Thursday, June 18, 2015


Everyone has milestones at some point in their life. We all have our first one when we are born. We all have only one birthday. It is only one birthday yet we celebrate it every year. Some of us get to celebrate it more often than others.

Many of you have had milestones like graduating from high school, college, graduate school, marriages, and some of you know what it is like to have milestones from your starter marriages! You may also know what it was like when your first child was born, and some of you may also add that second, third or even more children's births. It is those kinds of milestones that mark our lives.

I had a milestone last week that in the grand scheme of things is no big deal; however, I celebrated reaching 1,000 Friends on Facebook! I have not posted it until now because I spent a significant amount of time between then and now lying down trying to let my bedsores get some time to heal. By the way, I see that number is now up to 1002.
I know there are many people on Facebook who have many more than 1,000 Friends; but it was the first chance I got to put a comma in my number of Friends. That made it a milestone for me on Facebook The significance of that is I have Facebook friends literally all over the world from New Zealand to Scotland to Greece to Canada to pretty much every state in the union from Alaska to Florida to Maine to California and almost every state in between.

I list all of these, not because I am bragging, but rather I am trying to demonstrate how significantly small our world has become through social media! A few weeks ago, I put up a post about my discussion with my friend in New Zealand, Di Niven. I commented on how I would probably never hear her voice and wondered what her accent is like. Whereupon, she promptly through a voice recognition program spoke and I heard her voice and accent. I have also given my website with my voice on a television interview and video of the speech I gave several years ago; so, several people all over the world know what kind of an accent I have including another Mike Patrick in Scotland.

It is absolutely amazing to me how Facebook has brought the world together in a way that I do not think Mark Zuckerberg and his pals had any idea the scope of what they were doing!

I would like to add an interesting side note about the number of people on Facebook worldwide. According to statistics I've read there are 1.2 billion people on Facebook. If you were to take those numbers and make them a country it would make the second largest country in the world only behind China's 1.3 billion people! That is amazing to me!

I have had this cartoon for quite a while and want to share it with you:

Click on the image to make it larger:

I find some dark humor in this image and just how wide a scope Facebook extends!

It reminds me of the quote, "If you don't come to my funeral, I won't go to yours."

I did a little experiment several years ago after one Mike Patrick asked to friend me on Facebook. Of course, I did and decided to see how many Mike Patricks I could find who would friend me. I had thirty-five Mike or Michael Patricks from five countries and three continents aged from eighteen to seventy! Several of them have since unfriended me, but there are still at least a dozen from all over the world who often Comment or Like something I post. It will be interesting to see if any of them like this post.

I have doctors, lawyers, engineers, school administrators, teachers, retired folks and students who have heard me speak and wanted to be my friend after my presentation listed as Friends on my Friends List!

I have friends listed from many of the the towns we lived in growing up to the three colleges I attended and everywhere I have lived since graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1980. I have several friends listed from my short time in Berkeley in 1974 and '75. At least one of them from Berkeley is listed on my blog list. She knows who she is and Karen often will make comments from my blog posts.

One of my doctor Facebook friends will often comment on Facebook. He is a cardiac surgeon; and when I spoke at his twenty-five year high school class reunion several years ago, he had a hard time believing I had a pacemaker. I invited him up to feel the pacemaker in my chest and he finally believed I have one. In fact, he gave me some advice about the surgeon who installed my last one and gave his approval when I told him the name of the surgeon who installed my pacemaker. Thank you for that endorsement Dr. Tom!

I have known Dr. Tom Johnson since he was in high school and am good friends with his two older brothers Mike and Steve! Another one of my doctor friends, David Bisbee was a track teammate in high school and was my live-in attendant for a short time when we were both at the University of Minnesota. He now runs a very successful practice in New Hampshire.

It is fun to watch where my Facebook friends have gone with their careers, families and lives since I knew them when they were as young as first and second grades living on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in 1960 to 1963! Yes, I have a Facebook friend who I have known since I was five years old!

