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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

 
13 Comments

Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Ramblings, Humor

 

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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

 
33 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.

 
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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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How I Feel for the Week Ending 6.20.14…

The modified title to this is “for the week ending 6.21.”  I had absolutely no chance to start my weekly report until this morning I was being grandpa 24/7 for the last three and half days.  If I appear to be a touch more stupid than usual that is the direct impact of an overdose of the Disney Channel.  Speaking of the Disney Channel, if we want the terrorist to willingly give up significant information, forget waterboarding, just tie them to a couch with a 9-year-old and the Disney Channel, I doubt if even the most hardened of terrorists could last more than 30 hours.  It is just a suggestion.  Anyway moving on to the weekly report, BTW we have had 8 inches of rain at my house over the last 6 days, and during those same 6 days half the time were as advertised beautiful Florida days. Today our music selections begin with “Grind” by Alice in Chains; I suspect this is going to be a mixed bag kinda of day music wise. I am maintaining a constant 2.75 score for the week.  Some days were as high as 2.9 others as low as 2.2 but the week was a solid 2.75.

It was a slow week for grilling, so I had no smoke issues.  It is quite surprising how this weekly report has grown to include a weekly weather report and cooking show. LOL But what is even more strange is that both the weather and cooking do have an impact on my overall health.  I am equally sure it has an impact on yours but you just notice it less than I do.

Monday and Tuesday were important Doctor appointment days.  On Monday I had my annual breathing test.  There is no easy way to say it, lung function has dropped my FEV1 is 31 percent (FEV1 = the amount of air which can be forcibly exhaled from the lung in the first second of a forced exhalation. Measuring FEV1 is done through spirometry testing which helps your doctor determine your lung function.)  The little chart here kinda explains it best.

  • FEV1 greater 80% of predicted= normal

  • FEV1 60% to 79% of predicted = Mild obstruction

  • FEV1 40% to 59% of predicted = Moderate obstruction

  • FEV1 less than 40% of predicted = Severe obstruction

This is down from 38 percent from last year. When I do the math it appears I have lost about 20 percent of “my” capacity in the last year.  Smiling it further means I just have to ensure I keep my ass out of the hospital. LOL.  Having said that I did knock on wood.  So that was Monday.

On Tuesday I had my monthly IVIG treatment that is the 5 hour infusion I get monthly which supports and jacks up my immune system.  This treatment continues to work and keeps my immune system functioning in the low normal range, which before I started this treatment 2 years ago was off the chart low.  During my infusion I took a meeting with Doc Infectious (actually my 3 month follow-up), which was little more than a glad hand meeting.  He introduced me to young man who was interning.  Doc Infectious gave him a 20 minute talk about my illness, his involvement in my treatment for the last 3 years, the lack of available drugs to fight the infections in my system, my awareness of the disease, and that I was one of a very few patients that there were standing orders for treatment should I show up after normal business hours complaining of symptoms, thus being able to avoid a trip to the ER.

On Thursday I had my normal in home appointment with my Hospice nurse.  Smiling, as she sets up her computer and connects to her portable server, the first question she asks each week is “What do you miss this week?”  My answers have all been honest with me generally saying I miss golf, bowling, or some other physical activity.  I know this is a psychological question to test my mental attitude, and my answer probably evaluated, charted and over analyzed.  So I think I am going to mess with the chart.  Maybe answer fried chicken one week, and rhubarb pie the next, maybe county roads, and such over the next few weeks, just to mess with them LOLSidebar: well just to let my friends in Canada know, I have heard a lot of Nickelback this morning, as well as, Linkin Park, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, Five Finger Death Punch, Vince Gill, and Travis Tritt so far this morning.  And it has only just begun.

Now for the broken record part of the weekly report, my general health remains approximately the same. The coughing is about the same, tiredness seems normal this week; SOB normal (which means all the time)  I normally bitch a bit about my sleeping issues and with sweet granddaughter here they are interrupted a little more than normal but that’s okay and kinda expected, even though she has slept her countless times, we tried something different this time and put her down in her room, well at 3 am she “was scared” and joined us, which meant at 315 I was kicked to the floor and ended up on the couch.  Problem solved the next night I was in the guest room LOL.  It all worked out.   But I did miss my naps LOL.

Let get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 06.20.14

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

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 95 taken moments ago, I have been instructed by Doc Lungs to set my supplement oxygen to 3 LPM when I am out and about.

  • Peak Flow = 220 taken moments ago

  • BP = 98/61 taken 06.19.14

  • Heart rate = 94 taken moments ago

  • Temp = 98.2 taken 06.17.14

  • Weight = 270 taken 06.17.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 06.20.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect. This week I have chosen “Anger” as the word of the week. As I normally do I will start with the dictionary definition for the word.  But lucky you, you get to 2 definitions for the price of one, because Anger forces you to angry, so for full exposure excuse me I meant disclosure LOL you get angry as well.

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

an-ger – verb – to make (someone) angry

Full Definition of ANGER — transitive verb =   to make angry (he was angered by the decision) — intransitive verb =   to become angry

Examples of ANGER = 1) They were shocked and angered by the company’s arrogance. 2) He was angered to learn that he had been fired. 3) It angered me that she would say something like that. 4) He’s a gentle man who’s not easily angered.

First Known Use of ANGER = 13th century

Go to the link provided here if you want to see all Webster has to offer on angry.

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

Sidebar; we have been listening a to selection by Linkin Park “Burn it Down,” but we have also heard some Stone Temple Pilots, more Alice in Chains, more Nickelback, Depeche Mode, Shinedown, Seether and one of my favorite songs of all time by Gemini Syndrome “Stardust.”

Being ill is a constant emotional roller coaster, but when you’re ill you have a very real tendency to not fully realize the impact your illness has on others; be it loves or lovers, relatives, friends and even acquaintances. We touch so many folks in so many ways. But as humans we seem to find so many ways to under value the impact our lives have on others.  As I write this I realize I am quite guilty of this but, in my defense I am getting better.  This impact touches all of the emotions and I have chosen anger to talk about today.

Anger is a magical emotion, because you can talk to a thousand individuals and won’t find 2 that describe it the same, you won’t find 2 with the same hot buttons, and rarely do you find folks that will admit that what one person says or does has no impact at all, yet if another person does that same exact thing in the exact same manner, it make them so angry their rage is blind.  Expressing anger makes a person just plain stupid.  Just like how Love can make you just plain stupid, of all the emotions, these two have the most dynamic impact on one’s personality.  Anger makes you say things that have no truth in them at all; it makes you say things that you would never say at any other time (including being drunk).  Anger will make you say the most hateful of things that you can never completely take back. The sad thing about anger is the word sorry doesn’t always fix it.  I suspect some of you are wondering why is he yakking about anger and how does it relate to the terminally ill.  Soft smile, of course you know why, even if you won’t admit it.  Sometimes the terminally ill get angry for no particular reason at all, they mumble, they cuss, they stomp, and it is generally pointed at someone who is completely innocent, somewhat innocent, or not innocent at all. We will say things we never intend on saying, at the most inappropriate of times. Yet sometimes though we flare up and explode for a very definitive reason/s, or in response to the words or actions of others, which could be any of those I listed above.  But sometimes anger is the right response, and the words said are the right words.  It took the emotional outburst of anger to free the words, the actions.  I am not saying that this is good I am saying it might sometimes be right.

