Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Fear not LIVING

March 31, 2009

It has been just over a month since that last heart attack and it has given me a lot of quiet time to think and reflect on my situation.

Now this may sound really strange but in a way I am almost thankful that, I had that heart attack. I am even more grateful that I survived it. I thank my dear blogging friend Jo for instilling this thought process in my mind through a comment she left a while back.

This is difficult to explain as I know what I am feeling within my heart but am still having trouble sorting it all out in my own head. Maybe, writing it here will help me with that.

I just stopped for a minute to go and check the stats for the blog. I wanted to see how many posts I have published. Wow, this is #606, when I first started all of this I didn’t really have any expectations. I had no idea what to expect, but I know I most definitely never thought I would be here to be doing post #606. At that time I didn’t really even think I would make it to 100. But some how, for some reason here I am still poking away.

One of my constant themes through out all off those posts has been to never take life for granted. Non of us is guaranteed a tomorrow. There are medical conditions, know and unknown, accidents all sorts of things that can deny us of tomorrow. My point is we just seem to automatically take tomorrow for granted. We so easily fall into that complacent rut taking a future for granted. We do realize there are things we want to do, things we want to say but really become procratinators. Today just isn’t good, I don’t feel well or I am just to busy, I am going to have to make a point of getting to that say next week.

Now, you would think that if ever there were to be a person that would not do that it would be me or someone with my medical conditions. I realize WRONG.

I recently heard something, not sure from where but it went something like this: “One of the greatest tragedies with people is how easily they can come to accept things, which so quickly can become their “norm”.” Huh, just think about that. Does that apply to any areas of your life?

Now living with this heart condition obviously has become my “norm”. I really don’t have any choise in the matter.

Now this is where I really struggle to find the words. It is almost like heart attacks, this heart failure have become my way of life, which it has. How to word this so it makes any kind of sense? Now I certainly don’t want to make light of having a heart attack. But, can you become so conditioned to your norm, that even a heart attack somehow becomes like not that big a deal. Not sure that even makes sense to me as I write it.

I am trying to come up with another comparable in life. I am not sure how good a comparable this may be as I can actually only relate to it through my imagination. I wonder could it be at least a little like a battered woman? Tragically, we know these Ladies are out there. I pose this I suppose more as a question than a statement because I just don’t know. Can you get to the point where you have suffered so many beatings that one more just doesn’t seem to matter that much anymore. I could be way off base here I don’t know, please tell me.

Have I been living with this for so long that I have developed the attitude, “ah, one more heart attack, I made it through it so no big deal.” Now that really sounds strange to me, but it is somehow how I feel at times.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to help my family prepare for what I know awaits me at some point. I hope it has done that.

Ah, now tricky wording to come up with again. Now I say this in somewhat of a light hearted manner. It is almost like this guy occasionally produces a bit of drama with his trips to the hospital, heart attacks and all. But he just doesn’t die and go away. lol.

I think possibly the Good Lord gave me a bit of a kick in the butt. Get your head in order, rid yourself of the compacency. You are not guaranteed a tomorrow.

I heard this somewhere also, we don’t need to fear dying, instead we should fear never really living

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Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Pulling together to fight flooding

March 29, 2009

Took a few days off to catch up on my rest. A heart attack really can suck the energy right out of you, maybe a little more because it was #5, I am not sure. I am trying to take it easy as the doctors told me to gradually work up to my previous activity level over a 6 week period. Finding that hard to do. When you really didn’t do much before, how do you work back up to doing very little. Maybe, even with that I over did it as this past week I have been exceptionally tired. Feel fine just worn out.

While I haven’t been writing I have been coming down daily to read the wonderful comments left for me. The kindness and support people show for others in need is amazing.

Our newspapers are full of stories of such kindness this past few days. It sort of makes my heart feel good with every such story I read. The stories tell of thousands of people rushing to the aide of others, mostly strangers in need.

