Cool Stuff

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Go Ahead...Eat The Chocolate' Bunny Ears, Rodney!

"He's not all there...' yet here he is....seemingly "ALL THERE". Mind lucid, drool running down his chin...just a few subtle hints of bruising left when, I passed out and fell face first into the edge of the door and then crumpled to the floor. Geez, I jumped up and looked around to see if anyone saw me then realized I was in my bedroom, it was 2am and everyone in the house was sacked out!

That is my latest fun and games activity: Falling down exhausted....I did it twice (at least that I remember) last night...the fore-mentioned door frame/floor incident, then earlier in the evening...I just toppled to the floor while standing up in my room. Add this to the countless times I have fallen face forward onto my desk or computer keyboard.

I just don't understand how I can be THAT tired but when I lie down I cannot even begin to sleep or even relax. It is really affecting my ability to concentrate, to reason, think and remember. It's frightening....

The other day when I had the stomach scope done the nurses had me prepped on the table and we had to wait for the doc. Well my throat thing started to act up, where I felt like I couldn't swallow. My pulse went up to 145 and freaked the nurse out so they called the doc and he zapped me as soon as he came in. I thought it was good that a doctor aar leass He wanted my personal Doc to write me a script for some something to calm the nerves....Well I just can't really do that, because of my being an addict...I have to be careful. I talked to the nurse, they sent in a script and it turned out to be for a anti-depressant....NO WAY! So I have an appointment Monday but Ach....I don't know what we can do but i have NO LIFE right now.

I cannot go out and do anything outside the house hardly...I can barely go for a walk..

Ironically as I write this my buddy texts me and asks how I'm doing. I tell him basically what I'm writing here and he asks if i want to come over. he lives less then 10 min away. Soooooooo....I'm breaking out of this cage and fly for awhile. Just hope K-Sue doesn't read this cause she'll freak about me driving at night when I'm so out of it....Hey, I'm an ex-drunk...I can drive! Seriously...I'm OK for a short drive off the island 2 miles then 2 miles after that. Later...

RELAX! I Just Like Cemeteries...

I realize that I have used a lot of pictures of cemeteries lately to illustrate my posts. NO, I do not have a death wish and double NO, I am not morbidly fascinated with death and dying either. I have always found cemeteries beautiful...especially military cemeteries. Most of the recent pics are courtesy of the American Battlefield Monuments Commission and their FaceBook Page. Mostly taken in France and Belgium they are mainly Great War Cemeteries (WWI) though there are some WWII represented as well.

Arlington Tomb Of The Unknown

The British Great War Cemeteries on the Somme and at Ypres are the most beautiful I have ever seen along with Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC.The pictures I have included in this post are from Arlington.

Boston's Granary burial ground.jpg

I am not just attracted to military of the reasons I loved to visit Boston so much was the historical cemeteries they have there like the Old Granary Cemetery right downtown. John Hancock, Paul Revere and Samuel Adams are all buried here in this little cemetery surrounded by high rise modern buildings....very cool.
Old North Church
There are historic cemeteries all over the city and another cool one near the Old North Church which itself just oozes history. I would love to attend a candle light service in this church. As you can see from the pic above this church has Boxes as opposed to pews and each family bought their box...not sure if it is still that way or not...

As most regular or semi-regular readers to Shell Shock will realize the pics I post often have nothing what so ever to do with the subject of the post...though some times they do. And I tend to follow trends I set say for Impressionist Painting which I have been posting a lot of lately. 

I also have some friends here locally that tinker with taking PHOTOS so I post them as well. Basically the rule of them is if I happen to like the pic, then I post it. And there could be a million reasons a picture or painting. If it MOVES me well then I post it regardless if it has anything at all to do with the content of the original post.

I hope that clears up any questions about my "supposed" morbid fascination with death and dying and such! Nope I just look at them as beautiful really and post whatever floats me that right there is what this is all floating ME BOAT.


Self worth...Ach, what is that really...self worth? I mean yea, I get that it has something to do with how I feel about myself, how I VALUE me.  But seriously, what difference does what I think of myself really make. Does that single set of feelings related to how I feel about me at one moment in time really have that much power over what I truly am as a human being and do I actually NEED that assurance of good self-esteem to help me make it through...

Don't get me wrong...I certainly think it is important that we feel OK with who and what we are. Feeling hateful and disgusted with one's self is no satisfying way to live. I just think society may put too much emphasis on "self esteem" much like we do on beauty and that the pay off for having great "self esteem" isn't really that great. We obviously want to avoid self-hatred but being able to detect flaws about one's self and point them out which is often taken as a negative  "self-esteem" thing to me is actually a huge positive.

Now after saying all that I will admit that today...for the first time in I couldn't tell  you how long I thought about wanting to die. Not some big suicide wish but I am TIRED to the very CORE of my BEING...I am at the end of my proverbial rope, I'm done, finis' Kaput. I've depleted all my internal PHYSICAL resources. I can't eat well enough to replenish that energy supply...I have been existing of FAITH, PRAYER and ICE CREAM for two solid days now because it's all I can stomach.

I managed to read to the ladies at the nursing home and I haven't a clue how I got through that. I am too exhausted to do anything...I mean anything. Some one asked me today if I had plans for tonight, New Years Eve and I just laughed...I'd SLEEP, if I could!

Now don't get me wrong folks...I am NOT suicidal but I am feeling desperate, I am really hurting physically as well. Whenever I have ever gotten this fatigued before my physical ailments pain increases and today is definitely a painful day.

