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Retirement

Hello, my name is Allison Poindexter, and Bill Hamilton was my dad.  I’m writing this to share that on Wednesday, September 3, my dad Bill Hamilton lost his battle with COPD.  

On Monday, after celebrating Labor Day weekend with my family and Mom, Dad started feeling poorly.  They contacted Hospice, who came to the house within hours and provided medications.  When he didn’t feel better by Tuesday, it was determined that the best course of action would be to take him to the hospice center.  I spoke with him Tuesday evening–I was confused and scared because the hospice hadn’t started an IV antibiotic treatment–and ended the conversation with the customary “I love you, Dad.”  On Wednesday morning, my mom and Dad’s friend Art had the chance to visit him at the hospice center, but by the afternoon, Dad was declining.  The nurses provided him with medicine to make him comfortable and allowed him to fall asleep.

At about 1:45, he died peacefully in his sleep with my mom by his side.  

My mom and I are so grateful for the care my Dad received through hospice.  After speaking with my dad on Tuesday, I told my husband that my greatest fear was that Dad would suffer, gasping for his last breaths.  But in the end, despite all of the warning we had that his end was near, Dad’s retirement was sudden and painless.  

I’ve been so grateful for this blog and this community for providing my dad with an outlet as he prepared for this inevitability.  In the past two years, he composed 302 posts, received nearly 17,000 views, and earned over 4,000 comments.  My dad would never profess to being a writer, but this blog is longer than most novels.  I’m so proud of him and this work, not because it is perfectly and eloquently composed, but because he helped people with his positivity and his humor.  On a personal level, I’m glad that he took this time to tell his stories, stories of growing up in Louisville, stories of parenting me, stories of the illness that took his life.  I’m so thankful that my daughter will have the chance to know her grandpa like I know him.  

I have taken over administrator responsibilities for this blog, so feel free to comment away.  Thank you for reading.

 
40 Comments

Posted by on September 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

How I Feel for the Week Ending 08.29.14…

Well the jukebox is back and completely functional, my new computer is sitting here humming away, and I have no excuses.  This post is going to be riddled with music references because I have missed so many opportunities to share with you the music I have been missing during my recent computer mishap.  So without further ado here is our first sidebar: Right off for my wonderful Canadian Friends I have heard several tunes from our favorite Nickelback; including “Next Contender,” “This Means War,” and “Bottoms Up.”  Also I have indulged in Five Finger Death Punch, Led Zepplin, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden to start the day. 

There really hasn’t been any change at all in status since last week, if anything this week was an improvement over last week.  Yes SOB is still a critical issue, yes I get winded getting winded, yes I need to gather myself before tackling and working my way thru any chore, yes I am coughing and while the cough is productive there is no yellow to it.  All of these things while the same are different and if for no other reason this is a better week because the heat and humidity has been slightly lower.  Sidebar: we have been listening to Halestorm, Gemini Syndrome, The Black Eyed Peas and Shinedown this set.

This week besides the normal visit from Hospice (and a couple of addon visits) I had only one medical appointment this week which was with Doc Lungs.  First, Doc Lungs seems to think I am doing okay, he checked the vitals and listened to my lungs.  He commented that they sounded “normal” for me.  Someday I am going to have to listen to my lungs then immediately listen to the lungs of someone who doesn’t have respiratory issues.  That would be quite interesting and most likely equally educational. This week, besides my normal Thursday visit with my Hospice nurse, I was also visited by Respiratory Therapist from Hospice, and he noticed my weight lost, and stated I sound like I always do,  In addition I was also visited by the Hospice social worker, just checking my head to see if it was still screwed on correctly.  I am assuming I passed her muster because no one has been by today with that special jacket. Other than my normal weekly visit by the Hospice nurse I have no repeat no medical appointments scheduled.

Per usual and considering everything available to me, I am going to rank myself as 2.75 for the week, yes it is a touch higher, but the heat and humidity have been lower and I haven’t ventured out much this week, so that is a fair assessment of my physical health for the week.  Sidebar;  More Nickelback, Lucinda Williams, Heart, Seether, Theory of a Dead Man, and Van Halen have provided the musical background for this portion of the weekly report.  Mental health continues at a 9 level, I refuse to be down more than 7 or 8 consecutive minutes.  Of course this rating doesn’t include the normal aches and pains of everyday life.

So to wrap up week ending 08.29.14, we are ranking the week an overall 2.75, with a 9 on the attitude scale.  So we can move on to the vitals for the week ending 08.29.14

 

  • INR = 2.3 taken 08.25.14 – no change in meds

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 94 taken 8.28.14 – earlier in week O2 level as low as 77 after brief walk, took 15 minutes of resting to reach 93  

  • Peak Flow = 210 taken 8.28.14

  • BP = 112/68 taken 8.28.14 – earlier in the week it was as high as 132/80

  • Heart rate = 105 taken 8.28.14

  • Temp = 99.35 taken 08.28.14

  • Weight = 259 taken 08.28.14

 

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 08.08.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect. This week I would like to spend a couple of minutes of your time say thank you for being here for me.

This will be my 302th post in the 2 plus years I have been writing this blog.  Over that period I have accumulated 378 “followers,” I have received over 2,000 comments and have responded to 98 percent of them so my total comments are over 4,000, and I have been viewed over 16,500 times.

If I could I would write an individual note to each of the people who follow me for whatever reason they do and thank them personally. I would. I would take that moment and say without them, without their support, without their comments, this blog may have died on the vine.  So collectively thank you.  Thank you for the time you spend with me, thank you for reading my words and sometimes sharing them with your followers.  I also want to thank you for each and every comment including the smiley faces and kisses.  Sometimes so much can be said with an emotional icon.

I want to thank you for indulging my rants and rages, and my sometimes melancholy posts.  Smiling also thank you for listening to my endless babble regarding how I feel for a given period of time.

As I struggle with my COPD, my blog has become my beacon, my shelter, my friend, and the pillow I cry on. It has provided me strength and a place to display my sense of humor, as well as, my serious side.  But even more importantly it has become something special to my friends and followers.  I can’t even imagine what it means to everyone that reads my blog, but they do so for their own reasons.  Some because they to suffer from COPD, some because someone they love suffers from this or another terminal disease.   My blog isn’t a cure, I am not a doctor, I am a patient just like so many of my readers.  I draw strength from my readers and hopefully they draw some from me as well.  I know that without my readers my world would be much more difficult, and the battle that much harder.  I do believe that without you it would be easier for me to throw in the towel and give up.  But I gather strength and courage from YOU my readers, my friends, my cyber family.  Thank you so very much for all you have given.  And for all that I know you will continue to give.

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring them to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible. Please take care, Bill

 

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Letters to Cari, #3 August 25, 2014….

Your only 9 years old and you have done many things to make me very happy and very proud.  As you read these letters you will find they aren’t really in a natural progression, more so as they come to mind.  But I will try to identify as best I can when they happened.  Smiling and trust me, many of our shared moments come to mind open. 

This particular incident occurred at the Christmas Pageant during your 3rd grade year.  Your mom and dad told us you had a part in the pageant but didn’t go into specific detail. 

As normal we (your grandma and I) are quite early, but that did get us good parking. And because of it we got to participate in many of the Christmas activities going on.  In particular you sat and visited with me as I sipped the hot chocolate you had gotten me.  We chatted about numerous things none of which changed the world but I just enjoyed that moment.  By the way you were dressed to the “nines” and looked as cute as you could be (as the below picture attests).

 

3rd Grade Christmas Show
3rd Grade Christmas Show

  

At long last we were advised it was time to move into the cafeteria because the show was about to begin.  Much to your Grandma’s and my great astonishment as we walked into the cafeteria we found we had stepped into a full house.  There must have been 300 or 400 people crammed to the space, everyone was jockeying for the best possible place to take pictures of their beloved children.  Your grandma and I were trying as well, but we ended up be shoved into the corner far away from where you were performing.  The program was simple enough that allowed full participation from your choir.  

Of course I don’t remember the entire program, I do remember the trash can drums, and thinking that was pretty cool.  Then your group came up on stage.  If memory serves you were in the 2nd row, about 5 or 6 right to left across the stage, and I know your mom or dad will be able to tell me exactly where you stood.  Your group performed a couple of songs and I remember watching you from the back 40 of the cafeteria and thinking she is really into it tonight.  

After either the 2nd or third song there as a shift in the performers on the stage. You came down from your perch and took a position center stage before the microphone and waited as appropriate.  When the music again started you began reading your part from the script you before you on the music stand.  I was astonished by how clearly you read your part, the clarity of your voice, how you announced each word correctly, and with the changes in inflection of your voice as you read.  It was amazing to see such a young lady with so much poise. 

I remember thinking when I was your age I could barely say my own name without sounding even more childish than I was.  I also remember how surprised I was with your ease in front of all those cameras, the flash of pictures being taken, and how all the movement around you did phase you at all.  It was like watching a miniature anchorperson going thru the news. This picture shows you looking at the paper on the music stand, but as you “performed” you would look up from your page and make eye contact, a feat I didn’t feel comfortable doing until I was well into my 20’s.  Yet it appeared so normal for you. 

You are extremely photogenic, and it showed in how presented yourself before that large crowd.  Smiling I can almost see an actress in the making, the smiling a leading lady, or the anchor of the evening news. 

Cari, I had seen you perform a few times before this event, and while your were a good and active participate, you seemed to hold back a little. This time you were all in and  your performance was outstanding.  It was so much fun to watch, and even more fun to brag about you later.  Take care, Love, Grandpa 

Folks, as always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to send them to me.  Take care, Bill  

 
 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 8.22.14

For the week ending 08.22.14, it still quiet time, my jukebox is back, and when I sit in my office it is blasting, but I am using my wife’s computer because I really hate the keyboard on the laptop. I will continue to use her computer until I get WORD installed on the new computer. 

Since last week the coughing seems to have lessened, as I sit here and coughing up fur ball (that’s a joke folks). The mucus which I am coughing is school paste white, so I don’t believe there is anything further or unusual going on in my lungs.  If you remember last week I thought I was going thru a minor exacerbation and during my appointment with Hospice today, my nurse seemed to confirm that suspicion.  The heat and humidity is taking its toll, but I am not the only one who is suffering.  Normal healthy people are also bending to the will of the continuing summer here in Florida and elsewhere across the country.  To avoid the worst of it I stay inside in the A/C, as I suggest you do as well. 

The Hospice nurse also noted and said she would advise the doctor of my not using the Trazodone any longer for the reasons stated last week.  She went on to say that sometimes Trazodone is ineffective as a sleeping aid.  So I will be staying with the Ambien for the time being.

During today’s appointment I was also going to address how I felt I had been blown off last week, besides forgetting to address it, I believe last week was the aberration which happened as a result of changing personal and a recent “right-sizing” at my Hospice.  I am going to keep my mouth shut, because in retrospect I believe I had a burr up my butt last week.

On Monday I meet with Doc Head, it was a productive meeting and the hour when quickly. I did show her the gift I was given in July and she was extremely impressed.  As I am every time I look at it, and because it sits in front of my monitor I see it often.  I was also supposed to see Doc Lungs Monday, but that didn’t happen, I had too many spoons in the bowl, and I didn’t want the 2:20 appointment because he is generally running behind by that point in the day.  So I will see him this coming Monday (I will also have my INR checked). This change will put off the conversation regarding my rapid respirations, until next Monday.  I did speak briefly with the Hospice nurse regarding this but we didn’t come to any conclusions nor did we agree to any change in current actions. Being honest I have been advised there are other stronger drugs available that can alleviate this, but they come with a price (like; driving while using them), so I will be staying with the morphine for the time being, because in my mind it is the lessor of the evils.

All things considered I am going to rate this week a 2.50 physically, and a 9 on the mental meter.  If it were not for the heat and humidity and the SOB that causes this week could have been a 2.75.   

Let’s get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 08/22/14

  • INR = 2.6 taken 07/28/14 – next INR reading scheduled for 08.25.14

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 92 taken on 08/15/14

  • Peak Flow = 210 taken 08/21/14

  • BP = 118/80 taken 08/21/14

  • Heart rate = 103 taken 08/21/14

  • Temp = 99.0 taken 08/21/14

  • Weight = 258 taken 08/21/14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 08/22/14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect.  This week I want to spend a few of your minutes talking about “Mad.”  As usual I have gone to the internet for an “official” definition.  This weeks’ definition comes to us via Dictionary.com I am providing the link because the definition and explanation are so much longer than I anticipated so I will be using the Noun and verb component of the word. 

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mad

MAD – noun — an angry or ill-tempered period, mood, or spell.

MAD — verb — (used with object), madded, madding. Archaic. to make mad.

MAD – verb — (used without object), madded, madding. Archaic. to be, become, or act mad.

MAD — Idioms — mad as a hatter, completely insane.

A few weeks ago I wrote about angry and anger, those 2 words caused a ton of wonderful thought-provoking comments, dialog and a lot of discussions between myself and blog buddies, as well as, my friends on Daily Strength.  Much more than I expected, which caused me to think that I may have been looking to write about being mad almost as much as I wanted to write about being angry.  Because there is a significant difference between being angry and being mad, but are many times they can be interchangeable.

Mad is unique to the individual, we all get mad, we get mad at all manner of things, incidents, events, individuals, poor driving, spouses, children and the list goes on into infinity.  But what many of the terminally ill people I have shared comments/discussions/thoughts with find is that rarely are we mad about dying. We have reached that point where dying isn’t the issue, it’s a result.  Yes we get emotional about dying, none of us wants to die, but dying isn’t the root problem.  The terminally ill have the same problems/issues as a healthy individual, we all get mad when we see events that makes our blood boil, or see another politically charged commercial pointing out faults rather than offering solutions, or read about a child being abused, or how old folks are such easy prey to scam artists, and how the homeless are treated. We all get mad when we feel poorly treated, or misused, neglected, lied to, cheated on, robbed, accused of (fill in blank) or ignored and this list could go on forever as well. These emotions run deep to the soul of everyone, healthy or terminally ill. 

Our discussions have found that being terminally ill is the act blamed for a lot of the “mad” and angry going on between caregivers and patients, between spouses, between friends or any of the different possible combinations.  It’s a label we can all reach for to excuse “mad” behavior, saying if they weren’t dying then they wouldn’t be acting so mad.  The reality is that we could be mad for any or all of those listed above.  What then happens is that the root cause of the mad (whatever issue it maybe) is never resolved, it is sometimes casted aside only to flare up again and again, each time being deflected by saying “she’s mad because she is dying.”  Or he doesn’t understand because he is sick.  Being terminally ill is not an excuse or an alibi for being mad.  Discussions have led me to think that some, maybe many terminally ill folks just let the blame fall on “dying” because it is the easiest solution.  This way they don’t have to waste the time or energy clearing up why they are mad.  Allowing the “mad” to be tied to “terminally ill” allows both parties to get pass the problem without addressing the problem, and everyone moves on until the next time.  Conversely I have heard stories where the terminally ill were in fact a major PIA and carried their dying like a shield to deflect any reproach  Saying things like, I did it or felt this way because I am dying, and on and on.  It is a two-way street, that both sides try to travel with the least bit of friction.

This post isn’t about pointing fingers, it’s about opening eyes.  Being terminally ill or healthy doesn’t change one’s basic values, it doesn’t change one’s morals, it doesn’t change being right or wrong.  Being terminally ill is not an excuse for being an ass.    But being healthy doesn’t allow arguments to be shifted “X is only mad because she/he is dying.”  Arguments and mad have to be settled on their own merits and not because one of the parties in the argument is terminally ill. 

