36. When Your Inspiration Dies

What do you do when your inspiration dies?   Stephen Hawking died.  He was an inspiration to everyone living with ALS /MND.  Diagnosed in 1963, I believe he was known to have lived the longest with the disease.  When diagnosed,  he was given just three years to live.  He surpassed that,  and just kept going.  When you are given news that your life is about to end,  someone who defies the odds becomes your inspiration to keep going,  just like they did.  If he can survive,  then so can I,  I always thought.  And really,  I guess that hasn’t changed.  He did live with ALS for 55 years,  and I am only up to 20 years,  so far.

I suppose you just have to trust that the Universe /God has your back.  Just last night,  I remember waking up in the middle of the night,  having heard an odd noise.  I don’t remember exactly what it was,  but I remember thinking it almost sounded like a person saying something.  My husband was still asleep,  and no one else was there.  I definitely didn’t dream it, and it was loud enough to wake me up.  Then,  this morning after I had gotten up,  and was in the bathroom washing my face (well,  having my face washed),  I was thinking about what the noise could have been.  I wondered if somehow it was a noise from the face mask I wear for my bi-pap machine?  It has air constantly being pushed through it for me to breathe,  and can sometimes make noises when air breaks through the seal on the nasal mask.  But,  not sounds like a person making a noise.  Then,  I wondered if it was just someone watching out for me,  I don’t know,  God,  a Spirit guide,  guardian angel,  etc…  I wondered if I had quit breathing and someone thought they would wake me up so that I would take a breath.  That happens every night,  I mean,  me not breathing,  which is why I use the bi-pap machine.  It forces air into my lungs to keep me breathing while I am sleeping.  Since I was washing my face, I had my eyes closed as I thought about this,  and just as I had that thought about someone waking me up,  I heard a noise that sounded like something fell from the ceiling in the corner of my bathroom.  I looked and didn’t see anything.  Coincidence?  Or was someone saying,  yea, that’s what happened! 

Over the years,  people have commented and wondered why Stephen Hawking never used his status as a well-known scientist living with Motor Neuron Disease (ALS) to help raise awareness of the disease, and perhaps help to find a cure.  Call me crazy,  but I truly believe that at least part of the reason Stephen Hawking lived for so long, was because he chose not to focus on his MND.  He was in college and just beginning to make some wonderful discoveries about science and the way the world works,  when he was diagnosed.  He ignored his disease as much as possible, and went on to live his life to the fullest.   If he had focused all his attention on his disease,  he may not have had the focus necessary to make the scientific discoveries that he made.  I think a disease,  any disease,  can quite easily become the focus of your life,  and take over your life.   He certainly is proof that nothing,  not even ALS /MND can stop you from living a wonderful life.  Even from the great beyond, he will always remain an inspiration to many.


35. It’s A Wonderful Life

“It’s A Wonderful Life”  has always been one of my favorite movies.  I have no idea how many times I’ve seen it.  I watch it at least once a year.  I had the words printed into a decal and put on the wall above my fireplace, “It’s a Wonderful Life”   (click to see).  It’s just a little bit crooked.  The reason it is crooked, is because my daughter put it on the wall for me when she was only twelve years old.  The fact that it’s crooked reminds me that it’s a wonderful life,  not a perfect life.  Much like the chips in the dry wall around the door frames in my house.  Those chips and marks are from wheelchairs and patient lifts.  They are reminders of the bumps in life.  The stains on the now old carpeting are from pets we have loved,  and children growing up.  They all remind me that my house is not just a house,  but a home.  Every stain,  every mark,  has a story behind it.  I’m not opposed to getting some new carpeting one of these days,  but I don’t think I would want to live in a house where everything was perfect.  A friend of mine used to tell me every time she came over,  that my house had such a homey feel to it.  I took that as a compliment.

