrophied beyond help. He would never stand or walk on his again.
To be continued...............

Thursday, October 28, 2010

We met face to face 12 years ago today

I stepped off the plane in Atlanta, my heart racing, finally I would have a face to go with that voice. I scanned the crowd, looking for the yellow and black power wheelchair. Nope, I couldn't see him. I thought to myself that maybe he was stuck in traffic. So I took a seat and waited, and waited, and waited. This was in the time before everyone carried a cell phone. I tried calling his house from the payphone. There was no answer. I knew he said he would meet me at the gate but I had already waited an hour. Where could he be?

Maybe he meant for me to meet him at baggage? The Heartsfield Airport is huge, you have to get to baggage by catching a train. I got on, and made my way to baggage, picked up my two huge suitcases containing the contents of my life. Ok, this was totally crazy, I admit that. I was here in Atlanta, shutting a door on my past, to be with someone I had met over the internet and where was he? I didn't know a soul in Atlanta. I had no money to speak of, David had sent me a plane ticket. One way. What the heck HAD I BEEN THINKING? My mind racing....was he in an accident? Had he somehow changed his mind? Oh my god.......

I decided to go outside, wait near the street. Maybe I could see his van circling the airport. That new/used van he had told me about getting just YESTERDAY. I had seen the pictures of it on my computer. Dark blue, raised roof, wheelchair lift and they had outfitted it so he could drive from his wheelchair, without having to transfer to a driver's seat. I sat outside....looking, looking. Trying to breathe slowly, not panic. It was past two hours since I landed....suddenly I looked up. There he was! A huge smile on that beautiful face....a bouqet of yellow roses in his hands.....those incredible brown eyes with a twinkle in them, his wheelchair racing towards me. His apologies, he had been trapped in the lockdown for the wheelchair in that new van...somehow they had wired it incorrectly and the manual release was something he could not reach. How finally he had been able to stop some old man walking to his car in the handicapped parking area. How he had arrived almost two hours early, had been trapped in that van for 4 hours, trying to find a way to get out. Worried sick about me getting off the plane and not finding him there.

Hugs, kisses, caressing each other's faces.......we had fallen in love in a chat room, on the phone, in our snail mail and email, we had waited, planned for 8 months...and at last......

The face to go with that incredible radio announcer voice. At last. I've never looked back,.... we were meant for each other and have been together for these past 12 I go to the mortuary to make arrangements for his cremation.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Husband David died today

David died today. I went out for a couple of hours and when I came home I found him in his wheelchair leaning forward, like he fell. When I pulled him up straight his face was black, his skin was cold and he was not breathing and had no pulse. Whatever happened, it was quick. I think he might have dropped his phone and tried to pick it up with his reacher and maybe fell forward too far. He would have been on the floor if he had not had a seat belt on. I know he could not have pulled himself upright, he was not strong enough to do that. I'm sad that he died alone, though we were only gone for a couple of hours. I'm in shock. David was 68 years old.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Song and poem from the mind of a 7 year old

U'iLani is my grand daughter, she is 7. She has been writing songs and poetry since she was 2, before she could even read. Here are a couple of things she wrote this week. Spelling is hers. All ideas are from her little mind, she just writes them on her own, usually when she is supposed to be sleeping.
Hollows Eve
1. Hollows Eve is when the kids come out and the vampiors.
2. Hollows Eve is inpotent. The Hollows are swaying in the wind.
3. The ravans are cawing and so are the crows.

Chamber of Love
He's sitting arownd doing nothing and I asked baby is there something rong? with you
He ses no, I say back to him are you in the Chamber of love? with someone else
he ses no, no I am not
I say to him do you know even know what is the Chamber of love?
And he ses no.
I say back to him well it is a prosses.
First you have to go meet someone then go on a date affter that you go though the Chamber of love then you merry! And it will be a hapily ever affter. And that is the Chamber of love.
Chamber, chamber, chamber baby, chamber of love!
Just like I am in the Chamber of love with you and your in the chamber of love with me! And he says if your in the chamber of love like us were going to get merred? And I said yes! And were never going to get devorsed are we? And he says no. Chamber of love, chamber of love, chamber of love!