28 years and many struggles later

The following is a guest post written by Danny Knoblock. He was born with Spina Bifida and chose to share his life experience with us here.

This is the story of my experiences in hospitals the past 28 years. With the approximately 30+ surgeries and a ton IV pokes, blood works and medicine injections. The hospital is not the greatest place in the world but I’ve been there to live.

I’ve never liked hospitals, they usually end up with me having surgery. My experience starts off at the emergency room registration and then getting triage with a nurse. While the nurse asks me why I arrived and other questions which seem to be rhetorical because the answers are all on the computer. After the long dreadful questions, I get sent back to the lobby and wait till another nurse calls me into a room. While in the patient room I feel clustered because my wheelchair doesn’t fit in as much. I always go to the hospital with someone, it’s usually my mom since she knows my medical history quite well. My hospital experience began at birth and my first surgery was at 12 hours of birth to place a shunt in my head through my neck to my stomach; while in the hospital I had a stroke as an infant.

As a child, I never liked needles and injections.  That included IV when the nurse would tell me they would have to start an IV on me and I would freak out. During my childhood, I would go back and forth to the hospital because of the shunt breaking and causing me to have the worst headaches ever, and the only way to cure those headaches was to open me up and replace the shunt. During my time at the hospital as a child doctors would post “Latex Allergy” all over my room to inform others of my allergies but nurses and doctors never paid attention and still grabbed the latex gloves. While in the hospital, to pass the time I would request for video games and they would let me, my favorite game was “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or other video games. In the hospital my least favorite food was their green beans, on the other hand, I love requesting ginger ale or sprite to drink. Those were the things I do in my hospital room as a child.

When it came to going to have tests done, the hallways were always long and icy cold. I would shiver and cover up with at least two blankets. While in route I’d stay quiet and observe the halls until I got to the destination. When it came to having an X-ray done or an MRI I needed a soft padded pillow for my back because I have a bump on my lower back, and if I don’t have a soft pad my bump can open and have an open sore. After I arrive to my room from a test, a skin and wound specialist would be there waiting for me. I would feel weird, but the majority of the time I mostly had back problem was after surgery because of the hard table.

The most recent experiences in the hospital that involved surgery was a few years ago. They were both hernia related, but the first one included a gallbladder removed. I had a mesh that had a rough material which still today bothers me and causes me to have abdominal pain. During my stay in the hospital, there were was a rude nurse, whom I had not only asking for pain medication but I told her if I could I’d beg her for it, the nurse was rude and insulting me by calling me “a human science experiment” and she just left until her shift ended. The last surgery was a brief hernia repair. I went home the same day but was sore for a whole month. This time the mesh was made with a softer material.

This past month I was in the emergency room four times due to abdominal pain and they find anything wrong. The hospital here in Nogales, Arizona makes me feel like they think I’m faking or I just want attention even though I’m in constant pain.


Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

Although I have submitted my writing several times to various magazines, most of them have all, “taken careful consideration,” after so many weeks and months…. but still passed on me. I have heard that in order to finally get published you basically have to hear every type of rejection like, “eh, I didn’t care for it,” to finally get your foot in the door.

For the past month, I have been working non-stop on my Applied Project to get my Master’s Degree. I have to say, it was not easy. 36 pages of just pure writing. I wrote my own thoughts out about the graduate program. I learned something about myself though… staring at my screen trying to find all my grammatical errors was not working for me. After contemplating, I decided to print out the whole project, twice! The first time, I went through my paper carefully with a purple marker to cross things out and write in the margins. After fixing those errors, I printed it again (the second time) and went through it looking for all those pesky errors I didn’t catch the first time. To my surprise, there were still many lingering in there.

My paper became my enemy for a bit. I didn’t want to look at it or think about it. I thought about hiring an editor to go through it for me. Instead, I worked with about 8 tutors… wait make that 10 tutors for the very last round. Yup, and of course every tutor gave me a different opinion of what my sentences should say. Once I fixed something, another tutor said, no it should be the other way. Needless to say, I became frustrated and even got some major neck and shoulder tension during the last couple of weeks.