Mother Nature seems to be really putting many to the test this year, as in years gone by. I ask for prayers for all. I am particularly thinking of all of the good people living along the mighty Red River. Both those living in Canada and the US. The spring thaw along with recent rain has caused the Red River to rise. I read in the paper it crested at over 40 feet in Fargo. Thousands are involved building dikes often out of sand bags. Good old manual labor is needed to both fill the sand bags and then carry them to build the dike. This is an ongoing heroic effort happening as I am writting this. So very many are in danger of loosing everything. We are talking not just isolated buildings but entire communities, cities.

So often I have heard the saying “the worst of times brings out the best in people.” We someone that needs help and it seems to be just built into our nature to want to help. I have said many times the world is just full of wonderfully kind, caring people. It is true, I am seeing it and reading about it all around me.

There are countless stories of people frantically trying to build a dike in an effort to save their home. Knowing it is vitually a lossing battle knowing they can’t build it high enough alone. Suddenly, seemingly out of no where a bus load of strangers drives up and out they all come to build the dike. I read of a class of senior high school students on a school outing of some sort. Doing that exact thing. Traveling on a bus, but on seeing where help was needed the outing was changed, to stop and provided needed help. I read of people travelling in from other communities. Their own communities are not in danger of flooding but they have come to help. I saw on TV how thousands have showed up at a stadium of some sort in Fargo North Dakota. Volunteers all there to do the grueling task of filling sand bags. It is happening eveywhere around me. There is just no denying it, people are wonderful. I salute each and everyone of you wonderful people, be you on the Canadian or US side of the border.

I think it is obvious people are willing to help each other.  In times such as this when facing a potential disaster, thousands show up to do the back breaking work or filling, carrying and piling sandbags. May God bless each and every one of them.


Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Thoughts during a heart attack

March 19, 2009

I often use the word spry to describe how I am feeling, as “I am not feeling to spry today”. Well to keep with that word, I have to say I am feeling pretty spry today. I think it is fair to say a heart attack can indeed knock you on your butt for a while. This past 3 weeks has given me a lot of healing time and thinking time.

In the past I have written about the power of words and of how just a few simple words can affect another. Twice while I was in the hospital I has a few words spoken to me that, hit home with me. OK, I am not the swiftest learner all the time and really it has taken until now for them to sink in. We can never know the power our words will carry as they leave our mouths. At the time they are said they may seemingly have no impact what so ever. But as is in my case they may linger in the mind to be mulled over in the future. I sit here a prime example of that very thing.Words spoken to me 3 weeks ago are finally sinking in.

What are these words that are so powerful to me? I wish I did have a better memory, I would like to thank one nurse in particular for just a few words she said to me. “You are not taking this seriously enough”!! Now it might be asked how can you not take a heart attack seriously enough? Well that is hard to explain or I suppose justify. Could it be, this was #5, have been through this before, heart attack is over and I feel good and am in the hospital, so good enough, I am going to be fine, so no need to worry. I really wasn’t worried or scared. I said a prayer on the way to the hospital and then just relaxed to let it play out around me. OK, OK all the drugs they pumped into me may have helped with the being relaxed part.

Even going to the agioplasty, knowing a cathiter would be going from my groin up into my heart, didn’t “really” phase me. I had the, “been here done that attitude”. I had said my little prayer, had total faith in the doctors so let’s just get on with it. No worries, until the doctor came and talked to me. In reviewing my file he had seen that I had signed a DNR. In very overly simplified terms a DNR tells the doctors that if my heart were to stop, that is it, nothing more is to be done. He came to me asking to waive that for this procedure. In extremely rare cases the heart can stop during the procedure but can easily be restarted. Would I give him permission to do that? Well, yes if it is as simple as that. My fear is ending up brain dead in a living body or even worse having a fully functioning brain trapped in a “dead” body. If either such case should arise, PULL THE PLUG. Though I admit having that question asked of me did rattle the nerves a little. But, I can’t say I was anywhere close to being scared or anything like that.

I like to think it was that I had said a prayer placing myself in God’s hands and the hands of the doctors He would be directing, so really what did I have to worry about?