I am struggling to write coherent sentences so I am going to stop for now...Needless to say I have no plans tonight and couldn't carry them out if I did so it's just as well. So long for now...


I have 15 minutes until I fly (leave for town)'s Saturday morning and I head over to M-Ville to read the Bible to some Senior Citizen Residents at a Care Facility (Nursing Home). This is one of my favorite things I do all week and it is also something that is starting to be affected negatively by my health and frankly...that is pissing me off!

Oh well, what can one do but persevere and that is fully what I intend to do. I had a SKYPE call from my son a few minutes ago and he was calling from his freaking cool is that, eh?!  I have the App and the capability on my PDA so I need to get that up and running as well.

OK...time to fly. I'll have plenty of time today to post...I have NO plans for tonight (New Years Eve) so once I get back from visiting a shut-in from church after my M-Ville time then I have NOTHING happening at we'll see you then!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Time Does Not Bring Relief; You Have All Lied

I am going to do something a bit unusual for me here and post a poem that I just read for the first time today. It is a poem called - Sonnet 02:Time Does Not Bring Relief; You All Have Lied and it was written by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Frankly I feared this work was going to actually capture, permanently...a large chunk of my "Pained" SOUL and scurry away with it but in the end...I fought the GOOD FIGHT and prevailed (lost).

My reaction to it...sudden, dramatically more emotional then I expected or was prepared for...was seeing it as an EPIC SONNET about LOSS and moving on. Ever lose someone...THE someone of a lifetime? Yea? YEA....

I have...TWICE. The first time was this angel in lace and leather, scarves flowing every which way just like her hair...she died...18 and so full of life. "Too full of life to live"...I remember thinking at the time: That was the 28th of January 1981...Rest in PEACE my dear DEBBIE.

The second time...well this one didn't DIE, NO...she grew up...and just flew....flew away. My thoughts and feelings toward her are quite conflicted still and totally unresolved. I certainly LOVED her...yes, no doubt but her deceit nullify's and actually invalidates some of the remembrance...OK...she doesn't count...errrr, I suspect in some strange way she absolutely does..

So I'll re-phrase this...Yes I have experienced this kind of loss...once...perhaps 2 times in my life.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide

There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,—so with his memory they brim
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, "There is no memory of him here!"
And so stand stricken, so remembering him

I'll let her work speak now for itself...

Sirens In The NIGHT


I know I am dating myself now but when I was a kid it was not uncommon on Sunday Nights (at least in Columbus OH it was SUNDAY) for the  show "The World At War" to be on. As most of you know I am an historian by choice NOT by trade and I was (and still am) absolutely fascinated in shows about historic events and Word War II was one of my favorites. Laurence Olivier narrated it and it was 26 one hour episodes long. A dream series for a budding young history guy like me...

But the funny this is that what I remember most about the show was first of all the haunting music that often went along with it. Lot's of cello and minor key pieces that went well with the black and white footage. Secondly and most interesting that it's stuck with me was the sound of the air raid siren, often played during the episodes about the Battle of Britain and The Blitz.

St Paul's Cathedral surrounded by smoke after an air raid

I have often said that there is a soundtrack to my life and it is even more true today then ever before. Generally what I always meant by that is that there was always some relevant piece of music or song that represents an era or time period for me...well that siren from TWAW (The World At War) certainly has been an active sound bite in my minds eye over all these years.

When I was very troubled psychologically after my suicide attempt the first time (yea there was more then one but only one came really close to succeeding) I could actually hear that siren (obviously in my mind) when I was in trouble, wailing at times all night long in the darkened corners of my TROUBLED mind. Even last night as I struggled for rest I could seemingly hear it in the distance and wondered if the German Bombers were going to get through. My room wasn't bombed so the RAF Fighter Boys must have held them off....

I don't know where this weird relationship with me and music and/or  sirens comes from....I certainly don't feel like a lunatic but I swear the sound is real....and haunting.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Here....there...somewhere between here and there...I'm drifting. Jimi Hendrix says it just right in one of my favorite songs of his called DRIFTING from A Cry Of Love:

On a sea of forgotten teardrops
On a lifeboat
Sailing for
Your love

Sailing home

On a sea of old heartbreaks
On a lifeboat
Sailing for
Your love
Sailing home

I always loved the line: "On a sea of forgotten teardrops"...As if any tears I'd shed in my past could have EVER been forgotten...they're seared into my very SOUL. 

There is just something about the notion of drifting today that could even be physical because I am so tired that I feel almost like a boat adrift...going here, going there...wherever the wind or current of the day may take me. I will add that this is NOT a common or comfortable way for me to feel but today...I am too fatigued to FIGHT IT.


I come from a family...well actually I have a father that for one reason or another is not satisfied to use a person's actual name...he always has a nickname. That has made life around the house ever since I can remember somewhat interesting because quite one was immune.

I was NEVER just Thom or Tommy...nope. On a good day I might be Thomas Olin (my middle name) spoken as one single word: Thomasolin. But normally I was Isaiah, Zacchaeus, Bubby-Boy and honest to God he called me Shit-Head for a long time...especially around my friends. 

My mother's latest nickname every morning when Dad gets up is "Miss Daisy" though sometimes it's miss old standby. My son is FROGGY, daughter...Chelser, Chelsea Bleu or Chelsea Cheeseburger. It was easy for him to come up with one for K-Sue since she is from Holland: DUTCH...she happens to be full blooded Dutch as well with both of her parents immigrating from the Netherlands after the WAR (WWII).

