Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Are you an abuser???

September 29, 2007

This past while my posts have turned to the dark side, the hard and stressful times in my life. Times I do believe have at least contributed to my current health conditions. I have received many comments and emails, thanking me for sharing this part of my life. My dear friend V. actually goes so far as to say I am saving lives.. I can only hope others may read my story and look at their own lives. Look for any similarities, in your own and ask your self, do you really want to follow in my foot steps. I hope and pray not, caring for yourself and your health is the most important thing you can possibly do. So many things can happen that at the time we don’t fully realize or appreciate the true toll it is taking on our bodies. How many of us leave work thinking, phew, made it through another day or another week. True that day or that week is over but really what price, physically did you pay to get there, and was it worth it?

I am sure it is fair to say everyone is opposed to abuse of any kind. I am so touched by the comments left after my post on abuse, Nita, there is a system problem or something I have left you 3 different comments on your so painful story. They just don’t seem to be registering or something, I will keep trying, suddenly something will happen and you may end up with 5 or 6 comments from me. I think we all recognize how terrible any abuse is and are willing to do something to help stop it, it is just what do we do. I have several ideas on that I will be sharing shortly.

I think it is important for each of us to really take a good look within ourselves. Look at our lives in general and all of the individual relationships with all in our lives. Here I mean all parts of our lives, our working conditions, our relationships with family, with friends, neighbors. Honestly, making no excuses, look to see, am I being treated fairly, am I being abused or used. Sadly, abuse is usually only recognized when it becomes a prevailing factor in our lives and that is so tragic, my heart really does bleed for so many and I read their stories.

How many times have I heard things such as: “we all have our problems, or we all have our crosses to bear”. This is true and a fact of life no one will likely ever totally be free of trouble, problems or issues and will shoulder burdens.

Ask yourself though, is the burden I am carrying, the stress, the pressure being fairly placed when put on my shoulders. Many will say and rightfully so, stress and pressure come from within our individual ways of reacting to situations. Fair enough, but irregardless of how we chose to deal with a situation, it is still wrong if it is unfairly imposed upon you. In a situation like this are you being abused? I think so. I think most of us if not even all of us allow ourselves to be abused in at least some areas of our lives. With this wonderful 20:20 hind sight I have gained on life, I ask one simple question. Why do we allow that to happen?

Now, while doing this deep soul searching every aspect of our lives looking to see if we are indeed being abused in any areas or individual aspects of our lives, look also honestly to see if you are not indeed an abuser.

Now I am certain the majority of people would immediately respond with a very indignant: “no way am I am abuser, no way and at no time”. Well honestly I find that hard to believe for anyone. Abuse can be something as seemingly insignificant as a unkind word, insignificant to us saying it but how are we to know the impact it may have on the one hearing it.

We do need to rid the world of abuse and a good place to start may be within ourselves.

Tomorrow or Monday I have a post partially written on more stress and how it can come from outside sources. My final days in Norway House, our fear and stress.


Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Ideas please

September 29, 2007

Today is I am not having a good day. I thank all that have left comments of late. Many have been received under the end abuse post. Many have questions about what can we do. I ask this of all, please leave ideas or suggestions. Not just on the comments left but ideas we can individually or collectively utilize to end abuse or do our part towards it.


Dying Man’s Daily Journal – End Abuse

September 28, 2007

I want to thank my friend Ruby for bringing to my attention a wonderful idea on a very tragic subject. The idea all bloggers joining together today and write posts on abuse. Write on any sort of abuse, child, spousal even drug abuse. The idea being increasing awareness may and hopefully is at least a small step towards ending the abuse. Any action is better than no action. I hope and pray more public awareness brings about some good.

I read Ruby’s post this morning and I admit I was shocked. I, like I am sure most others are aware or at least imagine there is a lot of abuse in the sex trade. But to hear women and children are actually being sold into slavery to work in the sex trade even in countries such as the United States, blew my mind. I live in Canada and wish I could now say with any belief that such a thing could never happen here, but I can only imagine it does. SLAVERY IN THIS DAY AND AGE, unimaginable. I just can’t fathom the inhumanity some can show to others.

