Dying Man’s Daily Journal – A model Patient

February 27, 2009

I am out of the hospital and back on my feet (at least some of the time). I am taking it easy and getting lots of rest. My chest feels fine and that actually is part of the tricky business of a heart condition. If you have say and injury to your arm you can see it and realize it takes time to heal. If the injury though is on the inside you can’t see it and can be fooled into thinking possibly you are better off than you actually are. That is a fact I still struggle with.

I have taken my morning medications which include the diuretic pills (pee pill). So for the next few hours any thought of a nap is pointless so I am just relaxing here in front of the computer.

The doctors, nurses, support staff, everyone at unit 6 on the 5th floor of Seven Oaks Hospital are wonderful. I really can’t say enough good things about them all, Earth Angels everyone. They got me through this whole thing some times I am sure it seemed inspite of myself. I thank each and every one of them so very much. How can you really thank someone to whom you owe your life?? Any suggestions here would be appreciated. Everyday that I was able I wrote them little “poems” and left them anonymously at the nursing station. I am not sure how many saw them or cared but it if nothing else mad me feel good, trying to brighten their days. Wait, I call them poems, that would mean I consider myself to be a poet, that would in fact be giving myself way to much credit. OK, don’t laugh but here would be an example of one such “poem”.

“Nurses are sent to us from above,

A reminder to each of us of God’s great love,

He placed them here on earth, indeed

To whom we can turn in our greatest need”

OK, go ahead you can laugh. I have never claimed to be a writer or do I claim to be a poet.

I think I only pushed my call button once. I know how busy the nurses are and tried to be as self sufficient as possible.

Many times I have written of how there are always 2 ways to look at everything or 2 sides to every coin. Everything depends on the direction from which you are looking at it. HOW DID THE NURSES VIEW ME AS A PATIENT? Well obviously as a model patient!!! lol.

Next, I will write about how the coin may have been view if looking at it from the other side. YIKES

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – I’m Back

February 27, 2009

I am back at home. I thank so many for the prayers and good wishes sent my way during my hospital stay. A special thank you to the doctors, nurses and staff of unit 6 on the 5th floor of Seven Oaks Hospital, you were all so wonderful.

Over the next few days I will be relaying some of my stories of my hospital stay.

I am doing fine just feeling really tired. Having a heart attack does seem to suck the energy right out of you. Hospital time did give me more time to just reflect on my life, life in general and even more than ever realize and appreciate what a lucky man I am.

Thank you to all

Once again…

February 24, 2009

This is Billie, Bill’s oldest daughter. It was actually I that wrote on his behalf in his last update. I thought I would post a comment from my uncle here for all to see. His comment was made last night and so his information is referring to this morning. Any and all prayers are appreciated!

“Hi I’m Bill’s brother Eric. Bill is scheduled to be sent to St Boniface Hospital tomorrow morning. At 10:30 they will be doing an angiogram to determine the amount of damage he has had and to determine what to do next. It may be an immediate angioplasti or greater surgery a little later. Bill has appreciated all of your concern and especially your prayers. He asks that you think of him tomorrow and pray a little more for him. Thank you to you all…you mean a great deal to him.”


Thank you for the prayers!

February 21, 2009

I’m in the hospital but doing well. I did have my 5th heart attack and I’m currently awaiting medication to thin my blood to a level at which they can do a test procedure to check the extent of the damage. Please don’t worry, I’m fine. Blessings to all. Thanks for the prayers, please keep them coming.


Prayers please

February 19, 2009

Sitting here waiting for a ride, occured to me I am sitting here at the computer. huge chest pain, never have asked for prayers for myself, might be a good time

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – God’s Time

February 19, 2009

I have been doing a lot of I suppose serious thinking lately. Occasionally, I need a reminder that things happen in “God’s time, not my time”. Now, if we look at my time, I will be posting away here still in another 20 years or so. I realize and accept that “God’s time frame” for me may well not coincide with my own. Every day I pray for God’s will to be done in my life. Now praying for that, I should just accept what comes as being His will. That is where everything gets confusing for me, His will and my free will. My free will is that I will be hanging around here for a long time yet. It is almost strange, I have no doubt in my mind about the wonders that await me on the other side. But, still I kind of like it here and until He steps in accerting his will for me in a strong way, I will be staying. If it comes to a “battle of wills” I am pretty sure I will come out on the short end of that deal and as it should be.

