Dying Mans Daily Journal – Feeling Better

January 30, 2010

I am starting to feel better. Physically, I have been getting lots of rest and that has helped perk me up. I have sought the comfort of my meditation chair and that has done wonders for my mood and attitude. It seems when I get bad news it gets me all fired up and takes a few days for me to get my head wrapped around it. I suppose that comes from my human mind and heart that constantly wants my will to be done.

I pray daily for God’s will to be done in my life, still with this pesky free will thing. Generally, I am a pretty laid back,  relaxed kind of guy. Very few things in regular day to day life ruffle my feathers or bother me at all. My brother’s heart attack wasn’t what I would classify as a regular day to day thing and it did hit me kind of hard. It is sort of like.”I am the one in the family with the bad heart, if a heart attack comes along it is supposed to hit me, not my younger brother”. Like, geesh, what is up with that.

I have thought about it, worried about it and prayed about it. This email arrived from my cousin Gloria:

To:                       YOU
Date:                    TODAY
From:                  GOD
Subject:              YOURSELF
Reference:           LIFE

This is God.  Today I will be handling All of your problems for you.  I do Not need your help.  So, have a nice day.
I love you. And, remember…. If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do Not attempt to resolve it yourself!  Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. I will get to it in MY TIME.  All situations will be resolved, but in My time, not yours. Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it..  Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now.. Should you decide to send this to a friend; Thank you. You may have touched their life in ways you will never know!

Now, you have a nice day.

It so nicely puts into words the thoughts and feelings I already know and was gentlely being lead to focus on in the meditation chair.I have prayed asking our Heavenly Father to take Robin, Debbie and the 2 boys Trent (15) and Travis (10) into His loving hands and that His will be done. What better place could they be than in God’s loving hands.

I guess this means Robin joins me in the gimpy heart club. Now I would happily have my brother join me in any club but would have much preferred it was not in this gimpy heart one. Realistically his life expectancy has been shortened. Now the key word there is expectancy. Look at me here I am still going long after anyone ever expected and  I have no plans on checking out any time soon. OK, that is based on my plans, I guess we will have to see.

As I think of it I realize it isn’t the amount of time we have on this earth that is most important. It is indeed what we do with what time we have. How we live it, how we enjoy it. I do know of some that while maybe physically doing just fine have seemingly already died inside. They are not live but rather enduring life, such a waste, so sad.

NO ONE know how long they have on this earth. Why do so many just take it for granted they have years and years to go and I do hope and pray they do. Take nothing for granted, start really living life today.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Priorities

January 29, 2010

Received this in as an email. The message pretty much says it all.
The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee ..

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else—the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked.”

The coffee just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee or a visit with a friend.”

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Update

January 28, 2010

Spirits are kind of down.

Brother Robin is doing well after his heart attack and ensuing procedures but still has a long way to go. I can speak with the authority gained through experience. At least when it comes to heart related issues it is easier being the patient. I have experienced both sides and it is a whole lot easier being the patient. And, yes I even mean when you are having a heart attack. Five heart attacks has taught me that much.

I spent all day Friday at the hospital and it just plain wore me out physically and emotionally. It is all the waiting while you are unsure of what is happening, worrying about a loved one. It is draining.

I arrived at the hospital shortly after 9:00am. and the waiting began. First waiting for the ambulance to arrive from Dauphin. Then waiting for them to get him settled before they would let me in. Then waiting for the procedure. It was scheduled for 10:30 but with other emergencies and such it was close to 12:30 before them came for him.

It was scheduled to last approx. 1 hour. Waiting through that seemed to last forever. One hour turned into two and then into three before they brought him back.  A nurse accompanied him and showed me a map  of his heart, showing where they had inserted 3 stents. This map/diagram showed at least 4 other arteries as being 100% blocked. I immediately questioned the nurse as to why since they were already in his heart those blockages had not also been dealt with. She indicated the doctor would be around shortly to explain all. OK, fair enough but more waiting. Ansiouis waiting, I mean 4 arteries 100% blocked this can’t be good. Turns out
Robin’s procedure had taken far longer than expected and other emergencies had built up. Doctor was called straight back into the operating room, I can understand that and could accept it meant more waiting, wondering and worrying.