Needless to say...I have been exposed to this "name thing" all of my life so I have picked up on it as example being Kim's daughter Mackenzie is now Mackaroo or Mackey to me and never her plain "ole name" as it were. 

The thing in all of this is all my life I was a kid who wanted a cool nickname...not one of my fathers (Shithead! Are you serious?!!) but something my friends would give me or a football coach...never happened.

Then through a bizarre situation during a week long work seminar a flustered seminar group leader unwittingly laid a nickname on me...

There were a group of 6 or 7 of us that were sent to a seminar/learning week to study the Toyota Production System and Lean Manufacturing. The week started off in an auditorium setting, there were a hundred or so folks there. We were at tables facing the speakers and they provided us with these folded cards that stood up in front of us on the table so the speakers/leaders/lecturers could see our names. So I wrote my name, THOM down on the name card and put it out front of me. 

Well the leader of the whole weeks activities could not get it through his Hard-Head that my name was Thom and not THOR. Needless to say all week long this poor guy called me THOR...he was psyched out and couldn't help himself. Finally on Thursday I got a new card and wrote THOR on it and miraculously he called me THOM!

Needless to say my buddies from Herman Miller who attended this with me had a freaking field day all week calling me THOR at the bar after hours, teasing me and this guy about it mercilessly. 

So now my dear readers you know exactly HALF of the story how I got my blog/pen name THORMOO. The Moo prt actually is a story that belongs to another person...perhaps one day I will but at this point in time, I do not feel at liberty to share her story. 

Hammer Head is a self given name I call myself because I can be a complete Hammer-Head about so many things. So that is my interesting (or NOT!) little ditty tonight about the significance of nicknames in my family....Hoped you enjoyed it, haha.                          

To Lazy To Title This...

Once again it seems I am pushing the very limits of exhaustion...and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I am right up against it...teetering between reality and hallucination...I am definately walking around now in a semi-sleep state...this morning (2:30am), I caught myself walking out the front door....the frigid , snowy night air I think woke me up.

Man do I need some sleep! Ach! I am getting rather sick of this crap and it only seems to be getting worse.

Today I am able to stay indoors and just rest...though I haven't been able to sleep I have gotten a lot of stuff done and stayed off my feet a bit. I am going to have a bagel here in a minute then crash...I will try for a serious post a wee bit later....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Though It won't reveal the true nature and hardship of HIS ordeal, a quick glance into the vacant EYES staring back from the mirror, with all the depth of darkness surrounding his SOUL, does sound a siren song that all JOY, once the prevalent feature in life...has now retreated south...for EVER.

A Vacant Vagrant reviled for his love of vice...twists the twine
that ended the struggle and now he swings wistfully to & fro
in the evening breeze. A Human Wind Chime

And no sane participant in this lifetime will survive...for sanity is the first and final casualty of the FOLLY we call LIFE. Only the dead endure forever...

Touched By MADNESS

I actually think I'm going to be able to write here without passing out onto my keyboard...

I have dealt with many difficult things in this current life of mine...some of them are the obvious things I've written a lot about here: being raped, alcoholism/addiction and Depression (My Black Dog). But as I alluded to the other day I recently admitted that someone I am VERY close to has a serious mental illness and I am completely at loss as to what I should do.

It's like I have been "TOUCHED" by this evil and very powerful unseen entity. It is almost as if there are multiple people and the person I am close to just disappear's when these other personalities intervene and take over. They do not seem to me anyway like a whole new separate person but the language, attitude and behavior is completely different in each one but there is a common denominator which is a penchant for cruelty...being cruel, wanting to provoke, to hurt.

This is a behavior that is in such contrast to the true nature and personality of this person that I cannot accept that this is happening. Yesterday I was involved in a terrible exchange that led to some of the most hurtful things being said to me followed by her punching me in the face on 2 separate occasions....

I have never felt so powerless to help someone in my whole life> I have seen the most hopeless addict/alcoholics find recovery and peace but I can't see that happening here, I just can't. It isn't my nature to "write people off" but this mental illness seems like such an insurmountable object to conquer right now that all I can truly do is prayer it is!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The EC...It's a Bad MOTHER...(Shut Your Mouth)

I think I'll just go ahead and post what we found out today after undergoing the stomach scope to check how everything looks post-surgery in May, do a biopsy on the Barretts Esophagus and just photograph and do a status report on the disease. 

The biopsy results will take awhile so we'll have to wait a bit but he was not happy at all with what he found. The Barretts has really spread and the affected areas are much worse then they were. It is bad enough right now that if the biopsies come back NEGATIVE on Cancer he wants me to have another stomach surgery where they use lasers to strip the damaged areas clean of the diseased material. It is a rather difficult and uncommon surgery but he is really concerned that is I don't have cancer already, that it may just be a matter of time....

If I do have Cancer, well it's Chemo/Radiation and the whole 9 yards... Esophageal Cancer (EC) is BAD, Bad Stuff, really bad and I am not going to waste any time or energy describing or talking about it right now. If it happens then I'll deal with it.