I am not sure if all that read the blog are aware I have set up separate pages here on the site, each for a specific reason. Each of these pages can be accessed by going to the top of any post. Across the top you will see a row of names. I think it starts with the “about” page. Click on any of those names and it will take you to the separate or different page.

I added a new one, started a new page, “Helping our families”. Please click on it, check it out and leave me your thoughts. My thoughts are, if you know your family is facing an extremely challenging event in the future, wouldn’t you want to do what you can to help with it. I am sure all of us would want to do that. Belief me I know it is so very easy to become totally self focused, forgetting all that others are going through. Sort or like, I am the one that is dying, so therefore I must be the one suffering the most, WRONG.

I know you can’t take the pain away, nor should you as there is a healthy grieving process that makes us human. I am asking is there anything we can do to help with the healing or possibly even ease the burden or pain. Please give me your thoughts.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Helping our families

February 18, 2009

Got away for a few days of R & R. Now I need a few days to rest up from the R & R. I imagine most health conditions are of the sort that you really don’t notice much of a difference while just going about your regular daily life. You need to do something different almost as a bench mark to measure against some point in the past.

This was one of those times for me. I certainly realized I don’t have the stamina or strength I once had. Now, I did partake of a few beverages that weren’t, let’s just say milk. Now even here I quickly realize 2 things. I definitely do not have the tolerance nor even the desire. The wild party animal that I once was must still lurk somewhere deep within my mind. It is just the rest of my body can’t live up to the expectations of the “wild party animal” side of me. I think I am turning into a wimp, geesh.

A few days back I wrote of my wild slip and fall. I did in fact go flying into the air landing head first. Now it has been said it is a good thing I used my head to cushion the landing for the rest of my body, as when it comes to my head you can’t do to much to damage an empty container. Hmm, it what I say to that. Especially when I realize it might be true, my head seems to be fine. My neck is still  bothering me a little. Right now I am not really sure if I have a head ache or a neck ache, it is sort of right at the base there. Opps, forgot the head is empty so it must be the neck.

So very many times I have encouraged anyone that may click into the blog here, not to just read my ramblings but to also read the comments left by others. Wisdom is often found there that far surpasses anything I could come up with.

Just such a comment was left the other day by my very own cousin Roy. Roy, I replied to your comment and said I was proud of you. I meant that.

