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Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Well, well boys and girls....once again we stand with our feet pressed tightly at the edge of the world. Who knows (other then the Good Lord, of course) if this be THE day we move through to the other side or not. I suspect not of course but as Willie and Joe from the old WWII Cartoon by Bill Maulden used to say: "They feel like they are fugitives from the Law Of Averages". Me too!  

Can't write any more I have to eat before the deadline at midnight....since I once again have surgery.                                                                                                                                                      

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Therapy With a BANG!!

Yesterday, Kimmi posted this pic on her Facebook Page and mentioned we were out for some therapeutic Shooting of firearms to blow of steam and relieve stress. I completely agree with that assessment of what we were doing and you know what my friends? It SPADES. Of course it didn't hurt my recently worn-down ego and sense of self when a friend in Arizona commented that I looked like a "Real Bad-A$$!" haha. What can I say...I love'd it and in addition to making me laugh and smile (very rare occurrence during these super dark days of this medical nightmare I'm currently living) but it just made me feel good.

We went out to a buddies property north-west of here (interestingly...right across the street from the church the 3 of us attend) and spent a little over an hour shooting a variety of firearms. What fun. This little experience was significant in another way as well. Kim typically has been quite fearful of guns and afraid to even touch them (even with the help of an ex-cop guiding and teaching her the proper safety procedures for handling, shooting and storing of the various guns).

So imagine my surprise when I mentioned to her that we got an invitation to go out and shoot and she not only agreed to tag along but said she really wanted to learn to shoot. I honestly think her decision was based on "if you can't beat them join them) or (When in Rome do as the Romans do) because quite frankly ALL of our friends these days Shoot and own firearms.

This opportunity to go out doors for some quality friendship and shooting time also happened to come at a very significant time, something I know my buddy was well aware of when he asked me about going yesterday morning.

I was scheduled to be in the hospital yesterday recovering from a follow-up surgery on Tuesday and then a few days stay while they put in a PIC Line for 6 weeks of out-patient IV-Anti-Biotic Treatments daily at a local transfusion Center. What Happened? Honestly I really don't want to share the the true reason we weren't in Kalamazoo at Bronson Methodist Hospital but this blog is about LIFE...Real-Life of a recovering alcoholic/addict.

The truth is we did not have the money (any money actually) for gas to drive the hour and a half each way to the hospital  or so Kim could grab a bite to eat while she stayed with me the following days. It's really sad but that is the reality of this situation. So you can see why I for one was really in need of some time to play and just enjoy the moment for a change.

That is about all I want to say about the recent difficulty and hardship of recent times except the following. This post is about good times with friends and spending some time out of doors. I do think the severity of this winter with it's heavy snowfalls, high winds and many nights of sub-zero temps contributed to the hardship I was experiencing. I am a person that really needs to spend time out of doors and when I can't I begin to feel imprisoned. Being unable to walk the majority of that time, requiring the use of a Knee Walker and later a wheeled Walker limited me even more and contributed to the ever growing notion in my head that I was trapped forever and never going to heal.

So in addition to the extreme physical pain & hardship of this recovery period, It was a rough Psychological experience as well....the good thing going for me even at that time was I knew all this and could mentally and physically prepare for it as best I could. And though it was still helped.

Even though I am still fighting this nasty infection...the physical recovery of the ankle/leg itself is going well. I have more mobility (as far as being able to walk and move around) then I did last year, that's for sure. 

And that is why I continue to push forward and try to keep my chin up...I know it can get better. It is so easy to fall into the trap of despair...and I have along the way during this recent journey. It has challenged me spiritually to the point where If I am being honest i have to say that I am questioning GOD here...whether he exists...if so what possible purpose, after all I have suffered through with my addiction, being sexually assaulted and raped as a boy, past and current medical hardship and last but not least...this financial catastrophe.

Especially in light of all that I have become and tried to do over the last 7 plus years or so after getting clean/sober. It looks as if my life was more stable, productive and yes even happy when I was in the throes of my active addiction then I am now as a Christian with nearly 8 years of sobriety...actively helping others each and every day of my life. So what gives?

