Sunday, June 20, 2010


The weather forecast for today started out with dire predictions of more thunderstorms. We watched the sky this morning and, sure enough, the storms didn't happen. So, about noon, brother Dave, Megan, and I took Dave's canoe out on the Mississippi for a bit of paddling and relaxation. We went a little way upstream almost to the big bridge that crosses the river at Lyons. Lyons was originally a small town north of Clinton. But Clinton grew north and Lyons grew a little bit south and soon they were co-joined so Clinton annexed Lyons into its tax base and census counts and school district.

So after paddling upstream we paddled less exuberantly down, watching out for a couple big barges being pushed up or down, and recreational boats flying about the river with great abandon and noise. We headed to a small sandy beach - well, it's there when the river isn't as high as it currently is - and just sat around watching life along the river. Dave entertained us by playing some nice tunes on his "hooter", small keyboard mounted on a mouth-organ, really called a melodica.

We were out on and beside the river for about four hours and are now preparing to go for Mexican food at a relatively new restaurant downtown. Having such great Mexican food all around Southern California, including the two restaurants right in Idyllwild (La Casita and Arriba's) it will be interesting to compare this one.

Tomorrow Megan and I have to sort through the boxes of books we shipped here from Amarillo, not having enough room in my little Corolla to transport them along with all our other "cack". We have a big, important event at Trinity Medical Center in Rock Island (IL) on Tuesday. We're both doing our presentation we call "Hope, Humor, and Healing" at a staff "Lunch & Learn". This is our second time doing a co-presentation of this nature at Trinity, having done one in July, 2006, when Megan was in this area on her amazing 12,000-mile / 8-month Bike Ride Around America. We hope our presentation will be as well received this time as in 2006.

These are some more photos from Megan's talk and signing Wednesday afternoon (June 16th) at the Genesis Outpatient Rehab Center in Bettendorf, IA. They so nicely demonstrate the brief, close relationships that develop between Megan and people with brain injury. It's really quite amazing to watch this magical thing happen as Megan's stories unfold.
Thursday evening Megan spoke at the Communication Sciences & Disorders Department at the Univ of Iowa Hospital. This presentation focused on aphasia, which is when a person can understand what's going on around them but can't verbalize responses. This often happens with stroke and other brain injuries. The meeting included students studying under Dr. Jean Gordon who put this thing together.
After Megan's meeting and after I finished my meeting with a cancer group just around the corner from them, Jean, Megan, and I went out for a snack in downtown Iowa City. The three of us talked for nearly an hour about the physiology of speech and other communication problems. She's a smart, articulate woman who gave Megan some great insight into why her aphasia continues to plague her seven years after her brain aneurysm that left her totally unable to communicate. Every time Megan can talk with these specialists, she gets another piece of the puzzle to understanding how her brain works and why sometimes it doesn't work as well as she'd like it to. Helped me understand why my brain has developed memory and other issues as I've aged, as well. Aged? me? Heavens not!

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