Dying Man’s Daily Journal – What we want in life

September 23, 2011

My dear cousin Gloria often sends me emails with the inspirational sayings in them. Some how she seems to know what it is I need to hear a the right message seems to just show up at the right time. This is the latest one. I am not sure of the origins or due credit would be given.

Hot chocolate

A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives. Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups – porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said: ‘Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you’re drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups… And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. God makes the hot chocolate, man chooses the cups. The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate.




Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Attitude

September 23, 2011

Vision in my right eye is continuing to improve. I can still see the big black dot being the gas bubble in my eye but it now covers less than a quarter of my vision in that eye and is decreasing in size daily.

Wow, that lying on my stomach for 2 weeks was a trial. It took me a few days to come to the realization that huh, yes this sucks, but there really is nothing I can do about it so I might as well make the best of it. With that simple change in thinking the days became easier and much more enjoyable. OK, maybe I cheated a little and didn’t spend the entire 45 minutes of every hour in that face down position but I was pretty good about it. It is paying off as my vision is quite good, though things still have that warped look to them.

It really is surprising what a little shift in attitude can do your whole frame of mind and quality of your day.

The first few days of lying down I was not in the best of spirits, feeling kind of down. I had thoughts running through my head like: ” I really don’t know how many days I have left on this planet and I really don’t want to waste them like this” (being stuck laying face down on the bed) Somewhere along the line the thought change to: “I really don’t know how many days i have left and I really don’t want to waste them like this”. (feeling out of sorts and grumpy). My days were then a lot better. Now I am not going to say I was having a lot of fun but I certainly was not miserable or unhappy about the situation. I tried my meditations but the unusual position seemed to just put me to sleep. It gave me time for a lot of really deep thinking about my life and life in general. The more i really thought the more it became clear to me I am very content with my life. Are there some areas of my life I would like to be different well yeah. Hey just look at the title of the blog.

This may be hard to understand but whole business has helped me become the person I am today and I am cntent with that.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Prayers Please

September 20, 2011

I just spent some time sitting looking out of our living room window. Actually, I was looking at the home of our neighbors Paul and Ann. The house looks the same as it did 2 days ago but I know it is not. I was sending white light of love and healing. The house is not the same as I know it is filled with pain and grief.

Paul and Ann for as long as I have known them have been such a loving, caring and sweet couple. They were the couple that anyone would be proud and happy to have as grand parents. Yes, I say grand parents as they had much life experience. I can’t just remember if it was last year or the year before that, that Paul celebrated his 90th. I don’t know Ann’s age but it is in that area. We chatted often, it was only a week or 2 ago that I took them 2 big bags of apples from our trees in the back.

For quite some time now Paul has been experiencing health problems, mostly heart issues. Ann was always there helping, supporting and nursing him through what ever as I am sure he helped her as he could. I know he would be getting the job of peeling the apples.

We have all be concerned about Paul and his health. It came as such a shock, such a surprise to hear that Ann had suffered a major heart attack and had passed over. Apparently she had been feeling fine and gone to I believe a baby shower. It was there among a circle of her friends that she had the attack.

Paul was picked up and taken to the hospital. She passed very quickly so I don’t k now if he got to say goodbye

Paul’s health is such he can’t be left alone. they ended up keeping him in the hospital until family had been contacted and had arrived to care for him. They have 2 children but both live in the U.S. and travel time was required. Grand son Cody was the first to arrive, getting Paul out of the hospital and home. When I learned they were home I went over to offer my condolences, actually meeting Cody for the first time. Paul was asleep so I will go back some time today.

