Thank you all for the very kind and positive response to my last post! You are too kind, and remember that these are mostly lessons learned through error!
Today I don’t have any such thoughts just a fun observation.
I always wanted to be in the US Special Forces. I thought and still think that the Green Beret is the highest mark of distinction in the US Army. I was partially influenced by hero worship of my brother in law’s dad, who always had that quiet strength when I was around him. I was also influenced by the sheer MacGyver aspect of the “Snake Eaters”. Twelve dudes, on their own, advising, training, teaching, reconnoitering, direct actioning, they Improvised off of what they had. It’s brilliant.
I also had a GI Joe action figure named Falcon, and he had the Green Beret. Plus, Green Lantern, Green is my favorite color… So, yeah.
It’s been brought to my attention that my title actually goes to the Marines, but I never thought I was a good fit for the Marines. I like hats, and they didn’t have the Green Beret. Yup, fashion dictates decisions. I have since been overwhelmed with the awesome exploits of the Marines, and I hold them in the highest respect. Probably higher than Special Forces.
But the commonality between the two groups I would like to highlight. Improvisation, adaptation, success. The Special Forces are unique small group teams designed to need as little as possible from big army. The Marines are underfunded, misunderstood elite amphibious shock troops, and they generally operate on a larger scale. They both adapt to their situations and are hugely successful. They can even operate in tandem.
I don’t know if I have ever supported either group over the course of my career, but if I have, I hope I did good work for them.
“Where are you going with this, Joe?” Well, Reader-land, I will tell you.
You see, having any kind of debilitating illness or condition is like being forced to live away from big army or being left ashore by the Navy to take the island. You don’t have everything available to use. This is true for spinal injury, cerebral issues, Muscular dystrophy, and ALS, among others. We have to adapt. I had improvised a cup solution to be able to drink. We have improvised in our house to be able to get around, eat, etc. We adapt to what we have to do what we want to do. And we succeed. For example, I haven’t peed on myself since adapting to the situation. Overcome!
And the most important thing I have improvised is my ability to hug my Family. You see, my arms don’t work well. I can receive hugs but not give them.
Ah, but you are wrong! I have strength in my legs! I can’t walk but I still have a response in my legs. So what I do is squeeze my wife and kids between my knees. Improvise, adapt, overcome!
What, I am a physical touch love language! I gotta be able to show love!
That’s a long-winded way of sharing the weirdness of ALS.