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eddie103

The Adventures of ED

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This is a great story guys. Ed and I discussed it the other night.

I've always heard that you could make a well person sick just by telling him/her over and over how bad they look. The same is true that you can make a sick person better. The human brain is a strange thing. We all need to challenge our brains to keep them fresh and sharp.

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:::2011 in Review:::

Well 2011 is drawing to a close soon. I thought I would write to all to tell of my high points of this year.

Some of the following is repetitious so just skip those parts if you have read them before.

The months of January and February did not entail much. I just tried to survive the winter. I had been home ever since the previous September and I found the winter extremely long, cold and boring. I continued to play music at the local bar here every Friday night. I always have a good time on these evenings and have made many close friends because of them. Towards the end of April, I decided it was time to try to learn how to play a six string guitar. I ended up buying one and have been learning things on one ever since. Throughout the rest of the year, I have bought and sold so many guitars until I finally finished this guitar bug as of December. I now own three Martin acoustics, three basses 1974 pristine Rickenbacker 4003, Breedlove acoustic / electric and a Hofner violin bass), a Telecaster, a violin and a mandolin. In time I hope to learn a few things on the later.

In March, I travelled to the Caribbean once again for a 10 day cruise on board Holland America's MS Noordamn. I met an awful lot of fine people who keep in contact with. Maybe I will sail with some of them again some day. Rather than writing about the trip, I will include a document I had written concerning it:

Last year while in port, I was docked beside a Holland America ship. I looked at the deckware and it was all new and the impression I had was that it “interested” me.

Now traditionally, Holland America was known then as catering to an older crowd and I have never bothered with them. While at the airport, I struck up a conversation with a young female thing I ran into there..........................."How was your holiday?.......................What cruise line etc"............"Holland America" she answers......."How was it" I ask......"Really good" she says………. "The best time she ever had had."

So based on this conversation and an itinerary that interested me, I decided to book a trip with the Holland America line. Over the past year I considered cancelling it but ultimately decided to actually go. This was to be the first time I have cruised totally alone and if I found that I was to have a good time, I would consider continuing cruising, and if not, perhaps this would be my last cruise and I would then find something else to do in my future. This was to be my fourteenth cruise.

So, I arrive at the airport......wheel myself around.............and find a human waving the Holland America sign. "Is this where I am to be?" I ask.................."Yep" she says........... "Well, I'm going out those doors to have a smoke......come and get me when you're ready"......................Later, I turn around and she says "We're leaving now..........follow me over there and we'll catch the bus"........so off we go.

Now when I travel, I wear legs, am in a wheelchair and drag my own luggage along behind me (kind of like a trailer).

So.......I'm standing up..........looking around and say to myself "Crap, where's all the young people??" I'm behind an old guy......he's telling the bus driver...." I NEED the front seat". I'm saying to myself............ "Pal, you've got frickin' legs, if anybody's gettin' a front seat.......it's ME!!" but I say nothing.

So we all climb up the steps in the bus while I am telling myself that this cruise was a BIG mistake. All of a sudden, the movement of the line stops..........what's going on??? Turns out that some woman ahead has dropped her oxygen bottle and her old husband is scrambling to hook her up again!!!..........................."This cruise is a BIG mistake!!!!"

I get to the ship, get on board, find my room, settle down, de-leg myself and head off. There is NOBODY in the hall and I have a hard time finding anybody. Well……… I find them all the next a.m, in the buffet. They don't see me.............I am fast in my chair..........so I whistle all the time hoping that they will hear me. I end up smacking two of them in the stomach with my fist before they fall on me....................I'm sorry.......it's a reflex now.

It took a couple of days (as usual) for people to get used to me.......after that I was ok.

On the first day at sea, I met Celine. She was on a scooter and has no legs...........so off I go to introduce myself (I'm a sucker for another amputee). We talk a bit and then she asks me.........."Does it get any better?" As soon as she asks this, I know her story……..she’s a newbie. "Why do you say this" I ask. She says "Well, I wish I could get into my bed (on board) but it is tooooooooo high". I offer to come to their room to offer my advice.............but I am a stranger. The next day, we all hook up in the smokin' area and off we go to their room. I spent about an hour and a bit flopping around, showing her how to get into bed on her own. I talked about her wheelchair, life as I know it, and other things. The next day, I run into her and she says "she got into bed........by herself". I tell her........"Everytime you can get out of the scooter or wheelchair and sit on a real chair or sofa..........do it. If you stay in the chair.........you will die in the chair.

Every day after when I would see her, she was in a normal chair......being human. I am pleased.

I met a lot of people on this ship. I learned a lot about life from them. I know that I can go for as long as I can go.............regardless of my situation.

On this cruise line, all is accessible..............no worries. The service was more than I have experienced, the food was far superior to what I have experienced and the entertainment was better than I have experienced. I WILL be on this line again......many times as I am now approaching the age group of this line’s clientale.