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible.. Please take care, Bill

 

 

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Letters to Cari #2 August 20, 2014

Today is your 2nd day of school.  Your 2nd full day as a 4th grader, I only say this to give you a point of reference when you read this.  Most likely I am long gone, and you have matured a quite a bit, this is just my way of staying a part of your life.

Today I am going to talk a bit about our relationship, and one of the key components of our relationship.  That being trust.  Below is a picture of you and me taking a walk.  It was at a football game. a Hudson High Homecoming.  The red tee-shirt you have is a Hudson High Cougar tee-shirt I believe.  Your mom at the time was the coach of the cheer leaders, and your dad was actively involved in the Home Coming program that would take place at half time.  Your grandmother and I had been invited to come to the game and sit with you as your mom and did their thing.

Grandpa and Cari

Your grandmother took this picture as we began our walk.

At the time this photo was taken you were getting bored, and I invited you for a walk, it was before my disease had taken full force, and I wasn’t on oxygen at the time.  But that is immaterial, we got up from our seats, and began our walk. I reached down, you reached up, and we held hands, you showed your trust in me, you knew I had your best interest in my heart, and you knew I wouldn’t let anything bad happen.  Of course you didn’t say any of this, you were a little over 3 years old at the time, and your communications skills weren’t nearly as refined as they are today.  But this simple act of holding my hand exhibited so much trust.  We walked in the middle of the track, I was about a ¼ step in front, just enough to offer a buffer of protection, as we sundered around the track.  To my mind this was the 1st time you truly showed you trusted me.  You let me lead you, and we kinda chatted, I don’t have any recall of what we said, but I am sure you pointed out things that interested you, and I am sure I pointed out things that interested me.  That day we ended up walking one half way around the track.  They were setting up for the half time show so we decided to turn around the way we came, we stopped in the bouncy room, and then took our seats for the game.

This moment of trust, was the start.  In the coming weeks, months and years, we would  countless times of exhibiting trust towards each other.  Sometimes it manifested itself when we would play “sit on me Grandpa.”  Where you knew I would indeed sit on you, but that I wouldn’t put my entire weight on you.  You would giggle like mad, screaming joyfully “sit on me” “sit on me” “sit on me” as I squished you.  But never were you totally squished.  Else you would be a pancake now.  In other times it manifested itself in the pool, as we played countless games, and I took part it either dunking you or throwing you.  It also showed itself when you were learning to jump into the pool.

As children we are given the greatest gift in the world we trust everyone unconditionally.  We never think anyone or anything will harm us, our trust is so complete.  But as we age, even as children, our trust begins to faultier, we don’t trust that dog down the street as much, we don’t believe that kid is going to be kind, that adult doesn’t quite seem right.

Today you’re 9 years old, you are beginning to develop your own sense of trust, and you’re looking at things with your own eyes, and making your own decisions.   Your mind is setting up the guidelines by which you will soon be making the rules by which you will live the rest of your life.  This is an important time for you.  You are blessed with 2 wonderful parents that are doing everything in their power to ensure you have a good foundation by which you establish those rules.   You have good grandparents that all are trying to help influence you, you have a wide range of cousins helping, and you have your church and the influence it provide.  You have all the tools before you.

As you have trusted me in our childish games, and our quiet times of softly spoken conversations in my office.  I am trusting you to continue to make the good decisions, I am trusting you to grow and be the good person you’re heading towards being.   Cari, again trust me, you will make mistakes, that is a given.  Some mistakes will seem unbearable, others will seem very trivial, and still other times you will be greatly confused by your mistakes.  But Cari, they are all opportunities to learn and grow.

Cari, the growing process never stops.  I am 64 as I write this, and I am learning each day, and yes sweet granddaughter I make mistake, some big some small, and I learn from them just as you will.

Love Grandpa.

Folks as always if you have any thoughts, comments, concerns or questions please feel free to ask.  Take care, Bill

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Letters to Cari, Treasure Box Stories

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 08.15.14

For the week ending 08/15/14, it will quiet time, my jute box is broken, so I will be doing this report solo.  My desktop is on it last breath and the new one is sitting on my desk, I am just waiting for my new Office Professional Suite to arrive, and my IPod moved to the new computer and it will be full speed ahead.  But other than having computer and music woes I am doing I pretty good.

I have had a bad week for coughing, in retrospect I believe I had and got away with having very mild exacerbation of my COPD I will be talking to Doc Lungs Monday and get his read, hell he might say I just had a cold.  My energy level is low, and that damn SOB with be the death of me LOL. As many of you know I spend a considerable amount of time complaining about my not sleeping worth a damn.  My internist at Hospice changed the medication, had me stop taking the Ambien and start taking Trazodone.  The 1st night under this drug, I kinda laid there like a log. Not sleeping but not awake. The 2nd night I slept slightly better than day 1. The 3rd and 4th nights I had my Alpazolam about an hour before the Trazodone and that put me to sleep a bit better, but not as good as it should. The next night as I prepared for bed I ended taking the Alpazolam and Trazodone as well as my bedtime morphine and I slept real good.  But that was way to much medication before bed.  So I have stopped taking the Trazodone and gone back to the Ambien, I may not sleep great but I don’t run the risk of not waking up.

When I see Hospice again I this will be part of the main conversation.  Speaking of Hospice, the organization I am being treated thru is just like any other company or organization.  When change happens, it sinks to the lowest of levels.  There has been a reduction of staff, and clearly they have not worked all the kinks out of how to perform the necessary services with fewer people, I was called on Thursday afternoon about 30 prior to my appointment and the new nurse asked me how I was doing, to which I honestly replied I was doing okay.  To which she immediately responded then she guessed it wouldn’t be necessary for her to stop in this week, but if I needed anything to give the office a call and they would take care of it, then she promptly hung up.  It’s a good thing that I honestly felt okay because being blown off like that could be hazardous to ones’ health.  Then I thought of the more timid folks who say they feel okay or fine or good, when they in fact don’t.  This too will be addressed next week with the Sapphire Team Leader.

I think my most telling symptom of having COPD today is the higher than normal respiration per minute.  I believe that a normal healthy person breaths at the rate of 12 to 20 breaths per minute  I am consistently breathing at a rate that exceeds 20 breaths a minute, sometimes as much as 25 to 27 per minute.  The increased respirations per minute have an impact on other components of the body especially the heart.  I will be seeing my heart doctor in a couple of months and maybe we can work out a plan to slow me down.   I am also seeing Doc Head Monday and Doc Lungs Monday afternoon, I will be addressing the issue of rapid respirations Monday, so Monday is going to be CO-Pay day LOL.

All things considered I am going to rate this week a 2.50 physically, and an 8 on the mental meter.  Going back to talk about Trazodone for a minute, it’s prime purpose is to treat depression, aiding one’s’ ability to sleep is a “side-affect” of the drug. Personally I don’t feel depressed maybe I should but I don’t, and clearly the component of the side-affect didn’t work for me.

Let’s get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 08/15/14

  • INR = 2.6 taken 07/28/14 – next INR reading scheduled for 05.12.14
  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 93 taken on 08/15/14
  • Peak Flow = 210 taken 08/15/14
  • BP = 142/73 taken 08/14/14
  • Heart rate = 102 taken 08/14/14
  • Temp = 98.7 taken 08/14/14
  • Weight = 260. taken 08/16/14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 08/15/14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect.  This week I want to spend a few of your minutes talking about “Medicine” as the word for the week.  As usual I have gone to the internet for an “official” definition.  This weeks’ definition comes to us via Yahoo.  I am not providing the link because I have copied the complete definition into the post.

Medicine – noun  — 1 — The science and art of diagnosing and treating disease or injury and maintaining health.  2 — The branch of this science encompassing treatment by drugs, diet, exercise, and other non-surgical means.   3 — The practice of medicine.  4 — A substance, especially a drug, used to treat the signs and symptoms of a disease, condition, or injury. 5 — Something that serves as a remedy or corrective. medicine for rebuilding the economy; measures that were harsh medicine. 6 — Shamanistic practices or beliefs, especially among Native Americans.  7 — Something, such as a ritual practice or sacred object, believed to control natural or supernatural powers or serve as a preventive or remedy.

The word medicine comes to play this week because of my bout with the drug Trazodone.  I complained that I wasn’t sleeping and was given an anti-depressant to solve the problem.  The problem still exists.  While I am a diehard do as the doctor says kinda guy, I hardly ever question the medicines I am given to help with my battle against COPD, this doesn’t mean I have given up my rights to know what I am taking, the impact (both good and bad) or the and potential side effects.  Each prescription I get comes with an information filled document, whether it’s the 1st time taking the drug or the 100th refill.  That document is always provided and extremely important to both you and me, especially if you have more than one pharmacy filling prescriptions.  You really need to read and familiarize yourself on what each of your medicines are for, potential side effects, restrictions, and when and how to take.  Things like; must we snack prior, is a sip of water enough or should we drink an entire glass. All of this information is in our hand, should we need more information regarding a drug we can follow it onto the internet and do more research. I will be the 1st to admit that in the past I most likely just dropped that info sheet into the circular file, and just started taking whatever med I was prescribed.  But you can teach an old dog new tricks, and my interest is more keen now than ever before.  So yes I do read the info sheets on my meds. We have to be our own advocates when it comes to the medicines we need to take.  If you have difficulty understanding the document I know my pharmacist will explain to me in terms I understand, and I am 99 pct sure yours will be more than happy to help you understand.

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible.. Please take care, Bill

PS: My editor is working on a COPD video project. This will be a series of helpful how-to videos with tips for COPD patients such as how to quit smoking and how to get a good night’s sleep.  I was asked if I knew anyone in the DC or close by that would want to participate.  Someone with COPD close to D.C. who would be willing to speak on camera about these tips and their experiences? I told her I would ask my readers.  So if anyone who lives in the DC area that would be interested n taking part contact me, I will forward your name on.  Thanks Bill

 

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Come to Church…

On Sunday Easter April 20, 2014, I reaffirmed my faith in God, and that his son Jesus died for me, so I would be forgiven for my sins and poor choices.  It wasn’t an easy choice, yet it was very easy. 

Sometimes I claim that I am not the sharpest crayon in the box, my understanding of today’s (August 10, 2014) sermon “Foot Work,” may prove the point.  The scripture for today came from Romans 10:14-15 and I have read it to say in essence that for the word of God to get out there, someone has to take it out to the folks and spread the word.  I believe it goes on further to say that for folks to teach and spread the word someone has to send them out to do so.  As a Christian I believe I have some responsibility for getting the message out.  The below video was shared with us today, and it is sharing the message.

 

 

During the many years I searched I have opened my door the countless times for the Mormons and other groups, I shared a few moments with them, accepted their booklet, sometimes even a prayer and we parted they had completed their Mission, soft smile they led the donkey to the water, but couldn’t make the donkey drink.  Years later the donkey was once again led to the water, this time by my wife.  She led but didn’t try to force the donkey to drink, she let me drink when I was ready. 

Consider this video to be my attempt to lead those of you who desire to be led.  Drink when you want and need.

As always if you have questions concerns or comments please feel free to ask.  Take care, Bill

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2014 in Music, Observations, Ramblings, Treasure Box Stories

 

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Touting My Own Horn

A few weeks ago I went to considerable effort to let everyone know that my blog www.DealingwithCOPD.wordpress.com had been recognized by Healthline.com as one of “The Best COPD Blogs of the Year.”  I would not have known my blog had received this recognition had it not been for a friend at the Daily Strength Emphysema & COPD Support Group. I was extremely honored and had to brag about the recognition and you’ll got it pushed on you LOL. 

For those that know me and are used to me, know I stumbled pretty bad at accepting praise.  For the first year or so if someone said something nice about my BLOG I went to pretty big lengths to down play whatever kind words that were said.  Then early this year I had the light bulb turned on in my head.  Huntmode had her fingers on the switch and turned it to the on position. In that moment of clarity I came to realize how I had been insulting the folks that had been going out of their way to express their appreciation for my efforts.  I can’t thank them enough for their patience and support, and forgiving my knuckle-headness.

Now that I have completed my normally long opening remarks on to the meat of the matter.  Apparently my friend over at DS wasn’t the only person looking at that list of best blogs.  One of the web producers for remedyhealthmedia.com who is also an editor for HealthCentral found my BLOG because of the recognition it got as being one of the best COPD Blogs.  Then I got the below from that editor.

“Hi Bill, I’m an editor for HealthCentral.com looking for COPD bloggers. I came across your wonderful blog and would love to talk with you about writing for our site. If you’re interested, please email me at XXXXXXXXX@remedyhealthmedia.com. I hope to hear from you soon.”

I did in fact contact the editor, and we talked a couple of times.  I explained that I wasn’t a doctor or nurse or someone with any medical knowledge.  I was assured they weren’t looking to me for any medical information.  They wanted a blogger that wrote from the personal perspective, without drama or non-sense, and with a positive mental attitude, which pretty much sums up my blog.

They have an expectation that I will provide at least one acceptable post a month, but would gladly accept 2 posts per month.  I will write about topics that both I and the editor agree too, but the kicker is that the posts can’t be longer than 700 words no few than 500 (or there abouts).  As you’ll know I can hardly say hello in less than 700 words. So I am sure the 500 word minimum will be met without issue.

After careful consideration I have agreed to the terms as offered by HealthCentral, and I am completing the required paperwork.  I have no idea when or what the 1st post will be, we haven’t got that far. To top it off, smiling, I will be compensated for each accepted post.

So folks I am tooting my own horn, but please understand without you, your friendship, your support, your help, and your praise I wouldn’t be anywhere near this. Thank you, thank you so very much. 

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.  Concerns and comments are always appreciated. Take care, Bill

BTW this post is a record short post for me it is only 564 words.

 
38 Comments

Posted by on August 9, 2014 in Observations, Ramblings, Treasure Box Stories

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 08.08.14

I missed posting last week, because I was busy and was putting it off, and didn’t really have anything of substance to address. Hell I don’t know why that stopped me, there are lots of weeks I don’t have anything of substance to report but I do anyway.  Today’s music selections start with Toby Keith’s “Blue Bedroom,” and yes you will get a running commentary of the music during this report.  My last reported dated 7.25.14 spoke of the upcoming invasion of my wife’s good friends.  Well they have come and gone, and a wonderful time was had by all.  It wasn’t as difficult as it could have been, and I wouldn’t have missed their visit for any reason.

It has been a particularly trying 2 weeks since my last report breathing.  The heat, the humidity, has caused a constant issue with SOB.  As for breathing the only time I really have felt comfortable at all is just sitting on my ass, but I refuse to do that.  I have managed to keep up with (my self-imposed) chores, and I have stopped and taken breaks when I needed them, which really has been often.  There has only been a very slight increase in coughing the last couple days.  But that cough has been for the most part very unproductive.  The IPod random selector has been in strange mode today, I started off country, and have had 3 selections from Lewis Black (my favorite comedian) intermixed with Jimi Hendrix, Journey, CSN and Aretha Franklin.  These shifts in music really change the pace of my head LOL. Yet at the end of the day when I am brushing my teeth I will have a massive coughing spasm, which is extremely productive.  It’s almost like a pre precursor to an exacerbation, and while I am not down playing the significance of the words, I am not ready to race around shouting the warning.  But I am keeping a very sharp watch.   The only other ongoing medical issue is that I have had a super low grade headache for what seems like weeks.  It is more an annoyance than anything.  It doesn’t worsen in the bright sunlight, and being in the dark makes no difference and playing my music loud has no impact.  It’s just there.  Yes I have advised Hospice and my team of doctors, no one seems overly concerned because by my own admission other than a tiny bit of annoyance it’s not a problem.

