Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Willing to help a Stranger

August 31, 2007

Today when I came to the computer, I actually had an idea in mind for what I wanted to post. Your thoughts even your world can change in an instant. That happened to me, my thoughts changed the second I read the so touching comments from my blogging friends, Nita and Jo.

Nita, I am so sorry to hear to the accident your husband suffered. My prayers are with you all. Nita’s comment contains a simple request for prayers for her husband John. John had an accidental fall on August 15th. which broke his neck leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. I can not even begin to imaging what John, Nita and family are going through. My heart and prayers go out to you all.
I visited Nita at her site redtinheart and I ask please for all to do the same. More is shared of their sad and touching story. Nita writes of John, becoming depressed, trying to come to terms with these events. That will be so difficult, accepting that one minute you are an active healthy man and the next paralyzed. How difficult that adjustment will be for John, Nita and family. I hear of cases like this and my heart just bleeds and I so wish there was something, anything I could do. I am sure many will feel the same way, if only.

Here, we do have an opportunity to do something. On her site Nita writes of how John has become so depressed and she is searching for ways to bolster his spirits. “Many have asked what can I do?” In that regard she has actually made a specific request of any and all that would care to help.

Please mail John a card: “I don’t care if you send a postcard, a homemade card, whatever card you want is fine. I just want him to have hope and to know people care. He loves John Deere, walking sticks, Loves, and I MEAN LOVES Jokes. Woodsy things, he is an outdoor person.”

Here is his address:
John Zimmerman
St.Louis University Hospital
3635 Vista Ave.
St. Louis, Mo. 63110
room 630

I don’t know John, I don’t know Nita other than through several comments she has left here on the blog and by reading her blog. I do know my heart and prayers go out to them.

Many talk the talk, if only I could do something. Well here we have a chance to see if we can also walk to walk. Are we willing to do something more than just talk, to possibly help a stranger?

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Patient/Family which is worse

August 30, 2007

I am so happy that Vi is continuing to improve, inspite of my inability to keep her resting. She has been taking it easy by her standards, key words there are “by her standards”. This has been a real learning experience for me. I realize that as she is feeling better, I am feeling better.

This whole process has really made me stop and think, put on the old thinking cap. I experienced what it really felt like for a family member to watch a loved one suffering. It really wasn’t a fun experience. I have written so many times on how I believe it is worse for the family than the patient. Now I am just not sure. Watching her in such pain, the feelings of wanting to help but being unable to do anything, the total helplessness, was awful. Seeing her in such pain, it was obviously much worse for her than I.

It is amazing how if you look for it you can turn everything in life into a learning experience. I know I learned an important lesson sadly at Vi’s expense and pain.

Recently, I came across a quote on another blog. Memory guy here comes through again. I remember the quote, I even remember asking permission to use it, I just don’t remember from whom I asked that permission. Sorry for not giving the appropriate acknowledgement.

This quote really struck me. “knowledge without experience is merely information.” How very true this is in all aspects of life. With my heart, the brain tumor and all, it seems I am always the one in the hospital as the patient. I have knowledge of that and the experience to back it up. I can share my thoughts based on that.

It is from that experience that I relate when I consider and compare my own health issues. Generally, it is my heart that takes me to the hospital, 4 heart attacks, heart failure and a brain tumor have given me a lot of experience as the patient.

What does my experience as a patient tell me, if we base it only on physical pain and discomfort, it is really not all that bad being the patient. Because of my heart, I don’t have to endure the waiting times in the ER. I am always rushed straight in and receive almost immediate attention. My medical history is easily available, I quickly receive medication for the pain, oxygen for the shortness of breath and I am in relative comfort. I am not sure why but my mind set is always calm. I believe I am surrounded by Angels that are comforting me, even be it on a subconscious level. Even in the midst of what I was told was a heart attack, I never felt any fear of panic of any kind. Some how I was always comfortable knowing I was in the hand of The Good Lord and the doctors and nurses, He had directed to be with me that day.

I see the panic, the fear and worry on the faces of my family and I “know” it is much worse for them.

Fortunately for me and my family there have been very few occasions, where I have been a part of the “family” forced to watch another suffer. I haven’t been able to speak from much experience. My experience here comes from watching helplessly as my daughters were sick or injured when they were growing. There I can remember the pain, the terrible feelings of helplessness. Even of having the desire or the wish to be able to trade places with them. Let me have this pain not them. So that experience again tells me of how terrible it is to be part of the “family”.

