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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Optimistic



I dare say that this felt about as close to a normal kind of day as I have felt in...many months! I started a new and very robust blood Pressure Medication and Diuretic late this morning and it put me right to bed. I slept on/off for well over 3 HOURS this afternoon. And even though I feel a bit groggy and I am not really very energetic because of the side effects, I am pretty pleased with the results so far. It is going to take some getting used to.


I have also noticed that my feet, ankles and lower-leg are not as painful and tight feeling though they are still quite swollen. But I think it is definitely an improvement even the the urination part of all this was unreal, I felt like I was going to explode. So we'll just see how it goes the next couple of days but after today I feel somewhat optimistic about the whole thing....and it is the first time I've felt THAT way in awhile!

Talk About A TRIP!!


What an interesting life this is! Never in my wild dreams would I ever have imagined that I would be sharing the most intimate, personal details, thoughts and feelings of my life with a public audience. And doing so with the stated intention that perhaps it may help others as well as myself along the way. The whole notion that I would do ANYTHING with the idea that it may benefit other people would have been foreign to me just under a decade ago.

Not that I was a bad guy or anything , I did care about other people and genuinely wanted others to have success in their lives too but I just  did not want to be involved with them in any way...I wasn't about to actually help them get there! No...they were very much on their own. My focus to the very core was always about me and getting MINE...I figured other people could and should take care of themselves. It was certainly not in my best interest as a practicing alcoholic/addict (and yes, deep down I did know that is what I was) to share details about myself really on ANY level with other people....the more I kept to myself, the better!

No, I was already going to great lengths to lie about what and who I really was. I didn't want anyone to have a clue about me because in reality I lived in real fear about being exposed for being the fraud that deep down I really knew I was...You see, I hated myself and was certain that I would not, could not EVER measure up to the expectations I felt the world had for me. I literally remember feeling like a fraud...it was a sickening, disheartening, DEFLATING feeling that even thinking about today leaves me feeling somewhat uncomfortable.

Now I CHOOSE to reveal who I am...and no one is more surprised by that today then me. And yet...I'm really not surprised, knowing deep in my heart that with my transformation to a FOLLOWER of Christ, truly anything is possible. And the existence of Shell Shock Serenade? Well...this is the MOTHER LODE of examples of that right here! The fact that I would reveal myself in this manner, day after day with all the implied and ACTUAL emotional and even physical risk is quite simply beyond human understanding...certainly I don't understand it. Therefore there must be ANOTHER explanation for it and I believe most certainly that there IS...It's GOD.

No doubt in my mind. And to take all of this even further...not only am I most willing to share of myself in this manner in the sincerest hope that it may in one way or another help someone in need...I simply cannot think of any other way that I would much rather live right now.

The stuff that used to be such a priority to me just six short years ago just really does not matter to me any more: Money, drugs/alcohol, sex, instant gratification, greed, deceit, power, control...none of it even remotely motivates me today. Nothing I have found in nearly 50 years of life comes close to the incredible gift I have discovered through my relationship with the LORD: The gift of GIVING back of oneself to OTHERS.

It is with out a doubt simply the most profoundly rewarding thing that I have ever experienced and I was NOT even looking for IT when I stumbled into this new life in HIM. No...I was just trying to "get through" another day...just like I ALWAYS was! And the simple fact that I take no credit what so ever in this matter speaks volumes about the origin of my recovery and spiritual life today. I truly believe that the term "saved" is accurate because that is exactly how I feel: GOD saved me from myself!

I literally stood at the edge of life, looking most intently into the abyss convinced that the only answer for me, the only right thing to do for my family and friends was to throw myself over the edge...and so I did. That was the depth of my despair and hopelessness that I was convinced to my very core that death was the only answer for me.

But as the British Great War Poet Wilford Owen states in one of my favorite poems of all time...SPRING OFFENSIVE: "Some say God caught them before they fell"...well, I am certain that GOD indeed caught this wretched sinner, before he finally FELL.

Oh, I died all right that day but not in the manner in which I intended. No...that failure to succeed in dying that day lead to my eventual surrender to JESUS and doing so I make a commitment to DIE each and every day for HIM, to renounce the old life, the old ME and embrace the new...which is life in HIM. How do I know this has really happened? How do I know that this is real and not some figment of my imagination?

