Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Google Alert - "Michael Ring" Serious update

This is weird

Wow, a lot just happened. I just got back from the opening ceremonies for the 2015 New York City Marathon. It was nice that I got to march in it. Local clubs from New York marched up to the finish line followed by representatives from all the nations that are running Sunday's race. 

This picture is on Facebook, and I'd like to include the full quote of my friend Kristin who posted it. "Fantastic to see you walking the parade, Michael!! So very, very happy for you. A true show of what strength, determination, tenacity, and ultimate optimism can do. You fought all odds and look where you are tonight! Your family must be so proud of you, as I and your PPTC family, your friends, and running mates are!" It's a great thing she said, especially in light of the interview that I posted below. I also think it's great that you can tell how freaked out I have inside at the moment that picture was taken. I was only yards from the New York City Marathon finish line and honestly I was ready to fall apart. 

But then just as operate group got to the finish line, Peter Ciaccia the race director of the New York City Marathon gave me a hug and told me that he was happy to see that I was better. I told him I'd be running next year, give me a pat on the back and I felt better. 


Last week I was interviewed over the phone by a nice reporter from the Huffington Post. I wasn't really sure what was about in a couple days later I saw this piece. I was quoted as saying

Michael Ring, 19-time NYCM runner: My first [marathon was in 1979] and I threw up all over the Queensboro Bridge, then crawled all the way over the bridge, just hoping there was some sort of aid station at the bottom … It was a long day.


Ring: [My first marathon], when I got to Central Park, I made a decision. I decided that I needed to keep running as long as I was conscious. I was just so exhausted that I said, "No more water stops, no more nothing, just keep running."

The two quotes together didn't really make sense and I didn't think I needed to share them. The first marathon was in 1980 and I did not finish after I threw up all over Queens. The first one I finished was in 1993 and I did make that decision to run as long as I was conscious once I got to Central Park. But I just got another Google news alert about myself where I was seriously quoted from that same phone interview. Below is what they said I said

It’s possible that Baig has seen fellow Achilles-devotee Michael Ring at some of the local meetings. Ring’s situation is in many ways the polar opposite of Baig’s. Ring had run 29 marathons and was training for his 30th when, in May 2014, he found himself “tripping over stuff” as if his “brain wasn’t talking to [his] feet.” He went to the emergency room, expecting a long day of waiting-room tedium -- instead, he got a four-month hospitalization, diagnosed with Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome and temporarily paralyzed.
The man who could run 26.2 miles seemingly at the snap of his fingers suddenly, inexplicably, couldn’t take a step.
“That expression ‘relearning to walk’ -- you don’t know what that means until you don’t know how to walk,” Ring told HuffPost. “I was looking at people like, ‘How do you do that? How do you take a step without your knee locking behind you?’”
It took him 12 months after he was released from the hospital to be able to walk three miles. But now, with the help of his medical team, running friends and the newly founded Brooklyn chapter of Achilles -- and with those literal and symbolic first steps behind him -- he has settled upon his next goal. So what if he still has to use a wheelchair on occasion -- in 2016, he says, he will compete in the New York City Marathon.
“[Achillles] has been really good to me,” Ring said. “... I know in a year I’ll be able to handle 26 [miles] … [My support groups and medical teams] are getting me stronger and they’re helping me figure out how to do things with the [means] that I have.” 
“I’m an atheist,” he continued. “And I think running did for me what church does for a lot of people. I meet with people who care about each other, we have goals -- when I was in the hospital, 95 percent of the people who visited me were running friends.”
If running is Ring's religion, then he’s joined in the pews not just by other Achilles athletes, but also by those throng of other charities that have similarly dedicated time, effort and money to helping those with disabilities experience the marathon’s energy and electricity.

I didn't want to be famous like this. I don't want to inspire anybody. I'd rather have my life back.

But I was dealt a shitty deck. And I guess I have to make the best of it. I could lay down and not be scared or I can get up and be scared. You know what I'm doing

And like everything in the media only some of the stuff is true. But here I am on News 12

"Michael Ring"
As-it-happens update  October 16, 2015

News 12 Brooklyn
Going the Distance: Runner beats odds
A year and a half ago Michael Ring was preparing for his 30th marathon when he suddenly felt something was wrong. (October 15, 2015 9:35 AM).
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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Another progress report

Lots going on the past couple weeks. Lots of progress.

