• author
    • Cathy Speck

      Columnist, Photographer
    • June 15, 2013 in Columnists

    Hidy ho, and away we go

    cathy in van

    A scooter and a van help Cathy get around.

    Hello, my dear iPeep friends!

    For some reason I think Gumby and Pokey used to exclaim “Hidy ho,” or that might just be a hallucination from lack of oxygen.  I don’t remember if I told you about my most recent “suffocating experience,” but I think I wrote about a similar horrifying lack of oxygen situation in detail in a 2011 column. Hmmm, I think I did.

    Anyway, Daren, my liaison to Sutter Hospice AIM called those folks and they came running to fix my machine. Hooray, I’m breathing again, and for a lot of people — it’s not just me — breathing is pretty cool.

    (To clarify, I am not in, on, over, under, hospice — I’m in a preschool-like hospice program called Sutter AIM — Advanced illness Management.)

    Enny hoo, I’m checking in to say and to thank you for liking iPinion Syndicate, and for reading my iPinion column. While you’re at iPinion, take a look at some incredibly talented writers, artists, photographers, bloggers and vloggers. You’ll be glad you did.

    When people tell me they read my column, I feel very happy. Joyful and fulfilled, and that recognition motivates me to write another column. Some of you I get to see in person, some of you not, and that makes purrrfect sense, my little kittens.

    Back to the oxygen stuff. The ALS community is very generous. A bunch of my ALS friends have died in the last two months, and their medical/living assistance stuff are donated to whomever needs it next.

    I had inherited my brother Paul’s electric wheelchair (he died of ALS in 2011, but we decided to store it with my Dad since I can still use my rollator/walker and scooter). But… my legs are getting more stiff, weak and heavy, and there are times… of blah blah blah…

    power chair 3

    Cathy will be getting a new power chair soon.

    A friend in the Bay Area died and his friends are delivering a real Power chair to me. These babes are $20,000, and instead of selling it for big bucks, they lent it to me, and then it will go to someone else when I’m not sitting in it anymore. I’ll be storing it in a friend’s garage until I need it.

    (The folks helping with the power chair are from my new favorite project at ALS TDI. To learn more, please check out their website: www.als.net.)

    And even more good news is that my Dad will be 91 in July and we get to spend Father’s Day with him this Sunday. He and I are moving at about the same speed, but I don’t fall asleep in mid-conversation like he does. I probably said this in a previous column. Oh well. (My Dad does not have ALS. The genetic mutation came from my mom’s lineage.)

    Did I already tell you that I now typo with just two fingers? I probably did because it’s hilarious that only my two middle fingers work on the keyboard. Over the last 19 or 20 years I haven’t flipped people off or “give ’em da finger.” I need the fingers that work so I’m not giving them away. Another interesting side effect of ALS is that I very rarely swear anymore. If I’m really angry I’ll typo “phuck!” But I don’t say it out loud.

    sf me maz ferry

    Cathy hangs on to Mazie for dear life when winds whipped the ferry to San Francisco.

    And now, for your viewing pleasure, photos of me and Mazie riding on the Ferry from Vallejo to SF to escape the 107 degree heat last Saturday in Davis, California. About halfway there, we were hit by 30-40 mph wind gusts that were a bit frightening, thus my facial expression and my holding onto Mazie for dear life.

    Hmm… dear life!

    The other photos are of me and my scooter, examples of my new-to-me Power chair, and the type of vehicle I will need when I go out to the gay bars/nightclubs… They are total chick magnets! Yowzah! (I won’t be using a compact vent tray and liquid O2 — I don’t need that many “apps.”)

    sf me 7-1

    Cathy and Mazie wait at the ferry station.



    • So happy you got the oxygen fixed up. That would not be the way to die, the faulty equipment angle. I don’t like the thought of that. I love your writing, your truth and your wonderful playfulness with your disease. Your are my heroess.

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