On my own devised scale I feel about 2. No real pain to speak of, no real fever, no poops, but with a cough that all but rips your chest out and no energy. Yes I am back in the hospital.
Folks how are you today? As for myself I as I said above I am once again back in the hospital. The pneumonia and Pseudomonas which reside in my lungs (primarily the left) have decided they were tired of being ignored and wanted their special place at the head of the table. Truly, these two house guess’s I could do without. I really thought I had gotten a good head start having seen the doctor in a very timely manner to head off a trip to the hospital, but I was wrong. I was brought kicking and screaming (just kidding) to the hospital yesterday and admitted immediately. But of course immediately means something entirely different to a hospital, I was in the ER room for close to 7 hours before space was found. But now I am sharing a room with a gentleman a bit sicker than I. Bless his heart. For those that don’t know me or haven’t followed me, I have COPD. It is a terminal disease, and in time it will kill me.
Last week I picked up a cough that was a little stronger than normal. I found that in the course of the overnight I would wake up to cough, and this early am coughing was very productive, quite offensive looking, sharp yellow/green in color, and as thick and sticky as grade school paste. Yuk Yuk!!!!
This is only day two of my hospitalization, but I am further along towards recovery. My interest and ability to read are high, I am writing this and hopefully it makes sense to the readers.
I just had my vitals taken and there they are: BP 114/54, O2=92 pct, heart rate 94 (which is low normal for me), temperature 97.6 which is normal for me, another key test is my white blood cells is well over high normal, so they are working their little butts off getting this infection under control.
COPD in my case is made up of chronic bronchitis with a chronic cough that produces a ton of mucus. It is one of the aspects of the COPD umbrella. The major bugs I get stem from Pseudomonas which is the jump starter for pneumonia. Until a few years ago, Pseudomonas was not an ongoing issue, but over the last year or so it is not only the jump starter for illness, it resides in my lungs and with only the slightest of pushes becomes full-blown pneumonia. Over the last couple years my body has developed a tolerance for the drugs necessary to fully beat the Pseudomonas to submission. So as the COPD progresses, my body will develop further tolerances for drugs and eventually the story ends. But until then I will fight this sucker as best I can.
Now the Pseudomonas resides in my left lung waiting for the opportunity to flare up at a moment’s notice. It is these flare ups that immediately get me hospitalized.
No mention has been made of what the duration of my stay will be. It is way too early in the process to make that prediction, but having said that, I may report again later in the week of my progress.
Unlike my last trip to the hospital, I am in an actual room (it has a bathroom, a window with a view of trees, and enough room to turn around) as compared to the cell I was in last time. I am sharing this room with another patient, but that will change very soon, I have MRSA and that will require isolation. So either he or I will be moved and it will most likely take place within the next 24 hours.
The goal of course is to get the f….. out of the hospital, and to be well enough to enjoy the upcoming Disney cruise with my family. The cruise has been in the works for over a year and I have my granddaughter as fired up as I can, and only hope to amp her up a little more before our July cruise.
Well folks I hope you have a pleasant day, thank you for your continued good thoughts and kind words of encouragement. As always your comments welcomed are encouraged – take care, Bill
Preface — I was going to shit can this post, but today (5/8/13) I found out I once again have pneumonia and pseudomonas. I also found out that a drug that is normally used to fights these illnesses’ is no longer effective in my body. The list of drugs which are effective continues to shorten. So having said that it seems this post has even more value than originally thought. Oh more great news, I will also have a pic line installed Friday, and after vacation most likely a medi-port. OH Joy!
Anyone that has followed my blog understands I have COPD, it is a terminal disease, I was “officially” diagnosed with COPD in 2006. and it’s the 4th leading killer of people worldwide. Like any other terminal disease it is not fun. (DUH!) Sometimes the worst part about it is that it takes such a damn long time to complete its’ mission, except at the very end when it races to the finish line. For those who don’t know COPD is the most common lung disease and is made up of a combination Emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD’s symptoms include a long-term cough with mucus, and shortness of breath or SOB. Eventually the outcome is the total destruction of the lungs. Gee, that sounds like fun already. If you hadn’t figured it out, I guess now is as good a time as any to warn you that this blog will be filled with my random morbid thoughts about this disease.
My recent pulmonary tests (4/13) revealed that my lung function is down to 41 percent, that’s like having a little over 3/4’s of one lung to use for all things breathing. It doesn’t mean I can run a half marathon. Any congestion, any irritant, overly spicy cooking, the smell of a single cigarette, a small brush fire a mile away, a hard breeze in my face, a mask which prevents the spreading of germs, even standing in the shower with the water in my face, trying to walk 50 yards without slowing down or stopping, all has a very real impact on my ability to breathe.
Like most COPD sufferers I can have a runny nose and cough on Monday and full-blown pneumonia by late Wednesday. I feel sometimes (but not all) that considering all my visits to the doctors I must be a hypochondriac. But the reality is I know I am not, and that these visits to the doctors help me in my fight against COPD. Yet even if I think I might be coming down with something my anxiety amps up, I fear the worst and my head plays mean games. But when I become sick, it is that much worst. The worst is the realization of another extended stay in the hospital.