I had only one medical appointment this week which was with Doc Head. Without going into a single detail, we talked, and it was good.  Oh what the heck, we talked about my Blog. Last week I was stood up by Hospice.  The nurse that comes to my home weekly and checks me had advised me that she wouldn’t be coming last Thursday, BUT I would be visited by Hospice.  Well that didn’t happen.  So after a stern talking to this morning I was advised that in the future, if I haven’t been contacted by Hospice in a timely fashion regarding an upcoming “scheduled” visit to call them and put them on the spot.  I am quite capable of doing that, and in the future I will abide to this unless circumstances beyond my control prevail. 

I will also admit I am relying on the Morphine for the relief it gives for my SOB.  I have yet to use the maximum of 6 doses on any given day, but will admit that there are times I look forward to that next dose. 

Considering everything available to me, I am going to rank myself as 2.5 for the week.  Of course this rating doesn’t include the normal aches and pains of everyday life. Sidebar; we have been listening to Billie Holiday, Moody Blues, Montgomery Gentry, Nickelback, Cream, Eric Clapton (playing blues), Ray Charles and Muddy Waters during this session. As for my mental attitude I am a 9 this week.  I woke up each day so far, and have found more reasons to smile than frown.  It is difficult to be better than that.

So to wrap up week ending 08.08.14, we are ranking the week an overall 2.5, with a 9 on the attitude scale.  So we can move on to the vitals for the week ending 08.08.14

  • INR = 2.6 taken 07.28.14 – no change in meds

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 95 taken 8.07.14 — but during the last 2 weeks I have found myself to be as low as 79 pct a few times.  A few deep breaths and some afrin seem to clear things up and my O2 level jumps back into the 90’s

  • Peak Flow = 210 taken 8.07.14

  • BP = 110/64 taken 8.07.14

  • Heart rate = 95 taken 8.07.14

  • Temp = 98.5 taken 08.07.14

  • Weight = 263 taken 08.07.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 08.08.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect. This week I will be giving my 2nd official report on the Hospice “experience.”

On June 1, 2014 I posted my 1st official report on being under the care of Hospice.  At the time I advised that it wouldn’t be a regular weekly report but one that I would share from time to time. Going into my 6th month under the care of Hospice I thought I should provide a view from the front row.  Since my involvement with Hospice there has been only 2 weeks where someone from Hospice did not visit my home.  One was planned, the other I fell thru the cracks.  I am sure if I were displaying serious signs of illness I wouldn’t dropped thru the crack.   Folks shit happens and sometimes the best laid plans don’t work.  I was busy last Thursday and them not visiting allowed me to get other things done.    That is my biggest gripe.  Not bad for a 6 month period.  Now on to the nuts and bolts of this report.  Each week I can expect to be contacted by Hospice at least twice.  One is a call that comes in around 930am each Thursday.  This call is a medicine check.  I am called by a cheerful volunteer that gathers the needed info and passes it on.  The reason for the Thursday morning call is that allows Hospice time to fill the medicine, and deliver it to my home by 5pm on Friday.  They make 2 attempts to deliver each Friday then they will call you until they contact you, and then make the delivery.  I know this because I am so anal and I will call for a prescription refill before it is needed. I will make the refill request even if I have plenty to get thru the weekend.  So getting the delivery is not an issue as long as I have it by Monday or Tuesday at the latest. While it may not be an issue to me, it sure is to them.  If I say I need meds it becomes their mission to get me the medicines before COB (close of business) on Friday.  They are always supper polite, and I have never been asked if I can wait until Monday.  There is only one place I get better service that’s my Publix Pharmacy, but Publix makes me pay, and they don’t deliver so it becomes a push.  The 2nd call is my nurse scheduling my weekly visit.  This visit consists of my nurse taking my vitals, and “chatting” with me, I am sure part of the chat is to check the status of my head.  Clearly (at least to me) they are checking for signs of depression, or negative drug reactions, making sure I haven’t fallen, that my mobility isn’t an issue, and probably several more little things I haven’t quite figured out.

Each month I am also called and visited by a counselor, again to check me out.  Offering to have volunteers come in to do chores around the house, to do some grocery shopping for me, or just to sit and visit.  So far I have passed on these offers.  As I have stated before I can still manage my chores they take far longer, but I still get them done.  I go to the grocery store 3 or 4 times a week to pick up odd and ends, and to flirt.  I also use the aisles as my exercise area, pushing the shopping cart up and down up and down up and down. I can only walk by the ladies hygiene area so many times before management watches LOL LOL. JUST KIDDING!!!.  But those trips to Publix are therapeutic.  My best buddy Art comes over at least twice a week to BS and play cribbage.  While I appreciate the offered services, until I absolutely need them I will manage on my own and with the support of my wife, family and friends.  Sidebar; it has been an extremely interesting day of music, with some comedy thrown in.  I am especially tuned to the head banging music of Marlyn Manson followed immediately by Reba McIntire, that may account for why some of my post seems disjointed.

I have yet to use all the offered services that are available to me from Hospice, but as time passes and my condition changes I am sure I will have my opportunities.    So far I have only spoke to those things I have 1st hand knowledge of, if you have a question please feel free to ask.  I will find out and let you know how it would be handled by these folks if or when I need that service.

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring them to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible. Please take care, Bill

 

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I Won 87,000,000 Today on Slotomania ….

This my friends is just a stupid, fun, non-sensible post.  It speaks of a couple of hours I wasted in today, 2 hours I will never get back, 2 hours that other than make me smile had no purpose.  It’s also costing me another 2 hours to write about it, so I can share it with you.  If you’re not about wasting any time today, smiling you can past this post right on by.

As many of you know I have 5 nebulized treatments per day, sometimes that could be as high as 7 depending on how rough a day I am having breathing.  I really hate wasting my time nebulizing, so while time-consuming, nebulizing is important but just sitting with the mask on while the nebulizer does its’ thing can boring.  So while I medicate, I generally read and respond to emails, chat with friends if they are online, or play stupid Facebook games.  Over the years I have consumed a lot of time playing those stupid games.

Just to show you my level of involvement over the years I have been on Facebook I have been involved with Farmvile, FarmTown, ESPNVille, Hidden Items, Texas Hold Them, Candy Crush (Level 92), 3D Slots, Vegas Slots, that save the Pet game to name a few and concurrently I would be playing Hearts, Spades, or Double Deck Pinochle on Yahoo.  But the games I am currently loyal too are; Words with Friends and Slotomania.  If you are a person with little vocabulary skills you should consider challenging me, you will generally win.  But today’s post is about how I did today playing Slotomania.  Of course I will branch out and talk about other things but the jest of the post is that I won 87,000,000 points today playing Slotomania.  I played two different slot machines; King of Gold, minimum pull 10 points, don’t have a clue what the maximum pull is I have yet to do it.  Though when things go well I will bet, as much as, 100K per pull.  Let me be 100 percent clear on this, I do not have single penny invested in the game, I have never bought extra chips, or additional pulls, I play with what the game gives me. Today I when I started my point total was a little over 500K, I started with King of Gold at 25,000 per pull.  I got real lucky and ran my original 500K up to 4M.  By the time I had run my winning up to 4M I was betting 50K per pull.  It was one of those days.  Once I got a little over 4M I changed games to Nashville Nights (it’s one of the “High Roller” games available) minimum bet 100,000 per pull.  It was my intent to play 100K pulls until I lost back down to my starting point of which was 500K.  Being honest at 100K per pull if you’re not lucky you can lose 3.5 Million quickly, I know I have done it often.  But today wasn’t my normal day.  Today was a lucky day. 

I was hitting the button with great authority today, watching the wheels spin and spin, watching winner after winner fall into place, winning millions and millions on a single pull.  I was the Zen Master of the Slotomania Game today. At one point I was up to 23 million point only to lose all by 3 million, then again to immediately  push it back up to 17 million.  Only again to lose down to 1 million.  My goal was to at worse play until I reached the 500,000 that I started the day with.  But every time I got close to that magic number I went on yet another winning streak, pushing my winning back into the millions and millions.  Finally I just got bored with winning, so I stopped when I played back down to 15,500,000 my starting place plus 15 million, not bad for 2 hours work.  All told over 87 million points passed thru my fingers today. It indeed was a good day.

Now that I have talked about how stupidly I gambled today, let me take a moment and talk about being a responsible gambler.  The reason I could throw away so much is because it wasn’t real, it had no value, not a single bit of good came from it other than me smiling when I stopped.  Gambling is very serious, when I was a kid I was taught one rule about gambling, never lost more than you can afford, and I can say with complete honesty I have never lost more than I could afford. PERIOD. NEVER. NOT ONCE.  I have X amount in my wallet to  gamble and that was it, I have never visited an ATM at any casino.  Folk’s gambling is very serious.  You can lose everything, and then more, and then you can lose anything.  It can and does eat you up and spit you out.  It is as addictive as any drug.  The thrill of winning, of hearing all the noise, seeing the lights flash when you strike it big can get under your skin real quick.  But you MUST ALWAYS REMEMBER, that if the players (the collective us) wins on anything that remotely resembles a regular basis, there would not be an open casino in the world.  The Casino’s only exist because people lose their hard-earned money there.  It wonderful to win 87,000,000 points in a day, but remember I pissed all but 15,500,000 away, the house wins even at Facebook.

Folks, as always if you have any questions concerns or issues with my post please feel free to talk to me about it.  Take care, Bill

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2014 in Humor, Observations, Ramblings

 

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A Timeline for the Progression of my COPD….

Since I have started my blog many folks have asked me about the progression of my COPD, I have been asked; do you know what caused it, how long have I had COPD, when did it start or and how fast has it moved taking over my lungs.  None of those questions do I have definitive answers.  One of the easiest answers I do have is; my COPD didn’t start the day I was diagnosed. 

My COPD started a long time ago.  It may or may not have started with the first cigarette I smoked, or maybe the 1st time I came in contact with asbestos could have been the trigger, then again maybe it was that 1st bad cold or the 1st time I got bronchitis.  My doctor tells me I was predisposed to COPD, like others are predisposed to heart disease, cancer or kidney disease.  Even if I did everything right, lived in a bubble, exercised, ate correctly, and got plenty of rest I could/would have end up with the COPD. This post is about COPD because it is the disease of those I mentioned that I am the most familiar.

There are four stages of COPD; they are Mild, Moderate, Severe and Very Severe.   Very Severe COPD is now starting to be referred to as “End Stage” and I like term better than Very Severe.  This post is about how I have progressed thru the stages of COPD.  I will to talk about it in hindsight, trying to pick up the clues of the disease, recalling bouts of chronic bronchitis, how often I was sick, the duration of the bout, what did I did to prevent future bouts, I will also share what if any medications I can remember. Hopefully this will show folks how slowly COPD takes over your lungs.  Also I will describe circumstances that I feel are unique to me, which has expedited the disease thru my lungs. Which unfortunately for me has possible reduced my life span by as much as 10 to 15 years.

I suspect the reason that the COPD stages begin with MILD rather than some lesser descriptive word is that by the time you are diagnosed you are there, you’re not working your way towards COPD, you already have COPD. I began to suffer the leading edge signs of COPD about 30 years ago.  This was about the time that I started having issues with bronchitis.  During my mid 30’s I was having documented cases of bronchitis at least 2 times a year (where I actually when to a doctor and was prescribed medicine), in addition there were at least one or 2 more incidents a year that when undocumented (where I didn’t go to a doctor, or get medication, I just suffered thru it).  Back then I could get over a case of bronchitis in 4 or 5 days. The Zpak was the most common form of medication used back then. Maybe amoxicillin if memory serves.   

I was officially diagnosed with COPD ten or so years ago (around 2004). But please understand I had been suffering the symptoms and had been treated for chronic bronchitis for almost 20 years prior to the “official diagnoses.” The diagnoses came as a result of a breathing and sleep test, and at the time I was told I was in the Moderate (but tail end) stage of COPD.  All the benchmark signs were there long before I was diagnosed; getting winded with heavy exertion, colds that became the flu, which later became bronchitis. When I was diagnosed with COPD I had already stopped smoking for over 10 years, and while I got some of my wind back after I quit, it all never came back! But also, I was not in good shape, I was extremely overweight (and still am), my diet sucked, I did not have an exercise program, and my exercises really consisted of meeting the needs of family and doing family related chores (cutting grass, weed wacking, building flower boxes and the like). Being honest I just didn’t take care of myself.  Another indication that led to my diagnoses of COPD was a review of my medical history.  At this point I was having at least 2 serious bouts of bronchitis a year, I was given a Zpak, I was advised to nebulize Albuterol 2 or 3 times a day, as needed, I was prescribed a rescue inhaler, and I was also treated with Amoxicillin for 10 to 14 days.  I took all the pills as directed, but was extremely lax on using the nebulizer, and even more lax (if possible) with the rescue inhaler. Also the bouts of bronchitis were so bad that I was missing more and more time at work.

Two events happened over the next 4 years (2004-08) that rapidly moved me from Moderate to Severe and into Very Severe COPD.  In July of 2006 I had a Bi-lateral Pulmonary Embolism, amazingly I only missed a couple weeks of work, but it took months to regain my strength. Also I did notice a significant difference in my ability to breath.  Everything was more difficult, but it was still manageable and I was not on Oxygen 24/7.  The second event took place in March 2008, I had heart bypass surgery.  Two days after the surgery a hole developed in my left lung, right behind the heart. It was decided to see if the hole would heal itself (for 10 days), it didn’t, and about 14 days after heart surgery I was again on the operating table having the hole in my lung repaired. I am not going into all the details here, but I ended up spending over 100 days in the hospital, and came out of the hospital on oxygen 24/7/365 and in the END (Very Severe) stage of COPD.  Once I was well enough to take a breathing test it clearly showed how rapidly my disease had progressed, and that I was now in fact in the End Stage of COPD.  I do not for a moment believe this is the natural progression.  I believe that between the bi-lateral pulmonary embolism and the surgery on my left lung to repair the damaged lung greatly spend up my deterioration. The result was I sped thru the Moderate and Severe stages of COPD right to “End Stage.”  I truly believe that had I not suffered from the Pulmonary Embolism and the damage to my left lung that I would still be in, the (at worse) Severe stage of COPD.  It is my opinion that these 2 incidents move me closer by (at least) 10 or so years closer to the end of retirement.

Another factor which played heavily in the deterioration of my lungs is an immune system deficiency. My immune system was in such a state that the system’s ability to fight infectious diseases such as Pneumonia, MRSA and Pneumonitis, (treated with Zyvox, Colistimethate, Doxycycline, Cefepime, Meropenem, TOBI and Cipro, to name a few, those drugs with lines drawn thru them no longer have an impact on the Pneumonitis or MRSA which has colonized in my left lung) was compromised or entirely absent when discovered just 2 years ago. Doc Infectious (who was called in by Doc Lungs), ran a series of blood tests that shows my immune system barely functioned. When discovered it was determined that my system not been running at any level of efficiency for years. Allowing the COPD diseases to have a far greater impact on my lungs than someone whose immune system wasn’t compromised. Doc Infectious began treating this with a monthly (for the last 20 months) 5 hour IV treatment of Privigen.  My immune system now performs at the lowest level of normal, which I truly believe has played a significant role in my only having 2 hospital stays in the last 19 months.

All of this sounds very grim and to some it may sound crushing.  But I have lived with COPD for over 30 years, and I am not done yet.  Without complications such as; heart disease, the bi-lateral pulmonary embolism or the hole in my lung, I might not even be in the “End Stage” of COPD.  During my progression thru my disease I have learned that exercise is a tremendous help, eating correctly, managing your weight, communications, stopping smoking, doing your best to remove irritants from your environment, gathering support when and where you can, and most importantly maintaining a great attitude all will play a momentous part in your longevity.  Even if it doesn’t lengthen your stay, it will make your stay that much more pleasant for you and those you care for.

