October 30, 2014
It has been requested I put up a post about the importance of our medications.
I am likely a perfect person to write about this. In total, I take 29 pills a day. This is actually 17 different medications as some of them I take varing numbers. Medications for the heart, the brain tumour, epilepsy, blood pressure, blood thinners and even pills to make me pee. I wear a nitro patch and use 2 inhalers. My bed time snack is quite a handful, 17 pills in one shot. One gulp is water and that is how I take them in one shot. Then on to the insulin injection.
I had my first heart attack 23 years ago. Medications at that point became part of my daily life. Over the years as the heart has worsened, new conditions diagnosed the medications have gradually increased, becoming a bigger and more important part of my life. I now know for a fact they are keeping alive, which adds to the respect I have for each one. Each one doing it’s own little bit, making it’s own contribution to me being here.
I have come a long way in really appreciating in importance of my medications. I look back at those early days 20 years ago and realize I was in fact a “drug abuser”. Now let’s be clear here I have never tried any of the street drugs and never will. I am strictly talking medications prescribed by my doctors. Now typically we hear and think of the abuse of prescription medication a being someone that becomes addicted and over uses the medications. Well that has never been me. It has occurred to me though that in fact NOT taking your medications as prescribed can also be considered a form of drug abuse. That back then was me. Abuse because how is a drug to do it’s job if not properly taken as prescribed by the doctor.
Now way back in the early days that was me. I never intentionally skipped a pill but if I missed one no big deal, I am fine or so I thought back then. I quickly realized how wrong I was. I make a real effort to take all medications exactly as prescribed.
I have to wonder how many that might read this are drug abusers by my definition. “Not taking all medications as prescribed”. You have some sort of a bug. The doctor prescribes an antibiotic for say 7 days but by day 5 we are feeling better and quit taking them. Anyone guilt of that?
Hey, I am memory guy”, keeping track of when to take each different medication (morning or night) and dosages became a nightmare. Pharmacy now takes care of all of that for me. Now instead of getting just a bunch of vials filled with pills and me trying to figure them out. The pharmacy now sorts them for me. Now I get a piece of cardboard on which is listed all medications and attached are little pouches. Pouches are arranged for each day and each contains the exact medications I need at specific times. Great system and a big help.
I am very lucky in that I have a wonderful team of doctors/specialists caring for me.
I am a patient of the heart failure clinic, a wonderful team of cardiologists and specially trained nurses. I am so very grateful to them all as without question they have literally saved my life. Their main focus is keeping my heart beating. Keep it beating in a regular rythem and controlling how fast it beats. They prescribe medications accordingly.
Now I also see a neurologist. Now monitors the brain tumour and deals with the epyltic seizures. Seizures well controlled with medication and haven’t had one in 12 or 13 years.
Now on very rare occasions one will question a medication prescribed by the other. For privacy they seem to need my permission to even talk to each other. I look at it this my life we are dealing with, if you want to confer with one another go for it.
That brings us to the pharmacy team. Again, wonderful. They have my total trust. Which is good as I never really look at my pills any more. I just take what ever it is they have put in the appropriate pouch for that time. Am I taking the right pills at the right time. I suppose I really don’t know but that is something I do not worry about because of that trust level I have in the pharmacy.
I can’t stress strongly enough, take all of your medications a prescribed.
But one prime example. Several months ago my heart went into A Fib. Beating way to fast and with a very irregular rythem. Now it took a while but the addition of 2 new medications and it appears to be back in order. Just in time to prevent what I think would have been an uncomfortable intervention
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Posted by Bill Howdle
October 26, 2014
I read something in the newspaper today that really hit home with me. It is a light bulb went off and it hit me what a dying person wants/needs most. To know they are loved to be able to feel they are loved. That most certainly applies to me and as I am no one special just an average guy, I am going to assume it will apply to many others.
Back to the newspaper article. It is in the Oct. 24th issue of the Winnipeg Free Press. An article by Laura Eggertson, titled “You are so loved, dying soldier told”.
A little back ground of events occurring at the time at the time I am writing about. This week a crazed gunman was able to enter of Federal Parliment buildings getting to the hallway containing the very rooms in which our Federal Government was meeting in various room.