The point I believe I am trying to make is that if your terminally ill, or if you are the spouse, loved one, family member, friend, caregiver, of someone who is terminally ill, you more than likely have such an encounter.  Hell you can for that matter take the terminally ill out of the equation and it still applies.  Try and do the impossible, try to keep your head about you during your outburst or response to an outburst. Try your best to not say something that can’t be fixed with the word sorry.  None of us ever want to walk around going “damn, I wish I hadn’t said that, but I was so angry.”

I have looked at this, and read and reread and I am kinda comfortable with it, and kinda not comfortable.  The bottom line is for everyone, if you have a shred of reason left during a heated discussion, try not to say those things that can’t be taken back or fixed with the word sorry.  And it really matter not, if you’re sick, or terminally ill or healthy as a horse.  In anger try to say things that won’t bite you.

This has gone on way longer than it needed. 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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A week at the Hurl Rock Motel …… A Grandpa Tale

In a recent post I wrote of the best 4 some of golf buddies, and I threatened to write 2,000 words (actually turned out to be 2056) about our 1st golf outing in a group of 4.  It was unanimously decided (without my vote counting) that I would be the one to put together the golf outing.  I wasn’t overly concerned I had plenty of organizational skills, Terry, Jim and Don were all retired, and to make it work we only had to work around my work schedule. 

L to R Me, Terry, Don and Jim

L to R Me, Terry, Don and Jim

Early on it was decided that we would go to Myrtle Beach SC.  The golf Mecca of the United States, a place where you could play golf 100 consecutive days before you had to repeat a golf course.  Of course 26 years ago you only had your choice of about 60 different golf courses.  But for as many golf courses you had a far greater choice in accommodations, of golf packages, with more options than buying a car.  My sum experience to putting together a golf vacation had come the year before when approached I wrote a check.  Yes a ton of experience.

Deciding on Myrtle Beach was the easiest part of the decision process.  We had all been there at one time or another, we all knew there were great accommodations available, and we all knew that the restaurants were varied and very good.  We also knew that we didn’t want to go during the late spring early summer months because that would be too hot.  The guys all being retired left it up to me to narrow the date because I was the only one working.  I did as much internet searching as was available back then and found that the early to mid part of February was pretty good weather wise, day time temperatures in the low to mid 60’s night time around high 40s.   After a few days of discussion it was decided that we would go for the 1st week of February, arriving on Monday departing the following Saturday.  The easiest part of the mission completed.  We recognized it might be chilly but figured that was much better than hot. 

The next major hurdle was accommodations.  I didn’t realize the sheer amount of choices that were going to be presented to me.  We were interested in a “package” deal which included golf.  I don’t remember what the threshold for my financial involvement, but I knew I was on a limited budget.  My budget was such that it ruled out places like the Marriott’s, the Hyatt’s, and the Sheraton’s.  The guys also understood the significant difference between staying at the Marriott with a package, and a midrange hotel/motel.  I contacted a ten different motel/hotel’s (the Hurl Rock being one of them) offering golf packages and received brochures from all of them I had copies made of them, and created a spreadsheet outlining the package cost, the extra’s, the potential add-ons, closeness to the center of Myrtle Beach and other attractions, and blab blab blab.  I mailed the entire package to Terry, Don and Jim.  Asked them to review and give me their top 4 choices. Not having had any experience, and dealing with guys that are you to staff understanding their needs and preferences getting a decision was difficult at best.  But finally they all provided their input, and the only place that was common to all of their choices was the Hurl Rock Motel.   By default the Hurl Rock became the destination of choice.  I will say it right now, if you were to ask any of three; Terry, Jim or Don; Jim and Don would swear the Hurl Rock was purely my choice.  Terry would kinda stand with them, but would own up that one of his choices had been the Hurl Rock.   It took from May to Thanksgiving to make and finalize the arrangements for our 1st golf outing.  We were staying at the Hurl Rock arriving on a Sunday afternoon, playing golf Monday thru Friday, and departing Saturday. 

Don and Jim road down together, while Terry and I rode together.  The Sunday trip from Washington DC to Myrtle Beach SC was driven in a down pour.  Was expected to take 8 or 9 hours took Terry and I almost 11.  When we arrived at the Motel we saw Don and Jim leaning against the 3rd floor railing waving in greeting.  Terry and I quickly checked in and headed up to the 3rd floor, our room was right next to the room shared by Don and Jim.  Let me be the 1st to say the place had all the making of Dive, I would go so far as to say the Hurl Rock appeared to be a place that might have had an hourly rate as well. I know that if my wife had been with me she would not have gotten out of the car, she would have refused to even consider staying there, and we would have been driving the strip looking for nicer accommodations.  If you do an internet search you can find the Hurl Rock Motel at, http://hurlrockmyrtlebeach.com/.  If you will notice there is not a single picture that shows you a view of the Motel from the street.  Clearly the place has been renovated more than once since our week there, and in my mind it still looks like a dive.  Anyway back to the story.  Don and Jim had arrived an hour or so ahead of Terry and I, they had a chance to scope out the room, and the surroundings.  Don was so unhappy with the place that he had already started the search for nicer accommodations, but the golf package wouldn’t transfer and the places that had space were extremely costly.  Don was also pissed that he got scammed almost immediately after checking in.  Apparently some young man came to him with a sad story about needing an alternator for his car and that his family was sleeping in until the next day, and detail after detail, well Don gave the guy $100. Getting a promise that the guy would be there in the am after the auto place opened to return the 100.  Needless to say Don never saw the guy or his 100 bucks again.  Don’s was teased pretty much without mercy by the rest of us the entire trip and Don took it with quite well. I am getting way off track; let’s get back to the Hurl Rock.

The rooms at the Hurl Rock were approximately 11 by 25 foot.  The back half was the “2nd bedroom,” with a bath separating the 2 sleeping areas.  The main area (which included the bed) has the kitchenette in it with a couch, table and 4 unmatched chairs.  The AC/heater unit was beneath the double window in the front of the unit.  The 2nd sleeping area had no window at all, but it had its own AC/Heater unit craved into the outside wall.  The interior walls were a cheap plywood stain a color I didn’t recognize then and wouldn’t today.  The beds had that sag in the middle depicting the thousands of bodies that laid there before.  The linen was tread bare at best, all in a miss matched white.  I am just saying that some of the old stuff was older than some of the other old stuff, which was real friggin old.   The AC/heater units had the most unique cycles and were as loud and annoying as possible.  Just as you thought you had the pattern down and was falling asleep the pattern would change again.  The attributes of the Hurt Rock as I have described them were the better qualities.  We didn’t cook a single meal in the rooms for fear of what an open flame might do.  We used the refrigs to keep the soda and booze in, and that was the extent of our uses of the facilities.  The Motel had no working soda or ice machines, but we were quite lucky there was a convenience store just on the other side of the parking lot, and their soda’s and other junk food were reasonable priced. The freezer did work in the frig so a 5 lb bag of ice when a long way.  The joint was clearly a Mom and Pop place, and their were at the end of their rope, it was clear neither liked their lot in life, and customer service was clearly not in their vocabulary, requests during the week generally fell on deaf ears.  One of the biggest selling points to the Hurl Rock is that it offered free breakfast.  This turned out to be the high point, and it truly was.  We were given a chit each morning for breakfast at one of the local non chain restaurants, and this was great, we ordered off the menu, and I had a feast each morning.  That was the only redeeming value that any of us found with the Motel.