I hold firmly to my belief in my own statistics, 90% of the population is made up of good decent people, often facing terrible hardships, but doing their best to raise their families and get through each day. I have said there is about 5% that are just true Earth Angels, but I really think that number is closer to 10-15%. Sadly that does leave that remaining 5% that to word it politely are just plain jerks and are in fact lucky that it is not I that is sentencing them to prison, when they eventually end up in a court of law.

There are so many terrible things happening in the world, that when you hear of them it just makes you feel ill to your stomach. To many it may already seem the world is beyond repair. The savagery, the brutality it seems endless and can seem hopeless. It would be so easy to just throw up your arms in general disgust and feel it has all gotten so bad there is just nothing I can do.

That is the easy thing to do the quick answer to ourselves. Thinking to ourselves, there is just nothing I can do, this mess is far beyond my control, so why bother even trying. I have my own live to live and that is hard enough, let the rest of the world take care of themselves. Really, an understandable human response.

This is the very time we can’t loose sight of the big picture. The world is full of good people with kind generous good hearts. I love making up my own statistics and I know at least 95% of the world population would love to end all abuse, all cruelty, wars, famine all of the problems that seem to plague our world. Some how the vast silent majority has in many ways given in to the small minority. How did that happen and why to we allow it to continue? It is good to recognize and talk about a problem but what are we going to do about it, talk alone won’t do it.

I heard a quote for a supervisor of mine at one time: “One definition of insanity could be continually doing the same thing over and over and each time being disappointed when the end result doesn’t come out differently.” That makes so much sense, if we stop to think of it. If we all just sit back and do nothing differently how can we realistically expect anything to change.

I as an individual, can I realistically expect to bring about great world change, no. But as an individual I can work to bring changes for the better within myself, my family and maybe even my community. We all see it, we all talk about it things have to change, if we want to bring about any change, be it in our own lives or in the world, we have to change or attitudes and actions.

I know and recognize many are already doing what they can and personally I thank you and applaud you. Every step forward is a step forward no matter how small it may seem. While I am working on improving myself, my family and possibly my community, possibly a simple phone call to various levels of government, demanding change. Politicians love their jobs and to keep them will work to bring change if that is what is demanded by their voters. Lets bring the changes needed everywhere.

I pose a direct question to everyone that may choose to read this. Have you ever supported the abuse of others? I am sure many will immediately respond, well not knowingly, fair enough. I ask you this, what is it you are doing when you purchase any consumer goods that may have been produced in the sweat shops I hear of. Places, where people are abused terribly, taken advantage of because of circumstance. I can’t think of any product lines off hand but I do know these sweat shops exist. By buying these products aren’t we giving that company that manufactured them our support and there by supporting their treatment of employees.

There is such a great need for change in our world, it can be done. I hope and pray everyone will share my thought “let it begin with me”


Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Me indispensable????

September 26, 2007

For the past couple of days I have been writing about some actual events in my life and my reactions to them. Even as I write I realize what an idiot it all makes me sound like. Fair enough for really that is what I was. With my 20:20 hind sight I can clearly see that now, but at the time, in the heat of the moment it all seemed to be the thing to do. I hope by sharing this others may look at their own situations when they are “in the heat of the moment” and really question themselves, is what I am doing really the best thing to do? What can seem like the necessary thing isn’t always the right thing. It is kind of embarrassing actually to admit this all to the world. It certainly doesn’t make me out to be the smartest guy in the world.

It is just I know there are others that take their dedication to the job to the extreme. Often I have heard things like: “it is a busy time at work, I just can’t be sick now. Or, “it wouldn’t be fair to my coworkers, if I am not there my duties fall onto them and they are all to busy already.” Another I have just been reminded of by Mel, “just get up and move, you will feel better.”

I am not sure, but I have begun to wonder, are we giving ourselves some sort of an ego boost? Maybe even subconsciously or something, why else would I seem to have the idea and this also may even just be on a subconscious level, that my contribution was so important. Would the entire bank actually collapse if I wasn’t there for a day?

