The Installation of my Mojave National Park Show

Last weekend we were in Kelso, CA at the Visitors Center for the Mojave National Preserve in the Desert Light Gallery. It was for the installation of my photographs as the Artist In Residence for the Preserve. We were working with members of the Mojave National Preserve Artist Foundation to get all the photographs up on the wall.

This is the first show in the New Desert Light Gallery on the first floor of the visitor center. The previous gallery was in the basement and had more restrictive display space limitations. The new gallery has a much lighter and more airy atmosphere to it. Being as this was the first installation in the new space, no one had any idea how long it was going to take.

We started the work at 10 A.M. and were hoping that we could finish the same day. We only had access to the facility until 5 P.M. when the Visitor Center closed. Bob Killen and Janet and Bill Huston would be there to do the install. Since I’m in a wheelchair I could do small tasks but it would be Bob, Janet, Bill and my wife Margaret that would do all the heavy lifting.

Margaret and I had transported the 15 photographs and other paraphernalia to the visitor center in the back of our Jeep Cherokee. We had the photographs each packed in separate bags we had constructed from insulation material to protect them from any bumps and bruises of transportation. We also had my camera bag, an overnight bag and my wheelchair. It was a pretty packed car for the trip out. It also turned out to be a very beautiful day. The sky was bright blue with some great clouds. Temps were going to be in the 70’s with a light breeze. It was a shame we were going to be indoors.

We first laid out the photographs along the base of the walls to decide which photo would go where. It took a while to decide which photos would go where in this new space. Being a new space we had to work around all the idiosyncrasies of the space. Once we agreed on the order, it was now time to start the process of the actual hanging.

Measuring all the spaces and finalizing the position on the wall took a while. Bob and Janet were measuring and marking the location while Margaret and Bill were putting the hanging wire on the frames. We hadn’t installed any wire since the final hanging method hadn’t been decided yet. While everyone was busy, I got a chance to photograph some of the work. This one of the drawbacks of having Multiple Sclerosis, even though you’re present at activities, you’re can be outside since you really can’t take part.

We took a short break for lunch and by 2:30 had pretty much completed the installation. There were a few small items that would need to be completed the next morning when we were coming back to take a few photos of me. That was going to be a very weird experience. I’m always behind the camera, not in front of it.

We finished the few items remain from the day before and it was now complete. Looking at the display, I could definitely say that all the work I had done the previous year was worth it. It had been a long and at times difficult process. Seeing the photographs on the wall brought back so many memories of all the locations in the Preserve that we had visited.

The Mojave National Preserve is such a beautiful area and we enjoyed it so much. If you’ve never visited the Preserve, you should make an effort to come experience for yourself.

Hey, here is an idea, we’ll be having a meet the artist day in Late November or early December. Come out and view the show and introduce yourself. I’ll be there to talk about the show and my experiences and I would like nothing than talking about my work. Bring the family and spend the day in the Preserve and drop by the show and say, Hi!

David Nelson

Information On The Mojave National Preserve and the Artist In Residence program.




The Great American Total Solar Eclipse Journey – Day 3 Getting closer to the eclipse, but the weather

It is a bright sunny morning as we have a quick breakfast in Tucumcari, New Mexico before heading further east toward our destination, Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was going to be one of the longer days of driving. As we neared Amarillo, Texas, we could see a build up of clouds ahead of us. Was this going to be the start of a weather build up that would spoil our eclipse viewing in three days?

We are now three days into our adventure to view the Total Solar Eclipse and I’m still feeling fine. Two year earlier we went to the Netherlands and to see the first two stages of the 2015 Tour de France. Our son and his family would be with us and my wife’s sister and her family was going to join us also. We arrived after the 11-hour flight and drove to the old farmhouse my son had rented. We got there just about dinnertime and our son and his two daughters were there to meet us. Their mom would be arriving in a couple of days. Here sister’s family would be arriving in a couple of days.

