Monday, December 8, 2014

Good shootin' Mom

Took my 11 hour CCDW class recently and paid for my mom to take it and NRA basic pistol as well.  Here's her target.  I think this was 7 yards with the Firestorm FS22 I gave her.


And here's mine with the rare .32 Bersa Thunder.  Women do shoot better. :). I should have my DE permit in hand sometime this summer


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Life With Cerebral Palsy - Part 9 - What is "Normal?"

When you grow up with any kind of disability there's this overbearing need to be "normal" or at least to do what you can to appear that way to the able-bodied.  Society drills it into you, and your parents do too, in a well-meaning way, by telling you that you can accomplish all of the things that any "normal" kid can.

Here's the thing though, what's "normal?" and more importantly, does it even matter?

On particularly bad days at work, when I'm limping noticeably or someone catches me grimacing and asks what's wrong my first response is two-fold.  One, lie and say I'm fine because a 29 year old man shouldn't limp around the office. Two, feel ashamed because "fuck, I slipped up and didn't hide it well enough, and someone noticed." Three, lie about why I’m limping once I've been made, because I don't want most of my co-workers to even know I have CP.

You know what though?  Fuck that.  Why should I feel ashamed? Because I didn't hide the reality of what my body is enough for others to realize that it's not like theirs? Why?  As someone put it to me recently "It's not my job to make other people feel comfortable." How and why did I learn that kind of self-shaming behavior?  So I was limping.  I limp Every Single Day, only some days it's not bad enough that people notice or say anything.  I am in pain, Every Single Day.  That's my reality.

My roommate will sometimes happen to notice I'm limping and ask what's up, what happened etc. etc.  I guess I said something to him about my walking and he took it as I want to walk better, not slap my foot as much etc. and because he realizes that I can walk more "normal" sometimes he'll do this "are you thinking about it?" comment to me, to remind me to think about how I'm walking and walk more normal.  I understand that he's trying to help, but this is the difference between my perspective and that of someone able-bodied. I have CP.  I am never going to walk "normal" and that is ok. 
Just because I can force my body to do it for small stretches doesn't mean I can flip that switch on 100 % of the time.  It's exhausting to do even for small stretches.

Parents do the same thing, even though they’re well meaning.  Just the other day my father sees me doing pushups.  He tells me I shouldn’t do so many pushups, I shouldn’t work out so hard because “you might tear something.”  I understand trying to protect your kid, but if that kid gets hurt trying to do good things to better himself, then so be it.  He also tells me not to do pushups because my left side will take over and my muscular asymmetry will get worse.  He, and frankly lots of able-bodied people have told me over the years “just work you right side more, it’ll catch up.” That’s probably true for able-bodied folks, and I know I used to stubbornly fool myself into believing it. I would go work only my right arm. I'd do extra reps at the gym, yet I could never get that side to look normal. I mean, my right side doesn’t receive and interpret signals from my brain the same or as efficiently as my left side.  All the muscles on that side are in a perpetually different state, even at rest, than on my left, so no, it won’t “just catch up.”  I can get stronger yes, but the muscles will never behave the same.

I’ve always had a thing about my muscular asymmetry.  It’s bothered me most of my life, as part of that “not normal” thing.  But I’ve had people in my life get me to see of late that, honestly, it’s such a trivial thing to let bother me.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that physically I’m in the best shape of my life.  I think that perhaps, because it was always an issue for me and I always wanted to even myself out, that certain people feel they need to remind me that I’m mildly asymmetrical.

Here's the problem with trying so hard to appear "normal" and hide that there's anything wrong with you. It's exhausting, mentally and physically, even though you're doing it almost unconsciously. Even worse, when you inevitably fail to hide, you feel like you screwed up somehow.  My CP is very mild compared to a lot of people, and yet even I could not possibly hide it 100% of the time. When I read this article and saw how this complete stranger, a total asshole in a bar, was treating an amputee, I was appalled. I was appalled not just due to this creeps behavior, but also by the fact that the woman felt she had to in any way explain herself to him. Here's this asshole, a total stranger, basically treating her like she's some kind of circus freak, and she's being NICE to him.  You should never have to explain your disability to someone who’s being an ass, yet so often we feel like we’re obliged to, like not explaining is somehow rude.  It is not.


