College, History, School, Teaching

World’s greatest college professor; Dr. B!

When I first began my “adventure” as a college student, during my second semester I met a professor that would change my life for the better. It isn’t very common that students become friends with their professors and the professors’ families, but that is exactly what would happen to me.

This professor was a history professor at LSU-E, Dr. Tony Baltakis. When I first started his class, I just went to class and loved it because he made history interesting; I also liked how “if you tried,” he’d “work with you,” and try to help you as much as he could. Other than that, we were just a student and professor, nothing unusual. Until one day, the elevator was out of order and I needed it due to my physical limitations and the fact I used a rolling backpack (which doesn’t mix too well with stairs,) “Dr. B” as we often called him, saw me as he was heading to the staircase and asked if I needed him to “carry my bag and me,” to which I laughed and told him, “I got two working legs, Dr. B, but if you could bring my backpack for me, that’d be great.” Turns out his wife, Mrs. Donna, had Polio and had limitations as well, so he seemed to have a “soft spot” for those with special needs. After that, when he’d see me around campus, he’d joke and pick at me, “there’s my girlfriend,” to which I would pick back, “you better watch out, Dr. B, I’m gonna tell Mrs. Donna on you,” hile laughing.

His birthday was the end of the fall semester in December, and I got my mom to bake him some yummy treats (to share with his family if he chose- after all, it was mainly for his birthday) but Mom put in extras for Christmas treats, as well (Yes, I know, My mom is pretty awesome LOL.)

Dr.B’s teaching methods involved putting his powerpoints up online for the students to print out or to use their computers to add in notes he gave in class that wasn’t included in the power points, he also would review what material our tests would cover, he’d go over the guidelines to the way he wanted our book reports done, and he had an “open door,” office policy- if students had questions, he’d allow them to ask in class or if they were “Easily embarrassed,” after class/ during his office hours. As long as he saw students giving effort, he’d “work with them,” offering bonus points for certain things that encouraged learning (museums and such,) or for attending the performing arts performances through LSU-E that He and his wife were in charge of.

He only had a couple of “pet peeves”: playing with phones during his class, heads down on the desk, or some falling asleep during his class. I only saw one or two students get tossed out of class when the pet peeves happened. Dr. B would often say that he didn’t mind students debating if they had a difference of opinion, but I saw plenty of times he’d get on his “soapbox,” as we called it; I think some students would debate him just so he’d get on the soapbox and waste the class period.

Whether it be him on a “soapbox” rant or his actual history lesson, it kept my attention either way. He wasn’t like some professors who try to force their views down their students’ throats; being a professor of History; he’d present both sides and the history behind them. It was really interesting. 

To Be completely honest, before college, I wasn’t at all fascinated with history, but after the first history in college, with Dr. B as my professor, I went on to take 2 other history courses that he also taught(1 of which wasn’t required for my degree.)

A year or so later, I had to go up to St Louis, Missouri to have halo traction and back surgery

for my severe Kypho-Scoliosis (159-degree curve, 18-20% lung capacity, and my ribs had twisted around my spine.) I spent 7.5 months in halo traction and 2 or so months for surgery and recovery in St Louis; Miles away from my home, family, friends, and loved ones. Dr. B and Mrs. Donna often wrote to me either letters in the mail, email, or through Mrs. Donna’s Facebook; following my updates on my health progress and such, sometimes they were also my “pick me up” when feeling down or upset and would give me encouragement or advice. 

When I got home after surgery and resumed my college courses, upon seeing me for the first time since I had my surgery, Dr. B, hugged me and was amazed at how“straight” I looked now and that I had “gotten taller.”

Even though I am no longer at the college that he teaches, we still keep in touch. Even when I struggle with courses and have moments of doubt and wanting to give up, he and Mrs. Donna, are there to encourage me, support me, and remind me that maybe I can do my dreams differently. I am pretty sure (actually I know for a fact,) if I straight up quit college altogether, he and Mrs. Donna would be on my case like a lot of my family and friends, to which I appreciate and love them for. Mrs. Donna often asks about me and college and reminds me, “Dr. B and I want you to get that degree!” I just love having my own little cheering section in my life outside of family (Family kind of has to support you. lol.)

Dr. B, about a year ago, got into a motorcycle accident and got badly injured. Upon seeing that on Facebook, I was instantly heartbroken and upset that something like that could happen to such a loving, great guy like Dr. B. 

When I had time and a ride to bring me (even though I drive, I been having more increased pain lately due to some rods from my surgery being broke-since then have been fixed with new surgery Aug. 2019,) I went spend an hour or two visiting with him. It was so good to see him, even though he had a cast and looked like he was in pain.