I don’t mean to sound so cliche, but I was only a couple of weeks away from completing my Master’s Degree…. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. But, I felt like my feet were tracking along a treadmill rather than on the real ground making progress with all the hours my fingertips punched those keys on my Macbook. After getting outrageous quotes from editing services, I decided to go through my paper on my own because I wanted to know that I earned my degree without the help of an “expert.”

Now I have been waiting several days to hear back on my submission. The waiting game, ugh! As a society, we hate to wait for anything that is accessible with the touch of our fingertip to our phone screen. We hate waiting in line, especially when there is only one person at the counter to help a line wrapped around the building. Oh yes, I used to be that person behind the counter, and it is usually because of poor management and lack of preparedness. So, I won’t say which company(s) it was. I will just say, as a graduate student, a lot of hard work goes into the final paper. But, it’s the waiting period afterward that makes you shake in your boots! It’s like watching a file taking forever to upload, a little percentage at a time.

I am hoping by the time I am finished with this post that my final score will be posted *crosses fingers*. On a lighter and more exciting note (one that will relate closely to the title of this post, graduation is next week! *claps* I am more than excited and I will be traveling to Phoenix to enjoy all of the festivities, 4 to be exact. Oh, and I will be making a move there sometime during this summer. That is probably the best news of yet. I have decided that So Cal is just not working out for me, at least not in my favor. No matter what experience I have or how many degrees I will get, it will never be enough.

Plus, this also means more opportunities for me.

Well, until next time, I wish all the graduates the best of their future endeavors. Congratulations!

Writer’s Biggest Fear


Writing is subjective! In school, seeing our teacher’s red pen marks and small comments scribbled into the margins were used as the warm-up. The more practice we got, the less red marks we saw in our papers.

But, what happens when we are done with school and trying to make a name for ourselves as a writer?Whether you are a writer, blogger, or student, we can all agree that our greatest fear is our work being judged and rejected. When we are ready to submit our book proposal or short essay to an edior//literary agent/publisher, we trust on our own writing skills and hope it’s good enough for publication.

We wait days, weeks, even months to hear back from them. In a way, it’s kind of like waiting to hear back from a job interview- they make you wait days to weeks for a simple yes or no. Meanwhile, our anxiety levels kick in and we start checking our spam folder every day for and a sign of hope.

I recently took a poll via Twitter.

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I offered four of the possible fears writer’s face. We can hire someone to help us edit, and write down ideas on paper to prevent writer’s block or staring at a blank screen. Someone, even your friends or family will eventually read your work and after some time, others will come across your writing either by word of mouth or accidentally.

As you can see, 80% of participants voted that Being Judged/Rejected is the scariest part of writing. It’s the one part of the writing process that we have no control over. Not everyone will gain interest in our book or ideas we want to share with the world. Most agents may reject us for various reasons, which may not make any sense to us. A difference of opinion. However, there’s a reason why there is more than one literary agent out there.

As Literary Agent J. Johnson-Blalock stated, “Just saw two great deals for books I passed on, so when I say it’s subjective and another agent may feel differently, I mean it.” This quote gave me some confidence from within. Although I am completing my graduate degree in less than 30 days, I find it reassuring that literary agents like herself encourage us to keep trying.

I will leave you with one last quote I saw in a classroom the other day.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

Don’t give up!


Bruxie Waffle Sundae Sunday

There’s a unique restaurant famous for its waffle burgers, sundae, and fried chicken and waffle sandwich at The Shoppes at Chino Hills called Bruxie.

It is considered a family-style restaurant with a clear view of the Chefs making the waffles as you order them!  Plus, who doesn’t love the smell of freshly made-to-order waffles?!?

Whenever I visit the Shoppes, I always make it a point to stop by Bruxie for a snack. Whether you order the Bruxie Burger, made with juicy Angus Beef, cheddar, bacon, and avocado all wrapped in between a perfectly crisp waffle, or the Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwich made with Chicken Breast, Cole Slaw, and Chili Honey…. you will not be disappointed!

Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwich…



One of the best treats here is the Waffle Sundae…


Made with a fresh waffle on the bottom, scoops of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge sauce, peanuts, whipped cream, and caramel…. big enough for 2 or 3 to enjoy.

Finally, a unique menu item… Green Eggs & Ham made with Arugula Pesto


It’s delicious!!!

The No Cutsies Enforcer

As a Substitute Teacher, I constantly remind students to stay in line and no cutsies! This is my way of preventing the tattling while we get from point A to point B. It usually works out and I do remind them to follow their line leaders.

But what happens when we are not in a school environment where rules are enforced by the teachers? What happens when we are in a store/business and someone cuts you in line?

This has happened to me before, while at Disneyland with my family. After waiting 3 hours for the fireworks show to start, a woman attempted to squeeze in herself and her child into the only area that was left for personal space between me and another family. I knew she was not going to listen to some kid (I was a kid then) about moving along. Fortunately, the man next to me did the hard work for us. “You can’t just squeeze yourself in here like that. We’ve been waiting here for multiple hours, you need to move or I’ll get someone to make you move.” Without hesitation, she grabbed her kids and moved. We never saw her again.

That was years ago.

Today, while at the mall, I approached the checkout counter with one person in front of me. To my surprise, another woman stood right beside me at the same moment. I knew exactly what she wanted, to cut in line! And so, she slowly stepped in front of me, pretending to grab something from a display stand, looked at it, and then faced forward. Now her whole body was in front of me.

I thought about saying, “Hey, I was here first!” But I didn’t want to sound childish about it. My mom even noticed how sneaky she was. I mean, what has society come to? At work, I try to teach the students the do’s and dont’s. But outside of work, people violate the rules society has set in place.

Perhaps I should have said something today. I mean, I really wanted to. I am an adult and I know I need to defend myself for what is right from wrong but I feel like I need to pick my battles carefully. Instead, I announced the fact that there were 5 registers open, 4 of which were not being used, and 3 employees who were just standing around fiddling with merchandise. With a line of ten people, they opened another register. So you know I had to say something to someone about the lady who cut me.

“How was your shopping experience with us today?” the associate asked.

“Almost perfect except for the fact that the lady your coworker helped cut me in line. Yet, your coworker did absolutely nothing about it. I think you guys need to start putting up line barriers to prevent that next time.” I said with adrenaline going through my body.

There is hardly any shame left in the world. I guess I wished there was a, “No Cutsies Enforcer,” in that store today. I know the kids I work with follow the rules- most of the time- but I think adults in the real world need a reality check.

How to write a Cover Letter

Cover Letters are the only place where you can share other relevant experience with the hiring manager in a paragraph form. This is your chance to shine and to show your confidence.

Begin with a formal greeting….

Dear Mr. ____ or Ms. ____,

Addressing the person reading your cover letter helps to gain rapport with them.

Refrain from the following words: think, really, hope, feel

For example: “I really hope you will consider me as a candidate for this position. I think I would be a good fit. I feel this position will help me grow in my career.”

This makes you, the candidate, sound weak.

Use the following words instead: know, will, asset, experience

For example: “With my five years of relevant experience, I know I will be a valuable asset to your organization.”

See how much better it sounds? Confidence is important. Employers have hundreds of applications to go through. Being straight and to the point, while sounding concise is key.

Keep it formal, conclude with….


(Your Name), (Your credentials or degree titles)

***Always Spell Check Before Submitting***

Art Therapy

Today I had the pleasure of subbing in an Art class. This was a different but fun atmosphere. The above picture is a dream catcher I painted on a wood plank. Mixing the colors to make the ombre was fun! I found painting as a form of therapy. I suddenly forgot about all the things that stress me out in life. I just let it the artist in me take control of me. The paint brush adding the dark blue and pink colors across the surface of the grain made me realize how life is so simple and we take it for granted.

Nothing is perfect in this world but we strive to be perfectionists. I believe if we just take a little time to have so fun with paint and be creative with our thoughts, our anxiety levels will be lowered.