My knowledge and experience show me it is much much harder on the family and that is that. Or was until I saw what Vi went through. I felt all those family emotions, but I can’t help but feel they paled compared to the physical agony she was enduring. The endless waiting to even see a doctor, what a terrible experience and what an eye opener or learning experience for me.

I have to really think about my broad sweeping statement, it is much harder on the family. In my case it is true. Unless you are experiencing the individual situation, who can really say?
After a death has occurred it is so obvious to me, it is the family that suffers the most.  In the time leading up to that, I am just not sure any more. Circumstances are obviously the determining factor, what do you think?

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – New Page

August 29, 2007

I am deep in thought about my experience with Vi and her injury. I have learned a lot from it and am composing a post trying to express that. I am struggling with the words and it may take a day or two to get it up. Because of my absence of late I wanted to get a post up. Just to if anything reassure friends I am here and doing OK.

In the next few days I will be adding a new page to the blog. Right now, I think I will be calling it “CHEERS and jeers”, but we will see. Why do I want this page? Among us daily we encounter “Earth Angels” those that affect or help us in wonderful ways. They bless us and others everyday by their presence but receive no recognition and sadly at times not even much of a thanks. This can be individuals, organizations or even businesses. I am tired of only hearing about the bad, the greedy, lets recognize, acknowledge and promote the good in others.

There is a flip side to every coin. I have been struggling trying to decide if I should include the jeers part. I may very well delete it depending on circumstances. I will tolerate no personal attacks and such comments will be deleted no exceptions. I suppose here I am thinking more of businesses that maybe treat their employees or clients unfairly. We see it, we recognize it but do nothing about it other than complain to ourselves which accomplishes nothing. Do I hope to accomplish anything by this, I don’t know, but hope so.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Vi in hospital

August 29, 2007

It seems like a long time since I really spent any time on the computer. I suppose it has been the longest time I have gone with out posting something.

Things have been a little different around out house the past while. For the past week it has been Vi that has been the patient instead of me. I can say I really don’t like that role reversal. Seeing her as the patient in the hospital was awful. I have said so many times I do believe it is so much harder on the family than on the patient. I got a real first hand taste of just how hard it can be for the family. But then I could see her in such pain, terrible agony, it was worse for her, I am sure. Having to sit and watch her in this pain, unable to do anything, was really no fun either. I suppose it depends on the circumstances, I am not sure any more which is worse.

It all began with Vi having a head ache, that just wouldn’t let up. On the third day it had progressed to the point, where the right side of her neck was having spasms that were shooting terrible pains up into her head. Pain, so great it was bringing tears to her eyes, she was in agony. After a quick trip to the chiropractor how just told us to take her straight to the hospital, it was to the hospital we went.

The quality of care was excellent, it was just the waiting that seemed endless. Vi in physical agony and me in emotional agony. What was described as a huge dose of morphine didn’t seem to even put a dent in her pain. Another “huge” dose of something else seemed to help, but it was a second subsequent shot of morphine that finally seemed to get it under control. Xrays showed that 2 of the discs in the bottom of her neck had become squished (doctors word) pinching a nerve.

She was put in a neck brace given a prescription for pain medication and we were sent home. The nurse gave me specific instructions to make sure: she got lots of rest, continued to wear the neck brace, virtual bed rest for the first 2 or 3 days, followed by a very gradual increase in activities.The nurse was also very specific in saying, after a day or two Vi would undoubtedly begin to feel better but that it was important to really limit activities for at least a week preferably two weeks to promote full healing and prevent a recurrence. Vi is feeling much better, in fact by now with all the drugs she has in her system she is feeling really good. I am feeling better that she is out of pain and that she will be better soon.

A big thank you to all the wonderful hospital staff. I am sure all were glad to see the back side of me leaving. I really was quite a bother, grabbing everyone that came within ear shot, trying to get her help, moving quicker. One would have thought that I believed her to be the only patient in the hospital at that time. Well to me at that time she was the only one, or at least the only one that seemed to count in my books at that time.