I just don't understand it...I want to believe in HIM, to trust Him....but I am getting my A$$ Kicked constantly from all sides during this ordeal. I haven't a clue how to handle this....

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Divine Punishment or Education!

With all that has transpired these last 14-15 months from an injury/illness standpoint, it is easy to read something more complex, more sinister into what has happened to me. The possibilities run the whole spectrum: from the easily explainable to the really far-fetched.

I find it interesting, bordering on hysterical that most people I encounter, Christians or not...want to attach some sort of mystical/spiritual reason to why this has happened and continues to happen to me. Am I being punished by God or He is taking all this time to teach some kind of lesson? Am I being held accountable (punished) for sins o the past? Could that really be possible. Or is it Bad Karma...My misbehavior of the past had so unbalanced the (my) universe that all these painful & difficult things are happening to me to "balance things out".

Though it is easy for me in my current physical and psychological state of being to by into such a thought, deep down I don't believe it. The 
circumstances are indeed severe...these symptoms have lasted a very, long time. It has truly been the most difficult and challenging period of my life. Yet I still believe that it is simply LIFE that is responsible. Not bad Karma or misbehavior. Life has been known to kick peoples butts and it was apparently my turn.
As hard as this is...I am determined to persevere. I'll admit that there are moments that my faith is can it not after so much pain and suffering, uncertainty and financial DIFFICULTY.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Final Fight.....

I'll just cut to the chase here: This has been a really crappy year....year and a half actually from a "health & adversity" standpoint. I find that I am nearly incapable of writing...I either have absolutely nothing to say or I have been to physically sick to do it. When I do find the energy to health dominates the page. I don't care for that but hey, it is what it is.

I can honestly say that I sincerely hope that this will be one of the last posts that deals mainly with my health and updating the latest info related to it.

I sound much like a broken record here, the infection that has been raising havoc with me in my right leg has once again reared it's ugly head. So I visited the Doc yesterday and we decided on a plan to address the issue. I started a new oral AB (Anti-Biotic) and If I don't begin to feel real results by Monday (today is Saturday) then I will be admitted to the hospital Tuesday for another C&I (Clean & Irrigate) Surgery and a 2 nights stay. They would then put in a PIC Line and start a 6 week course of IV AB. I would go to a local infusion center if insurance won't allow me to have it done at home.

And that is the strategy. I'll do my best to stay in the game here on the blog and keep everyone informed.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Revisiting My Old Friends The CLOWNS...(A Journey Back In Time)

The following is a post from January of 2012. This was nearly a year before I was injured in a fall that lead me to my current medical adventure. I was actually just discovering at that moment that my Barrett's Esophagus Disease and subsequent Acid Re-flux Disease was causing stomach acid to drain into my lungs causing severe pneumonia style symptoms that were in fact much more serious then pneumonia....this lethal combination was KILLING ME. I was drowning ever so slowly in my own stomach fluid as it slowly shut my lungs down. If it weren't for a 12 day long stay at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, I would without out a doubt have died in a very short period of time.

The reason I am posting this today is that it struck me as uncanny how optimistic I was at that time, having no possible idea that over 2 years later I would still be fighting for Life and Limb. Had I known then that I would be in this position today I am honestly I am not at all sure how I would have coped with that impossibly, horrifying news. Yet it is true....

When I read this a little while ago I simply could not believe this was still happening. I just had to re-post it to invite the reader into my own little world of hopeless suffering. When people ask me why I am so serious and feel little optimism about the future...well, read on in the f**k would you feel, eh?   
Enjoy my friends.....ENJOY.          

Holding Off The CLOWNS...Who Persist In Running AMOK 
Reprinted from January 15, 2012

Photo: K Tomson

Naturally when a person is laid up....hurt or sick...they spend a great deal of time isolated with their own thoughts and emotions. This is one of those potential "ticking Time-Bomb" types of situations that are NOT GOOD for a recovering alcoholic/addict like myself. No, addicts...particularly those that are new to recovery do not do well when they are isolated and have no accountability to anyone else...they have a tendency to let their self-will take over and run amok. This certainly was a pattern for me....It has been a huge concern of mine during this lengthy period of illness though I have managed to stay connected to the Creator which in my life today makes all the difference in the world.