My thoughts are about happenings but minutes before that. On the way into Parliment the gunman passed our National War Memorial at which 2 members of the military stand honorary guard. As he passed that spot he shot and mortally wounded one of those unsuspecting guards. R.I.P Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.
With the shots being fired most ran for cover as I am sure I would have.
But not all, as I understand it at least 6 people rushed to the fallen soldier. At this point the gunman had fled but as I understand it none of these 6 could know to where he had gone, how far he had gone or if he would return. Yet, there they were.
Naturally, police ambulance everyone was called. Those gathered around the fallen soldier did their best to provide any assistance they could. To them this fallen soldier was a total stranger, unknown to any. That didn’t matter, they saw another human being in trouble and ran to help. I congratulate and thank all involved, I am very proud of you and you are heroes in my mind.
What struck me the most was what a nurse reportedly said as she knelt by his head, and I quote:
“You are loved. Your family loves you. You’re a good man,” she told him.
Winters told Cirillo to think about what he was doing — that he’d been standing guard at the National War Memorial. She told him what a good man he was for doing his duty.
She didn’t see a wedding ring, and didn’t know if he was married. So she just kept repeating:
“Your family loves you. Your parents are so proud of you. Your military family loves you. All the people here, we’re working so hard for you. Everybody loves you.”
The impromptu team kept waiting for an ambulance, desperately willing Cirillo to hang on.
“You are so loved,” Winters told Cirillo. “We’re all trying to help you.”
This all being said to try and bring an element of comfort to the fallen soldier. Sadly, he did not survive.
The article carried on ending a final quote from the nurse. “When you are dying, you need to be told how loved you are.”
Reading all of that just blew me away. So often the question comes up, what can I do to help someone that is dying? There is the best answer possible. Tell them they are loved, tell them they are appreciated by you and important to you. Take it one step further, try to make them feel loved and appreciated.
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Posted by Bill Howdle
October 22, 2014
Really for no particular reason I checked the site stats this morning. I am humbled, shocked and amazed 498,217 hits, wow. I feel so honoured that so many people have visited my little site.
An item on my fantasy bucket list is to hit 500,000. I mean 1/2 a million hits. I really am shocked. My heart felt thanks goes out to each and everyone. Here, I have met so many wonderful people. Some may have visited once or twice others have visited for a while. Some I have come to consider dear friends as they have journeyed through so much of this with me, the highs and the lows. You can never know how much this has meant to me. Often lifting my spirits. To me it has been an added bonus if as I responded to a comment, I may have helped someone. This has been such a blessing.
I have never asked for anything here on the blog other than at times prayers for someone in need. I thank all that responded.
Well, I am going to ask for something now. A second item on my bucket list was to have received 10,000 comments. Now this one is lagging behind. I ask please help me achieve that fantasy bucket list item, 10,000 comments in total.
If you read this please leave me a comment. I have often heard, “I didn’t comment as I had nothing meaningful to say”.
Now let’s clear that up. Every comment is meaningful to me. Even something a simple as just saying hello is meaningful. It tells me you are out there and read what I said. That these numbers aren’t just people maybe even accidentally clicking in and quickly leaving.
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Posted by Bill Howdle
October 22, 2014
I really need to vent. I am upset, discussed, plain mad…..
It was on the news yesterday and in the newspaper today. Right here in Winnipeg, actually less than a mile from our home, a terrible discovery was made in a storage locker.
I can’t believe it. The decomposing bodies of 3-4 newborn babies. I am appalled just don’t know what to say. To say I find it disgusting is such an understatement.
They say everyone involved in the discovery from the employees of the storage unit business, police, EMT’s are traumatized. I can’t even imagine, this is all just beyond belief.
Police say more information will be released today. I am torn. I want to hear more but at the same time I don’t. Even thinking about it is just to disturbing.
