Digging within ourselves

November 17, 2013

They say with age comes wisdom, huh. What happened to me I am getting the age but that wisdom part seems to be skipping right by me. I do usually just sit back, look at and try to learn from any little episodes that happen in my life. The way I was pushing at the gym was ridiculous in hind sight.

I am still trying to digest this. I think there was an element of pride or ego involved. Way back in the day, I actually did a lot of weight lifting etc. and become physically very strong. I was proud of the fact I could out lift the others in our group. In doing that I pushed, dug down deep giving it everything I had in me. I pushed harder than I know some did and it paid off. I remember something my Dad told me , I am not sure but I must have been in my teens. I can’t remember the circumstances but I had come home absolutely physically exhausted. I mean totally physically worn out. My legs both rubbery and like they each weighed 1,000, the same with my arms. I don’t know what I said but it must have been along the lines of I was to exhausted to move a muscle.
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Now I am sure he told me to rest or something like that. It is the things he said next that have really stuck in my mind over the years and I think have served me well.
“Never think you just don’t have the energy to do anything. You have to just dig a little deeper within and you will find all the energy you need.”
I am not sure how I responded, but I imagine it was along the lines of, not today I couldn’t I am to worn out.
His reply was: “think about it. As tired as you feel right now, if you suddenly saw a child playing in the street about to be hit by a truck. All thoughts of how tired you feel would be gone. You would be running harder and faster than you ever have before to try to save that child. You can always dig deeper.
OK, I know adrenaline would kick in, in that example, but the overall message came through. If something is important enough, we CAN dig a little deeper, find the energy to push through.
Has that attitude given me that extra strength to bull my way through the heart attacks…. I don’t know


Over did it at the gym

November 16, 2013

Yesterday, things didn’t go so well at the gym. I have been feeling really go about going. The first few visits I was pretty cautious about how much I exerted, how hard I pushed myself. Gradually, I experimented pushing myself harder and faster. Now by that I mean harder and faster by my standards.

The Wellness Centre is an excellent facility an indoor track and dozens of various pieces of exercise equipment. The indoor track is, I suppose quite small. On the inside walking lane one lap is about 200 steps. When I first started I could only make it about 1/2 a lap or about 100 steps. After a few trips to the gym I started to think this is silly. If I just dig down and just push on, I can make an entire lap, I mean it is only another 100 steps. I see now became a pattern, continually digging down pushing harder and harder. I pushed up to 3 laps after which I was a gasping, panting sweaty mess.

Yesterday, it all caught up to me. I got a stabbing chest pain that stopped me in my tracks. Thankfully, I was but feet from a rest stop. I always carry my nitro spray with me, plus I wear a nitro patch. I gave myself the spray under the tongue which did dull the pain. Procedure is with the pain you give yourself a spray under the tongue right away. If the pain isn’t gone in 5 minutes a second shot under the tongue. If required a 3rd shot again 5 minutes later while you are calling the ambulance. OK, the pain is dulled but definitely not gone. It is getting close to the time for the second spray. I realize I am in a medical facility attached to a hospital, maybe I should tell someone what is going on. Wow, talk about response time, I had a nurse at my side in maybe 30 seconds. Long story short. I took that second shot of nitro and everything settled down. I was banned from the track for the day, sent home to rest. That I did got in one of my 6 hour naps.

As it turned out it was a nothing event but I am glad it happened. In my 15 or 20 minutes of recovery time I had the chance to really talk to the nurse. Doing that extra pushing is not always a good thing especially if you are a heart patient. I have less than 60% of a functioning heart! the medications I am on (one to control my heart rate, left by itself it seems to speed up even up into the 200 beats per minute) controls my heart rate so that no matter what it will not beat faster than somewhere in the 80’s. For me pushing it should not go beyond what would be considered low to moderate for others. Taking a few days off but I will be back.

