Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Yeah, I'm Rich...

I've never measured wealth in and silver yes, but not dollars. I'm just kidding. If my worth was measured in the value of my assets I would be lacking compared to that of many of my peers. However, when we measure our wealth to the majority of the world, the poorest among us are wealthy beyond impossible dreams. I'm not writing this to talk about material wealth though. I'm writing to say how touched I am resulting from the overflow of well-wishes from friends and loved ones....shouldn't separate that really....all my friends are loved ones too.

When it was determined last week that this old body was in serious trouble and the emergency room was my most logical decision, I was in a terrible valley emotionally. I couldn't think about having to talk to anyone so I asked Debbie to keep the situation to herself and our two sons. She agreed knowing many of our tribe and village would be hurt. I didn't think of them though. In fact, I don't remember thinking at all. I didn't think of how it would feel to know my brother or best friend was suffering and I didn't have any idea. I kept these loved ones from caring, praying, and thinking good thoughts about me during this time. I kept them from dropping a note or card in the mail. I kept them from loving. This was very selfish of me and as I write this I feel shame and hurt of my own for causing them to hurt.

I hope everyone reading this has the blessing that surrounds Debbie and me. We have so many caring souls watching out for us that we never have to fear loneliness. We will never be without a home, or food, or community because we are blessed by the Lord God. His blessings are passed on to us through the loving hands and hearts of our friends, our family...all of our loved ones. During my hospital stay I did need the quiet in order to cope but their were times when I became lonely. The Lord has a way of taking care of old fools like me. He figured out a way for word to leak out about my condition and I was blessed at the most needed times by visits from a few family members. A phone call from one of our elders came at just the right time as well.

I have been lovingly reprimanded several times yesterday and today. One of those beautiful ladies punished me by sending over a tin of my favorite cookies fresh from her oven. She taught me a lesson let me tell you!
If any of you feel I still need to be disciplined in this way I will humbly accept your punishment.

I love you all. I'm sorry and I'm so thankful!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

So, I was admiring the flowerbed when....

I was standing out by one of Debbie's flowerbeds thinking I really needed to help her clean it up. I could trim along here, pull that out....and that's when it hit me. I felt the world start to spin. Then the world stopped spinning but I kept on. I turned to go inside and fell to the ground and lay there for a moment thinking, "Never even saw that bus coming..". I worked my way back up on wobbly knees and tried to walk. Three steps later I fell again. I thought this is where I'm going to die. My strong will alone made it back up only to fall a third time. I lay in the grass until my breathing slowed down and made it to my feet once more. I staggered into the door before collapsing a fourth time. Debbie ran over and helped me to a chair.

Debbie began washing my face and neck down with a wet towel while I drank water. I was soaked with sweat yet trembling from the cold. It took nearly an hour for some sense of normalcy to return. I was left with weak, sore muscles and a terrible headache. I spent the rest of the evening in my chair drinking water and changing back and forth from shivering cold to searing heat. Finally Debbie helped me to bed where I slept thirteen hours. When I woke up my head felt like it could explode and my whole body ached. Debbie checked my temperature and it was 103. She called Cody and he sent me straight to the ER since "sixty-six year old men shouldn't have 103 temperature".

The emergency room was busy but I didn't have to wait too long. As I lay there answering questions and watching an amazing team worked to make me feel better, I wondered just how long this was going to take. I wanted to go back home and sit in my chair. As it turns out, I had to give up on an early release. The more the doctors conferred, the faster the nurses worked. They couldn't come up with an easy answer and suggested I stay overnight "for observation". Before assigning me to a room they needed to run just one more test....a spinal tap. Before they could do the procedure I needed to provide a small urine sample. I was obviously dehydrated. A simple little sample was going to be difficult. They left me alone with a weird looking plastic jug and waited....and waited...for over half an hour. Eventually the nurse came in and told me if I didn't get with the program he would need to introduce me to Mr. Catheter. That did nothing to speed the process. An hour later I managed to provide the needed sample. As the relief flowed I noticed a dampness on my feet. The plastic jug had a hole in the bottom. I ran to the door and yelled. This is an emergency room at a large hospital. There was absolutely no one there. I sat the jug on the floor and laid back down. When the nurse finally returned, he had to scramble to salvage enough of a sample. I had nothing more to give. (As a side note, Debbie had left to charge her phone during all this. As I related the story to her later she asked what it was I had yelled. I answered "Help, because Pee didn't sound appropriate".)

