Vulnerability to violence

Some of my memories from the early 60s are clear. Records and newspapers can confirm public events; unverifiable is what they meant to me. Mourning President Kennedy’s assassination: November 1963–a worldwide tragedy but heartbreaking and personal for Irish Catholic immigrants, like my parents–“He was one of us.” Watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show: Feb…

A Tale of Two Johns: Leaving a Legacy

In reading the eulogies for 81 year old Senator John McCain, what resonated was how he faced his final fight. He knew his brain cancer carried a death sentence. He did not deny or avoid, but planned for the end. He spent time inviting special people to memorialize him. Given his seeming pragmatic approach, he…

Another kind of Beast

It started innocuously enough in October 2015. After a weekend of yard-work, Becky woke up and noticed that she was unable to bend her pinky. She visited a doctor who thought the problem might be related to a herniated disc. Before agreeing to surgery, Becky sought a second opinion and horrifyingly learned that she had…

Happy New Year

On my morning walk, I noticed: it’s a bit cooler and less humid. It feels like the start of something new. While it’s not January 1st, Labor Day and back to school advertisements makes it seem like a fresh start. You may not have any students in your life who are actually buying notebooks and…

The power of the sun

Fire is useful but also potentially dangerous, even lethal. One need only consider the devastation from wildfires to realize the potential for damage. While hiking at Red Rocks Canyon midday, the blazing sun was a force to be reckoned with. On an exposed trail with limited shade, it doesn’t take long to overheat. Fire, sun, heat–sometimes good…

Challenge the paradigm; change your perspective

After a hard landing following a parachute jump, I couldn’t feel or move my legs. With lengthy surgery and rehab, I regained movement and sensation—not quite as good as before, but better than expected post-injury. After moving to California, I became a patient at the Spinal Cord Injury Center (SCIC) at the Palo Alto Veterans…