Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Visiting the Dying

February 28, 2011

Here on the blog I can see the search words people have used on the internet search engine that have led them to my blog. The most common theme of these searches is looking for information on how to deal with the dying. What to say, what to do, what kind of gift to buy for a soon approaching birthday or what ever. What do you or what can you do to spend quality time with a dying loved one?

That is a very complicated question and there really is no one right or wrong way to do it.

First off, I remind I am not a doctor, nor a man of the clergy or any sort of counsellor. I am just me, a guy sitting at his computer, in his basement in Winnipeg Manitoba. My only qualifications to speak on this matter is the fact that I have heard the words. “you are dying” from my doctors. I share my thoughts. my feelings on how I feel and how I see things. Everyone is different and what applies to me well may not apply to others.

The most important thing for me anyway is to remember I am still me. Several doctors in their educated opinions have used the word dying in my medical file. That fact by itself does not change me. I have several serious medical conditions, yes, but that does not change who I am, what I like, what I like to do or anything. Visit me exactly as you would have yesterday, last week or last year. Having that you are dying label put around my neck doesn’t change who I am.

What my condition has done is limit my physical capabilities. It has increased the necessity for me to be closer to medical assistance but nothing else. Keeping that in mind we can visit just as we have in the past.

Maybe it can be best put, I am the person living inside this body of mine. While the physical body may be changing, I AM NOT, I am still here. Come for a visit and that is what you can expect. I can only speak for myself but I am sure it is the same with the majority of others. Don’t be afraid or reluctant to visit. I am sure we will both enjoy ourselves.

I have a lot more in mind to say here but am tired and will try to get more up tomorrow.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Appreciate the positive

February 27, 2011

It seems like a really long time since I sat at the computer for anything other than a quick glance. It seemed I needed some time away to regain balance within my head and that feeling of peace and calm within. I had allowed some negativity to seep into my heart and soul and what did that get me, nothing but a heart filled with anger. I allowed it to rob me of some of the precious time I have here on this earth. I say it robbed me of time and I really mean it robbed me of time to really live. Yes, physically I was here but I wasn’t living life I was more enduring it. The strange thing is I knew it, I knew I was wasting precious time but just didn’t seem to have the strength, determination or will to let it go. It was easier to just remain angry, mutter and curse under my breath. Taking the easy way in life is not usually the better way to go. No one said life would be easy just that it would be worth it. It is so worth it and worth it, it is but we have to be willing to put some effort into it.

When I have my head, my thinking in the zone, it is so easy for me to sit here and say things like: “don’t let negativity of any kind get to you, let it flow off of you like water off of a ducks back”, “the actions of others can only bother or upset us if we allow it to”. That is all true, I meant it when ever I have said it and I mean it today. I guess as we are but human there will always be things that come along that knock our little train off of its tracks. When that happens we really do need to put in the extra work to get back on track on rolling ahead.

I am a very lucky man. I have so many wonderful things going for me in my life. Really when I look at it clearly the positive out weighs the negative about a bazillion to one. I thank God for my life and for ALL in it, that includes all my blogging friends right here.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Faith in man kind justified

February 25, 2011

I have had to take a little time to refocus my thoughts and get my head back into what I call the zone. Well with prayer, meditation and a lot of self patience I am at least well on the way. AND I FEEL GOOD.

What has really come to my attention is how much the people around us really affect/influence us in our daily lives. Now by itself that sounds like a silly statement, I mean, duh, of course the people around us are going to affect/influence our lives, just because they are there and in our lives.

It seems when I let my head slip out of (this new term I am using) the zone, I allow the misbehavior or negativity of others to get to me. It just really shows me I need to work daily on remaining positive. Allow your thinking to slip and it is more work to climb back than it would have been to put in the time needed to stay there.

Now I am talking about people in our lives and how they affect us. Hey, I am memory guy but I don’t think I have commented on the service provided to me by a particular business. There are just times though when something happens that just sort of blows me away. Something that just reinforces the goodness, the kindness contained within the human heart. Restores your faith in man kind.