Folks this is my story, your story will be about you. This post talks about me, and it is but a snapshot, I realize I probably haven’t covered all I said I would, but like I said, it’s a snapshot.  How you deal with the disease is your business.  My blog shares how I have dealt with my COPD. Hopefully you don’t run into complications, maybe your COPD was caught at such a time and place where if you change some basic habits now, you will not only increase your stay, but your quality of life at the same time.  Right now there is no cure for COPD, but that would have been said for a lot of diseases over the years.  If you’re in the earliest stages, you have to imagine that the cure will be discovered during your life time. Smiling I have had COPD for over 30 years; I got COPD before it even had a name.  And even though I am in “End Stage” I haven’t given up, all I would ask is that you don’t give up either.

Folks as always if you have any specific questions you want to ask or if you have comments or concerns you want to share, please feel free.  Take care, Bill 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2014 in Observations, Ramblings

 

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A Sisters’ Kinda Weekend….

My wife Steph had company this past weekend.  3 of her best friends in the world for the last 36 years came to Tampa for the weekend.  This wasn’t the 1st visit nor will it be the last visit.  Over the years Steph has gone north to visit with these friends time and again.

I have known these ladies only slightly less than Steph, but I don’t know them as well as Steph and I could never hope to. Steph could not have gone out and picked 3 finer people to be her best friends.  While they all have their little horns, their hearts are made of pure gold, and the friendship and love they share for each other is deeper than the Grand Canyon.

The Sisters   

As you look you see Bonnie on the far left, Jean, Linda, and of course Steph.  Bonnie is the reserved shy one, Jean is the court Jester and instigator of mucho trouble, Linda is the Matriarch, and Steph (as I choose my words wisely) is the somewhat quiet calming influence and organizer.  But for all I know Steph could be hell on wheels when she travels north to be with her friends.

I know I was privileged to be around them.  My duties were limited to cooking breakfast and being the sober driver.  Both jobs I took quite seriously, and had a lot of interaction with the ladies in that limited capacity LOL.  Each day I excused myself to go take a nap, but I am sure being the fly on the wall would have been fun.  But this isn’t about me, it’s about them.  The friendship they have built over the years and the effort they have gone thru to make sure they didn’t grow apart.  

They met through their membership in BPW (Business and Professional Woman) almost 36 years ago. After they left BPW they continue their friendship via a monthly (or so) breakfast club, I think at one time the breakfast club was up to six, but the core was these four lovely ladies.  I went a few times, Allison has gone several times, and I am sure there have been others that cycle thru the breakfast club. They met at a variety of local restaurants in the Northern Virginia area.

After Steph and I moved to Florida, she began getting calls from the Club on random Saturday mornings. Smiling over the years many a Saturday morning Steph would get a call from a hysterically insane giggling Jean just to say hi to Steph.  I only heard Steph’s side of these conversations, but I know she spoke to everyone in attendance, and I know from time to time she was laughing so hard she almost pee’d her pants.  Being on the sidelines and watching this, is and has been hilarious.

The way they share warmth and bond, you would never know that they see each other only occasionally.  To an outsider they appear to be quite normal (which they aren’t), and most would think that the four of them together is a common event, it isn’t.  It would be hard to fathom that most of Steph’s communications with them comes via Facebook or AOL, except for Bonnie who is about 2 steps behind the technology curve.  They are so natural together.  They can and do finish each other’s sentences, they laugh at the same parts of movies, and I am sure they share their deepest secrets to each other, knowing that secret will be safe forever.

This was a weekend for relaxing and that is exactly what the ladies did.  Breakfast was served around 9 or so. I cooked, and I know I busted some diet plans.  Smiling, and they really enjoyed breakfast.  After breakfast it was into the pool.  The insanity was contagious.  As they floated in the pool wine was served or bourbon was served on vodka was consumed.  The ladies enjoyed themselves.  Light snacks were all afternoon long, it was help yourself to whatever you could find that you wanted.  The evenings were spent out to dinner and home for a movie or TV show or a DVD.  More wine was consumed, as well as, vodka and bourbon.  LMAO this paragraph would imply that the 4 ladies drank, and to be honest they did LOL. But they knew they were in a safe haven, and nobody got stupid, nobody got drunk. They consumed just enough to keep them all giggling.  Which is far better than most of the “all guy” golf trips I have been on.

To be honest I toned them out, it was their weekend, I intentionally tried not to listen to conversations I thought to be private. I was the bump on the log.  I rarely could add anything of substance to their conversations, because it was about them, their memories, their stories, and their friendship.  But bless their hearts they did try to engage me, and I am honored that they trusted me enough that there were not totally reserved around me.

On Tuesday morning Steph and I took them back to the airport.  With a great deal of hugs, kisses and promises that I know will be kept they headed home.  They took with them great memories of the weekend, and left many a smile on Steph and my face.  Steph is blessed to have 3 such friends, friends that will look after her, her entire life, friends who she will watch out and care for, for their lives.

Folks as always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask, but be aware this is one time I can’t promise to answer them all.  Take care, Bill

 
23 Comments

Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Humor, Ramblings

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 07.25.14…

Good day folks, my home has been invaded by three of the dearest friends my wife has in the world.  They are the loveliest, sweetest, wonderfulist, grandest folks you would ever want to meet and they all read this, so I am not saying anything harsh, they know where I live.  But for the next 5 days (starting late last night) my role around the house will be that of H.R. Step and Fetch, and duty chauffeur for the lot.  That’s not to say I won’t have my fun, just that I am sure I will be busy.  Weather here in Tampa is working its’ way back to normal, with afternoon thunderstorms, and a ton of rain in selected spots. The humidity is normal for the conditions, which just means if you’re outside you will have issues breathing.

I had 2 medical appointments this week, one with Doc Head, and the other my normally scheduled visit with Hospice. 

The appointment with Doc Head was helpful as always. I did speak to her about a concern/fear I was having regarding someone who starts reading my blog, as I begin my journey towards the end of retirement.  The symptoms I display and the information I provide may be a tad bid disconcerting to someone who themselves are just being diagnosed with COPD.  My concern lies in the potential impact my blog may have on mindset of someone in the mild or moderate range of the disease, and reading about what the end stage is like.  Being honest my recollection of the conversation is a bit muddy, but I believe (or want to believe) that I need to remind folks that I had all the symptoms of COPD for almost 20 years before I was officially diagnosed with the disease (at the moderate stage) and it’s been well over 10 years since that formal diagnoses.  

Doc Head also suggested that I do in fact report weekly on my mental state, to clearly show that while the body may be headed in one direction, the mind and attitude does not have to follow.  So effective this week I will in fact be giving a score on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 equals less than piss poor, and 10 is friggin great, and there will be no half or quarter points.  So for the week ending July 25, 2014, my mental health score is 8.  Remember this number has no bearing on my how I feel physically number, and there is no unified number that combines them.  For references purposes the week I had lunch with Colleen and her husband was a 12.

This week during my normal Hospice visit, my nurse and I discussed a multitude of different things. Of course we had the weekly “what is important to me question” to which I answered having a great weekend because Steph’s friends were visiting was important to me.  We also talked about pain (beyond plain old getting old pain) and my pain level.  My current nurse is leaving Hospice to pursue other job opportunities and will only be with me a couple more weeks. I should expect to meet my new nurse soon.  A common complaint I have had for weeks and weeks is that I just don’t sleep as well as I should or need to.  More than once I have asked the prescribing doctor if he would increase the dosage, to which he has said “No.”  I do understand no, and have left that alone.  I did suggest to Hospice that maybe because I have used this drug (Zolpidem Tartrate 10mg) for such an extended timeframe that maybe my body has become accustomed to it, much like it has to some antibiotics, and is no longer effective. The nurse said she would address this with the Team Doctor and advise me.  We also talked about my SOB and the impact it has on my day to day existence.  I can barely walk across the width of my home without stopping to gather myself.  More and more it takes less and less to cause me to stop and gather myself.  I would be lying if I said that the drugs don’t help they do especially the morphine sulfate.  I am allowed a dosage every 4 hours (as needed) which equals 6 doses a day. I have never done 6 doses in a day, I have always found enough quiet time to prevent me going there.  But there are times when I could do 2 or 3 doses in a 4 hour period, but haven’t.  

Considering all the information I am going to rank myself as 2.5 for the week.  Of course this rating doesn’t include the normal aches and pains of everyday life.

So to wrap up week ending 07.25.14, we are ranking the week an overall 2.5, but the attitude is an 8.  So we can move on to the vitals for the week ending 07.25.14

  • INR = 2.3 taken 06.30.14 – next test will be 07.28.14 – but no change in meds

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 93 taken 7.24.14

  • Peak Flow = 205 taken 7.25.14

  • BP = 118/68 taken 7.24.14

  • Heart rate = 92 taken 7.24.14

  • Temp = 98.7 taken 07.24.14

  • Weight = 266 taken 07.24.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 07.25.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect. This week I have chosen the statement “How I choose a word or phrase for this portion of the post” as the word/phrase of the week. Again this week there will be no dictionary definition because one doesn’t exist.  So I will be speaking off the cuff again today.

It really is quite simple.  If during the week I see a doctor, or read a post, or witness an event (medical or not), or have a conversation either live or in chat, or someone has made a suggestion, if it has meaning to me, if I have experienced it, if my imagination catches it and grabs it, I will write about it.  Some weeks I will write down 8 or 9 potential words or phrases to talk about, other weeks I struggle right up to the moment I get to this portion of my post. I will stare at the screen, I will stick a word or phrase in, and if it doesn’t take off then, I keep searching, until the right word hits me at the right time.  The meter for if it grabs me or not is short.  If I am not typing at full speed, and my brain not working overtime throwing words out with moments I discard that word or phrase until the right one pops.  Twice over the weeks I started with a word then threw it out, only to come back 3 or 4 weeks later and write 5 or 6 hundred words on the topic word.  Also there is no minimum amount of words I will use when describing my feeling towards a word or phrase.  I write until I am done, or until I think you have heard enough.  Smiling that’s the point I am now on this phrase.  Thank you.

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring them to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible. Please take care, Bill

 

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A Letter to Cari, July 2014….

Hi Sweetie, I have known you for just over 9 years and 2 months. I met you when you were about an hour old, and held you when you a little over 24 hours old.  You captured my heart the moment we met.  Cari you have been magically special to me since that very 1st day.  I am sure by the time you read this I will have reached the end of retirement, and probably by a good bit.  But I wanted to spend some time with you today recalling and recollecting. 

You are my only grandchild, and because of that I have done everything in my power to help spoil you, and I don’t care who knows.  Your grand mom and I have showered you with gifts and treats.  But don’t let your mom kid you, we did the same thing to your mother as she grew up.  She was just as much a princess at 9 as you are at 9.  But the similarities don’t end there. Your mom as a blond until she was 10 or 11, she enjoyed reading, she was tall for her age group, sports were something she did cause she was told she had to participate (much like you are told) she was good in school, but had to be pushed at some subjects just like you, she had a great enjoyment for music, and you seem to have inherited that as well, and heck even a tiny bit of me has rubbed off because you seem to like the “blues” when we are alone in the car listening to the radio.  Your mom and I also shared some tastes in music for years, but hers likes changed as she grew, while mine stayed rooted.  She, like you she was a beautiful little girl.  And Cari at 9 you indeed a beautiful little lady, dressed up or dressed down, your beauty can’t be taken from you.

I have found you to be much more respectful of my illness than I anticipated.  You have grown up seeing me ill, using oxygen, and being limited in how far I could go with my oxygen line.  You have grown up seeing the cannula in my nose and this wasn’t a reason for not giving me a kiss on the cheek.  You acceptance of my health issues will be of significance to you as you age.   The kindness and consideration you automatically displayed to me will be of great comfort to many folks during your lifetime.  Never stop caring for others Cari.

Since our earliest times we have played well together for the most part.  “Sit on me Grandpa” has always been one of my favorites.  Smiling we have played WII bowling numerous times and you have consistently kicked my butt, LOL I think you cheat at “go fish,” but I can’t prove it and you always win.  And the 1st time you did the “I Got Yahtzee” dance about made me pee my pants.  It was the cutest thing I had ever seen, but I did grow tired of it by the 3rd time that game. LOL LOL. Because your mom was also playing and getting her butt kicked also, she didn’t have a good time, and we both teased her.  You’re like me, my family, and your mom, you don’t seem to like to lose, and can be quite gleeful when you win.  Heck you might even rub it in a bit more than necessary.  But I can handle it, just be aware your mom is extremely competitive and will enjoy beating you a card and board games.  Then there is the XBOX360, and your love of the racing games, that just tickles me to death.  Nobody wanted to play my racing games until you showed up, and I love the racing games.  We have sat in my office for hours play Sega Racing, and now we are moving on to the more sophisticated racing games that use lifelike cars, on genuine racetracks from around the world.  I really enjoyed that. Smiling, we have had a ton of fun together.  We spent hours laying together in my and grand mom’s bed watching movie after move, or in the office, watching the Disney Channel until I thought my head was going to explode.  I remember the countless times you sat patiently waiting for me to finish up something on the computer before we began play.  I don’t ever remember you interrupting me to ask if I was finished, you always showed every bit of your patience.  Cari I have added a picture of us playing Wii when you were 7.

Playing Wii

 

Do you realize that it is because of you that your grand mom and I bought this home? It had to have a swimming pool, a place for our grand baby to play, to laugh, scream, jump, giggle, and have water fights, dunking, splash battles and learning to swim.  We knew you were coming long before you got here.  And we made sure that our home would be a place you always felt welcome, and knew you could always rest your head. 

Cari there is so much I haven’t even addressed, for instance your performances at dance recitals, or taking part in the Christmas pageant or your performances at school choir events.  We haven’t talked about going to the movies, or when I took you and your Mom and Dad up to Kentucky to introduce you to your great-grandmother, and your great uncles and aunt. Or how you are growing up in a digital world and adapting so well. I have a ton more to say, probably a lot you probably don’t even remember.  But I will share my memories with you so you can have mine.  This will be part of my gift to you.

Love, Grandpa.

Folks, as you know when I am not writing about my fight with COPD I write stories for my granddaughter.  It is my way of being here for her at the end of my retirement.   95 percent of the stories to date have been about me, my family, my adventures, my life, my daughter, and on and on, which will be great for Cari to learn about me, and I will continue to write those stories.  But I have decided, to write specific letters to Cari, where I will reflect on events that happened between Cari and I. 

As always if you have any questions, concerns or issues please feel free to contact me. Take care and have a good day.  Bill

 
34 Comments

Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Letters to Cari, Ramblings

 

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Another Sports Story…. A Treasure Box Story

Somewhere in the fine print I have talked briefly about my enjoyment of bowling.  As many of you know, my 1st sports love is golf, at my best I was only poorly good at it, but I loved it.  Bowling I was pretty good, never great, but I didn’t embarrass myself at a bowling alley.

My earliest memories of bowling were as a kid, Dad taking the family on bowling adventures.  I have no idea what I may have bowled, the only a few clear memories is that I did so in sock feet, and Dad only took us a few times. 

I started bowling in earnest when I joined the Navy, it was one of 5 main events to do while in port and not working, in no particular order these five activities were; golf, bowling, drinking, cards and go-cart racing.  The changing of money always took place no matter the activity.  During my Navy years I won more often than not, playing card, go-cart racing and bowling.  I could hold my own at golf, and we were all pros at drinking. 

