Friday, August 19, 2005


We went to a camp for families with kids. It had uneven, bumpy, sloping ground covered in sand, rocks, and tree chaff:

It was cut by a stream crossed in one case by a plank bridge with rope railings. I found myself evaluating the terrain and planning the traverse across it, like a Mars Exploration Rover flight crew.

There were kids of all ages running everywhere. The dining hall was noisy and the little ones would come at me in Brownian fashion from all sides, while the adults were coffee Frankensteins. Once a little fat kid with a crew cut accidentally kicked up on the back of my heel.

I don't think you could devise a more hazardous leisure setting for someone with ALS, sans explosives. I spent five days thinking Don't fall. Don't fall. Just ... don't ... fall! It's a miracle I didn't.

My lovely wife and two sets of friends we'd planned the trip with handled all the kid entertainment, so that I didn't have to do any of it. All I did was a little enforcement parenting: making sure my son had a couple of showers, washed his hands, and the like. But my contribution to parenting was all peripheral and episodic.

And a good thing, too, since supervising a preschooler in the natural pond, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, hiking, and archery all contained hazards for me. I had enough to deal with just walking to and from the bathroom and dining hall, getting dressed, putting sunscreen on, taking pills, and fitting in my physical therapy exercises. Nonetheless, I did plenty of reading. And oh, there was the constipation, too. The Namenda is to blame for that, and while the results of the first Citrucel were good, taking just one a day is not forfending the Evil One. I started taking three per day as of last night.

In an effort to vanquish the Evil One, at camp one night I took the harsh chemical laxative pills before bed. When those failed to produce, in the morning I took more. When those failed to produce by bedtime, I took another dose. I spent a miserable day and a half, making many futile visits to this commode:

You can see that there was barely enough room to close the door. It smelled, and there were spiders. It was tilted to the right, like on a plane making a permanent banking turn. Once the agon was behind me, and our long national nightmare was over, I went around the corner of the mens room and discovered the promised land:

Next to this miracle commode, there was an equally spacious, clean and modern shower. Needless to say, I visited the modern toilet reverently, and used that shower to good effect.

The kids had a fantastic time, since the camp is all about kids, which I realized on the first night, while lying awake, listening to the amplified Hip Hop coming from the party by the pond until 9:30 PM.

Oh, and it rained for a whole day.

Left grip is 34.8 pounds (33, 34.8, 32), right grip is 884 pounds (84, 84, 75), left leg balance is 4.14 seconds, and inhale volume is 4250 mL.

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