I had just such an event happen a couple of days ago. Now this actually all started back at Christmas time. Our kids all chipped in and bought us a snow blower. I am really not supposed to shovel snow and this thing is great. It is even self propelled, all I have to do is aim it where I want it to go. Now in a Manitoba winter what could be better than that.

It is a wonderful machine, now that is when it works. About a week ago, I pulled it out to use it only for the third time. It started fine but the auger blades that pull up the snow wouldn’t turn rendering it useless. Now I am kind of disturbed, here is a brand new machine, only been used twice and it has broken down. I am not impressed. Now I should explain that I am about as mechanically inclined as a lead pencil but I do the “man” thing and poke around not having a clue what I might be looking for. I get brother-in-law Henri and friend Art to take a look. A unanimous decision was made, it is broken.

I am going to return it to the store, like this thing is brand new, only been used twice. Huh,it turns out policy is,  things can only be returned withing 30 days of purchase. Now I am not happy with this. I ask to speak to the manager. I am referred to Cheryl a very nice lady who while she is very empathetic does not make store policy. That I can understand, I was a bank manager and know you have to work within guidelines establish somewhere high up in the organization. She does offer me free use of one of their vehicles to haul it to a factory representative but suggests first I talk to Ken in their tool rental department who is very knowledgable about these machines.

Ken comes on the line. He explains there are a couple of likely problems and that he can likely lead me through the process of identifying the problem over the phone. Now, keep in mind reference my being akin to a lead pencil. He patiently waits as I gather the tools he tells me I will need and off to the garage I go. He leads me through checking sheer pins and belts. It all seems fine,huh.

Now this is where Ken stepped up going far above and beyond the service provided by any store, particularly the big box stores. Ken said he was off work at 5:30 and as a favor would stop by the house on his way home. I was impressed he would even offer to do so and gratefully accepted his offer. Our garage is detached and is unheated, meaning it was COLD when he arrived and where he was working. He spent some time in that cold but got it going. An ice jam, beyond eyes site.

Now, I know he is on his own time and feel I should pay him something for his work. No matter how I insisted he would accept no payment of any kind. He said, “I didn’t come here for money, I came to make sure a store customer was happy and satisfied. What can I say to that. Ken is an employee I think every employer would want. Ken you are an inspiration for employees everywhere and I thank you.You are indeed what I refer to an a Earth Angel.

Now with service like that I just had to call the store manager back to thank her and to compliment Ken. Cheryl was appreciative of the call and happy to hear of all that Ken had done. She further stated one of their goals is to ensure all customers are happy and satisfied. Cheryl, with staff like Ken you are achieving that goal. I can say that the Home Depot Store, Garden City store, here in Winnipeg is one that will continue to get my business.

The world really is full of wonderful people, they are just everywhere.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Positive attitude a must

February 10, 2011

 I have really been feeling down this past while. I have always worked at, struggled to maintain a positive attitude. Attitude carries you a long way in this world and helps make the journey a lot easier even more enjoyable while it is carrying you along.

This whole dying business is kind of a big deal. I (as do we all) know it is coming, when is the only question. I can remember 3 or 4 times when medically the odds were really stacked against me, but for some reason I am still here. Hey, if I am like a cat that has 9 lives, I am in good shape, I still have 2 left.lol  The good Lord has given extra time to prepare for what is to come. Generally, I have tried to use that time wisely. I wish to leave this earth with no negativity contained within my heart and no regrets for which I have not at least tried to make amends. When I get myself into “the zone” as I like to call it, I can write about how precious time is, don’t waste a precious moment of it. When I write that I know it, I believe it and I feel it. The zone is my term just for when I really have my head all  together. I struggle to keep it there.

I find if I can come up with a physical comparable it helps me to understand it. Now I certainly am not trying to compare myself to an Olympic athlete but maybe it illustrates my point.  An athlete trains preparing him/herself to peak physically and emotionally be in their zone at the time of the games. The date of the games arrives and they are ready only to be told, the games have been postponed, for an uncertain amount of time, but that they should keep themselves peeked indefinitely. How long would they be able to do that? I know a silly comparable.