But this is about bowling.  I don’t care what anyone says about bowling it is a sport.  And as much as I loved golf, I never really practiced, but I practiced at bowling, and I practiced hard.  I was never in more than 1 league at a time, and unless involved in a tournament I only bowled 3 games a week in competition. But for years I would bowl an additional 30 games a week in practice. I worked to make myself better, and I changed equipment when I felt it would help my game and at one point even had a coach.

I was involved in league bowling for 23 consecutive years.  I was involved in youth bowling for 5 years, 3 of those my daughter bowled, and then I coached youth bowling for 2 years.   I also bowled in summer leagues for 4 years.  One was a men’s commercial league which was the most cut throat league I ever bowled in.  Minimum average allowed 170; I barely slipped in with my 171 average at the time.  But it was also the only time I won a major individual award.  During that league I bowled my career best 279, with handicap it equaled a 307 which was single game high handicap score for the season, for which I was awarded the High Handicap Game Award, and it was also tied for 3rd best scratch score for the season. 

Over the course of my 23 year run of bowling I was fortunate to meet, become friends with, and bowl for and against a guy named Robert.  We met on a Tuesday night mixed league not far from we lived in Alexandria, VA. I am not going to say that Robert and I became friends immediately, but we had enough mutual interest that friendship happened. As bowlers we were competitive having approximately the same average, as guys we shared a sense of humor and a sense of right and wrong.  As we aged we shared info about our ailments, Robert was on the kidney transplant list, but never made it to the top.   My issues with my knees became changed to COPD.

Robert loved bowling, and talked and talked about putting together a team to participate in the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Tournament. He asked me if I would want to take part, and off handedly said sure, he had talked about this team for a couple of years and I didn’t see it happening.  Smiling, in October of 1997 Robert approached me and said remember you said you would be willing to participate if I put together a team for the National Tournament, I said sure I remember.  And off we were.  At the time of my beginning to bowl this tournament, my league average was a solid 182. Which meant on any given week you could expect me to throw one game in the 215 – 220 range or one in the 160 – 180 range, I was considered above average.  February 1998 was the first of ten years of bowling in the National Tournament. Picture 1 shows the original team; we had to pick up a 5th at the tournament. Picture 2 shows the last team, Robert had lost his battle with kidney disease, and that’s his shirt draped over the bowling ball. Over those 10 years we bowled in the following: Reno NV – 1998, Syracuse NY – 1999, Albuquerque, NM – 2000, Reno NV – 2001, Billing MT – 2002, Knoxville TN – 2003, Reno NV – 2004, Baton Rouge LA – 2005, Corpus Christi, TX – 2006, Reno NV – 2007. 

 

Bowling Team 1998

Bowling Team 2006

I need to point out what a generous man Robert was, both in spirit, love, and financial.  I bowled in the tournament for 10 years, Robert would not allow me or any of the other members to pay their bowling fees, he could claim it’s his party, and he was paying.  After the 1st year Robert bought the teams uniform shirts (so we could get the annual team spirit award), again he would foot the bill, smiling, he even made special considerations for my Pillsbury Doughboy body, and made sure that no matter what color or style they came in the size I needed to be comfortable.  Year each he would gather the team at the hotel restaurant for a team meal, this included spouses and children that came, which at times numbered up to 12 or 15 folks, and he paid for dinner, drinks, appetizers, deserts, the works as his gift to those that participated with him.  I am also sure that more than once he picked up the cost for accommodations and travel for some team members over the years.  His only request of us was that we allow him to do scheduling around his need for dialysis, and his need for time to recuperate from that ordeal.  To a one we immediately concurred.  Now I know I am making Robert out to be a “saint,” well let me just say this.  From time to time I have been accused of cussing like a sailor, smiling; Robert from time to time could even make me blush.  And lord did he kick the equipment LOL LOL, which is a big no no.  He had been warned about that more than once.  As his skills waned because of his illness, he took it out on the equipment but right or wrong I understood. But folks I still looked at him as a saintly kinda guy.  He had such a wonderful heart, and he fought his illness in such a courageous manner, I suspect part of him is guiding me.

LOL I have stories about each of the events ranging from G rated all the way thru, well you get the picture.  Maybe someday there will be a part two to this post where I speak to them.

Quickly the tournament consisted of each bowler bowling 9 games over a 24 to 36 hour period.  The games were grouped 3 and 6 or 6 and 3. The three games made of the team event.  The 6 games made up the Single and Double events.  Single and doubles were always bowled together, and the team event was always team. So you would never go to the stadium and see some bowlers bowling singles and doubles, and others bowling the team event. 

The USBC stadium is a traveling circus that will/would take up residence in the host city for almost 9 months. They brought the bowling lanes, score board, inspection equipment, inspectors, equipment mechanics, and other personal with them from city to city, and the rest of the needed personal came from the local area.  The Stadium itself was made up of 100 lanes split in the middle with a 12 foot wide carpeted pathway where the bowlers marched in and to their assigned lanes.  Many of you have been to a bowling alley so you know your score is monitored and kept track of on a small TV screen placed 10 feet in front of you.  At the stadium, the scoreboard it like a jumbotron. It stands about 30 feet tall, and your name appears in 2 foot high characters, in bright yellow. And your score is displayed directly below your name, and because of the size and brightness of the scoreboard it can be seen in different time zones. If you’re in the space shuttle, at the right time you could probably see the scoreboard.  This was the single most intimidating sight I have seen period.   

Now some Tournament Bowling facts and facts about my experience; 

o   When the stadium was not repeat not in use you could not practice bowl there.

o   When the tournament started for the team even you were only allowed to throw 2 practice balls (one on each lane).

o   The very 1st three balls I bowled at my 1st tournament were all gutter balls.

o   The 1st game I bowled in tournament bowling was a 97, almost 90 pins under my average.

o   If you added the score for my 1st 2 games of tournament play you beat my 182 average by seven pins.

o   It wasn’t until my 3rd tournament which would have been in Albuquerque did I manage to break 200.

o   During practice before the Syracuse Tournament was the time I bowled 14 consecutive strikes.

o   If memory serves at all, only one year did I actually bowl over my average for the entire 9 games.

o   Because of rain storms in Corpus Christi the lanes were temporarily damaged due to water on the lanes.  Our Single/Doubles matches were bowled at 2:45am (completed at 4:15am) these games had been schedule for 10pm.  We were back at the Stadium at 10am to bowl the team event.  I did not do well that year.  Me and one of the guys spend a good portion of the time waiting for the single/double events at an adult beverage establishment, not only were we exhausted we were half in the bag.   

o   Over the 10 year run of tournament I actually cashed twice, once in a single event and once in the doubles event.  I have framed copies of both checks, and trust me neither covered even a 1/10 of the costs.  But at least cashed.

o   On average 12,000 to 16,000 bowlers take part in the tournament annually.

o   A team consists of 5 people, and when you bowl an event you are marched into the stadium. One time in Reno there were 500 bowlers marched in at the same time. That was cool.

o   My career best game was 279.

o   My career best series (a series is 3 games) is 665.

o   My career worse score for a single tournament game was 97.

Folks that’s about as much bowling information that you will ever want, I suspect when the time comes Cari won’t even make it thru the entire post LOL.  As always if you have any questions, concerns or comments please feel free to ask.  Take care, Bill.

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 07.18.14…

Here in the Tampa area of Florida (where I live) we have had about 12 inches of rain since the beginning of the month.  Some parts of the area have only had 6 or 7 inches where others as much as 18 inches.  Trust me the normal water restrictions are not being applied.  But all that rain leaves a humidity trail behind it, and as any of my respiratory friends knows, that makes breathing that much more difficult.  I say this to continue to advise my non-respiratory friends of the perils that weather can cause, and likewise just how important air conditioning is to us.

My IVIG treatment was an adventure this week.  As most of you are aware I had a Mediport installed late last year.  Smiling, the concept behind this is one stick and you’re done.  The nurse can immediately begin a blood draw or start infusing medicines.  But lucky me, there has got to be an issue with the installation of my port.  Rarely is the port accessed on the first attempt, normally it takes 2 tries before success.  Well yesterday I was quite fortunate.  It took 4 attempts before the port was successfully accessed.  Each attempt was made by a different nurse, the last nurse to do so, was visiting the Infusion Center to install a Pic Line. As a matter of fact she had installed Pic Lines in me in the past, and she‘s a “pro.” She successfully accessed the port in about 15 seconds, after the area was “sanitized” for the 4th time.  This put the start of my infusion an hour behind, and it was time I never made up.  But the nurses were good to me, and to make up for having to stick me so many times gave me a Firehouse sub for lunch.  

I only have one medical appointment this coming week and that is with Doc Head.  I am sure that will be productive.

Last week I spoke of how my use of specific medicines was one of the gauges I use to determine how I feel for a given week. Another gauge I use is how much time it takes me to prepare for a day.  That being going thru all the motions one has to prepare for a day, showering, shaving, brushing teeth, getting dressed, you get the picture. I am beginning to notice subtle changes in the process.  I have to hold onto the grab bar in the shower for longer periods and more often, it is a little more difficult to shave because I do remove the supplemental oxygen when I shave, and I can’t just go from shaving to brushing teeth, I need to stop and gather myself before proceeding. Even putting on cloths requires a break to gather myself.  Smiling, advanced planning is mandatory, I am no longer as quick as I was.  These events speak volumes on the progression of the disease.  It begins as a glacier, but I am afraid the end will be like an avalanche.  This just another factor I use when I give myself a rating for the week.  Considering all the information I am going to rank myself as 2.5 for the week.  Of course this rating doesn’t include the normal aches and pains of everyday life.

So as a wrap up we are ranking the week an overall 2.5, but the attitude is still great, and I look forward to seeing the flowers from the right direction for some time.  So we can move on to the vital for the week ending 07.18.14

 

  • INR = 2.3 taken 06.30.14 – next test will be 07.28.14 – but no change in meds

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 95 taken 7.18.14

  • Peak Flow = 210 taken 7.18.14

  • BP = 106/66 taken 7.17.14

  • Heart rate = 98 taken 7.17.14

  • Temp = 98.5 taken 07.18.14

  • Weight = 267 taken 07.18.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 07.18.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect. This week I have chosen the statement “how do I feel” as the word of the week. I haven’t even done a dictionary search for my phrase because I am wise enough to know it’s not there, so I will be speaking off the cuff today.

As some of you may remember I have spent a considerable amount of time pissing and moaning or bitching or just being obnoxious about, Doctors in particular and some nurses, asking me “how I feel.” I did most of this complaining when I was tied to a hospital bed.  I have even used the snappy response “You’re the one with the million dollar education, you tell me.” Folks I want you to know I have totally stopped that, I was wrong, gosh have I been wrong.  The doctors have a million tests that tell them how the body is, where it is broken, what is infected, how infected is it, is there more than one infection attacking the patient, has the patient more than one broken bone, and on and on and on.  All of these tests tell them, that this drug may work or that drug isn’t working.  It tells them how the bones in your body are mending. The x-rays, the blood tests, the stress tests, and all the other tests a patient is subjected to speak volumes to the health and maintenance of the body.  It helps them define courses of treatment, it helps to define what additional tests need to be given and results studied.  After they have explored all the different avenues it gives them a clear indication as to the direction they need to get to ensure your body is healthy.  But to my knowledge there isn’t a single test they can administer, that tells them “How do you feel.” And this my friends is the single most important question they can ask.  And my flippant response was not justified. Actually it was kinda mean-spirited.

 “Stupid is as stupid does”, from Forrest Gump pretty much sums up my former attitude.  Some may wonder what brought on this change of heart.  It really is quite simple I think.  Each week the Hospice nurse comes and takes my vitals, makes sure I don’t need any medicines, and does a general health assessment.  Part of that assessment is that simple question “How do I feel today?” or sometimes they ask “What do you miss today?” About 3 weeks ago I had a light bulb kinda moment. The light came on, it was so simple, all they are looking for is to see if my mental health is a good or bad as my physical health.  If I answer in a positive manner they get the input that my mental health was in a good place, it also could help them determine if their medical approach correct.  Also if my mental attitude is positive, even if my body is not responding to the medical treatment, it tells the doctors that while the treatment may need to be changed my attitude helps to keep me in the game.   Conversely if I tell them honestly that I feel like crap, and help them define why, they can immediately go back to the tests and begin the search, looking for that one thing they may have missed, or do they need to change medicines, or do I need counselling, or is it a combination of things that is needed.  That question and an honest response can make a significant difference in one’s treatment.  I truly believe that my attitude has played just as important role in my continued fight against my disease as the medicines I have been given (smiling maybe the medicines have a slight edge).  But attitude can make a significant difference.

All of this is being said so you don’t make the same dumbass remark I made.  I can’t stress how important it’s that you are completely honest with your doctor, giving him/her every opportunity to help you.  Even if you have a terminal disease it is still just as important, for as long as you’re trying, you give your doctor the opportunity make you as comfortable as possible for as long as possible. 

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring them to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible. Please take care, Bill — ps no music was played during the creation of this document, I was busy watching the “Open” actually listening to it and watching replays of shots I missed.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on July 18, 2014 in How I feel on a particular day

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 07.11.14…

It was nice to see that you’ll made it thru the 4th with little to no issues.  Some of your pets were stressed I am sure and I do hope they have recovered.  But now that should be the last of the significant fireworks until, until hopefully New Year’s.  Oh, by the way, it is Saturday July 12, 2014 and I am just starting my weekly report. So don’t be greatly surprised if you don’t see this until sometime early tomorrow afternoon.  Sidebar; we begin the day with Travis Tritt, “Anymore”.  The weather has been so so this week, the normal hot and humid weather we expect in Florida, but the sea breezes have been playing hell with us, and have screwed up the weather pattern, this week we have a lot of AM monster storms, with the evenings being clear and calm. Forecasters say things should normal out by this weekend. We will see!  The reason I mention the weather is because it has significant impact on how I feel during a given period. Heat and Humidity just eat my lunch and leave me quite weak.   But I am sure if I lived any of places I have lived in the pass the weather would have the same impact, so Florida isn’t the problem LOL.  

I saw Doc Head this past Monday, and as always I found that to be productive.  It doesn’t matter to me what we talk about, it helps and I like talking.  I only have one medical appointment this coming week and that is for my monthly IVIG treatment.

One of the many gauges I use to evaluate how I feel for a given week is the amount of specific drugs I use on an “as needed” basis.  Two of those drugs are Morphine Sulfate .25ML to be taken every 4 hours (as needed) and Alprazolam .5 MG table to be taken every 8 hours.  Both of these drugs are used to ease SOB and both of these drugs are quite effective and addictive.  It is my understanding (drilled into me by my Doctors) that at the dosage levels currently prescribed I have very very little to be concerned about.  Besides as explained (and these are my words) I don’t need to be concerned if I become addicted because end of retirement will arrive before any impact from a potential addiction becomes an issue. Having said all that, I have been extremely careful in my usage of these drugs, and there hasn’t been a day when I have used all the “as needed” dosages.  But for four days this week I have wanted to, and have reached for these medicines far more often than normal.  It is for this reason I am going to give myself a 2.5 for the week, it could’ve been lower.  As for an overall general health assessment, yes the SOB is wearing me out.  The harder it is to breathe the harder it is to do everything else.  I have all the aches and pains an out of shape 64-year-old would have,  so if I didn’t have COPD I really would have very little to complain about health wise.