Please prayers for Paul and the entire family. I just can’t begin to imagine what it could be like for Paul being in failing health himself, loosing his care giver but more importantly loosing his bride of 70 years.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Recovering from retinal attachment surgery

September 17, 2011

Had the appointment with the eye surgeon yesterday. He was able to see the retina has reattached.  About 40% of the gas bubble is still there but over time will be absorbed into the body. I see him again in 2 weeks. Now it is just a waiting game to see how much vision returns and that could take even up to 6 months. I do now have vision out of the top part of the eye, a little foggy but not bad. What I see though is a little distorted. I look at something like say a sign post, well with my left eye obviously it is straight up and down. Looking with my right eye it is wavy, has like bulges sticking out of the sides of it. Doctor says nothing can be done about that, it is just a wait and see process.

The brain is receiving confusing messages from the eyes and is throwing I guess my depth perception off. It is actually kind of funny. When brushing my teeth for example and I want to run the tooth brush under the water from the tap. Using both eyes I can’t seem to line my tooth-brush up with the falling water. Was making coffee this morning and holding the pot under the water tap. I have the water running and the pot in place and I am looking out the window. At some point it occurs to me the pot is not getting any heavier as it should be filling with water. I look with both eyes and it is in place so what is going on. I close my right eye and using my left eye only I can see I am holding the pot about 4 or 5 inches over to the side, huh.

The great news is I don’t have to spend all my time lying face down, on my stomach. I am up and about and feeling good.

Have lots of ideas for posts  I want to get up. All that time just lying there did give me lots of time to just think

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – detached retina/duct tape

September 13, 2011

I am still lying around face down waiting for Friday when I see the eye surgeon. Had to give my head a bit of a shake. I wasn’t happy about the lying face down business and let it get to me a little. Then I realized, huh, what good was that doing other than spoiling my mood. Now I am not saying I am enjoying being stuck all day long with my head face down between 2 pillows but it isn’t all that bad, so many do have it worse. I just can’t seem to get into my meditation though, the position is just to awkward.

Now actually I think I most likely make quite the dashing sight when I climb into bed at night.

First off I have on my full CPAP mask. I picture myself looking amazingly like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. The masks are very similar after all. Now on top of that I wear my stylish pirate eye patch. Now an old pirate patch would not do. I wear the white plastic model. The one that requires miles of tape to secure to my face. The kind of tape, you all know it, the type that pulls out any hair it may be attached to. Given enough time I am pretty sure the eye brow will grow back.

Ask any man and what do you need to fix almost anything? Well, duct tape of course. Yup, you got it I also wear duct tape every night. Now if I heard someone wore duct tape to bed at night I would think them either kinky or weird. Which do you think applies?

My normal sleeping position is flat on my back or on my right side. Now it seems this magic gas bubble in  my eye to be most effective must be positioned at all times. This includes while I am asleep. I am to sleep on my left side with my head slanting in a downward direction over the edge of the pillow, quite an awkward position. While sleeping I seem to have a tendency to flip over on to my back. The nurses in the hospital first noticed this and prescribed the solution, duct tape. Duct tape 2 golf balls to the middle of your back. Roll over on those babies and trust me, it will give you enough of a poke to send you back on to your side. Hey I am not joking about the golf balls.

Sill no real vision but IT IS GOING TO COME.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Eye update.

September 9, 2011

Argh, avast me maties, it is pirate Bill. But,  I don’t get to wear the pirate mask until bed time when I am sleeping. At that time a plastic eye patch is taped over my eye to keep me from possibly rubbing my eye while asleep. Through the day it would be easier I think wearing a patch but they don’t want it so I don’t and just try to keep my right eye closed as much as possible.

This whole thing is really not much fun. No pain or anything like that just well kind of boring.

The doctor outlined 3 different procedures for re-attaching my retina to the eye. But apparently because of a tear in there only one was viable. Now this is as I understand it.

The retina is right behind the eyeball and can become detached in a variety of different ways. With needles inserted in the side of the eye the retina a repositioned. A gas bubble is then injected into the eye. The idea is to keep the eyeball expanded or almost like stretched out to make proper contact with the retina. Now here comes the tricky part. It was explained to me that the gas bubble is like a helium balloon in that it will always rise. Now for that gas bubble in my eye to rise towards the back of my eye, I must be lying face down.

