"The Rise and Fall and Rise, Again"(The other American Dream..?

                               “Redemption”

                               There’s lots of examples ,of course-of coming back stronger after the fall…

                              Jim and Tammy, Bill and Hilary, and spotlights, too, show Tiger and Kobe,

                             I know you know many,too, you could probably show me..

                           To err is human, God knows, and they say forgiveness divine

                         And so we welcome them back and embracethem, time after time, after time...

                           A few never come back, and perhaps our Adam is one;

                          Daily vanquished, our moon, and so, too there, the sun..

                      Yes, some like Mr. Dumpty who sat on his wall-

                           Don’t come back stronger, don’t come back at all!      (June22,2013, Beijing)

"Look, I'm Flying...!""

I think I've talked some of this before..., but every so often in this rehab-recovery thing when you(readme..)realize/know you're on the cusp of change. I'm there again, I feel...? When now for these past 5-5 years I've been doing unassisted walking on my own, I've always designed it so I have a railing/fence 'bailout' onmy right should the need arise. Now, I want to at least try a few steps free-standing, at which point I couldgingerly turn, use a support to then find my way back to  the chair. I tried  doiong it several times this morning-but bailed on each attempt only to frustrate myself. Tje barrier?Just confidence is all- about my balance and fear of going down- and the only way to break through it is to push really hard! It was the exact same feelings when I let goof the ramp-railings 5 years ago. I want to do it, need to do it And will, but none too fast-not my style.   (April2,2015-K.P.)

"Deja Vu?-Designer Genes?(TO AB ,OR AB NOT?)"

.)The Nazi's did some horrible experimenting that way during  WWII, didn't they? We tried it with sheep and do it all the time with fish and some vegetables, so why not? The 'perfect-babies!' Not that there's a smidgeon of resentment at all anywhere in the You and Me crowd...(?)- but like that poor-fated ship,Titanic which had its three levels of passenger- from steerage(3rd class, the lowest/most common) through second -class, and up another gangway to that lofty first-class, promenade-deck, our sociEty can be divided into three tiers similarly according to the genes afforded you at birth. The good news, or at least consolation, I suppose, is that we're all heading for the same 'berg and will go down together, regardless how 'rock-hard' your abs are or how perfect your bodies are. Tier Three, those of us in 'Steerage', we every day- folk who still crane our necks to get a glimpse of the Tier One Guys and Gals in the professional sports ranks, or Hollywood films and galas, making  money hand -over-fist and living high up on the hill with clean air and a view!(mARCH31, 2015-Kim P.)

OOPSIE-DAISY-THAT AIN'T NO DAISY!

tMore information many would care to know, but  since my stroke, I don't wear any underwear!It's just too finnicky  an articcle of clothing now, so I'm bareback/ birthday suit every day. Pants, as you will know, have their own styling and own comfort-fit. Some are good for somethings and not others. Well I have two basic needs: I do walking -exercises every morning, so they have to stay "up", and the second most common need is to pee for which  they have to be easy to pull down to-you know-faciltate stuff. Problem is they are often not interchangeable. These last few days, for example, I've been in the middle of walking my 20 foot sections when my pants decide to fall down to around my knees. I cannot bend over or stoop quickly these days- to do ANYTHING, got it?and, of course, during my brief exercise period, I'm down near our rec-center close to the lake with a social-circle/audience of sometimes 10-12Chinese friends and neighbors! Not only is a large part of me sticking out the rear, but some private parts are revealed out front, too, in the brief moments I'm shouting to my aide to run to my help!Oh, yeah How to Influence people and make new friebds! (March30,2015-Kim P.)

I think I can, I think I might....Just not going to happen on this one night! Ahhh!

Not that long ago, when my wife was out of town for a few days, thought I would try showering by myself. Sound stupid, I know-in hindsight, perhaps it was. It was not, however, without prescedent; I've done it once efore on my own-althouh that was in a different place with completely different configurations. This one almost ended trafically, but I can say it only ended "badly". I got stuck in there for anhour and a half, was mighty thirsty, but eventually had to scrape myself over in my shower-chair on the tiled floor to the sink where I was able to use the one big,strong safety bar to pull myself upright and then be able to walk the few steps to the door and my awaiting wheelchair(which is, of course, designed to move!)My p-leg was not cooperating that afternoon, and as I sat in front of the shower, preparing to stand on the first mat,it keptsliding away.. and I could not for the life of me keep it in the necessary90 degree angle to the floor. Thoughts of actually skleeping in there for the night were starting to creep into my brain before I mustered the courage and figured my new actio-plan.Whew! (March18,2015-Kim P.)

CELEBRATING A GOOD SPIT,Again..