For the last 2.5 years, it seems that, I have been going to the hospital every 6 months or so. Prior to the last visit, my average stay was about 7 days. But this last visit busted the curve with my 21 day stay. I truly hope that isn’t a new trend. I can eat only so much hospital meatloaf and egg noodles. But with each exacerbations and hospital stay, are generally followed a further diminishment of lung capability. Time is the enemy. Time always wins.
Speaking of fighting, (LOL a couple of paragraphs up) when does a person who is terminally ill have the right to stop fighting? How much anguish should a terminally ill person put their love ones and their friends thru? When does a terminally ill person stop making purchases for him or herself? When is it okay for the terminally ill person to start publicly feeling sorry for themselves? are these folks ever allowed to ask “my me?” We know we are a burden on our loved ones, but why does guilt sometimes have to come with it? Of course these and many questions I haven’t even added are all rhetorical. There aren’t any clear answers. The answers change from individual to individual. And the answers change with where a person is emotionally, mentally and the stage of the disease they are in.
Let me put you to rest, I have no intention of giving up or in to this fucking disease. I have no intention of laying down and dying, I have no intention of ever stopping my fight. And I will continue to do my very very best to aid and support other sufferers of this disease. I will continue to fight until I reach that day where I cannot breathe on my own. Then folks the fight is over and the disease has won.
To accommodate my illness I don’t travel anyplace that requires an airplane ride. Even with a FCC approved oxygen devices, many airlines will not accept you as a passenger. So for my wife and I to travel, it has to be car now or boat. But even going on a cruise requires a lot of advanced planning, so it would be extremely unlikely for me to take a last-minute trip. And we travel all the time.
Hell it has gotten to the point where I even attempt to schedule vacations around when I think I will be in the hospital, and how much time post hospitalization I will need to recover enough to travel. Even my wife looks at the calendar when we plans trips. It becomes second nature, and if you think about it, it even makes sense. But we make the plans and go.
I am about the most upbeat and perky person you would want to know. I am so upbeat I could drive you insane. I am a kidder, the class clown, a joker, someone who tries to smile a lot, and generally I hope I am someone who folks like to hang around. The best thing about me is I will not repeat will not just give up, I will not just lay down and die. Those are skills I just don’t have, nor will I learn them.
Folks I have gone on and on. I feel better writing this, and while it has some morbid stuff, I hope you understand I will not willing let COPD win. It will have to kick my ass.
As always your thoughts and comments are appreciated. Please take care, Bill
Today’s offering will be about my time in US Navy Recruit Training or bootcamp, at the US Naval Recruit Training Center in San Diego CA. Depending on how this flies I may add chapters dealing with the rest of my Military career. The recalling of this came about because earlier this week (4/29/13) I spent the afternoon judging high school seniors “Senior Projects.” These 6 minutes presentation was on a subject of their choosing, and will make up a significant portion of their senior English grade. I am sure you’re asking how is he stretching high school senior projects, to his being in the Navy. I am glad you asked! Of the 13 presentations I listened to and judged, 6 of these kids were choosing the military as a pathway to their future. Of the six kids, 4 had already completed at least 3 years of JROTC, and the other 2 had completed 2 years of JROTC. Five of the 6 had already enlisted, and would be off to boot camp shortly after graduation. And for those keeping stats 3 of these six students were young ladies. None of these kids have actually been to boot camp, soft smile, but soon they will find out.
I enlisted in the Navy on April 13, 1969. Joining the Navy was a choice I made, it wasn’t something I did completely willingly, I had few pushes from adults in positions of authority that made a good case for me using the military as an opportunity to grow up, and not spend time in an 8 x 10 room.
After being sworn in at the Naval Recruiting Center in Louisville KY, taking a physical and a million other little things I flew from Louisville to San Diego CA. I arrived in San Diego about midnight and gathered with other new recruits. Sometime around 1am we were herded (and I do mean herded) onto a bus which took us to the US Naval Recruit Training Center (NRTC), San Diego. It had been a quiet uneventful trip, I was excited because it was my 1st airplane ride, I was excited because I was becoming a sailor, and I was excited because I wasn’t going to spend 6 months in an 8 X 10 room in Kentucky. But I was not prepared in the least for what was about to happen.
With my arrival at NRTC (at approximately 130am 4/14/69) my world change. Within 10 minutes of getting off the bus at NRTC my vocabulary increased by a couple dozen words. And I heard combinations and grouping of words I had no idea went together. I also found there was an entirely different level of being screamed at, my parents and coaches had screamed at me up until this point. I thought these folks were pros and knew how to scream at an individual, but they were whispering lullaby’s to me compared to Sailors we were introduced to at NRTC. And this was before we even met our “Company Commander” BT1 (forgot name)…. Once he was introduced he took it to an even higher level, explaining to the 60 men in the company (we were Company 281), that he pretty much hated everyone. We would find out later that he did hate us all. After these introductions we were marched to our barracks, arriving at our beds at approximate 230am.