Yesterday, I got to go to the parent teachers conference at my son's school. An easy commute for him, a little more challenging for me. But I took the subway and then a short walk in downtown Manhattan and then I got on the ferry. He met me on The Island and carried my cane as I walked to the school. In the spring, I will visit my daughter's school, in the busy world of Columbus Circle and Lincoln Center.

I also change the way I have been using a forearm crutch. When I got it, I put Velcro on the handle and then wore an old work glove with the opposite Velcro on the palm so the handle would stay in my hand. It only weighs 19 ounces so it stayed stuck to me, but I didn't have the finger strength to grasp it. Now, the one I use now is about 100 rubber bands wrapped around the handle. I can easily listed with my bare hand. The handle is thicker and a little sticky.

But I only use the crutch if I'm going to be in a busy place. Once ago when I was trying it out my therapist said, "Oh, you're like one of those people who likes to hold onto a cane to everyone knows they don't have good balance." I said, "No, I am one of those people who likes to hold onto a cane to show everyone he doesn't have good balance."

Thanks Epoch Times

So 4:15 p.m. on a Friday, I got to get on the subway at Bowling Green. Elevators broken, one of the escalators is broken, I got this. But rush-hour, ack! The train pulls in and I know I need a seat. Is that little sticker above the seats at the end of the car that says please give up your seat to the disabled. There's four seats and three fat people in it. I said excuse me and put myself in that canyon between the thighs of two different fat people. I don't think my ass actually touched the seat until we were halfway to Brooklyn. Whatever, forget-about-it.

Thank you Brooklyn Magazine
Last Sunday, using my old forearm crutch I walked the entire circumference of Prospect Park. I stopped at the zoo and had lunch with my son, and then walked back the long way. I would not say I did this by myself, because I left the house alone and came back alone, but along the way I met so many friends I never felt alone.

Prospect Park looks so teeny from an airplane. My building is just one walk away and if you look really hard you can see it in the picture. But to walk to the park and around it and back is a good 3 1/2 miles. And when I say a good 3 1/2 miles I mean a GOOD 3 1/2 miles. Maybe it's even THE BEST  3 1/2 miles

Earlier this week I helped locate the mile markers for race my running club is putting on Thanksgiving. That means walking the course, and putting a little spray chalk where the mile markers should be. My old friend Mr. Gripes met me in front of my house and I walked around the park with him as he sprayed some numbers on the ground in Prospect Park. I left my cane home, Mr. Gripes thought I forgot it. But, no that was a plan. We spent most of the time talking, so I didn't have much time to get into my own head. But, there were more than a few instances where I would take a step, or turn, that I appreciated what it was like not to be leaning on anything.

Thanks Click Bait
This past spring, my son thought it was funny that his father was a toddler. He said a toddler is defined as someone who was learning to walk. While that was me in the spring and early summer. My legs would move forward, but my arms didn't necessarily do the things that people's arms do when they walk. When I would see little kids walking around like that, I knew how happy they were, how joyous it is to walk, even if you don't do it right.

Sometimes little kids would stare at my orthotics. I would look at them, smile and tell them that we have a lot in common. Where both learning to walk. Except with little kids grow up they don't remember how joyous it was. I spent almost a year and a half wondering what will be like to walk again without holding onto something. Now, I'm lucky enough to have that memory. Most people don't remember what it's like to learn to walk.

And speaking of progress, for the time being I've wound down my visits to occupational and physical therapy.  I have relearned how to walk. I can do a fine job of it as long as I'm wearing ankle foot orthotics.  Otherwise I have to really focus on not tripping over my own toes on each step. I can get my socks and shoes on and can handle some more of the personal details of daily living with my hands. But the nerve function is coming back slower to the hands than it has for my feet. Or I've learned how to deal with toes and ankles that don't work so well better than dealing with wrists and fingers that are lacking nerve function. So instead of Occupational Therapy, I'll be spending some time at a hand clinic where they will be focusing on getting some nerve function back to my hands and fingers.