After I got to my room I found out I was being tested for several spooky scenarios, the worst of which was bacterial meningitis. They were also treating my dehydration with bag after bag of saline solution which would rebuild my internal water supply. I would need to make several bathroom breaks during the night "so we brought you a plastic jug". They needed to measure my intake else can I say it? And to make the evening more entertaining, I would need to have a nurse with me each time I peed. Did you know when your body is force-fed water it insists on getting rid of it without warning? I would hit the little red button and the nurse would come help me to the restroom, wait outside the door, then help me back to my bed. If she was even a minute late I was forced to go on our date without waiting, no grace factor. On the first solo trip my original weakness had returned and my hands shook. I filled the little jug and promptly dropped it on the floor. I was too weak to bend over so I did what I did best...went back to bed. The same thing happened two more times that night. They were very sorry for not being there to help me.....very sorry indeed.

What started out as an overnight observation turned into a five night ordeal. My temperature was continuing, my headache couldn't be relieved and all my muscles were sore and weak. I had confusion, memory loss, and constant dizziness. As more and more blood was drawn to test other possible diseases I began to worry I would never leave the hospital. These things do happen. On Friday afternoon it was determined I was definitely sick....but no one had any idea why. They had enough blood drawn to keep the lab busy for several days and meningitis had been ruled out so.....I could go home the next morning and be miserable there for free. The next morning I anxiously waited for my release. As a nurse checked my blood pressure she looked down at my legs. They were covered in a rash. She checked my arms, back, neck and yes, a new symptom had come along. My trip home was cancelled. Luckily, they could draw more blood and start over on my problem. Yea!! An infectious disease doctor was called in. He went through all the previous tests and added others to cover every known infectious disease. He quickly ruled them all out and started asking about insect bites. He immediately started an antibiotic IV drip even though I couldn't remember any insect bites of any kind. Within hours my headache was gone and I was beginning to feel less "flu like". I stayed on the antibiotic while they tested for a culprit. Although no exact insect was found to blame the doctor agreed to let me come home late Sunday afternoon. He would continue to research while I rested. I am to meet with him in a week or so.

I'm feeling much better now. The headache comes and goes but the severity isn't what it had been. My strength is slowly returning so I can begin my "no, I am not too old to take care of the lawn" campaign soon. The only test result we're still waiting to hear about is for West Nile Virus. Maybe that will be the one. Whatever it turns out to be, it's awful. I hope no one else is bitten by a similar evil culprit.

Monday, August 15, 2016

C.G. Mathews

I try to keep this blog upbeat and humorous. I was trying to write something this morning to make you laugh but my heart just isn't into it right now. I'm sad because a family I love is sad. The Mathews family is actually Debbie's sister's in-laws. They have seemed like family to us though since the mid-seventies when we first met CG and Jenna Mathews. They are the parents of my brother-in-law Thomas Mathews. I consider Thomas one of my best friends. We decided years ago to be "brothers-in-law" even though according to the official rule makers we weren't. Thomas was Debbie's brother-in-law, not mine.

When we met the Mathews our boys were little. Thomas and his soon to be wife Katrina often babysat for us since we needed free babysitters and they needed a comfortable place to make out. One Christmas CG and Jenna brought presents for our boys! They gave them cowboy hats and cap guns. We were touched by this and saw the kindness of this wonderful couple then and over and over again throughout the years. We always felt completely welcome in their home and we always welcomed them into ours.

I won't go into a lot of detail about CG. I'll leave that to those who knew him best. His three sons can talk for hours about what they learned from this gentle man. I'll just say a few words. CG had a quiet wit that never changed, no matter the situation. He was always calm and knew just what to say. He loved his family and especially his grandchildren. They dearly loved him in return. He worked all his life and right up to a few weeks before his death. His work ethic was an example I tried to follow...but failed at miserably. He always loved his work. I somehow never grasped that blessing. As far as I know his sons share that trait even though I know Thomas' work is especially taxing. My parents spent their last ten years in a house owned by CG and Jenna. My parents had sold the house we grew up in thinking they were ready for a retirement community. They discovered living with "old people" was depressing so CG offered them a beautiful place under the oak trees in south Hurst. They loved living there and CG always kept tabs on them assuring their safety and comfort. Despite tremendous growth in home values in this area over the years he never changed their monthly rental rate. He had offers to sell the house but refused to do so while my parents lived there.