I remember that a friend of mine told me about a client of hers,  who took her on a tour of her big new fabulous house.  She had a big staircase put in,  with old-looking wooden stairs.  She kept apologizing and complaining when some of the steps creaked and made noise as they stepped on them.  They apparently were supposed to look old and used,  but not sound old and used.   I can’t imagine having that as a problem in my life.  I mean,  if you are worried about that,  your life is pretty good,  right?  Or,  maybe she just worried about everything, I don’t know.   I am thinking she might have more problems than squeaky stairs.

Life is all about learning.  If you led a perfect life,  I don’t think you would learn very much.  I think we learn more from the hardships in our lives.  But. I have realized that just because we have problems,  doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our lives in the midst of those problems.  If you wait until your problems are solved to be happy,  you might as well give up now.  I don’t know of anyone with no problems.  I know of people who seem to have no problems,  but they are just trying to make their lives look better than they really are.  If something looks to good to be true,  it probably is too good to be true.  I generally don’t let things worry me too much,  or not for too long anyway.  If something breaks,  I  just get it fixed.   If I can’t get it fixed,  I buy a new one.   If that won’t work,  oh well,  I’ll figure it out eventually.  I’m not going to worry about it.   When something goes wrong,  or not the way you hoped it would,  just remember that you can’t know what you do want,  until you know what you don’t want.  So,  be grateful that you have been shown exactly what you don’t want,  so that you can now make the changes needed to move onto what you do want.

Try to focus on all the wonderfulness of your life.  Ignore the bad stuff and the problems as much as humanly (and safely) possible.  Search out the good in every situation.  And,  believe me,  there’s something good in everything.  If I can say that,  when I have been living with delightful ALS for 22 years,  then I think anyone can.

This may sound crazy,  but I have always loved to look at old tombstones,  and see what they have written on them.   I also love the design of the old ones,  there is so much detail to them.  Not like the new ones they have today which all seem to look-alike.  I think I found my love of tombstones through an art project in elementary school,  when we made a relief of the design and words off of tombstones (our school happened to be right by the cemetery).  Years later,  while visiting England with my mother,  we toured through some old churches and I saw the most beautiful headstones,  some with full stories describing the person’s life etched into the stones.

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I have often wondered what the perfect words would be to have etched on my stone.  How do you sum up a lifetime in just a few words?   I think I will simply say,  “It Was A Wonderful Life. “



34. You Are What You Think



You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat”.  Well, while too many jelly donuts may make your tummy resemble Santa’s, shaking like a bowl full of the stuff, besides watching what food you put in your mouth, you also need  to watch what thoughts you are putting into your mind.  Negative thoughts can affect your body in a negative way, just as much as the food you eat.  I believe this could explain why so many patients who receive a devastating terminal or serious health diagnosis seem to,  many times,  immediately get significantly worse.  Being told that you have cancer and need a horrible treatment,  or that you have a terminal disease,  and only have a few years left,  is a bit unsettling, to say the least.  When negative thoughts  fill our minds,  they can become all that we focus on.  If those negative thoughts are health related,  they can take over,  and become our main focus.  Add to that,  the stress and thought patterns necessary to get through everyday life filled with treatments, doctors, and worsening health,  and it’s a wonder anyone gets better at all.  I believe if doctors could change the way they present the news of an incurable or serious illness to their patients, the recovery and survival rates would skyrocket.  Just letting people know that besides medicine, there are other areas of their lives that can hold the answers to improvement in their health, even something as simple as the thoughts they think,  would make a huge difference in a person’s life.   In the placebo effect,  patients who think they are receiving medication get better when they only received a placebo and no medicine,  because they thought they would get better.  This proves the power that our thoughts hold.  

Author and queen of affirmations, Louise Hay,  said that disease can be reversed by changing your mental patterns.  By eliminating those negative thoughts that automatically play in your head over and over, and replacing them with positive affirmations, you can reverse the patterns that created the disease.  More and more books are being written with similar beliefs.  Philosopher and author, Wayne Dyer, said that when you change the way you look at things,  the things you look at change.  Or, if you change your thoughts, you change your life.  That is true for every aspect of your life,  not only your health.    