I'll be honest here...I have not had a good feeling about this, I just haven't. I'm not being negative or throwing in the towel, yet I feel it's likely that I have cancer based on the way I feel. And it is hard to even begin to describe how poorly I actually do other then there are times that I feel like I am dying on the inside.
Esophageal Cancer
It is a matter of faith now, I trust that whatever happens I won't be alone and we will just have to do whatever it takes to combat the disease if that is the diagnosis. Even if the initial result isn't is still obvious that the Doc is concerned because he has already insisted that I see a specialist and have this other surgery right away. As long as I have known him, Doc plays it conservative so his insistence on this other surgery right away did catch me a bit by surprise....

So that is the post procedure skinny on my procedure today. I will update as soon as I know whats up. Yes, this is upsetting and I am afraid of what the future might hold but I trust GOD and we'll just keep pushing on. So we'll see you back here next time.....

Yea, Well Now I'm Annoyed

I'm sure the post title gives away a bit of my emotion here but Achh, some folks could screw up a Wet Dream! 

I was scheduled for a procedure/biopsy at the hospital for Noon today and was to arrive at 10:30a. So imagine my shock when I get out of the bathroom after washing up and found a message on my phone saying I missed my 9a procedure. It turns out the Doc wanted it changed and dqrid it with the hospital but nobody thought to inform the patient!

It's a bummer because I would have loved to get it over with...I have been fasting since midnight last night and I'm really struggling. Well I thought they were going to re-schedule which would have really upset me but instead they said to just go buy my earlier appointment schedule so that is what we are doing, 

So Now that I'm all fired up and stressed out even more...I have to wait another couple of hours. We'll see you on the back side and let you know what happens. Until then....

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Sanity Of The INSANE or My Every Day DEAL!

I mentioned the other day I was reading a book (An Unquiet Mind) by Kay Redfield Jamison about insanity...that is a clinical of the most renown here in the States who suffers from serious mental illness. And all the while she was writing the text and thesis of some of the most pronounced breakthroughs in this field in 50 years and for new treatments as well....she was in the throes of her own illness!   

Kay Redfield Jamison
I can really relate to a great deal of what she has to say and what she experienced having pushed the limits of my own sanity through the use of drugs and alcohol. I recommend this book to anyone who has for anyone who has pushed themselves beyond the realm of "normal" psychologically.

I have another reason for my interest in this subject...someone whom I am very close to also suffers from mental illness so I am curious to take in as much information as I possibly can. In this particular persons case their diagnosis is a little different... instead of Manic Depression they suffer from Paranoid Personality Disorder.  If your curious about can look it up HERE.

At the risk of exposing this individual (and I simply cannot do that) I won't go into any real details about this situation but it's been going on for over 30 years and increasingly getting worse each and every year. I will say that it's absolutely heartbreaking and makes those of us who love this person feel hopeless that there is a cure because she does not believe there is a fact she believes the problem is that everyone else is out to "get" her, belittle her and make her feel less important then she really's tragic.

So I am fascinated with this book on several personal levels and just because it is a fascinating subject....

Well I have 2.5 hours left before I have to fast for my procedure in the morning so I want to take advantage and chow down on something before I am unable to. So until later....

Laptop Keyboards Dislike Coffee...Just Sayin'!

Other then dumping half a cup of coffee into my add on keyboard to my has been a rather good day. And thank goodness it was an old, cheap extra keyboard and NOT the keyboard to my computer that I trashed. Perhaps things are turning a corner here after all.

I will admit that after the holidays, with my sister's family and all the distractions that go along with entertaining company have mind had turned to the thought of my biopsy and stomach scope tomorrow morning. Actually it was CANCER and the prospect that I may have it that is dominating my thoughts this evening. It has been helpful that Kimmi is here and going with me tomorrow.

I'm not obsessing or anything but the idea of cancer certainly entered my mind. I've had a chat with the CREATOR and all the forces man and nature cannot influence HIM if his mind is set in a certain direction. I can practice acceptance to his will and I do. Tomorrow will bring what it brings and after looking at my life up to this point and having seen how God can make a positive out of the most HORRIFIC negative situation...who am I to doubt or complain.

After midnight...I have to fast so I am going to enjoy some left-overs in the mean time and just try and rest. Needless to say I am not at all well, health-wise tonight. I had to back out of my commitment to the jail again'd hard because once we are back with the inmates there isn't much of a chance to do basic things like use the bathroom which is an issue for a guy who goes to the bathroom like every twenty minutes or so...

Well...time for left-over turkey and a shower (not together of course!) and then watch the New Orleans Saints and my boy Drew Brees. Hey...if anyone is inclined, I sure would appreciate your thoughts and prayers tonight. I've learned the power the comes with prayer and I truly believe so

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's OVER!

Well...that is the end of another Christmas Day. I sincerely wish everyone out there is Shell Shock-Ville had a wonderful holiday. It was a good day for our family and we got to spend some really, good quality time together....we had 
So as far as Christmas 2011 is was a success and it is officially OVER!                                                                                                          

Christmas Day 2011

Christmas Day 2011...

The funny thing is I remember what I felt like 10 years ago...the Christmas right after 9/11. Man they were still digging on the big pile of rubble at Ground Zero on Christmas Day. Things felt so uncertain, so FRAGILE in a world that seemingly had gone MAD.

And I don't think anything has really changed except that we as a people of this country just accept it now as the NORM and go on with our busy, distracted lives. As a result, we often miss the true meaning of life and in the process we let society's expectations and pressures plus TV ads suggest to us that in fact possessions and GREED are indeed the most important things in terribly SAD and so misguided.

So as I sit here at the very early hour Christmas morning I choose to think of that baby that was born, MY Savior, Christ The LORD!    