Now before I go, I must tell you the final story about Celine.

Now up to this cruise, her husband has been doing 100% for Celine.........................good on him. So the last day before the cruise was over was to be the "island" day. I ask Celine if she is going a shore..... "No" she says. "Why not" I ask.......... "Well there's sand and whatever. I tell her to get her ass on the island ...........no excuses...............there's concrete to wheel on and no reason why she cannot be there. Well, the next day we all meet on the island and have a great time. ...................consumed a lot of stuff at the bar etc.

Well the day ends and most people are gone so we head off to the tenders to get back to the ship. We're in line waiting and George shows up. "Have you seen Celine?" he asks. We say " No"........... "I can't find her " he says. He's pulling out his hair with worry. Later, he comes around again. "Have you seen Celine?" ............"No" we answer.

So we are on the tender. Along comes George again…..even more frenzied. "Have you seen Celine?" ........."No" we answer "and if she was on board, she would be sitting here with us".

So I tell George "If it was me, I'd get off this boat, keep on looking...........I'll ask at the main boat to see if she is on board"............ So off he goes............. I get on the main ship.............."I need to know if anybody from room 8032 is on board" I ask. They say “Yes”........ I say " Are you sure. Well you need to radio to onshore and let the crazy man know that MAYBE his wife is on board."

I get to my room.....call 8032 and Celine answers.

"Celine, Celine.........you've been a bad, bad girl!!!" She says "She knew it was time to go and she was so excited and pleased to make it all the way back to the by HERSELF"......... I said "Well maybe you should tell George what you are doing from now on. He’s still on the island, out of his mind with worry, looking for you".

We all had a good laugh over this. Later George tells me that he checked every washroom on the island looking for his wife..........................I told him......................"You know George..........Celine is now free..................methinks you will need to put a GPS locator on her!”

Celine gained a bit of her freedom during this cruise and it is a direct result from meeting someone else like her………only “more seasoned”. When I find myself in the position of affecting someone else’s life in a “good” way, it gives my life some value.

ED

The months of April and May were pretty normal................yard work, regular life...getting fire wood ready for the winter.......the bar every Friday night........fighting wood ticks.

In June, I ended up in Kansas City for the annual American Coalition of Amputees conference...........had a great time.........met many more people with limb loss.....made many more friends............managed to do the entire event in full articulating arty legs....was very proud of myself.......never made it to the dance floor....next time!

Met a pretty young thing in Kansas City from Texas who I took a liking to. I have since made her a “personal project” and have been mentoring and guiding her in her journey as a newbie amputee as well as I can. I have high hopes for her. I would like to visit her and her family in the future, perhaps attend her wedding one day..................we'll see.

Finished off Kansas City attending my first.....and last NASCAR race.......interesting but I don't understand the madness that surrounds NASCAR.

The following is from a document I started at the beginning of my road trip from the province of Manitoba to the province of Nova Scotia in my home country, Canada. I left in early July and returned at the end of August:

:::There and Back Again.............Again!:::

Well, time has come again to travel across half the North American continent. This time, I am travelling with a new dog (same breed as My Lucy.......Golden Retriever).....named Ella. She is only thirteen months old now and still a pup (albeit........80 lbs worth).

Now, it is not everyday that a bilateral above knee amputee travels alone across this great distance (about 7,000 kms return), alone with his dog. Since Ella is a newbie at this kind of trip, I have been conditioning her for it. For the last while, she has “come for a drive” everywhere I have gone. So far, she seems to like the car I have thought of every possible situation that could happen with her and I feel somewhat confident that all will go well.

The two of us are driving in a 2010 Honda CRV. I'm not in love with the vehicle, but it suited all my needs when I bought it. At the time, I needed a vehicle that would carry my chair fully assembled to use when I do need one, room for my dog (she rides in the back seat, has plenty of head room and can stretch out when she wants or hang out the windows, a fit for me.............that being there's room for my kit and the cruise control button is on the right side of the steering wheel for me.

Tonight, the car is packed except for the morning essentials. I am carrying a suitcase, laptop, guitar, a junk bag, dog stuff, my wheel chair is totally disassembled, my big C Leg units are stored and there is a “Forty of Forty Creek” rye ('cause they don't sell this fine stuff on the east coast. There are a 6' leash, a 20' retractable leash and a 30' cable tie (attached to the car) that Ella will be hooked up to. In the event that she expectantly bolts, she will have to drag the car along with her if she wants to get away................NOT!

So, tonight we will sleep and will head off at whatever time........once Ella has done her morning business. We have an eight hour drive to accomplish in order to make our first stop. Away we go..............

:::Day One:::

Well, we started off ok. Got up and about around 6:30 a.m. and were finally on the road by 8:30 a.m. Drove about ten kms down the road and realized that I did not have Ella's vest.....hesitated a bit then turned around and went back home to get it. I need her to be as safe as I can offer.