I believe that I live in a world filled with mostly good people who are helpful and kind,  with a few bad ones mixed in,  who I almost never run across.  That is exactly what I find to be true.  I run into kind,  helpful people where ever I go.  Does this happen because I believe it is so?

Maybe a little denial isn’t such a bad thing either.  I constantly read blog headlines and personal comments from ALS patients regarding their diagnosis as a death sentence.  While that may be the story they have heard from their doctor,  why let that be your only focus?   I believe if you live with the belief of no hope, and no cure, then that’s what you’ll get.  I truly believe that a big part of why I have survived way past the prognosis of  a 2-5 year life span,  was because I simply refused to believe that was going to happen to me.  Some might say I live in denial, because I believe that no illness is a death sentence, and no situation is hopeless!  As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that workin’ out for ya?”  My answer is, “Great!” 

The Law of Attraction,  says that whatever you focus on is what you attract to your life.  When you constantly talk about your health problems,  you only attract continued health problems.  If you constantly talk,  or think, about how you have no money,  and how you hate that you have no money,  and you have too many bills,  etc..  You will continue to attract no money,  because that is all you are focused on.  And on, on it goes,  no matter what the topic.  So if you want more money,  or a job that you love,  try not to think about what you don’t have,  and think about what you do want.  Focus on how you would feel if you had lots of money,  or the job of your dreams,  or how you would feel if you could walk again,  or whatever it is that you desire.  Focus on the good stuff and ignore the unwanted bits of your life,  as much as safely possible.  Day dream about what you want to happen in your life,  and soon,  your life will catch up with your dreams.


33. True Love -or- Watch Out For Blind Dates

One fateful evening,  many years ago,  my grandmother went out on a blind date with a man who would be my grandfather.   They were together for many,  many years after that night.  Married for 60+ years.  It’s a long story,  but my parents got together as result of blind date (not theirs)  also.    Similarly,  I was fixed up on a blind date by a friend,  with a guy who had just returned home after being in the army.  That was going on 33 years ago,  and we have been apart little since that fateful night.  True love.

When you think of Valentine’s Day,  and true love,  flowers and candy probably come to mind.  Maybe a night out with your significant other.  But,  I think of someone who does literally anything and everything I need help with,  and buys me flowers to boot!  You know it’s true love,  when you are diagnosed with not just a serious disease,  but one known as one of the worst you can have with no cure,  and your spouse (or significant other)  stays by your side to help you through it.  Not just sticking with me,   but also going along in my quest for better health.  Never letting me give up on getting better,  and taking me wherever that journey leads us (which has been all over the U.S. ),  both when he believes in that particular part of the quest, and even when he does not.  Helping me eat dinner since I can’t lift my arms to feed myself.   Getting up at 3 a.m. to get me a drink and a pain pill,  because I can’t get up myself.   Helping me with all personal care,  including bathing,  going to the restroom,  and getting dressed.  Doing the laundry,  walking the dog,  making dinner, or buying whatever I want for dinner,  and on, and on it goes.  He helps the kids with car maintenance, and home repairs.  Did I forget to mention how he seems to be able to fix anything,  which saved us a ton of money over the years?  That has nothing to do with love,  but just shows that the Universe gave me a bonus on top of the true love it sent me!

True love,  is my husband staying up all night (when he had already only had a nap in the previous 24 hours) to work on getting the gas fireplace fixed, and making sure I could sleep and keep warm when both the fireplace and the furnace quit working on a frigid winter’s night.

We no longer have a Starbucks anywhere near where we live,  so it is always a treat to get a coffee or frappuccino. Whenever my husband has to go pick up something anywhere near a Starbucks,  I end up getting a coffee.  Even when he is going to a doctor’s appointment,  I get a coffee.  True love.

True love.  I remember when our youngest daughter was sick,  and about to toss her cookies right onto our new couch.  Without a second thought,  my husband put his hands out to catch those “cookies”,  and save our new couch!  True love,  or was it just the fact that hands wash easier than the couch upholstery?  I don’t know,  but I don’t think I would have done it!

