Having a bad day, think about this

January 24, 2015

I just read the most heart breaking story in today’s Winnipeg Free Press. If I have been carrying any element of poor me, reading that article certainly slapped it right out of my head.

There is a couple in Toronto currently facing an impossible choice. The article shows a picture of two little girls. They appear to be about 4 or 5 years old. They look healthy and happy. But, as we know looks can be deceiving.
Both little girls are dying from an incurable liver disease. The liver is an amazing organ. I believe it is the only one in the body that can regenerate itself. Now that means it is possible to take a portion of a healthy person’s liver, transplant it into someone in need of a transplant and both can be fine. For this to happen both donor and recipient have to be a medical match.

Here is the catch with this story. The father is a perfect match for both girls and is more than willing to donate a portion of his liver. He can only donate enough to save one of his daughters. How can you possibly decide which of your daughters to donate the liver to. Deciding which will live and which will die. What a position to be in. I can’t even begin to imagine. They can’t make that decision and are leaving that choice in the doctors hands. My heart breaks for them.

Think you are having a bad day. Try imagine yourself in their place. I bet suddenly your day doesn’t seem so bad does it. For mr it puts things into a different prospective and suddenly my situation pales in comparison

Colonoscopy results

January 24, 2015

Went to the hospital yesterday and got scoped from both ends. Not the most pleasant experience but overall not that bad.
Because of my elevated heart rate they were shall we say stingy with the drugs. I was wide awake, totally alert and could feel everything. They did give me something that I am guessing maybe numbed what I felt. I could feel that colonoscopy scope moving around inside there.
To explain my low hemoglobin levels they were looking for big internal bleeding. Well there was none and everything inside looked good. Different tests will have to be scheduled for the hemoglobin thing. Low hemoglobin can cause elevated heart rate.
I have every confidence the doc’s will figure it out
It was brought to my attention my last post had a whiny, poor me tone to it. That was not my intent but even if it had been this is my journal and I can write what I want.
Now just laying it all out like that seems to have had some sort of therapeutic affect as I do feel better. Some how just venting letting it all out has had a calming effect.
My point had been to stress the need to avoid as much negativity as possible. Control your thought process to avoid taking on negativity.
But, who knows, I know I get on a ramble and who knows where it will take me

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – so much time wasted

January 22, 2015

It seems like such a long time since I have posted. Actually started 4 or 5 different posts but seemed to run out of energy and they sit in the saved draft section.
I am so happy to say Vi is making a wonderful recovery from her surgery which was a tremendous success. She is walking pain free, something she was unable to do for a year and a half before that. I am so proud of her as she is making the most of it and doing her part to get even stronger and better than she was before. Vi, you go girl, I am proud of you. You went through hell, were a real trooper through it all and look at you now.
Now for me 2015 was a tough year. I am ashamed to admit I wasted so much precious time. I suppose one way to put it was I spent much of the year in a stressed out funk. It was a big learning experience for me. I thought I was pretty good at deflecting stress.
I have learned for me anyway that once I allow my mind to stray into that stressed out, fear or negativity filled area. I am less and less able to deflect even the little stresses. Even little things now add to the fire fuelling that negativity and it becomes an increasing downward spirals. I was off my game.
It sucks when you have no one to blame but yourself. I am totally responsible for how I act or react to any issue or situation. The blame laying game seems to be such a big part of life, we love to have someone or something to blame for what ever is happening in our lives. We get into the if only’s. It’s not my fault I feel this way, poor me. If only this or that had or hadn’t happened or if only he/she had or hadn’t done or not done this or that, I would feel so much better. By placing blame you are just taking on stress and avoiding taking responsibility for your own actions/reactions. We reduce our abilit to face down the issue, deal with it, let it go and move on.
Here is where I vent about 2015.
In Feb. Vi under went her first major surgery. It was a complete failure leaving her worse off than she was before. My brother Robin passed away as did my dear Aunt Isabel. Vi under went a second major surgery which was an absolute nightmare at the time.
Medically, A Fib a brand new heart condition came into play. An issue with the electrical wiring in the heart. Currently my resting heart rate is 120-130 beats per minute and is very irregular. It is along the lines of BEAT….beat, beat, beat…..BEAT, BEAT…….and on it goes.
Required blood transfusions for again another issue. Red blood cell count found to be about 1/2 what is considered normal. OK, this one has me on edge, potential implications, I don’t even want to think about. Colonoscopy and tube down the throat scheduled for this Friday. Low red blood cell count with no noticeable blood loss, geesh.
Was told by one doctor, so that I can realistically face the situation. I have to realize my time well could be measured in days or weeks not likely months. Now I have been told that in the past. Back then I felt much stronger physically and while hearing that hit me, within myself I felt strong and confident. Now I no longer have that same physical strength or emotional confidence. I feel worn out. Heart failure is a progressively degenerative, dealing with it for 12 years is taking its toll and catching up with me.
I remember the day of Vi’s second surgery. While Vi was actually on the operating table, I had an previously arranged appointment with the cardiologist. It was to discuss a procedure to deal with the A Fib. There is a procedure that can be done, waiting list is up to a year long. It will deal with the A Fib but do nothing for the heart failure issues. Usually they give me a little “pep” talk as I am leaving. Usually along the lines of, yes your time could be limited to days but hey you could have years. Get get out there and live.
I was back at the other hospital waiting for word on Vi when it hit me. The content of the “pep” had changed. It was still a good message but it had changed. No one knows how much time I have left but it is time to focus on quality of each day as opposed to quantity of days left. Enjoy each day as it comes, don’t worry about tomorrow. Maintain a positive outlook which in itself will carry you a long way. Avoid negative situations and people at this point. Anyone that would show anything but “warm fuzzy” feelings either doesn’t understand your situation or they just don’t care.
OK, I have taken about a 20 minute conversation and encapsulate the message to a few sentences. But, that was their message. Talked briefly about Vi being on the operating table as we were speaking and how stressed I was over that. Their response: Life is life situations will arise you can’t avoid. You deal with it in the best way you can. Try to stay positive, put your head down, move forward one step at a time and you get through it. Surround yourself with only positive, loving supportive people.

