Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Trick or Treat

October 31, 2007

I hope all the children that partake in Halloween have a wonderful, exciting but safe time.

When I think back I sort of remember how exciting it was, to be going out and get CANDY and as much as you could. A kid’s dream come true. Pillow cases were the order of the day and still are. What great times we had, the 3 Howdle brothers going up and down the street gathering our loot. At times even having to return home temporarily to empty our bags as they were becoming to full or to heavy.

We always went with 3 or 4 other neighbor kids but with no parent supervision. It just wasn’t felt to be needed and really wasn’t back then. It was extremely rare to see a parent out on the street. For us it truly was such and exciting and wonderful time.

I can only hope every child that “hits” the sidewalks this evening will have as much fun as we all did back then.

Now, Vi and I both enjoy going to answer the door and see the cute little ones all dressed up in their costumes.

I hope all will by a few candies and hand them out. It is only once a year and you do brighten the day of a little one, that in itself is worth it.

I am just sitting thinking, isn’t it strange. We spend 364 days of the year telling our children, “DON’T TAKE CANDY FROM STRANGERS” now we are telling them to go out and ask for it?????

I hope a wonderful and safe time is had by all.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Last Memories

October 29, 2007

 Coming to terms with Vi’s upcoming surgery and Shauna’s health. Vi’s surgery is actually elective. It is to correct an issue many ladies I am told face as they mature, if they have had babies. She doesn’t seem overly concerned so neither will I. Now as for Shauna it is about time they are doing something for her. She has been having terrible headaches for a couple of years now, even being hospitalized several times for them. Prayers are always so appreciated.

The past week has been rather hectic, more so for Vi than for me. Through out last week we had Renee and Riley as house guests. Renee, being the wife of our dear friend Grant, who had suffered a heart attack. I am happy to say Grant on Friday was well enough to be flown back to their home town of The Pas, to the hospital there. Renee and Riley also left Friday morning.

Saturday morning we truly were blessed to have a visit from Darrin and Janice, friends from Thompson. I am so grateful they took the time to stop in for a visit. They were passing through town, back to Thompson from what sounds to be a wonderful vacation.

Vi’s daughter Lynelle flew in from Thompson on Saturday afternoon. Actually, it is a conversation I had with Lynelle, on Sunday afternoon, that really has me thinking today. Vi was having a nap, so it was just Lynelle and myself at the kitchen table talking. It was very nice.

On Saturday night the ladies Vi and Lynelle had gone to a party at a friends house and had a great time and for that I am so glad. Their evening out was included as a part of our conversation.

I have a situation that I am just not sure how to deal with. Lynelle related a conversation she had with Vi at some point. Vi feels guilty when she goes out and leaves me alone, the what ifs come into her mind. When she comes home she is worried or nervous about entering the house. Afraid I may have had another heart attack and she may find me sprawled on the kitchen floor or something. I am just not sure how I can put her mind or those of my family more at ease about this.

Maybe there just is no way, I don’t know, I would appreciate suggestions. OK, the reality of the matter is, it could be today, but it also could be tomorrow, or next week or even next year, there just is no way of telling when dealing with the heart. Personally, my “target” is for years down the line.

I guess my point is we just can’t sit back and put our lives on hold or in limbo, just waiting. We all have lives and need to LIVE them each day to the fullest. I must live my life to the fullest, but at the same time I must encourage all others to do the same. THAT INCLUDES YOU ALL, MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS, EVERYONE.

How unfair, unkind or even unloving, would it be for me to suddenly expect everyone to put their own lives on hold for me, because I am sick. I realize each of my loved ones are going through this whole process with me, whether they are physically at my side or not. Because I do love them all so much I want to make this whole affair as easy on them as possible. Don’t deprive yourself of living life, of having happiness and joy, live life do things you know will be fun. I have never expected anyones life to revolve around me, why should I start to expect that now.

There are days, I know, it is hard not to feel down or start the slide into a pity party, been there, done that. How unloving would it be of me to drag those I love, down there with me.

I have thought to myself, when my time does come, how do I want to leave things. Do I want my loved ones last memories of me to be of a whining, crying, nasty old goat????NO NO NO.

To all the families that are facing the loss of a loved one. Please spend some extra time, show your love and support for your loved one. BUT, please don’t put your entire live on hold. The circumstances you are facing are just as hard on you, if not even harder than on the actual patient. Take care of yourself and do some of the things you need to do for you.

As to the patients, I speak to you as someone that actually is in your shoes, I understand what it is like. It sucks and is a position none of us want to be in. We can accept we have a limited number of days left and try to enjoy each on, or we can choose to be miserable. Not enjoy our last days and not allow anyone else around us to share and enjoy loving times and have happy memories. Either way it doesn’t change the ultimate outcome of all of this. It only effects the love and joy we experience or don’t experience in our last days.