One thing that people tend to do almost without realizing it is to make comments like “you’d have been great “if.” Other times they'll proceed to say what would be otherwise be a compliment followed by “for someone with CP” without understanding how condescending that is from my perspective.  I can remember times where my dad would mention how great of an athlete I would have been had it not been for my having CP.  I remember in my early 20’s an old high school basketball teammate saw me out running.  I stopped and we got to talking and he mentioned how good I was back then followed by “you’d have been so much better if not for your CP.”  I never snap at folks or get angry at them, because it’s not something to get angry about, or hold against them, but from my perspective such comments have always felt condescending.  I mean would you walk up to a 3 ft. tall midget and say "you'd be gorgeous.....if you weren't a midget" and expect them to take that as a compliment?  Hell no.

Also, people will use words like “inspiring” to describe everyday things that someone who isn’t 100% able bodied does.  Going to the gym, running, wearing shorts in public with a prosthetic limb.  A truly inspiring act is inspiring regardless of the person doing it, and it’s a word that should be used to describe acts that are in fact extraordinary.  Doing something fairly ordinary doesn’t suddenly become extraordinary just because I have CP.  I mean hell, I ran a 5K race this weekend, my first in 12 years.*  If someone there had somehow found out I have CP and had congratulated me and called me “inspiring” for finishing that would’ve bothered me.  I know they mean well, but it’s still mildly annoying.


My normal isn't the same as what's normal for someone without CP.  It’s not even normal for someone else with CP, given variability of the condition. With that in mind, I've realized how important it is to look at things from that perspective. I also realize how stupid and completely obvious that is now that I'm writing it. I suppose you could say it's a matter of denial vs. acceptance. Accepting that, Zoinks! I have cerebral palsy! Accepting that doesn't mean I'm giving up, or giving in, or being a bitch. Mentally, I think there's a difference between working to appear more "normal" within everyone else's frame of reference and working to better myself from my reality, where my "normal" isn't someone else's "normal."  The latter is a far healthier approach. Frankly, I’m glad I’ve known someone who has come to that same conclusion in their life who could aid me in coming to a similar epiphany.

As another example, for the better part of a year I've been working on trying to walk down steps without reflexively putting a deathgrip on the railing to steady myself. Then, one day recently, I busted my ass on the stairs and thought to myself "this is fucking stupid. I'm going to get myself hurt." I wanted to walk down steps not holding on, because, shit, I don't even know. Because "normal?" Because I was trying to fool myself into thinking I shouldn't have to?

 I tend to have a habit of working out hard, then getting discouraged because I'm not gaining weight, not gaining much muscle, or not seeing big gains. This is the first time where I've been able to sustain working out, and it's not because my body has suddenly changed. No, I've sustained working out because I'm trying not to measure my progress based upon where some able-bodied person tells me I should be. I'm not measuring progress how I expect a "normal" body to respond. Rather, I'm being realistic about how my body responds, accepting that, listening to it, and trying not to be frustrated by it. That means not measuring myself against what I consider "normal."  I feel like I have to work twice as hard to make half the gains. But hey, I can't change that. All I can do is accept that reality and work twice as hard. That means not giving up because I'm not making huge gains or weight gains, nor basing things on how I look. Do I feel better? Hurt less? Am I objectively getting stronger? If the answer is yes then I'm making progress, doing right by me, and measuring progress against nothing except where I was the month before. So far that mindset seems to be sticking and keeping me from throwing in the towel and saying "fuck this." and it has been working for a good while now. 


I'm learning to accept my "normal" and work within it, rather than looking at someone else's able-bodied "normal" and trying to attain that by the means they would use. That's a tough thing to do, but I'm getting there.

*Interestingly enough, I looked up my brother on the race website and found a 5K race he ran when he was 29.  I actually ran this 5K 57 seconds faster than my non-gimp older brother did at my age. Of course even now he could still pin me and beat me up easily :P

Also, since I think each of these CP posts should have photos.  Here's one of me in one of the only pictures I found of my neon green leg braces, also known as AFO's (ankle foot orthosis)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Life With Cerebral Palsy - Pt. 8 - Quotes on Cerebral Palsy

A good friend of mine sent me this article and honestly, it's one of the best cerebral palsy related articles I've ever read.


Obviously I'm a straight man, not a woman who likes other women, and I don't think I'd enjoy bring tied up and my body covered in clothespins, but aside from that everything she wrote is just SO damn relatable.

