Category Archives: Emotions

Outsmarting Getting Old

Lately I have been experiencing a bad round of chronic pain that is not well controlled with my regular medications. It is frustrating to live with this. I have been to more doctors lately, but I leave their offices more depressed. Doctors give too many pills as the answer.

I have a goal with all my physical issues and it is to maintain my happiness despite my pain.  One other important aspect for me is to continually look  for current modalities in overcoming my discomfort.  The other option is finding a distraction  to get through the ongoing pain. Perhaps a distraction is being with your partner enjoying each other. This distraction can come from friends too.

The development in some circles in medicine is to ID more precise medicine treatments. This can be done by studying one’s individual genetics. This tool is the future. What do some of you think? I believe potential breakthroughs are around the corner.   Now that puts a smile on my face.

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Autism And Its Challenges

luke at ATPLuke’s autism is a story I have chronicled so you could see the challenges we face. This disorder comes with a big price and it takes much determination to succeed. Along with Luke’s disability, he has significant cognitive delay. His mental age in my opinion (his mom) is about four years old. The question by some may be, “How does one live like this?” The answer is, “It depends.” For example, many people have their own commentary of quality of life. We all have “our truths” about that subject. So do we impose our idea of quality of life on the one that is actually suffering, yet he does not even know it? My perspective is pretty simple. Life matters. No matter at what stage or age you are in. Life matters. Why are others quick to pull away from their responsibilities? See what you think of my example below as I describe a week in the life of a mom and her son trying to find medical help. Sorry medical professionals–you seem to get picked on by me a lot.
We have had quite a week dealing with Luke’s need for dental surgery. I spent undo precious time trying to find a doctor willing to do the surgery for Luke without giving him General Anesthesia. Finally I found an oral surgeon willing to take the chance to do the procedure in his surgical suite under IV sedation. I am very grateful that Luke was taken care of there and the surgery was a success ( no general needed!).
The post op journey has not been easy though, but I believe we may have made it through the worst of it. We make a third trip to the dental surgeon this week, and I hope that will be it except for routine cleanings! I think Luke would agree. I wonder how many people could go through the agony of hearing from one doctor’s office after another not willing to care for Luke.
I say Luke will endure and maybe Mom will too! I am glad sometimes he does not understand the discrimination he gets. So many are still ignorant that Luke is human and made physically just like them. Anyway, this is just one example of how autism impacts families and brings undo burdens that should not be there.
There are dentists who actually say: ” I don’t take care of that kind of medical issue (even though they do) because there are “others” who will. I wonder which dentists are the “others?” For now our other was Dr. Sorenson. He was great as well as his competent staff and front office. In the photo –you will see Luke is still smiling!!! He always will.

Vulnerabilities

As the old saying goes, birds of a feather flock together. This proverb is as old as time practically and has a connotation of referring that we enjoy safety with others that are like minded.
What about friendship? Do we tend to migrate to those that are similar to us? My husband likes to say I make friends easily. I actually think what he is really saying is I have good communication skills. Part of me says that there is truth in that, but most healthy life long friendships take a very long time to cultivate. They are worth it, but they are risky at times. When you make yourself vulnerable to another, you are saying to that friend that they are worth the investment. Most of these kind of investments will reap you rewards. As a financial friend of mine would say a good friendship will be full of big dividends for a lifetime.
As I have studied the wonder of friendship this past week, I have seen my son lose his best friend. It made me realize how short of time we have on this earth and we better make each moment count. I have of late not been the best of friends and have come to a place that I needed to work on being more honest in my conversations and also reaching out and asking for help.
What I think I have been learning is to accept that the human spirit has flaws , defects, and blemishes. In all reality I was actually identifying these issues in my own person. Now that is heavy.
So today I am relearning a big lesson about myself. I need help and at times this comes straight from the Divine who is our best friend. It is easy to think all we need are good human friendships to share all our problems with. The truth is friendships will suffer if we place too much on our friends to bear. This is for God alone.
In reality healthy friendships will grow and not short circuit when we learn the gift of how friendship shouId really look like. If God forgives us, we should learn to forgive our friends. We should not take our friendships for granted. I love Proverbs 17:9 which reminds us love grows when we choose to forgive, but if we dwell on it the best of friends will become separated.