I'd really like to thank the therapists at the Rusk Institute for getting me this far.

The physical therapists, who showed me I could do what I thought I couldn't.
The occupational therapists, who taught me to do what I did not know I could

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My gym's inspirational sign of the week

Till now, I had no idea who Vivian Greene was. But I am so passed dancing in the rain. I don't even need to run in the rain anymore.

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain"

As I stared at those words, I rewrote them in my head

"Life is not about dancing in the rain, it's about learning to lean into the wind."  - Michael Ring

Yeah, I remember running over the Brooklyn Bridge during a monster thunderstorm. I stood in the middle of the bridge, totally alone, and screamed at the sky. "Bring it! Mother Fucker!!!, Bring it! "

So I went back and ran in more thunderstorms, and when it snowed, and when it was 10° (not so much about 80°). I didn't know it but I was getting ready for GBS, or CIDP or acute motor axonal neuropathy, or whatever.

As I type out this blog my running club is having an online conversation about the lore of the marathon, and why qualifying for Boston is the holy Grail for mortal runners like me. I completed at least one marathon every year from 1993 to 2013. In 2016, I'll complete the New York City Marathon. Then I got to get back on training for that BQ. All I have to do is break for hours again after I turned 60, and seven years.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

About nine hours from now

Saturday Night Live will go on TV, and Donald Trump will be the guest host.

I predict that this will be one of the highest rated Saturday Night Live shows ever and that Donald Trump will use this as evidence that people want him elected President of the United States. I think it will be the highest rated show because people like looking at roadkill.

Demonstrators Plan Protest as Trump Prepares to Host 'SNL'

Demonstrators will once again try to upstage Donald Trump's appearance on "Saturday Night Live."
Saturday will be the Republican presidential candidate's second time hosting NBC's "SNL" since 2004.
NBC had cut ties with Trump this past summer over controversial remarks he made about Mexican immigrants. The network also dropped Trump's Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants in protest.
NBC has been facing mounting pressure from multiple advocacy groups to drop the Republican presidential hopeful from Saturday night's lineup.
Trump says he welcomes the protest.
Demonstrators plan to rally outside of NBC's studios at Rockefeller Center ahead of the show.

Friday, November 6, 2015

This is my second Fall

No, I didn't hit the ground. This is my second Autumn of living with acute motor axonal neuropathy.

I met a few people in rehab that will only there because they fell after they came out of the hospital with something that was easily recoverable. I promised them that I would not fall down. It has been 18 months since I fell a year and a half ago I walked into my doctor's office because I was having trouble walking.

On May 6, 2014 I fell a couple of times doing normal stuff. That's why walked into my doctor's office. Over the 20 years leading so that I fell a lot. I fell hard. I got up.  It's a really hard fall when you hear the doctor say words like chronic and acute when you're laying in a hospital bed paralyzed. . 

I even had a favorite fall, and I blogged about it here. Back in 2011. I tripped on a nail on the Brighton Beach Boardwalk. I was majorly airborne right in front of a handful of old Russian guys doing shirtless calisthenics in the 10° air. They ran over to me picked me up on my pants inspected me and slot me on the ass and said "RUN".

Yeah, I don't do that anymore. I could walk and I can even break into some sort of funny run. But, I can't get my hands up in front of my face if I'm heading towards the ground. And there's no fucking way I'm going back to the hospital.

Don't forget this was me two years ago today

Fuck You CIDP or whatever

My comeback is going to make people forget about Rocky.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015


I saw a guy in my gym wearing this T-shirt today.

I asked him where he got it and he said in a very heavy French accent that he got it in a store called New York City in Paris.

"Fuckin' perfect" I replied.

Anyway, my accomplishment of the day is the fact that I don't have to use a cane to get up and down the stairs into my gym anymore. Fuck that shit!

So Sunday I helped with the logistics to make it so that a few hundred of my friends would have an easier time running the New York City Marathon. Not with their training or anything but I helped organize some buses to get them from Brooklyn right to the starting line in Staten Island. And then I helped rent a school cafeteria right near the finish line on the Upper West Side. I didn't really do anything. I sent out a few emails and a lot of people did a lot of heavy lifting. Next year I have to plan this remotely because I plan on being very busy on the first Sunday in November, 2016. I'm going to start the race, and at some point hopefully that same day I'll get to Central Park.