The next few day were very busy sight seeing and exploring our surroundings. Wouldn’t you know it, the Netherlands was having a heat wave. If the temperatures are in the mid 80’s F, that’s warm for the Netherlands. We were stay just south of Utrecht, and temperature for the start of the tour was 100˚ F. As we waited for the 2nd stage of the race to come through Montfoort, we had a mice rain shower, even as the temperature worked its way to 100˚ F.

After six days of being very active, it had definitely had taken it’s toll on me. I should have known to slow down a little because the MS kind of rose up and told me to rest. After of taking an easy day, thing began to feel better. Now I was wondering what might happen on this trip. The temperatures were great so and I was making sure I wasn’t going to push myself to hard. I had also planned an easy day for the 5th day as we would be awaiting the eclipse the following day.

After Amarillo, the clouds began to look like they might be building. It was a beautiful sky as we drove that morning.

We exited of I-40 in Shamrock, TX. I knew that there was an old filling station in Shamrock. Driving down the I-40 Business Route through town, I found and old arrow sign for the K&K RV Park, for my collection.

Next we came upon the old Conoco Service Station and along with it the U-Drop Café. It was getting closer to lunch, but the cafe wasn’t open. It is a well-restored complex. To bad we couldn’t have had lunch there. You can see that there was getting to be more clouds in the sky. A constant discussion of would or wouldn’t we get to see the eclipse kept us entertained.

Entering Oklahoma, we stopped at a Welcome Center for the state. It was time for a rest stop and it would allow us to check out the center. It was a very good decision to visit the center. We had a long talk with the personnel. After informing them that I’m a photographer and working on a few projects, they had many suggestions and tip where there would be subjects for me. I only wish we would have more time in Oklahoma to explore some of thee tips. We would have time to stop at a few. They also had old-fashioned road maps to give us. All you old timers know what they are, but for you youngsters, they are what we used before we turn-by-turn instructions on our phones. But, they do provide you with a way to find somewhere to go when you have no set location. Nothing is better than spreading out a map on the hood of a car and scanning the map to find an interesting destination that you didn’t know you wanted to go to. I hope we find a few more welcoming centers in other states.

When we got to Elk City, OK, we were looking for the large Route 66 road sign the welcome center had informed us about. Well, it definitely was a large sign. Right next to the location of the Route 66 sign, we also found a large Kachina Doll and an old sign with a great arrow.

Once we got to Tulsa, we had to find the Golden Driller: Titanic Oil Man. We decide that we stop by the bank on the way to the driller to pickup some cash. We looked up the location of the nearest branch on the to the driller using the banks phone app. We couldn’t understand why it said that the branch was closed since it was on 4 PM. When we arrived at the location, we understood why it said closed. The bank and a few other businesses where closed. It then hit us, this is where the tornado from a couple of weeks had touched down.

We hit the next branch on the way to the driller and got our cash. When we turned into the parking lot at the fair grounds where the driller is located, it was obvious that he definitely a Giant. He stands 76 feet tall and with oil derrick next to him, he is certainly an imposing figure

After photographing the driller, we had a relaxing dinner at a Cracker Barrel. Since they are coming to Southern California, we thought we check them out.

Tomorrow would be our last day traveling to Jefferson Coty, MO. We would be at our location for the eclipse. We would have a rest day as we got ready for the eclipse. But looking at the photo driller, you can see that the sky is clear. Maybe luck will be with us.

Printing for my show

I spent this weekend to start printing the Photos for my show as Artist In Residence at the Mojave National Preserve. For those of you who haven’t been to the Preserve or have not heard of it, it’s a beautiful area of the Mojave Desert in Southern California. To get to it, head to Las Vegas from Los Angeles on Interstate 15. When you get to Baker, turn left on Kelbaker Rd. You are then in The Mojave National Preserve.

My show will be displayed in November and December of 2017. The show will be in the Gallery at the Preserve Headquarters in the Old Train Depot at Kelso, about 30 miles from Baker. It’s an old pre World War 2 station that has been beautifully restored and now functions at the Park Headquarters. You can learn all about the Park and the history of the Kelso Station. Also, if you like trains, the Union Pacific Mainline from LA to los Vegas/Salt Lake City passes right next to the station.

