Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Some Things That I Am Thankful For

In the run-up to the Thanksgiving holiday, which is celebrated this Thursday in the United States, everyone is compelled to share what it is they are thankful for. Of course my list includes family, friends, America, and ice cream. But I’d rather give recognition to some items which are less obvious.

This list is incomplete and in no particular order. I’m thankful for…

The Windows in My Living Room

Really? You bet.

I have two large windows- one which looks out on the street and the other which looks out on the ocean. After I stare into the abyss of my dual computer screens for a while, I pull back, rotate to my left, and gaze out these windows. This invigorates me, and I become reacquainted with reality. Until recently, however, there was a problem. Because I have an eastern and southern exposure on this side of the house, bright sunshine would often blast into the room, making me feel like an accused spy being interrogated under a hot lamp. Because I wasn’t able to operate the shades myself, I was left with either no view out of the windows or excessive sunlight, depending on how Kim had adjusted the shades before leaving for work. Therefore, a few months ago we made what turned out to be a wonderful purchase. I now have remote control blinds that I can adjust to any position, any time. And I do tweak those babies often throughout the day. I’m very thankful for my windows, and my window blinds.

The picture on the top-right is the sunrise as seen from my living room. It's not pristine, but it doesn't suck either.

The IBot Team

This includes: Gary Lawson, Charles Bogle, and everyone else at America’s Huey 091 Foundation; Max Burt, creator of savetheiBot.org; Dean Kamen, Joe Goodwin, and the rest of the team at DEKA Research and Development.

These folks and many others are focused on reviving the manufacture and sale of this incredible mobility device. For their effort and dedication, I am thankful. Wish us luck.

My Medical Team

This includes: Dr. Muscat, my awesome neurologist; Dr. Freedman, my very caring primary care physician, and her team at Martin’s Point Health Care; Dr. Aronson, my oncologist, and his folks who inject me intrathecally with methotrexate every eight weeks or so; my physical therapists Gabe Redmond and Jodi Mitchell and my occupational therapist Maren Nagem.

I know that these people are well compensated for what they do, but I feel that their compassion is authentic nonetheless. Because of my various medical challenges, this team has their collective fingers plugging countless holes in the dike, and for that I am most thankful.

All the Stuff in My Immediate Neighborhood

Two major grocery stores, City Hall, the post office, my bank, my eye doctor and my primary care physician, outstanding caf├ęs and lunch counters, a variety of medium and higher-end restaurants, a useful and not yet dilapidated strip mall, several city parks, Bug Light Park in particular, the bridge to Portland, the butcher shop and market I can see from my kitchen window, and the cozy bar down the street. But most of all I’m thankful for my cool neighbors and the many friends that I have made here in the last two years.

The Internet

If I had MS prior to the existence of the internet, and stayed home most days, I think my situation might not be so tenable. I don’t know what I would do all day if not for the enrichment I receive from the internet. On the other hand, disabled people in the future will have some other, yet to be invented item on their list, which they won’t be able to conceive of having lived without. Still, I’m extremely thankful for my internet access.

The Health Problems That I Don’t Have

Yes, by any measure I’m in pretty rough shape medically. But things could be worse. First, I could be in pain all day, every day, but I’m not. Second, I could have any number of conditions that are worse than MS. I probably will someday, like almost everyone eventually does, but I’m thankful that said day has not yet arrived.

My Mind

Is it conceited to say that I love my mind? I can’t help it. I’m glad I have a brain that is open to and curious about new ideas. I’m glad that I am contemplative and think for myself, rather than adhere blindly to political or religious dogma. Perhaps most importantly I’m glad that I have a mind which tends toward contentment rather than gloominess. Sure, I wish I was more intelligent and witty, and that I had a better memory. I wish my brain function hadn’t been damaged by MS. But all in all I’m very thankful for the squishy blob of neurons and synapses which occupies the space between my ears.

Canvas Wrapped Artwork

This is our latest thing, and I wanted to share it with you. If you’re not familiar with the concept, click here. We have two beautiful pictures hanging on our wall, which were made from photographs I took, and then wrapped on canvas. Here they are, below, first the source photo and then the finished product.

We also have two professional photographs that are canvas wrapped. We purchased these at separate “Art in the Park” shows nearby. Some may consider this to be less than fine art, but I don’t care. I really love this medium. It’s relatively affordable, generally appealing to look at, and something that I can actually create myself (through a vendor).

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!


  1. You have really made me think about what I'm grateful for, and a whole day early! Love the idea that your photos were turned into paintings - and very impressed too.

    Happy Thanksgiving from us in Minnesota to you in Maine.

  2. Char, thank you for the holiday wishes. Please give our best to everyone at the Colwill table tomorrow.

    Daphne, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family in Minnesota!