Rocket Man...err, SANTA

Well, well it's Santa Claus time my friends....the dude has fired up the sleigh...I've heard he has one of those 3-wheeled Can Am SPYDER's like my Brother Chick has but I haven't verified that as of yet. We'll have to keep a look-out for the Brother as he makes his way round the world tonight...

It's after midnight so it is Christmas Day 2011. So MERRY FREAKIN" CHRISTMAS everyone! Here is hoping that YOU and YOURS have a ROCKING Day!

I just got home about a half an hour ago with K-Sue. It was about an hour each drive up I-69 to Battle Creek from where I live on Coldwater Lake to the Fire Keepers Casino right on I-94 in BC where I met Kim's Step-Mom and her Dad who dropped her off since her car is on the FRITZ again. How appropriate that I have been listening to a new station on Sat. Radio (XM) called the BONE YARD which is appropriate since her darn car belongs in the freaking BONE YARD as well. 

Anyway...we are all here now safe and, maybe not sound...well I'm not sure how sound I am these days since I'm punchy as can be and probably should be committed to an institution...anyway, MERRY CHRISTMAS and we'll see you, later today!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

YEA...I'm Smiling Now.

Man, I'm telling 'ya...I'm not sure what to think here. Around noon I closed my eyes for 50 minutes or so. That is about the best I can do these days and I obviously nodded off a bit and when I woke up to have a pee, I was really groggy and lethargic like I had slept all night. I was typically agitated because I was really counting on perhaps sleeping a bit better then I had so I was disappointed. But I will admit, after a shower and a bite to eat...I feel much better then I expected. I was hoping I might catch a second wind and it looks like I actually might...

That's particularly nice because we have company staying here and I'd like to be a fairly lucid and friendly, I am going to church on Christmas Eve for the first time since 1974 and I am going to have to drive to Battle Creek tonight to get K-Sue around Mid-night so I'd rather not nod off and DIE on the way there!

I think my spirits are on more solid ground as well...I know that I can't really do anything about this except try to sleep and eat healthy which I am doing. So we just persevere...when ever I use that word it reminds me of the movie: Outlaw Josie Wales with Clint Eastwood.  Lone Watie the main Indian character in the story is recounting to Josie (Eastwood) how the government in Washington had given them special medals to wear for being "good Indians" and on the medal it said" Endeavor to Persevere" that is what I think of when ever I use the word persevere. Come to think of it I also am reminded of it when I use the word endeavor as well..hahaha.

Night has fallen in most of Europe and the UK by now and Christmas is fast approaching. I have a great many SSS Blog Readers in Europe and I would be remiss if I didn't wish them a very Merry Christmas...I appreciate you all very, very much.

Now I am really in a good mood because "Wales" is by far my favorite movie of all time and thinking about it really at any time of day will make me smile and yep...I'm smiling now.

So my friends in Europe and the UK...Merry Christmas and have a wonderful and joyous night. And here in the States...things in the shopping realm are dying down, stores are closing and the holiday begins....Bless all of you my friends and thank you for returning to this craz, beautiful little means a great deal to me.

I love each and every one of you...Peace Always,


Morning Melody (Interrupted)

It is hard to say whether I am actually feeling better or if it's just an illusion based on my stubborn refusal to quit....
That's a good question and one I can't honestly answer right now. I started this post an hour ago, got sidetracked and now I have to leave so it will be another wasted

I write Shell Shock to capture a life lived in recovery...not, as I'm sure you'll notice right off as a literary work. So that is why I post whatever I write, even if it's not written very well or is cut short like this piece is...

My mother woke up an immediately had a nerve issue with her back, as she has had a fusion surgery for a ruptured disk. She had what I refer to as an episode of the "JOLTS" where a nerve somewhere in there really starts to go is something I have experienced myself many times but never have I seen it happen to somebody else. It LOOKS as painful as it is...and she looked very frightened which is difficult for me, as her so to handle. But we got her through, relaxed and comfortable....

Until I return from town...

Back In The Saddle (Kinda) since 1974

Here am I...back at my favorite hour for blog post writing. So far I am able to remain lucid and far I say because I can feel it begin to slip away from me...ever so slowly.

My sister and her family arrived safely last night...and tonight I will have to drive up to Battle Creek around midnight and pick up K-Sue. It is the first time in the nearly 7 years that I have known Kim that we will actually spend Christmas Day together so I am stoked about that.

Everything is ready so there shouldn't be any last minute surprises but then again that is why they are called surprises because nobody expects them.  I head over to the nursing home at 8a this morning to read from the Bible and I am really looking forward to doing that on Christmas Eve should be a real treat.  

I am really going to try and push through my fatigue and not let it bother me no matter how little sleep I get today or tomorrow...we'll see how everything goes.

A "fun fact" this morning is that this afternoon at 5p I will be attending church for the first time on Christmas Eve since I was 12 years old (that's 1974!!! folks) and it turns out my whole family is going to services at my church at 5p instead of my parents church who has their service at 8p. My mom didn't want to go that late so she decided to go to Lockwood at 5p. This is the first time any member of my family is going to my church so it feels kind of surreal but good...really good.

We won't be having a white Christmas here in lower Michigan this year which is a bummer because we usually do so I'm spoiled. But temps will be in the upper 40's so it ain't happening...

Of course I had to throw a tease in with the photo showing a horse back rider on the beach...nice huh!??

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bummer (Super Short Post)

I'm gonna give writing a post a whirl here but I don't have much faith that it will amount to much. This time of day used to be my favorite posting time by far now I can't focus or stay alert long enough to post.

