Friday, April 17, 2009

Special Friday

It's a special Friday for some. For others it's just the end of another work week leading into those favored two days off.
I'm home alone which is a rare event. Ted stayed overnight. Daughter and Carrie showed up this morning to collect Ted. They stayed for a while and Carrie was able to get in her pool for some water fun. I'm still waiting on the storm to start.
Yesterday I drove to a friends' house in Breau Bridge. I took the shortcut to her house which takes you through Lake Martin and the swamp. The road through there is graveled and the speed limit is a slow 35 miles per hour. It's a bird sanctuary and there are always a lot of people parked on both sides of the road with cameras in hand or on tripods. The egrets are like white dots over the trees in the swamp. I didn't see any alligators but then I didn't really slow down and look for them. You have to look carefully. They are submerged and most of the times you can see their eyes and part of their backs. They appear as logs in the water and will lay unmoving for hours at a time.
When I got to my friends house, I looked over her computer for a while, then I went next door to meet her cousin. Jim is a victim of muscular dystrophy. He is bed fast; he has to be hoyer lifted out of bed and to his wheel chair. He used to live in Galveston Bay in a beach house. The beach house was on the right side of the road and a few feet from where you boarded the ferry to take you to Galveston Island. When Hurricane Ike hit, that whole section of houses was removed and never to be rebuilt.
He moved back to Louisiana to live with family. My friend Peggy moved him into a shotgun house on her property that had been used by her family members as needed. He needed the help.
When he lived in his beach house, it was like living in a commune. Many of the people that lived in that area were disabled and had wandered in from the sea or from land and found places to live. They helped each other survive. One lady would clean Jim's house and watch over him for whatever Jim could pay her with. Another fellow would clean up around the outside of his house and someone else would bring food a few times a week. Everybody there did what they could to help each other survive on little money and live with their disability. Jim said that many of these people had no family to check up on them and when the hurricane hit, they were not counted among the missing as they had no family members looking for them.
I walked into Jim's room through french doors that had been installed by my friends' husband. The doors lead into his bedroom. He spends a lot of time in his hospital bed; that bed faces these french doors so he always has a good view of the outside. Just outside these french doors is a deck with a ramp and a sidewalk that leads to the pool. On nice days Jim is transferred to his wheel chair for a few hours on the deck or at the pool. Jim smiled and shook my hand. He said he had heard a lot about me from Peggy. I mentioned the same thing to him.
He asked me how I was doing after surgery. What could I say? I'm looking at a man that hasn't be able to take care of himself for years and years. I'm recuperating from knee surgery; it will get better. How could I complain? Even if I walk with a limp the remainder of my life, I CAN walk. This man used to be president of a bank. Well educated. A man that has to depend on someone now to bring him food and take care of his basic needs. Nobody said life had to be fair but why does it have to suck so bad for some? How little we appreciate how well we have it. Sometimes we all could use a wake up call. Wake up to all the good we have. Wake up to what we CAN do. Focus on all the positives. How easy it is to lose sight of all the good things we have in our lives.
Here's to you Jim. I'm so happy to have met you!

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