GENETIC PREDISPOSITION

“Some researchers theorize that MS develops because a person is born with a genetic predisposition to react to some environmental agent that, upon exposure, triggers an immune-mediated response.” – National MS Society

William (Bill) Kalbach Jones was my great grandfather and he had Multiple Sclerosis. He was a civilian working in the Puget Sound Navel Shipyard as an Aeronautics Allowance Specialist. After my grandmother passed away we found a folder of letters he had written. The letters were years of personal correspondence from Bill to his colleague Elwood. Elwood was a Captain in the United States Navy stationed on the East coast. The letters start in 1953 and continue through 1959. They wrote as often as they could although there are plenty of gaps.

Bill spent most of his time talking shop. He loved his job and he was really good at it. There was plenty of drama in the 1950’s. Scattered through the letters are paragraphs about his waining health and his chatty teenage daughter(my grandmother). It’s hard to believe I can read through his account of MS. His case was very progressive. He used a wheelchair and typed every letter with the index finger on his left hand. That is some serious hunting and pecking.

He tried every treatment that offered any hope of slowing the progression. Starting with the standard treatments then moved to experimental ones and finally ending with religion. He didn’t talk about MS all that often, he never wanted to complain. He was a tough S.O.B. that did what he could to live a happy life with his family.

It’s hard to describe what these letters mean to me. One day I hope to put together a book of these letters to share with others.

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But I am not going to rest in any such possibilities now in respect to my own effort to lick this health problem of mine. To slack off now would mean a measure of defeat in fighting my way. I guide my everyday action not by what I think I can do but what must be done. Just going up the stairs to bed every night is a tough bit of work, yet I do it. Sure it’s difficult , but if you do it because it must be done and forget how hard it is, it usually gets done. It is like working each day. I could develop a genuine aversion to it and get a medical retirement easily — but who would pay the grocery bill? I work every day not because i can force myself to overcome the obstacles  of ill health — what’s that anyway? — but because I must work so I can eat.

William K. Jones April 13th 1955
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photos from Meghann Prouse Indie Photographer’s  5 minute project.

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driftwood along beach point no point hansville washington

Point No Point Adventure

Even in the winter we have to hit the beach.

Looking through our adventures you would think I have a thing for lighthouses. I do not, they just happen to be at beaches.

Hansville, Washington is home to Point No Point.

Lighthouse hansville washington point no point

I love to having access to rad beaches so close to home. We don’t have to pack or plan anything, so I don’t feel as bad when I’m tired and am ready to head out.

We usually just walk along the beach and watch the waves roll in. Tucker loves to fill his pockets with treasures. That just happens to be rocks the size of baseballs.

 

Wood stairs going up through the woods

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ~Lao-Tzu

Point No Point has a tall staircase that leads into a beautiful wooded area and a lookout over the water. It’s hard to convey just how daunting a simple staircase can be. I managed to slowly climb it with three stops for rest. You just have to keep moving forward.

-wheels

Adventures in the dark

What do you do when the power is out?

Getting up in the morning without power seems like it wouldn’t be such a big deal…until you realize your electric kettle is useless.  So what exactly is one to do in this situation?  Bust out a sauce pan full of water, 3 slices of bread and fire up the propane grill, of course.  I don’t know why we haven’t been doing this every morning. (Disclaimer: if you decide to do this please remember to leave the grill outside). How did it turn out? The bread was really good.  The water……eh.  It was a tad off, but fulfilled the morning ritual.

After the power being out for 10 hours we had to start thinking about the fridge.  The fridge is not only home of the food we eat, but it’s also home to my MS medication.  A single box of syringes costs over $4k, and Medicare doesn’t jump to replace them.  Time to pull out the coolers and ice the important things. So off we went to get ice from the corner store and more importantly, a real cup of tea from Scout Cafe and Honor Bar.  We highly recommend this place.

We got home just in time to watch the tree service dudes remove the tree that had been suspended by the power lines.  With the last little bit of daylight we prepped the house for the impending darkness.  We collected all the candles and flashlights and we rearranged the living room so we could bundle up and sleep around the fire.  Time to think about dinner.  This was an easy (but not so healthy) choice…Pizza!

With darkness upon us, our bellies full, and our phones charged from driving around in the car, we settled in.  What is there to do when the power is out?  Play card games!  One of our very favorites is Uno.  It can get pretty heated in the Prouse House when the Uno cards are out.  After a few games we switched to a goofy card game called “Would You Rather…?”.  This game is great. Example: “Would you rather, eat through your belly button or poop through it?”

After games we all passed out huddled around the fire.  The power came on sometime after midnight but that wasn’t going to stop this living room campout.  Sometimes it’s the little things that make the adventure.

Brownsville tree leaning on power lines

photo by @yeahrockout

grilling power out toast boiling water

photo by @yeahrockout

 

 

Bremerton coffee shop

 

Scout Cafe and honor bar bremerton

photo by @yeahrockout

 

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family playing uno while power is out

What awesome things do you like to do when the power is out?