Don continued to look for other accommodations for 3 more days, even to the point of offering to cover most of the cost himself just to get us out of the Hurl Rock.  But we finally just beat him down to the point he knew it didn’t makes sense to move. 

As I stated in the beginning the drive to Myrtle Beach was in a down pour, Monday morning it really appeared that the day was going to be washed out.  But according to the rules, we could and would not get a refund unless the course was closed, and we and to be at the course ready to play at our tee time, or we would be in forfeit.  Monday our tee time was 11am.  The 4 of us gathered for breakfast at 8am, it was raining and very ugly, we assumed that golf would be cancelled and that we would get a refund, that’s when we read the fine print had breakfast and ventured out to the golf course.  It was so ugly, but as we turned into the drive way of the golf course, the sun peeked between a couple of clouds, the rain stopped and by the time we were called to the 1st tee, the skies were blue, barely a breeze, and it was a wonderful day.  By the 5th hole we were playing in short sleeve golf shirts, having peeled off more than 1 layer, and wishing we had worn shorts.  It did not rain a drop the rest of the week.  But the weather got progressively worse each day.  Monday the temp got to mid 70’s, Tuesday maybe 60, and the breeze picked up.  Wednesday wow what a change the temp got no higher than 50 and the breeze turned into a strong wind.  We had seen the forecast the night before, and when out and did a little shopping.  This is a USF sweatshirt I have on, it was cheap and it fit, is the only reason I bought it.  Thursday the daytime temp did not reach 45, and the wind was howling at times, but we tough it out and played.  The forecast for Thursday night was to be the coldest in history for that day, with the possibility of snow.  Folks, only Terry and I were brave enough to play.  The overnight temp dropped to 17 degrees, and it did snow in Myrtle Beach, it was only a dusting, but the fact remains it snowed, and like dumb asses Terry and I tried to play. It was only 28 degrees when Terry and I teed off.  I lasted 12 holes and Terry lasted 17.  I was sitting in the club house working on my third hot chocolate when Terry dragged his ass in.  It was decided at that moment that there would be no more February golf in Myrtle Beach, and there wasn’t.

Every year after the Hurl Rock I was teased about the accommodations.  And I got no mercy at all, but the reality was the Hurl Rock sucked and I deserved it, but really for 10 years LOL give me a break.

For those of you that made it to the bitter end thank you, this turned out much longer than I thought, and I could have made you suffer more.  But enough is enough.  As always if you have any questions concerns or comments please feel free to ask.  Take care and be safe.  Bill

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 6.13.14…

Smiling, just like last week I am starting my report around noon. It would appear that I am a creature of habit LOL LOL, which isn’t always a bad thing.  It has been a wet dreary day here in not so sunny Florida during the last 24 hours we have had close to 4 inches of rain. Today our music selections begin with “Bully” by Shinedown, to fully appreciate Shinedown you must listen at 7 or 8.   Staying with a recent trend I feel the week has been a 2.75, not quite as strong as last week’s 2.75, but not enough difference to drop it any lower.

Over the past week I have been extremely careful not to stand over the grill inhaling the wonderful aroma of burgers and marinated chicken cooking, with the smoke being provided by the 80/20 lean beef burgers.

Doctor appointment wise it has been a busy week.  I met with Doc Head Monday and it was as always a productive meeting. Then on Tuesday I met with the Head RN for the Hospice Team that manages my health.  I thought (and it had been implied) that this was the meeting to determine if I were progressing towards end of retirement in a timely enough manner to stay under Hospice. Well it wasn’t really that meeting; the Head Nurse is required to visit each patience within her teams’ care on a periodic basis.  Smiling “she had heard so much about me,” she felt it was time we met.  When will I learn to just shut the f…… up LOL?  All kidding aside it was a very through 1st meeting. She visited with me for over 90 minutes, very engaging (as I have found most of the Hospice folks) and when it was over I asked her if this was in fact the meeting to determine if I were still a candidate for Hospice care.  Her response was that while this had not been the official meeting for such a determination, it was clear that I would be staying with the program.  Sidebar, we have been listening to a variety of hard rock so far, including Van Halen, Stone Temple Pilots, more Shinedown, Nickelback (for my Canadian friends) and Puddle of Mudd. Finally on Thursday I had my normal weekly meeting with the Hospice, this appointment when as expected and all my vitals were drawn from it.

This, like last week and the week before, my general health remains approximately the same. The coughing is about the same, tiredness seems normal this week; SOB better than last week, but I am not standing over a grill LOL.  Sleeping soundly is an issue, but in fairness I have never been a good sleeper, it just seems like in recent months it has gotten more and more erratic, and I am finding I am napping more than ever before in my life, this morning after taking care of the morning rituals and folding the cloths, I looked out the window at the gray ugliness, so I laid down for a couple of hours. 

Let get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 06.13.14

  • INR = 2.3 taken 05.19.14 – next test will be 06.16.14

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 93 taken moments ago,

  •  Peak Flow = 225 taken moments ago

  • BP = 102/62 taken 06.12.14

  • Heart rate = 107 taken moments ago

  • Temp = 98.6 taken 06.12.14

  • Weight = 267 taken 06.13.14 my weight has been all over the place in recent weeks up or down as much as 6 or 7 pounds any given week.  I check my weight at the same approximate time daily. I talked to the Hospice nurse about this, and one of the long-term impacts of the disease is weight lost, soft smile if you can’t breathe it is difficult to eat.  Ergo you diet a natural unnatural way.

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 06.13.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect. This week I have chosen “Therapy” 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/therapy

ther·a·py  –  noun – the treatment of physical or mental illnesses

Full Definition of THERAPY :  therapeutic treatment especially of bodily, mental, or behavioral disorder

Examples of THERAPY

            1. He is undergoing cancer therapy.

            2. talking over my problem with you has been good therapy.

Origin of THERAPY

New Latin therapia, from Greek therapeia, from therapeuein

First Known Use: circa 1846

Before I started “therapy” I had no feeling about it one way or the other.  There was no negative stigma I ever associated with “therapy” my feelings were and still are simple; if you needed it you needed it.  Kinda like a pill, if you have to take it, take it.  But since I have been it I have found I have very real feelings about therapy.  I could never be a therapist; I would never want to be a therapist. I understand more than ever some folks are deeply troubled; some not so troubled, and still others that are a mixed bag.  My 1st experience with a therapist was an effort on my part to find out about the dying process, especially for a person such as myself who had a terminal disease that slowly killed you.  I had 2 sessions with that therapist, and I truly believed she answered my question within the 1st 20 minutes of our conversation.  Being honest I didn’t bond with her, and one of us had an agenda that didn’t seem to be in my interests.  But I did go back for a second session, same net result, but I left satisfied that I had the answer I sought.

Some 12 months or so after my initial experience, I was troubled, and again sought out therapy.  My Health Coach did the research and kinda sorta recommended Doc Head.  She wouldn’t and couldn’t push me towards a particular Doctor; she just laid out the info.  One of the single biggest aspects of the decision process was that Doc Head’s office was about 7 minutes away if I took my time.  Decision made, appointment made, and the rest is history.  I have been seeing Doc Head for over a year and not one moment has been wasted.  For those who have been following me for any length at all knows I am an open person, and will talk about anything.  But damn was I quick to open up to Doc Head.