I don't really give a shit if they take the clock down. I'll be running with my own watch. Nobody's gonna tell me the races over, like the cops did in this New York Times article. I'll be finished when I get to the finish line. Because FUCKING FUCK HAPPENS

Thursday, October 29, 2015

That bucket list thing is quite real, you know

I wrote the piece below over seven years ago. I honestly have to say I put a lot of thought into writing this. It got a little bit of attention and some nice comments.

But, when I wrote it, I never thought I'd be on the other side of that coin.

So to my 50,000 close friends who are running a marathon this Sunday... If you see some guy on the side of the road who isn't exactly cheering, he might be trying to share your joy, or your pain.

I can always look at the photo to my left and remember that my goal in the 2000 New York City Marathon was to 1) finish and be able to hold my six month old babies and 2) maybe break five hours. There was not so much training that summer. My official time was 4:59:56.

Also, and more importantly, the next time you go for a run, any run, or bend down and tie your shoe, or see a pretty tree, or take a breath, appreciate that moment. Because, and I don't want to freak you out, but you never know when you walk into your doctor's office with a little problem and go home in a wheelchair 135 days later.


First Published in "Around the Park" February 2009, the publication of the Prospect Park Track Club

"Running is my meditation, mind flush, cosmic telephone, mood elevator, and spiritual communion,” Lorraine Miller.

That was the Runner’s World Quote of the Day on January 16, 2009

Cosmic Telephone… That got me thinking.

A few springs ago, I was on my way to Prospect Park to run. As I passed the nursing home by Grand Army Plaza, I heard a small voice. There was a really old woman (she was in her nineties) in a wheelchair. She wanted to talk to me. She told me how much she used to enjoy being out in nature, running, swimming, riding bikes and horses. I sat down. She told me about the Grand Canyon before there were cars there. She talked about her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and how she used to play with them.

Then she asked me to do her a favor. She could no longer make it to the Park. She wanted me to share my experience with her. She did not want me to come back and tell her what I saw; she wanted me to think of her… think for her… think with her. She wanted me to send my experience to her… to share the moment with her. (I did not think she was crazy, people do that all the time on Star Trek.)
So I ran a loop, I ran around the lake then I ran out to the pier in Coney Island and back. Physically, it was a great run. But it was more than that. I paid special attention to the blueness of the lake and the sky. I remember watching a hawk circle its prey. I noticed that there were two distinct swan families living in the lake. I noticed that the sound of children play is the same on all languages. I even remember that the fishermen in Coney Island catch the bait they use to catch fish and that that whole combination of stuff really stinks. I also noticed that the Twin Towers were no longer visible from the end of the pier. I appreciated every moment of this run. I guess I could say, “I was in the moment.”

I never met that women again but I thought of her, confined to her chair but enjoying the world through my eyes.

Most days I walk my kids to school with the same family. Ricardo is a regular runner. One day last week he was limping. He told me he had sprained his ankle. He also had the flu and a giant pile of work to do. He was not going to get to run for a while. On the walk back from school I told him about the old lady asking me to share my run with her. I told him that in about an hour I would be doing a loop of the frozen lake. If he were to open his mind I would share my run with him.

The next day he told me that he noticed the time while he was sneezing. He knew that at that point in time I was running around the lake. For a moment he thought about how beautiful the Park must be. He said he knew the lake must be frozen and he thought about the ducks and swans walking on the ice. He was able to leave the place he was in, the sneezing, coughing, swollen ankle, too much workplace and just for a moment be in the Park.

I think that the old lady was not really asking me to do her a favor; she was doing me a service. She reminded me that when I am in the place that I really want to be I should appreciate it. Years later, I reminded Ricardo that no matter how bad your day is, your favorite place is still there, waiting for you.

Now close your eyes and think of you favorite place. It is still there.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Get on up (update again October 2015) NSFW and TMI. Not safe for work and too much information!

October 2015..........................