True love.  When you are six months pregnant,  and you haven’t been able to “go” for a very long time,  and the doctor suggests an enema,  helping you get that done is definitely true love.

It’s a little thing,  but I almost always get to decide what we watch on TV.  I usually do try to pick shows that I know my husband will like.  When we make big purchases,  like cars,  houses,  and maybe furniture, we usually do that together.  But,  when it comes to the smaller things,  like decorating the house,  it’s all me.  Anything I want,  I just buy it.    It’s not unheard of for my husband to come home and find that a room has been painted a different color,  or we have new curtains in the living room. He just lets me do whatever I want.  Which has gotten trickier over the years,  after I lost the ability to “do”  things on my own.

Now, before you all get too worked up,  I will remind you that I didn’t say that my knight in shining armour did all of this happily all of the time.  Especially if it is 3 o’clock in the morning,  and I’ve already woken him up three other times.   He will not be happy.  But,  he gets up and does it anyway.  Also, when he says he will be there in, “a minute”, I can count on waiting anywhere from an actual minute, to five or ten minutes. And, “stuff”  happens,  when you aren’t doing things for yourself.   Like when someone else is scratching your  leg,  and they accidentally take a bit of skin off whilst relieving the itch.  Or,  they can’t tell how far they are pushing the toothbrush into your mouth,  and gag you shoving it down your throat!   Or, when they try to  remove the  hair out of your eye,  but also rip ten other strands of hair out of your head.  Then there are the bumps and bruises, because when you are just one person helping someone who can’t move at all,   it’s hard to keep fingers and toes from getting mashed or bent in a way they don’t bend.   And on,  and on it goes,  as you can imagine.  But, so far,  only one broken finger.  Probably not a bad record for over 20 years of care.  Maybe that’s the real reason babies cry so much?   We all might just not do as well as we think we do taking care of another person,  so we are the reason they are screaming when we take care of them?  Hmmm,  could be… but,  I digress.

True love is not just about romantic love.  True love can also be love between a parent and their child.  Pure love.  If you have ever had a pet,  you have felt true love.  True love is not made up of chocolate and flowers,  it’s made of tougher stuff.  It’s made up of nights without sleep,  and all the things you would never do for anyone else,  but you would for your “true love”.

I think The Beatles were spot on when they sang, “All You Need Is Love”. Life may not be a bed of roses,  but you can do anything and get through anything if you have any form of true love in your life.


30. Half A Stick Of Gum Is All You Need

Half of a stick of gum is all you need.  When I was a kid,  whenever I visited my grandparents, to keep us occupied during church, my grandmother would give my sister and I a piece of gum.  But, only one half of a stick of gum.  Even for a kid, that’s not much.  That’s plenty, she would say. 

I have found that there are a lot of things,  like that half stick of gum, that  I was used to having which, I have realized I can get by without.  I found out,  with ALS,  that it’s amazing how much muscle you can lose,  and still live a somewhat normal life.  I was walking around,  doing everything I always did for years with a great deal of muscle loss.  I got by with much less than I thought I needed.

I had one of the original big bulky bag cell phones,  back in the day.  I had it mainly to use in case there were an emergency,  like if my car quit,  because I drove 40 minutes to and and from work everyday.   So, after I had to quit working due to my health issues, I just never got another phone.  I  went for years without having or using one.  Which means I had also never texted, other than from a computer. And, I lived to tell the story!  I found I could survive without one.  I finally got a new cell phone last year,  after  15+ years without one. 

I could never have imagined sitting in one spot and not moving for an hour or even two hours before ALS.  Sure, we all say, “I wish I could just sit and do nothing!”  What we really mean is we wish we didn’t  have to go to work, or do any of our daily chores, but moving about would still be an option.  What about when moving isn’t an option?  I’ve found it really is possible  to sit and literally not move,  without going totally crazy.  Even a couple of years ago,  I was used to  asking one of my daughters help move my leg or arm after an hour of not moving.  But, when that was no longer an option, I found I could survive moving  less often than I had thought.