I decided I better get started printing as soon as I can so that I can work on my other projects. It’s been a while since I printed large prints. As my Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has progressed, I’m become pretty much confined to wheelchair. As with much of my life now, this provides challenges that need solutions. Being in a wheelchair causes my head to be just little higher than the top of the printer. Because of this I can’t see the paper stop setting for the paper feed and can’t see to load the paper. Luckily, I have a wonderful wife, Margaret, who can function as my eyes and legs.

I would get the file set in Photoshop and she would set the printer and load the paper. Once we had the room arranged so that we could both work it went smoothly. After the prints was finished she would take the print to the table in the dining room and place it on the table so if could off-gas for the next day. We than would start on the next print. The system worked well and we got through quite a few prints each day. Living with MS provides many opportunities to find solutions to problems. Without Margaret’s help, this whole project would not have been possible.

Here are the prints from one days work lying out on the dining room table.

Giant Hunting in the Southern Central Valley – Day 2

After the gas station in Lemon Cove, we headed back down to the valley. In Kingsburg, we had lunch at a nice little restaurant inside an antique mall. After lunch we found the towns water tower that is made to look like a large coffee pot styled to look like it fits with the towns Swedish theme. It was tough finding an angle where the tower wasn’t obscured by the buildings of the town. We headed up to the northern edges of the town to investigate the large raison box at the Sun Made Factory. It was the wrong time of day as the box was totally in the shadow of the building. Not the right time of day for the image.


We next headed down to Tulare to investigate their water tower, which is painted to look like a glass of milk. Unlike Kingsburg, this tower had a clear view of it. While the tank isn’t as good looking as the tank in Kingsburg, it is still a good-looking tank.


Back in Bakersfield, we went to photograph an old 7-Up sign on the 7-Up bottling plant. I was hoping that the sign would be lit that evening, but the sign no longer works. Is still got a good shot of it. We stopped for dinner at a little burger stand near the sign before returning to our motel. It was good to get back to the room and relax for a view hours that evening after such a long day. I also had some time to review the image from the day.


Day 2 of our Southern Central Valley trip had us leaving our motel at sun up to head back out to the Buttonwillow Steer. When I photographed it in the evening, I just didn’t like the background to the steer. It looked like it would be better if it was photographed in the morning. So out we went. We stopped for a quick breakfast on our way out. Once we arrived at the location, I scouted around taking photos as I went. It did have a better background than the evening. We had photographed all the targets that I had in my itinerary along with a few more.

Giant steer in Buttonwillow, CA

Giant steer in Buttonwillow, CA

We decided to take a longer way home by going through Tehachapi. Before leaving Bakersfield, I had to photograph a giant boot that we had been directed to by a local we had been talking with the day before.


We probably hadn’t been through Tehachapi in 15 to 20 years. We took the slow route following the BNSF railroad tracks. It was a very relaxing drive through the hills and we found some interesting items along the way. When we arrived Keene I found an old interesting sign for my sign projects.


We finally arrived in Tehachapi, we ate at a little burger stand with a good view of the tracks. We got to see a couple of trains go through as we were eating. We did a little sight seeing in Tehachapi before heading home. The last 2 days had been very productive as I got to add photos to a couple of projects I’m working on.

Giant Hunting in the Southern Central Valley

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I returned home after spending a couple of days in the Southern San Joaquin Valley on a Giants Hunt. A “Giants Hunt” is what we call it when we go out looking for Giants to photograph. Giants are those items we see everyday, but we never notice the size of these object. They Are Big. It could a large donut, a can of soda or even a very large tooth. These are the subjects of my latest photo project. You can view the Giants on my web site,

Using the resources of the Web, I found and researched few Giants that I could photograph for my project. Knowing that there were Giants lurking so close to home, I just had to go and photograph them. We packed our bags, both cameras and clothes, then loaded the car and left to hunt for Giants.