If anyone is deserving of a Teaching Excellence Award, it is Dr. B.(Actually he deserves alot of awards and praise not just for teaching!) He not only makes history enjoyable and interesting, but he taught me a lot of other things too: compassion and empathy for others, to help your fellow man or woman, not to “count myself out,”/ to have confidence in myself despite my limitations, the list could go on forever, but you all get the idea; he’s a dang-great professor and an even greater family-friend.

I love you, Dr. B and Mrs. Donna! Thanks for being such an amazing part of my life. PS we are due for a catch up visit. Lets do a dinner get together soon; My fiance and I can cook and we can just chill out and catch up! It’ll be fun! ❤ Anyway Love yall so much and have a great day and hope this makes yall day ❤ Hugs!

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Lost… Who is Jamie Elizabeth?

My Mom used to say, that as a child, I had “a smile that was infectious and could brighten others days,” and I was an inspiration with how I handled my disability with a smile. However, over the years, between trying my best to fit in with society’s ideals/standards, trying to live up to what I was taught by my parents or CCD Religion classes, relationships with people I thought of as friends who turned out to be toxic (only to discover my true friends), relationships romantically, stress from struggles as a college student, and the struggles of living on and off with pain or other medical problems, I seem to have lost a sense of myself.

It’s like a constant battle between my heart, my brain, and the outside forces of voices from people around me. I am 28 and enjoy childish things like dolls, stuffed animals, playing games at the local fairs, I enjoy cartoons and childish movies, tea parties, parties, I get separation anxiety and sad when my friends have to leave; it is like I am still a child trapped in the biological fact that I am 28 and some people point it out and judge me and tell me, “You are 28, act your age.” But my question is, “Is it they are just jealous that I am trying to find joy in the things I have always enjoyed?” I am just trying to block out the darkness and cruelty of the world going on around me. It may make me ignorant, but I refuse to watch the news because it’s depressing and angers me, I rather “stick my head in the sand,” and tune it out, and leave it to God. When the world is so sad and depressing, who wouldn’t want to go back to the simpler times of innocence of childhood?

Don’t get me wrong, I still know some things I enjoy: Spending time with friends/family, parties, dancing, theater, crafts, creative writing, etc.; however, lately, I been really tired a lot and seem to stay in front of screen watching movies/tv or YouTube videos. It’s like I have no motivation or anything right now. I have wanted to do more blogging, more YouTube, more artistic and creative, but I just can’t get myself to actually do it, or how to put words out there.

Hopefully, I can rediscover myself again.

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another sleepless night; chronic pain and tears.

A bad storm passed through Louisiana this week so it has been quite a bit of sleepless nights for me lately and then add in the dreaded once a month bullshit us females have to deal with, adding in stress, anxiety, hormones, emotional roller coaster, all that (sarcastic tone) “fun.” Tonight, I tossed and turned for 2 hours while my fiance’ just lays next to me snoring; sure, I could wake him up and make him suffer with me, but that is selfish plus he works to provide for us, so I guess he needs the sleep more than I do, but it sure would be nice to be able to talk these things out instead of blogging them.

I have a mattress that can elevate the head, it helps with migraines and sometimes my upper back (then I gotta deal with my lower back and hips hurting), but tonight my upper back is hurting and I am not even gonna use the head-elevation because lately it has been making my fiance’ back hurt in the morning; which sent me down the dreaded “rabbit hole” of the uncertainty of a future together: What if I become bed-ridden, what if he has to help me with everything more than he does now? That isn’t what he signed on for! It isn’t fair to him. I know he made a commitment to me and he constantly reminds me of it anytime I start crying and freaking out about how much pain I am in and the fears that sends into me about how uncertain my life and future are; I just don’t want him to have regrets or resentments. I love him, I really do, but when these fears kick in, I go into flight mode and tend to push him away, thinking I am saving him from being stuck in a sucky future with me and my damn disability. How can I expect him to accept it and what it does to me, if I cant even accept it completely myself?

If there was a pill created to make me “normal,” like everyone else in society, I would take it! Even though I also feel like having my disability has made me a well-rounded, wise, empathetic, compassionate, supportive, loyal, passionate person. Does it make me a bad person? Why is it I can be a support system and cheerleader for others with disabilities but yet I cant even accept myself completely? Does it make me a hypocrite? Maybe its just the pain talking; well the pain and the damn devil. I need to really work on myself and loving myself for me; whole-y and completely. Maybe after my surgery to fix my rods, maybe my pain will be better, and I can start being happy again. One can only hope.

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A body like a rollercoaster poem-(old piece)

A Body Like a RollerCoaster:

               A body likes a rollercoaster

Lots of twists and turns,

A winding track,

Many different options to explore,

Many different twists of the curves,

Twisting one way,

 going up a giant incline,

Slowly climbing up, up, up, to the very top,

It can be quite a tiring experience; that long trek

Then the scary part, the drop!

