Watch a Man Play The Beatles on a Guitar While Undergoing Brain Surgery

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In the amazing video below, a man plays The Beatles’ “Yesterday” while having surgery on his brain.

The man is a 33-year-old Brazilian bank worker named Anthony Kulkamp Dias, according to a Google translation of the Brazilian News Site G1. Dias had the nine-hour operation to remove a brain tumor last Thursday, May 28, at the Hospital Nossa Senhora da Conceição in Santa Catarina, Brazil.

He was conscious during the procedure so doctors could monitor his speech and motor skills in real time. It was the 19th time the hospital had performed this kind of operation, but the first time that a patient played an instrument during the procedure.

I played six songs at certain times,” Dias told G1, according to a Google Translation. “My right hand was a bit weaker because that was the side that they were operating on. So I stopped and rested. I was interspersing songs and talking with them.”

Surgeons were able to remove 90 percent of the tumor during the surgery.

Check out the incredible video below: 

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The Risk We Take When We Compare Each Other’s Disabilities

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I grew up across the street from what I deemed my “second family.” My family had five girls; their family had three girls. We were never at a loss for baby dolls, Barbies and tea cups. I practically lived at their house — when they weren’t living at mine.

Even though I was only 4, I remember the first time I met them. Of course, as I’ve aged and my memory has been inundated with Spongebob’s cackle, Dora’s Spanish lessons and teeny-bopper-show laugh tracks, I don’t recall all the details of that first meeting. Long forgotten are specifics like what the girls were wearing, if they’d lost any baby teeth yet, if they were nice, shy or funny, but, one memory still engrained in my aging brain is the image of their father. Yes, after all these years, my brain can still see him on the wooden porch smiling and sitting… in his wheelchair.

And I’m sure, like any child, I stared.

Although I’d been raised properly and told not to stare at people’s differences, I’m sure I did. It was the first time I’d ever seen anyone missing limbs and in a wheelchair, and like most children, I didn’t do everything I was told. (Sadly, even though adults know better, sometimes they don’t do as they’re told either. And sometimes their words, their actions hurt.)

My neighbor was a war hero who lost both legs in Vietnam. Even as a child, it didn’t take me long to realize there was so much more to him than his wheelchair. His disability paled in comparison to his abilities.

Perhaps that experience at such an early age taught me to look past my son’s autism, past his disability and see him. Trust me, I’m perfectly aware an autism diagnosis, a pervasive developmental disorder, is not the same as a physical disability. That’s like comparing apples to oranges, but, believe it or not, some folks like to compare. They can’t tell the difference between an apple and an orange, or at least they don’t care enough to look past the labels and see anything other than two round fruits. So, before you start blasting me about comparing my neighbor’s struggles to my son’s struggles and telling me “that’s like comparing apples to oranges,” well, you’re preaching to the choir. Unfortunately, not everyone is sitting in the choir with me.

Not long ago, when I was discussing Ryan’s autism and a particularly bad day he recently experienced, someone said to me, “I don’t really feel sorry for Ryan. At least he’s not in a wheelchair.” Wow.

I was initially dumbfounded and mumbled something like, “You can’t even compare the two.” Looking back, I wish I would have had an apple or an orange (wouldn’t have mattered at all) to shove in that person’s mouth. I wish I would have said all of this…

First and foremost, Ryan doesn’t want anyone’s sympathy or pity. Most days he’s happy in his own skin. Second, just because Ryan’s disability isn’t visible, just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. This invisible disability doesn’t make Ryan’s difficult times any easier or his heartache any less just because you can’t see it. And third, there would be no need to feel sorry him even if he was in a wheelchair.

Yes, Ryan can easily jump up and sprint down our stairs (he actually sort of crashes down the stairs), without any special accommodations in our home, when it’s time for a few Vanilla Oreos. However, he needs accommodations when it comes to learning at school because although he “looks fine,” his brain processes information differently.

Ryan has two perfectly working legs that can walk, run and jump. He’s strong and more than capable of running away from the bully in the school yard. Yet, when Ryan was being bullied for two years, he was unable to find the words to tell me, due to his language deficits.

Although Ryan could physically run up to a group of friends on the playground and say, “Hey guys, want to play some basketball?” he doesn’t, and chances are pretty high that he won’t. Communicating with friends and initiating a conversation is difficult due to the way autism impacts his social skills and his social awareness.

Even though Ryan’s strong enough to knock over several defensive lineman and could physically become an outstanding football star, he won’t. The pads, the equipment, the shouting and even the grass are too much for his overloaded sensory system to handle.

Yes, autism does make some things more difficult for Ryan, but, there are so many more things that come quite easily to him. I know that, Ryan knows that, and we’re both incredibly grateful. We both recognize there are others who have different struggles than Ryan. We don’t compare apples to oranges.