Part of the fun of going on these photo safaris is that you have a goal in mind, but it is often all the other subjects you find along the way. Besides the “Giants” project, I am also working projects with subjects as Arrows (old, new, on signs, etc.), old Neon signs and a few other projects. Having more than projects makes the trips more enjoyable because if the main item turns out not to be the subject you expected, there is probably many other subjects for other projects around.

We left from home at 10 A.M. to head up to Bakersfield for the rest of the day and the next 2 nights and days. The two main Giants that I was hunting for where centered around Bakersfield. In Bakersfield there is a giant shoe that is a shoe repair shop and a short distance to the West is a Giant steer. These 2 subjects were my main targets but I knew of a few other “Giants” in the area and I was also sure I would find other targets.

We left the LA area a little late that morning to avoid the morning rush hour stall because we had to pretty much go through downtown LA on our way up north. As we were nearing the small town of Gorman near the summit of the pass between the LA Basin and the Central Valley, I spotted and old sign that had an Arrow. We needed to get of Interstate 10 and go back to the sign.


Getting of the Interstate to get back to the sign, we ended up getting of at the wrong exit. While it didn’t happen this time, we don’t look at slight detour as a problem because it often leads to discovery of new subject for my projects. This time we were in an area where there was little else around, but this lonely old sign was worth the effort. A few yards from the sign we found this Octopus on the hillside. It was funny to us because just last month when we were in the Desert near Palm Springs, we found a stuffed octopus, a toy, lying in the desert. It now occupies a spot in the rafters of the garage. Are octopi the new fad?


As we were nearing Bakersfield, we got of the highway in Mettler to see what they may have. We found an old Garage sign. While the lighting wasn’t good, I took a couple of shots for my records. That way I know it’s there and if I’m ever near the location and there is better lighting, I can revisit it.


After arriving in Bakersfield, we checked into Motel and headed out to recon the 2 main giants I was interested in. We first visited the shoe first to see if it would be a better subject for Morning or Evening light. Since it is on west side of street, morning light would be best. I had already figured this from looking at it on Google Street View. After looking at the shoe, we explored around Bakersfield a little. We found what I call an Arrow Sign on a church. These signs are extremely prevalent in the Central and Southern States in the US. I’ve been capturing a few in California, but I really hope to get to Southern US to photograph them there. After the church we found an old motel with an interesting sign.



It was now later in the afternoon and was time to find the large steer near Buttonwillow. It took about 40 minutes drive there from Central Bakersfield because of the traffic. Driving out Highway 58, aka, Blue Star Memorial Highway, traffic had thinned when we could see the outline of a steer in the distance. It was the steer. We did some photography when a local farmer stopped by to talk to us about the steer. We got some good shots but decide to comeback for a morning shoot in c couple of days.


The next morning we arouse early and headed to the large shoe. The sun was now on the good side of the shoe. I spent about 30 minutes exploring different angles and perspectives of the shoe. It takes more time for this now that I have to us a scooter to get around. As I was about to finish with the shoe, I heard my wife yell at me. She had explored a little down the street the shoe was on had had found another Giant. About 5 houses down from the Shoe, was a house that had a set of Giant cooking pots in the front yard. WOW! It’s not often you find 2 Giants at the same location.



We next hunted down another Giant that was located to the north of Bakersfield. It an Indian Warrior that was made from a Muffler Man. Muffler Men were originally designed and built to attract customers to muffler shops. Man have been re-purposed to other uses. I’ve a few of these Muffler Men in my portfolio.



In Lindsey I shot a giant olive. It wasn’t in a very picturesque location and the light stunk, but I did get a shot for future reference.


We headed to Kaweah and the Kaweah General Store to shoot another Giant Steer. When we got there we found that the steer had been moved from the front of the store to a storage are next to the store. It was also place with its head facing a fence and its rump facing traffic. We got a shot again for reference in case we get this way again and the steer is in a better position.