Tonight (Friday) my sister's family arrives and I will say that I do like Christmas time though like a lot of folks the crass commercial exploitation of it turns me off...

But I do like having the family here together though it is rough sometimes because nether of my kids will be here this years...which is a bummer.  

As I suspected...I can't stay focused enough to write a regular post and needless to say that is really pissing me off. Ach...                                    

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Dig These Panty Hose

I'm wearing Panty Hose and I'll be honest....I like it. Now if I could just get them to agree to let me wear black fish-net hose I'd be all set. OK...before this post gets totally outta-whack and imaginations run wild I'll clarify....I am wearing surgical compression stockings and they make my feet and calves feels so much really does make a difference.

They weren't worth $50 bucks though...that is how much the Med supply store wanted for them and of course my Insurance wouldn't pay. Thankfully we have 8 pair here at the house so I found three pair of the knee high and man it makes a difference. 

What a addition to still not sleeping and having wasted my time at the doctor's office I guess it has been an OK day. Just to let you all know what kind of a crack-pot the author of this blog really is. So after 20 odd days in a row of not sleeping more then an  hour or so each day what do i decide to start reading? 

I'm glad you asked. I am reading an amazing book by Dr Kay Redfield Jamison called: "An Unquiet Mind - Memoir of Moods And Madness". She is a Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and one of the foremost authorities on manic-depressive disorder from which she also suffers...That's right, she actually has the disorder that she is the worlds foremost authority on. I have been vigorously pushed to the intellectual and psychological limit here...of course I love this kind of thing!

So here I am...admittedly exhausted, pushing my body, mind and spirit literally to the brink of breakdown and/or insanity and then I go and read about it TOO! This is so typical of me but it is this kind of thing I love to do...push limits. And so I shall.* 

Just Like The Old Days (Well Sorta!)

Interestingly enough...I just got done doing something I used to do all the time when I was practicing my Cocaine addiction: mopped and cleaned the kitchen at 3am. The combination of not being able to sleep, extreme restlessness and a general desire to do something, anything productive these days motivated me to do it. It was surreal and I'll admit, kinda fun!!

I'll be seeing the doc in a few hours and I hope we can get to the bottom of this mess with the swollen feet, the ongoing 100 degree temps and the inability to sleep. Wow, I feel like a total nut job and you know what else is going on my dear, faithful reader of the SHOCK?

Last night the water just stopped running. We have a 120' deep well and we aren't sure if the pump (which is at the deep end on the well-point) is on the FRITZ or if it might be something else....

So that is the strange morning we have in store...the well repairmen will here around 8a and I have that early doctor's appointment. We are using bottled water to drink, tap water we keep stored in gallon milk jugs and water from the lake to run the toilets. I just hope they can fix it because tomorrow, my sister's family arrives for Christmas. That won't happen if we can't get it fixed so stay tuned to the DRAMA!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Running Amok On 40 Minutes Sleep

Aren't they lovely? Jealous? Oh I bet you are...not everyone is blessed with pretty little paddy's like mine you know!! Don't you wish you had the same unique but special peddi like mine, Hmm?! It's a brand-new fad straight from the east coast and die hard lovers of groomed feet everywhere are waiting in day long lines to get this new style of pedicure called: The Hachoir a' viande Technique ( Meat-Grinder Technique)! I know I probably shouldn't do stuff like this but since I am the ALL-POWERFUL BLOG-MEISTER EXTRAORDINAIRE, I feel like even I am entitled to run amok once in awhile...even in French.

I feel like I have Frankenstein Feet, all swollen and stitched together, torn and battered....and actually, even though you can't detect it on camera, the rest of my body is bloated and swollen up as well. I feel exceedingly odd and don't realize how bad it is until I walk by a mirror. Holy cow...I look like a freaking cartoon character. 

Anyway I thought I'd have a little fun and post these awful pics of my beat up feet. For you who are new, I am an amputee I slept for 40 minutes this afternoon and I'm all energized so I had to do something with all this excess energy! 

The downside to all this fun and game time shenanigans is that I am running a fever, I continued to be so weakened by lack of sleep, fever and possible infection that perhaps I am actually in some kind of trouble..hence the early morning appointment with my Doc in the A.M. Hopefully it's nothing too serious but we'll just have to see what happens tomorrow. Good Night!

Ahhh YEA, I've Been Better

Without out really intending it to be this way, Shell Shock Serenade has become a medical update blog for my least temporarily. I suppose it's only natural that I would use this forum to write about whats happening with me and I'm sorry to say it is serious enough stuff that it warrants mentioning plus it IS what's on my mind right now....

Yep, I hate to admit it but what IS going on in my life at the moment IS the extreme deterioration of my health. How I even manage to function is a miracle because I can hardly function right now I am so tired yet I like a freakin' cockroach I won't die.

My right foot and leg is blown up way past twice it's normal size and the skin is starting to tear. I'm running a fever and just don't can't sleep. So it's back to the doctor tomorrow then we'll see what happens...

I think the most difficult part of this is WHY is this happening to me NOW? I would think I have had my fair share of adversity but you know what? I don't get to make that decision...obviously.

But in spite of this set-back and yes dear reader it definitely feels like a set-back...I still have the desire to keep pushing on so that is exactly what I am going to do. And we'll just keep doing our best to cover it here.