I mean, I could quote the entire article, from her points about walking the line between able bodied and not, to people who constantly tell you you're "inspirational." God do I hate that.  Or where she talks of coddling "because you've had a tough life / been through a lot."  My brother told me that once, but I disagree. No. I haven't. I have awesome friends, a family that gives a shit, I can support myself and I am lucky enough to be blessed to live in the greatest country on earth.  I have challenges that I wouldn't have to deal with if I didn't have CP, but I am lucky, and unbelievably so. I try & keep that in mind even when I'm frustrated with my body and venting to someone, as I did this weekend (if you read this sorry for my complaining!)

And yes, her point about convincing yourself that your body is attractive / desirable is difficult.  It's a tough sell, at least in my experience.

The author talks about her lover being worried she'd hurt her.  This happens in every aspect of life for those who aren't totally able bodied, but guess what? Don't worry about it.  We've dealt with our bodies little idiosyncrasies forever, so chill.  We know our bodies pain messages better than anyone.  We'll tell you if you hurt us.

Heck.  I tried to do push-ups with a petite young woman sitting on my back this weekend. She didn't hurt me, but I failed. she proved to me I need to get stronger :)

I find that, since most folks don't know much about CP and what they know equals to either "wheelchair bound / cognitive disability" or both. They aren't sure how to deal with folks with mild CP like the girl who I'm quoting or myself. (Admittedly my CP is more mild than hers)  What you end up getting is often either pity or undeserved admiration.

As the piece says,

" At best, disability allows you to create a tenuous peace with your body, and anytime it decides to violate that mutual agreement can be terrifying. You take the time to figure it out — what it likes and dislikes, where it functions best — and stick to that routine, until New Pain reminds you that you’re never quite going to have this figured out."

Read the entire bit about pain and new pain vs old pain.  As someone with CP I couldn't explain it any better than that.

Sometimes, when you do something to ratchet the new pain up 5 notches, you want to scream and punch something. I rarely do.

I went camping recently and didn't realize that sleeping arrangements would turn my pain meter up way, way past my "normal" even with beer, Advil and DFH Honey Rum.  I tried my best to hide it but I was a goddamn grumpasauras come evenings.  Thankfully I have great friends and one graciously kneaded out my back each night, despite the fact that I felt like I was imposing asking for a massage / help.

One night at camp my legs felt like they were on fire most of the night & I tried not to make any noise.  That's the unexpected new pain that scares you. I'm getting older and New Pain is becoming more common.  I need to get a better handle on it and I need to be more preventative rather than just trying to "tough it out" without help. In case you didn't know I hate asking for help. Sigh.

One last point she makes worth mentioning is people looking past your disability.  I was nodding vigorously reading that part!  I spent far too much time trying to do that myself rather than accepting it.  The last thing I need is for family / friends / girlfriends to do the same.  I have CP.  I will always have CP. it's not a disease. It can't be cured, but at the same time it does no one any good to act as though it doesn't exist.  This is something my roommate does to me that irks me. The "just work your right side harder so it catches up" isn't how things work.  It's hard for folks who are 100% able bodied to understand that sometimes, for no particular reason you can pinpoint, you're going to come home limping even though you didn't do anything strenuous to warrant it, that basically, your body isn't going to cooperate.

This is why I do things like get a morning ab workout & push-ups in even on vacation.  I firmly believe that my body is like a car with worn parts, and if I work hard enough maybe the damn thing won't break down prematurely. I can't control other people's misguided assumptions, so I focus on what I can control, which getting this decrepit Dodge Omni of a body as strong as possible to compensate for the out of spec parts :D 

"The problem is not our bodies — it’s the misguided assumptions people project onto them. That we shouldn’t want them. That we don’t know how to use them. That they need to be cured. That’s what I want the people in my life — friends, family, girlfriends — to look past. I don’t want them to look past me. My disability is essential to my body."

A-Fucking-Men!

Monday, July 28, 2014

D.C. carry ban struck down!

Just a quick word on the monumental news of the USDC striking down D.C.'s ban on carrying guns, since folks have been saying that the ruling requires D.C. to accept reciprocity for out of state permits.

While it is true that the ruling appears to say that D.C. can't ban carry for D.C. residents or non-residents, I couldn't just slip my J-frame into my pocket and carry there tomorrow on my VA or AZ etc. non-resident permit.  My reading of the opinion is that while D.C. can't ban carry, anyone wishing to do so must carry a firearm that is legally registered in D.C.  So yeah, you could carry in D.C., but you'd still be violating their possession statute by bringing both an unregistered firearm and unregistered ammunition into the District.  IANAL, but that's how I see it.