Returning we got lucky in Lemon Cove. We stopped a produce stand that had a Giant Orange. We also bought a couple of oranges to eat that day and boy were the sweet. We also photographed an old Richfield Gas Station. The station will make a great subject for my project photographing old building by full moon light. We’’ definitely have to head back here at full moon.



We were only now about halfway through our hunt and already we’ve discovered many subjects that we hadn’t planned on. I’ll continue the trip in the next blog post in a couple of days.

The images haven’t been processed.




“Super Moon” – August, 2014

The summer of 2014 is a good summer to observe the Full Moon when the moon was at the perigee of its orbit around the Earth. Wait, what is perigee? Perigee is when an object orbiting another make it’s closest approach to the object. Apogee is when it’s furthest from the object being orbited. When the Moon is at perigee, it appears larger than at any other time in its orbit while at apogee it appears smallest. On August 10, 2014 the Full Moon is perigee and will appear about 13% larger and 30% brighter than it would at apogee this is why its called a “Super Moon.” For you non-astronomical folks, here’s a link to a good illustration of it on the Huffington Post. If you missed this one, there is another coming on September 9, 2014.

Even in the city, the view of them larger moon can be very rewarding. A pair of binoculars or a small telescope provides a great experience when observing the Moon. If you have camera that has a longer lens, you can silhouette the larger moon rising behind a foreground object. If you have a really long lens, you can get a good close-up of the moon. To get the best exposure for the moon, you need to open up one stop from the basic sunlight exposure, f/16 @ 1/ISO setting. That is if you ISO is set at 250, the normal sun setting is 1/250th of a second at f/16. But even though the Moon is in Bright Sunlight, it’s darker than mid gray, it only appears white because it is in a black sky. So open up on stop 1/250 sec @ f/11 and you’ll have a good exposure.

My reason for going out to photograph when we have a Full Moon is not to photograph the Moon, but to use its light to illuminate terrestrial object. The moon is reflecting sunlight back to the Earth and illuminating it. Since the moon is about 30% bright, I can get slightly shorter exposure. While you use normal sunlight exposures to photograph the moon itself, the moon reflected light is much dimmer than the direct sunlight during the day. Even though the reflected light is dimmer than daylight, once your eyes adjust to the light you’ll be amazed at what you can see. Head out to a dark area with no lights around and be amazed by the beauty of the moonlight on the scenery. My wife and I have hiked and backpacked with just the light of the full moon, a most magical experience.

I wasn’t going to be hiking this time. One of the photo projects I’m working on to photograph old structure using moonlight. The results provide a photo with and interesting effect. Since the structure is illuminated by reflected sunlight, it appears to be illuminated by the sun. But since there isn’t as much light, there isn’t enough to illuminate the sky, so while the structure looks like a daylight exposure, the sky is a very dark blue with stars.

So I set out to photograph a few old building I had seen on recent trips. The location I was heading for was Red Mountain. It’s a small town, if you can call it that, along US 395 in California, about 25 miles north of Kramer Junction and 25 miles south of Ridgecrest. During the last couple of times passing through Red Mountain on or way back from Lone Pine, I had noticed a couple of buildings that looked interesting. We left home in the early afternoon on August 9 and headed to Red Mountain. Since I was also going to be getting up early the next morning to do some more moonlight photography, we got a room in Ridgecrest so we could get a few hours sleep that night.

I returned to Red Mountain just after 8 pm as it was getting dark and set up my equipment. I’ll throw in a little MS related info now. I have a very difficult time walking now and use a cane for support and have balance problems. With it being dark, it only aggravated the problems. My wife, Margaret, works an outstanding assistant. I could find the spot where I wanted to photograph from and she would bring e my camera and tripod.

I found three building I thought would be good subjects. On appeared to an old residence, another appeared to and old store and the other was an old grocery store. It’s kind of hard to identify what they may have been as there is little room in front of them as the road has been widened over the years. I set up the tripod and attached the camera. This type of photography is where the advantages of digital quickly become apparent. It’s hard to get meter reading in such dark light, isn’t that an oxymoron, dark light? I set the ISO at 1600 and took the first exposure at ¼ sec at f/8. Not to bad, but a little dark. After a couple more test shots, I arrived at good exposure of 1/15 sec and f/8. With film, I wouldn’t have been able to see my results until the film was developed. I would have needed to bracket and record the info for future use. Using digital I can always start new each time in case the lighting is a little different and still get the correct exposure. Here are the three buildings.