(Photo: Kathy Tomson)


In Writing the post yesterday entitled - Faith and Perseverance: An Eternal Test  I stepped into an area of fresh fallen..."Virgin Snow" as it were. A subject, Faith that I had yet tried to tackle in any comprehensive way on SSS (Shell Shock Serenade).

My spiritual foundation, like any Christian, is based on Faith...I can't seem how it could be any other way. Yet true Faith (as defined): "Complete Trust or Confidence in someone or something" or "Belief and Trust in and Loyalty to God" is certainly NOT something that came easily to me, without conflict....on the contrary stepping back and trusting GOD, having Faith that all we be as he wills it to be and in HIS Time/Place is still a most foreign action to me. My natural tendency is to control everything that I can regardless of how much I mess things up. And yea, I inevitably MESS stuff up!

Bu I do my best...I certainly have to acknowledge the incredibly positive and profound events that have taken place in my life in the last several years. I have no doubt that GOD exists, that he looks over me and has helped me time and time again. So WHY do I find it so BLOODY difficult to let him have control and take over the "controls" of this roaring freight train I call my life? 

I only wish I knew the answer to that but it didn't take me long to realize that I was NOT alone in my struggle with FAITH. Lot's of struggle and I will continue to explore this subject in the next few posts....

(Photo: Kathy Tomson)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Faith and Perseverance: An ETERNAL Test.

I would have to say, at least as far as I can recall...that this is the first time I have experienced a situation (while sober in recovery) where my physical abilities: energy, alertness, stamina, strength, etc have undergone a collective and consistent deterioration from illness to such a degree that I con no longer adequately function, as I am beginning to feel at this very moment.

It has been a continuous, daily struggle for survival and I see no immediate sign of any relief.

At the risk of sounding or appearing overly dramatic, I can't help but feel like this is a true, GOD inspired test of FAITH, strength, character and determination...all lead first and foremost of course by FAITH. I just have never felt like I've faced such sustained and well coordinated adversity least since I have been clean and sober in recovery, trying to live an inspired life for others.

It has been an all out fight right from the very beginning because I usually can scrounge up the physical well being and strength to keep going. Recently however...because of the lack of sleep, my inability to stay awake and alert, my ability to carry out my existing ministry commitments has been seriously affected but so far we have been able to meet and follow through on most of them so far.

That is really the most frustrating part of all this and the one area where I am not sure that most readers will be able to understand my point of view. Because I had felt so worthless, so unproductive and disconnected all these years...I have really found great JOY and YES, even REDEMPTION in this new found ability and desire of mine to lead and carry out activities, whose sole reason for existence are to HELP others. I cannot begin to describe how powerfully doing this work has changed me for the better as a person. And as a result it has affected every single aspect of my life, without exception...for the better.

All that being said, I am now dealing with the very real prospect of having my ability to function, to do these things...taken away from me due to illness. And that indeed is dis-heartening and it really discourages tests my faith right at the very core of it's existence.

This is where it truly starts to feel like the very CORE of my FAITH is being challenged and affected every single day. But I understand that everything I do today is a result of GOD's wonderful GRACE in taking pity on me in the first place and helping me out of the pit o sorrow and heart-ache that I once called my LIFE. I know that just as easily I can see all of that taken away and face new and even greater challenges in the days, weeks and months ahead.

I just pray that I am ready for whatever may pass and whatever might come my way....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Recognizing What's REAL!

I sure am thankful that I am alive tonight and have the opportunity to continue to hang out here for awhile longer on the planet and live my life the way I never thought I could: Always striving to help somebody doesn't really matter who they are or where they came from. This keeps me pushing forward, on a daily basis toward a higher purpose...helping others to glorify GOD and you know what? I definitely don't need any more motivation then that because I owe my life to HIM. 

This all became abundantly clear tonight while I spent a couple hours at the Branch County Jail , participating in the weekly Monday Evening Church Service. This was a special service for Christmas and we had some special music and entertainment provided by the St. Joe River Boys, a quartet of barbershop style was a wonderful show and the 90 or so inmates who attended (male and female seemed to enjoy it as well.

I know when I pour my heart and emotions out here on Shell Shock everyday like I do that often times only the pain, hardship and difficulty comes through and not the part about how grateful and fortunately blessed I am. I do not want to ever forget to remember where I came from and how easy it would be to backslide right back to the horror story that WAS my life only 6 short years ago.

So this is my way of saying thanks God and acknowledging that even though I am really struggling health wise at the moment that things could be a whole lot worse and I KNOW that...I definitely do NOT want to go back to that old way of life...NEVER, EVER!

(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)

Update, Upset...Up All Night

Ahhh yes, I get to start my week going to the doctor's of my favorite things EVER! Err...Not really. But actually this scenario today is fine by me because these medical issues that I am experiencing are un-resolved and as I posted yesterday things aren't going very well.

And like magic...4 hours have past and I am back from my appointments and ready to get some lunch and crash...well "crash" to whatever extent my body allows me to I guess is how I should phrase that. I am exhausted and no exaggeration...that is how weary I feel. It's no longer funny because I just feel really sick and I can hardly function.

So I am going to eat and rest and hopefully be ready to read at the jail service tonight for the Christmas Service...

I am truly pushing my physical and psychological limits today and I honestly do NOT like the way I am feeling so let's see if I can't get a little rest and try and be a little better by "jail time"...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Timely Intervention....

