I find myself staring at things. Mary is starting to have to feed me, reposition my covers, do most everything now. This tends to make you give up on whatever it was that you were wanting to do. You have no choice when it is not possible. I need the powers of Yoda.
Typing is out except for on my phone, which is how I’m getting this done now. Sometimes I use voice to text. Though my mouth is working, Speaking is becoming more labored as breathing is getting weak and I tend to cough whenever I try to speak.
The crux of all this is, I find it difficult to not withdraw in this situation. Everything in life in the past has been working toward something or other, whether that be big or small. I’m running low on ideas of what to work towards.
Many people make it a mission to work on their medical care, but that runs the risk of becoming what they think about, talk about. Though this can be a full time endeavor, I have difficulty embracing it, at least thus far. My mission in life is not to reach the maximum number of heartbeats.
Speaking of “Big Chills”, David, I first came to know of you on February 11, 2006, at The Bonk Hard Chill adventure race at the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. It was a cold, raw day, and I was chasing you and the other competitors all around the park that entire day with a videocamera. You and Jeff Sona won that inaugural race, and went on to win several more Bonk Hard Chills before it eventually folded. You guys were unbeatable. You were so good at orienteering, I joked that you must have a GPS chip implanted in your brain. 🙂 (There was one year, though, when you guys missed a checkpoint and failed to win. There had to be more to that story, but I never followed up on it.)
You and Jeff and Carrie gave me some great memories of The Bonk Hard Chill and the OGRE gravel road races here at the Lake. I remember the time that Carrie’s pedal snapped off during the OGRE gravel road race, and she rode the rest of the way one-legged to keep your four-person team in the race. On these Ozark hills, that’s incredible. The following year, she gave me one of my biggest laughs ever at a local race. With just minutes to go before the OGRE cutoff at midnight, she passed through my volunteer location on the course. I had heard via cellphone that Jeff had finished hours earlier, and that he was still at the finish line. I told Carrie that Jeff was waiting for her. As she sped off into the darkness, she hollered back, “He’d f*****g better be!” 🙂
My most vivid memory of you, David, was minutes after Casey O’Connor’s horrific bike crash at The Epic 150 in 2016. You stopped to render aid, and then abandoned the race after the EMTs took over. On your way back to the starting line, you stopped at the checkpoint where I was located, and told us the terrible news. I later told others around me that, of all the racers on the course that day, the one that I’d want to be near me during an emergency would be David Frei. (That’s the God’s honest truth.)
I will never, ever forget you, David. You’re one of the best athletes I’ve ever known, and, seeing how you’ve so bravely handled this terrible affliction of ALS over the past several years, you’re definitely the most courageous. I was floored when I first read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story of your battle against ALS. I couldn’t believe it. You were so healthy and athletic. It’s been heartbreaking to see how this has progressed.
God bless you, David.
Lake of the Ozarks
P.S. I really enjoy reading your blog entries. You’re an outstanding writer! Is there anything you were never great at? 🙂
The follow up story to the missed checkpoint was that I didn’t see one of the circles on the map, a mistake I’ve made more than once.
Casey’s crash affected me more than I would have guessed.
And there are a lot of things I don’t do well. I have tended to develop my strengths not my weaknesses. This strategy makes you very good at somethings, and very BAD at other things.
Thanks for the kind words.