I could go on about several of my virtual relationships, but I think you get my point about how I believe social media is keeping our world a small place and connecting lives over an extended period of time.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Forty Years And Counting!

Forty years ago I was a student at the University of California in Berkeley. I received a letter from Nancy Crewe, PhD at the University of Minnesota asking me if I would be interested in being interviewed for a longitudinal study she was starting on life after spinal cord injury (SCI)?

She asked me to call her with my response and if I was interested, she would come along with one of her students and interview me in my dorm room. I called her and agreed to meet with the two of them in our study room down the hall from my room. As I remember, we talked for several hours and she had many questions regarding my life to that point, expectations, and an inordinate amount of form questions.

Shortly after our discussion, I moved back to Minneapolis to a job I had created selling modified vans for a company that had sold me my first van. I was also supposed to meet people who had recently suffered spinal cord injuries and needed equipment like wheelchairs, shower chairs and various other equipment prescribed by their doctors as they left rehabilitation.

I ran into Dr. Crewe one day in the old Rehab 7 Unit at the University. We chatted for a while when she told me she was happy to know I was now at the University and if I wanted to continue to be a part of her study?

Obviously, I did and did my first few interviews in their offices at the hospital. It was during that time I met Jim Krause who was one of Nancy's PhD candidates. Several years later Nancy moved to Michigan State University but continued to remain an integral part of the program. Jim remained at the U and once he received his PhD moved to Shepherd Center in Atlanta. After spending some time there he moved to the current location at the Medical University of South Carolina. That is where the program is run out of today and Jim is the director working with a fine staff of people who were instrumental in putting on our event this last weekend.

Saturday I took part in a small roundtable discussion group with eighteen people, many of them I have known from being long time Minnesota Gopher basketball fans. It was fun seeing people outside of Williams Arena.

At one point, Jim asked if there were any new topics we would like to address as the study moves on and in to different areas.

I mentioned studying Eastern medicine and how alternative, preventative medicine is working its way into the Western model as East meets West. In the twelve years I have been receiving acupuncture, healing touch, guided imagery, herbal therapy, hypnosis and others the traditional Western medical community has begun to integrate Eastern ideas. I believe it is a good thing as Western philosophy begins to practice a more holistic approach as they do in the East.

The second day was a celebration of forty years since the program has started. Jim told me of the one hundred initial participants, fifty-five are still involved! I believe those are extraordinary numbers when we were all told our life expectancies were extremely short. "9-3-71" is often the answer I give when someone asks me my date of onset. In my case, in the fall of 1971 the doctors asked my family to come down to the waiting room so they could speak with them. One doctor told my family my life expectancy was nine years! I guess I beat those numbers! Others had even more horror stories then I did. 

I'm attaching a photograph of the people at the event at the Nicolet Island Pavilion with the forty-year survivors and the fifty plus behind us: 

As always, click on the image to enlarge it: 

That is Jim and me in the middle of the group. I had to wear my Minnesota shirt since I graduated from there in 1980. It still seems hard to believe it has been thirty-five years since I graduated from college!

The next picture has all of the people who were at the event as more and more people are being added to their studies:

Again, click on the image to enlarge it:

Between an ongoing slide show behind the very accessible stage, slides were shown of statistics from the study, several slides of participants (one of mine included), speeches were given, awards were given, I had a great piece of Minnesota Walleye and much reminiscing, meeting new people, mentioning people who have left us, and I believe everyone would tell you they had an enjoyable afternoon and evening. 

As I understand it, this blog post will be in some way linked on the MUSC website so it will be available to everyone in attendance.

I would like to share one particularly interesting fact I got out of all of the storytelling that took place over the two days. The longest person I knew before this weekend who has survived severe spinal cord injury was fifty-two years. I found out Saturday the longest anyone knows of right now who has survived a spinal cord injury is fifty-eight years! That gives me a new goal to shoot for! Who knows what the next ten years will bring to survivors of spinal cord injury?

As always, I look forward to your comments.

Later, and I do mean later,