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Posted by Bill Howdle
October 17, 2014
I often recommend always reading all comments yet I know there are those that don’t. I got long winded in the response to a comment today.I think it is an important topic so I am copying the comment and my reply. Please let me know what you think
October 17, 2014 at 5:50 pm (Edit)
My cousin is dying ,she doesn’t want to see me.Doesn’t answer my calls.I heard from family that they angry with me about something that was not even my fault,I helped my cousin by being there for her and now she ignores me.Should I still go to visit her ,I’m scared she might close the door on me and that will break my heart.Can anyone have any suggestions?
Hi Jasmine my heart and prayers go out to your cousin, the immediate family, extended family and all involved. Is am so sorry to hear of your cousin’s condition.
First off though understand, I am not a doctor nor a therapist. I am just a regular guy sharing my thoughts and feelings based on my own. When it comes to a situation like this it becomes very personal for each individual involved, each will react and deal with it in their own way. Emotions are running very high which may cause us to react in the heat of the moment in ways that are totally out of character. Understanding of that is very important.
Obviously, I know nothing of the circumstances that have lead to these apparent hard feelings. There is nothing you can do about past happenings, you can’t change the past. All we can change is how we go forward.
If your cousin knows she is dying, likely her emotions are all over the map and can even change from minute to minute. I think the best thing, to support her in her struggle is to respect her wishes in this time of likely her greatest need.
You say you would be devistated if you showed up and were turned away, very understandable. I have to wonder what emotions would be triggered on the other side of the door. The stress or what ever it may cause your cousin who is already carrying such a heavy load. As hard as it is for you I would suggest for now, respect her wishes by not adding to her burden. Now is a time to be focusing in on the wants and needs of the patient doing what ever we can to make it easier for them. As well intentioned as we may be we don’t want to add to the burden the patient is already struggling to deal with.
I would suggest possibly sending her a card or letter. In that letter open your heart and express all your positive and loving feelings. Make it a letter of loving support, don’t even mention what ever it is that is causing the hard feelings. A message of loving support. Possibly then end it with a comment like. “If you feel up to it I really would like to visit.”
You will have then done what you can, you bared your soul, opened your heart and expressed all the love and support you can.
Be prepared as you may or may not get a response. If by chance you don’t let it go, knowing you did everything you could under these so difficult times
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Posted by Bill Howdle
October 11, 2014
This past while purely from a medical point of view hasn’t been a lot of fun. My heart seems to think it is the drummer in a rock band beating it’s own and often very different rhythms. Some times very soft (have difficulty even feeling the pulse) other times must be like the drum solo (I can feel it pounding and banging away so hard, I almost think it is trying to break its way out of my chest). I think it must be playing rock and roll, the beat is fast at times very fast.
Over all these years my blood pressure has never been an issue. It was always like 117/75 or within 2 or 3 numbers of both top and bottom. I am assuming it ties in with the A Fib gobies up and down like a yo yo. Top number will be in the 160’s an hour later in the 90’s. Either way it has my head spinning. Doctor’s have been steadily increasing the dosage of a new medication, seemingly with no result. This has gone on for a couple of months now and I really just have not felt well.
It just takes time for the medication to really kick in, become ingrained in your system. My heart rate at rest, Monday – 126, Tyesday – 118, Wednesday – 98, Thursday 84. Still room to improve but getting better and with that I am feeling better.
I sometimes get teased about being a “high end junkie”. I take about 30 pills a day. No none of it is any of the good stuff, all coming through my various doctors. Read all the potential side affects. It is enough to drive you nuts. Just read a joke that gave me a good laugh.
“All medications seem to come with a whole list of potentially negative side effects. Just once I would like to read of a potential side effect being extreme sexiness.”
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Posted by Bill Howdle
October 4, 2014
I really haven’t been feeling so spry this past while. Heart rate while at rest is still in the 120’s. Doctor’s keep increasing the dosage of the new medication. Doesn’t seem to affect heart rate but is lowering blood pressure. Last evening 90/78. When it is that low it just has me very light headed and dizzy. See the Heart Failure Clinic on Monday, see what they have to say. Have constant chest pain. Should more likely say chest discomfort. An aching feeling just enough to be annoying.
I haven’t been blogging but I have been writing. Letters to those I will be leaving behind. Actually, trying to get high tech. Lol. Apparently I can use the IPad to record videos of myself speaking. Going to try that out.
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Posted by Bill Howdle