So, having returned to  China, now, we've come from one of the world's most wheelchair-friendly/accessible countries in Canada to one of the worst, where there are few automatic doors,many buildings don't have ramp-access, and-even then- when they do some are almost unusable because rhey don't have railings and are built at an almost 70 degree incline(for which I would need a team of horsse pulling me up!Defenders jump in at this point, pointing to the success of the Beijing-hosted Olympics ANDPARALYMPICS! fINE, IF YOU MUST They're long gone and so , too, the attitude that accompanied them-like folding chairs at an outdoor wedding ceremony-poof! Put in the trucks and driven off to hidden storage somewhere without a fus, out of sight!.They're one of the world's best at putting on a show, but the show's over,now and long-done with. Back to normal or their"new-normal" where the disabled/handicapped are a mere afterthough. Not much has really changed that way since the Mao era when the term commonly applied to bthe disabled was "Useless"...if they are thought of at all in the design and construction phases.To ALL ARCHITECTS OUT THERE?!Abled- bodied people can use ramps just fine; the same cannot be said for many of us disabled types with scootesr or chairs and STAIRSIt's just that in Canada, I had the convenient service of Handidart to take me out shopping, or to 'stroke clubs' any where in the cityHell with their modified buses I could use public transportBY MYSELFBe out most of the day Come home, put groceries away, cook dinner and do a few loads of laundry-feel goo and tired by 9 o'clock. Here, no suh independence/mobility So, I'm back, at least in the one regard, to celebrating and congratulating myself for having a good, ig spit that clears both my own body and the chair I'm in...Hmmm.!(March07,2015-Kim P.)

"Learning from Fqm your Mistakes..?"

.This is getting near the end of February, now, so it would have been about two weeks ago or so. My wife who usually accompanies me... was away on a weeklong trip. Of course we(I) showered the night before she left, but about midweek I took it upon myself to try doing a shower on my own. It's a slow, tricky procedure, involving risk. I thought it out/planned  carefully  because the placement of the rubber non-slip mats has to be perfectWhen all set, I tried- but it went horribly and I was 'stuck' in there uncomfortably for 1.5 hrs.I make my way in and sit down on the shower chair which is right beside a good, strong safety bar.  whacaused the trouble is just trying to wrestle my shoes and socks off My left and paralyzed leg would not cooperate however, and stay upright at 90 degree angle to floor. No the knee fell out sideways, so the foot and calve then slide over, under me at adangerous and painful angle.I would have to, finally, push-scrapemyself while on this chair to across the length of the room to another strong bar where I could stand up nd rerach the door to walk out, back to the safety of my

"They Weren't On the Floor!" THE SMASHED-FLY TEST!

 My 'aide' is an incessant talker which I can't stand- and,worse, a shameless gossip,not to mention a constant whiner-griper.Everyone in the vicinity knows the foreigner's habits-how I like to eat eat Scottish porridge every morning for breakfast, sometimes have difficulty getting out of the bathroom by myself,eat too much brown sugar, watch a lot of T.V., and am, myself, a hopeless flirt- all of which she passes on in great detail to my wife every day or two... When we're home, her comfort-zone is staring down at and mopping the floors, some dusting, and cooking the one(lunch) meal before she leaves for home by 12:30pm. Still, it's predominantly about the floor! After entering our suite in the morning to start work, she will have her hands on the mop within 1-2 minutes.She has fearful single-minded focus and tunnel-vision toward most everything else which, admittedly, bothers me.We play this power-sruggle thing most every day where I have to remind her who is the boss between us... on the balcony, in the computer room, in front of the T,V., otherwise she is constantly chasing me from my place to get at that particular patch of floor where I'm sitting because SHE'S NOW READY TO CLEAN THERE If I'm HERE, I gesture, then you're someplace else, got it? But she is so single-minded, she's actually tried dusting the computer keyboard when I'm there and my hand is hovering above it pecking at keys!Small spuds? I think not. Getting mad only worsens things as she then protests she's trying to do her job and a good job and is on a tight schedule. It's not that she's so incredibly busy; she has a good job, even an easy job, and in her way of thinking, it is strictly delineated with several tasks. Ask her to go beyond that the odd time with something 'additional' and her anxiety shoots through the roof! If I accidently spill my coffee-for example- cleaning the spill increasses her workload and compresses her schedule! What?! If I want something cleaned by her, I (joke) that I have to put it on the floor for her to be aware of it!She failed once, my smashed-fly test...where I intentionally stuck two dead, partially smeared flies on the window right close to the door handle leading to the balcony. Didn't see them-though she went in and out of the room a dozen or so times;they weren't on the floor!(Feb09,2015-Kim P.)