Although I know CG is resting without pain in a much better place right now the lump in my throat doesn't seem to go away. I hurt for Thomas and Kat for their loss. I hurt for Jenna, Steve, Kent, and all the family. Most of all I hurt for the grandchildren. Leigh, Kat's oldest daughter, said it best on a notice she posted on Facebook, "CG always said, 'I'm glad you got to see me'....and I was".

Rest in peace Mr. Mathews...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Lookin' for worms....

You know, if a bird goes out every morning looking for worms and doesn't find any he or she probably stops looking, right? Well of course not. To stop looking for worms is to start the starvation process. Birds search for worms...its that simple.

In a similar example if a blogger goes out searching for followers and doesn't find any he or she probably stops blogging, right? Well of course not. To stop blogging would start the exploding brain process. A blogger blogs...its that simple. Even when a blogger has nothing to say he or she continues to write things down so the brain of said blogger doesn't go into fail safe mode from random thought overload.

I tend to go days on end without posting to this blog. Its not that I don't enjoy posting to it. I LOVE writing....whether anyone reads it or not. I sure would like to find a few followers on the way though so if you haven't....and only if you WANT to, please sign on as a follower. Then I will be more inspired to write on the blog rather than the tattered old journal I keep hidden in my roll top desk.

Ha! You didn't know about the journal? I've kept a journal for longer than I've had a computer....and everyone knows computers have been around for like forever. I've heard the pilgrims brought them over from the Old World in their search for a land where they were free to blog without persecution. When I say "journal" I don't mean some wimpy little thing like you find at Barnes and Noble and write in with a purple or green ink fountain pen. Noooo, this is a stack of spiral notebooks that are tattered and falling apart. They are old and well-used. They are written in with whatever I am holding when I have a random thought I want to hold onto...sometimes black pen, blue pen, red pen...I even used a purple pen once but I threw it away because I felt a bit effeminate using it. I've used ball point pens, roller pens, pencil, charcoal...not really charcoal...its too messy. The wonderful thing about my journals is this. No one can read them but me. No, there is no code and no there is no foreign language. The simple answer is that no one can read my handwriting but me!

I don't post to my journal every day either. I just don't seem to have the time. The random thoughts continue though throughout every day and night and I'm sure the same is true for you. Most are insignificant and not journal worthy. Some are gems though and should be captured if at all possible. Years ago, when my handwriting was beginning to fail I decided to practice my handwriting each day. What better way to practice than in my ongoing journal. During this time the real me became known to.....well, just me cause no one else has read it. Each day I wrote down the first thought I had before starting my day. I will just say this....most early morning random thoughts are not journal worthy.

I just pulled out my first journal to give a couple of examples of my ramblings. As I did, about two dozen pages fell out....and here all this time I've felt foolish for posting the date on the pages. Guess I was pretty darned smart after all. I'll stuff all of them back in here and sort them "some day". Here are a few daily entries:

  • I think being fat makes people more friendly towards me.
  • As I get older I tend to say things without thinking. This worries me.
  • Debbie and I ate Mexican food last night....way too much. I sure feel it right now.
  • I wish Debbie wouldn't try to talk to me from another room. I can't hear her when I'm in the same room.
  • I wish I could lose a pound every time I tooted.
Okay, maybe these are shallow thoughts. I never said I had deep thoughts...just random thoughts. And, this example comes from the era of writing my first thought each day regardless of its depth or interest. I did cheat a little bit though. My first thought every day back then was "Crap! It can't be morning already!"

So you can see that you don't have to have any talent at all to write. I have proven that over and over through the years but I continue to write. It makes me feel relaxed and happy. When I'm writing a short story my mind is moving much more quickly than my fingers can work the keyboard. I occasionally have to go back to read what actually wound up on the page. I have even written short stories that have been published and I had no idea what I was going to write when I sat down at the computer. That's how much fun it is to unburden your mind by writing. Start writing...start a blog! I promise if you do, I'll tag myself as a follower!