An autism diagnosis may be a disability that you can’t see, but, for Ryan, that’s OK because just like anyone with any type of disability, be it an apple or an orange, Ryan wants you to accept him, to see him and to see his abilities and not his disability.

Yes, sadly, sometimes even adults don’t know better and say ignorant and hurtful things. I’m sure just like Ryan, my neighbor had heard his fair share over the years.

And although my neighbor may have spent the past 45 years with a disability which required a wheelchair, that didn’t keep him from living. He may have gone through most of his adult life unable to stand on his own, but his abilities, his successes and his happiness stand for themselves. The proof lies in the faces of his beautiful children, grandchildren and great grandchild.

When it comes to disabilities, comparing one disability to another is truly comparing apples to oranges. An apple is an apple. An orange is an orange. If all you ever concern yourself with is what those fruits are labeled and how they look on the outside without bothering to take the time to see what’s on the inside, then you will miss the incomparable essence of them both.

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Read more from this blogger on The AWEnesty of Autism.

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment you were met with negativity or adversity related to your disability and/or disease (or a loved one’s) and why you were proud of your response — or how you wish you could’ve responded. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our “Share Your Story” page for more about our submission guidelines.

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Blind Man Receives Racist Note After Using Handicapped Parking Spot

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D’Anthony White was doing some shopping with his fiancé in Silver Spring, Maryland, when he received a hateful note.

White, 30, is blind and has a handicapped parking placard so he doesn’t have to navigate through parking lots when somebody drives him places, Fox News reported. White doesn’t always use a cane to get around, so his disability is not immediately obvious to others.

After finishing their shopping, White and his partner came back to their car to find the note below left on the windshield.

It read,“The only thing hadicap (sic) on you is your brain you lazy ni*****.”

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White posted the note along with the following message on Facebook.

We went shopping today and parked in a handicapped space. I made sure to display my placard. When we return to the car this was on the windshield.

All disabilities aren’t visible. And, everything you said was negated by using the “N” word to address us.

Ignorance like this is way too commonplace.

Once, a bartender refused to serve me because he assumed I was holding on to James’s shoulder because I was wasted. I had to tell him it was because I had a vision impairment and couldn’t see in the dark bar.

Another time, a gate agent at the airport ignored me during the pre-board — even though I was sitting in the clearly marked handicapped row awaiting assistance.

And, every day I take the train to work, and hold and tap my blind cane,  but people walk right into me. I must say there are some great Samaritans out there who help me navigate the dark train station and get out safely.

I try not to let any of the ignorance bother me too much, because then they’ve won. I keep going because it definitely beats the alternative! And this bigot won’t get me down either!

PS — I’ve stopped saying “sorry.” I say “excuse me.” Sorry don’t live here no more.

Despite the hurtful and ignorant tone of the note, White has taken the high road and is using this as an opportunity to spread awareness.

Just because you can’t see my disability,” White told Fox News, “don’t make the assumption I don’t have one.”

Get more on the story in the video below: 

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When a Woman Accused Us of Stealing a Handicapped Placard

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It’s Saturday and again I’m trying to sneak out of my house to go to the store alone. It’s a habit I have and I imagine most mothers have because we’re trying to spend the weekend getting things done as quickly as possible. I’m rounding my SUV when I hear the garage door open and out runs my little 5-year-old. She asks, “Where you goin’, Mom? Where you goin?” I told her, “Hobby Lobby. Do you want to go or stay with Daddy?” I know the answer even before she speaks. Her face brightens and she gets a megawatt smile on her face and says, “I come wit you, Mom!”

Were moving in the next two weeks, so our house is in disarray. It’s been raining all week and she’s been stuck inside. I think to myself that I should take her by the craft section to see if I can find an activity that will entertain her while I finish packing the living room. She’s been a trooper for the last few weeks, living among the boxes and missing some of her favorite things. She’s weathered this transition pretty well.

We pull up and find a handicapped spot right at the front. It can be extremely windy in Amarillo, Texas and today is no different. It’s gusting at 40 mph and I know before we get out I have to warn her that it’s going to be windy and to put on her ear protection. I get out, making sure I have two hands on her door before I open it. We start walking toward the store.

I’m stopped immediately by an elderly lady and her husband who are about to get into their car. She says, “You should be ashamed of yourself. Look at you, two perfectly healthy beings, using up a handicapped spot. You know it’s not right to steal your grandmother’s handicapped placard just so you can park close. It’s horribly windy today and the elderly could use that spot you’re parked in.” I wait patiently until she’s done and mentally remind myself to be polite. This is a lady who believes handicapped placards are only for the elderly.