UPDATE - I'm sick and my brain is apparently not working today. 7-2502 02(a)(4) is the statute regarding registration.

The Court says,

 "the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism"

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Headlines You Will Never See

You'll never see a headline that says "Restaurant owner says "business exploded" since banning guns."

You won't even see the above headline in heavily blue, anti-gun states.  On the other hand, being pro-gun is good for business.

H/T to Saysuncle


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We are our own worst enemy sometimes

Wandered over to the local Delaware Open Carry site and, upon reading the thread about target "banning" guns, what do I see?

This statement....by member Stephpd.  There was also a long facebook thread that got deleted.  In that thread folks like me were basically said to be "not true defenders of the 2A" because we correctly pointed out the realities.  That OC of long guns and carrying guns "at people" is NOT helping.  And two, that we are behind enemy lines here in DE, and that this kind of behavior here in DE would lead to OC becoming illegal in my state with the quickness.  Seriously.  You want Delaware to become the new Maryland?  Start getting groups of tone deaf morons together open carrying AR's into Chuck-E-Cheese.  If you want to win hearts and minds I'm positive that antagonizing folks and generally scaring the ever living shit out of people is not the way to do it.

"Believe it or not they never OC'd long guns into Target, nor in the parking lots. But they did protest out on the sidewalks, on public property, around Target."

So he's saying no one ever open carried inside a target or in a Target parking lot?!  *HEADDESK*
I'm sorry but to say that you'd have to believe that every single photo of someone OC'ing a long gun in Target was a fake.  Every. Single. One.  I cannot even wrap my head around how out of touch with reality that statement is.

We fought hard last session and the anti's were still able to get background checks and lost and stolen past. Why?  Political realities.  We have a democratically controlled legislature.  That means they're openly hostile to our rights already.  We don't even have the political clout to get shall-issue CCDW passed in Delaware.  Hell, we don't even have the political clout to get it brought up.

 Like it or not, if the Dems got the political will to do it they could crush gun ownership in this state in much the same way it's been crushed in Maryland.  Yes, technically you can OC an AR down market street in downtown Wilmington, but from a practical standpoint it's moronic and is not going to advance your rights.  It simply amazes me that I have to sit people down and explain this to them like they're children, and then I'm chided as if I'm "unpatriotic" when I do.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Feminism, Self-Defense & Victim Blaming


These are the folks who think Ms. Nevada was wrong to say this, from Larry Correia



 “But I think more awareness is very important so women can learn how to protect themselves. Myself, as a fourth-degree black belt, I learned from a young age that you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. And I think that’s something that we should start to really implement for a lot of women."

Basically, They think they should be able to just wish bad things won't happen, and anyone who comes along and says "reality doesn't work that way" is an evil misogynist who's victim blaming.... Heck I'd like to not have CP.  I'd love to have one day where I'm pain free, but that's my reality.  All the wishing in the world doesn't change reality.  Teaching people not to rape is wonderful, but it doesn't solve the problem of those who weren't taught that lesson, or were but don't care.  I'd say most rapists rape knowing damn well it's bad. They know its wrong and they..... Do it anyway.

My sister has a friend who thinks like this.  A tiny little redhead who lives in Philly. I remember her being indignant about how she should be able to walk alone at night in the city, shouldn't have to carry her keys in her hand, shouldn't need pepper spray and will never carry it or a knife / gun, shouldn't need to walk in groups etc Etc.

That's nice and all, but it's magical thinking.  There are bad people in the world, and if you are a small female (or elderly, disabled etc etc) you are an easy target and should take steps to mitigate your risk.  That's not blaming the victim.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The U.S.S.R or America?


"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety
."

-Benjamin Franklin 1759

There are times where I feel ashamed of what America, "land of the free" has become.  This weekend was one of those times. It was also a very happy time, as my baby sister graduated with a civil engineering degree and a GPA above 3.0 (she's the smart one of the bunch)

I attended my sisters graduation from U of D.  I'm a Delaware grad, and this was my third time being there for a graduation ceremony.  This is the first time I've ever been in the football stadium and been subjected to metal detectors and the standard TSA security theater degradation.