A short time later they came to tranfer him to a bed in the cardiac care unit. We were assured the doctor would come to the room and explain things when his time allowed, again fair enough. It was about this time Eric arrived. I can’t remember the exact sequence of events. We visited for about an hour until about 5:00pm, still no doctor. As we visited Robin being heavily medicated kiept drifting off to sleep. We just waited patiently for the next time he woke up usually only a few minutes. Having been in his position I should have realized how tired he was and how he just really wanted to sleep at that time. It reached the point where he told us he just wanted to sleep and for us to go home.  I know and understand that feeling so fair enough.

Some where in that time I checked with his nurse in the cardiac unit asking about those blockages. Now she had not had the benefit of seeing the diagram/map of his heart and she did make that clear. She could not  comment specifically on Robin’s case but that often if small arteries were blocked, those blockages would be ignored if there were others that compensated. Oh, well that makes sense, what a relief. Content with that we left the hospital. I was exhausted beyond belief, I mean I am a big baby and need my afternoon nap.

It was not until Robin arrived back in Dauphin and his own doctor saw the map/diagram that he learned those blockages are much more serious that we had thought. He only has something like 1/3 of the “normal” amount of blood entering his heart. He has actuaklly been discharged from hospital and is now at home recuperating. Doctors are continuing to monitor him closely with more test to follow.

We are left wondering, they were already in his heart, why would these other blockages not have been dealt with at that time?

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Family Update

January 24, 2010

Good Morning to Cousin Carol and all other family and friends that I know are looking for updates on my brother Robin’s condition.

This is Robin’s “adventure” as I heard it from him while he was in a very heavily medicated state. It all started about 2 weeks ago with a simple cough. With the the cough Robin felt something pop in the back of his head. This brought on what he describes a the worst head ache he has ever experienced. That head ache has stayed with him only letting up for short periods. He still has it.

If you know Robin you will know it would have to be something very major to get him to go to the hospital. A week of this headache did it. First trip to the ER sent him home with muscle relaxants.  A return trip to the ER and this time a major heart attack was the diagnosis.

Friday morning He was transfered here to Winnipeg. Here he under went an angioplasty and had 3 stents placed in his heart. That part seemed to go well even though a 1 hour procedure turned into 3 hours. Afterwards we were shown a map of his heart showing where the stents were place and other blockages in his heart. I was conserned as it showed at least 4 other arteries as being 100% blocked. I questioned the nurse about that and she indicated only that it would be explained by the Doctor who would be coming around shortly. As it turned out the doctor was rushed into another emergency procedure and we never did get to talk to him.

Again I questioned the nurse who indicated likely those were small arteries and blood flow was complensated by alternate routes. She would ask the doctor to stop by Robin’s room and explain things later. Huh, never happened. It was then said all could be explained by his doctor back in Dauphin.

Yesterday we had a wicked Manitoba winter blizzard but the ambulance arrived at drove him back to Dauphin. Still with his head ache. Follow up tests will be done to treat that. Which likely means he will be back here in Winnipeg shortly to see a neurologist.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Update on brother

January 21, 2010

My brother Robin had what they are calling a bad heart attack. Not that any heart attack could ever be a good one. I am happy to say he has been stabalized and is in fact being transfered by ambulance to here in Winnipeg tomorrow morning. The all revealing procedure is scheduled for 10:30 tomorrow morning.

His wife Debbie is unable to accompany him so I will be at the hospital wating his arrival and be there through out. Prayers please

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Brother in hospital

January 20, 2010

It is almost amazing how all your thoughts, your focus, your priorities can be changed in just a split second. I had such an event happen to me last evening.