I would not be telling truth if I said that I am not concerned about my health. That doesn't mean I have lost faith, I haven't but I am realistic and let's face facts...I have Barrett's Esophagus Disease and along with it some serious, pre-cancerous symptoms. And I have no idea what this all means right now but I have felt awful for the last month or so with fevers, terrible trouble swallowing and I have not slept for more then an hour in one day in over 3 weeks....I am exhausted, I'm physically hurting and I haven't a clue whats happening to me. So I figure that It's probably OK to feel a little fearful right now and frankly dear reader...I am definitely afraid.

So as I am sitting here writing this phone rings. It's Chaplain Brown for the Branch County Jail, he overseas the Forgotten Man Ministry program at the jail that I am involved in on Monday nights. 

Tomorrow night is the annual Christmas Service for the inmates at the Jail. It will be a combined service with men and woman together in the cafeteria though they are seriously segregated. There will be special music and a special message plus some reading from the scriptures about the story of the birth of Christ. He called to ask if I would read about the birth of Jesus in LUKE 2:1-20. 

You know what my friends out there in SHELL SHOCK Land?! That is exactly what I needed to hear tonight as I was sitting here feeling a bit fearful about my health and such. I love reading out load and I love the Christmas Story as told in the Gospel of LUKE. More often then my life these days that is how things tend to work out. If I am feeling low, something comes around that cheers me up and gets me going again. It was perfectly timed and I just love when it happens like this!

Until Then..I'll Just Fly!

I have lived long enough to have learned that all truly good things come mostly from within. Other people cannot make me happy (or sad!) for that matter...that comes from inside. Other people only have as much control or power over me as I LET THEM HAVE. If my expectations are that I want someone to like me...and they don't...well naturally I am going to feel let down...hurt. That's human nature but honestly it would be my own fault because of my expectations.

The last few days I have spent some time thinking about certain relationships in my life that haven't gone the way I would have liked them to. I've posted about it as well and it's hard when people don't think very highly of you or they don't treat you very kindly and you really wish they would. I really allowed myself to feel hurt about it this weekend because I really wanted to be wasn't meant to be.It's a lesson learned and frankly, my reaction still shows I have changed from the kind of guy I used to be...

How is that, you may ask? In the past I never would have even taken the time or risk by reaching out to somebody else, wanting to establish a better relationship. And it just wasn't meant to be so I just have to let it go and I have...My natural tendency is to feel hurt because I feel rejected and typically when that happens, I get angry and lash back at hat person. Not today...I just can't afford the anger or the negative energy.

This week is Christmas week...usually a week that I hate...with more family visiting and staying at the house over Christmas...again, that used to be something I didn't care for that much. Today, though it can be a hassle having a house full of people I will just do my best to embrace it just embraced it for what it is and move on with it. 

K-Sue will be here so that's cool and a first time at Christmas so I am stoked about that plus there are some positive things going on around here so I just remain focused and trust that God has the plan. So far it seems like it's meant to be so we will ride it out.

And that is the way I have to look at life...this is what I have, so I got to play the hand I was dealt. I have a doctors appointment tomorrow and I hope I find out what in the worlds going on. Until then...I've got to take flight, keep my eyes and heart focused directly on the Creator and FOLLOW HIM.

(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Un-Endurable Sorrow That Is Me

Relationships just hurt too much sometimes....And because they do, it is really hard for me to ever truly consider them a worthwhile entity in the end. I often think I truly am better off alone, completely by least when I hurt myself, I know I mean it and nobody is bullsh*tting or lying to me about it...I know people mean well but it never ceases to amaze me how often those same people who are the ones who should care about you more then any other will in the end hurt you the most. But hey...we forgive them...for they know not what they do.

I've hurt so deeply and so often in this raggedy assed existence called life that I have no more tears to donate to the soil of this lost planet of SOULS...shattered hearts cannot be pieced back together when they are already in a million pieces...sometimes you just have to sweep the "SOUL Shards"...the remnants of them under the rug and persevere with but a fraction of a Heart.

That is not to say I blame anyone for the way that I feel...I do not blame anyone but myself because I understand now that I earned all of is but my CROSS to bear. And bear it I shall....

Straight up the rugged rocky stone path that twists and turns in tight spirals as it ascends the mountaintop that represents my life, in it's own personal Golgotha. All that remains this day is dried blood on the rocks that once held THAT CROSS in it's sway...

A human wind chime spins and sputters while twisting in it's mutters it's haunting dirge through-out all time and tests the metal of all men's SOULS...

On that dark and dangerous hill-top, the WATCH-MAN sees only me and you, my friend...he notices the tear-stained cheeks and blood-shot eyes and HE and only HE pines for the remnants of our collectively shattered HEARTS...Ahh YES, they are to be the main course at this BEGGARS BANQUET...where I am again the honored GUEST.

A Little Rain....

Most folks who don't know me outside of the blog wouldn't have any clue that 

I am one of those folks on FaceBook who likes to put quotes up in his 

status. They can come from anywhere but lately there are a lot of 

bible verses because I am really fascinated with what God has had to 

say. I'll quote Churchill or any other famous figure and this morning 

it was a quote by Longfellow and I like it so much that guess what?

That's right kiddies...I'm gonna share it here:

"Thy fate is the most common fate of all. Into each life a little rain 

must fall."

And it's true, at least over the course of half a century of living 

now I have found it so. I am not a guy who expects everything in 

life to go easy, on the contrary I understand it takes pain 

and hardship sometimes to put our lives in true perspective.

Anyway i' thought I'd share a "little rain" with all of you this