I think back to while I was actually having the heart attack. First off, I was at home alone. Now, I am not even going to try and describe the symptoms I had as a heart attack can present itself in so many different ways. I wouldn’t want anyone to read my symptoms and from that think they know what a heart attack feels like, it really can be different. Anyway, the symptoms appear, I use my nitro spray short term improvement but then back at it. At some point I realized, ah gee, I had better be getting to the hospital. Not nervous or scared in the slightest. I suppose at least in part that could be as I have chest pains on a fairly regular basis, have gone to the hospital to be told it was angina and not a heart attack. This one felt different so in my mind I sort of felt like it was the real deal and it was. Thoughts of dying or fear of dying never entered my head. I have to wonder am I maybe getting a little to cocky, now I wasn’t even thinking it. But, I wonder if deep down inside I have a little of the attitude described my nephew Trent in a comment he left for me. “It will take more than 5 heart attacks to put a Howdle man down”.

I like to think, I had no fear because there was nothing to fear. I had said a prayer placing myself in God’s hands, what better place could I be. What is destined to come will come. I wish I could say something like I felt a Heavenly Presence there to comfort and support me, I didn’t have what I would call any sort of “magical, mystical” feelings about me. But when I think of it, the loving support was there, comforting me on some sort of inner lever or something. While I wasn’t aware of it specifically, it did remove all fear for which I am so grateful.

Those few words spoken to me at the hospital had a big impact on me even if it has taken a while for them to really sink in. I thank God for getting me through #5 and for placing the highly qualified and very professional doctors and nurses in the spot where I needed them to be.

I know I have written before on the awesome power of words. Each of us individually has that awesome power within us. Are we using that power? Do we realize we have the power to touch, even change the lives of others with a few words? How are we using this great power, in a positive way or in a negative way

Just rambling on with thoughts in my head about the heart attack.


Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Special Prayer request please.

March 17, 2009

I have a very special Pray Request please.

Yesterday morning, Vi took a very nasty fall on an icy sidewalk. She not only broke a bone in her wrist she shattered it. She is currently unduring huge pain.

She was taken immediately to the hospital, where xrays revealed the shattered bone. She is being refered to an orothopedic surgeon and is expecting to see him in the next day or two. At that time further decisions will be made as to upcoming treatment.

Her case is more complicated. As I understand it, with breaks many times a rod may be put into the wrist to reconnect the 2 sides of the break. In her  case the shatter is at the end of the bone and as such there is nothing left on the one side to attach a rod or any such thing to. At this point is sounds like surgery is very likely.

Prayers please, for the pain to subside and a quick and uncomplicated recovery.


Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Obituary

March 16, 2009

As I often do, I am sharing the contents of various emails I receive. Think about what it says. Maybe not even so much the actual incidents reported but about our lives in general, or of our society in general. Good old common sense does seem to be so often lost.

An Obituary printed in the London Times.  Interesting and, sadly, rather true.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has
been with us for many years.
No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago
lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

– Knowing when to come in out of the rain;

– Why the early bird gets the worm;

– Life isn’t always fair;

– and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more
than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned, but
overbearing, regulations were set in place.
Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a
classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch;
and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his
condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job
that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly
children.
He declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent
to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and
criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a
burglar in your own home, and if you tried to use force, the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to
realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot.
She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge
settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his
wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now,
Someone Else Is To Blame, and I’m A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you
still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.


Dying Man’s Daily Journal – GOD’S WILL/my will

March 14, 2009

Feeling better and better everyday.  Some medications can cause side affects, usually I am not bothered very much by such. Had a new medication introduced into my daily system. One of the listed side affects if flu like symptomes. Well I either had that or a case of the flu that has lasted for 2 weeks. lol. I am thinking it is the side affects and my body is slowly becoming accustomed to the new drug.

I write often of how much I appreciate all the comments left hear for my on the blog, I read and cherish everyone. Occasionally, I get a comment in which someone doesn’t agree with all of my thoughts. I welcome these comments as they cause me to pause and think, which is always a good thing. What I share is all “According to Bill”. Now “Bill” has never claimed to be right on everything or really on much of anything. I will never again allow myself to be drawn into defending my thoughts as this is my blog and my thoughts are my thoughts, but I so welcome others to share theirs. Similarly, I will never try to put anyone on the spot by asking them to defend their position if shared. That is unless you are family. lol.

