Archive for August, 2012

Locked In.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Watching the news this morning I saw an interview with Jane Nicklinson. Mrs Nicklinson is the widow of Tony, who lost his right to die court battle two weeks ago. The devastation he felt hastened his end and he passed away last week. Mr Nicklinson suffered from locked-in syndrome after suffering a stroke seven years ago. The link below has the news report from this court battle. It is hard to watch, seeing Mr. Nicklinson’s distress but it is what he wanted people to see.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19400411

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines locked-in syndrome as a rare neurological disorder characterized by complete paralysis of voluntary muscles in all parts of the body except for those that control eye movement. It may result from traumatic brain injury, diseases of the circulatory system, diseases that destroy the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells, or medication overdose. Individuals with locked-in syndrome are conscious and can think and reason, but are unable to speak or move. The disorder leaves individuals completely mute and paralyzed. Communication may be possible with blinking eye movements.

Gruesome.

Mr. Nicklinson had been an active and vibrant man before the stroke left him completely dependent. He felt the deprivations of his condition deeply and was frustrated by it and the burdens he felt he imposed on his wife and family. Jane Nicklinson epitomises in sickness and in health. She cared for her husband because she knew the mind of the man she loved was still there even when everything else had let him down. However, she was practical too. In the interview this morning she said it had been harder seven years ago when her life as well as Tony’s changed forever. During those years she left the house once a week to do the weekly shop, the rest of the time she cared for her husband. I doubt many of us would be as brave as she.

For his sake and hers, I am glad Tony Nicklinson has passed. I admire him for his determination to fight for a change in the law. I admire Mrs. Nicklinson for her love and dedication to the care of her husband. I hope that she will allow herself to smile, travel, enjoy life once she has finished grieving.

It has made me think. Most of us muddle through, balancing work and family. We blithely trip through life and consider our woes as mountains instead of the molehills they often are. It is when I see stories of real sacrifice and love that I stop and pause. We all have worries but it may do us good to put them into a larger context. Then we might find our own burdens a little lighter; allow ourselves to see others whose burdens are heavy and perhaps offer a helping hand?

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

August 28, 2012 at 11:05 pm Leave a comment

Neil Armstrong – When I Was Eight

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

When I was eight Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. I, like everyone I knew, watched. It is difficult to state how important it was at the time. All the adults talked about it in whispers, as if they were in church. It was so beyond our lives that we found it hard to comprehend. At a time when air-travel was still rare for many flying to the moon was terrifying and wonderful. I still wanted to be a nurse when I was eight but remember how many 8 year-olds changed their minds and wanted to be an astronaut.

I was very small when the first US manned flights were televised. Grainy pictures in black and white of the take-offs. I still experience a shiver when we watch countdowns and blasters spewing flames for miles before, it seems ever so slowly, we see the rocket/shuttle rise up into the sky and beyond. I have often wondered what the astronauts felt when they went into this brave new world. Fear? Excitement? If it were me I think the predominate feeling would be panic-filled nausea:)

The death of Neil Armstrong does close a chapter in some way. They chose well when they selected him as the first person to walk on the moon. He was a man of principle, shy but with a strong belief, in God, man and his family. He was honourable and brave and had no truck with ‘celebrity’. I wonder what he thought about those who assume that status by virtue of appearing in a reality television show. He had a strong sense of humour in any interview I saw, I think he would have smiled at how the world had changed in the fifty years since he hung up his spacesuit. Wouldn’t it be good if some ‘celebs’ took a moment to think how their achievements stack up against those of Neil Armstrong? I doubt it will happen but one can always hope.

I have written about space travel and its cost before here. I stand by that opinion, to me the cost of space travel is too high when many parts of the Earth struggle against hunger and disease. However, I do not decry the achievements of those who have taken that route, it is man’s instinct to challenge and explore and that I applaud. Science and scientists are necessary but it is always my hope that they turn their minds to making our world better too.

I admire the man Neil Armstrong, he carried his life well. I am sure his family mourn him deeply but will smile when they think of him and his goodness. I wish them well, they will suffer his absence. He has left a legacy for the rest of us, we know his name. When we think of space we will always think of him. Goodbye and rest well Mr. Armstrong.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

August 26, 2012 at 9:32 am 2 comments

News Hour?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I was glued to the Olympics. I love sport and the Olympics holds a very special place in my heart. I remember watching as a young child, one spectacular memory being David Hemery at the 1968 Mexico games. I am from a large family and I remember all of us watching the race and seeing my father getting quite excited as he shouted him to the line. I thought at the time if athletes could hear the cheers of the television audience they would break stadium/country/world records every time.

London 2012 was therefore a thing of joy for me. I cheered every medal I saw, jumping in my living room as Mo, Sir Chris, Jessica, Charlotte, Laura, Alistair and all the other winning athletes lifted Team GB and NI to third in the Medal table. Like many others I shed a few tears as all the hard work paid off. I was irritated by the oft-used term ‘only a silver’ and ‘only a bronze’. Those who apologised for not winning gold? Please don’t apologise to me or anyone else, your achievements are amazing.

I love the thought of many children watching and being inspired to want to do the same. That for me is the legacy of the games. It is not an easy path to take. Many will struggle to hit the heights but it will give them discipline and work ethic to take through life.

However, there is one issue I had through the entire Games, news coverage. Not the coverage of the Olympics itself, I applaud the BBC for their broadcasting throughout. I salute Clare Balding and Michael Johnson in particular, common sense and knowledge make for great commentary. My issue was the limited coverage given to other news during news broadcasts.

The real world doesn’t go away when we have a huge event like the Olympics. Real life in all its glory and horror still goes on but it would have been difficult to get enough information when more than ten minutes of a fifteen minute broadcast was taken up by the Olympics. The only item I saw take the ‘top spot’ for the entire period was the search for Tia Sharp and then the sad, sad news of her death. My thoughts go to those who loved her.

I suggest to everyone that they search for Syria on their local news site. The resignation of Kofi Annan was in my opinion a huge blow to making progress. News from the 12th August tells us that the Arab League had postponed a planned meeting to discuss the crisis in Syria. No reason was given for the postponement. The US and Turkey are working together to assist the opposition to the current regime. William Hague also pledged assistance without weapons to the rebel forces in Syria. However, the Government in situ has firm support from other Governments. I don’t know if we are heading for some kind of stand-off but worry that the people being attacked are stuck in the middle. Talk of chemical weapons and mass bombings are frightening.

I don’t shout ‘invade’, that is a dangerous path that has been stepped on before. But what is the best path? I live in a country that has been badly affected by tribalism, I see the same threading through the news stories. Are our origins so important that those who do not share them become nothing? Are those who do not share our beliefs mere collateral? Are power and religion the only things that matter to people? I believe in freedom to live and worship but believe the right to do so is based on allowing all others to do the same without fear or penalty. I am now in a quandary. I am scunnered hearing about diplomacy and want to see action. However, the action only takes us down that same road again. Where do we go from here, I would love someone wiser than me to tell me. Is there an answer? I don’t like the thought of this being the only solution

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

August 15, 2012 at 11:03 am Leave a comment


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