Really? Is it all downhill from here? Are my greatest works behind me? Am I to disappear into obscurity? Are the best relationships in my life behind me? Am I ever going to get married? Will there ever be any wee JD’s roving the earth looking for trouble? I ponder these questions and more a lot. The older I get, the more concerned I become about what kind of legacy, if any, I will leave behind.
Hopefully, I will be on this whacky rock another 40 years. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring or even if there will be a tomorrow. The best thing to do is to live life to the full of our potential. We can do a lot more than we realise. The human spirit is far more powerful than we can contemplate. I, like so many others, am a prime example of how the impossible can become possible.
For those of you that already know all of this, please feel free to skip to the next couple of paragraphs.
A day after I was born, I contracted spinal meningitis from someone in the hospital. I died and came back on numerous occasions over the following days. They told my family to go ahead and make preparations for my wake. I didn’t give up and neither did my mother or father. The fever accompanied by spinal meningitis caused blindness in one eye, hypopituitarism, hypothyroidism, hypoglycaemia, Addison’s disease, and a multitude of other developmental problems.
I developed at an alarming slow rate. I don’t think I spoke a word ‘til I was three. I believe my first word was Milk. The docs said I was retarded and suggested that I be put in a home for such children. My parents, thankfully, wouldn’t do it. At the time, they were young and didn’t have the resources or knowledge they have now. They both worked two jobs in order to pay my medical bills. Regardless of the issues I may have with my parents, they sacrificed a lot for me. The older I get, the more I realise that.
I had to wear leg braces to straighten align my feet properly. Me and Forest Gump have a lot in common. I had terrible seizures caused by low blood sugar, but it took a young intern to figure out what was causing them. He was my GP for 36 years and has retired!
When I finally made it to grade school, I wore the clothes of a two year-old. They didn’t figure out until I was seven that I had/have a dysfunctional pituitary gland. So, yet another young doctor started pumping me with HGH (Human Growth Hormone), which is now illegal. And, it is from dead people! For eleven years, I was stuck with a 5cm long needle every other day. Sounds like fun, aye?
They told my mother every year that I’d be lucky to reach the next year. I’ve been poked and prodded more effing times than I would ever like to recount.
When I was 17, I looked like I was ten. High school was a very precarious time of my life. It was hell, but it was hell for most people. But, I struggled through it.
I’m getting sober and tired, so I’ll rush this rambling along.
In 2004, my current doctor told me if I didn’t start taking medication again, I’d be dead in six months. Needless to say, I’m taking everything that I’m supposed to take to keep me alive.
The same year, my orthopaedic surgeon said I’d be in a wheelchair in five years. I’m still walking, running, and hiking on a daily basis.
The school district placed me in special ed. classes for the disabled. My mother took me out, because she said I wasn’t being mentally challenged. She was right. I had to work harder, but I prevailed.
Doctors told her that I’d never be able to live on my own. I moved out over 18 years ago and haven’t been back.
They also said I’d never be able to drive. While I’ve only technically been driving for a little over five years, I’ve been behind the wheel for decades.
They said I had frontal lobe damage and wouldn’t be able to properly communicate verbally. I do fair for a southern boy.
They went on to add that I had a low mental capacity and that school should not be a priority. Wrong again. I’m on the presidents list at the University and have stopped a liberal lawyer in his or her tracks with facts and figures. Anytime you can get a lawyer to stop talking and listen, you’re fairly competent.
You can do anything, if you work hard enough for it. That lad that used to believe that anything was possible is still inside of me. Even though I still have to deal with adversity everyday, I still keep my head held high and work towards my goals. Life is hard. Deal with it and make the best out of a bad situation.