Now, I suspect the added security was due to Veep "buy a shotgun" Biden being the commencement speaker. Still, I don't believe everyone's Constitutional rights disappear the moment they get near an "important person". Delaware is a small state. I lawfully OC. If I was out at lunch and Biden walked in would I be disarmed or forced to leave simply because he entered an establishment where I was eating? Sadly I suspect the answer would be yes.

Anyway, when i walked up to the stadium at 7:30 AM They had two rope lines and a TSA setup to get in. They didn't have the new pervoscan machines, but even absent those the TSA is never decent to deal with. Yes. the TSA was running security at the football stadium of a public university that happens to be my alma mater.  

I realized when I got up there that I'd forgotten to remove my 2 inch SOG Twitch from my keychain. I also had another small folder in my back pocket, as I'd had to quickly change pants that morning and threw on khakis I'd worn the day before. Naturally I still had my EDC knives on them (both Delaware legal) & never gave it a 2nd thought at 6:30 AM on a Saturday morning.



My first attempt was simple. I went up, emptied all my pockets and was told I couldn't enter with these. It's silly & utterly ridiculous.  I'm a 150 lb guy with CP w/ a small pocketknife and no malicious intent whatsoever, but I hiked back to my car, put the sharp things away and re entered at a different checkpoint.

I doubt I'm alone in finding metal detectors and TSA boobs at a college graduation an affront to civil liberties.  I'd also never seen TSA outside an airport so while in line a 2nd time, i turned, turned my iPhone sideways and snapped a photo of the checkpoint.  I was obvious about it as this isn't illegal and I saw no reason to do so surreptitiously. Immediately a TSA agent yelled "No Pictures! That guy just took a picture!" 

I emptied my pockets and all 3 agents started calling me out. One even examined my Mazda flip key like it was some uber dangerous device, flipped all through my wallet etc. they asked the USSS if they should make me delete the photo and were answered in the negative

I stepped through the metal detector cleanly and was immediately met by a Female USSS agent blocking my way. She of course interrogated me as to why I took the photo and what I planned to do with it.  not mentioning the 4th amendment or blue gloved thugs i responded with the safer truth, which was that I was a grad myself, had never seen TSA at a college and found it "interesting". No need to mention that it's interesting in a "I want my free country back" way.  at no time was I even slightly rude, loud or discourteous.

The fact that those violating rights never want to be on camera is always telling.

What I find sad is how many people consider this acceptable. They were conditioned to accept it at airports and now the TSA has spread elsewhere. Many people would chastise me for committing the sin of taking a photo instead of keeping my head down. I went to this school. I should damn well be able to take a photo in front of the Blue Hen's stadium on graduation day.

Honestly, had I not been hassled and interrogated for having the gall to take a photo as a free citizen, I would have just kept the photo.  That said, this is America not the damn Soviet Union, so now I think I'll post it.


Friday, May 23, 2014

My Life With Cerebral Palsy Pt. 7 Surgery – Later Years



In my previous post I talked a little about my experiences with CP and surgeries.   They’ve been a part of my life and while the optimist in me hopes that’s a part that’s past me, the realist in me says otherwise.
Ordinarily you would expect that a kid with CP who had muscle lengthening surgery at 11 wouldn’t make it to 28 without having to have another one, but I managed it.  There are reasons for that, mainly judicious stretching and being an extremely active kid who played sports all the time.  Perhaps I should have had another, perhaps not.  The goal of any good orthopaedic surgeon is to avoid major surgery whenever possible.

So by now you’re probably thinking, if he didn’t have another muscle lengthening surgery, when what the hell is this post about?  Well the effects of rapid growth and muscle  and tendon rigidity on your body and on bones and joints is different for everyone.

In my case the cumulative impact of years of toe walking left me with a mangled , arthritic big right toe, a big bunion, and some ankle problems.  By senior year of high school this had thrown off my stride just enough that I was getting bad knee tendonitis early in cross country season and terrible hip pain.  despite the pain I ran in every single race senior year, but I couldn’t practice.  The entire season was a wash.  I didn’t run a personal best the entire year.  I’d run a race and for the next few days it hurt to walk, hurt to stand in the shower in the mornings, and the coach would forbid me from practicing.