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A Matter of Life or Death

WWII was behind us. Americans were trying to start living their lives after several years of watching their loved ones go off to war. One bright, cool day on January 7, 1947, Gloria was about to give birth to her precious baby girl. The only problem was that little Rita was almost 3 months too early. Nevertheless ,Rita came into this world in a town known for its ammunition plant that was built because of WWII. This town was Sylacauga, Alabama deep in the Heart of Dixie. Rita was a fighter and born in a time when medicine was making advances never before thought possible.

In fact critical care of premature babies was on the forefront of some of the first ICU type care available to humans.At approximately 3 pounds in weight, Rita clung to life in a commercially manufactured, mechanical incubator that had only in the last few years been accepted by physicians in the care of preemies. Piped into the incubator, Rita’s underdeveloped lungs were fed oxygen that was needed to keep her alive. The standard of care was so far in advance for premature babies that it was actually setting the tone for all critical care for adults and emergency rooms. Little Rita and her parents Roy and Gloria McGinnis were indeed blessed. What was interesting also about the place of her birth was that Sylacauga Hospital had just opened its doors in April of 1945 with the distinction of being the only non-military hospital built in the U.S. during World War II.

Indeed January 7th 1947 was a big day for Rita’s parents. However, Rita was born with her parents having no health insurance, so the Red Cross came in and saved the day and paid the hospital bill ! After Rita’s father Roy reenlisted into the Air Force, he began repaying that bill and in time the Red Cross said he had paid enough and that a grant would pay the rest of the bill.

When Roy returned to military life , he was stationed in Montgomery, Alabama at Maxwell AFB. Rita could now have her care in a military hospital. After Rita was approximately 6 months old, she had her first check up. To the shock of her parents, the doctor said Rita was blind. The military then made the decision to send her to Vanderbilt for further evaluation where the military eye doctor had went to school. The leading eye doctor and professor at Vanderbilt in Tennessee thought Rita had cataracts. He was wrong. With heavy hearts, Rita and her parents came back to Montgomery, Alabama. They then went to see a Dr. Karl Benkwith who in 1945, following WWII, opened the first ophthalmology office in Montgomery, Alabama. He stated that Rita did not have cataracts, but some kind of film over her eyes. Dr. Benkwith told SGT McGinnis he wanted to make an appointment for his daughter with one of the leading eye doctors in the nation. This was Dr. Algernon Reese of Columbia in New York City. Dr. Reese was so well known as he treated stars such as Bob Hope. Roy stated to Dr. Benkwith, “You get us that appointment and we will get there.” The appointment was made.

Roy McGinnis knew he needed to figure out how on a salary of $300 a month that he could get his daughter to New York. He knew the Red Cross had helped him before so he went back to them. He spoke with a Ms. Love who stated , “We will do all we can to get her to New York even if we have to break the bank!” The ball was rolling and the Red Cross was getting things moving.

In the meantime, Roy knew this would not get him down. He had been in alot bigger battles then this one. After all he had been shot down in his bomber plane in Germany during WWII and was a POW in Stalag 17. What more curves could life throw you?

After some time went by, Ms. Love notified the appropriate folks in the military about the circumstances and miracles began to happen to get Rita to New York. The commander in charge of Maxwell AFB or as known in the 1940’s as Maxwell Field where Roy was stationed authorized a flight to Mitchell AFB in New York so Rita could make her appointment in March of 1948. This commander of Maxwell Field and the Air University that the base was noted for was none other then General Muir Fairchild.

General Fairchild was one of the most highly respected military heros of that time. He was a pilot in WWI and had what many would call an outstanding military career. He no doubt was given the story of Sgt McGinnis’ own heroism in WWII and his POW status. If this played a role in Rita getting to New York, it was never told. However, Roy, Gloria, and Rita were on their way in a c-47 plane sitting in the General’s own private quarters of the plane flying to New York in March of 1948.

