Brian Wilson was right! " Catch a wave and you're sittin on top of the world". Terry Kearns was right, you NEVER get surfing out of your blood.
My recurring "EXAM" dream always involves being at the beach having lost or forgotten my HOBIE longboard.
For ALL those fraternity brothers and friends who keep asking,"Tell me again what's wrong with you?"............................................ After working 25 years in various positions and organizations as an alcohol and drug counselor (except for a short "all expenses paid" tour of Vietnam), I suddenly would become extremely ill while doing even the "basic actives of daily living". At the time I was very fit, had been a long distance runner, pumped iron, and built my own log home on 12 acres of hardwoods. We had 3 small children and were just starting to "homeschool" them when the symptoms began occurring more often, and I barely struggled through 2 more years at work, unable to get any diagnosis for disability retirement from my employer, Fulton County Health Department, even after being subjected to every test my doctors could come up with. I hung on until I was eligible for the earliest retirement offered, and QUIT in JAN.1994.
After an unsuccessful run for the Ga House, I began working part time as a freelance teacher, presenting "living history" programs to all sorts of groups and organizations. Basically I began "charging" for displaying what had been my "hobbies" for years; 3 different presentations: Native American Indian Technology (daily implements plus all weapons), The Southern Frontiersman, and The Common Confederate Soldier. I often became very ill in the middle of a program and would have to cut it short. After 3 years of "teaching", I hit rock bottom and finally KNEW I was disabled when a wealthy friend offered me triple my "daily rate" (thanks again RR) to continue teaching "college level" experimental archaeology to inner city Boy Scouts. On the last day, I told myself, "I am so sick that if I ever get out of here, I will NEVER do this again". I made it home and then gave in and applied for Soc.Sec. disability, and was ruled officially disabled in mid 1997, after finally getting a diagnosis of Dysautonomia (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) from the results of a"tilt table test" at St. Joseph's Hospital.
CFS is thought to be an autoimmune disease triggered by things like "agent orange" in Vietnam. Later I was also diagnosed with Hashimotos disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid, and Celiac disease where it attacks the body's ability to absorb vitamins and other nutrients, but only after eating wheat, barley or rye grains. All 3 are thought to be genetic, but set off by an environmental trigger (agent orange????).
SO, I have 3 nonfatal,
but extremely exhausting diseases, which cause me to remain in bed all but a few hours per day. If I "aggressively rest" for a few days in a row, I can make it to homecoming and parties etc., but currently getting to Sunday School each week means I put that week in the "win column". But I remain very happy and reasonably adjusted, SO,"That's all I've got to say about that" (Forrest Gump")
Thomas Avery White
War or Conflict
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Unit of Service
23rd Infantry Division
Location of Service
Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Vietnam