March is a very ‘transitional’ month.
Although Arizona, being a ‘Maverick’ state, does not observe Daylight Savings Time, we still make adjustments to our schedules to accommodate the rest of the country, that does!
You have probably heard the saying, “March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb,” referring to the weather. Well, it seems like we are experiencing that here in the Valley, unlike the recent past. At least the Lion part, so far!
Of course, the vernal equinox is also a part of March and with it come longer days! It goes without saying that we will soon be facing those ‘triple digit’ days! It does seem that we did not have the typical Phoenix ‘winter’ that all the ‘snowbirds’ come here to share.
There are two other notables this month. The first is St. Patrick’s Day, always one of the first rites of Spring!
I always wondered why we wish each other “the Luck of the Irish!” Having access to a ‘Google machine’ I fired it up. Seems like the saying was originally intended as a disparaging remark, in the 1800’s, when many early Irish miners ‘struck gold.’ It was intended to demean them by implying that, they did not have mining knowledge or skills, and if it wasn’t due to blind luck, they wouldn’t have struck gold. Seems more like ‘sour grapes,’ but that’s a discussion for a different month. However, the folks in and from Ireland have faced many setbacks (think potato famine, and early discrimination) that might indicate that they are, in fact, not very lucky. However, it seems that they have, through diligence, hard work and a generally positive outlook, overcome many of the obstacles that have been placed in front of them.
Now for a real aside: It is a bit troublesome that on the ‘Emerald Isle,’ from which came Guinness Stout and Harp Lager (if poured in the same pint, makes a great Black and Tan!) the best-selling beer is BUDWEISER! I guess the grass always does look greener…yep, another saying. OR insurmountable American marketing!
SO, in addition to St. Patrick’s Day and ‘the Luck of the Irish,’ what is the other notable occurrence, in March?
It’s MS Awareness Month.
What is MS? Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating disease resulting from an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the protective covering around the nerves and leaves the nerves exposed. Consider the protective coating surrounding electrical wiring and what happens if those wires are exposed! Essentially the same thing happens within the body. The central nervous system is our electrical system and without protective coating, or gaps in that coating, there are inevitable short circuits, misfires and occasional shut downs! Although it is not a communicable disease, the medical community does not know what causes it. Nor is there a cure. Up until the early Ninety’s, there weren’t even any drugs available to treat the symptoms. Part of the challenge is that MS affects each afflicted individual, differently. There are ‘some’ similarities, but only similarities. Since the disease affects the central nervous system i.e. Brain and Spinal Cord, some of the common symptoms include pain, impaired coordination, spasticity, difficulty walking, balance issues, fatigue, impaired cognition, slurred speech and impaired vision. To name a few. It can be, and is, a very challenging disease.
It also comes in various ‘flavors,’ from Relapsing Remitting (intermittent ‘bouts’ with symptoms) to Progressive (the symptoms are always there … and progressing).
Okay, so now, you’re aware! Big deal, unless you, OR someone you know, have it.
BACK to ‘the Luck of the Irish!’ You know someone that has it!
I advised the Board, just a couple of months ago, (I think was (?)) that I have MS. I was diagnosed with MS about eight or nine years ago (I forget). Should have been sooner, but I ignored many of the signs. Even after being diagnosed, I hid it from others thinking that it would affect my work opportunities, etc. I decided to share this with the Board, at my wife’s urging. I don’t know if it’s age, the MS or a combination, that is finally taking its toll. I’ve never been one to say No or shy away from a challenge. So, I thought it best to make it more widely known, as am not as productive as I have been in the past…or at least as productive as I thought I was.
‘Luck of the Irish,’ and I’m not even Irish! I have Primary Progressive MS. I have trouble walking (have you noticed?), vision problems (although I’m on the computer an awful lot, just like most of you), I forget things (more than I used to), I lose words (I hate when that happens!), occasionally slur my speech (even without the benefit of drinking!) and there’s pain…excruciating pain!
But I have good days!
SO? WHAT does this have to do with CSI?
I have been fortunate to have served along with a GREAT Board of Directors and GREAT Committee Chairs that have all done a wonderful job for the Chapter. They have done this, in spite of gaps in Presidential leadership. The support found in CSI is extraordinary. Someone always has your back or are willing to step in, even when it may be at their own personal sacrifice. As I have often said and wrote; the value that CSI provides the Industry is immeasurable. It is also quite humble. CSI should take more credit for its impact on the Design and Construction Industry.
Next month CSI has two notable occurrences.
The first is the Region Conference, which the Phoenix Chapter is ‘hosting.’ Starting with our Chapter’s Annual golf outing. Yes, I still play and yes, my game is still lousy, but now I can share my ‘medical’ excuse, with impunity! Hope to see you there. More importantly (?) are the Educational Sessions AND the networking opportunities. Don’t know which of those is actually more valuable. Invariably, discussions over ‘adult beverages’ can be educational in themselves. I have witnessed these conversations become an extension of earlier Education Sessions or generate discussions at subsequent Sessions. In any case, we all learn, meet a new friend or get reacquainted with an old friend. Don’t miss out.
The second ‘notable occurrence’ will be at next month’s Chapter meeting. We will be voting for next year’s Chapter Board; circling round to the ‘Transition’ theme that I started this tome about. Our incoming President is our current 1st Vice-President, Heather Unger. The President-Elect had to step aside due to a change in job responsibilities, which would not allow him the time he believed the position deserved. So, Heather stepped-up and will assume the Presidency, a year sooner than expected. In response to her concern, I told her that she could count on support, not just mine but, of everyone in the Chapter. CSI won’t let her fail, not even close. Wish her well and offer your support! However, her ‘skipping up’ means that others will need to ‘skip up’ along with her. We’ll be looking around to see who’ll get in line!
By the way… Have a Happy St. Paddy’s Day!
Oh, did you happen to notice that many of the MS symptoms are also the ‘symptoms’ of having indulged in one too many green beers? That’s the reason why the MS Society sells, T-shirts that say, “I’m not drunk, I have MS!”
Well, I insist I’m going to get the one that says, “I don’t have MS, I’m Drunk!”
I hope to get it before St. Patrick’s Day!
Ed Galindo, AIA, CSI, CDT, LEED AP BD+C
President, Phoenix Chapter CSI
President, Southwest Region CSI