It keeps the crazy notions I come up with when I am sleep deprived from taking over and running amok... creating more and more problems. So I would say a huge part of my saving grace this time around is having the experience of having been there before and knowing what the potential problems are. 

I am still managing to get little 20 minute snippets of sleep here and there through-out the day and that seems to be making a difference. So we'll just keep running with it when it seems to be enough to get by for now.

My goal here is really to try an get well obviously...I have a real desire to get back to communicating more effectively because that will most certainly help in my attemps to work with the medical staff to help figure out what's going on. Not sure why but I feel somewhat more optimistic this evening...I have a funny feeling that there are good things about to happen out their on my life's horizon and we just have to stay the course spiritually...and good stuff will occur.

Perhaps that is wishful thinking...could be I suppose but I just don't believe it. I believe we have planted the seeds for a good, solid future and we just might start seeing that come to pass if we just keep praying to HIM and plugging away.

Anyway...have a wonderful Sunday evening...I believe I am about to have French Toast and Bacon for dinner tonight....

Monday, March 3, 2014

Isolation: Learning 2 FLY Again

It is getting more and more difficult to sit back and objectively go over what has happened to my life the last 13 months. Really one could actually extend that out to the last 36 months because they were filled with illness, countless trips to see doctors and 12 days spent at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. 

That nightmare ended on a high note when it was discovered that stomach fluid was escaping through the Esophagus into my lungs causing Pneumonia symptoms and in fact it was slowly drowning me from the inside. A 3 hour surgery and a couple of nights in the hospital...and I was able to leave that issue behind.

There are some friends and family that have started to tire of this whole process (Huh?! You're sick of it? Think how I feel!!) and rag on me like I need to just turn it off and move on with life. My own father referred to this medical madness of the past year as "Drama" and wondered when I would stop impacting him with these medical dramas.Impacting HIM? Yeeesh...

Hey people, at the last visit to see the Doc he told me quite seriously that we are getting very close to having to make the decision we  were praying that we wouldn't have to make: Amputation of my right leg 6" below the knee. 

And the medical aspect of this is just one part of managing the impact on my life.

After finding recovery from Alcoholism/Addiction in June of 2006, I proceeded on a journey that impacted and changed pretty much every aspect of my life. My financial situation was dire. So I went through bankruptcy and rebuilt my entire life back from scratch. 

Only to get sick this time to the tune of over $237,000 ($36,455) out of pocket. It has destroyed me financially and I have my moments where I struggle terribly to see what God's purpose or point is in all of this. But in the isn't up to me to know why, I just have to learn tao fly again, no matter the weather.

In addition this financial catastrophe has driven me to the brink of insanity. By being open and honest about my fiances I have influenced certain individuals who I thought were my friends to apparently not trust me any more. 

The sole reason I brought this subject up is this....going through this ordeal has murdered my self-esteem, It's been a real struggle to maintain my dignity at all times and mostly that happens but this insensitivity from some family/friends has really hurt me and it continues to hurt me still. 

Has this "Me Society" we live in caused us to lose our humanity....our compassion toward others?

Yes, though I know that I am too close to this situation to be truly objective and I am very sensitive about it but I  can't help but be hurt by it all...this has taught me a valuable lesson because in the past that would have been me judging others without having all the facts.All that mattered then was how things were going for me, how fortunate I was.

Now I can see this experience is teaching me a series of valuable lessons about greed, humility, being a kind and loving friend to others. I think it has worked but time will ultimately tell.

So I will continue to move toward the LIGHT and try grow and persevere.

But I will not back down from the TRUTH and will represent my situation openly and honestly. There was a time I considered asking for donations on this site to help me survive but I could not do it. But that is a measure of how difficult things have now become.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fugitive - Re-Loaded

For those of you who read regularly the previous post "Fugitive" might have had an odd, "unfinished" feel to it. Primarily I think is because it WAS NOT finished! I worked on it for two days and my exhaustion prevented me from finishing it so I just bagged the darn thing and posted it as is with the hope that I would be able to complete a second part to make sense of the crazy bugger!