I was just about to go into a ramble here. I just though realized what I was about to go on about is pretty much covered in my reply to Roy’s comment. As lazy seems to be my feeling of the day, I am just going to recopy both his comment and my reply:
Hi Bill. Good to catch up with you the other day. The telephone can erase thousands of miles in a heartbeat.
We covered a lot of ground but still have a lot of catching up to do.
I am going to take up your challenge of trying to contribute to the blog, not as your younger, devilishly handsome cousin with the disarming smile and rapier wit, but as the funeral director/embalmer with over 25 years experience dealing with families at a pretty interesting time of their life.
First point is this is not intended in any way to be a sales pitch! You guys are on your own if you have to activate my advise. The advise is free (unless you think its valuable, then I’ll find a way to invoice you for it!!)
A retired United Church minister, Reverend Bill Burgess, once told me a fantastic piece of advice, “Those who are prepared to die can get on with the fine art of living”. Please re-read this about a hundred times.. it’s applied in a practical sense, a theological sense and in a even romantic sense.
We as Judea-Christians get so caught up with avoiding our own mortality, we tend to forget how easy it is to live. We all tend to avoid talking about death…especially our own.
Old saying: ‘two thing in life are for certain – death and taxes.” Try telling a cashier in a mall you are trying to avoid talking about taxes. She will give you “the look” and then add the obligatory 5% gst and & 7% Pst. ***By the way G.S.T usually stands for Goods & Services Tax, but to a funeral director , it stands for Grave Side Tax!!***
It does no good to avoid tax talk, but lets get realistic about death. It makes life really fun.
I recently did a funeral for a 27 year old girl. No warning. I am doing a funeral for a 14 day old baby. No chance given. I can site hundreds of examples.
(truth is I have an incredible memory for facts unless I owe you money or I dated your sister.)
Everybody should sit down with their family and have a very serious talk about their own funeral. Really.. That should happen. How do I broach this sensitive topic with my own loved ones? (Note.. the term “loved ones” is term that is over-used and it tends to piss me off when I hear it, but I was compelled to use it once for all of you. from this point on I will be saying “family” or a reasonable facsimile thereof)
You can start with relating an experience of a funeral/memorial service you attended. “I really agreed with Uncle Walter’s choice of cremation after the service.” or “I would rather be buried in my home town next to Mom & Dad than in one the large city cemeteries” Baby steps. Probably not a topic to discuss over Christmas dinner or a your grandson’s baptism/bris.
Here’s the really really cool thing…once you have this discussion, you NEVER have to have it again. They understand and they can follow your lead. Better yet, make your own funeral arrangements. Write them down and leave them with somebody you trust. It takes about 1/2 hour. Pick your music, pick your eulogist, pick your final disposition. Then move on. Enjoy each and every day without the worry of “what will happen when I die?”
Crazy thing is we can spend countless hours planning our retirement, but there is no guarantee that we will ever get there. I am fairly certain we will all reach our demise. Plan it, then move past it.
“Those who are prepared to die can get on with the fine art of living”. Make your peace with anyone you need to.. God, family, friends, whomever. This is not the huge event of asking for eternal forgiveness, blah, blah, blah. This is taking the time to reach out to those who are important to you and say “hello”. They will reciprocate in kind. Stay in touch always, and they will always stay in touch.
Oh yeah!..God knows you are there. He knows what you are up to, how you feel and where you are headed. He just stays out of your business. He doesn’t just pick up the phone when you are calling (usually collect) at the last minute asking for eternal salvation. He loves to hear from you on a regular basis, even when things are not so good. And He is awake to do business when your ready (24/7, 365 days/year..yes Jo Hart, even in Queensland!!)
The rule of thumb is this….shed the burdens, tackle the tasks and enjoy life (and only drink good scotch)
Bill, you have been given an amazing gift (as we all have. Its called TOMORROW!! I am glad you are sharing it with all of us. Hope you had a great weekend of R&R.
BTW.. I can guarantee three things (this is for Mel)
1. death
2. taxes
3. and that my beloved Maple Leafs will bring a Stanley Cup home to Toronto before the Jets bring one back to Portage & Main!!

“Hi Roy, it really was nice chatting with you the other day. It is sad how we can some how let so much time past between contacts. Let’s both vow to keep in closer contact going forward.
I thank you so very much for taking me up on my request for you to share here on the blog. You have provided us all with such a wealth of information and so very much to both think about and then I hope act on.
You have delivered such a powerful message and in the way and with the rapier wit that could only be delivered by Roy Howdle. I thank you so much, as I am sure do many.
I can’t begin to imagine how difficult your profession must be at times and I have heard many speak of the professional, loving, caring manner in which you conduct yourself. I am proud of you cousin.
As difficult as I know it has to be at so many times, I would imagine it could be a blessing. That blessing being that it would give you an entirely different perspective on life. You see how fragile life can be and of how it can end so very unexpectedly. This knowledge clearly enables you to see and appreciate the preciousness of it. Accept each day for what it is, a precious gift from God. It is indeed a precious gift never to be taken for granted or squandered away. I do love that quote: “Those who are prepared to die can get on with the fine art of living”. It is so very true.
You have the wisdom and life perspective granted to very few, thank you for sharing it and please continue to do so.
Now a few points for the official record. Firstly, It is good to see the some of the “wisdom” of your slightly older cousin has rubbed off on you. Secondly, I have always maintained I am in fact the devilishly handsome one in the family. To keep that illusion going, it will cost you money to ever get your picture on the blog.
Roy, it is nice to hear from you and I do thank you for sharing as you have and hope you will continue to do so.
PS. As to the Leafs and the Jets, well as it sits today you are right. But don’t count on that totally, we still hear occasional talk of bringing them back to Winnipeg. So you just never know.”