I ask one question directly to anyone that may choose to read this. Have you ever had thoughts along these lines or heard others say something like this. If so give yourself or them a slap on the side of the head and say wise up. Your health is the most important thing you have to take care of.

In the year 2000 the bank ask me to go into Norway House to manage the branch there. I have many stories I can and will be sharing about what a really wonderful place it is. The only draw back to Norway House is that it is an extremely remote and isolated community. It is about an 8 hour drive to Winnipeg. The last 2 hours of that drive is straight into the bush on a gravel road.

It is a community of about 7,000 people, with only one financial institution to serve their financial needs. That one bank had only one person authorized to grant loans or deal with investments mutual funds etc. That was me. The closest other bank was about 3 hours away. We provided an important service to a lot of people. As the only lender available I felt even a greater responsibility to be at work every day.

In my mind I was responsible for representing the bank in a professional manner, having no one there to service those needs couldn’t be considered responsible. Many in the community even seemed to considered me to be the bank.

Heart conditions can be misleading. It is not like having a cut on your arm where you can see the injury and rationalize in your mind the need to care for it. This wound is internal and can be deceptive. You can’t see the damage and on good days can easily convince yourself you are alright.

I have a whole list of events I could rattle off showing how I put the bank and customers ahead of my health showing my continuing and increasing foolishness. Of my bouts with tachycardia, my heart rate going up to over 200 beats per minute. The doctor telling me to take a month off work to rest and avoid stress, and me returning to work after 4 days. Why, because that is where the bank needed me and that is where my customers needed me. The new medications or something had kicked in and I was feeling better. At that same time I was bombarded with phone calls at home from customers and bank staff all with issues and problems I couldn’t deal with being at home. For me that was even more stressful than it would have been actually being at work, so off I went. Now I wonder why didn’t I just unplug the phone, that thought never even entered my mind back then. I think this was the occasion when Vi actually went behind my back and phoned my boss, Ken. After she explained the circumstances, I quickly received a phone call and was sent home. Why was it suddenly more acceptable to me having my boss tell me to go, than just going myself. It was like the yolk of responsibility was lifted from my shoulders. Can anyone else relate to that feeling?

Hey even other more obvious issues didn’t stop me. In that same time period I broke my right wrist, there is a really bizarre story behind that one, that I will share one day. Doctors reset the break not realizing at the time, a part of the bone was shattered not just a clean break. I missed no time at all for that but trying to type left handed only certainly did slow me down and lengthened the days. It caused a lot of constant pain. Cast was supposed to be on for 6 weeks but I finally went to the doctor after about 4 because of the constant pain and it not getting any better. A new xray revealed the shattered bone with little jagged pieces sticking out which explained the pain. I was quickly scheduled for surgery in Winnipeg, which involved chiseling out the shattered bone part and implanting a piece of bone taken from my hip. I thought my wrist had been painful but that was nothing like the pain with the hip. I would have to check my old journal but I think that kept me home for 3 days. That next week or so was agony with the hip. When I got into work and my butt plopped into my chair there was no way I would be moving.

But, hey I did what I had to do. I KEPT THE BANK RUNNING. I was indispensable or so I thought, I am pretty sure the whole banking system as we know it would have collapsed without my efforts. LOL, that is really a big laugh out loud.

Through out this all chest pains began to increase as did trips to the hospital ER and so did my time off work. In this time a new development began to show itself. I started having falls. I had no memory of the fall itself, just suddenly I found myself on the floor. It got to the point, I used to joke, I am going to have to try and time my falls differently. I always landed on something hard or even worse hard and disgusting, The most disgusting was suddenly finding myself face down on the floor of a not so clean public wash room. I am not sure but is joking about things and just laughing them off a coping mechanism, I don’t know? Several times with these falls I sustained some sort of minor injury, not enough to stop me, but did slow me down. Beyond the fall itself, I suppose the most potentially dangerous one was a fall I took on the way to work. We lived only a short distance from the bank and I usually walked. It was one of those “Manitoba winter days” temperature was around -40. I suddenly found myself flat on my back in a ditch. Now I couldn’t have been down very long as when I regained my senses I was cold but not freezing cold. I wiped the snow off my pants and carried on to where I was “needed”.