It is a struggle, but I have made my choice

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – More prayers please

October 26, 2007

Didn’t get a lot of sleep last night and will definitely be taking advantage of my nap time today. I will be surprising many when they look and see, I did respond to many wonderful comments left for me yesterday. All comments are wonderful and so appreciated, If I don’t respond to any particular comment just know it wasn’t because of not caring or appreciating.

More medical news, our friend Grant that suffered the recent heart attack is greatly improved. He may today be flown back to The Pas, the town in which they live. To the hospital there, not home quite yet. I do thank all that offered up prayers for him.

I again ask for prayers, this time both for my dear Vi and daughter Shauna.

Vi visited her gyn yesterday and is now scheduled for surgery in several weeks. Female issues relating to the bladder.

Spoke to my daughter Shauna last night and find her family doctor feels she may have meningitis. Obviously, not the you are dead in 24 hours kind. They are trying to set up a rush appointment with a neurologist.

Yesterday, was quite the day. May try to write more later. But I ask all for prayers please

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Good News/not so good news

October 24, 2007

Yesterday was a mixture of good news and what I suppose is some not so good news. I thank all that mentioned our dear friend Grant in their prayers. Grant had an angioplasty done with a stent being placed in his heart. The angioplasty clears a blockage on one of the arteries in the heart and the stent in put in to ensure the blocked area remains clear and open. He is doing well and we are all so grateful and thankful.

Now for the not so good news. I go for regular blood tests, the doctors monitor the levels of all sorts of things. There must be about 12 or 15 different things they check. I know it isn’t going to be good when the doctor phones wanting to see me between regular appointments. It means he has received the last results from the blood tests and feels he needs to see me, now, and can’t wait until the next regular appointment.

His receptionist phoned last Thursday and schedule an appointment for yesterday afternoon. I go in knowing he won’t be having good news but still he caught me a little by surprise. “Bill, you are a walking heart attack, just waiting to happen, all your blood test levels are way up.” I think he may have realized immediately how that may have sounded and quickly tried to calm or reassure me. “Don’t go getting all stressed or excited on me now, I brought you in so we can try to deal with it.”

Some may think his wording may be harsh or something, but I like that about Dr. C. he tells me as it is. No beating around the bush and I do appreciate that. He was glad to hear my next scheduled appointment with my cardiologist is in about 3 weeks or he would have been trying to make such an appointment asap.

Now doesn’t news like that just take the shine off of your day. Strangely the more I sit and think of it, I realize this may have been a bit of awake up call that I needed to hear. A bit of a reminder of where I am in life. I realize I have somehow over time allowed myself to become, I am not sure if complacent is the right word to use. I so see I have to some extent slipped back into my old ways of just taking life for granted. Sort of never mind what the doctors are saying, I am doing fine. I have survived 4 heart attacks and maybe I am bullet proof and defy all the odds. I know for everyone, sooner or later the odds will catch up with you.

Only, once have I ever been given any sort of a time estimate as to how much time I do have left. He was my family doctor at the time and he was very reluctant to give an estimate on my time left and really only gave in after I bullied and badgered him, It was something I really needed to know at that time. I will never forget his words. “There is really no way to tell, it could be 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, a year, maybe a year and one half or even 2 years if you are lucky.” OK, these were words I really didn’t want to hear, but again I am thankful he was upfront and honest with me. I really do want to know where things stand and how I am really doing. I do understand the doctors are merely making educated guesses, no one other than the Good Lord above knows when I will be called home. Since then no doctor has been willing to make such a guess, each just stressing there is no way to tell, keep your mind set positive and focus on a longer time period. There is an old saying, “living on borrowed time”. Is that what I am doing? I don’t know, just know, I am a greedy guy when it comes to things like this and be assured if I borrowed time, I borrowed lots of it.

It seems my body is starting to not react to certain medications in the manner in which it is supposed to. My diabetes seems to be acting up and I may soon go beyond treatment with pills to insulin. My liver is unhappy and the doctor questioned by about my alcohol consumption. I will have a beer now and again but really not all that often. I would guess, if I bought a dozen beer for just myself that after a year I would likely still have 2 or 3 left over. He really stressed zero alcohol, well that is an indulgence I can easily forgo. I tried to joke with Vi afterwards, “gee, if I quite drinking cold turkey, do you think I will have to go through withdrawal of some sort”. She just laughed and assured me, she didn’t think it would be an issue.