 


Trip to the dentist could save your life

November 14, 2013

Off to the dentist this morning. I wonder how many know that after a heart event it is a good idea to see your dentist, well it is always a good idea to regular dental appointments. Here we go again with another, as I understand it. Now as I have no medical training, I certainly not claiming any great knowledge here.
A simple dental check up can determine the health of your mouth. There are various gum diseases that can wreak havoc on your entire system and given the right circumstances even lead to a heart attack. I’ll ask the dentist to further explain it to me.

Still faithfully attending the gym. I am amazed to see how my body is changing. Arms have real definition to the muscles, as do the legs. Breathing has improved a lot. But with that I have really noticed something. The air in the gym is temperature and humidity controlled. With that air I am able to do much more than anywhere else. Temperature and humidity seem to do me in.

OK, I am seeing results but not so much with the stomach either in my weight or even inches lost.

I realize I haven’t really written about my edema. Fluid retention is an on going battle. I take daily medication to help pass water even with that I constantly have excess fluid on board. Weekly I take a ” mega” pill. On those days I can easily drop 7 or 8 pounds. This excess fluid adds both weight and bulk. Makes it hard to judge progress.


Remembrance Day

November 11, 2013

A simple question. How grateful would you be to someone that literally gave their life to save yours. Or who gave their own life to greatly improve yours? For me, I would be for ever grateful to the point of almost feeling indebted to that person for the rest of my life.
Fact of the matter is we all owe that debt of gratitude to hundreds of thousands if not millions that made that ultimate sacrifice to allow us to live the lives we do today.
Here in Canada it is Remembrance Day. One day of the year set aside to acknowledge and remember those that made that sacrifice for all of us. Two minutes of silence, inner reflection is asked. Need I really say more?


Birthday gifts for a dying man

November 7, 2013

Our dear blogging friend Mel made mention of this in one of her recent comments. My birthday is coming up and yes as I have every year in the past I am flat out asking for gifts. Now the gifts I am asking for are not what would be considered a gift in the “normal” sense. No I am asking for something even more special and meaningful to me.

I am asking for random acts of kindness.
Now the size of the act doesn’t matter, for whom the act is done doesn’t matter. All that matters is that purely from the goodness, the love contained with in our hearts we reach out to another. Now there are a few rules here. It can’t something that is already expected of us, it can’t be something we do out of a sense of obligation nor can it be an act for which we are expecting some sort of reward or recognition. It has to be an act of love and kindness straight from the heart. Ideally the acts will be done anonymously if by chance the act is noticed we accept no thanks, instead ask the kindness be passed on.
Now please scroll to the top of this page. Spread across the top you will see a row of names. Each being the title of a separate page I have created to go along as part of the blog. Please check them out and let me know what you think. Today, I specifically ask you click on to open the page titled: “spirit within me”. Please read it and I invite all to join with me in my “everyone is welcome club”. Please leave me a message telling me you have signed on board.
My birthday is still about 5 weeks away. This year I am going to be pushing this request harder than in years gone by. Why harder this year?
I believe when we come into this world, we do so with an expiry date stamped on our butts. Statistically, I am likely years past that date. Doctors have told me I am at or very close to that date. Based on that, I hope to make this a big year. If based on that. This will likely be my last birthday request. That is reality.
What do I have to say about that? I am not a mere statistic and I have proven the doctors to be wrong in the past. Can I continue to “dodge that bullet”, well I am certainly going to try. It is in the hands of our Heavenly Father.


Loss of a loved one – Joe Howdle

November 7, 2013

This is a difficult and emotional post for me. Actually, it is a post that I knew I would be writing at some point soon, I just never thought it would be this soon.In the past I have asked for prayers for my dear cousin Joe. For the past 6 months Joe has been battling cancer. Joe put up the good fight but lost the battle, the Good Lord called him home.

Joe was strong man, a kind man and a true gentleman. Above all he was a family man. He was devoted to wife Ev and their three children Joe (jr), Ryan and Stephanie. That his kids were his pride and joy was obvious every time I spoke with him. When he became a grandpa he was over the moon. He loved his family and was greatly loved in return. He will be greatly missed.