Now, I may sound like it but I really am not a complete idiot. The doctors having no clear diagnosis or what was causing all my issues, thought it was likely side effects of the various medications I was on, possibly the side effects of different medications interacting with each other. Some where in there I developed edema (retaining fluid) and water pills were added to the mix. Just carry on as best you can and your body will adjust. It is important to understand here that I have nothing but very good things to say about the quality of the medical care I was receiving. My health issues were just more complicated than anyone realized at the time.

The main complication was discovered almost accidentally. In one of my heart related trips to the ER, it was feared I may have had a stroke. I was sent by air ambulance to here in Winnipeg and after numerous tests including a C-scan there was good news and bad news. The good news I had not had a stroke, the bad news they discovered a brain tumor. I was subsequently diagnosed with epilepsy trigger by the tumor.

Strange as it may sound it was almost a relief to learn of the tumor, it explained so much. Tumor is in the right frontal lobe in an area of the brain that affect things such as JUDGEMENT and impulsivity.

I have been poking away at this post for 3 days now. I thought I would finish my sage of my last days with the bank and subsequent events but I realize I am rambling and still have more to say.

I can only hope that anyone that may read this will take a look at their own lives. See if there is any similarity and if so change. The end result of all of this is, the bank did not collapse but my health did. What more can be said than that. No one is indispensable at work no matter what the circumstances. Stress is a killer, putting anything before your health is a killer. Please look very seriously at your own lives.

Surprising to me is how just writing this is stirring up so much emotion within me. In the next day or so I will write about the really scary and stressful time.


Dying Man’s Daily Journal – My stress

September 25, 2007

Work ethic was something taught to me by my mother, seeing her drag herself off to work on days when she was obviously not feeling well. Something my dad said has also always stuck in my mind, even though I know this is a statistic he just pulled out of the air at the time. But the thought has stuck with me. He said words to the effect: “You have to be a man, when you are hired to do a job 5 days a week that is what a man will do.” Now, this is the statistic I know he made up on the spur of the moment. “Always remember about 1 in 4 people you will work with on any given day, will themselves not be feeling well, but they made it to work in-spite of how they are feeling, don’t you think you should too”. Even then I thought the statistic was bunk, but somehow the message he was trying to deliver got through to me and stuck. Through out my career I missed very few days until it neared the end. Four heart attacks and the brain tumor finally forced me to give in, a little, and only bit by bit. With everything else going on it may sound strange but it was ultimately my failing memory that forced me to concede.

I realize stress comes from within, external pressure may come from the outside. How we deal with that pressure may or may not cause stress depending on each individual. Each individual then deals with any stress each in their own way. Some scream and become angry others internalize it. I internalized , I became so good at doing that, there were times I really didn’t even recognize stress for what it was.

Through out my banking days I was transfered many time to many different branches, many different towns or cities. The physical change of location is something I always enjoyed. I now realize and see that I put unrealistic expectations on myself at this different branch of the bank. Here I would find myself in a different location, working with a different staff, doing a different job. I would be replacing a person that had also been transfered on. That person, who knows may have held that position for 2-3-4 years and knew it inside out. Here I come with say a general idea of the position but with much to learn. Usually, you got 2 maybe 3 days with the person you were replacing and then off they went. You were left on your own to figure it out as you went. Granted there were always people around either in person or by phone you could contact for guidance. This was very stressful for me, I had the unrealistic expectation, I should be able to step in and immediately do the job as well and as quickly as my predecessor. I used to tell my staff, it takes 3 months to learn a job and at least 6 months to get comfortable with it. I could see and accept it for them but not for myself.

Back in my junior banking days I had the idea that the most important customers to the bank were the ones with lots of money. Somewhere along the line my thinking on that changed also. To me the most important customer in the bank was the one sitting in front of me at the moment. The number of dollars a person had in their account made no difference to me, they had a need and we were or I was there to try to help with it. I realize I spread myself to thin doing all this. I always tried to bend to accommodate the client. Even normal banking hours don’t work for you, so when is good for you: “9:00pm on Thursday, OK, I will meet you here then. It does though give me a nice feeling inside to know over the years I have been able to help so many people with their finances.