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – R & R

February 13, 2009

Taking a few days for R & R. Gone for our new long weekend. Be back on Sunday or Monday.
Be good to your self and others.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Acting to quickly

February 11, 2009

“Think quickly but speak slowly”. I am not sure where I read that or heard it, but it is such a good thought for our daily lives, well mine at least.

A couple of days ago I slipped and fell at a gas station. I have also written of how icy it is here in Winnipeg right now. That ice make driving difficult but possibly even more dangerous for just walking. Bumps, ridges, uneven spots make the ice uneven to walk on. With each step you could find you foot suddenly sliding in one direction or another.

That is exactly what happened to me. I slipped, fell and wacked my head on the way down. Now as I was trying to get up I slipped and fell again, this time on to my chest. Now to add insult to injury, when I did regain my footing, I saw a Lady laughing at me. OK, she was trying her best to hide it, or suppress it.

Now my first reaction was of embarrassment, then of, how dare she be laughing at me. Like, doesn’t she have any feelings, I could have been seriously hurt. Now I am almost embarrassed to admit it but for the briefest moment some of my “old way of thinking” arose. Some how I began to become more upset at the fact that she was laughing than I was at actually having taken the fall. Huh, go figure that…. embarrassment I guess. But, suddenly here I was upset with her and she had absolutely nothing to do with it. There was a time when I may have actually said something to her, but I didn’t I just tried to pretend nothing had happened. Inside though I was still upset with that lady.

Now how did that happen? I wasn’t as upset with the icy conditions or with myself for not being careful enough. My ire some how became directed towards some poor lady that had nothing to do with it. Thankfully I did nothing to make her aware of my anger.

“Think quickly, speak slowly.” Once words are spoken they can never be taken back, just as you can’t unring a bell.

I have had time to think on it and realize I am sure I provided quite a funny sight, arms and legs flailing in every direction. It likely seemed obvious I wasn’t hurt as I was quickly trying to get up. She couldn’t have known I wacked my head, (head is fine but still have a sore neck). If I was in her position would I have laughed, I don’t think so but who knows. Let’s face it if we see something funny laughing is a natural reaction and maybe try as I might I may have laughed.

I took it personally, she was laughing at me. Given just a little time though I realized she wasn’t laughing at me. She was laughing at the show I was inadvertantly putting on. There is a huge difference between the two. While my initial reaction was negative, I can now say to the Lad, who ever you are, I am glad to have given you a moment of laughter, and I do mean that.

I have to wonder about how many times through my life, I may have complicated a situation or over reacted based on in initial preceived thoughts. How many times have I instantly “known” what is happening and reacted on what I “knew”. Only to later find, geesh, I wish I had just kept my mouth shut. What I thought I “knew” wasn’t the case at all. Can anyone relate to this?

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Special Person-Prayer request

February 11, 2009

Every once in a while I make reference to Earth Angels. What or who are Earth Angels? Well every once in a while all the Heavenly Angels are busy so God uses “regular” people to help with His work.

Sometimes these Earth Angels are called up on to do huge spectacular acts. More often than not though they are just doing their regular day to day jobs. Often in fact it is not even so much as to the what they do but the how they do it.

We have all seen, or know or maybe even are the type of person that does their job well. But, that is it. The job is done and admittedly done well but but that is where it ends. Suppose you have a job in say customer service. There can be a big difference in doing your job and doing your job well while serving your customer. Do you see the customer standing in front of you as just another number to be pumped through the system as quickly as possible or do you see a person there with needs to be met or dealt with. It is exceptionally nice when you encounter someone that does go the extra mile to help you.

I had the occasion to meet one of these very special people today. Had to take the car into the garage. In the service department I was met and dealt with by a gentleman named, Hank Ibach. At different times have had to take the car to the garage and each time have been so very impressed with Hank and the friendly quality professional service he provides. There are times when I encounter some one like Hank I just have to mention him/her.

I have a special prayer request. While talking with Hank ,I learned his loved wife Robyn is awaiting medical test results. As Hank put it the waiting the not knowing is so hard. Prayers please that Robyn’s test results return cancer free.