Rita was seen in New York by Dr. Reese. He gave a diagnoses of retrolental fibroplasia. In other words a film had covered over the back of her lens thereby making Rita go blind. Dr. Reese explained to her the McGinnis’s that he did not know what was caused Rita’s problem, but he promised he would tell them as soon as modern medicine figured this mystery out. Dr. Reese held to his promise and after several years in approximately 1951, Rita’s father Roy McGinnis recieved the answer from Dr. Reese in the form of a letter. It must be noted here that Dr. Reese had all ready written Roy several times to keep him up to date on the progress of understanding Rita’s blindness. In fact there was nothing short of an epidemic in the late 1940’s of babies going blind. The answer was finally discovered that 1950s and the condition was caused by the use of oxygen therapy to treat the immature lungs in premature infants. A matter of life or death caused the blindness. “It shocks you when you hear this, but what can you do.” Exactly what can you when no one knew?

I hope this personal story was interesting to you. I am proud to tell you that Rita is still alive today. Her father is my step dad and Rita is my sister. Roy expressed to me that he has not shared this story with many people. He states most people can not believe that a 4 star General would allow his own military aircraft to be used in such a manner. However, you see it was almost exactly the same time frame that another military officer by the name of Major Donley was travelling in a C-54. The C-54 he was traveling on was cold and unheated in a trip to from Oklahoma to Utah. There were three active duty military on this plane injured and they were freezing to death because the plane was not heated. It was at this time the major knew he wanted to make a difference and get our military to figure out a more humane way we can take our sick for appropriate care in the best place. After this flight, Major Donley was instrumental in modifying the first c-47 for air evac duty by 1949. It takes a few brave soldiers to do the right thing for our sick. General Fairchild saw the need for the air evac plane for little Rita and Major Donley saw this 2000 miles away in the inhumane way three injured soldiers were taken for treatment. Thank God Major Donley put into action a plan that eventually the military sunk their teeth into. Air Evac saved many a life starting as early as the 1950’s in Korea.

Roy McGinnis 1967 Vietnam

 

Roy and his wife Hilde McGinnis

 

 

Famous Figures in my genealogy lines! Say What!

In my last blog installment, I mentioned I would divulge our famous ancestors.  The time has come for me to “spit” it out.   I must explain for those that may be reading this for the first time,  my husband conducted a research test on his DNA by offering a spit sacrifice to www.23andme.com  .  This organization is on the cutting edge of discovery for research that possibly will lead to new  cures for some of the most debilitating diseases in our lifetime including  Parkinsons and Diabetes.

Now to our famous ancestors.  The study’s results were surprising and remarkable that included  four famous people.  But before I spill the beans, I wanted to give you more information on my husband’s other haplogroup.  In my last installment, I mentioned his maternal haplogroup H13a1a1a.  The paternal (father’s side) haplogroup is R1b1b2a1.  Again for further clarification, a haplogroup is defined in general terms as being that part of the family tree of life one arises from.  I also discovered that my husband’s lines are 100% European. Also it must be noted  the haplogroup R is a widespread branch of  human life origins of the Y chromosome.  Y of course for those non- scientifically minded is the male side.  The R’s of the world seemed to appeared first in Southwest Asia and moved across  Eurasia.  I must admit this does not say much as Eurasia (Europe and Asia combined-how cute a  name by some doctor of geography) holds 73% of the population.  However the R1 group in this catagory can be traced back to farmers 10,000 years ago that shaped Europe.  It also belongs to those subgroups such as the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. In specific terms, R1b1b2a1 can be found in our current areas of Germany, Netherlands, and parts of the North Sea area close to England.

It is amazing to discover one’s roots as I hope you can see in this information.  It is also important to note how we all rose to prominance one way or another.  There are four folks that rose with my husband’s line to famous stature that may amaze you…..The names given to us are Napoleon, Prince Philip, Luke the Evangelist, and possibly my favorite Susan Sarandon..Now that woman can act!

Stay tuned for my next installment.  Peace to all and may you enjoy alittle of life’s pleasures through my diverse photography from places I have been:

Cascades Mountains WA state

Long Beach, Long Island, NY

Mt. Rushmore