Old Residence, Red Mountain, CA

Old Residence, Red Mountain, CA

Old Store, Red Mountain, CA

Old Store, Red Mountain, CA

Old Store, Red Mountain, CA

Old Store, Red Mountain, CA


Even though I was out shooting building, I did turn around a shoot a couple of moon shots. I was using my Nikon D800e. I took my Nikkor 500mm f/4 lens and put a Nikkor 2x convertor on it to give me a 1000mm focal length. After all, if your out there, you might as well take the shot.

Supermoon - August, 2014 Shot with Nikon D800E with Nikkor 500mm f/4 with 2x convertor. ISO 1600, 1/800 sec f/16

Supermoon – August, 2014
Shot with Nikon D800E with Nikkor 500mm f/4 with 2x convertor. ISO 1600, 1/800 sec f/16

After shooting in Red Mountain, we slept about 4-5 hour in Ridgecrest and then headed out to my next target. My main project at this time is shooting subject for my “Land of Giants.” In Pearsonville, about 20 mile north from Ridgecrest is a giant statue of a woman. It looks like it may have onetime been used as an attraction for a golf course. I have photographed it in the daylight, but I thought that moonlight would add a little something to the photo. We arrived a little after 4 AM and set about photography. I was nice that I could use my scooter to get around as it made it easier to find the right angle for the photo. Again, my loving loyal assistant would bring me my tools.

Giant Woman Pearsonville, CA

Giant Woman Pearsonville, CA

A few dozen yard north of the statue is the Pearsonville water tank. I couldn’t resist photographing it also.

PearsonVille Water Tank

PearsonVille Water Tank

We got back into Ridgecrest about 5:30 AM and stopped at a McDonalds for something to drink and a quick bite to eat. As we were walking back to the car, I noticed beams coming from the horizon from the full moon that had just set. I’ve seen this from the Sun but this was the first time I had seen this from the Moon.

Moon rays after Full Moon had set.

Moon rays after Full Moon had set.

All in all, I was a very interesting trip. Daytime temps were about 100° F during the day and the low as about 70°. It made shooting at night very comfortable.

A bad start to the year – Part 3.

From my last post, after having a good Monday following my steroid infusions, I thought everything was going to be fine. Waking up Tuesday morning and seeing that I now had the mumps, I knew that my feeling good was over after one day. I now knew that I would now have more than another week of feeling poorly.

For the next week I was extremely tired. I was sleeping 9-10 hours a night and taking 1 hour plus naps in the morning and afternoon. It seemed as if time was moving at half speed. During the first few days of the mumps, I took a steady diet of Tylenol to keep the swelling of my glands down and get rid of muscle aches.  After about 6-7 days I finally began to feel human again. It’s now been over 2 weeks since I started coming down with the flu and have my exacerbation of my MS.

Finally I’m feeling pretty good, though I still have a little cough from the flu left. My walking is better than it has been in 6 months, though it is still not very good. I can only cover short distances before the legs give out which is why I have a scooter. I’m now able to walk around the house without having to hold on to things to steady myself. I’m hopeful that things will not deteriorate to fast in the future.

Having the exacerbation with my MS was probably one of the scariest events in my life. All I could see was that I was going to lose even more of my life. The prospect of loosing my mobility was something I don’t think I had ever really considered before, even though I knew it was a possibility. Here I was going to lose both my ability to drive and the ability to walk on my own. It is now something that I’m definitely taking as a future possibility.

So I’m now back to being able to resume my life and get back to the things that I want to do. I’m hoping to get back to working on my photography project. I think I’ve got a few more giants to photograph. Now that I’ve used all my bad luck for the year, the rest is going to be great.