The premise behind the thought and feeling is that when you have been down the surgery road as often as I have the numbers begin to feel as if they are stacking up against you. I have had major surgery easily over a dozen times and never an issue so I begin to start pondering that fact and I probably will psych myself into a crisis....would not be the first time for Captain Disaster here, lol.

So tomorrow (Wed) I go and have the ankle/leg on the right side cut open to search for the source of the infection fro HELL that has now been with me for 11 total months. They are not sure if I will be staying a night or two or going home the same day. It depends on what they find and the follow up treatment. If I need IV Anti-Biotic and a PIC-LINE.

So we will see....

I want to thank the many, many (far to many to try and mention here) people who have been thinking about and praying for me. It has made a huge difference to me, particularly attitude wise. God Bless all of you!

Monday, February 24, 2014


The other day I told my father that I could relate to this of WWII comic "Willie & Joe" by Cartoonist Bill Mauldin. And I do feel this way, "A Fugitive From The Law Of Averages." The very story of my day to day life, particularly in the last 14 months or so defies reason. If this was a TV show plot-line it would get panned for lacking reality.

I honestly do not know how to feel at the moment other then grateful to be alive...and very FEARFUL for the future.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Back on the CHAOTIC Carnival Ride Called LIFE!

Greetings Readers of Shell Shock Serenade, Veterans and First-Timers alike! I almost don't have the Heart to write this post today because it feels to me that they now are basically all saying the same thing again & again.

Naturally when I post here I want it to be interesting, positive and informative to read. I don't want reading Shell Shock to be a drag...pulling people down and leaving them feeling negative. Unfortunately life often times is a series of challenging and painful experiences and yes they can more often then not repeat themselves.

I imagine you are wondering what I am trying to say so here it goes. I received a call from the Doctors office yesterday and the test results are back from the Cultures they took on this past Monday. I do have a nasty, hard to kill....little BUGGER of an infection in the lower right leg and ankle. Because it shows absolutely no sign of going away on it's own even after taking oral anti-biotic....the Doc has scheduled surgery for this coming Wednesday at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Battle Creek.

It is scheduled to be an outpatient procedure but I have already been told by the Nurse to be flexible and expect the unexpected. If it is going to require long term IV Anti-Biotic Treatments then I could very well spend a least a night in the hospital as they put in a PIC-Line and start the treatments.

The purpose of this post is essentially to communicate the latest information and not delve into my reaction to it. I will say that naturally this is not what I wanted to hear but it comes as no surprise. I'm bummed out about it...i want to get on with my life and     not spend anymore time in the hospital. But the danger here of losing the leg is even more real today then when we started. This infection, is exactly the kind of thing that brings an amputation scenario into play.

And I will post later on how that reality has me felling. Until then my friends.....until THEN.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Forgive But Cannot Forget....

Life goes on...and boy does it ever! This past year has been challenging but for the most part the lessons learned and the wisdom & experience that comes with it have been positive. I have learned a great deal about myself, about human nature and about others.

Most repeat readers here on Shell Shock know that I am one to share very honestly and openly about myself, whether that information reflects positively or negatively on me is irrelevant. The TRUTH is what is important.

I have also come to trust other people in a way that I never would have dreamed of a couple of years ago. I have really been pleased with that fact because I consider it growth. I never trusted anyone enough to share my deepest darkest secrets with them. But now I share a lot of very private and personal information with my friends and the world at large as well via this blog.

Unfortunately I now have reason to really regret doing so. I suppose that it is my fault for thinking that people who really cannot relate to my experiences would accept knowing about those experiences without judging me. Unfortunately I've discovered that is not the case and I have ended up feeling hurt by one of my friends reaction to some of my life's experiences.

One one hand I do really believe it is a stretch for someone who hasn't really struggled in life to understand what it is like to negotiate through major difficulties in one's life. On the other hand this is someone I truly trusted and I was blind-sided by this reaction. 

Oh well you live and learn. I honestly hope and pray this experience does not change me and how I view other people but I suspect I will find myself less inclined to trust people and share myself with them. Perhaps these folks would have preferred not hearing about my life's challenges and  difficulties. Maybe the truth makes them uncomfortable around me. I actually believe that may indeed be the case here.

Anyway I'll do my best to forgive though I suspect I won't forget...