OK, back to the first doctor that gave me a time estimate, I have great respect for him both as a person and as a doctor but guess what, I proved him wrong. Two years if I am lucky, haa, the first week in November will be 3 years. I am going to have to have some sort of a celebration. Celebrate the fact I am alive. Would anyone like to join with me in that celebration, not just that I am alive but that you are alive on that day? Life is something we all seem to just take for granted, or at least I know I always used to. We celebrate on special occasions, when I think of it, isn’t the fact we are alive the biggest reason to celebrate there ever could be. Am I suggesting we turn everyday into a big part, of course not.I am suggesting we turn each day into a celebration within our selves, in our minds and hearts. Celebrate life each day, or at the very least take even a short moment to reflect and be grateful for it, and for the lives of our loved ones and those close to us.

Don’t take life for granted, celebrate it, enjoy it. Don’t waste any time on foolish negativity. Every second or minute wasted is time gone forever, we can never get it back. Every minute wasted is precious time gone forever. Each of us only have a limited number of those precious minutes left on this earth. I pray all would recognize that fact and then choose not to waste a single one of our precious minutes.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – One more prayer request.

October 22, 2007

Up extra early this morning. The choking sensation woke me. No big deal, a little scary when it is actually happening. So my nights sleep was cut a little short, I have the luxury or being able to nap when I want, I will be wanting today.

I am today asking for prayers from all. On Saturday, our dear friend Grant suffered a heart attack. Thankfully he seems to have been stabilized and is currently in the CCU of a nearby  hospital. He is today awaiting a battery of tests possibly including an angiogram. All that will provide the excellent doctors with the information they need to know how to proceed. The possibilities of how they may proceed covers the whole spectrum, from just sending him home with medications to open heart surgery. All will depend on test results today.

I ask for prayers please.

Grant’s wife Renee and grandson 2 year old Riley arrived last night and will be staying with us during Grant’s hospital stay. I ask for prayers again please for the entire family.

Grant is a good friend and as such word of his heart attack would normally be upsetting. Grant would be the typical last guy you would ever expect to have a heart attack, healthy, active…… I think back and realize that for years Grant’s job with the the Government kept him active and outdoors much of the time. I think it was about 2 years ago that Grant accepted a promotion and his work environment changed to an office setting and a management position. I don’t know and can’t comment on the stress levels that may be associated with this position. I assume there was stress as here we are 2 years later with Grant having a heart attack.

It was on Saturday night we learned of his heart attack and of him being flown by air ambulance from their home in The Pas to here in Winnipeg. As all of this happened on Saturday, we wouldn’t be able to visit him until Sunday, yesterday. There was no question I would be visiting him, but I found myself really uncomfortable about it even dreading it to a degree. I really couldn’t understand this and did a lot of soul searching. I realized my dread went even beyond Grant to facing some of my own little demons. I would be returning to the same large room in which I had literally almost died twice. It was conjuring up some bad memories and images in my mind. I dreaded the very thought of just going there.

But, last night, I put on my big boy pants and off I went with Renee. I certainly am glad I did. Firstly, it was so nice to see Grant and see that he seems to be doing as well as can be expected. For me it somehow went far beyond that.

It may have helped that the hospital has under gone renovations and the cardiac unit has been relocated, so I wasn’t actually in “the room”. I am not even sure what it was but something changed my thinking, and I am so glad. Suddenly somehow, I no longer saw the cardiac unit as the terrible place where I had almost died. I suddenly saw it as the wonderful place where I had survived the heart attacks and the open heart surgery. For a moment the doctors and nurses almost seemed to take on an Angelic glow. I am not sure what brought the change but I am very glad it happened, it was a wonderful feeling.

Prayers for Grant and family please.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – People are people

October 18, 2007

I had a huge “pee” day yesterday and have my wonky head going on in a big way. somehow I always seem to have  a few posts sitting in the saved section. I am not sure why I didn’t finish them at the time but they come in hand on days like this. This is what I wrote, I believe last Tuesday. Going to lay down.

I didn’t get anything posted yesterday or I would have mentioned the wonderful evening we had on Sunday night when Darleen and Lindsay joined us for supper and for a very enjoyable evening. We were later joined by Vi’s brother Henri who stopped by to cut our grass, he really is a good guy. Vi and I both thank you all for such a nice evening.

At some point Darlene wanted to go out and see the wonderful things Vi has accomplished in our back yard. She really has turned it into a beautiful spot when all the flowers are in bloom, sadly we are well past that with our Canadian summer being so short. That left the 3 guys Lindsay, Henri and myself sitting at the kitchen table talking. Another enjoyable time. It was also more than just enjoyable it was informative or educational for me.

Educational, in that at times when writing this blog I have struggled with terms trying to be politically correct when talking about or describing various people. Prior to starting the blog, this was a subject I really didn’t pay any attention to. The Good Lord in His wisdom has seemed to make me color blind when it comes to people.