I need to give this one more update. And it's also time to describe some of the processes I had to go through in various hospitals.  You don't really have to read this, because it is NSFF(not safe for work) and TMI (too much information)

When I went to the emergency room I was just wearing shorts and a T-shirt. I difficult to be moving.  I actually get my shorts on for about five days in intensive care. Then one evening a couple of nurses aides came over and said hey you want to take a shower? I had been out of bed and for five days, and wasn't thinking much about showering but it sounded like a good idea. They put me onto a thing that was like a combination of a wheelchair and a beach chair. They rolled me into a little room that had a shower and then they peeled me out of my clothes. I said out loud goodbye dignity", because I actually sort floating away like a balloon into the hospital  For the past year and a half I've been struggling to get it back.

Where do the boy parts go?
When I walked into my doctor's office back in May 2014 I knew I had problems. But one of them like was myself. Prior to all the weakness that occurred in my arms and legs, I had incredible pain. Kidney stone level pain. And I've had kidney stones and have been told I be prone to more. So I keep oxycodone around. When I had this pain I self medicated little. I didn't know that oxycodone doesn't work on nerve pain, but since the pain to go away I just took more oxycodone. It didn't help, it did make me happy but it did make me really constipated. So being a quadriplegic and totally clogged up was not a fun combination. All my fifth day in the intensive care unit I mentioned to my nurse that I got a problem, that I had not pooped in five days. She said yeah we know if nothing happens tomorrow it's all of our problem. So in the middle of that night I rang the bell.

So.....I'm in intensive care and having gotten out of bed or pooped in five days. They bring over this chair with a little hole in it and tell me that they will help me get on it. I look at it and say "but where do my boy parts go?" The nurse says don't worry about it do what you gotta do. Okey-doke he but IP when I poop. So they hit me up on that thing, but as I predicted I became a frigging fountain. Sorry.

The constipation all effects of the oxycodone lasted for about a month. I stayed on a once a week schedule during that time. In acute rehab they had better rolling commodes with my boy parts, and they actually rolled me over a real toilet. But the first two out of three poops I had at Rusk required a plumber after I was done. I don't know about you, but have ever were able to look back and say holy shit that was the biggest poop I ever had. Well, I looked back and four turds and each of them was the biggest crap I ever took in my life.

Yeah, I got regular and came home from the hospital.  That was 13 months ago. But I still needed a sliding board to get over onto a raised commode. It took me a few months but then I was able to put the commode in the bathroom and use a walker to get to it. Then the walker became unnecessary. But, I couldn't even stand in front of the toilet.

So in the spring I was able to pee standing up. It was really exciting to recycle that portable uranal.

A few weeks ago I started up Occupational Therapy again. It's great. I'm just ask questions like what do you want to do that you haven't been doing. There's been so much I've been afraid to try, but lately I've learned that I can yes drink from a glass, no more beer through a straw.

The third week of OT I said that I didn't know if I could get up off a regular toilet. So we tried it in the therapy gym. Without holding onto anything and without taking my pants down I easily sat down on a toilet. And then I got right back up! FUCKING WOW. 

Yeah, I still need a little help in the bathroom with those things that require fine motor skills from the fingers. But raised arm commodes and urinal jars are behind me. (Pun intended)

August 2015..................................

life's been getting better, been spending four or five hours out of the house it any given time. I just have to make sure I go before I go.

April 2015 ...................................

I wrote this post below back in August when I was in rehab.  Lately, I've been posting about my progress how far I can walk the fact that I can handle a flight of stairs now.  But my whole day revolves around personal needs that I need help with.  I don't need a sliding board anymore, but I can't just go anywhere.

Written from rehab in August 2014

Sometime in the next 24 to 36 hours you're going to feel the need to go to the bathroom. You're going to get up, go to an appropriate place, take off an appropriate amount of clothing, sit down for an appropriate amount of time, and when you're done you're going to clean yourself. Hopefully get up and wash your hands leave the room and move on with life.

If you are a believer thank your god that you can do this without pressing a button, and calling for help, using a sliding board and a commode chair that was specifically adjusted for your height. If you're not a believer just don't take taking a shit for granted.


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