I smile at her even though I’m irritated, a practice I learned in the deep south of Georgia, and say, “You’re correct, I am perfectly healthy and would gladly walk a mile to the store, but my daughter can’t.” I pull Gabby forward slightly and say, “Do you want to question her about her disability or would you be able to take my word for it that we got that sticker honestly?” I can see it in her scowl, she’s immediately taken aback because she’s being pushed to question a 5-year-old about her disability. Then she looks at me and I can tell she wants me to explain how my daughter is affected, but I won’t. I hold strong and stare at her, letting her know that I won’t fill her head with gossip. As Gabby has gotten older, I no longer feel like it’s my place explain her diagnosis or experiences to every stranger.

She looks back and forth between us, and I can see the questions and accusations on her face. I hold my tongue as long as possible and say, “If the parking police is done for the day, we’d like to go about our shopping.” Her husband must have finally gotten annoyed with her or just sick of waiting there and finally said to her, “Get in the damn car, Alice, with your judgmental self.”

I smile brightly at her husband and he gives me a wink.

I start to pull Gabby forward and she says, “What’s hand-capt ?” I answer quickly and say, “Special.” She keeps walking and looks back up at me and says, “What’s special?” I stop and turn to her, staring smiling down into her beautiful big brown eyes and say, “You!”

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment you were met with extreme negativity or adversity related to your disability and/or disease (or a loved one’s) and why you were proud of your response — or how you wish you could’ve responded. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our “Share Your Story” page for more about our submission guidelines.

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The Vow I Made After a Girl’s Reaction to My Son Made Me Cry

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The amusement park carousel whirred a few feet away from where my son and I were standing, its lilting band organ melody reaching out to us with a compelling beckon. I glanced at the ride in all its old-time Americana glory. The painted horses vacantly gazed into the distance as they rose up and down on their shiny metal posts. I adjusted my sunglasses and looked down at my son, who was pointing at the carousel with interest.

Should we attempt it?

I took a mental inventory of our equipment, quickly figuring out the logistics of making this ride a reality. I hoisted our emergency bag on my back and carefully uncoiled the oxygen tubing that ran from the tank inside to the bottom of my son’s trach tube. He and I were tethered by a long piece of plastic that kept oxygen flowing through his damaged lungs. A sad umbilical cord of sorts.

“Let’s go!” I told him, and he grasped my fingers as his tiny Pumas strode across the concrete towards the ride. At 21 months, he was still perfecting his walk, trying to balance the excitement of running with the careful discretion he reserved for avoiding falls.

Two middle-school-aged girls were waiting at the front of the line for the ride, and my son’s face immediately lit up when he spotted them. His gait quickened, and I laughed as he guided me by the hand to get closer to the girls.

“You’re such a ladies’ man,” I whispered with a giggle.

I watched as he beamed up at them, waving excitedly. His free hand bobbled up and down as his smile grew wider. He gazed up at the girls, anticipating a wave or a smile in return.

Upon sight of him, one of the girls nervously looked away, twirling her hair around her finger, afraid to acknowledge him. The other girl grimaced. She stared at my son’s trach tube, her eyes darting between his neck and the tubing spilling out of my backpack.

“Hi there!” I mustered as cheerfully as I could to her, hoping that a smile would help break the ice.

She continued to stare down at my son, her lips twisting into a scowl. I saw his eyebrows furrow and his smile gradually fall. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, looking up at me with confusion. He was too young to know what was really happening — he wasn’t accustomed to this type of response to his characteristic flurry of waves and smiles.

I took a deep breath and forced a bright smile again, hoping a question would help convince the girl to respond.

“How are you doing today?” I asked.

I prayed this would break her harsh gaze, force her out of her trance, even spur her to ask a question about him. Anything to stop this uncomfortable moment in time.

Nothing. Her downward glare at my son continued.

I felt my face grow hot with anger, embarrassment, frustration, sadness even guilt. My eyes stung as I swallowed back irrational, fleeting thoughts with a lump in my throat.

We should have never come here.

I should just keep him in a bubble, away from everybody.

Why can’t we blend into the scenery like everyone else?

Like I said, absurd, irrational thoughts ones I guarantee all mothers in similar situations have had at some point, special needs or not.

So, instead of enjoying my son’s first carousel ride, I cried. I fought back tears on the carousel, brushed them away on the ride home, ugly-cried as I was recounting the story to my husband, and then wept one more time for good measure before going to bed that night. It wasn’t about the staring, not really. I cried because I realized, in that moment in front of the carousel, that I couldn’t protect my son from this world, no matter how hard I tried. He doesn’t know he’s different now he is blissfully unaware of the fact that people stare at him and other kids run away from him. But one day, he will know. And I cried for that, too.