A bad start to the year – Part 2.

In my last post. I left you where I had contacted my neurologist to get an appointment to see him. While he was not in the office, his nurse arranged for me to see one of his colleagues at 2 pm that afternoon. I now had some time to reflect on what had happened in the last 24 hours. The night before when my legs quit functioning was one of the scariest moments of my life. As I pulled myself across the floor with my arms, all I could see was a bleak future.

In the thirty years since I saw the first symptoms of MS. I had never really had an attack. As my MS worsened at the start of the 90’s, it had just been a steady decline in my legs. The first things I noticed was that my legs would get out of sync with each other after sprinting about 80 yards. During the next year or so, that distance shrank, 60, then 40, then 10 yards. Then I couldn’t sprint but I could jog and then not run at all. By the turn of the century I couldn’t run at all and even had difficulty walking at times. Never did I have an attack where something just quit working.

That night all I could see was that I would be losing the life I’ve had. I wouldn’t be able to drive anymore. In California, not being able to drive is almost like a death sentence. How do you get anywhere? I didn’t want to be dependent on my wife, while she is loving and would do what ever I need, I don’t want to have to burden her with having to be a my beck and call. Would I need a wheel chair to get around? I use a scooter when I have a distance to cover, but I can get off the scooter and walk when I needed. I was panicked with these thoughts and not sure where my future would be headed.

My wife and I headed to the neurologist that afternoon not sure what would be our options. The neurologist was excellent. He spent 45-60 minutes listening to me, examining me and finally explaining the options I have. He agreed that the temperature from my bout with the flu is probably what led to the attack. He thought the best plan of attack was to get an infusion of steroids to reduce the swelling at the location of the attack on the brain. He felt that I might be able to return to where I was before the attack. While that wasn’t guaranteed, the chance was better than where I was now.

The nursing staff set up and appoint for that evening, Wed., Jan 15, with the infusion center. I would receive an infusion for 5 days of Solu-medrol. I went the first appointment that evening. I used the scooter to get from the car to the infusion center. Once I was at the station that was assigned to me, I parked the scooter about 4 feet from the chair I would sit in. With great difficulty, I shuffled from the scooter to the chair, unable to pick up my feet.

The nurse started the 1000 mg Solu-Medrol infusion. This would be the first of 5. About 2/3of the way through the infusion I could actually pick my legs up off the footrest of the chair. I could bring my legs back towards my chest. Wow, this was a magical potion. When I finished the infusion I could walk over to where my scooter had been moved. While it wasn’t normal walking it was probably better than I had walked in 6 months.

The next for nights had had the rest of the infusions. The last night I even walked into and out of the infusion center. While it wasn’t a fast walk, I was walking more than I had in 6 months. Now would this improvement stay, or would if fade as the steroid wore off? On the way home that Sunday night my wife and I stopped for a piece of pie and discussed the last few days. Would the improvements stay or would I go back to where I was a couple of days earlier? I still had the flu and was dealing with that.

I had a great Monday, was able to walk around the house with little problem. I fixed dinner that evening and went to bed thinking that maybe everything was going to be ok. I slept fairly well the first part of the night but during the early morning it seemed to be uncomfortable to lay my head on the pillow. When I got up in the morning I immediately knew why, looking onto the mirror in the bathroom, I could see I had the mumps. My glands where swollen, I sort of looked like Gov. Chris Christy of New Jersey. I never had the mumps as a child and now it seems they found me.

This is all I need, I still had the flu, ad an exacerbation of my MS, and now I had the mumps.

I will continue the story in the next post.


