Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm Kind of Chatty

I have been so incredibly lucky to meet people, in all stages of my life, who end up being great influences and life-long friends. For me, I think my college experience was the best example of being surrounded by so many people with different qualities… all of whom helped me figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. I was surrounded by such diversity, and they somehow meshed together into this wacky unit that loved me through life.

I had the normal college experience of living in the dorm, going out with friends, testing my boundaries of being on my own. I had my brother who lived in town, so I could lean on him when I was missing home or needed help. I had my aunt who worked at the Catholic student center, and so many friends who I met through my involvement there. I had friends in my major classes, friends from the dorms… groups of people in all aspects of my college life who rounded out my experience.

By the time I was finishing school and my roommates were in grad school for Speech Pathology, I would sometimes laugh at the parties we’d have at the big house. We’d have friends from school, friends from church, a priest, the deacon and his wife, and even my roommates’ professors all in one room… eating, drinking, laughing… and it wouldn’t have been the same without any of them.

Carlin Hageman was always a hoot to have at a party. He attended St. Stephen’s, which is how I got to know him, but he was also in the Audiology department at the University and had taught my roommates. My favorite moment was probably when we were having a discussion about stupid human tricks and he pulled out his hidden talent of playing music with his eye.

Seriously. He could cup his hand over his eye and somehow create a tune.

I may have been drinking. Which may have made it funnier. But I still say it was a David Letterman-worthy stupid human trick.

Like all of those people, Carlin has remained a friend to me. And even though I haven’t been out and about or at church in quite a few years, it humbled me so much that when I was sick this summer and not blogging regularly, he noticed. And without me asking or even realizing he could help, he took it upon himself to help me anyway.

I can’t tell you the number of blog posts that have gone up on this site because Carlin called my friend Susie and offered to make things easier for me if I’d let him. He belongs to an organization called Sertoma [Service to Mankind] and they use their resources to help people function in the world when their bodies aren’t up to the job. Or, at least, that’s certainly what they did in my case. I, being me, almost refused the help when Susie called to tell me about it. I knew there were people in the world worse off than me that probably needed their help more. At the start of it, I really wasn’t sure it was going to be necessary anyway.

But the more we talked about it, the more I realized I was struggling to type because the laptop on my lap was too much pressure. And my hands haven’t been working as well as they used to. And the nerve issues in my arms and hands can get extreme if I don’t lay off the typing when necessary.

So, I gratefully said yes, and one of Carlin’s colleagues, Evette, came over to set up this amazing program on my computer called Dragon Naturally Speaking. I put in a bluetooth earpiece, open this program, start talking…

…and it does the typing.


This entire post? I haven’t been using my hands. Which is great, because they aren’t working very well today. Half of the posts you’ve read since the Cushing’s hit this summer? They have been because of this program. So, when you tell me it feels like I’m talking directly to you, it’s because I am. :)

Everyone say, “Thank you, Carlin!”

Because every time I sit at this computer and start rattling off my posts, I’m saying a thank you to Carlin and Evette for their incredible kindness and thoughtfulness.

Now, if we’re really lucky, maybe someday I’ll get him on video playing music with his eye…

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