The first two hours of driving seemed slow and long.......started to hesitate as to whether this is a good idea or not. Ella enjoyed herself hanging out the window as we clipped along. Finally got a coffee into me a few hours later. We stopped quite often to stretch and let Ella roam around. My cable tie is working out great.

In a short period of time, we got our travel groove on and almost made it to our first stop......Thunder Bay. About 100 kms short of that goal, we ran into trouble. Some ditz had authorized some putz to haul the bed part of one of those huge dump trucks that are used in the oil sands. There were two police escorts for this thing. This thing covered both sides of the highway as it was dragged along. Even on the passing lanes we could not attempt to pass it. Then, of course, we ran into road construction...........which brought everything to a halt on both sides of the highway while we waited for the road crews to undo what had done so this thing could pass.

I ended up taking a side road.....got lost and by the time I figured out here the hell we were, I had already passed Thunder Bay.

I was forced to drive further. Today, Ella and I drove over 800 kms which is past my tolerance. So now we are holed up in a motel and Ella is doing soooooooooo good. Tomorrow, we do the hump.......over Lake Superior..........a long, hard drive

:::Day Two.......the Hump:::

Well, we actually slept quite well in this motel. In the morning we were on the road by 4:30 am. Now I have travelled the Hump a few times in my lifetime and it is always hell. Highway 17 is two lane, 90 kms / hour and quite twisting and turny the whole way from Thunder Bay to a place called Sault Saint Marie. There is not much in between these two points.......a few Indian reserves and a couple of real small towns. Places enough to support a gas station and that's about all. The country though is spectacular. The drive is historically, very hard..........a distance of almost 700 kms between the two points. The Hump is meant to drive through........to make it in one stretch.......to survive not going off the road.

This time, something happened that I still cannot explain. For the entire distance that day, there was not one truck in front of me and there was not one travel trailer as well. Traffic in the other direction was almost nonexistent as well. Strange....................but I ended up my day's “journey” way too early......arriving in the Sault before noon. Well, that was way too early to call it quits that day so I drove on.........

I found myself with the possibility of reaching a place I used to live in when I was a teenager......a military base called Petawawa. So I drove on and ended up there for the night. I drove around looking at old stuff I used to know some forty years ago........experienced it, savoured it, was glad I did it etc. It was so late in the day that I decided to just sleep in the car for a bit. It was always my intention to sleep in the car here and there and I had a plan...........but it didn't work..................

I had figured that when I ever stopped and decided to rest in the car, I would simply take myself apart, lower the passenger seat back flat, crawl into the back seat, kick Ella's butt to the front seat, and I would then simply stretch out in the back seat because I can!!! Well, we tried this.....but Ella doesn't “like” the front seat...............then it was also very hot out still so I left the windows opened for the night breeze. Well, it wasn't that long before I was attacked by Ontario mosquitoes in mass...........ended up closing the windows almost shut. Ella flipped out and came crashing into the back seat so I gave up and crawled into the front and tried to get comfortable.......................not!!!

I guess I feel asleep but was later woken by Ella growling...........look out the window and see a cop car rolling up beside me.................lower the window and I explain who and what I am doing etc. The man says......”Well, have a good night Sir.”

This day I had driven over 1200 kms.

:::Day Three..........Friggin' Quebec:::

The province of Quebec is a beautiful part of my country. It is full of French people who have bent the laws of this land to their advantage over the years in order to “maintain their language and heritage”. I am a product of the generation when our government made my country a bilingual country.......French and English as the official languages. Fine! Shortly thereafter Quebec passed their own laws and made English illegal in the province. I have had a lip on at this province ever since. So when I drive through Quebec......I drive through Quebec, In order to do this, I must travel through the city of Montreal, hop over to the south shore and head up the Gaspe peninsula until I hit the province of New Brunswick. It is a long haul.

Now in order to get to the south shore to hit the main highway up the peninsula, I need to bisect Montreal, find “the tunnel” and then get on the other highway. To date, I have never found the tunnel, for whatever reason and have always frigged up going through Montreal. This trip was no different.

So in order to take the tunnel, everybody says “just stay in the middle lane........just stay in the middle lane!” I tried......all of a sudden there's a split in the road, the signs are all in French, we are travelling really fast, the same as everybody else............I see the spilt.........right says ???...New York.......the left says..........Champlain Bridge. So I take the left 'cause I am not going to New York!

Once again, in the end, this was the wrong decision. Ya, I'm on the south side of the river but am no where near the main highway I need to be on. I spent over two additional hours driving, after asking some of the locals (who don't know their left from their right), where and how to go. I saw some fine areas of the province mucking around the wrong roads after being given directions (sometimes |I think on purpose) that were blatantly wrong.