I am not sitting here saying everyone needs a therapist, or that everyone needs therapy, but I am saying is that for those of us who do admit to a need, it is great experience.  To be able to vocalize thoughts, and not just let them spin around in your head is worth the price of admission.  To be able to say just about anything you want and not have someone judge you, to be as totally honest as you want and need (as long as you stay honest), to be able to talk about your pains, your disappointments, your needs, your wants, your desires and to be able to do so out loud, so not only does someone else hear them, but you hear those words, those thoughts, those needs, wants, and those desires aloud.  Trust me, they sound a lot different verbalized than they do rolling around in your head.  And as you verbalize there is someone 4 feet away asking you what makes you feel this way or that, they aren’t judging, yes they may be digging, but it has been my experience that sometimes you have to dig to get to an issue.  Smiling, sometimes Doc Head will just sit and knot her head, encouraging me to finish a thought, or come to a conclusion, or realize that what I am yapping about isn’t really the issue at all, but it could be the conversation starter that leads to the issue.  Also I have learned that not all issues are problems and that not all problems come from the issues you present. The best thing about therapy is it allows you to get things off your chest, but be warned sometimes the things you get off your chest find their own replacements.

Also there is joy to be found in therapy, it is the perfect place for me to brag, I love writing my blog. I love the thought that my words may have reached out and helped an individual, I can share stories about folks who have come to me and said “thank you” for this story, or this hambit of information, or how I helped them cope.  And when doing so I don’t need to feel modest, I don’t worry about sounding like a braggart, I even allow my head to swell with pride when I talk about the positive things my blog gives me, and the love I have for my  fellow bloggers.  I can and do talk of the pure joy it is receiving the wonderful positive feedback I have gotten.  Smiling and my therapist doesn’t even look like she is tired of hearing it LOL.

Of course you can say something stupid like your planning on taking someone out, but as soon as you do the Doc will drop a dime on you.  You can talk about a plan to commit suicide, again the Doctor will drop a dime on you and measures will be taken to prevent such actions.  There are laws that require a therapist to advise authorities if you’re planning such actions.  I am sure there are therapists that are trained specifically to deal with situations like these.

Okay I have bent your ear as long and as hard as I can for this post.  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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Best 4 Some I’ve Played Golf With…. A Grandpa Tale

I have been extremely fortunate over the years, and I have had the opportunity to indulge myself.  One of my favorite indulgences was the annual golf trip.   I went on such a trip for 11 years, and visited nice places, a not so nice place, and played golf on some of the nicest golf courses in central Florida.

It all started by chance I guess.  I knew one of the managers that lived in Texas, and that he played golf, we had talked from time to time about our love of golf.  One day out of the blue he called me and asked if I wanted to join a group of guys going to Florence SC to play golf for a week.  After getting the cost and getting permission from my wife I called Ken back and said I would love to join the group.  Ken asked me if I knew of any other golfers that might be willing, I said let me make some calls and I would get back to him.  Shortly after the call, I spoke to Terry and Don.  Both agreed without hesitation, and I became the coordinator for the DC contingent of golfers.  Including Terry, Don, and I the group was 28. That was my 1st golf trip.  I loved the golf; the accommodations were okay, the group way to damn big.

L to R Doug, Me, Terry, Don

L to R Doug, Me, Terry, Don

Terry, Don and I all liked the concept behind the golf trip, only to a much smaller scale.  It was decided we would do it again the following year, but only 4 of us.  Don was sure he could talk Jim into joining the Group.

The following year the four of us headed to Myrtle Beach in late February.  We  stayed at a place called the Hurl Rock Motel, by far the single biggest dive I have ever stayed in, and could write a two thousand words just on this one golf trip.

Jim was an active participant for the first 2 years, and would join the group from time to time in the future years.  But Terry, Don and I would remain the core of our group for the duration.  After Jim’s departure, Doug joined the group, and also became part of the core. For the next 2 years it was just the four of us. Our group would grow from 4 to as many as 9.  But it was generally 7 or 8. 

I realize that once again I have taken a million words to set up my story.  Today’s story really is about Terry, Don and Doug, and why I feel these three guys made it the best 4 some I ever played golf with. 

Doug is the best golfer I have played with consistently over the years.  I have never beaten Doug no matter many strokes he has given me; we may have tied a few times which to me meant I won.  But even at my best I couldn’t beat him.  Sure I won a hole or 6 over the years. But Doug is just good golfer and even better person.  Doug was the baby of the group, no matter who joined Doug was always the youngest.  But Doug is a people person, a great listener, a good conversationalist, and a caring person.  During the trips he would be the 1st to volunteer to be the step and fetch person.  He was generally the last to bed and the last to get up.  Doug also helped me during the planning stage to pick the golf courses we would play that trip, and we pre map them so we didn’t have to scramble trying to get directions each day.  Doug could also hold his own in the verbal jousting that always when on during one of these trips.  Giving as well as he got.  I believe, I have known Doug for over 17 years I have never seen him mad, nor have I ever seen him have even single drink.  His drink of choice was Pink Lemonade, and he was just as addicted to Krispy Kreme donuts as the rest of us, and he would be willing to drive 40 miles out of his way to pick up a couple of dozen for the group. He was also in charge of the nightly movie or double feature, however it played out. 

Terry or “Mr. Magoo” as he is affectionately referred is the elder statesman of the group.  I don’t believe if we actively searched we could find anyone older to play with (that fit it) LOL.  He is referred to as Mr. Magoo; because I am sure the cartoon character was fashioned after his likeness.  A Terry and I became friends in 1985, but met in 83, while on a business trip to NYC.  He was the Telecom Dir. in charge of an area that stretched from Maryland all the way to Maine (the entire NE). I was the program manager out of DC, and we met to review how his Zone was managing my program. It was during the course of these meetings that our friendship was born.  And we have been extremely close friends since then.  We speak at least once a month and talk for 30 or 40 minutes.  Anyway, back to the 4 some.  Terry was/is the oldest member, can’t see for shit, has no sense of direction, and thinks he hits the ball further than he does, which makes him pretty much a normal golfer.  Terry was by far the worse golfer in the group expect when Jim played.  On the tee Terry would dead hook to the right, and begin searching the left side of the fairway.  Doug or I usually rode the cart with him because we had the eyes of the group, so we could normally drive Terry right to his ball.  In time it got to the point where Terry would just get in the cart and just let us take him to his shot.  But his single biggest contributions to the outings were his stories.  He has some of the best life stories imaginable, and even though I have heard almost all of them, I would gladly sit through yet another telling.  Do keep the ears of most women and child out of range when he starts because his language has the ability to embarrass even a Sailor.  More often than not he is clearly the villain or perpetrator in his stories, which explains why he got to go to so many different private and public schools as a youth. Terry was also a Marine, and worked for the federal Govt for at least 35 years. Terry btw was one of two gentlemen that called the hospital when I was gravely ill demanding an update on my condition.  Claiming he was my brother in Philadelphia and as part of the family it was his right.  The nurse started in on the HIPA rules and Terry apparently told the Nurse to F…. HIPA tell him what he wanted to know, HOW!!! Apparently the nurse folded, and gave out very detailed information on my condition, and Terry advised her he would be calling back.  At some point Steph added him to the HIPA paperwork.  I speak at length of Terry in my dream sequence posts.  Terry is one of my dearest friends (way beyond a best friend) in the world. 