There is always a flip side to the coin. Negative interaction with clients or what they often saw as negative. Times such as when you decline a loan, or chase someone for payments on a delinquent loan or even when you refuse to cash someones cheque. Over the years twice I received death threats, I don’t even know how many times people have threatened to kick the living sh*t out of me and I have been cursed at more times than I can count.

At various bank meeting I used to hear of bankers accepting only hour long appointments. I was always amazed at that, my appointment book was often filled with someone every 15 minutes. Here comes the pressure, you go through the day at a frantic pace. With that short a time period with a client you just can’t finish all the paper work, which piles up until the end of the day and can extend your day well into the evening.

Granted, I brought that on myself, I could have easily said only hour long appointments and made my life easier. I found it difficult to turn away someone with a real need, surely I can manage to fit them in some how.

I will be writing a lot more about my stay in Norway House either tomorrow or the next day. We had some really wild and scary adventures there.

Today, I am just going to write of how ridiculous I really was in trying to meet everyones needs or I prefer to think of it as how seriously I took my job. I stayed at work right through my last heart attack, now how stupid is that.

I could pull out my old journal for dates etc. but for here I don’t think any of that is important. It is the what not the exact when. By that time I had already had 3 heart attacks, so I was comfortable in my mind that I knew what if felt like. The usual chest pain and numbness in the left arm.

This one fooled me sneaking up on me in a different way. My jaw and all my teeth were aching, not bad just enough to be uncomfortable. Just thought it was strange, never had that before. That was in the morning, we opened the doors to the public and went straight into one of those frantic days. Sitting here right now I can’t remember what time of the day it was. But at some point I realized the pain in my jaw was gone, but I now had quite a stabbing pain in my chest. I have what the doctors have called unstable angina, so chest pains are not uncommon. Usually, though these pains are associated with some sort of physical activity. Here I was just sitting at my desk, but as I do get them I never gave it a lot of thought. Just gave myself the spritz of nitro spray under the tongue and carried on with a loan application. Often it takes 2 or 3 of these little spritzes to get rid of the pain. Through out this time I am in full gear dealing with clients and distracted. At some point I realize the pain that had been in one spot has now spread across my entire chest and the left arm is numb. I have already taken my 3rd shot of nitro and this is the time to go to the hospital. Understand I have been through this before and gone to the hospital, ended up getting a shot of morphine for the pain and a couple of more shots of nitro, they do an EKG and some blood work and by then I am feeling fine and home I go. I am close to finishing a loan application which I know is important to the client, so I do the 4th shot of nitro and keep going. I will go to the hospital then. This client is leaving and another is actually waiting at the door, he desperately need to see me but it will only take a minute. Well nothing in the bank only takes a minute. By now I am sweating like crazy and I know I have to get to the hospital. I finish with that client, open my office door and ahh, there is another one waiting. Now I know this guy and that his deal has critical time lines with it, I also realize my chest pain is starting to diminish, maybe it is just that angina after all. Pain continued to diminish and I finished the day. I am really dragging this on. Saw the family doctor, who did an ekg noticed a difference, I was sent back to the cardiologist. He also noted the change and the one time I didn’t go to the hospital was the very time I should have.

It may be asked why didn’t you just pass these clients off to someone else to deal with. What if there is no one to pass them to, what if you are the only authorized lender in the branch.

Now is that client service to the extreme or what.


Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Career Objectives

September 23, 2007

I am going to share parts of my life, that actually I hope will make some sit back and just think to themselves, this guy really isn’t very smart. In fact he is stupid to the point of being ridiculous. I hope all will look to see if even in some small way, their lives resemble mine. See the resemblance, realize or see how ridiculous it is and bring about some change in their own.

All of my life I have been complimented on my good work ethic. To me that means some one that is dependable and puts in a good day, everyday. I think that must come from my mother. Many times I saw her, really sick but still dragging herself off to work. She had been hired to do a job and do that job was what she would do, in the very best way she could, irregardless of anything. When you are hired to do a job, it is your responsibility to see it is done. An admirable quality, if not taken to the extreme, as she did and I now realize I did.

