Thursday, June 28, 2012

Back in Work

I've been  back in work for a few hours these last couple of days. The following is a visual approximation of the experience...except my arms flap around more :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

ALS MND Daily News Digest

iBrain Aims to "Hack" Stephen Hawking's Brain to Give Speech ...
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative neural disease, robbed brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking of his movement and speech. Today Professor ...
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ALS MND Daily News Digest

Behind The Eyewriter, A Life-Changing Eyetracking System
The Smoking Section
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a terrifying disease for its sufferers. Essentially, the neurons that command the ...
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012


I fell and broke my arm last Thursday, June 7. A rather unusual present for my mother-in-law, Claudia, who was celebrating her birthday that day.

Amanda had left for work, and I thought a quick dip in the hot tub was needed before I set about my work day.

I enjoyed a good soak in the hot tub, and climbed out. In the process of climbing out I lost my balance, my foot slipped off the step, and I fell. My shoulder bore the brunt of the fall.

It took me a few moments to gather my thoughts, sit up, and make my way to my cell phone. Jake, whom I left in the house, looked at me as if to say, "I could help you if you hadn't locked me inside."

I called Amanda, and she came rushing home. 

The doctor at the hospital thought I'd dislocated my shoulder, and x-rays would confirm his diagnosis. Unfortunately, the x-rays showed a spectacular break at the top of my humerus bone.

It took the hospital a little while to locate an orthopedic surgeon. When he arrived, Dr. Hemphill suggested that a pin was needed to realign the bone.

I had surgery that Thursday afternoon, only a few hours after I broke my arm. The healing process seems to be going well. While I do have a fair amount of swelling in my arm, I have a minimal amount of pain.

Last Thursday brought a couple of emotional low points. For a brief moment immediately after I broke my arm, I wondered if I would be able to sit upright and get to my phone. That feeling of near helplessness didn't sit well.

Later that morning, between phone calls with friends and family, Amanda let down her guard and knowledged that it had all been a little overwhelming. Seeing her run down was more than I could bear, so I insisted that Amanda go out for lunch and catch her breath.

As low as those moments had been, returning home that evening brought new highs. Our home was packed with friends and family who embodied the phrase, "all hands on deck." My brother arrived a few moments after I got back from the hospital, and brought a pervasive sense of calm to the house.

To receive such overwhelming support on such short notice was amazing.

My brother left the following morning, and my parents arrived that afternoon. What followed was a whirlwind of activity similar to that of Thursday evening: my Dad and Renata landscaped of the area around the hot tub, and my mum offered invaluable help with the girls.

Given the emotional lows of the previous morning, the way in which our entire family (and friends) banded together gave me the distinct feeling that we could handle anything with their support.

My recovery from the accident has been tranquil so far. The stitches in my incision were removed on Thursday afternoon, and I was back in the hot tub that night!

My sincere thanks to everyone for their help.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Daily ALS MND News Digest

How immune system, inflammation may play role in Lou Gehrig's disease
Science Daily (press release)
ScienceDaily (June 5, 2012) — In an early study, UCLA researchers found that the immune cells of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, may play a role in damaging the neurons in the spinal cord.
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With friends like these

As my physical strength diminishes, it can be easy to lose control of my emotions. It's a constant adjustment; things I could do 6 months ago now present a challenge.

When friends and family came over yesterday to help with a DIY project, I had to take a back seat when it came to the labor-intensive part of the project. Sitting back was alien to me one year ago.

It's just as well, then, that I'm several thousand miles away from Neil and Jill, and their close group of family and friends: they ascended the tallest mountain in the UK on Sunday to raise funds for our family.

I'm sure a few people in the US are thinking, "Oh, climbing a quaint little hill, how nice," but Ben Nevis is no slight undertaking: there were 41 air rescues and 4 fatalities on Ben Nevis in 1999.

My deepest thanks to Neil and Jill, and their gang. And I'm awfy glad you're down safely!