Finally I will talk about Don.  Don was one of the highest ranking Govt Officials for local telecommunications before he retired.  He wasn’t considered an expert in local telecom, he WAS the expert.  One of the single smartest men I have known.  He was my mentor and dearest friend.  As a golfer he was middle of the road. He could power it off the tee, but not always with the accuracy needed.  On any given day we could play pretty even. For as loud as Terry was Don was quiet.  Terry and Don were best friends and had pretty much worked together in one way or another, their entire adult lives.  As a fledgling manager Don taught me 2 important lessons 1; it is always better to ask for forgiveness than permission, and 2; a crisis on your part doesn’t make it a problem on my part.  Don was a constant source for education, guidance and leadership, and I tried to emulate him throughout my career. In the office he had a style grace that I had not seen before or since.  Don passed on about 5 years ago as a result of complications from his COPD he was 74 at the time of his passing.

This wasn’t so much about golf or golfing, it was how I enjoyed these friends and what they meant to me.  Doug is still Doug, and we talk about once or twice a year.  Terry and I are dearest of friends and we talk about once a month.  Terry is 83 or 84, and doesn’t act a day over 15 usually.  He recently successfully had lung surgery to remove some cancer.  He is cancer free, and currently does not require any further treatments, just checkup every 6 months.  While Don isn’t around to talk to, I do chat with his wife every 5 or 6 months.  She was the love of his life, it just took forever for them to finally meet, but their time together was fantastic, and I don’t remember Don being happier prior to his marriage to Nancy. 

Someday I may actually write the story about the Hurl Rock Motel, and that golf adventure purely as a golf story.  I will continue to dig pictures out, and write the appropriate story. 

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to ask.  I will address each.  Please take care and have a great day.  Bill

 
13 Comments

Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Ramblings

 

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Addendum to HIFftWE 06.06.14…

(HIFftWE = How I Feel for the Week ending)

From time to time I speak about my head and what my spirits are like or mentally how I am feeling.  The last time I really spent any time on it was 05.16.14 and this is what I said “Also you need to understand that I am doing the best I can to keep my head out of my weekly score.  If I were to grade my week mentally I would give it a solid 4.75 out of 5.  The head has been and continues to be great.  Sure there are hiccups, but even healthy folks have hiccups.”

I truly am not going to make it a habit of reporting my mental state during these reports, I admit it is an important component of my overall health, but I am so upbeat.  What I would end up doing a cut and paste each week cause I am too lazy to retype the same info week after week.  But sometimes things happen and your whole perspective changes.  If I were to rate my head this week I would easily score the week 6.5 out of 5.  I was given a very special gift this week. The numbers are just numbers, but the gift was so very special.  One I will cherish.  Oh, by the way, I am not even going to share what the gift is.  But trust me, it is wonderful.  

Folks, I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  Yes I will take questions, but don’t ask about the gift, because I will have to decline.  Take care, Be safe, Bill.

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 06.06.14…

Good morning folks, it is Friday around noon and I am in the middle of being stood up by the Maytag Repairman.  The original scheduled time was for between 8:30 and 9:30am, when 10am came and when I called the company and had the pleasure of chatting with a snotty receptionist who informed me I was wrong the appointment was scheduled for between 8am and Noon.  Well noon has come and gone, and rather than go ballistic, I thought I would start my weekly report which should be done and in your hands before SundayOn a musical note in the background we are listening to some Stonegarden, which I am sure well be just a few of the songs I report on today.  BTW I did see “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” I loved it; I would pay money to see it again to catch the parts I missed the 1st time thru. 

A fair evaluation of the week would be a solid 2.75.  The things that ail me continue to ail me.  SOB is an ass kicker, which I made worse yesterday standing over the grill cooking some great chicken, hotdogs and hamburgers.   The normal aspects of my life have changed little.  I am sure the progression of the disease continues no matter what I do, but if I stay out of the hospital or avoid an exacerbation, it doesn’t seem to progress as rapidly.  So for me it really is almost impossible to notice any significant decline from week to week.  I will go on to say that when the time comes that I can notice a significant change in my condition from week to week, that the end of retirement is just getting real close.  So be assured, I have noticed no real difference between last week and this week. 

Also last week I spoke of waking almost violently, and having to chill sometimes for as much as 30 or 40 minutes before trying to sleep again.  I spoke of how my wife dropped a dime on me to the Hospice, and that I was given additional bedtime medicine to help resolve that issue.  What I failed to disclose what that the medicine is.  So in an effort to maintain full disclosure I now take 0.25ml Morphine Sulfate orally at bedtime.  This has helped significantly, but has taken some getting used to.  The 1st couple days I took this medicine I felt like my butt was dragging all the next day.  Not so bad now. I had one doctor appointment this week, and that was with Doc Derm, I was given some lotion, and told to use twice a day, and some moisturizer, you know the drill. I am 64 played golf for over 40 years always drove with my left elbow out the window, after you abuse yourself you pay a price.  No fretting allowed!!!  There’s nothing going on here. The only other medical related item was picking up a new pair of glasses.  No hospice visit this week our schedules did not match up. Sidebar we have been listening to AC/DC, Eagles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Creed, Dixie Chicks, thru this portion of the report, sometimes I get caught up listening and not typing. This upcoming week I have appointments with Doc Head, and my 1st quarterly appointment with Hospice to determine if I remain eligible for Hospice care.

Just like last week, and it is still boring but my general health remains approximately the same from week to week. The coughing is about the same, tiredness seems normal this week; SOB seems no worse except when I was standing over the grill. 

Let get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 06.06.14

  • INR = 2.3 taken 05.19.14 – next test most likely the will be 06.06.14

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 92 taken moments ago, and has been all over the place this last week, a couple of reading as high as 97, but several in the mid 80’s and one as low as 78 over the past week

  • Peak Flow = 275 taken moments ago, and that is as high as it’s been in weeks, generally I have a 225 – 240 range.  Must be a good day for sitting at my desk.

  • BP = 100/61 taken 05.29.14 – this was the last time BP was taken

  • Heart rate = 101 taken at this moment 101

  • Temp = 98.57 taken 06.05.14

  • Weight = 274 taken 06.06.14 – that was after the feast yesterday, I knew I had no business getting on that damn scale.

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 06.06.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect. A very dear friend and someone I respect greatly did not buy in at all (or at least mostly not at all) on my discussion on acceptance.  She spoke to me briefly on denial, and why that worked for her.  So out of respect for her, I decided to speak of DENIAL for just a bit.  As always we will start with a definition of denial.  Our definition is taken from dictionary.com this week.