"Sometimes You Gotta Try..!" (CALCULATED RISKS)

O..- hot off the presses: last night  now, I tried taking a shower alone, by myself. It's not as far-fetched as you might think-although I grant you, it is pretty tricky business, and this time it didn't work out. I have done it once before in this partially paralyzed state. Requires a lot of forethought, planning and NERVE(which takes me the better part of a day to build-up Anyways, to cut a longer story, I got sdtuck in the bathroom for a couple of hours, sitting unconfortably on my shower chair close to the shower. My leg(paralyzed one, that is..) was some uncooperative and much anxiety about sliding off the chair onto the cold tile floor, so I ended by 'pulling the plug' on my solo try, but then that's where things got truly difficult-I had to scuff/scrape myself on the chair across the floor to the sink where a big ,strong safety bar is attached to the wall, enabling me to lever myself up into a standing position, collect myself-as my throat was parched to the point of worry and then walk out to my waiting wheelchair  10-12 feet away by the door. ! Whew. I was exhausted with the effor andt sweating because I had turned on all overhead lights to  brighten a very cold room. Eventually. it will happen. Just that last night was not the night for it.(Feb07,2015,Kim P.)

tHIScolumn/chapter is intended to provide updates on my ever-so-slow recovery from a stroke in 2006 that lEft me paralyzed on my left side and reliant on aWheelchair to get around. For over a year now(!), I have been doing regular walking exercises every morning when I first go out to greet the dayWITHOUT HOLDING OR ANY MOBILITY AIDS!. At that point I had been walking

on the ramp between railings leading up to entrance to our building, but always holding the rail down and up. For some reASON(?) on thatmorning asI stood in final preparation to begin-my self-talk included,"You don't have to hold the railing, Kim. Try it on your own.And so I did and the exhilaration that ripped through my body like lightning was unforgettable! I was standing my six-feet tall again, and walking unassisted for the first time in years! Perhaps 'shuffling is more accurate-but there was forward locomotion! Just 10-15 feet at a time, but most days I would try to do 3-6 'sets. It f.elt so good! fter a few years prostrate on a bed, aand barely able to stand more than 3/4 seconds at a time. I was so happy, but recognizing I had plateaued/reached a new/bext level in recovery that no one can tell you or predict because it is SO different for each of us. I wanted to carefully reconstruct and map out the moods and thoughts I was haVING TO BETTER IDENTIFY THE NEXT TRANSITION POINT

Having said all that-it goes back to Oct,2013. Coincidentally(?) we were moving to our new place then. Well, it's now Decemver,2014, and just 2-3 weeks, my aide and I shifted my walking venue to a place that requires me to walk a longer , continuous stretch without rail,wall or fence..., maybe20-25feet. It's more like real walking, I guess. Tiriring but feellterric with it, andometimnes can do 2-3X!  (Dec.2014-Kim P.)

"tHE sUCKIT List?"(AS in 'that SUCKS!')

Not me,but a treasured family-friend from Zhengzhou, Sanyi, who I call Gege(big brother!)

I mean ,after all, the 'Bucket List ' took off like a rocket. And the ten things in life you think suck the most!? Lists for everything;we like lists. Easy to remember, easy to tape on the fridge door, or calender.. whatever. Here's mine of absolutely top/favorite songs:

1. (cliche start, sorry, but I was a seventies-man, largely)-gotta be Led Zep's " Stairway to Heaven"-and to Mr. Plant was "bustle in your hedgerow" really a sexual reference..?

2.Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale

3.Eagles',"The Last Resort"

4. Emerson, Lake &Palmer, "Knights in White Satin"

5.Bacharach-composer, J.D. something, sorry?"Raindrops Keep  Fallin' On My Head"

5.(Tommy James and the Shondells)"Crimson &Clover"

6. (???) "Don't Cry for Me , Argentina"

7.Billy Joel, "Piano Man"

8Van Morrison, "Moondance"

9.                          ,"I Can't Help This Feeling!"

10. "One Tin Soldier"

11.Joan Baez, "Diamonds and Rust"

12. (Night Ranger)"Sister Golden Hair"

13.A Foot in Cold Water,"Make Me Do Anything You Want"

14.Cat Stevens,"Morning Has Broken"

15.Mills Brothers', "Paper Doll"              (sorry-I can't count,Feb08,2015-K.P.)

8.(A Foot in Coldwater) "Make Me Do Anything You Want"

9. (???)"I Can't Stop This Feeling!"          (Trogs?)

10. (BING) "White Christmas"  (how could I not??)

"tHE RIGHT PANTS!"

Everybody knows that pants will all have a different style, a different sizing, a different cut to them.. which is why most of us come to favor one or two pair in the closet. Well, I'm in sweatpants most every day for convenience and comfort-most have elastic drawstring waistbands, but some have more material in the pelvic region than do others:consequently, I have what I'll call good walking pants and good peeing pants. If they're too loose at the waist then they're good for pulling down and peeing when the need arises- but might slide down to my ankles if I tried walking in them-not a good thing at all; Twice there in Vancouver it happened to me where I'm standing unsteadily beside the fence with my pants almost down to my ankles-and had to ask complete stranger/passersby's to help hoist them up for me! Nice way to make new friends, wouldn't you agree?(Dec.21,2014-Kim P.)

This section will be devoted to updates on and thoughts about my condition, progress et al since the devastating stroke I suffered in 2006 left me paralyzednd in a wheehair! I have been re-learning to walk this past year with no cane abd unassisted though I still prefer the safety of a fence or wall that  could help if ever I had a tumble...?(Dec03,2014)And no-I don't think THAT way, but I do have to entertain the possibility because YOU won't be there to help lift me up off the ground, IF it were to happen. \contingencies/back-up plan?  K.P.