I was a banker for virtually all of my working career. I have to laugh at a saying I used to hear “working bankers hours”. In the old days, when I first started banking, here anyway, it was the norm for most banks to be open from say 10:00am-3:00pm. It seemed to be assumed, that was the hours you worked. Not so my friend, not even back then and the hours have just gotten progressively longer ever since.

I started my banking career right out of high school, almost accidentally. I will have to share that story some time. I admit I had this fantasy in mind, I could see myself as a high powered executive, just like the ones I saw on TV. For any not familiar with the Canadian banking system we have 6 or 7 major banks. These are banks with thousands of branches spread across the entire country. I rose quite quickly through the ranks and became a “Bank Manager”.

Going back to my teen years, I suppose most influenced by what I saw on TV. I saw a bank manager as someone to be highly respected, of great power almost akin to doctors, lawyers etc.. I mean hey, even the doctors etc had to go to the bank manager when in need of a loan or mortgage or something. When I became a bank manager I would be a “some body”.

I remember the day I received the phone call telling me I had be promoted and that I was now a BANK MANAGER. I admit I was excited at the time. I was 28 years old and I had made it to the “big times” or at least what I had previously viewed as the “big times”. There was an element of pride I carried but for only a very surprisingly short time. I had attained a position of what I had thought to be of stature. I am not sure what I had really expected to feel like, here I had attained one of my major goals in my life and yet I felt no different inside. I was now, what I had previously thought of as a “big shot”. Yet somehow nothing had changed, I still felt the same.

The years of hard work, the long hours, the time missed with family, the extra stress and pressure I put on myself to get a head and really for what. I certainly didn’t feel anymore satisfied or fulfilled than I had before. I was just me, just sitting behind a different desk. It was I suppose even a bit of a let down, sort of like, OK, here I am, so now what.

It took me a while but I began to realize my attitude had changed. As with most change it was so gradual I didn’t even realize it was happening. Over the years I had dealt with so many different people from all walks of life. Doctors, lawyers, judges, police officers, entertainers, people of virtually every nationality and I came to realize that people are just that people. There is no career, position or job title that changes that, people are people. All with their own strengths AND weaknesses, joys and sadnesses. What a time to realize it, 10 years of hard work to achieve a what proved to be meaningless goal. Or, at least meaningless in the way I had thought it would be. To be a “somebody” comes from within and has nothing to do with career or position. What a fool I was to waste the precious family time as I did. If I only knew then what I do now, how different it would have been.

This is turning into what I think will be a 3 part post. I have rambled enough for today. Tomorrow the stress and of how I actually stayed at work through what proved to be a heart attack. Then of my final days as a banker, living under siege in our own home, the fear involved with that and how that has affected both Vi and I.


Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Anniversary

September 22, 2007

This is not intended as my main post of the day. It is just a thought hit me late last night. I had to run and check, maybe it has something to do with being male, but I forgot an anniversary. It is an anniversary I celebrate with all of you my blog friends. It was one year ago as of yesterday that I started this whole blogging experience.

Anyone reading this can never know how truly amazing that is to me. When I started out, I really did not believe I would make it to this point. No one will ever understand how important this blog and all my blogging friends have become to me. In some ways it seems it has almost become my purpose for being, what keeps me going. No one can ever realize how much I treasure and appreciate ever single comment left for me. It saddens me when I think of how many individual comments I was unable to respond to directly. I hope all realize I read and reread every single comment. Each and every one deserves an individual reply from me. I hope and pray all understand, there are days when I just can’t seem to get there. If anyone happened to leave a comment and I didn’t respond, please forgive me but know it was read and highly valued.

No one can ever really realize what a wonderful experience this has been for me. What did yesterday show:

hits – 89,284

hits yesterday – 324

Posts – 333comments – 2,601

Spam – 16,703

Value of this whole blogging experience to me – priceless

Thank you, my friends for making this entire years so special for me.