Many times I have written that I do believe our Heavenly Father has a plan in place for all of us. This is actually a topic I have pondered on, meditated on many times trying to come to an understanding of some sort that make some kind of sense in my own mind. I see seeking the truth, seeking answers is a life time quest of all. I also see that the answer or the truth may appear different to each and everyone of us, hence “Free Will”.

What do I believe or maybe better put what makes the most sense to me?

I believe each of us come into this world with lessons to learn, lessons to teach and missions to accomplish. It would be so much easier if we in fact knew what these were but we don’t, and don’t need to know. Just accept we are here for a reason.

In my mind, it makes perfect sense. Maybe it is the word plan that confused what I am trying to say. The word “plan” may seem as something more detailed than I mean. Maybe if I referred to it as a broad outline may clarify it. I do believe there are certain times when we are predestined to be at specific locations to interact with specific people to either learn or teach lessons in life. The condition we are in, be it physical condition, emotional, mental or spiritual is left up to us and our free will. We can learn life lessons from absolutely everyone as can they from us. We just need to have our hearts open to give and receive.

Someone may ask: “I am a physical, emotional, spiritual wreck what lessons could I possibly have to teach?” Specifics for anyone individual, well obviously, I do not know. I do know there indeed are things I can learn from every single individual on this planet, and that means you. Just as I know I have something I can share and teach. Every day as we interact with others, who knows what subtle little life lessons we are passing on. The recipient of our lesson may well not even realize it either, but it is lock away somewhere down in the sub conscious to be possibly drawn on at some point in the future.

God, is All Knowing. To me it is ridiculous to think there could ever be something I could say or do that would, “catch Him by surprise”. That applies to all of us. I believe according to the “plan” we will be placed in situations from time to time where we can indeed learn to become strong better people. This is where out individual free will comes into play. We will be placed into situations or encounter people from whom we can learn and grow as people. Here that choise becomes ours. We can learn and grow as spiritual beings or flounder and wallow.

I see it that, God, recognizes we are just human, with human weaknesses and shortcomings. He does not expect perfection but just for us to keep trying. Trying not to just get through life but to use this physical experience to grow as spiritual beings. He loves us and wants to help us to learn and grow just as any parent wants for their children. To help us, there comes the “plan”, in which we will continually be presented with growth opportunities. We are not presented with problems in life, we are presented with learning, growth opportunities.

For me, I am obviously a slow learner. Time and time again, I seem to be presented with the same type of leaning/growth opportunities. I will continue to plod away, utilizing my way as the right way.

What are your thoughts on this?


Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Cardio Echogram

March 11, 2009

I think all Winnipegers are getting tired of this weather, I heard -37 with the wind. I just know it is COLD out there.It is the sort of day I would prefer to be just hunkered down at home wrapped in a blanket or something. Was not to be the case. I had a scheduled appointment at St. Boniface Hospital for an echo cardiogram of my heart. With my recent heart attack the timing of this appointment was excellent. Actually, this test had been scheduled by the Heart Failure Clinic prior to my heart attack but the timing is perfect. A cardiologist will be reading the results of the test today and will forward them to my doctors.

I wish to thank the 2 M’s, Maryanne and Margaret. Maryanne for kindly phoning me (memory guy) yesterday to remind me of the appointment and Margaret for cheerfully greeting me on my arrival.

Plus, a big thank you to Kerry the young lady that actually did the test. It is an ultra sound of the heart. Again I was in a position in which I could see the monitor she was watching, all very interesting. Kerry was very professional and was kind enough to take the time to answer some of my questions about what I was seeing on the monitor. It is interesting seeing your own heart beating away. Kerry, I thank you for your professionalism, balanced with a kind, sweet manner.

Let me tell you this heart business can be pretty tough on a guy, just imagine being “stuck” in a room for about 1/2 hour with nothing to do but look at a pretty lady as she did her work. I may have said this before but I am a lucky man.