I used to always be on the go.  Now,  leaving the house numerous times every day is just a distant memory.  I could never have imagined staying in for days, let alone weeks at a time without leaving the house.  Now that seems totally normal,  and rarely bothers me at all.  It helps that most of those periods of time occur during the winter, when just the thought of the cold Indiana weather is enough to make my body ache,  and all I want to do is stay in and stay warm.   I have experienced cabin fever first hand, but I’ve also learned that you really don’t need to leave the house everyday, every week, or even every month to be content.  

We all find ourselves thinking about the things we think we need.  The latest model  TV,  or newly released IPhone or IPad.  Whatever it is,  it may be something we want,  but usually we can definitely do just fine without it.  I’m glad I learned early on,  that you don’t always need as much of something as you think you do to be happy.  Sometimes half a stick of gum really is plenty.



27. Find Some Hope to Hold Onto

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
― Emily Dickinson

I had a great-uncle who was a postman.  He also happened to be a  healer and psychic.   I remember him and the wonderful conversations we used to have.   When I was very young,  somewhere between four and six years old,  we would sit in my aunt and uncle’s kitchen,  eat cookies and just talk.  It seemed very odd to have an adult sit and just talk to me and be so interested in what I had to say.  I loved to talk to him.  

One day,  a full year after I had been diagnosed with ALS,  I decided to look him up.  I hadn’t seen him in years.  He lived in a small community of psychics, healers, and mediums called,  Camp Chesterfield.   One weekend,  my mother and I found his address and drove over to see him,  but he wasn’t home.   So,  we visited the local bookstore, and the community office where I was given a list of all residents and their gifts (psychic, healer, medium, etc).  Since I was already there,  I thought I might as well try and get a reading.   So,  I had the office secretary call a lady listed as a psychic and medium to see if she had time for one.   She did.  I had never been to a psychic before, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed at the time.  She told me, among many other things,  that she had a message from my former pastor.   She wanted to tell me that my illness was just something I had to go through.  After months of tests, doctors, and doom and gloom, those few words were such a comfort and source of hope.  I just had to go through it… to me,  meaning there was hope of getting through it,  or living with it.   Reverend Clara Maye Rippel always knew the right thing to say!

I will never understand  why some medical professionals are afraid to offer what they call, “false hope”.   Hope can never be false. Sometimes all you need is a little hope to make a huge change in your life.  There are stories out there about someone who has survived every illness, and every terrible situation you can imagine.  If someone else can survive what you are going through, or worse, then you can too.  



26. Laugh. Even if you don’t feel like it.


Who says TV is bad for you?  I know I heard that somewhere.  Maybe it was just sitting too close to the television set that I was warned about?  Anyway, contrary to popular belief, I think television and movies can be good for you.  In the movie, What About Bob, Bob takes a vacation from his problems.  TV can offer a tiny vacation from your problems. A few minutes to laugh or solve a crime, and forget about that doctors appointment coming up,  or that test you have to take,  or whatever it is that you don’t really want to do.  And, for those of us who aren’t able to physically do much besides reading and surfing the internet, sometimes movies and television are all we have to keep busy.  Well  that,  and writing a blog will keep you pretty busy! 

When I could no longer do things with my kids that required physical movement of any kind,  watching TV was something we could do together. Each week when our favorite programs were on, they would actually come out of their rooms and spend a few minutes with their mother!  Even though they no longer live at home,  we still watch television and movies together.  My oldest daughter and I watch The Middle almost every week.  My youngest daughter and I try to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy most Friday’s when she comes over. 