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

Denial – de·ni·al – noun 1. A refusal to agree or comply with a statement; contradiction. 2. The rejection of the truth of a proposition, doctrine, etc: a denial of God’s existence.  3. A negative reply; rejection of a request.  4. A refusal to acknowledge; renunciation; disavowal: a denial of one’s leader.  5. See also defense mechanism a psychological process by which painful truths are not admitted into an individual’s consciousness.  6. Abstinence; self-denial

The truth is a lot of folks are in denial. Some folks will stand on a stack of bibles and claim they aren’t ill, will claim their world is perfect, will assert that everything is 100 pct okay, and will do so right up to the very end. They hope thru their denial that it will in fact become reality.  Science, the preacher, the best friend, the spouse, and a teams of doctors and test results, can’t convince them of their situation.  Then at the end some have the “Oh, Shit!” moment. When the reality of their situation hits them dead in the face, some look back and some regret, others don’t, some second guess their choices and then show all manner of regret.  Still others try to cram months and years of preparation into days and weeks. Sometimes denial is done out of fear, that if you don’t accept it, it won’t happen.  I have a good friend who is in denial to a degree that I can’t imagine.  Her mom had breast cancer, and had a double mastectomy, and to date both of her sisters have also had breast cancer, and some level of surgery and other treatments, (all have survived so far) yet my friend (age 63) has never had a mammogram (or hadn’t as of 12 yrs ago).  The only reason I know this is that she admitted to me. At the time of the conversation she wasn’t planning on have a mammogram, for fear that she would find out like her sisters and mom that she also had cancer.  Folks, that’s denial to a degree I can’t even imagine. Please don’t take this route. Sidebar, this has been a good music day, I have just heard Stonegarden again, Eric Clapton, Trace Adkins, 3 Doors Down, Sarah McLachlan, Ronnie Rathers, Match Box 20, Savoy Brown, Rob Zombie, Ray Charles, and Dep Leppard.  Just for my Canadian friends not one song by Nickelback, Yet !

I have another friend who claims she is in denial.  But I think in my friend’s case she isn’t in denial at all (though she claims she is), I believe her to be beyond the acceptance level, and those she is surrounded by understand her plight, understand  her being sick, understand she doesn’t need reminders. She is at a point where she is enjoying life as completely as she can she just refuses to be bothered by the disease anymore.  Maybe that is denial, but she has the love and support of her spouse, and her kids. What more could she need? Why should she worry about something she can’t change?   Why does it need to be a discussion point? Yet she continues to remind herself by maintaining her active membership of the Daily Strength Discussion Group for COPD and Emphysema giving support to others that need it, sharing her strength, giving encouragement when and how she can, and she even shares a bit of her experiences with her disease.  She clearly does not demonstrate a classic case of denial.  She makes me proud, her strength, her character, her caring show that she isn’t denying a thing. She has been a giant supporter since my earliest days being part of the Daily Strength Discussion Group and we continue to share email and hugs on a regular basis.  If I ever slip into denial I truly hope I do so just has she has.

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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Our First Halloween…. A Treasure Box Story

Halloween has been a special holiday for kids and adults alike.  In both cases it is celebrated in costume and over indulgence. This is a Halloween story about kids, in particular my daughter Allison’s first where she was going to be the one going to the door, ringing the bell, and saying “Trick or Treat.”  She knew those words were the key, and she truly understood the concept of tons of candy. This was also the first year that Allison understood the concept of a costume, and voiced a significant rant in what she wanted to be. Smiling, she chose to be a cowboy, not a cowgirl, but a cowboy.    In the past she had always gone as a princess, or lady bug, (actually that sums up her past Halloween experiences) and the reality was Allison didn’t really have a say. Steph and I had chosen what she was going to be, and Allison didn’t argue, smiling, she really didn’t understand the concept.  Her prior experience with Halloween was to put on something funny (and most likely she didn’t realize it was funny)  and take a walk collecting stuff her parents ate. Also it was just a walk around the block with Mom or Dad or both, at every open door hold out her bag, maybe mumble something, and an adult would put candy in the bag.  A kid’s concept of heaven I am sure.  I think preschool was a real boost to her Halloween educational process.

For the kids the Halloween costume is something they either painstakingly pick out and create or have their parents do all the work, by either going to the store buying the costume and making the necessary adjustments or by creating something from the tons of cloths and stuff around the house.  Allison is pictured here in her cowboy costume, barely able to contain herself, and about 45 minutes after we got her dressed and the makeup refined to something that Allison could/would tolerate.

Revised Makeup LOL

Revised Makeup LOL 

 Smiling, the effort we put ourselves thru for our lovely children. 

This is round two for the makeup.  Being honest this is 30 years ago Allison was probably 4 or 5. Not the sweet looking cowpoke she looks like in the picture. And you can’t even see the gunbelt she had on.  We couldn’t get a shot of her in the original pre-toned down cowboy make-up, because Allison wasn’t having it. During the first application of makeup, Steph had her more made up as a rough and tumble kinda cowboy, the beard was fuller and not a goatee, the mustache deeper, the eyebrows more arched and much darker. And I think there may have been a scar or two.  I know Steph put a ton of effort into this costume, and even more time and energy putting that makeup on Allison.  

When I carried her to the bathroom, and Steph and I 1st showed Allison her appearance, she totally freaked out, she when totally bonkers, screaming, crying, trying to get out of my hands, looking in the mirror moaning, wanting to know WHO’S THAT, screaming that’s not me. Allison was having nothing to do with the Cowboy she saw in the mirror and she was PISSED because her DAD was smiling and so proud and lovingly at the cowboy.  It was truly like a small thermo nuclear device had gone off in the bathroom.  It took 20 minutes to remove the original makeup and get her calm enough to try again.  If you look closely at the picture, you can kinda tell she is still not comfortable.  But the power of persuasion is amazing.  We told Allison no makeup, no trick or treating.  That was the final hurdle we needed to get over and it worked.  It also helped significantly when everyone we encountered told Allison she looked like a great Cowboy.

I will be going thru the photo albums, and picking out single pictures to share a “Treasure Box” story.  Some will be purely for Cari’s entertainment; others will be for my entertainment.  But no matter when you see them I hope you’re entertained.

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

 

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How I Feel for the Week Ending 5.30.14…

          Subtitle – 1st Official “Ham” Report on my Hospice Care

Good morning folks, I will say without a doubt this report may not reach you until some Sunday June 1.  Shortly I am heading out the door to see “A million ways to Die in the West.”  Then off to do some chores, and finally I will be back here to semi-devote myself to completing this.  So excuses out-of-the-way, let me get the ball rolling and state that it has been a 2.75 week and solid at that.  No new bug-a-boos have come my way, and I do feel physically better than last week.  I have had no doctor appointments this week, but I was visited by Hospice on Thursday (which is a regularly scheduled event).  I will get must more into that in the word of the week phase of my report.

I know it is boring but my general health remains approximately the same from week to week. The coughing is about the same, tiredness seems normal this week, SOB seems to be a little worse than last week, and my energy level seems to be less because of the higher respirations and SOB. But sometimes a new wrinkle appears.  Over the past several weeks I have been having episodes where I wake in the middle of the night, instantly alert, heart racing, and gasping for a breath of air. C-pap machine is functioning correctly, mask securely in place, and no apparent reason for the sudden awake fullness.   Yet it happens. It began several weeks ago, for the 1st time, and it wasn’t a big deal, I woke and gathered myself, then laid back down as was asleep in minutes.  The event did not occur again for a week or so, it was a touch more dramatic the second time, but in my mind still not enough to raise the alarm. Over the past 2 weeks it has happened several times, the events snap me from a dead rest to full alertness in moments, my heart racing, and it takes several moments for my breathing to normalize (for me). But my adrenaline is amped up and can take 20 mins or more before I feel I can lay down and comfortable get back to sleep.  Being honest while freaky, I was not ready to report it to Doc Lungs or Doc Infectious, but my wife dropped a dime on me and spoke to the hospice folks about it.  Apparently I wasn’t as quiet as I thought I was, and woke my wife. Bless her heart for doing so; I know I would have let it go further without saying anything to anyone.  This issue is now in the hands of Hospice and I have been given add additional medication to take prior to going to sleep.  Used this for the 1st time last night, and I didn’t wake with the jump-start last night. 