You drop down,

going faster and faster,

gaining speed as you drop down the tracks

Another twist in the tracks,

 then a loop upside down,

You start screaming!

               With lots of ups and downs,

“Bumps, stumbles, and falls,”

“bruises and scars,”

Not just physically,

The “rider” (patient) can also be traumatically scarred too,

Turning life upside down,

Like loops on a rollercoaster,

Making the victim,

The patient, plagued with this disorder

The limiting disability known as Scoliosis,

 scream and cry,

tired and emotionally drained,

“Let me off now,

Before I die.”

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Can’t sleep so I am going to ramble- March 2019

After staying up till midnight, then going to bed only to toss for two hours uncomfortably, I came back into the living room while my fiance’ slept. Normally, he’d still be up as well, doing his best to help get me comfortable(sometimes its out of either of our control),  but he has to work the rest of the week with a new job he just started so I put on a “brave face” and hid my pain from him.
My wound that I have been dealing for almost 2 years feels a tad swollen and it itches around it. It looks really red in the pictures I take myself, but again I don’t want to say anything to him because knowing him, he will ditch the job to take me to ER or wound care center.
I am also hiding it and not saying anything to Mom, because she is busy with planning a baby shower for her niece Heather. doesn’t have time to worry about little old me and my wound. I know that I need to get it seen about and it could be dangerous, but at the same time, I hate being a burden. 😦 it’d be so much simpler if I wasn’t disabled and didn’t have this stupid wound. I am conflicted and hiding something that could end up being very serious.
I know that once they read this (if they read this,) I will get some sort of lecture, but this is my feelings sometimes; that I am a burden. If it wouldn’t be for my friends and family, I’d probably have “offed” myself years ago during middle school or high school. There are times when doubt creeps in.

1.) With my fiance’:  will never have a normal life–they may not have kids, they may be stuck taking care of me the rest of their life, I won’t be able to cater to them like a wife should, etc etc. Why does he love me? Why is he here? He could be with anyone? Why does he want some virgin girl with barely any boobs and a little butt, and short as all heck with disabilities out the wazoo?

2.) My parents: I feel like sometimes I am a disappointment(more with my dad). I don’t know what dreams they had for me (some parents have their kids futures all planned out). I am pretty sure if they had a plan for my future, it wouldn’t have included all these disabilities, dr appointments, and “curve balls of life.”

3.) I am really immature still. I am almost 28 and still love dress up, cartoons/kids shows and movies, the Children’s Museum, riding 4wheelers and go-karts and golf-carts, I love animals and dressing them up in clothes/costumes, I still think about my dolls and my barbies. I can still get “in touch with my inner kid,” easily and my dad “rags me” about it a lot. I don’t watch the news at all- I see enough of it on social media and it depresses me (My fiance’ says I need to “get with reality”- No thanks, if reality is watching the news, then I rather live in my little fantasy bubble. I already know things are messed up and crazy in the world. 😦 #ITrustInGod to fix things. My mom seems to get me the best. She doesn’t mind me being immature. Sure there are times when we see things differently, but she doesn’t rag me on stuff I can’t help; like my “immaturity.” Come to think of it, once I reached age 10, was when Dad started trying to get me to “grow up a little” and Mom always defended me saying “let her be a kid as long as she likes.” (I am sure that’s not her feelings now, but she knows I “adult up” and take care of what needs to get completed.) #BestMomAward

4.) Life has beaten me up and I lost a lot of the fun-loving and creative person I use to be. I am more introverted, self-conscious, anxious in public, feel like I wanna hide when I get stares, or when people are rude/discriminatory towards me or someone disabled, I am ready to throw down and fight. I don’t know. I just don’t feel like my old self. I feel like I need to get back to the essence of who I really am. I need that spark and zest for life, back although it is kinda hard when you living on pain meds and sometimes even that doesn’t help. Maybe once I get these broken rods taken care of, maybe my pain will diminish and I can get some of that joy for life back. One can only hope.

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Hey Everyone! (October 2018)

Sorry I been away so long. update: I had a boil May 2017 and I am still fighting with that wound a year and several months later; after a surgery to “clean the wound out” and developing pneumonia after that surgery. UGH! Nothing is ever simple! I am back to living on my own..well not my parents house anyway. I got an apartment at Bayou Shadows again; this time with my boyfriend. I am going back to ULL and trying my best, but some days are just so hard where I don’t want to do my work and just lay around and chill out; even when I have 2 days off besides weekends. I don’t know if its just lazy, can’t focus, or depression or something. I don’t mind doing housework or playing with my dog, but when it comes to the schoolwork, I gotta force myself –even for the two “fun classes” I scheduled. So weird, but hey I am trying my best with the hand I am given.

God Bless!