Monday, March 01, 2004


So I had to get this 8' by 4' by 3/4" sheet of plywood up over my head and onto the 'ceiling' so I could nail it to the exposed floor joists. A piece of wood like that is not only awkward, it is heavy.

First I lifted one end, which was easy, and kind of dragged it on my back so that the edge was flush in position in the corner where the wall meets the ceiling. The challenge was going to be lifting up the other end, the edge down at the floor, while still keeping the raised edge jammed into the corner. I had four 2x4s that I was going to jam under the plywood once I got it in position. They would hold it up while I nailed it.

Yes, I could have asked someone to help me. But that was not the point. The point was to do it myself, just like I had before the baby was born and before I was diagnosed with ALS.

I was a bit awkward, especially since my lower back is tender, and I had a couple of false starts due to the top edge coming out of the corner. Then I raised the floor edge a little bit by using a crow bar, and slid segment of a 2x6 under it. Once that was done, I had an edge I could get my hands under. I wondered if I was strong enough, or if my legs would give out during the lift. But then I thought, all that weight lifting you did has to have given you a better chance at this. I thought through the motions I would make, and practiced them on an imaginary piece of wood. When I actually did it, it was surprisingly simple and there was no grunting or trembling. Other than during my victory dance. I placed the 2x4s under the sheet and tacked up the sheet with four nails. Back in the old days I would have then marked the nail lines in pencil and nailed it all up. And my arms would have ached (it's surprisingly hard to work over your head, even when you don't have ALS). But today is a different day, so I savored my victory and came back in the house.

Last night I was reading in the ALS book about when to pick your wheelchair, and what kind, and how to go from pads on your chair to canes and walkers and what do you when your mouth is no longer able to speak clearly to most people. And your ankle braces to prevent foot drop. That's all very sad, and very good advice I am sure, and I feel sympathy for the people who have gone through it and are going through it now. And I don't blame them for the rapidity of their progression. If I were progressing rapidly, I would have to come to terms with it. In this very blog. Still, my reaction while reading was to be ticked off and defiant If that's the plan "They" have for me ("They" being and amorphous term used to imply an enemy), then They are freaking going to have to come and get me.

...I know it's all testicular ranting, but that kind of combative emotion, no matter how primitive, is what I feel. And I think it is good to feel that way. I would like to be able to meet Them and kick Their rear end right out through Their stinking teeth.

Don't forget to check out the So, You're Going To Die! transcript.
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