Let get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 05.29.14

  • INR = 2.3 taken 05.19.14 – next test 2 or 3 weeks – nothing new here

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 97 taken on 05.30.14 @ this moment, on 5/29 during Hospice visit it was 90

  • Peak Flow = 222 taken 05.29.14

  • BP = 100/61 taken 05.29.14

  • Heart rate = 112 taken 05.19.14, but taken this moment 101

  • Temp = 98.7 taken 05.29.14

  • Weight = 270 taken 05.29.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 05.30.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect.  This week I will be making my 1st “Ham’s” official Hospice Report.  In which I will bring you up to date on everything that has happened since I came under the care of Hospice.  Please as you read this understand this is an open report, I will try to make it as full as possible, but I am an old fart and I forget things, or sometimes I don’t think something is important enough to add to the mix.  If I gloss over something, or if you don’t see something you may be looking for please please ask me.  This can only help you, if you are getting the answers you need.  

A brief history, on March 3, 2014, I was advised by Doc Infectious that I should consider Hospice as a medical solution.  His explanation was simple; he no longer had the drugs in his arsenal to completely beat any infection I might encounter.  He went on to explain that he would continue to mix and match and do the best he could but that he had no additional weapons by which to fight the diseases associated with COPD that claim me.  He had consulted with Doc Lungs and they were in semi-agreement.  But Doc Lungs wanted to see me before I went into hospice.  My wife and I saw Doc Lungs on 3/4/14 and when asked specifically if Doc Lungs had any available drugs that would fight my infections he said no, but that if I should choose Hospice he didn’t want me to give up.  I assured him I wouldn’t and I haven’t and I won’t give up.  On 3/5/14 I called the LifePath Hospice, they came to my home hours later, filled in the necessary paper work, did a mini medical review, and started to make plans for me to meet each of the members of the Sapphire Team, which I was now a member. My case was reviewed that day, and I was accepted for Hospice care on 3/6/14.

I have a Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Fed health insurance, with defined costs, exact co-pays, exact percentages for medicines depending on the tier, and on and on. One of my very 1st questions to the Hospice folks was “how much is this going to cost me.” I was extremely anxious because a brief call to BCBS said they (Hospice) were entitled to a $125 co-pay each time they walked thru the door of my home.  To say I was shocked and amazed is the understatement, and suddenly my fear was that I couldn’t afford to die under Hospice care.  The Hospice folks spent hours trying to convince me that this was not the case, and that Hospice would never come after my family for monies due.  Again and again I asked them to put that on an official document.  I refused to accept the “full” hospice treatment until I was sure what my financial involvement was going to be. This issue was totally resolved when my 1st EOB (explanation of benefits) from BCBS indicated I had a zero balance with Hospice. Even though they had been to my house numerous times over the 1st 30 days, I owed them no money at all.  (If anyone is curious as to why, I will explain as it was explained to me under a separate post) I can talk more about my specific finances regarding Hospice if anyone wants or needs that information.  I can only talk about my situation, in my location, and my results.  Clearly there is a ton of wiggle room in any financial solution.  Once this hurdle was cleared I was ready to fully embrace the Hospice experience. 

Now on to the particulars, I have been under hospice care since 3/5/14.  I am visited at least once a week by a member of my Hospice Team (the team is made up of an Internal Medicine Dr, a RN Care Coordinator, a LPN, a Clinical Mgr, a respiratory specialist, a Social Services Spec, the Chaplain, Hospice Aide, and assorted volunteers), The Doctor, the RN and LPN, respiratory specialist, and Social Svc Spec, are constants, as well as the Chaplin, the Aide and volunteers change. I get to learn about them as they learn about me. Either the RN or LPN collect my vitals each week, Hospice will fill any and all prescriptions relating to my respiratory issues, with the exception of the Spiriva at no cost to me.  One of the Hospice volunteer’s calls at approximately 9:30am each Thursday to see if my medicines are good thru the weekend, if I answer negatively, that prescription is filled and delivered to my home by COB (close of business) Friday. If necessary they will make 2 or 3 trips to my home in a day to affect delivery.  When blood work is required they will come to my house to do the blood draw.  They are also becoming my home oxygen concentrator provider, and will provide whatever other medical equipment needs I have right here in my home, and will do so as the need arises.

When Hospice comes, they will spend anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes with me.  They never hurry, they are always concerned (and it clearly shows), they ask prying questions to make sure I am not holding back, but do so in a gentle way.  I almost feel guilty if I try to hurry them out the door.

It should be noted that you can be kicked out of Hospice.  You are evaluated every 6 months to ensure that you still qualify for Hospice care.  If you improve, you’re out, if you’re not moving towards end of retirement at a rapid enough pace your out.  Folk’s flunking out of Hospice is not a bad thing. And they will welcome you back with open arms when your circumstances change.  I have only been under their care for 2 ½ months and they have been wonderful to me.  I am sure as end of retirement nears, my needs will change as well, and I will report those as long as I can.  But if I have anything to do with it, I maybe kick out of Hospice, smiling at least once. 

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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How I feel for the week ending 05.23.14

I am getting a late start on this, only because I have been lazy, played cards did some shopping, some games, now as evening approaches I decided to commence work on my weekly status.  Most likely this will be completed sometime tomorrow, because most of the chores are done for the weekend already.  My only doctor appointment this week has been with Doc Head.  As always I find the sessions to be extremely helpful and because I never have an agenda when I walk into her office I never really know how we will spend the 45 minutes.  I can say in all honesty that I have never left her office feeling worse than when I when in.  I also had (so they think) the final conversation with the billing folks at Doc Infectious office.  To say that Doc Infectious billing is FUBAR is really giving them way more credit than they deserve.  I know there is a post there and I will address it separately.  I am rating the week 2.5 for the following reasons, the SOB (shortness of breath), is eating my lunch.  Even inside in an air-conditioned space with minimal activity makes me stop to gasp.  Couple that with the early summer heat and humidity which is on the rise, and is for the next several week, is an unwanted burden on the lungs.  Also sleeping has been a recent issue, I am normally good for 5 or 6 hours a night, of course I do get up a couple of times because nature is screaming in my ear, but recently I have been waking up gasping, and quite short of breath. Because I wake so violently I am tending to stay away longer before falling back to sleep.  All of these elements make the grade a 2.5 for the week. But it is a happy 2.5.  Also you need to understand that I am doing the best I can to keep my head out of my weekly score.  If I were to grade my week mentally I would give it a solid 4.75 out of 5.  The head has been and continues to be great.  Sure there are hiccups, but even healthy folks have hiccups. 

What I said last week regarding my general health still applies Health wise very little has changed, the coughing is about the same, tiredness above normal, SOB seems to be progressively worse than last week, and my energy level seems to be less than what I would consider normal. Also, my respirations are still running at a rate over 20 breathes a minute. I suspect the time of my respirations being less than 20 a minute are gone.