Reality hit me as we were leaving the hospital. Take care of Vi, Ok, I can handle that. Make sure she keeps the neck brace on, oh, just not going to happen. Keep her in bed for a couple of day, oh, just not going to happen. Make sure she limits her activities for the next couple of weeks, oh, just not going to happen. The nurse obviously hadn’t realized I would be trying to keep the energizer bunny slowed down, just not going to happen.

I gave it my best shot and am happy to say Vi is well on the way to recovery. I have to laugh a little, I think it was the very last thing the nurse said to Vi, “you make sure you listen to Bill”. Vi just gave us both that sweet little smile of hers saying “I will listen”, you will notice to “listen” is all she committed herself to doing, nothing about paying attention to or to do as told. Women!!!!!!

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Enjoy you time

August 23, 2007

Somehow, an important lesson or message, what ever, seems to have snuck into my head, without me even realizing it. That is until now, when I look back over the summer.

I am a very lucky man, I know that. Most times, I know and appreciate that fact very much. I have to question myself, I know this, so how is it, I seem to be able at times to seemingly forget it and get wrapped up in the moment. Why do I allow the thoughts or feelings of moment to at least temporarily cloud my overall view or at least enjoyment of segments  of life.

Over the past couple of months I have written of how I wasn’t feeling all that well, largely because of the unusual heat wave and high humidity that hit us, here in Winnipeg. I am grateful that the weather had moderated in the past couple of weeks. But still I had a wonderful summer as we have been blessed with virtually non stop company, and I do mean blessed in each and every case. In fact it is continuing with my brother Robin and his 2 boys arriving this afternoon.

So, we had numerous different guests, were they all wonderful and a joy to be around, YES. Could they have acted any way differently to make my time more enjoyable, NO. I truly, enjoyed each and every visit, but could I have enjoyed it more,YES. Not through anything they could or couldn’t do, but through something I, myself could have done or not done.

Instead of just accepting circumstances that were obviously well beyond my control. Instead of accepting this and enjoying each moment to its FULLEST, I seemed to allow myself to slip into the poor me mode. Now did I every actually think the actual thought, poor me, No. What I did was allow myself to get to wrapped up in my feelings of discomfort at the time, with thoughts like, “Oh man, it is to hot to be doing that” or “with this humidity, I can’t even breathe right”, oh poor me. I allowed myself to miss out on a family gathering and so much more by choosing instead to remain more comfortably hidden away in our basement. OK, I do have certain physical limitations, which I am still having a hard time accepting, but I don’t have to dwell on them.

Now to be clear, I did enjoy every moment with everyone that visited and I am very glad they came, I do truly hope for return visits. I am not even sure if the word fault, applies here but if it does the fault lies with in me.

Now, it can be asked why didn’t I mention and post pictures of all of this wonderful company. Now, here I accept only part of the blame. My plan had been to post a picture and message about each and every family group that arrived. Now this is where the issue arose. I think each of you ladies are beautiful exactly as you are. Experience, though has taught me that if you tell a lady you want to take a picture that will go on the internet, suddenly hair and makeup etc. seem to become very important. (statement to all ladies, I see each and everyone of you as being perfect and beautiful just as you are. I say it to Vi and I say it to all, applying makeup is a waste of time, how can you hope to improve on what is already perfect?).

I think I can say that I told each family group shortly after their arrival that I would be wanting to take a picture and to be prepared as some time good or convenient to themselves. In each case this seemed to be forgotten by both them and me (memory guy). This seemed to result in a few quick pictures taken out in the yard as they were loading their vehicle to leave. Timing was such it seemed on family left and the next usually arrived the same day and the cycle repeated itself. So it is only now I am finally getting to put up pictures and share stories of our wonderful company.

I do have to say a special thank you to all for being so understand of me and my needing naps etc.

I am sitting here chuckling to myself, I have rambled on so much explaining why I didn’t post pictures, I have become to tired to do it now. lol. Starting tomorrow.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – A brave and strong young man

August 23, 2007

I am so touched this morning reading a comment left by my good blogging friend Jo Hart. Over the past several months Jo has been occasionally leaving comments, often on the illness of her cousin Terry. Terry was fighting a courageous battle with cancer, Jo often shared insights into the thoughts and feelings of the family as they were forced to watch, helplessly, as Terry battled on. Obviously, a strong man he fought long and hard. Sadly, it was a battle impossible to win and in yesterdays comment, Jo speaks of his funeral. I ask please for prayers for the family.

