I am meandering tonight. I was just reading part of Tedy Bruschi’s autobiography because we both suffered from strokes at an early age, and I was taken by a conversation he had with his Physical Therapist, and his Doctor. He had regained his control of his body, which took me some time to do, and his doctor explained that, “I am trying to empower you two (his wife and himself) here,” he said. “Education is a very powerful thing.” (Never Give Up,” by Tedy Bruschi and Michael Holley). The doctor knew that Mr. Bruschi wanted to play again, and felt it was his job to highlight both sides of the issue.
So, he put himself in the middle of the argument, telling them the good and the bad. Tedy Bruschi could play again but perhaps not as well as he did before the stroke. He reiterated that the opportunity to play could tax Tedy. But he compared the stroke to having your tonsils out. It was in the past tense, he said, and he painted a picture of Tedy Bruschi going out and living with he injury. It no longer was in the path of Bruschi’s rehabilitation.
I found that type of support similiar to what had happened to me. I had some long-range problems which still affect me. I am on the blood thinner, Warfarin, which keeps me from being too prone to blood clots. I cannot remember things in the short-term. If I am introduced to someone, I know that I will not remember their name. It was one of the reasons I had to leave teaching. I had lost my short-term memory. Tedy Bruschi was given a sheet of paper which listed why he should go on playing football, and a second sheet listing why he should not. Obviously he voted to play, but he had to build himself up again, and wait for his heart to catch up to his head. I had to do the same thing, especially since I was partially blinded by the stroke.
Inevitably, Tedy Bruschi went back to the Patriots. He played a couple of years and retired. I went back to teaching, but found I was teaching with one hand tied behind me. Sometimes that was how it seemed. I retired. In my final year, I had had difficulty understanding some of the many state-induced memorandums on what should be taught, how it should be taught, and what preparation was required. I could not remember things from one day to the other. It was a terrible feeling, going from teaching almost off of the top of my head to out of the book. I knew it was time to go. The Retirement Board agreed and that was that.
I find aging to be difficult. I still think I am in my early twenties, except the forgetfulness. I remember almost everything now. Names still throw me, though.
I have exposure on three LCT shows; “Peters’ Principles,” because I do have them – “This Town’s Character,” about someone unseen who is doing a great deal for the average person. We just covered Gerry Durkin, the former School Committeeman and City Councilor who has spent 37 years getting students into the safe confines of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell – and special duties as the Co-Host of “City Life,” with John McDonough and George Anthes. George likes to hone in on my supposed mistakes as a teacher. I defend myself as best I can.
My mother tells me not to mention my illnesses, but I have so many I cannot talk about myself without mentioning them. I have Diabetes (II), Hardening of the Arteries, non-Hodgekins Lymphoma, Heart Disease, and other things. They do not stop me. I look at them as something that I must beat everyday. And, I do. One doctor asked me how I get up in the morning, but I just addled by my Parkinson’s, and told her that every day I could open my eyes is a good day. She liked that.
I learned with great sadness of the death of Attorney and City Councilor and former Mayor Dick Howe. He was a good man, a good friend of my father, and always pleasant. His son, I said to someone, was Lowell’s Historian of the Year. This year, Dick Jr. has started his popular walking tours in the downtown. He has published a book, he continues on with his tours of the Lowell Cemetery. He is quite a guy. He has agreed to be one of this town’s characters, not as in he is a character but as in he has character, respect and all.
So, those are my meanderings for tonight. I hope this chronicle of my meanderings is interesting. My next blog will be on the Lowell School system, for grades 1 through 12 starting in the post-war years of 1865. See you then.