Let get the vitals out-of-the-way for the week ending 05.23.14

  • INR = 2.3 taken 05.19.14 – next test 3 or 4 weeks

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 93 taken on 05.19.14

  • Peak Flow = 218 taken 05.19.14

  • BP = 100/70 taken 05.19.14

  • Heart rate = 104 taken 05.19.14

  • Temp = 98.6 taken 05.19.14

  • Weight = 268 taken 05.19.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 05.23.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect.  This week’s word come at the request of Doc Head, she suggested I write about “ACCEPTANCE.” Back in my high school days I would have blown off this homework assignment, but I no longer go to high school, and I have matured a tiny bit since then.  So this week I will talk about “ACCEPTANCE.”  As per usual we will start with the web dictionary definition of the word:

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

Sidebar, we have been listening to the likes of the Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, AC/DC, Creed, 3 Doors Down, CSN and the Wallflowers so far, this portion of my weekly report has been quite easy….

ac·cep·tance  noun : the act of accepting something or someone; or the quality or state of being accepted or acceptable

Full Definition of ACCEPTANCE  1:  an agreeing either expressly or by conduct to the act or offer of another so that a contract is concluded and the parties become legally bound. 2:  the quality or state of being accepted or acceptable. 3:  the act of accepting :  the fact of being accepted :  approval 4 a :  the act of accepting a time draft or bill of exchange for payment when due according to the specified terms.  b:  an accepted draft or bill of exchange  

First Known Use of ACCEPTANCE – 1574

Acceptance, of all the thoughts that have run through my mind since I was first diagnosed with COPD, and realized the reality that it is a terminal disease. I have accepted that fact. For the 1st few weeks I probably pouted a lot, but I don’t ever remember having the “why me’s” or looking to shift the blame, I have complete acceptance of my outcome.  I had been a heavy smoker (and I mean Heavy), I was probably more surprised to find out that COPD was going to kill me and not cancer.  But (yeah, another one) acceptance does not equal quitting, acceptance does not equal giving up, acceptance does not mean hiding away until it happens, acceptance does not mean stop living. BTW acceptance does not mean go out and max out your credit cards either.  Acceptance really is just an understanding that for whatever reason your life is shorter than you wanted. It also means that you should look at each morning when you wake as a gift, and then thank God for giving you another day to share with those you love.

As anyone who has read more than one of my posts, you know I am never at a loss for words and that I talk about my illness endlessly. I am forever sharing the fact that I suffer from a terminal disease, and that I am dying.  I stand (sit actually) here at my pulpit, and I share with you what I am going thru.  I share my vitals, my symptoms, the medical advice, and hopefully some wisdom as well.  This folks is part of my acceptance, but acceptance goes beyond the just accepting you’re pending end.   Sidebar: we have had a vast selection of music today, breaks, just thinking and other interruptions have led to songs by Seether, Theory of a Deadman, 3 Doors Down, Matchbox 20, Jimi Hendrix, being added to the mix.   

From my own perspective I truly believe it is much easier for the sick one to except their situation, accept they will die much sooner than they wanted or expected.  I am not saying this is a universal truth, it just me I am talking about.  But and it is a large one, accepting that you have a terminal disease is one thing, accepting all that comes with it is a completely different thing.  This acceptance is a much coarser grain to swallow.  While I have accepted my pending end, there are so many other aspects between now and that point that I have not accepted, that I have not embraced, that I still fight.  COPD has robbed me of so many things that if asked I would try to deny it before admitting it conversationally, but I won’t admit to myself.  My physical capabilities have diminished greatly (but I still have some), I am now a 90 pound weakling hidden in a 265 pound body (but I can still carry 8 or 9 bags of groceries), and my stamina all but gone (but I still find ways to get it done, it just takes a lot longer).  But if you watch me pull into the garage, you would see me grab up 8 or 9 shopping bags of groceries and carry them into the house as the garage door closed, you would go WOW! Bill’s doing great.  But you wouldn’t see the struggle, you wouldn’t see me pant for breath, you wouldn’t see my head bowed in submission.  Only a very few very close friends get to see that, hell I did the best I could to hide it from my brothers while they visited. Folks, that’s the part of acceptance I haven’t accepted.  Also, I haven’t accepted the assumption that I may be less of a man.  No matter when the end comes there will just be things I haven’t and don’t intend on accepting. 

Each of us has to go thru the acceptance process, we will make stops along the way, we will forego some steps entirely, and other steps we will embrace.   Each of us has a comfort level, a need level, a desire level, a want level.  At each of these points we will also be faced with an acceptance level. We will come to a point that we know we must accept help when we never expected to, accept care when we thought we would always be the caregiver, and accept the fact that our body  has changed, and does not function as we think it does. And as we reach total acceptance, we will most likely learn that we must also accept a lot more before we reach the end.

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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A Memorial Day Story

I was sitting here reading mail, taking my morning medicines, and thinking about finishing my weekly “How I Feel” post when I came across this Memorial Day Story (via an AOL Mail from a good good friend).  Being the sap I am, and the proud veteran I am. I felt the need to share this with you. I didn’t write it, I don’t care who did (thought I would love to give them credit) I don’t know or even care if it’s true, it just made my heart feel good as I read it. Hopefully you get a warm and fuzzy as you read it. — Take care, Bill

A Memorial Day Story

As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open. The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car, and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty-five feet away. I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too, and took a few steps towards him.I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade. He then turned back to the old man. I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying: ‘You shouldn’t even be allowed to drive a car at your age.’ And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot. I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief, and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine.

He then went to his wife and spoke with her; he appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough, and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight and, as I got near him I said, ‘Looks like you’re having a problem.’ He smiled sheepishly, and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around, I saw a gas station up the road, and I told the old man that I would be right back. I drove to the station and went inside. I saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them, and related the problem the old man had with his car. I offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him. The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine), I spoke with the old gentleman.

When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, ‘What outfit did you serve with?’ He said that he served with the First Marine Division at Guadalcanal Pelieliu, and Okinawa. He had hit three of the worst ones, and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood.

They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me. I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card. He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it, and I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye’s to his wife. I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station, I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket, looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given me. I said I would and drove off.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name was written:

‘Congressional Medal of Honor Society.’ I sat there motionless, looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage, and an honor to have been in his presence.

Remember, as we approach another Memorial Day, OLD men like him gave you, and all of us, FREEDOM for America. Thanks to those who served and still serve, and to all of those who supported them, and who continue to support them. America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall. If you don’t stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them! Remember, Freedom isn’t Free. Thousands have paid the price, so that you can enjoy what you have today.

LET’S DO THIS: JUST 19 WORDS:

GOD OUR FATHER, WALK THROUGH MY HOUSE AND TAKE AWAY ALL MY WORRIES; AND PLEASE WATCH OVER AND HEAL MY FAMILY; AND PLEASE PROTECT OUR FREEDOMS, AND WATCH OVER OUR TROOPS, WHO ARE DEFENDING THOSE FREEDOMS. AMEN

As always I am open to your questions, concerns and comments.  Take care, and have a safe Memorial Day.  Bill

 
 

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There Are No Guarantees

FlaHam:

This was shared with me by Kanzen, and it is so worthwhile, I am reblogging to you. It is brief but to the point. Take care, Bill

Originally posted on Brother Murf's Corner:

20140521-171606-62166981.jpg

View original

 
11 Comments

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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