A bad start to the year.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted to my blog and I’m sorry about that. While I like sharing my work and thoughts with everyone, I often get busy and just forget about it. With then end of last year now behind us, I meant to get back to the blog, but I ran into one of the worst starts to a year I’ve ever had. While the first 2 weeks were great, the next 2 became a complete disaster medically with my Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

My wife, Margaret, and I attended a Gallery opening at Calumet Camera in Los Angeles of an excellent show of the work of Kathy Curtis Cahill entitled “Night Echoes” on Thursday evening, Jan 9. It was a great show and I enjoyed the evening even though my MS was definitely limiting my mobility. After the opening we headed out to Palm Spring to attend the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

The film festival was great we saw some excellent films, though we did catch a few that didn’t quite make it. We did get a chance to see a great film, “Finding Vivian Maier”, on the discovery of the excellent work of a nanny that had never shown her work but was discovered by a person that buys storage locker contents. After her death, a locker where her Negatives, Slides and undeveloped rolls of film were stored was auctioned off. If you get a chance, definitely see the film.

I had to use my scooter to get around Palm Springs and also get into and out of the theaters with the films. The previous year I could get around on my own, even though it may have been a little slow. This year I could definitely se a worsening of my MS. Even though I had to use the scooter, we had a great time at the festival and also enjoying Palm Spring. We returned home late Sunday Evening after 3 enjoyable days.

Monday morning I had a doctors appointment to gat a Shingles shot as I had had Chicken Pox as a child. The nurse informed me that I might have a small reaction to the shot. It would probably be in the form soreness in the area of the shot and a minor fever. The arm was definitely sore by that afternoon and I also started having a dry scratchiness in my throat. After dinner I realized it wasn’t a reaction to the shot, I was coming down with the flu, even though I had a flu shot a few months earlier.

I woke up about 3 am with a terrible fever, my Pj’s were soaking wet as I was sweating so hard with the fever. I just slept off and on the rest of the night before arising about 6 am. I definitely had the flu. I struggled through the day, I was definitely very weak and my legs didn’t work very well. It was difficult to even walk about the house. This was not unusual when I get the flu, a couple of days a weakness and being very tired before things started to return to normal.

I didn’t do much during the day and just sat in the living room that evening watching TV. About 9 pm decided I needed to go the bathroom and started to get out of my chair. As I got part way up my legs collapsed under me. I couldn’t move my legs at all. I couldn’t draw them up under me to get up. I drug myself forward with my arms but couldn’t do anything with my legs. Lying on my side, I could bring my legs up toward my chest, they just wouldn’t move. It took me over 20 minutes before I could get myself up off the floor. All I could think about was will I ever be able to use my legs again. I’ve never had anything like this happen to me before with my MS.

Now that I was up, I was able to slide my legs on the floor without actually picking them up. I was able to make it to bed and was hopeful that may be the legs would be better in the morning. In the morning the legs were no better than the night before. I contacted my neurologist and discovered he was out of the office with an injury. His nurse arranged an appointment with a colleague for a consultation early that afternoon, Tuesday, Jan 14.

I will continue the story in the next couple of posts.

Death Valley & Badwater Ultramarathon – 1

This is the first of a few blogs, at least hopefully a few, from the Badwater Ultramarathon that starts in Death Valley tomorrow morning, Monday. It will depend on access to the internet and the amount of time I have during the race. It is pretty remote out here. I have internet access at the Furnace Creek Ranch where I’m spending the night tonight. The is also cell service here but little other service during the 1st 100 miles of the race.

The trip here this morning was routine and took about 5 hours including stopping for gas and a quick meal in Baker, CA. The weather is about like you would expect in DV this time of year. It’s clear with a few clouds that stand out against the blue sky. The temperature was a warm 122˚ F. Not nearly as bad as the 127˚ F. it was a few years past. Here is a photo of the temperature display at the visitor

Why heat doesn’t seem to bother me with my MS I don’t know. Of course to me, I wonder why it bothers other MS’ers. I’ve quizzed my neurologists, but none can answer the question. I’ve asked them if maybe what I have isn’t MS, but they say I do have MS. But, I wonder how I can be so unaffected by heat while most others MS’ers melt at just the prospect of heat. I guess I shouldn’t complain.

I hope to be able to add a couple of other posts during the race, but we’ll have to see if it works out. Even tonight the access is slow as race staff and 97 competitors and there crews all try to access the internet.