This is the boring part. Picture yourself lying flat on your stomach, your head face down between 2 pillows. There is not a lot you can do.  Having to stay in that position all day long with only 5 or 10 minute breaks here and there makes for a long day. Have been told to continue doing that until next see the doctor which is next Friday a week from now.

There was more to the surgery, drain blood out of the eye and some jelly like stuff.

Still no vision but it will come.


Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Regrets of the dying

September 6, 2011

An email I received  containing such an important message for all to heed.

By Bronnie Ware

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying. It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
-Frederick Koenig

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Eye surgery

September 5, 2011

Have been laying pretty low for the past while. It has been exceptionally hot and humid here in Winnipeg. I don’t deal well with that, it just sucks the energy right out of me. Temperatures have dropped considerably and I am feeling much better, more energetic.

Had planned a big post with all of the wonderful things that happened over the summer but ran into a snag on Saturday. It started on Friday. I noticed my right eye was a little watery and there was a black spot up in the top right hand corner of the eye.
thought it was strange but really didn’t pay it much mind. Woke up Saturday morning and that black spot had grown and was now covering about 1/2 of my eye. The spot blocked all vision and the rest of the eye was very blurry. Blurry to the point of not being able to see at all. Early in the morning that spot covered about 1/4 of my eye and by lunch time was covering about 1/2.

Decided to phone and make an appointment with an optometrist. I thought I would likely end up with an appointment in a week or so. But, I explained the situation to the receptionist who relayed it to the doctor. I was told to get to their office within the hour. Now Vi has a part time job, she works every second weekend, something to do. Well as luck would have it this was here weekend to work. Now I knew i could phone her at work and she would be home in a flash to take me. I really don’t think  this is anything serious and I know she tends to get excited if I have any health related issues of any kind. I am thinking the doctor will just be giving me some eye drops or something. I think of brother-in-law Henri, he doesn’t work on the weekend. I call Henri and sure enough he is over in a flash.

We get to the optometrist’s office and I am a little surprised to learn I am being seen as a medical emergency. The doctor sees me very quickly. He does a series of tests and a second doctor comes in and looks in my eye. I have a detached retina, huh. He has me sit in a chair while he makes a phone call. He comes back telling me has made an appointment with an eye surgeon for just over an hour from then. There is Henri sitting patiently waiting for me and off we go to the hospital. We were talking about calling Vi at that point. But still why worry her. I am sure if there is to be a surgery of some sort it will be scheduled for weeks or months from now. I can tell her all about it when she gets home.

See the doctor shortly after arriving at the hospital. Again the bright lights as he looks in my eye. His words, ” we would both be doing a happy dance if it was just a detached retina, there is a tear in there also.” He explained it in more detail (memory guy) but I don’t really remember any of it. He described the surgery. I just remember hearing there would be a gas bubble in my eye that would slowly absorb away. OK, surgery is required to prevent total blindness so when can we do it. Now I am used to hearing of surgeries be scheduled weeks or months in advance. It caught me a little off guard when he said within the next hour or so, now wow that is fast. For me when I have something like that facing me, the sooner the better. Lets get it over and done with.

Geesh, Vi though still doesn’t know anything about any of this. maybe it is time to let her know especially since they are going to be keeping me in the hospital. If there was some way I could have had it over and done with and been home before she got there, I still wouldn’t have told her until it was all after the fact. She is a worrier.

Ask Henri to go to her workplace and tell her but to really down play it. Anyway within the hour into surgery I went. The timing was perfect, it lasted a little over an hour. I had literally just arrived back in the room when Vi came tearing in.

What a day. Within a 5 hour period I went from having a blurry eye to have had eye surgery.

The look of the eye is enough to scare people, it is beet red and bulging out a little. I have no vision it at all. Apparently it will take even months before we will know how much vision comes back. Now how was that for a day.