On the bright side, if I were scoring the week of a combination of mental and physical health I would have given the week a 7 because of the emotional high I got this week, which by itself would have been a 10 on my 1 to 5 scale.  Were 1 equals “death sucking on a lifesaver”, and 5 being able to play golf without the assistance of supplemental oxygen. Sidebar; DL Hughley then Hendrix, followed by Garth Brooks, then CSN, Gretchen Wilson, AC/DC, then Nickelback, Ray Charles and now Aretha Franklin, followed by Marilyn Manson.  No wonder my head spins sometimes.  So as a wrap up we are ranking the week an overall 2.5, with a great mental attitude. So we can move on to the vital for the week ending 07.11.14

 

  • INR = 2.3 taken 06.30.14 – next test will be 07.28.14 – but no change in meds

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 93 taken 7.10.14

  • Peak Flow = 215 taken moments ago, 7.11.14

  • BP = 108/62 taken 7.10.14

  • Heart rate = 102 taken 7.10.14

  • Temp = 98.7 taken 07.10.14

  • Weight = 266 taken 07.10.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 07.11.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect. This week I have chosen “COMMITMENT” as the word of the week. As I normally do I will start with the dictionary definition for the word.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/commitment

Commitment Definition com·mit·ment  — Noun – a) promise to do or give something b) a promise to be loyal to someone or something c) the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something 

Go to the link above if you want or need a more complete definition of commitment.

I struggled all week looking for a word that I wanted to address, it came to me the moment my preacher spoke of it during church today and as it as it relates to being a Christian that our commitment to being Christians is not a 9 to 5 job. It was great sermon, her sermons generally are great. 

A little over 7 years ago I was “officially” diagnosed with COPD. (But please be assured that I had been working up to this official diagnoses for 20 years) I was already in the moderate stage and pushing against the severe stage real hard.  Doc Lungs told Steph and me that it is terminal, and there was no cure, and at best I had 3 to 5 years.  I don’t remember what we spoke about for the next 10 minutes, we left his office in silence, I am sure we both had that super stunned look. I know I moped around a bit, and 2 weeks later I was back in Doc Lungs office.  He sat with me and said “Bill, I will commit to you that I will do everything in my power to help you manage this, we will change your medicines as new “better” ones become available, and I will work with you every step of the way.  But this will only work if I get your commitment to fight this as best you can, if you don’t fight I can’t help.”  It was at that moment I made the commitment to fight my COPD with every tool at my disposal, that I would not wallow in self-pity, I would not bemoan my illness, and that I would be my own advocate, that I would enjoy the remainder of my life to the best to my ability.  Sidebar; we have been listening to Trace Atkins, Lewis Black, Montgomery Gentry, Aerosmith, SRV, more Nickelback, AC/DC, Cream, 3 Doors Down, Mountain, Rob Zombie and the Eagles during this session. Folks I have honored that commitment for 7 years, and I will continue to honor it. 

This blog is a direct result to that commitment and the fact that my wife just nagged my ass, again and again and again, until I finally gave in and said “FU…. It!” And I started writing with the goal to help and educate as many people as I could. I am not a quitter, (hell I couldn’t quit smoking, BUT I DID STOP), and in a little over 2 years I have written a 286 posts of which 114 are “How I Feel’s”.   I have reaffirmed my life for Christ, but I also have made the commitment to live as healthy as possible.  I exercise everyday even if it’s just pushing a shopping cart up and down the aisles at my local Publix, or ensuring the laundry is done, folded and put away. I watch my weight and it watches me, when my wife is home I cook and eat better, healthier meals.  I try to rest but sleep does elude me sometimes. I maintain a positive attitude, and I really don’t fret about the end of retirement.

That said we all have choices.  When we get devastating news that we or someone we love and cherish has a terminal disease, or one that has no cure, or both, or even if you’re as heathy as a horse. With that news comes choices, and you can choose to make the necessary commitments to make the most you can before the end of retirement.  You can make commitments to eat better, to exercise more, or to stop smoking.  You can make commitments to get your personal life in order.  To not burn bridges, and to try and mend those bridges that have been burnt.  You can commit to your Doctor, to pay attention to what he or she has to say, and do your best to follow his instructions, you can also commit to keeping your doctor informed of the changes you feel within, because as you live thru this you will usually notice changes in your daily health pattern long before a hospitalization is needed, if you’re aware and in communications with your doctor.  You may be ill, but you still need involved in your health.  These are commitments you can make to yourself, your family, your friends, and your doctor which can all have a positive impact in a negative world. Hell you can write a blog, it sure has helped me.

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring them to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible. Please take care, Bill

 

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A Golfing adventure…. A Treasure Box Tale…

For anyone who has read a word about me, you know golf is one of my lifetime favorite activities.  I have spoken about it in countless posts, I have shared stories about my favorite 4some, and I have talked about the DIVES I have stayed in just to play.  I have admitted to sucking at golf, and being lucky at golf.  I have brag about this, that, and the other about golf, and have claimed that I have never not enjoyed a round of golf.  But one of the best memories of golf came from the time I played with Allison, the 1st time she ever played golf on a real course using real everything.  Today I will share that story.

But before I go any further I need to tell Cari, no matter why her mom says, her mom is one of the most competitive people I have ever encountered in my life.  She plays Yahtzee with the same go for the neck, killer attitude you do, she play’s Monopoly like she is a slum lord, and her days playing field hockey and Lacrosse, well, to say “she took no prisoners” is a vast understatement.   But and this is a very big butt, she was a true sports person, she always played clean and with respect.  Sure she would try to decapitate her opponent, but she did so with a smile, and at the end of the game she was the 1st to shake hands and congratulate her opponent. Win or Lose, but like me she has always enjoyed winning more.

For as anal as I am you would think that I would have written down the date this event took place, I do know where it took place, I know the week it took place, I just don’t know the year it took place.  The location was Phoenix, Arizona. The time frame; it was the week between Christmas and New Year; we were in Phoenix because Steph had to either attend a conference or make a presentation at a Conference.  I believe we flew out to Phoenix on the 26th of Dec and returned either the 1st or 2nd of January.  I know that Steph was only involved in her work related event for 2 or 3 days at the most.  Because the trip was filled with day trips to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, and we had a ton of fun and I am extremely happy that the car had unlimited mileage.  Gosh here I go again 4 hundred words of setup.

All smiles the Round is just beginning

All smiles the Round is just beginning

 

This round of golf was only 1 of 2 times we played golf together, and it was the 1st time.  I want to believe that it was a Tuesday because the golf course was not crowded, which would allow Allison to spray the ball all over the place, and there wouldn’t be anyone behind us bitching about our slow play. 

We were joined on the 1st tee by a single; I explained that it was Allison’s 1st round of golf on something other than a putt putt course, and that I expected the round to be relatively slow.  He introduced himself and said he would rather play a slow round with folks than a quick round by himself.  Having played as a single before, I knew the feeling.  It turns out the guy was slightly better than me, and quite cordial.  If offered advice when asked, and didn’t step on my toes at all during the round. He kept an eye on the ball flight and had an eye almost as good as mine.  Because of this Allison only lost 2 or 3 balls the entire round.  Of course this doesn’t count the balls in the water, we could all see the splash then, and for a beginner this was a MAJOR victory.  And the more she played that day the better she got.  She was upbeat, the picture shows us at the 1st tee, she maintained that smile the entire round.  And like a true golfer she cussed (as well as someone not used to cussing at that age could) a bit when she screwed up, I was so proud of her. She truly nailed a few shots, enough so I thought if she ever gets even half way serious about this game, she will kick my butt.  It was clear she was having a good time, and we chatted the entire time about a variety of things not all golf related.  

The Pièce de résistance came on the 18th and final hole of the round.  Allison was giddy and getting tired, she had found out that 5 hours in the Arizona sun (even if it is a dry heat) will wear your ass out. Still smiling, still joking, still having a good time, she knew this was the final hole for the round. She didn’t many any wild proclamations, she wasn’t bragging, she was looking forward to that cold soda that was only 400 yards away.  Allison tee’d up the ball for her final drive of the day.  Driving hadn’t been her strong suit, (hell, get in a car with her and you can see it still isn’t her strong suit).  But she cracked her best drive of the day, smack down the middle of the fairway, and long.  Lord the girl was an athlete, and now she was smug because she out drove me.  My second shot was fair, short of the green, but close enough that I was happy.  Allison’s 2nd shot was as ugly a shot as you can imagine, rolling maybe 30 yards dead left, her ball came to rest near the trunk of a small bush like vegetation, but she had room to take a stance, and she again hit the crap out of the ball, her third shot hitting short of the green but with plenty of top spin the ball rolled up and to the very back edge of the green at least 45 or so feet from the flag.  I dumped my 3rd shot, and my 4th was about 10 feet from the flag.  I walked over to Allison gave her a kiss for getting on the green, and helped her line up her totally impossible putt. This was a 45 + foot putt, downhill all the way with at least 3 major breaks before reaching the cup. We discussed it for about 15 seconds or so, and she lined it up. My only real advice was DON’T HIT IT TO HARD! Allison struck the ball like a pro, I knew immediately that the ball had the right pace, and it was amazing to watch.  You could have put any PGA player in that position, and he would have had a 1 in a 1000 chance of making that putt.  OK OK maybe 1 in a 500 chance.  But this was Allison’s 1st round of golf; she barely knew which end of the putter to hit the ball with.  She hit the 1st break point perfectly, and was cruising towards the 2nd break point still on track and still at perfect speed, her ball made the next break, and was destined for the hole, it just had to maintain its speed, and damn if it didn’t, that ball dropped dead in the center of the cup.  Allison who had been walking kinda behind the ball, immediately dropped her putter, and when into wawa wawa wawa chicken dance, giggling, laughing, prancing all over the place.  The guy who had been playing with us all day just turned to me and said “I can see who the golfer is in your family,” In a laughing tone, walked over and shook Allison’s hand and congratulated her, then sunk his 15 birdie putt.  I on the other had 2 putted for a double bogey.  Yes we knew who the golfer was in the Hamilton family. 

Below is the scorecard from that round of golf, it’s one of a dozen or so scorecards I cherish, but none more.  I am 64 years old and during the course of my life I have played over 1200 rounds of golf, of all of those rounds this was by far and away my favorite.  Allison’s par has the box around it, and I don’t remember for even a second why certain holes have x’s below them.

Scorecared

 

As always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to share or ask them.  Take care, Bill

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 07.05.14…   

Folks, I hope you successfully survived the three “F”s food, fireworks, and fun that come in abundance on July 4th.  As for me, it was as quiet as it could be.  The neighborhood fireworks started around 3:30pm reached their most intense time around 9:30pm to 10:30pm with some of the longer fuses going off from time to time all night and still this morning. First sidebar, the music is pure random today, we started with Aretha Franklin, followed by George Thorogood Reba McEntire,  and now Brooks and Dunn, so it’s sound like we have the potential for a Country Music Morning. It is approximately 1015am my brother-in-law just left after a 2 day visit, which I thought was going to be longer.  He’s a good guy and we have been friends as long as I have been married to his sister.  So clearly I am getting a late start but I promise this will be in your inbox no later than tomorrow afternoon, it has been miserably hot and humid this week, with that being broken up yesterday. The pool temperature has climbed to over 90, so it isn’t nearly as refreshing as anyone would like.  If the pool vacuum worked a touch better I would have a 9,000 gallon hot tub. LOL LOL.  But I know you’re not reading this for the weather and pool report.  The heat and humidity have played hell with me this past week, and my scheduling seemed to have me out and about during the worse part of the day, so physically I have been drained all week.  Of course coming with that is a harsher SOB.  Still folks all things considered I am going to give myself a score of 2.75 for the week.  No I don’t feel as good as I want, but I sure as hell don’t feel as bad as I could. So once again it is a 2.75 score for the week.  Last week I posted a length to an award this blog was given, and many folks contacted me and said the link didn’t work.  I am going to try one more time to make it available, because I am kinda proud of it.  

http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-copd-blogs 

Once there just scroll thru until you come to page 14 that would be me.

Last week I spoke of the need to pace myself, and as the summer wears on that is more and more evident.  I think this is something that each of us who suffer from a respiratory disease need to keep in mind. But this holds true and goes way beyond those who are ill. Smiling, take a look around you, see that cranky child, I rest my case. LOL.  This is what heat and humidity do to you, and ME, brings out our inner child. Sidebar; we have moved on to Jimi Hendrix, Garth Brooks and Freddy King, being on full random, well just be ready for surprises. So folks, I just wanted to remind you that you’re not invincible.

I had only 1 doctors’ appointment this week, that was to have my INR checked, and that was 2.3 well with the therapeutic range, the next check will not be until July 28, 2014. On the 3rd of July I hand my weekly visit with the Hospice nurse, that went well, and per normal that took about an hour. I still haven’t goofed on the nurse when she asked me “what do you miss” question, without thinking I give her an honest answer. Next week I see Doc Head on Monday and that’s it for the week. I have no, none, nada, appointments until the 16th; I may go into Doctor withdrawal, if am not careful. 

Let get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 07.05.14 

  • INR = 2.3 taken 06.30.14 – next test will be 07.28.14 – but no change in meds

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 95 taken 7.3.14

  • Peak Flow = 215 taken moments ago, 7.5.14

  • BP = 110/60 taken 7.3.14

  • Heart rate = 96 taken 7.3.14

  • Temp = 98.5 taken 07.3.14

  • Weight = 265 taken 07.5.14 

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 07.05.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect. This week I have chosen forgive/forgiveness as the word of the week. As I normally do I will start with the dictionary definition for the word.  

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Forgive

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/forgiveness

forgiveverb(used with object), for·gave, for·giv·en, for·giv·ing.  1. to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.  2. to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).  3 to grant pardon to (a person). 4. to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one’s enemies.  5. to cancel an indebtedness or liability of: to forgive the interest owed on a loan.

forgivenessnoun 1. act of forgiving; state of being forgiven. 2. disposition or willingness to forgive.

Two weeks ago I spoke at length about anger, and how one needed to avoid at all costs saying those things that can’t be unsaid. To avoid saying things that “sorry” can’t fix.  Having been that angry at times during my life, and having someone be that angry at me, I could speak from experience, and I suspect that many of you have said things or had things said to you that clearly would have been best served not being said at all.  In  my earlier post I had concluded that anger came as a result of really not thinking, but verbally exploding.

This week we are going in the other direction.  We are going to discuss the act of forgiving.  As rapidly as angry comes upon a person, forgiveness seems to take forever and a week.  The words those terrible words dig deeply, and they fester, they rattle around, and they don’t fucking go away.  Sidebar; I just went from AC/DC to Lewis Black to Sarah McLachlan to Stone Temple Pilots, random play makes for strange bedfellows. In time the pain begins to lessen but it rears its ugly head at the most unexpected moments.  Your brain flashes like a strike of lightening, and there it is again that unrelenting anger, and there you are again mad as hell.  It’s because forgiveness has not started, you think you have forgiven the person, and 99 pct of the time the actions are long gone, but a look, a grunt, a condescending smile, can cause it to rush back.  I had always thought that forgiveness was a natural trait, it just happened, but I have been so wrong.  You really have to work at forgiving; the action of forgiveness seems to be multi-step.  And through it all the individual responsible for the anger has to help you forgive, and even more importantly you have to allow them to help you forgive.  You have to stop harboring the thoughts that angered you originally.  You as an individual have to make a conscious effort to forgive, but the very first step is getting over it.  The definition above for “forgive” especially number 4, really seems to be the key.  For forgiveness to begin you as an individual must “…cease to feel resentment against.”  Sometimes this takes much longer than you expect or anticipate.  And this is by no means perfect. But it is a place to start.  The definitions for “forgiveness” really seem to define what one must go thru to forgive.  The second definition “disposition or willingness” means a real action has to be taken on your part.  Unlike how naïve I have been, thinking forgiveness is a natural event; in reality it only becomes natural thru a significant effort.  Smiling there is a life lesson here someplace.  It would be apt but appropriate to say practice makes perfect when it comes to forgiveness.

