Ice Bucket Substitution


OK. This could be TMI for those of you who are not voluntarily practicing medicine or involuntarily practicing persons with disabilities. So, if faint of heart or of tender humor, press ESC now!

To my son, Chip: Whereas there’s no way I’ll top your creative approach . . .

. . . whereas I’ll not be hoisting a bucket of ice water anytime soon (but will set as a future occupational therapy goal); and whereas the conditions to be fulfilled include discomfort, a bit of embarrassment, excess moisture, and being too cold . . . .

Therefore, be it resolved that the possibility that a) I might have wet my Depends today while b) simultaneously experiencing autonomically disreflexive chills has met your challenge.

Believe Me, Kanye. They’d’ve Stood if They Could.


Mr. West, you cry “Hold!” in self-defense against those who are taking offense at remarks you made at and about two seated concert fans (well, perhaps former fans). As you know by now, they were wheelchair-bound for reasons neither you nor I need to know.  Microphone in hand, in the spotlight, basking in the glow of Aussie adulation, refusing to continue singing until the very last concert goer was on his or her feet you were rendered wrong-headed and carelessly-spoken. Going forward, as your repertoire and discography grow, you may pick on some other growing disability group, or sufferers of chronic or acute conditions rendered unable to stand — if you dare. Before spouting off carelessly, here’s how to spot them: They’ll be the ones who, because of their low level limitations, and motor skills permitting, are clapping and cheering the loudest. One man to another: Next time, don’t spot them. Don’t dis’ them. Their paying your bills. Shut up. Sing. And, include them.

Nellie Johnstone #1


Nellie 3Nellie’s a friend of mine.

So named in honor of Nellie Johnstone, daughter of William Johnstone who drilled the first commercial oil well in Oklahoma in 1847, which he named Nellie Johnstone #1. What’s the connection between an Oklahoma oil well and a suburban cock-a-poo, you ask? Well the Nellie Johnstone #1 derrick is in Bartlesville, Oklahoma – my wife’s childhood Neverland, and such geographical childhood associations must always be considered when naming pets. Besides, it had a nice ring to it.

When last we met her, Nellie’s biological mother was a calm and amiable 25-pound cocker-spaniel. Her biological father was a foul mouthed, high strung, threatening parisian poodle one-fifth his beloved’s weight. Happily, Nellie possesses her mother’s disposition (and proportions), even as both her maternal and paternal canine traits are evident. She looks best when shaggy and sporting tousled 80’s rocker face and head fur. Think Rod Stewart (Maggie May era). Given the chance, her groomer seems intent on emphasizing streamlined poodle over fluffy cocker-spaniel. Out of the salon, she is embarrassingly sleek and reminds one of a dock-tailed whippet-dachsund mix.

Nellie greets me, Daddy-man, in bed most mornings. Not long enough of leg, she is boosted aboard by my wife, lovely, heroic Nellie 4Mommy-lady who each morning brings me the best part of waking up: Folgers in my cup – heavily cut with Nestle’s French Vanilla Coffee-Mate. Nellie dabs sweetened coffee drips off my finger tip, does a bit of canine coiffing (lick feet, scratch ears, sniff feet, repeat), wrestles sometimes, accepts belly rubs, and dozes between my mostly motionless calves – head resting on one foot or the other. When leg spasms erupt, as they are wont to, she shakes and rolls along with them. But after three or four such temblors, she bails.

Later on, after I’m bathed, dressed, out of bed and at work, she safety-tastes my morning repast, and assumes her ever-vigilant office watchdog posture. She safety-tastes my lunch, escorts me to precisely scheduled bathroom visits, scratches at the slider to take her own comfort-breaks, scratches at the slider to come back inside, and is given a caNellie 2nine treat (not safety-tasted). She frequently rests beneath my desk with her face between my shoes. After dinner, she thoroughly cleans any plate placed by her food and water dishes, after which it seems a waste to run that ol’ dishwasher. However, keeping with tradition and though unnecessary, the plates do receive a second wash.

Nellie moonlights as a watchdog on our back deck and in my ersatz exercise room. On deck-duty, she’s a good chaser – fast, menacing, and a loud barker, keeping bird and squirrel populations in line. She also happens to be a lousy interceptor while in high-speed pursuit. So, the bird and squirrel populations tolerate her warily, chip and chuff at her mockingly, and continue to patronize Mommy-lady’s backyard feeding stations. In the ersatz exercise room, she ensures my wheelchair seat is not suddenly, rudely occupied by some over reaching stranger, while snacking on crumbs left behind from previously safety-tasted breakfasts and lunches. At family gatherings, she herds Grand-boy-babies, wonders why there aren’t more, and feasts on crumbs fallen from the master’s table. Her vices are few. She begs in an endearing fashion, and she doesn’t drink from the commodes. During her free-time, she can be found curled up on the couch, or running leashless alongside her long-boarding and bicycling Brother-boys and Sister-girl.

Yes, Nellie’s a friend of mine.