I found it ironic. Avoid stress and there I was sitting in the waiting room waiting for word on Vi’s surgery. You know of the complications that followed and the stress that went with it. For the past year I have had constant chest/heart pain at one level or another. Through that week pain was at a level that given any other circumstances would have sent me to the ER. I could not/would not do that. There was that period when we thought she had a heart attack. I know stress is a killer for cardiac patients. I was not going to be the cause of more stress to her if she learned I had in fact been hospitalized.
One of the hardest things for me to deal with, well except for the dying thing is the ever decreasing physical capabilities. ParArticularly, over the past couple of years doctor’s have been reducing my suggested physical activity. They know I have the constant chest pain. Now especially with the heart rate being so high. My activity level is to be mostly bed rest. Keep active with slow occasional walks around the house. I am to Use the pain level to determine activity level. If I feel the pain increasing stop and sit down. I walk from the garage to the house, pain level ramps up considerably and I need to use the nitro spray and just sit for 2 or 3 minutes to catch my breath.
I carry a lot of guilty feelings over not being able to help your mother more. I actually, mentioned this to them at the clinic. Now I appreciate they are sometimes a little melodramatic to make their point. They said: “is dusting the living room worth risking your life?” Hmm, point taken.
It is now the 6th. Day I have come and added a few lines to this post. Not even sure if I have kept to the same thought throughout. Hey it is my journal, I can post what I want. Time has passed so it is tomorrow I go for the colonoscopy and tube down the throat. Not worried about procedure, apprehensive about results.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Happy New Year

January 1, 2015

Happy New Year to all my family, friends and anyone that may read this.
My wish for all is this:
May the very best day in your past, be not nearly as good as the worst day in your future.

