Battling the ALS monster in your dreams
CHARLOTTE, NC, October 8, 2017 – When I was four or five years old, I remember having a recurring dream about a gigantic prehistoric T-Rex lizard chasing me to the edge of a cliff before eventually forcing me to jump. I think the trigger for the plunge came from watching the original version of “King Kong” when Fay Wray and Bruce Cabot jump into a rushing river to escape a massive ape who had become infatuated with his miniature blonde boy-toy.
Kids have always had a fascination with dinosaurs, and I was no different. Fay didn’t appear in my dream, nor did Kong, but that big lizard usually sent me screaming into my parent’s room where I would finish out the night amid the safety of Mom and Dad.
To this day I am now convinced that my gigantic reptile friend and I are the reason there is 12 years difference between me and my youngest brother.
My ALS dreams are not as exotic as fleeing from an overgrown lizard, but in their own way they are every bit as interesting.
The first was a dream about challenging Rocky Balboa to a heavyweight championship fight. Who knows where that idea came from.
Of course fighting Balboa with the limitations of not being able to throw a hook, an uppercut or even a rabbit punch, I was left to enter the ring with my signature weapon, the three-inch jab.
Needless to say, it was a “disarming” experience as I resorted to my only other means of defense which was “Bobbing” around the ring. Fortunately, I always awoke before Balboa could get to me but the dream was frightening all the same.
The next nighttime fantasy was less formidable and, in fact, could even become the inspiration for a new detective series.
It must have derived from two sources, one a television show and the other a movie. The movie is called “The Bone Collector” in which Denzel Washington plays a paralyzed bedridden cop who solves mysteries by giving instructions to Angelina Jolie, his assistant, without ever leaving his bed.
Of course, it is obviously fiction. In real life, who gets a nursemaid like Angelina Jolie?
The television program was called “Ironside” in which Raymond Burr is a disabled detective confined to a wheelchair. Burr used the popularity of his role as Attorney Perry Mason to springboard himself into playing Ironside.
In my version, the protagonist will be a combination of both characters. Of course, ALS will be the debilitating force that will not only create a new awareness of the disease but highlight the ongoing deterioration that occurs as it progresses.
My title character will be known as “Les Dextrous” and, in a style much like Sherlock Holmes, he will gradually become increasingly adept at solving crimes with his brain rather than brawn.
Because the brawn is quickly fleeting.
One thing you quickly learn with ALS is that the best you can hope for is stability. This week was another turning point in the progression of the disease where I lost a bit more of my ability to reach with my arms.
The biggest limitations have been increased difficulty with eating and using the keyboard on my computer. The reach from the front of the keyboard to the “backspace” button is only about three inches but, for me, that span might as well be a mile.
One solution has been to get a wireless keyboard and mouse which allow me to manipulate to positions that are more convenient. Though I am a touch typist, not quick but passable, I have learned that the old “hunt and peck” method might be quicker and more flexible.
For some reason, there is a key on the left-hand side of the board that I now find I will accidentally strike with the palm of my hand on a regular basis. When I do that, the margins reset themselves and I then spend the next several minutes trying to get back to the original page.
Eventually, I will re-adjust my typing methods for efficiency, and then simply hope that everything remains roughly the same long enough to muddle through until the next phase arrives.
This new stage has produced some interesting offshoots, that I would never have anticipated.
And so the “weak” goes on…who knows what exciting new adventures await.
About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people, and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up