I am also saying that those of us with a terminal disease really need to work on these skills now, because we really don’t have time to wait. Oh you healthy folks need to pay attention to this as well, just because you think you have more time, doesn’t make it so.  Besides enough of you healthy folks have said time and time again, “Oh, I could die tomorrow.” Well maybe you might, so pay attention. I for one can’t see any good that can come from taking a lot of anger to the grave with me.  Having no experience at dying (thankfully) it seem so counterproductive to harbor those feeling of rage, anger or angriness to the end, and it is my intent to be free of them to the best of my ability before I go.   I can’t help but feel it will make the transition to end of retirement easier for me and those I love and care for.

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible. Please take care, Bill

 

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Madison Rising – The Star Spangled Banner

FlaHam:

This is being provided courtesy of Huntie, it’s a version just as strong and as powerful as Jimi’s Hendrix, with stirring images as well. Enjoy, Thank you, Bill.

Originally posted on Chasing Rabbit Holes:

I am a traditionalist and yet fell madly in love with this raucous rendition – crank up the volume!

View original

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

More about me than you would ever want to know….. A Grandpa Tale

Dear Readers, if this is the very 1st time you have ever read one of my posts, I am truly sorry to subject you to the following, I would suggest you look into the archives to find something interesting, this will just bore you to tears.  If you are someone who has followed me for a bit, you know I write a lot of stories for my granddaughter, to create memories of me for when my end of retirement comes.

For those of us old enough to remember AOL 1.0, that’s when I began my online experience.  It has been a wonderful experience to be sure, and over the years I have met and become cyber and real time buddies to a ton of folks. One of the ways folks learned about each other over the years where to send out questionnaires.  These questionnaires provided the answers to many commonly asked questions.  To be sure the online community has changed significantly since I was 1st online.  Sadly many of the changes have not been for the good.  But before I get way off topic, hardly a month would go by without a friend or chat room buddy or joke buddy wouldn’t be sending a questionnaire.  I think I was one of the rare ones, because every time I got the questionnaire, I completed it and sent it on. At one point I was only sending it back to the person who sent it, and my closer buddies (if the questions were significantly different).  What I have decided to do is take one of those questionnaires (from the wayback machine) and answer it again for my granddaughter only this time I will each question two ways, or maybe three. What the answer is now, what it would have been 10 yrs, and what it would be 20 years ago.  As you read you will find that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  The questions had definitive answers that the years don’t change.  So I am sorry now if that disappoints you. 

Already I have changed the ground rules I am using 2 different questionnaires and will be applying the answer as appropriate.  This 1st questionnaire is from the late 90’s early 00’s.  Just so the record is straight, this is being done on Wednesday July 2, 2014.

This is for your entire Life!    X=Yes  O=No

(X)       Gone on a blind date – several times but all prior to 1973 — Makes me feel old from the very beginning

(X)       Skipped school – yes, but not since 1980 (in 1980 I skipped college classes).  Yes I am dating myself lost count of the classes I skipped a long time ago.

(O)      Watched someone die – and I am thankful I haven’t.  

(X)       Been to Canada – the 1st time was in the mid 1990’s          

(X)       Been to Mexico – the 1st time while in Radioman “A” school 1969, have been to several Mexican ports of call since 2006, visits on Cruise Ships ports of call.         

(X)       Been to Florida – Move to Florida 2002 – had been here dozens of times prior to moving here.            

(X)       Been on a plane – My very 1st flight was when I left Louisville to go to bootcamp in April 1969            

(X)       Been lost – more times than I will admit                      

(X)       Been on the opposite side of the country – many times both during the service and as a civilian both working and visiting          

(X)       Gone to Washington DC – lived and worked in the DC area for almost 30 yrs                         

(X)       Swam in the ocean – yes and have been sunburnt on both coasts

(X)       Cried yourself to sleep – I believe we all have or will have at some point  

(X)       Played cops and robbers and I played cowboys and Indians

(X)       Recently colored with crayons – when I originally answered these questions the answer was no but having Cari in my life I can change this to a Yes

(X)       Sang Karaoke – at Joe’s in San Antonio, TX 1998 – it wasn’t a pretty sight   

(X)       Paid for a meal with coins only? – Christmas 1976 for Steph onboard the USS Independence – one of the best meals we ever shared

(X)       Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? – and said many things I wish I could take back

(X)       Made prank phone calls – I was making crank calls before there were spam calls     

(X)       Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose – it wasn’t a pretty sight  

(X)       Caught a snowflake on your tongue – but this was before I moved to Florida   

(O)      Danced in the rain – maybe this is something I need to do while I still have a chance.        

(X)       Written a letter to Santa Claus – yes and I will and have encouraged any child that may have thought I was him to do so 

(X)       Been kissed under the mistletoe – yes but would have enjoyed more opportunities

(X)       Watched the sunrise with someone [and the sunset too.] – Yes  

(X)       Blown bubbles – Yes Cari and I have done so out on the Lanai

(X)       gone ice-skating – yes it was in the early 70’s and my butt is still sore  

(X)       Been skinny dipping outdoors – I have a swimming pool in a private backyard, and while I may look like I am a whale, I look like a whale enjoying himself

Here is the second set of questions, clearly the going back 10 the 20 years isn’t working out, but as appropriate I will share that information.  Now on to a game of 20 or more questions;

 

1. Any nickname? – yes “Ham” has been my nickname for over 45 years, but I have also been called “Red” at various times until I was 40, and before I even got out of elementary school (3rd grade) I was called Camelskin  

2. Mother’s Name? – Ila   

3. Favorite Beverage?

non-alcohol – Ice tea unsweetened no lemon, Coke, lemonade (pink) and the most important of all Water – Coke and lemonade thru my high school years, Coffee during my Navy career – Water didn’t become truly important until I started coming to Florida on a regular basis, now it is my 1st drink of choice

alcoholic – Knob Creek Bourbon on the rocks – Greygoose on the rocks – a good Bloody Mary (do not use greygoose), and Corina for my beer.  Being honest my choice in alcohol have changed as I have aged, my normal go to Bourbon is Jim Beam and has been for 25 years. I didn’t discover good Vodka until later in life, so whenever I had a bloody Mary it was always with well vodka. 

LMAO as I am typing this, I am trying like the devil to figure why Cari would ever want or need to know some of this stuff. 

4. Body Piercing – None except for those made during surgery

5. Tattoo – No, but I have scars, and those have much better stories than tattoos.  Cari to my knowledge your mom has 2, by the time you read this she may have 3 or 4 for all I know, ask her, and please don’t get any, well maybe one.  

6. How much do you love your job?—before I retired I was quite fortunate, I almost loved my job.  I had a 39 year career working for the Federal Govt, I was extremely fortunate to have worked on some very interesting projects, that were of significant importance, and I may have already spoke of those in a different post.  But my last four years of my career was my favorite because I worked directly with my customers, that part, well love is too strong a word, but I really enjoyed my job.  I am now retired and I enjoy this as much as I enjoyed working.

7. Birthplace – Baltimore Maryland

8. Favorite vacation spot – Australia, we visited there for 2 weeks in November 2001, next favorite Hawaii in 1999, next favorite Disney Cruise 2013, before all of these and when I was Cari’s age we always vacationed at the Grandparents place.

9. Ever been to Africa? – Yes during the Navy years, most likely it was 1970.

10. Ever eaten just cookies for dinner? Yes, I bet it would be difficult to find someone who hasn’t especially when you add the LARGE glass of milk

11. Ever been on TV? – yes evening news December 21, 1999 in London England about terrorism and the Y2K fears, CBS interviewed us as we departed a double decker bus. I stood in the background looking like a dork while Stephanie talked.

12. Ever steal traffic signs? No, and Cari I suggest you don’t either that is extremely dangerous.

13. Have you ever been in a car accident? YES – Christmas night 1967, partiers ran a red light and struck the car I was driving. Then 6 months later I was a passenger in a vehicle where the driver lost control and we struck a telephone pole.  I was in the back seat, and the 3 friends in the front were all seriously injured.

14. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? – I have driven both, owned both enjoyed them both, 1st car was 61 Buick La Salle, 2nd 60 Chevy Corvair Spyder, 3rd was a 1960 Chevy Impala Convertible (my 2nd favorite car) and I still remember the 16 other cars I have owned during my lifetime.

15. Favorite Number – 55 that was my jersey number when I played JV Football

16. Favorite Holiday – Thanksgiving, always has been and I have written more than 1 post about the meal.

17. Favorite day of the week? Sunday

18. How do you relax – read or play video games, I used to golf and bowl but health issues has taken that off the table, now my favorite hobby my passion has become this blog. Cari hobbies are extremely important.  As a person you must be rounded and grounded.  All work and no play will not allow you to be rounded and grounded.

19. How do you see yourself in 10 year? hopefully alive, and doing things that give me some level of pleasures. Answered in 2007, hopefully it’s still a good answer. We will see.

20. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV – UofL Basketball or Football, have been a U of L fan forever and 2 days.  Now they will have an opportunity to kick some UVA butt on a regular basis. (For daughter Allison and son-in-law Stu)

21. How do I vent anger – internal explosion – Cari this isn’t the best way to do this. You will find plenty of reasons to be angry over the years, and you will find that explosions is not the right response.  Be careful in the one you choose.

22. What am I most afraid of – Not being able to take care of myself.

23. What is my favorite flower – Roses, Mom grew them, and I find the so very appealing to the eye.  Always have been.  Though Steph had a wonderful garden in Virginia that didn’t include roses. 

Okay folks that is more than enough information about me.  Remember this is for Cari, I may come back to it and refine it or update as I feel necessary.  Though I doubt if I ever publish it again.

As always if you have any questions comments or concerns please feel free to ask. My answers will be as honest as I can be. Take care, Bill

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 6.28.14…

Good morning folks, I hope you have had a pleasant week.  It is approximately 9:45am when I am starting this report so there is no logical reason why it won’t get completed and shared sometime today.  I know I am setting us up, because something will happen that prevents me from completing this today, as sure as the sun rose this morning something will happen.  Sidebar; the 1st 3 songs out of the box this morning have been Heart’s “Stairway to Heaven,” Vince Gill’s Don’t Let our Love Start Slipping Away,” and Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” talk about setting the mood. That’s what happens when the IPod is set on random.  Since last week’s report we have had no rain, and the day time humidature (a combination of heat and humidity) here in the Tampa area has run as high as 112 degrees with actual temperatures in the mid-90s, and trust me if you have respiratory issues that will take every ounce of energy you think you have and just squeeze every drop out of you.  Even with the heat and other considerations I am maintaining a constant 2.75 score for the week. 

Changes in my health that are more apparent during the heat, in that I tire faster and easier, and recovery takes a bit longer.  But I also feel that my diminishing health manifests itself many other ways as well.  Such things as taking a shower is not as easy as it once was and simple household tasks are not as simple as they once were.  For example emptying the dishwasher takes longer and sometimes requires a break to catch my breath, gathering the trash is a chore that requires more than one break, then getting the trash cans to the street is a job all to itself.  Dressing takes a bit longer, especially those mornings I put on my support stocking. The change is gradual, but you do notice it over time.  I am not surprised or offended by these changes it is part of the progression of the disease.  Smiling, these days I budget 20 mins or so to empty the dishwasher instead of the 8 to 12 mins it used to take. I also make other accommodations in my day-to-day life to manage the changes in my health. Also I don’t obligate myself to as many things during a day as I used too, all of these efforts enhances my quality of life without degrading my opinion of myself. Sidebar: I now have the Black Eyed Peas “I got a Feeling” slamming in my ears, and it is such a happy song, I have also some blues, and old rock, some of the bands include Linkin Park, Led Zeppelin, Halestorm, BB King, Lucinda Williams, so far it has been a good random kinda day.  

I had only 1 doctors’ appointment this week, and that was as always a productive conversation with Doc Head.  Also this week I have had my normal weekly checkup by Hospice. I am talkative, so these checkups can take 90 minutes, yesterdays was only about an hour.  When she asked the weekly “What do you miss” question, I kinda threw her a curve and said “Not Much,” with a follow-up that I was over not playing golf, and I was over not bowling, and I was doing pretty much everything else I wanted to do, only doing it a lot slower.  She kinda smiled, but got it.  Last week I suggested I was going to start giving off the wall answers to that question and that is still my intent, but yesterday I was off my game a bit, and wasn’t thinking as fast as necessary.  And when that happens the truth is the easiest thing to say. So I did.

Below is a link for a bit of recognition I got for this blog.  I have a call into the person that selected my blog, and should she ever call me back I will share with you the outcome of the conversation. I have emailed the link to a couple of folks and apparently it has worked fine, but my tests results have been iffy at best.  I do know if you use the link it takes you to an OOPS page, but if you just cut everything after blogs out and put in #14 it works.

http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-copd-blogs#14

Let get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 06.28.14

  • INR = 3.0 taken 06.16.14 – next test will be 06.30.14 – but no change in meds

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 96 taken moments ago, 6.28.14

  • Peak Flow = 205 taken moments ago, 6.28.14

  • BP = 102/62 taken 06.27.14

  • Heart rate = 87 taken moments ago 6.27.14

  • Temp = 98.6 taken 06.27.14

  • Weight = 269 taken 06.27.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 06.28.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect. This week I have chosen “Joy” as the word of the week. As I normally do I will start with the dictionary definition for the word. 

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/joy

joy — noun \ˈjȯi\ : a feeling of great happiness : a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone : success in doing, finding, or getting something 

Full Definition of JOY = 1 a :  the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight b :  the expression or exhibition of such emotion :  gaiety 2 :  a state of happiness or felicity :  bliss 3 :  a source or cause of delight

For the rest of the definition please visit the link above.

Over the last few weeks I have spent this time talking about words like; denial, therapy, anger, Hospice, expectations, challenges and on and on.  Each of these words has touched someone somehow. Writing about them has been uplifting for me, as well as, unburdening.  I am not going to spend this time telling you that it will be a joy to die, what a big friggin lie that would be.  Hell if I had my way I would love to be 100+ and then the 170 year old Willard Scott could talk about me during the morning weather.  But just because one is dying doesn’t mean the joy has gone to. When asked how am I doing I sometime say I woke looking at the flowers from the correct direction.  Just saying each day starts off good, that I am here today is a pleasure.  You would be amazed at all the ways you can find a bit of joy each day.

o   During college football and basketball seasons each time Louisville wins I am joyful.

o   I am joyful when my daughter calls to talk to Me and not us.

o   I am joyful when a child looks at me and thinks I am Santa

o   I am joyful when Cari says she loves me

o   I am joyful when I see the flowers that Brenda’s blog is forever promoting

o   I am joyful when the good guy really kicks the bad guys’ ass during the shows I watch on TV

o   I am joyful went the pool temp is above 86 degrees

o   I find joy in all the wonderful blogs I subscribe to and comment on

o   I am joyful when I gather with my neighborhood family to play cards

o   I take great joy when any of my brothers or my sister calls to chat

o   I am joyful when the bottle of water in the frig is so cold it is almost ice

o   I take great joy in sharing the music I listen to as I create these posts

o   I am super joyful when it only costs 500 instead of a 1000 to fix Big Red

o   I am joyful that I make my wife smile and giggle

o   I am joyful and happy when I go to church and actually get it

o   I am joyful that I have good doctors doing the best they can for me under the worse circumstances

o   I am joyful that I can afford the health care necessary to keep me around as long as possible

o   I am joyful when I see any little person smile and giggle uncontrollable

o   I am joyful when the good guy wins

My point is simple we all have so many things to be joyful about.  Dying doesn’t take these joys away. If anything, dying makes us appreciate them even more, making each of them special.   I came up with this list of things I am joyful about in a matter of moments, it took no special effort on my part, and I know YOU could find just as many things.  The great thing about joy is that we don’t have to be sick to enjoy it, nor does being healthy make your joy better. 