It brought tears to my eyes as I read of 8 year old Mitch, writing and delivery a eulogy to his father. Jo, writes of the tears that flowed at that time, and at many other times I am sure. The strength, the love shown by this 8 year old is beyond any I would every have had at that age. Mitch, you are a very strong man and have my respect and admiration.

Jo, writes of how while, yes, it was a very sad time, they still managed to make it a celebration of a life. I am sure Terry was there is spirit and for this he would have been very grateful. My heart and prayers go out to you all.

I have been thinking more of my own funeral of late and will be posting thoughts on that soon

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Peoples Reactions

August 20, 2007

Hey this is a mile stone day, I am actually editing this post. Well sort of, I am just adding this paragraph to clarify the dates. This is one of my marathon posts, started Thursday, added to on Friday and Saturday, and I hope finished today Sunday. The “yuck” day was actually this past Friday. I hope this clarifies the disjointed time references.

Man, oh man, tomorrow is a day I have not been looking forward to. I wrote a while back that I think I must have really cute butt as doctors are certainly keen on checking it out. haha. Again tomorrow morning, yuck. Using the word, yuck, is really being mild in my feelings about this whole thing. Oh well, what can you do except joke about it. Even trying to joke about it, it is still yuck.

Be warned this paragraph may contain way more information than you want to know. Yesterday, seemed to slip away on me, it is now Friday and I have returned from my doctors appointment. This one was a surgeon. Very nice man and I am sure very good at what he does. BUT, he has scheduled me for a colonoscopy (spelling ???), even spell checker can’t help me out on that one. Without getting to graphic, he is going to insert a camera to check deeper into the furtherest area of my colon. I am not even going to say where it is they are going to insert it. What I can say is, they better have given me lots and lots of drugs before that happens. YUCK, is still the best word I can think of just now.

I have been reading of the devastating earth quake in Peru, my heart and prayers go to all. I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through. I ask for prayers for all please.

As I read of this terrible tragedy, a realization has come to me. I would have been willing to swear I wasn’t, but I realize I am a judgemental person. For me this is not a comfortable realization to come to, but it is true. Understand I am not pointing fingers at anyone especially not the poor people involved in the tragedy in Peru. I know exactly the same events would occur anywhere there is such a tragedy.

I read there is looting going on and I immediately jump on my moral high horse and proclaim that to be awful. Then I read further and see a lot of the looting is for the basics of life, food and water. Huh, well that puts a different light on things. But I am still on my high horse and still think it is awful, and then I start to think. If I had a wife and children at home, and they were going hungry and thirsty. If I could see no other options at the time to provide for my family, I would likely be one of the first into the store. Would I feel bad, yes, would I feel guilty, yes. Would that stop me likely not. I had to get off my high horse feeling bad about being judgemental of others, upon realizing given the right set of circumstances I would do the same. Don’t you just hate it and feel so embarrassed when you realize you are wrong?

I have written this many times. These are totally my own statistics based on my life experiences. Generally, I hate categorizing people, making broad sweeping statements about any groups in general. But for this thought, I do anyway. I am talking about people in general, irregardless of race, culture, sex or anything. I am talking about every single person on this planet.

OK, how do I categorize such a vast and diverse group of beings. That is the easy part. I believe about 90% of the population is comprised of good, decent, honest people trying their best. Tying to get through each day, raising a family, doing the best they can. About 5% of the population is make up of those exceptional people that always go the extra mile to help out, kind, generous and caring. This group I often consider to be almost Earth Angels. That leaves the remaining 5% that are generally, uncaring, inconsiderate jerks.

So my personal categories are easy. The tough or even impossible part comes when trying to decide who belongs in each. The problem comes as withing each category are many varying degrees and the lines between each are often blurred and we can all move regularly between each. We all move between the categories depending on the day, depending on so many circumstances. I know this, I accept this. I know given the right circumstances I can seem a jerk and I am I suppose. Isn’t it so much easier to recognize others when acting like jerks. When I am acting in the same manner, I can always justify it with, someone or something caused me to act that way. Nothing, and no one can cause me to act in any particular way, I chose to act that way.

I viewing others can any of us ever be totally non judgemental? I am not sure anymore. Ultimately judgement is reserved for a power far greater than I. For that I am grateful.