At last I was on the proper road. My intent was to stop off around Quebec city to visit some friends who I had met on my last cruise ship. In the end, I missed out on that also. I got cut off from the required exit by some putz and after the fiasco in Montreal there was no way I was going to turnaround on that friggin' highway. I intend on trying to meet them when I do my return trip.

I finally made it into the province of new Brunswick and drove until I made it to Moncton. I should not have driven this far. I was quite fried by the time I arrived. By day's end, I had travelled another 1300 kms. Yep.................Manitoba to Nova Scotia......3500 kms........three days.

I will take my time going home.

================================================================

I intended to add to this narrative but events during my stay on the east coast dictated that I did not. Firstly, I will write about the good things that I managed to do and enjoy.

I stayed at my mother's place for most of my time on the east coast. I did a little work on my brother's log cabin that he has been building as a sanctuary from the troubles he lives with.

Ella chased her ball about 18 billion times up the hill. When she got hot, she would stand in a rain barrel of water to cool off. Of course, she discovered that a ball can float so she would drop the ball in, hop into the barrel and splash around after it. Now it seems there are a few rocks at the bottom of the barrel that she discover were there. So Ella goes bobbling for rocks and ends up blowing bubbles while under water. It was hilarious.

I played along with a bunch of local older folks one evening up on Lemmon hill. I had carried a six string guitar along with me for events such as this. The old buggers even got me to sing a few times! I enjoyed this as music is again now a large part of my life.

Towards the end of July, I attended the 40th anniversary of the East Coast Bluegrass and Old Time Music festival. I was mesmerized by the quality of the music and talent. There were over 12 blue grass bands playing there over the weekend and they were all great. I fell in love with this style!!.....and bought every souvenir, CD and other stuff that I could find. I have hopes of getting to this level of expertise some day on my own machines.

I did all the usual "down east" things that happen all the time. .......went to several garage sales, the flea markets etc and I ate an awful lot of fish and chips. The fish in that part of the country is fabulous and I can never get enough of it when I can. The fish here (back home) is nowhere near the same.

My weekend meeting with some thirty old high school friends was a very good time. We have not seen each other for some forty years........Christ where does life go????. Ended up playing bass with one fellow one night and six string with another the next. I felt I did quite well seein's how I have just restarted playing last year while these fellows have been playing ever since high school.

Shortly, after that weekend, I started to finish my plans for the east coast before driving home. I left my mother's place (not to return) to travel to Prince Edward Island to visit and tour a round with an female friend. I had a good time there and spent three days. As I was leaving to continue my journey, the phone rang.......it was for me....it was my brother in law........telling me there was a severe problem back down in Nova Scotia so I returned there.

I will not write about this further other than all was dealt with and I just had to leave again for my own sanity.

I left for home the next morning deciding to negate those other persons who I was to meet as originally planned. The first day, I drove 800 kms, took a hotel so I would be fresh the next to take on Montreal...again!!!! The second day I made it to Sault Saint Marie (before the hump again).........took another hotel. The third day I drove from there to home.....................17.5 hours driving time........some 1400 kms hard driving. It took me three days to recuperate. My total mileage on my car was 11,273 kms or some 9,000 miles!! Not bad for a guy with no legs.

So that was my trip......some great...........a lot of S..T for no reason........but what is........is.

The fall has been quite nice out this way. I'm on the phone all the time calling all who I have met. I made it out to Calgary for a weekend in November to visit my daughter in her new place. I need to get out there more often. November also brought a bit of a surprise.

I unintentionally won a situation with my insurance company with little resistance from them. As a result, I now posses a new Kabuto 26 HP diesel tractor c/w box blade, snowblower, front end loader, mower. Now all I need to do is learn how to use the thing. I am sur it will be of great value to me in the near future.

So now, it is December.......I'm getting ready for Xmas as best I can.............and then the year is done.

So that's what I've been up to.............not bad for an invalid.

Merry Xmas my friends................

ED

P.S. 2012 is already starting to book up. I'm in the Caribbean at the end of January, middle of March and beginning of next December all on cruise ship. December's cruise is a short one..five days only so I may try to extend it at one end or the other. This cruise is forming up to be the first “amputee” cruise. As of now, we have 62 cabins booked........hoping for more...........and may make the news down there. Everybody I know is on board so it will be great. Kinda feel sorry for the other passengers though 'cause they have no idea we're coming! I'm going to try to get a trip in maybe end May or early June to Texas for a few days. I've also been invited to an event in California next fall.......nothing firm but I will make it happen as I would like to visit those folks also.

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Nice to hear from you again Ed, keep up the good work and have a wonderful Christmas.

Ann

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You're a busy guy Ed. I'm glad to have been a very small part of your adventures this past year.

I can't wait til Dec, 2012 when we sail off on that 'historic' cruise.

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