I got a call from my brother Eric telling me my other brother Robin had suffered a heart attack. He was and still is in the intensive care unit of the hospital. Phone calls to the hospital last night, say he is doing well. Just called again and he is off to get a CT scan more will be known after that. Again I am told  he is doing well.

After I hung up the phone it occurred to me, what does doing well mean. It can be a relative term. Does it mean he is flat-out doing well, or does it mean for someone who has just had a heart attack he is doing well. There can be a difference there.

Heart issues seem to run in the family with the Howdle brothers. Both of my brothers are younger than myself and both have had their heart problems

Robin under went open heart surgery about 10 years ago, can’t remember exactly when. Five blockages were by passed. Prior to that surgery they had to operate to clear blockages in the main arteries leading to his head.  One was totally blocked and for some reason they couldn’t by pass it (can’t remember why) the blockage on the other side was by passed.

Eric not to be left out suffered what they call a silent heart attack. Virtually no symptoms come with this type or if there are any they are so minor they are disregarded. It is only after an EKG reveals major changes do you even know you had one.

It is almost ironic that it was but yesterday that I wrote of how diffiecult it is for the family sitting helpless by, awaiting news and bang here we are.

Robin lives in Dauphin a town about a 3 1/2 hour drive from her, so it is not just a matter of jumping in the car and racing to the hospital. Dauphin I know has a large medical center but I know heart patients are often transfered here to the larger hospitals in Winnipeg. Do we jump in the car and drive to Dauphin to find he has already be transfered to Winnipeg, or wait and very possibly have him in a hospital but minutes from here.

This waiting not knowing is difficult. It is easier being the patient, I know I have been there and done that.

Prayers please

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Prayer for my brother please

January 19, 2010

Just had a call from my brother Eric. He had just received a phone call and learned my second brother Robin has had a heart attack. I really know none of the details other than at this time he is in the intensive care unit of the Dauphin Hospital. I called the hospital and all they could tell me is he had the heart attack and seems to be doing well at this time. I hope to learn more tomorrow

Prayers please.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Relationship with the dying

January 19, 2010

This is a post I actually started a couple of years ago. It is one of the many draft posts I have had filed away.

I have thought of it different times, poked away at it for a bit and then each time saved it for another day. It is difficult to describe to put into words how difficult it can be for a person (well me anyway) to describe the feelings that come when you know your are causing loved ones worry. Now understand, Vi, my daughters and family all do their very best to hide this from me, but I know it is there.

I am not sure how many but I am sure it must be dozens and dozens of times I have written of how I know it to be so very much harder on the families.

Some how in my opinion anyway, when we learn someone has some sort of terminal illness all of our attention becomes focused on them. This is the person that is dying and all feelings are directed in that direction. So often the family pushes their own feelings aside. So many others direct all concern to the patient and the family is largely left out. I suppose the thought is their turn for support will come after he is gone. I suppose I can understand that to a point but never underestimate all the family is going through.

I believe their feels of grief, fear, worry are all just as intense as that of the person that is facing their passing. Plus, the family is force to helplessly sit by helplessly watching, desperately wanting to be able to do something to help, anything to help but can’t.

I think of the many times either I have been taken to the hospital or Vi took me there. I am rushed into emergency and she is forced to wait outside not knowing what is happening. How terrible that has to be and to be forced to do it time after time, so hard. Me on the other hand am usually fairly quickly pumped full of drugs and am blissfully unaware, having not a care in the world.

Vi has spoken of times when I am going through a bad patch. She has left the house to go shopping and has been afraid to come back into the house on her return. Afraid of the condition in which she may find me. Possibly laying on the floor having had another heart attack.

I always try my best to easy such fears but reality is reality and can’t be changed, no matter what I say or do.