The same day I received my third confirmation that, yes, I had what doctors considered to be a terminal, incurable, and untreatable disease,  my husband and I went straight to a movie theatre.  Why not, right? We both had the whole day off of work, why waste it being sad and depressed? I had, according to everyone “in the know” (neurologists), at the very least, a couple of years for that.   So, we went to see, There’s Something About Mary.   Definitely the most hilarious movie of 1998. So, when my mind would have normally been devoured by sadness, instead, I smiled and laughed for 119 minutes. Probably the best thing I could have done at the time.  

Now there are probably close to a million channels (okay,  not quite) to choose from,  streaming on Roku, Amazon Fire Stick,  etc..  Although there are way too many shows not worth watching,  there are some really great ones out there too.   You can now watch them anytime.  No more waiting all week,  or even all year to watch the annual showing of holiday programs or movies.   If you are stuck in a bad mood,  or feeling down, a funny movie or sitcom can be just the ticket,  to at least give you a break from the way you are feeling.  The more you can laugh,  the better you will feel.  I  promise.  Laughter  really,  sometimes,  is the best medicine.  So,  try it. The next time you are feeling down,  watch an episode of The Middle,  or find What About Bob on Netflix.   I  guarantee you will feel a little better!


24. It’s All About The Journey

This blog post is dedicated to my Facebook friend, and ALS warrior, Tammy.  May you be joyful as you continue on your journey,  no matter where it takes you.


Last month,  my husband and I traveled West in our new(ish)  RV.  We made a stop in Missouri,  then on one side of Kansas,  then the other side of Kansas,  then Colorado,  and finally,  New Mexico.  Then back home through Texas,  Oklahoma,  Missouri, and finally arriving in Indiana.  It was an adventure.  It was our first trip in the RV,  being the second owners,  so we found things we wanted to change,  and a few things we have to fix.  We had a travel trailer years ago,  so it was not all totally new to us,  but it was all new to our 95+lb., five year old Lab mix dog who we took with us.  He adjusted fairly well,  and loved his new bed,  and all the vacation food,  but  he preferred to squeeze into the 12 inch space beside the bed to sleep,  instead of his spacious  and comfy bed.  It was quite a sight.

We probably should have taken a shorter trip for the first trip out.  That way we wouldn’t have been clear across the country when we realized that we needed to order a new converter (don’t ask me what that is,  but apparently it’s very important).  But,  we did have an adventure!  It’s just that adventures aren’t always great,  amazing trips without a single problem.   We had to cut our trip short and come home early.  So our adventure  ended up being more about the journey, and less about the destination.   But,  isn’t that how it should be?   Isn’t that just life?  I had always wanted to visit New Mexico, so that was the end goal.   So many people plan on reaching some sort of goal and they are sure they will find enjoyment in the achievement of that goal,  like a new home,  or retirement.  But,  they end up just working themselves  into a serious illness,  or to death trying to achieve their goals,  planning to be happy one day in the future,   instead of just enjoying the journey and finding happiness in the every day.   I used to do the same thing,  until ALS woke me up and made me start paying attention to the journey and not just the destination.  Because you never really get to your destination.  You may achieve a goal,  but then,  don’t you just have another goal to achieve  (hopefully)?  And another?  And another,  and so on and so on, and it never really ends. I would say that even at death,  it is about the journey, because your trip has not ended, but just continues on in another dimension (otherwise known as  Heaven).  We usually refer to death as an ending.  But,  I know that we are really just living somewhere else.  There is no ending,  just the journey.  Many,  many religions believe that you take many journeys through more than one lifetime.  I am apt to believe this,  because how can a person accomplish anything in just one short lifetime?  I have trouble believing that God only gives you between one and one hundred short years to experience life in the vast amount of time of Earth’s existence, but… that’s a whole other blog post!  Do whatever you can to find enjoyment on your journey,  and don’t worry so much about your destination.  Enjoy each and every day.