I waited until the end of my Freshman year of college before having bunion surgery to deal with the pain I was having.  Ladies, having experienced the pain that comes with bunions and the corrective surgery I don’t know why you bother with high heels.  A crappy surgeon will just lop off the protruding bunion but what really needs to be done is to fix the toe joints, straighten out the toe and lop off the protruding bunion.  They will often times fuse some of the big toe joints as well.  Another thing that will happen is that as the big toe turns in it puts pressure on the joints of the toe next to it.  I never did have surgery on that toe, but I do have bad arthritis in it now.

I know they did something else in addition to a bunionectomy and fusing my big toe joints, and I have a smaller, second scar on my right calf to prove it, but I can’t remember what the surgeons did.  I’m sure they cut some muscle or tendon somewhere that needed spasticity relieved.  I’ll be honest, these leg surgeries kind of all meld together in my mind and I’d be shocked if I didn’t muddle up details a bit.

I honestly don’t recall all that much from this surgery, which more than likely means it was relatively easy as far as surgeries go.  I can remember having a huge, below the knee walking cast on my right leg, and a piece of metal in my right big toe that, funny enough, looked to me like I had a large paper clip sticking out the end of my toe. 

I still have hip pain, and yes, that damn toe still hurts some times.  I’m also, slowly but surely growing another bunion on it, but like before, I had a problem and I got it fixed.  Easy peasy.  If at some point in the future this foot needs another surgery, then I’ll tackle that.

Somewhere around the time I had the toe surgery, maybe even the year after the bunionectomy I also had surgery to pull some old hardware out of my right foot and ankle that had been put in their during my 1996 surgery.  I had been having issues with my ankle joint popping, snapping, and completely locking up on me.  So the summer before another year of college I decided to go under the knife, have them yank out the hardware, and send me on my way.  Simple right?  I was in my late teens and this was the only surgery I’d ever had done by someone other than Dr. Miller.  I don’t know who the guy was, but whoever he was he decided to give me something like  100 oxycodone for what was a cakewalk of a surgery.  He also gave me the nastiest scar anywhere on my body, and at the end of it all my ankle was exactly the same.  It’s no better now than it was then, and still locks up on me.  Oh well, these surgeries are a bit of a guessing game anyway, and no one bats 100.00

  I’ll never forget a few years ago, I’m sprin ting down the beach with Zack, there are some attractive young ladies walking our way, and just as they’re passing by my ankle locks, I pull up, awkwardly try catch myself, and instead faceplant at full sprint speed into the sand, and the dog looks back at me like “Dude, really?!”  To this day It amuses me, because shit, if I can’t laugh at myself, then who the hell can?

That’s it, those two simple surgeries were my last “leg” surgeries.  This is actually highly unusual for someone with CP, given the spasticity issues we encounter.  Dr. Miller was always a huge proponent of my doing anything and everything I could to delay surgeries.  I have my own suspicions as to why I was so lucky as to not ever need another major muscle lengthening surgery on my legs, but that could be encompassed in another CP post entirely.  As it turns out, I would have one more major surgery that I don’t think Dr. Miller, myself, or my family ever saw as a potential issue.

As I talked about in earlier posts, both bone and muscle growth are impacted by the spasticity inherent in having CP, and around age 18 my body had one last little growth spurt.  One of the places it decided to grow was in my lower jaw bones.  I ended up with an underbite that I could stick a portion of my tongue through.  Yep, you guessed it, it was time for another surgery.

First I had a set of braces put on which did not correct the problem, and then went to see a maxillofacial surgeon.  I can still remember standing there with my father, as the Dr. was holding a skeleton all of the cuts he would make in the upper jaw to realign my bite correctly and the titanium plates and screws that would need to be installed.  I was standing there going “this sounds pretty cool, lets fix me up” and my dad is cringing and continually asking me “are you sure you want to do this?”

January 16, 2006.  That was the day I went under the knife.  I remember because  my sister was in labor with my her first kid, my nephew Jake.  He was born right about the time I woke up from anesthesia. I look at my jaw surgery as kind of a jigsaw puzzle.  They slice up the bones in my upper jaw, move all the pieces forward, line everything back up and then bolt you all back together again, like humpty dumpty.  I also opted to have polyurethane  cheek implants put in based on the surgeons advice.  He explained that without them my face may look sunken in after everything had been moved its new spot.  So I had plastic surgery while they were in there, if you want to call it that.