This has been I suppose brought more to my mind by comments left by our blogging friend Afia. She has written of her wish to enter into a relationship with a man with terminal cancer. She obviously has a wonderful kind and loving heart. I am not able to give advice on matters of the heart, it is an individual thing but I wish her well and pray things work out in what ever is the best way for her and her man.

Afia writes of how the man is remaining some what distant. Now this obviously could be for a great number of reasons. i can’t really comment directly on that. I can share what is in my heart, my feelings as they would pertain to me.

Life with a terminally ill patient is unlike any “normal” life or “normal” relationship. I imagine it to beyond anything imaginable. One of those you have to be there type situations to understand it.

This final leg of our life journey can be a difficult and very stressful one far beyond the “norm”. But then what is the “norm”, that is for each of us to decide.

I can easily see that a terminal patient may be fully aware of what lies ahead for them. Knows the trials that await and may well feel that entering into a relationship would be akin to afflicting themselves on another, want to spare the other the worry pain and grief that lies ahead.

That is but one side of the coin, the other is. It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.

It is a tough situation with no one right answer.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Handbook for life

January 18, 2010

Just received this in as a email from a dear friend. I am not sure of the actual origin of it think it is just to good not to share.



1.       Drink plenty of water.
2.       Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3.       Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that

is manufactured in plants..
4.       Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5.       Make time to pray.
6.       Play more games
7.       Read more books than you did in 2009 .
8.       Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day
9.       Sleep for 7 hours.
10.    Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.


11.    Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about..
12.    Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13.    Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
14.    Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15.    Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
16.    Dream more while you are awake
17.    Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18.    Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past.
That will ruin your present happiness.
19.    Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
20.    Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
21.    No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22.    Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.

Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like       algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23.    Smile and laugh more.
24.    You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree…


25.    Call your family often.
26.    Each day give something good to others.
27.    Forgive everyone for everything..
28.    Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of  6.
29.    Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30.    What other people think of you is none of your business.
31.    Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.


32.    Do the right thing!
33.    Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
34.    GOD heals everything.
35.    However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36.    No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37.    The best is yet to come..
38.    When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39.    Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy

Dying Mans Daily Journal – God’s Life Account for each of us

January 18, 2010

Am feeling really tired, have been having a little trouble sleeping the past few nights and have ended up watching TV until way way to late.

I think it would be fair to say the vast majority of people fear dying. Now I know some will immediately say “I am not afraid to die”. To those I ask a simple question. Do you know you are actually facing it? OR, is it really just an abstract thought about something that may happen in the far distant future? Really I think it is one of those life situations you actually have to be in before you do know how you will feel.

Dying is not something that may happen in the far distant future. It is in fact something that will happen to each and every one of us. There is no uncertainly about that. The only uncertainty in this whole thing is the when it will happen and I suppose how. Now that may sound depressing or even yes morbid. I don’t mean it that way, I am just stating a fact of life.

The point I am trying to make is that if we fear death so much, It stands to reason we must cherish and value the lives we have and don’t want to loose it. I think that is wonderful.

I have to ask the question though. If we love and cherish our time on this earth so very much, what are we doing with that time? Time is a limited resource, we only have so much of it to spend on this earth. If we value it so much, how are we spending it?

For me to get my human mind wrapped around an idea or concept, I find I have to come up with a human comparable. I was a banker all of my working career so I suppose it is natural my mind would go in that direction.

I see life as being like a bank account. I hope I can find the wording to describe what I mean here. On the very day we are born our Heavenly Father open what I suppose you could call a “Life Account” in our names. In to that account in our names He puts a certain number of days. Those days, what ever the number may be are all we have to work with in this life time. How wisely we spend those days is left up to us.

My bank account comparable. Most of us have a bank account into which each month a limited number of dollars are placed. We know the number of dollars is limited. We must budget, spend those dollars wisely to ensure we get the biggest bang for the buck. Again as it is with our days, how wisely we spend those dollars is left up to us.

I don’t know how many days I have left in my life account with God. I just know I want to spend them wisely to ensure I get the biggest bang for my buck. How about you?