23. Shake It Up


A popular song in the 1980’s,  by The Cars. Even if it’s just a song about dancing, it reminds me to shake up my life.  Whether we like it or not, life is all about change and shaking things up.  I was pretty happy with my life, just going along with my routines that are easy to get stuck in,  and necessary when you have children and a job, when BOOM…ALS shook up my life.  One thing about living with ALS, is that it causes constant changes in your life.  You are forced to adapt to the changes with the loss of each and every muscle.  I am still trying to accept that my life is constantly changing.  I am not sure why most of us have so much trouble accepting change.  Maybe because we usually view change as a negative thing.  But even a negative change can bring further positive changes.  If I had not been diagnosed with ALS,  I would have probably never cut back my full time job to working part time, even though that’s what I always wanted to do.   And,  probably never would have quit working all together.  I would have probably never taken so many wonderful vacations with my family either.  We would not have moved into a new house.  I would have never met the same people I have met in the past 19 years.  The list goes on and on

My husband and I recently purchased a new(ish) RV.  Being able to take long trips in the RV  will really shakeup our routine.  My new(ish)  blog really shook things up!  Shake things up, even if it’s in a small way.  I recently started spending more of my days sitting on my chaise in the family room using my iPhone, rather than sitting in my wheelchair in the computer room using my computer.  That small change has made my body more comfortable, given me a better view of the outdoors,  so I can spend more time bird watching and less time surfing the internet.   Do whatever you can to shake things up,  and learn to accept change and view it as a good thing.


22. Tune ‘Em Out


You know who I’m talking about. The people who  ask you if you’re getting better, when you have a chronic condition that you are just living with, but until a cure is discovered, you aren’t about to recover from.  But you realize trying to explain this is both pointless,  and a waste of your precious time. So you simply say yes, tune them out, and move on.

Or, the health care worker who asks your caregiver all their questions,  even though you  are sitting right there,  and can understand and respond on your own.  

 Those people who park in the handicapped parking spaces and then literally run into the store. I actually had little cards printed up that say, “Stupidity is not a handicap. Please park elsewhere.”  My husband places one under the windshield wiper of any vehicle we see parked in an accessible space without a handicapped tag or license plate.

The person who talks to everyone, then yells their questions or comments to you, because sitting in a wheelchair simply must somehow mean you are suddenly hard of hearing.

 The healthcare provider (usually durable medical equipment… wheelchair,  lift,  etc…)  who can’t understand why you need more than a few minutes notice that someone is going to show up at your house to make an adjustment or a delivery.  Those people who don’t bother to let you know when they are running behind schedule,  or aren’t going to make it at all,  because why would they need to let you know if they can’t make it for a scheduled home appointment? Aren’t you home all the time anyway?

The person who’s neighbors, cousins, sister in laws, hairdressers, nephew took such and such supplement, and was suddenly cured of (fill in condition here). You should try it, I bet it would cure you too! Funny how the doctors never hear about these simple miracle cures.

The person who comes to visit you, a person with a serious illness,  and spends most of their time talking about their aches and pains,  about how bad they feel.  Or they have been sick,  so they thought they would come visit you and share their germs with you!  

 Or, the people who squeeze in and jump ahead of you in your wheelchair in a busy store. Then say nothing, or look back at you and say, “Oh, sorry! “, as if they didn’t realize you were there. Or, the lady who looked at me riding in a wheelchair in a very packed store and said, “Now you’ve got the right idea!” Yes,  I am SO glad I can’t walk through a busy store!  Idiot (I think to myself doing my best Debra Barone impression). 

 Believe it or not, I once had a minister tell me, “You know, you don’t have to die from ALS. You can die from something else! “ Yea,  Rah!! Like dying  from being hit by a bus would be better?  I’m not so sure.  These people are clueless. Some days it seems like most people are so wrapped up in themselves, or their task at hand that they don’t notice or care what anyone else is  going through. When I come across these people, I try to remember what I read in a book written by Christopher Reeves. He said, what a person is going through in their life is relative. Meaning a bout with the flu, or a divorce for one person may affect them as dramatically as a terminal illness does to someone else. It’s all relative.

You’ve got enough going on without wasting even a minute trying to figure these people out. So, just smile at them, nod your head, and tune ‘em out!