My understanding is that they are extremely rough with your face during this kind of surgery.  There’s a saw involved, hammering and chiseling  as well as a good deal of brute force.  The surgeon makes incisions at the very top of the inside of your gums and…..folds your skin up off your face so he has room to work. Apparently it showed, because I can remember a few folks who came to visit me crying when they saw me.  Oh, and people didn’t want to let me look at my face.  I must have looked like I got hit by a bus, which is to say, still significantly more handsome than Mayor Bloomberg.

I’ll always remember getting wheeled out of the hospital.  My dad was waiting at the curb and I didn’t want him to see me wheeled out to the car, so I had them wheel me near the entrance and then I walked out to his car and hopped in the front seat.  Dad, who hadn’t seen me at all post-surgery, just kept looking at me, shaking his head, and saying “oh my god” over and over again while admonishing me not to talk when I’d mumble that I’d be fine.  It’s odd the things you remember and the things you don’t.  I don’t remember much of my hospital stay after jaw surgery (this is good, means it went smoothly I guess) but I remember Dad picking me up and the exchange we had.

I would say I made the right decision.  My bite, while not perfect, is far better than it was, and looking at me you’d never know I had major reconstructive surgery on my face, nor is it obvious that I have cheek implants.  Aside from my right foot being turned too far in during one surgery, I don’t regret a single one of my surgeries.  They taught me a lot about life, about taking things one step at a time, and pushing through pain and frustration even when sometimes all I wanted to do was give up.  You learn that no matter how bad shit gets, wounds heal.  Things get better, so be resilient.  Deal with what needs to be dealt with, push through it and get better, so you can get back to kicking ass.

Besides, one thing I’ve learned during my life with cerebral palsy is that the surgeries are the easy part.  It’s the post surgery recovery where the big dude in the sky really tests you.  If you’re wondering what the next post(s) in this series might be, well the sentence preceding this might give you a clue.  I think that’ll be less dry and technical than this post as well.

I am sitting here, about to hit publish on this long languishing post, and my surgically repaired toe is throbbing.  This must be some kind of karmic justice for daring to write a post about my surgeries.  Heh.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend everyone.

Delaware CCDW Update

I filed my application for a Delaware CCDW the first week in April, so it's been 6 weeks.  I e-mailed the Superior Court this morning and this is the response I received.  One thing that I like is, they are very prompt about responding to e-mail inquiries.

" Mr. Mike W.,

due to the astronomical volume of filings and the multi-layered process involved, we are asking that you allow 6 months for processing.  The court appreciates your patience and understanding during the wait."

My bet would be that "astronomical volume of filings" means they got a few thousand CCDW applications at most.  There really aren't that many folks who bother to go through the process because well, one, it's a big pain in the ass, two, it's expensive as hell compared to most states, three, you've got to publish your name and address in the paper, which people are very reluctant to do.

If / when I get my "you're approved" letter, I'll take the class, get the permit, and then immediately drive up to PA to apply for a PA non-resident permit.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hanging it up

It's been pretty obvious that I haven't been posting here with nearly the regularity that I used to, and there's a bunch of reasons for that.  The biggest reason is, I'm just tired of it.  I feel like I'm repeating myself too often.  Living behind enemy lines in a blue state, with a roommate who, politically, is an Obamabot moron, and a father who remains dissollusioned enough to still believe that "if we got rid of all the guns society would be safer" It's just tiring.

 I know a lot of you say we are winning, and objectively I know that's true.  However, it's hard to feel that way when you live in Obama's blue state America.  Hell, I just spent ~$200 on permit crap for a Delaware CCDW for the privilege of waiting for months to see whether some judge & folks at the AG's office are going to allow me to carry concealed in this state.

I haven't been paying attention to news, politics etc. nearly as often, though occasionally something someone posts on Facebook will catch my eye.  Working out, reading, going to the brewery, spending time with friends & family, outside walking the dog, hanging out at the beach, making it to all the nephews lacrosse games on the weekends, all are far more fulfilling things to do than firing up a laptop & posting here.  Y'know, that thing called life.  I'll be at the beach for the next 6 weekends in a row :)

Sure, this doesn't mean this blog will lay completely dormant.  I may still fire up a post whenever, but as far as actual, regular blogging, yeah, not so much.  I still have some posts on CP that I'd like to get up which I think may be of interest to some of you, and I'm sure if I go through my drafts folder there are plenty of posts I can go hit "publish" on.

I suppose this post is no more than a formal acknowledgement of what was already the case.

