Asking_for_help

Charlotte Parent: Asking For Help Doesn’t Make You Weak

What is it about the Y chromosome that prevents dudes from asking for help?

Dudes need to stop trying to muscle their way through life and ask for help.Heck, the Human Genome Project, which mapped every single gene on every single chromosome in the human genetic code, was formed specifically to answer that question.*

Yet it remains unanswered.

Today, over at Charlotte Parent, I’ll be talking about why dudes don’t and dudettes do ask for help, why that might happen and why most of those reasons are straight-out wrong. As usual, I’ll be blogging under our Stay-At-Home Dudes column name.

Join us, won’t you?

 

*It really wasn’t.

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alsa_logo

ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge: An Imperfect Place

The devil hides down amongst the cubes*.

You’d have to have not paid your Internet bill over the last couple of months to miss out on knowing about the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge thing.

It started with some professional athletes, not — as myth would have it — an ALS patient. The challenge was to either be filmed dumping a bucket of ice over your head or give money to a charity of your choice. It morphed from there.

And promptly went viral.

Which led to thousands of people filming themselves while having a bucket of ice dumped on their heads while challenging others to do the same. In fact, my dad and I even watched one of those happen poolside at Chabil Mar, a resort in the Central American country of Belize. It was a few weeks ago, before this really hit big so we had no idea what it was about.

Those last four words there. . . That’s what this is about.

So far this post, I’ve written a lot of words about the Ice-Bucket Challenge and mentioned ALS only twice. And never said what ALS really is.

Better known as Lou Gherig’s Disease, named for the New York Yankees baseball player who contracted the disease and thereby showed the bits of the country that liked baseball and were paying attention that the disease existed, ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive, degenerative disease that gradually destroy neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and spinal column. Over time, the disease annihilates voluntary control over the body’s muscles, robbing the person with the disease of the ability to move, to speak, to breathe. For some patients, the end point of the disease is total paralysis of the body. And the worst part is that their mind still is active and aware and trapped in a decayed body incapable of responding to anything.

ALS is, to put it mildly, a horrifying disease. Donating money to help fund research into a cure or a way to slow the progression of the disease is definitely a worthy cause. (Those who want to donate without resorting to dumping ice water on their heads can do so at the ALSA gift page.)

So, given all that, I should be all for the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge, right, dudes?. After all, as of Friday, the challenges have resulted in the ALS Association receiving more than $41 million in donations.

My issue is with all the challengers who do nothing but dump ice on their own heads, laugh, record it and then post it to some social media site, daring others to follow suit. They don’t know what ALS is. They don’t donate to any sort of charitable institution, including the ALS Association, and only do it because everyone else is doing it. 

After all, the challenge is donate to the ALSA OR dump a bucket of ice on their heads.

I talked about this on Facebook and was called out by several of my friends there (actual friends who I actually know) for dumping (no pun intended) on the whole idea. They focused on the positives, on the donations that were raised, which are substantial.

I thought about it and talked it over with Zippy the Travelin’ Boy, who has some similar issues with the challenge. While Zippy the Travelin’ Boy still takes issue with it (mostly, I think, because it’s popular and he likes to be a contrarian) and, to be honest, so do I, it all led to the realization that I was focusing too much on the negative.

I’ll pause now for your shocked intake of breath.

This was brought home to me — literally — when Hyper Lad walked up to me with a hang-dog look, holding a bucket of ice and a video camera.

Before I would participate, he and I had a long talk about what amyotrophic lateral sclerosis actually does and agreed that he would donate money to the ALS Association.

Only then could I laugh at him when his oldest brother, Sarcasmo, poured cube-filled, ice-cold water over the young dude’s head.

Yes, in a perfect world, Hyper Lad’s fellow shiverers would be donating to worthy charitable causes on a regular basis and also donating their time, sweat and effort. They’d already know what ALS really is, why we should support research toward a cure, and be doing the ice thing only to help raise awareness and get more people to donate money to worthy charities.

But, as the estimable John Bender once said: “Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.”

And it’s true.

Screws do fall out all the time.

I guess I’ll just have to live with the idea that people are dumping ice on their heads just because everybody else is doing it. And also some of them might actually understand that this is being used to help raise money to combat an appalling disease.

It’s not perfect, but that’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

As if the world were waiting for my approval anyway.

*Yes, this was an imperfect metaphor. I was trying to evoke the whole thing about the devil being in the detail and then conflating that with the ice-bucket challenge. Don’t judge me. I was . . . stretching.


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It doesn't actually look all that bad, now does it? Okay, fine. Yes. It does look that bad.

Stick-Assisted Perambulation Thanks To Surgical Intervention

There has got to be a better way of getting a close shave on my right knee.

Right now, the area above and below my knee is a baby-skin smooth surface, with only the slightest of stubble beginning to poke its way through. It’s also a swollen mess, but I guess I can’t get one without the other.

The other day, I went in to have what turns out to be my fifth knee surgery on the same knee. I recently added up the number of times I’ve gone under the knife and it’s appallingly high, especially for such a healthy-seeming dude.

I strutted into the out-patient surgery center this time so an orthopedist could do some carving and smoothing on both my lateral and medial meniscus. The meniscus is the shock-absorbing cartilage that prevents bone from bumping up against bone.

During the 20 years or so since my last knee surgery, I’d managed to do some more damage to the meniscus on both sides of my knee. I’m sure it was something that happened over time and in no way was influenced by my decision to learn snowboarding this past March with Hyper Lad.

Definitely no connection. Just can’t be.

Regardless of cause, I needed to go in and have the damage remediated so I could start walking without (as much) pain because, let me tell you, dudes, that’s getting to be a real pain in my fundament, as well as the knee.

So I’m back in the pre surgical waiting room and the nurse comes to prepare me by plugging in an IV and then whipping out the electric razor. Knowing what was coming, I just stretched out and relaxed while she got to work.

It’s become a depressingly familiar ritual, during which I lose all the hair around an op site and then have to tape my hands to my sides so I don’t scratch the wound open as the hair begins itching its way back to full length.

I decided that I’d go through this surgery with only a regional anesthetic as I’d been knocked out more than enough times already. Relatively speaking, I was somewhat clear mentally after the surgery (although maybe slightly loopy) so that was good.

However, the aftereffects of being chemically paralyzed from just above my waist on down was. . . strange. Looking down at my legs and seeing them there, but not being able to move them or even feel when someone touches them is an odd situation in which to find myself.

No sensation and no control. Post-surgery, the nurse tried to move me to a recliner as fast as possible so they could reuse the bed, so she tried to lever me off even though I told her I wasn’t ready.

She assured me my leg would support my weight and then swung both legs off the bed. I managed to stand for less than a second before collapsing over on her. Fortunately, a second nurse was there to catch us both and put me back onto the bed for more recovery time.

So, eventually, I was released and went home to relearn how to get around on crutches. I recovered enough to quickly move from crutches to a cane and that’s where things stand now.

No pun intended.

Still in pain, but getting better. Looking forward to the pain going away.

Now all I have to do is keep myself from scratching my knee raw from all the itchy hair growing back.

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