Ev, his high school sweet heart. What can I say? The courage, the strength she has shown through all of this is nothing short of inspiring. Her devotion and endless hours of sitting in that hospital room. Caring for him while at home. Ev, I don’t have the words. Joey, Ryan and Stephanie the support you gave, the courage you have shown is amazing. I know you loved your Dad and I know he loved you.

My heart aches for my dear aunt Isabel and Joe’s brothers and sisters. I have always admired, respected and even envied their close family bond. I know they will all be rallying to provide support for Ev, the kids and each other.

My heart aches for all but I think of their Stephanie. Stephanie spent a good part of the summer at home with her Dad. The time came when she had to return to her own home. Steph, married and relocated with her husband to Australia. In that sense she is alone in dealing with this. I am sure her husband and family are doing everything they can to provide loving support. Plus, I am sure loving supportive emails have been flooding her computer and the phone just ringing off the hook. I can only imagine though that at a time like this being so far away from her mother and brothers adds to the load. All are in my heart but Steph, special thoughts and prayers go to you.

I considered Joe and I to be close and there was only 6 months difference in our ages. Have you ever had someone in your life that seemed to make your world just a little more complete. Just knowing they were out there was somehow enough. Regular communication, while nice, is often neglected. To a point it almost not needed with that comfort level being there. We take it for granted that person will always be there for you. Joe was that person for me. More than a cousin but a best friend. The world can change seemingly at the blink of an eye and he is gone. Now are the regrets for not phoning more often. Canada is a huge Country a visit would mean a 14 hour drive to get there, but still.

I got the chance to visit with Joe this past summer. I am so grateful for that time. You have to understand Howdle men, we are not all that comfortable vocalizing feelings to each other. When we were together, I broke that tradition and told Joe that I admired and respected him for the fine man he was, that I considered him to be my best friend and that I was very proud to have him as a cousin. I have to admit I was a little hesitant even nervous breaking the “Howdle man” code of silence on such things but I am so glad I did.

Joe, I miss you man.

I ask for prayers of comfort please


Understanding the dying

November 3, 2013

This past couple of weeks have been tough, emotionally draining. These are times I really need to sit back and focus on the big picture of my life. I am a very blessed and lucky man, I have a good life.

I have been dealing with this whole dying thing for 9 or 10 years, it wears away at you. I at times need to sit back, reflect to recharge those batteries.

Over these years I have done a lot of reading and writing on this whole dying experience. I have come to realize how difficult and confusing it can be for both patient and care givers. It can almost be like we need to add words to our language or have some sort of a code or something. It can be confusing for both sides. I think I may have written before about the definition of feeling good.

As humans we are very adaptable. We are able to adjust to our circumstances. By this I mean as your health declines you adjust to what is becoming your new normal way of how you feel. It gets to the point where you forget what feeing good felt like in the past. You base everything on what is your “norm” of today. A care giver can ask how you are feeling and you can honestly answer good. The care taker hears you are feeling good and can easily interpret that answer as based on their own definition of what good feels like. In fact those 2 definitions of feeling good can be miles apart.

Here through the blog I have met a number of terminal patients. Some things are easier said in a more private setting and we revert to exchanging emails. There is always the understanding that NOTHING  exchanged in those emails will ever make it to the blog, without my receiving prior approval. I have that approval as long as name and location is not revealed.

The story relates along relates to terminology, language as I am writing about. I may have written about this previously. Hey, I am memory guy. There is a huge difference between being at peace and being OK with what you are facing. His decline has been a lengthy one. He and his family have been blessed with extra time (as have I). He has done everything he can to ease the burden, the worry for the family. He feels the family is to the point as they believe, based on what he has always told them, he is OK.

Now this next part I can personally relate to. There is a huge difference between being Ok with facing your own passing and being at peace with it. I am at peace with what awaits, I have my strong belief system in place and am comfortable with that. When my time comes I believe I am ready. None of that though means I have to like it or be OK with it. I have a wonderful life and just don’t want to give it up. Language again at peace with something doesn’t mean you are OK with it