I couldn’t see the moment for what it was: a curious girl who just didn’t know how to process the sight of my son. My wonderful, strong, adorable son a child who I see much differently than anyone else does. In my mind, she became the enemy a physical manifestation of all of his challenges rolled into one glowering, unmoving stare. Instead of enjoying the moment his first carousel ride! I focused on one child’s reaction more than I should have.

Later that night, as I blubbered to my calm, logical husband about what happened that day, he brought up a point that was so powerful, so true that I actually stopped crying to take a shaky breath and listen to him.

One day, my son is going to watch how I react to situations like these and follow my lead.

And if I dissolve into angry, frustrated tears every time someone hurts his feelings or responds in a less-than-positive way, what is that teaching him? Haven’t we all been hurt? Stared at? Bullied? Don’t we all need a person to look up to, someone who can show us how to handle these situations with grace and strength?

Of course we do.

That night, I vowed to be that person for my son. I can’t stop the stares. I can’t protect him from the questions or hurtful remarks. And try as I might, I can’t keep him in a bubble.

But I can show him how to be strong and resilient.

Or maybe, all along, he’s been the one showing me.

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment you were met with extreme negativity or adversity related to your disability and/or disease (or a loved one’s) and why you were proud of your response — or how you wish you could’ve responded. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our “Share Your Story” page for more about our submission guidelines.

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Why Being in the Back of the Ambulance Brings Me Comfort

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Living with anaphylactic food allergies and asthma, I’m all too familiar with the fear associated with riding in the back of an ambulance.

When I’m in the back of an ambulance as a patient, it means I’m having difficulty breathing. As a family member, I’ve seen the back of an ambulance represent death for my Papa after he suffered a massive heart attack and the unknown for my Nana after she had a bad reaction to medication after surgery.

Despite all of the negative connotations I have with the back of an ambulance, oddly enough, I consider it to be the one place that reminds me everything is going to be OK.

When I was 15, I started riding with my local ambulance squad. I was too young to become an emergency medical technician (EMT), but I was looking for a unique summer opportunity and riding on the ambulance seemed like the perfect fit since I was an aspiring doctor.

I never thought it would be more than just a learning experience, but I ended up falling in love with every aspect of emergency medicine: the adrenaline rush, connecting with patients and watching firsthand as people put their lives in the hands of complete strangers.

At the beginning of the summer, I was an aspiring pediatric oncologist. But by the end of the summer, I was (and still am) an aspiring paramedic and pediatric emergency physician.

I took an EMT course at my local community college the following summer. After intense training, hard work and extreme anticipation, I passed my EMT test.

The day I got my EMT certification number was probably one of the happiest days of my life. I knew I was far from “saving” anyone, but the prospect of getting to spend more time in the back of the ambulance excited me. Not only was I craving the adrenaline rush of a good call, but I was also excited at the prospect of providing patients with a sense of comfort during the most vulnerable time of their lives.

This summer marks two years since I have had my EMT certification and three years riding in the back of the ambulance. Responding to 911 calls is my ultimate therapy. For 12 hours at a time, I get to drop my own health issues and worry about the health issues of others.

In the back of the ambulance, I’ve seen people pass away and new life come into the world. Some patients’ lives shatter before them, while other patients gain new hope. Our patient’s situations help put my own health conditions into perspective. I have the physical, emotional and financial support from my family and great doctors. I’m luckier than many of our patients.

Many patients are scared and alone without the support of their family. For some of them, the ride in the ambulance may be the last time they’ll be outside the hospital again.

As an EMT, I have a small window to make a tiny impact on their lives. I know I can’t cure them and that they probably won’t remember my name, but I can try to make them comfortable. I can talk to them, I can listen to them, I can hold their hand and I can try to make them smile.

I’m only three years into this career, so I understand that I haven’t seen everything. But I’ve seen enough to realize how truly fragile and amazing life really is. And for once, my conditions mean something and seem to have a real purpose: They have given me a level of empathy that only people who have been patients in the back of an ambulance can have. My anaphylactic food allergies and asthma have made me a better provider and more aware of a patient’s emotional needs as well as their physical needs.

Lily Roth the mighty

After a long 12-hour shift, I have a renewed sense of encouragement. So many of our patients are facing the final chapters of their lives, but my life still has many chapters left. There are many opportunities available to me, and I need to take advantage of them, not just for myself, but also for all of our patients who can’t.

One day, I hope to be fortunate enough to have an M.D. at the end of my name and wear a white coat. Until then, I’ll continue to use the ambulance as an outlet, a learning opportunity and as a natural source of adrenaline (unlike the artificial adrenaline I inject myself with when I have an anaphylactic reaction).

No matter where my life takes me, I know everything is going to be OK as long as I can practice medicine. I may not have power over my own medical conditions, but I have the power to use them for good.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one unexpected source of comfort when it comes to your (or a loved one’s) disability and/or disease? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our “Share Your Story” page for more about our submission guidelines.

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