I like being in “the zone”, it is peaceful, relaxed and I am content. Outside influences roll by me,off me like water off a ducks back, just not being important. I am just easy going, relaxed and go with the flow. Maybe, with years more work I could reach the point where nothing is important to me and so nothing would get to me. Obviously I am not there yet. There are things that are important to me!! Healthy boundaries are important. Easy going and relaxed does not translate to door mat.

I think it all started really back in May or June. That is when the 4 cardiologists disagreed about my up coming treatment. Two favoring immediate open heart surgery, two favoring doing nothing at all. That dragged on for 3 or 4 months. The not knowing what to be prepared for was for me difficult as there were and are serious consequences either way.

I think I was stressing over that when a couple of issues over the summer knocked me right out of the zone. I need to get off my butt and go something about it.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Inspirational Lady

February 9, 2011

Had a bit of an adrenaline rush yesterday. We try to keep a bit of an eye on our neighbor. It was only yesterday that I actually learned her age. a gentleman would never reveal a ladies age but let’s just say it is 90++. Now she is a very independent lady, very spry and energetic. She totally cares for herself. Not only am I talking cooking and cleaning but I am talking planting her own garden, raking her lawn etc. WOW.

I called her yesterday and she said she wasn’t feeling so good. Just tired and light headed. She then told me that at her last doctor’s appointment her blood pressure medication had been changed and she didn’t think it was working. She had been out shopping in the morning in the pharmacy they had one of those blood pressure testing machines. She had checked hers and it was 250 over something (she couldn’t remember). Now I check my blood pressure daily but am not going to try and pretend I really understand it. But I do understand it enough to know if it is in the 250″s that is really not good.

I took my blood pressure machine and went over to her house. 257/158, yikes. Tried it 3 separate times with basically the same result. Not I am not going to try and imply females can be stubborn BUT: I tell her, we need you to lie down and elevate your feet while I call an ambulance!  dirty look and,  NO!!!!!

“OK, get your coat I am taking you to the hospital. NO!!

I can see she is getting stressed just talking about this. I am thinking I am just going to call 911 anyway but she tells me very firmly not to.

I think of health links. It is a number here in Manitoba you can call and speak to a nurse for advice. Maybe if she hears a nurse telling her to go to the hospital she will be more willing. (not that I have been in the past). The nurse immediately says call 911 but she can hear the back ground grumbling, “NO AMBULANCE”. Nurse says then get her to the hospital as fast as you can, however.

So I laid it on the line, either you let me drive you to the hospital right now or I am calling 911. OK, I can drive her but only after she has washed up and changed clothes. NO, RIGHT NOW. Somewhere in there I had called Vi who already had our car out front and ready to go. With Vi’s added urgings we got her out the door.

Vi actually drove her. Thank goodness for modern drugs. She is doing fine.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Birthday Celebration

February 7, 2011

It is difficult to get anything past Vi but I managed to surprise her for her birthday. It was one of those milestone ages that deserves celebrating. I am not sure but 5 or 6 weeks ago I had told her I would like to take her out for dinner to celebrate and asked her to pick the restaurant., which she did.

Now I have had “surprise” parties for her in the past which involved takeing her out to eat and then returning home to find a houseful of friends and family, everyone yelling surprise. I am thinking if she is expecting any sort of surprise that is likely where her thinking will be. Well it is not really a surprise if you are “sort of” expecting it. What to do?

Get the jump on her, have the surprise part earlier. Have everyone meet us in the restaurant. Have everyone already seated at a large table. When we arrive we are just led to our table and surprise!!!!!!

It worked well, she was surprised and very happy. We had a million laughs, a great time at the restaurant then back here to the house.

A big thank you to daughter Shauna and Jake, Vi’s sister Debbie, my cousin Maggie and all of the 10 wonderful friends that helped me make her day special.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Happy Birthday Vi

February 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Vi. You will be hearing me singing in person a little later so I won’d even try it here. Being a gentleman I won’t say how many candles will be on the cake, we will just say there are several.