The 1st full day of boot camp started at 0400, and last unlit 1730 that evening. My very last thought before marching to the barracks, as I looked out on the residential area outside of NRTC was I wanted to go home, that I didn’t want to be a sailor. But that wasn’t an option. I wasn’t going to be allowed to go home for 8 weeks.
For the next 8 weeks I was given intense training in; G.I. Bill, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), U.S. Navy Ships and Aircraft, First Aid, Rank/Rate Recognition, Uniforms and Grooming, Conduct during Armed Conflict, Military Customs and Courtesies, Naval History, Conduct and Precautions Ashore, Weapons Familiarization, Firefighting, Basic Seamanship, Intense Physical Training and on and on. Besides these basic skills and information boot camp also provided a foundation by which I grew into an adult. It helped form my attitude and work ethic. Folks, let me also say that the navy taught me about team work, depending on that sailor standing next to you. It gave me a skill that I used for the next forty years. And it taught me how to fold my cloths and how to neatly put 10 lbs. of crap into a 5 lbs. container. It also taught me about respect both giving and getting.
I will break my story into two parts here, part 1 the first third of boot camp, the 2nd part the final 2/3’s of boot camp. If I were to go into any great detail this could end up being…. well long LOL.
Our companies’ (Company 281) first commander (CO) was every negative thing you have ever heard or seen about what military boot camp was like. He was a sadistic SOB, and truly enjoyed inflicting pain, both mental and physical. Humiliation was his flag bearer. As I said earlier he took screaming at an individual or group, to a level I have not seen since. I will offer 2 examples of his inhumane actions. Once a recruit gave him an improper rifle salute, and he stood before this recruit and slap the recruit in the on the face using both his right and left hands until the recruit was bleeding from both sides of his mouth. The other incident the CO stuffed laundry into the recruit’s mouth and crawl around the barracks going “oink oink I’m the company pig” until the recruit had blisters on both his palms and knees. This second incident caught the attention of local media; the CA Bureau of Investigation did a cursory review and turned it over to NCIS. NCIS investigation lasted 7 days. At the conclusion of the investigation the BT1 CO was arrested and charged with 10 counts of cruelty, abuse of authority, and a list of other charges that ran the length of my arm. He was convicted on all counts, he was reduced in rank from an E6 to E1, had to serve 2 years in military prison, lost his retirement and given a Bad Conduct Discharge.
CSCS Brooks became the Company Commander for Company 281 during the NCIS investigation. 99 percent of my learning during boot camp was guided by him. As a group the sailors in 281 started bootcamp in a very rough way. But we finished strong. Senior Chief Brooks was a short stout guy, (kinda like me today fat but not quite), we called him the Pillsbury Doughboy behind his back. He didn’t scream at you when you screwed up, but his quiet chats made dang sure you didn’t make that mistake again. The Senior Chief was required to march with the company to any and all training exercises (physical or classroom), medical exams and shots, and just about any other activity the company had to attend. CS Brooks had short legs, and he had a hard time keeping up with 48 guys marching in column, taking at least 32 inch strides. So whenever we would get too far ahead he would order “to the rear march” which had the 48 of us turn 180 degrees and march back the way we came. When we marched back past him going the wrong way, he would again order “to the rear march,” we kept this up until we got to the destination. Generally we marched twice as far as needed. If we had upset him as a group (i.e. screwed up) he would have us march in half steps to the destination, I would much rather do “to the rear” marching all day than take half steps, everything below your waist hurt after marching 2 miles at half step. Yet I don’t remember a single sailor in Company 281 complaining about this method of getting from point A to point B.
Under the guidance of CS Brooks Company 281 graduated on time. We had started with 60 and completed the training with 48. He was proud of us and we were proud to have served under him during training. Upon completion of training, the Chief treated the entire Company to a pizza and beer dinner. It was the 1st non chow hall meal I had in 2 months.
All of this is to say, that in the next couple of months we (the United States) will have 6 more young people, both men and women, joining the ranks of the US Military. Some will serve in the Navy, some in the Marines, some in the Army, and some in the Air Force. These are extremely smart kids, and they are dedicated to our country, and they are dedicating their lives as well. They are doing this because they want to. No one is forcing them, no one is threatening them. They want to serve and I am so damn proud of them. This was 6 student soldiers and sailors out of the 13 presentations I witnessed. I am told over 200 seniors gave presentations over 4 days. I suspect a lot more than 6 have chosen a career in the military, I am equally proud of them.
Folks as always your thoughts and comments are welcome. Please take care, Bill
A very special thank you to all who have helped support the book with profits going to animal rescue. Getting the word out is equally important in the name of tolerance and to help raise awareness to get animals out of cages and into forever homes. Please feel free to reblog and help spread the word.
The award winning, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap eBook is being offered for free through Amazon Wednesday May 1st through Sunday May 5th.