Joy is what you make of it, I have decided to make the most of the joys I have each day.  Smiling, another good thing about joy is that each day presents new reasons to be joyful. 

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible. Please take care, Bill

 
 

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Handprints

Not long ago Chatter Master wrote a blog titled “Is Will Be What Was” http://bikecolleenbrown.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/is-will-be-what-was/ which inspired me if of nothing else to draw Cari’s (my granddaughter’s) hand superimposed over mine.   If you go to Chatter’s post, you will inspired as well, maybe not to do the handprint thing, but inspired none the less.  Her perspective is a delightfully written little narrative that speaks to generations before and after, now and then and the joys and wonderment that come with it. Something, on even my best of days I couldn’t hope to replicate and this isn’t my intent. 

But I wanted to do something with that visual.  The impact of one generation laid over another.  Hands 2014Here at the Hamilton home we have a “brag wall”.  It is a wall that serves no other purpose that to display family photos. LOL the brag wall is located out of the normal public viewing area of our home, so are friends are not subjected to this on a constant basis. Some of the pictures reflect special moments, but most are of the family at various stages of our lives.  Our wall has pictures that span over almost 40 years of the Bill, Steph and Allison show. But also some of the displayed photos are actually even older because they show me as a child, that alone makes some of these photos 60 + years old, and without doing an inventory I suspect there are pictures there or should be there of our parents with their parents, so now I guess I should say some of the pictures reach back almost 100 years.  If they aren’t on the wall they will be.  

Right at this moment the “brag” wall has only 1 picture on it. That picture was taken last year when we took Allison’s family, on the Disney cruise.  The other pictures were taken down when we had the interior of the house painted, and we were too lazy to put them back up.  One of my missions between now and the end of retirement will be to get the “brag wall” back to its old self.   I want it to be a place that Cari can drag her mom and ask who was this, or who was that, or why do you look so goofy mom.  Because I am sure Allison will have a story or two to share, and if she doesn’t then she can drag Steph into the conversation, between them they can look, smile, giggle, or maybe cry.  Who knows? And then they can explain the picture together while they continue to laugh and giggle.  

The “brag wall” will be part of the legacy I leave behind when the end of retirement comes.  And while she doesn’t know it yet, Allison will be a big player in helping re-establish the wall. The handprints picture will be framed and a place set aside for it in the wall.  Shadow box photos of Cari and Allison (both taken at the approximate same age) which look almost identical will have a special place. The wall will claim its former glory. 

Many of you know I write the bulk of my posts for my daughter and granddaughter’s future enjoyment.  I write a lot about me as a kid, my adventures, my miss adventures, about things that were important (or seemed so at the time), or things not so important, by anyone’s measure. Most of my life history is wrapped up in these words.  These stories will be part of the legacy I will leave behind.  When other children are talking about their grandparents Cari will have her grandmother and these stories to share as she sees fit. 

The stories I write about Allison are a way of reverse revenge.  Cari will see what kinda of crap her mother tried to get away with, and either develop a different game plan or search for and find new and unique ways to get over on her mom and dad.  That is a child main purpose in life, to get over on the parents and grandparents.  LOL heck it is a war of wills whenever Cari comes to visit.  She has her agenda, and being a guy (even a grandfather) I for the life of me can never figure out the female’s plan.  But I will admit that I generally lose the war of wills, and in doing so love every minute of it. 

Folks, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to take some of your time. I do appreciate it greatly.  If you have any question or comments please feel free to ask. Take care, Bill

 
 

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I’ve Fought the Law, and the Law Won ..P2.. A  Treasure Box Story

The Chief told the girls they could make one call to their parents and explain what was going on.  My friends girlfriend immediately got on the phone and call her mom, the GF explained the problem in great and accurate detail.  Bill had been stopped for speeding, and allowed the cop to search the trunk.  The cop found the fireworks and moonshine and haul us all off to the Mayberry jail.  The Police Chief was threatening Bill with possession of illegal alcohol, possession of explosives with the intent of transporting them across state lines, and both Bill and my BF, the Mann Act for bringing her and my GF into Tennessee for “unknown” reasons.  My friend’s GF must have spoken for 20 mins and then listened to her Mom for another 15, before hanging up.  My friend’s GF convinced my GF to pass on making a call, so my GF didn’t.  My friend and I were not offered the opportunity to make a call, but knowing who my Friend’s GF was, we didn’t push.  I am going to use Marge to refer to my friend’s GF from this point forward because her and her family plays a major role from this point. 

I had been best friends with my Friend for a couple years; Marge was the only girl I have ever known him to date.  They were married as she began her Junior year of High School, let me be perfectly clear, she was not repeat was not pregnant at the time of their marriage, nor did she lose a child prior to marriage, they were in love as much as I have ever seen two people, except for maybe my brother John and his 1st wife.  Marge’s family was not rich, but they had influence and pull, and they had a ton of that. 

Marge’s mom was a lovely woman, and one of the warmest people I have known.  She fully embraced me into their family because of my best friend.  Marge’s older brothers protected me because I was the runt.  And after my GF and I broke up (Marge never really liked her) Marge would set me up with her friends and cousins. But is a chapter left untold. Anyway back to her Mom.  Mrs. Marge was big in the Democratic Party in northern KY and southern IN.  When I say big I mean really really big, she knew people, and those people owed her, some owed her a lot, some not so much, but a bunch of folks in high and higher positions knew her and would quickly bend over backwards to do her a favor.  Mr. Marge was a very important field engineer for one of the Nation’s major gas and oil companies he was responsible for the Northeast, but had influence deeply into the south as well. 

To this day I don’t know all the details of what transpired.  But within 2 ½ hours there was a lawyer there at the Mayberry Jail, to pick up both my GF and my friend’s GF. The girls were released and were never charged with anything.  The Chief also apologized for detaining them. Upon leaving the jail they were taken to Nashville and then flown back to Louisville in a private plane (owned by Major gas and oil company), my GF was delivered to her home by private car before curfew. 

My friend and I while not being allowed to leave the jail were treated very well and fed very well.  The Chief did inform us that the details for our release were being worked out, and to make ourselves comfortable because it could take a day or so.  With the next day being Sunday, my friend and I didn’t expect much to happen.  My car had been moved to protected storage, and we relaxed pretty all day Sunday.  The same lawyer that got the girls out Saturday afternoon came and visited with us mid-afternoon Sunday.  He explained that we wouldn’t be charged and would be released early on Monday.  He had to visit with the local judge face to face before the necessary paperwork was signed.

At 9am on Monday, the attorney came gathered us up and walked us to my car.  The Chief was trailing along behind and seemed in a good mood.  As we got into the car, the Chief ambled over and told me to be careful and to make sure I didn’t do any more speeding in the State of Tennessee.  The attorney just shook his head, and advised us that we might be well served to stay out of TN for a bit.  That was advice we took to heart, and it was years before I ventured into TN again. No more than 20 minutes after leaving the jail we were back in the State of KY.  The tank was still reading full, it was a bright and sunny day, the top was down and we drove back to Louisville without incident.  

Upon arrival back home we checked the trunk and found much to our surprise the fireworks and moonshine were still in the trunk.  We got rid of the stuff as fast as possible and laid low.  We never volunteered to do that again.  Besides only a few months later I was in the Navy, and not long after that my friend and Marge were married.  I haven’t talked to either in a few years now, but the last time I did talk to them they were still happily married. 

Now a little back story.  Our release was engineered by Mrs. Marge.  I always knew she was a player in the Democratic Party, I just never realized the level of her game.  Clearly it was at a level beyond anything I have encountered since.  Remember the only reason I was stopped was because I was speeding, and it wasn’t by as much as I would normally be speeding.  Apparently the cop that stopped us had no probably cause to search the trunk.  Anyway Mrs. Marge tentacles reached all over the three state area.  She knew someone, who knew someone, who could get to Mayberry and straighten and clean up whatever mess there was.   While she was doing that, Mr. Marge was arranging transportation for the girls.  I’m not sure if the trip to Nashville and return was company supported or not, and that’s not my problem.  It happened and the girls got to ride in an airplane home. 

The girls only had to spend 3 hours in a jail cell with an unlocked door and complete access to the restroom.  My friend and I biggest issue was we had to wear the same cloths all weekend, but this was 1968, and it wasn’t the 1st time I had spent an entire weekend in the same cloths.  The Mayberry jail was small, only a couple cells and we were the only occupants Saturday and Sunday nights. And we got to keep our purchases.  I thanked Mrs. Marge a bunch, and I loved her like a mom.  Also to her credit, she had to help out my friend and me a couple more times before I was off to the Navy.  I will say it is nice to have friends in high places even when you don’t know they are. 

So ends my tale of getting to spend two evening in a TN jail as a visitor, (I was never charged or arrested for anything), so I must have been a visitor.  I hope you enjoyed the story.  If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to ask, and thank my wife for suggesting I tell this story.  Take care, Bill

PS – This was not the only time I have driven Fireworks across a State line for a friend.  A few years ago, just before I moved to Florida permanently a good friend asked me to stop someplace along my way back to his house in Northern VA and purchase $500 in fireworks.  He had a specific list, brand names, gauge, and estimated cost.  When the guy I was travelling with suggested we call it a night, we stopped at the 1st SC exit, that sold fireworks, checked into a decent place, had dinner, and then bought 500 dollars’ worth of fireworks.  We carefully laid them on top of our golf clubs, and pulled the cover over the back.  When back to the hotel had a couple drinks called it a night and completed the trip without incident the next day.  So I can buy and transport fireworks without getting in trouble, so there LOL LOL.  Take care, Bill

 

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I’ve Fought the Law, and the Law Won ..P1.. A  Treasure Box Story

Friday (June 20th) after my wife and I returned our granddaughter to her parents we decided we needed adult beverages and Italian for dinner.  We were no more than a mile from our home and passed two extremely large firework tents. Which reminded Steph of a story I shared with her a million years ago, she turned to me and asked “Have you shared that firework story on your blog?”  Nope I said, she then said you should.  

So here it is. I have been arrested one time (so far) during my life, but I have spent 4 nights in jail over the years (3 completely different occasions), with the last time close to 40 years ago.  Before my arrest for DUI in 1968, I was honored to spend 2 nights as a (controlled) visitor in a tiny little town in Northern Tennessee just a few short miles from the Kentucky State line. The final time was while I was in the Navy; the MP’s got me for disorderly conduct.  I wasn’t arrested or charged, just allowed to cool my jets for a bit, and released. But the story Steph wanted me to share dealt with the 2 nights I was a visitor in Tennessee. 

Back when this event occurred Kentucky was not repeat was not very liberal regarding the sale of fireworks, as a matter of fact; most things beyond your sparklers were not allowed to be sold in KY.  But Tennessee was much more liberal at the time, you could just about anything that exploded in Tennessee, and you could buy in large quantities.  

In early June 1968 a friend and I thought we would take up a collection (or orders) and drive down to TN to buy fireworks for friends and neighbors (covering our costs and making a bit of a profit).  It was a great idea and was well accepted by both our friends and many of the Dads (our collection pot runnith over). 

My friend and I decided which Saturday we were going to make the run down to TN, and even invited our girlfriends for the adventure.  Though at the time we didn’t realize just how much of an adventure it was going to be.  We collected the funds from those that wanted to participate, and made our final arrangements.  That Friday night before we were to depart, the father of a friend called and asked if we were going to go thru XXXXX on the way to our destination, a quick look at the map confirmed that we would indeed be going thru XXXXX.  He asked if I minded if we made a side stop and pick up a package for him.  He would donate 25 bucks towards expenses if we just picked up this package and deliver it to him unopened.  I spoke to my partner, told him about the “package” and we exchanged knowing smiles we agreed to pick it up. 

The next morning we gathered our girlfriends (his girlfriend was 14, mine was 15) put the roof down on my car, and started our trip from Kentucky into Tennessee.  The trip south was totally uneventful, I don’t have a clue as to how long it took to get there, or where we stopped, I just remember the trip being totally uneventful. 

When picked up the package that we had been instructed to, placed it the trunk of my car, and threw a blanket over it.  

Then we proceeded to one of the several Firework sales locations we had passed, and had a blast buying all manner of fireworks, we had specific names and specific quantities and approximate costs.  It was like going to the fireworks grocery store.  A little of this a bunch of that, some of those, a 2 boxes of this, and just kept loading the cart. It was a “Don’t forget the milk,” kinda deal.  My friend and I knew we were going to be hero’s, and we knew we were going to make some good change, and nobody was going to take a beating.  We gathered up our purchases, carried them out to the car, opened the trunk and threw them neatly under the blanket with that package we picked up. 

On the way out of town we stopped at some diner, had lunch, and filled the car with gas before heading north.  Back then gas was still less that 20 cents yes 20 cents a gallon. We were good to go, and we were headed north back to Kentucky. 

Of course I was not following the posted speed limit, heck I never have, always heavy on the right foot. When lo and behold there in my rearview mirror was a police car with his lights a flashing.  Being honest we had just passed a sign say 4 miles to the Kentucky State Line, and for a tiny moment I considered making a run for the line.  But that thought when away almost as quickly as it had arrived.  Besides it was only going to be a speeding ticket. Lord knows it wouldn’t be the 1st time I got a speeding ticket.  So I pulled over.  My friend pulled the registration from the glove box, and I dug my driver’s license out of my wallet.  The police officer ambled his way up side the car, and asked if I had any idea why he stopped me, I looked him dead in the eyes and said most likely cause I was going faster than the posted speed limit.  He smiled and said yelp that would be one of the reasons. He looked at my friend and our girlfriends and asked for ID, my friend dug his driver’s license out and handed it over, but neither of the girls (again ages 14 and 15) had license’s, and freely admitted their age.  The cop just shook his head and politely asked if he could search the car.  We had about 200 dollars in fireworks in the trunk which we bought just down the road, and we were still in TN, besides this was back in the day when you didn’t argue with cops, so I said sure, got out of the car (we all did), and he commenced to looking throughout the passenger compartment, finding nothing of interest he asked me to open the trunk.  I had a feeling that the shit was about to hit the fan, I just had no clue how much shit it was going to be.   The 1st thing he saw was all the fireworks, scattered all over the trunk. Looking at me, he said where exactly was I planning on using these and when (it was still a couple weeks before the 4th of July).  So honesty played out and I said we intended to take them home and use them on the 4th.  He asked if I realized it was illegal to transport fireworks across state line, and I tried the ole innocent me thing, going on no sir I didn’t know that.  I knew he wasn’t buying it and I figured I was about to lose $200 worth of fireworks. But then he pushed the blanket off the box that we had picked up.  He asked if I knew what was in the box, and because we had not opened it I could honestly say that “No Sir, I have no idea what is in the box.” To which he replied, “Let’s open it and see.”  As much as I would like to say how surprised my friend and I were when the cop opened the box and found four gallons of TN moonshine, we both kinda figured out that was what we were picking up.  And that folks is when the SHIT really hit the FAN. 

We were directed to get back in car and follow him to the local sheriff office, which we did, he directed me to put the top, lock up the car, and give him the keys.  The 4 of us were herded into a cell and the door closed (but not locked).  He was holding my friend and my driver’s licenses, and the keys to my car which was just outside the police office, (the place reminded me of police office in Mayberry) so he had all the info on us, but the girls (both minors from KY in TN), was causing him all manner of concern. 

End of part 1

Smiling yes this is too long to be a single post. As always if you have any questions comments or concerns please feel free to ask. Take care, Bill

 

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