Have a great summer everyone.  And keep up the fight for our rights!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Quote of The Day - 12 Year old Self-Defense

"probably nothing would have happened to her. A guy who went running because a girl shot at him was probably unarmed and would have gone running the moment he knew someone was in the house. now, how would you have felt if she missed him and he got to her and killed her with her own gun? just because someone breaks into a house doesn't mean he deserves to die. that is insane that some people actually believe that it is ok. And those calling a 12 year old a hero because she attempted to murder another person are morally bankrupt. "

-Commenter "Halramin"

Here's a situation where a 12 year old girl is home alone.  A man comes to the door and she doesn't answer.  The man comes to the back door and kicks it in.  The girl calls her mom, who rushes home but also tells her daughter to go grab the family gun, a .40 S&W Glock.  The girl grabs the gun and goes to hide in a closet.  When the man tries to open the door to the closet where she's hiding the girl fires a round, hitting him, and he runs out of the house.  Oh, and the guy had a history of kidnapping young girls.

Now, this anti-gun jackass actually says "probably nothing would have happened to her."  What the fuck?!  He went running after she shot him which means he was "probably unarmed."  Uhh no.  He went running after she shot him because..... he just got shot.  I just cannot even begin to process how these people think.  It is so despicable, so absolutely morally repugnant that I can honestly say I have a hard time having any respect for such a person.  He would rather a 12 year old girl be kidnapped than successfully defend herself with a gun.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mother Jones Dishonesty about the NRA

Typical leftist claptrap about the NRA over at Mother Jones about the "NRA's shadowy leaders."  Yes, committees ultimately decide who serves on the board, but at least the rank and file NRA membership has a voice in the matter.  Anti-gunners?  They don't get to choose who leads their organizations, since they have no grassroots, paying membership in the first place.

Mother Jones pulls out the tired old "But NRA members really, really want more gun control" polling numbers.  No. they don't.  If the NRA suddenly started pushing universal background checks, magazine capacity restrictions and the like they would lose a massive number of members and the backlash would be epic.

The entire tone of the article is that NRA members want more gun control, but the NRA, with its shadowy corporate connections to the big, bad, obviously EVIL gun industry just won't allow that.  I did find this bit interesting, as it was used as a reason why the NRA won't support gun control that anti-gun liberals keep telling everyone that NRA members want, and I quote,

"One answer may be their ties to the $11.7 billion gun industry"

Oh yes, the big, bad gun industry that wields all this influence over millions, and literally forces guns into our hands and magically thwarts gun control.....  In reality the gun industry is small potatoes.

Nike made $12 billion in profits last year.  That's more than the entire gun industry combined.

The anti-gun crowd doesn't understand true grassroots support because it has none.  As a result they have to accuse the pro-rights crowd of.......astroturfing.  Yes, the anti-gunners, who have no dues paying members, no convention, no blogger meetups, and a rich billionaire tyrant bankrolling their entire operation with $50 Billion have the chutzpah to accuse us of astroturfing.  I guess the historic recall of Democrats who pushed gun control in Colorado was the result of astroturf, and not one engaged 28 year old plumber who got a recall petition started.  It's interesting that Mother Jones fails to mention that Shannon Watts, the bigoted head of Moms Demand Action, gets a hefty salary and armed security paid for by Bloomberg.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Quote of the Day - Anti-Gun Racists

"I have been convinced that gun prohibitionists are the racists – from the anti-Black gun restrictions of the Reconstruction era, through the Sullivan Act, onward to the 1968 banning of Saturday Night Specials and today’s efforts to make urban populations unarmed by fiat.
Everyone of any race should be agitating for 2nd Amendment rights vigorously, since the anti-gunners have tried so hard to keep guns out of the hands of what they see as those races, ethnicities and socioeconomic groups deemed less deserving of those rights for 150+ years."
- Mikee (commenting at sayuncle's)
This.  This is absolutely true, and has been thoroughly documented throughout history.  Of course the anti-gun, anti-rights crowd will just ignore this because it doesn't fit with their world view.  Or, if they're like my roommate they'll make the claim that perhaps blacks are inherently more aggressive and violent than other races, thus necessitating gun control.  I suspect he felt comfortable saying this because he's part black, but it doesn't make the statement any less racist.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter

Even though he's not doing so well right now, mom is just about at her wits end, and dad is, well.....being his usual self, having my Poppop finally get discharged from the hospital just before Easter was the best holiday gift I could have asked for. :)