I could not wait to learn to cut grass. I had noticed there were many lawns in the neighborhood that grew much longer than my Dad allowed our grass to grow. In my young entrepreneurial mind all I saw were dollar signs. I wanted to start my lawn care enterprise before I reached the age of double digits. My father in his infinite wisdom laid the challenge out before me, when I was physically strong enough to place one foot on the mower body and pull the rope starter with one arm generating enough RPM’s to start the engine I could cut grass. I asked for weights and a chin up bar that Christmas.

I met his challenge in the fall of 1971, I was ten. The following spring I was chomping at the bit to start my business. My first three customers were , the Jaynes, Landers and the widow Mrs. Myers. My client list grew rapidly so did my savings account I opened with Mrs. White at The Bank of Forest Park. The balance exceeded $600 before entering seventh grade. Varsity SportThe cash was burning a hole in my pocket and when my spider bike was stolen I replaced it with a metallic green Schwinn Varsity Sport ten speed. My second purchase was a Sears twelve foot GameFisher Semi V fishing boat.

The initial place I became familiar with the concept of maximum capacity was on my fishing boat. On the transom was a red placard that stated the GameFishermaximum horsepower engine the boat was rated for: 10. The maximum capacity was: four people or 600 lbs. I was impressed Halfpint, the name I christened her with, could handle so much.

I was challenged many times in my youth, but never tested. I never met a challenge I didn’t love, but not until the ALS diagnosis did the testing of my courage, determination and perseverance begin. The challenges came in rapid succession mostly the result of the encroaching paralysis. The emotional aspect in the flood of the physical losses had to be placed on the back burner, because if I stopped treading water I would drown. Once paralyzed the emotional devastation could no longer be denied. At times I rallied seeing my imagined limitations shattered, figuratively pounding my chest and questioning this horrid disease is that all you got? There have been several times I have far exceeded my maximum capacity. I have been in some pitch dark places where my emotional motivation to continue had expired and death seemed like a practical solution.

We are promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it, “ but this doesn’t hold water with me. I know I have been beyond the point of no return. I have learned by multiple experiences what does not kill me will make me stronger. That lesson combined with so much blood, sweat and tears invested inspires me to try one more time, one more day when I am absolutely certain I have nothing left.

Carey’s unexpected Mayo Clinic visit tested my grit. We attempted to make the Mayo trip a year ago, but the only solution for my care during Carey’s absence our budget could afford declined. This time before making appointments I asked the same former caregiver familiar with my care if she would help us, she confirmed her commitment to assist with a promise. I tucked her confirmation in my pocket and moved forward with the quest to heal Carey. After receiving the Mayo phone call late last week I immediately notified the caregiver. I knew the notice was abbreviated, but I had a promised commitment, an ace up my sleeve. The caregiver’s response was delayed, which raised a red flag, then reading the reply revealed a boldfaced lie. The thoughts that ran through my mind are not fit to type then reality crashed in on me; there isn’t enough time to train someone. I would disconnect from the ventilator before aborting another opportunity to get Carey on the road to recovery. Saturday morning we had a tearful discussion. I shared my sentiments. Carey knows I do not spew verbiage for dramatic effect.

We brainstormed to avoid the irrevocable decision and went to work. Carey and I pulled out all stops and began exhausting all avenues when we received a family recommended prospect. We called the experienced caregiver. Of course she is employed, the excellent caregivers are never available, but she gave us another name and number. Carey called and arranged an immediate interview. Precious time was ticking away. Three hours elapsed since receiving the original lead and still no caregiver. After repeated phone calls to the interviewee Carey received a text from the potential solution saying she drove around two hours, could not find the house even with the address properly loaded in the GPS and went home.

It was approaching the dinner hour we needed a miracle. Dean Benamy had been calling everyone he knew that might have a prospect. Carey and I continued searching online. One more time, one more day! It was beyond hope when Carey called Kelly. She ran in the bedroom grinning ear to ear while talking on the phone and pointing to Kelly’s caregiver profile. She has ALS experience, caring, concerned,, intelligent, employed, but available mornings during the time we needed someone. She began training yesterday. Miracle? I don’t know, it sure seems miraculous,

This trip to Mayo will be very expensive on multiple fronts. Please help us spread the word about in hopes of gaining more donations. I will attempt to post more this week, but new caregivers exhaust me physically until they become familiar with the routine. My thoughts will be consumed by Carey and sick I am not there supporting her when she needs me most.Please keep Carey, our children,, Kelly and Ron in your thoughts and prayers this week.

One more time, one more day. Thanks for reading. Have a great day! dj

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