OK, back to the 3 guys sitting at the table. I sit here now and think, it was almost like a meeting at the United Nations. That being that Lindsay is a “black” guy, Henri is an “Indian” or First Nations guy and me, well I am just a plain old white guy. I am not sure how well I am doing it, but the point I am trying to make is none of this color or race stuff made any difference. It was just 3 guys talking and enjoying the company of the others.

I think it was Lindsay that brought up the subject by saying when he attended school, he was the only “black” kid there. From there the conversation evolved to how well intentioned people struggle with politically correct terms when referring to others. I think Lindsay said it all, when he related a story about an event in his life. Sorry Lindsay, I can’t remember the fine details but it is the overall message I want to share.

Now, first it must be understood that here in the middle of Canada, we just don’t have that many “black” people around so I can totally understand and vision the situation to which he was referring. He was to attend some sort of social function which in itself was no issue. Apparently, prior to his arrival, I am sure they were very innocent well intended people approached a friend of Lindsay. They asked something to the effect, “we don’t want to say anything offensive so how do we refer to him, as Afro-Canadian or black or what? I love the answer that was given. “Why, not just refer to him as Lindsay.”

Doesn’t that just say it all. “Just refer to him as Lindsay” we are all just people. Why do we seem to feel a need to see beyond that? Why do we have a need to label people based on their color, religion nationality……… People are people and beyond that nothing else really matters.

Another thought just occurred to me as I am sitting here. When we label people we put them apart from ourselves, creating divisions in the world, in our lives. Divisions create controversy, controversy can create wars. People are people, colors may differ, faiths may differ, cultures may differ but the people don’t, all are just regular people. Labeling, stereo tying is just wrong.

Here, at least in North America, don’t we generally seem to think that the “Muslims” are our greatest threat. Vi and I are proud to have a family that we consider to be good friends. Guess what they are “Muslims” and the nicest people you could ever meet.

I stand by my own made up statistics: 90% of the population of the world is made up of good, kind, honest people. People doing the best they can to raise their families and get through each day as best they can. About 5% are Earth Angels, those wonderful people always willing to try and make this world a little better.Then there are the jerks, the remaining 5%, the idiots, the radicals. They are found in every group and every culture around the world. It is their actions that make the news and it is based on their actions that we tend to label all within that group. How unfair is that? Please tell me, how can we stop this from happening? Is it really even possible? I consider my own situation with the blog. How can I in written form describe any group with out doing that very thing?

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Birthday request

October 17, 2007

I am not sure what got me thinking of this, this morning. But I realize I am rapidly closing in on another birthday. Maybe, I am being a little melodramatic but each birthday in the past few years has almost been like a milestone event for me. Somewhere deep down in the back of my mind there is always the question, will I reach my next or is this one indeed my last on this earth? Is it strange, I don’t know but these thoughts hit me more at the time of special occasions. Birthdays, Christmas, visits from family or friends and I can’t seem to help myself but wonder at least a little will this be the last time. Does it ever spoil or take the shine off the event for me, never. It is only after it is over, the thoughts can come. Is this ever a big deal, not really as it only takes a day or two and I can get my thoughts together and again focus on the long term.

I am approaching another of those milestone events, I will be 55 on Dec. 13th.. OK, I realize that is almost 2 months away, so why am I bringing it up now. I am writing it now to tell or maybe warn everyone that may read this that I intend to ask for a specific birthday gift from everyone. I suppose I am giving all time to prepare for my gift, the gift I hope many if not all will give me.

OK, what is this gift I am requesting from all. A random anonymous act of kindness to a stranger. It doesn’t I suppose even have to be a stranger. Just an act of kindness that we actually go out of our way to do. How big, how small it really doesn’t matter. What really does matter is that we each actually go out of our way, even the slightest bit to make a conscious choice to do something extra, and then actually follow up on it.

The size of the gesture or the magnitude of the act is not as important as the fact we did do something to help another. With every act of kindness we do improve the quality of the world. Every improvement as slight as it may seem is still an improvement.

I am sure I am safe in saying everyone would be more than willing to help improve our world. Many will think what could I possibly do that could make any difference. I once had a supervisor that I respect very highly, whom often said:

“One definition of insanity could be doing exactly the same thing day after day and everyday continually being surprised and disappointed when the out come remains unchanged”.

If we want to bring about change in the world, where better a place to start than within ourselves.

The actual act doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming in fact almost anything will do. It is not the act, so much as  the fact that we brought about a change in ourselves by looking or in some cases even looking harder to find some small way in which we could help another and then followed through with it.

For any that have followed my blog for a while will recognize all of this as being the same as my request last year.  I invite all to read the archived posting and especially the comment in December last year. Wonderful things happened and I was so grateful when many shared their stories with me.

So my birthday request is out with time for any who chose to begin looking for even the smallest of things. Please let me know what you find to do.