Good Bye to 2014 – appreciate the “small” stuff

December 31, 2014

We thank all for the loving Christmas wishes.
Christmas Day here was very quiet. We were invited to go and spend the day with Vi’s sister Deb and family. Come the day and I was just not feeling well and pushed Vi out the door to go and have an enjoyable day. The day passed very quickly for me as I slept through most of it. Did say my little prayer wishing Jesus a happy birthday.
Must have been really tired had 3 days in a row where I slept 16-18 hours a day.
Happy to say Vi is recovering very nicely. External cuts from the surgery have healed nicely. Jan. 7th, the staples will be removed. She is one strong lady, she went through so much and handled it like a trooper.
For me heart is still going in and out of A Fib. Episodes only usually last 10 or 15 minutes but are becoming more uncomfortable at times. It is hard to describe because it can vary so much. One day it will be very noticeable 5 or 6 times throughout the day. The next day only once or twice. Been a couple of times when the old heart has been pounding so hard Vi could actually see my chest and upper abdomen area going up and down with each beat. Other times though I will check heart rate and find it is in the 160-170’s and I don’t feel a thing.
A new issue has risen that has the potential to be scary but trying not to dwell on it. In a 3 month period my hemoglobin levels dropped from the high side of the normal range to 1/2 of that normal range. I am told this would normally indicate substantial blood loss. Tests show no blood loss from usual areas. Was hospitalized to receive a blood transfusion. I have to say receiving 3 units of blood was almost magical in the way it mad me feel so much better. Have to wait and see, now as more tests are planned for the New Year.
In ways 2014 was a tough year. Both my brother Robin and dear Aunt Isabel passed. Both Vi and I experienced major medical issues. I am trying to look back at the year and see beyond just the bumps in the road as big as some of them were. Look at the big picture. We do have so much to be grateful for. A big one is I am still here.
Going to make a couple of phone calls today to acknowledge and praise two of the unsung and under appreciated heroes in my life. At a quick glance their contribution to my life may even seem small or even as just what is expected of them and we take it/them for granted. One thing I have learned is to take nothing and no one for granted.
I am thinking about our Canadian winters. The past few days factoring in the wind the temperature has been in the -40 range. I feel for anyone working outside in those conditions.
One of my favorite times of the day is early morning. Sipping my morning coffee while reading the newspaper. Right there one of those “small/little” things I take for granted. Around 6:00am irregardless of weather conditions magically appears at the door, which allows me to enjoy my favorite part of my day.
I am an early riser and a couple of times have gotten but a glimpse of this “mystery” person out there battling the temperatures and the snow in the dark of night. The “mystery” person is a very slight, middle age+ lady out there all by herself. Now I am certainly not trying to say a Lady can’t do this kind of work. I suppose it just surprised me.
OK, just phoned newspaper to commend our delivery person on the reliability of service. Learned her name is Helena. My message to her supervisor will be relayed on to here.
Thank you Helena for contributing to the enjoyment of my day, everyday irregardless of weather or anything else.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to all my dear blogging friends and anyone that may read this. May you have a wonderous day. Even if just for a moment please take time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – in memory of dear Aunt Isabel

December 18, 2014

Today is a sad day in the Howdle family. Today a large portion of the family has gathered in Swan River to say good bye, to honour and celebrate the life of Isabel Howdle. Sadly, I can’t be there in person to celebrate a life well spent during her 87 years on this earth but know I am there in spirit.
Any that have followed the blog may remember, I have written about my Dear Aunt Isabel on many occasions. Visits were wonderful and so often spent facing each other down over a crib board. Between we even created our own little special tournament, “The Championship of the World”. In this Auntie proved to be a very worthy opponent, so worthy, I believe she took that title with her every time we played. Now to be sure while playing we were both playing to win but the final score or who actually won wasn’t at all important. What was important was the time we shared. That is time for which I will always be grateful. Special memories will be carried in my mind and heart forever.
Aunt Isabel had a very kind and unassuming nature but was a very strong lady. Through what can only be called very difficult financial times she raised 11 children. Each of whome I am proud to claim as a cousin. Carol, John, Joe, Jim, Shirley, Gloria, Ken, Doug, Garry, Sherry and Clifford. All of whom loved and respected her deeply. My thoughts and prayers are with each and everyone of you.
Aunt Isabel often leading by example raised a family that I admire each as individuals but also as a family unit. That family “unit”, the bond they all have together is one that I envy and admire very much. Good job auntie. This may sound a little corny even, but their family unity I would describe a being something like that of the Walton’s as seen on TV.
There is a saying you can’t choose your relatives, only your friends. Well if somehow, I could choose my relatives. I know who would be my very first pick to have a an Aunt.
Aunt Isabel, you have filled my heart and mind with memories, I will treasure forever. I am sure you have a crib game organized up there in Heaven. Please hold a chair open for me in the tournament and we will play again


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