Because this selfish, secretive, self oriented person who NEVER thought of sharing ANY part of myself with others NOW (as I mentioned at the beginning of this post) willingly shares all my most intimate thoughts and feelings with others in the improbable hope (we can call this FAITH) that it may in some way or another HELP someone in NEED.

That my dear friends is just too improbable of a change to have "just happened for no reason". No, no....that is DIVINE intervention, plain and simple...there is simply no other way to describe or explain it. An I feel privileged....I mean that: PRIVILEGED to be able to do it each and every day to the very FULLEST of my ability.

And that is how I know that I have changed because I do know ME...and this my friends is not the natural me, not even close. This can only be explained as the work of the universal artist, THE CREATOR of ALL: GOD.

(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Little one...

I went to the doc today and basically we focused in on treating the high BP with the idea that some of the rest of the stuff my fall back into place if we can get that stabilized. This is a strategy I have been advocating yet to no avail. That of course is frustrating when your own physician ignores you.


He changed all of my related medication with this new focus in mind so we will see how it goes. I know that I feel good about it and want to see how this will turn out.


I just have a deep suspicion that the BP is the root cause of the issues...of course you never really know when there are so many potential alternatives there are. Now the focus this week is making that medication change work, support Kim's job search and get the darned furnace replaced on Wednesday.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Reasonable (though NOT Popular CHOICE)




Have I ever mentioned that I can be a little bit stubborn at times? Well...it is true, I most certainly CAN be difficult when my mind is set on something. Today...I chose to not attend church because of my health and it just drives me crazy. One of the  biggest challenges for me has been the "self-denial", choosing what is really best for me health wise by making decisions like this to stay home where it's safe and rest. I have NEVER been good at doing the right thing in such matters. My natural inclination is to just push forward and do what I wish, Me, Me, Me, I always come first and get what I want...and the heck with the consequences...But historically, the consequences ALWAYS win. And then I suffer and whine like I am the victim of some terrible injustice when in reality, I did it to myself...AGAIN.


I know it doesn't sound like much of a decision for me to stay home but for me it's huge because it does represent this self-denial for what is right...and I do not like giving in. The last 3 weeks I've chosen to go to church each week and be forced to leave under very unpleasant circumstances...which was awful. Today I was able to see the writing on the wall and in hindsight I have not felt well the rest of the day. And I was able to rest even though I am still feeling quite ill this afternoon. 


For the first time in a while we had friends stop by after church for breakfast (pancakes/sausage, coffee and juice) and just having company for a little over an hour. It was awesome to visit, I have such great friends but their short visit absolutely sucked the life right out of me. I enjoyed it but that was all I could physically do.


These are hard and difficult realities for me to face & accept. And perhaps that is the greater purpose behind why this is happening. Sound ridiculous? Perhaps it does but I do believe that things seem to happen in my life for a greater purpose...things that are often hard or even impossible for me to comprehend. Yet in the end it turns out that those hardship experiences end up serving me well later on. 


I do have faith...and yes FAITH is a new and often mysterious concept and/or reality for me to get my arms around and accept but I am getting there...I do in fact..believe. I believe the LORD is with me even under really crappy, mysterious circumstances like these...even when I want to tell him he is full of crap and he needs to FIX me...now! Nothing happens and the intense weight of that realization that I am truly POWERLESS over this situation settles in over me and my world. It's oppressive and self-defeating IF I do not keep my eyes (my focus) squarely on the CREATOR at all times.


So One soldiers on, as I must...though I admit to no understanding of the bigger picture here, I do know one thing with the utmost certainty: I must continue ON. I must FOLLOW my LORD because what ever awaits me in the future, I know HE must lead me there because I have lived the alternative life and it was nothing short of catastrophe. And I have had ENOUGH of CATASTROPHE for one lifetime my friends, trust me on that!


(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)


Saturday, January 28, 2012

The LIMIT...



I actually did something I have not done in awhile...I went grocery shopping this evening. Typically I always do my own shopping and I always have. But I have not been physically capable of doing it on my own for some time. Now Kim still went with me and we went tooling around afterwards. A trip that should have taken us an hour tops just came to an end 20 minutes ago after over 3 hours of goofing around. It was good fun...


My guess would be that I have gotten a total of 3 to 3.5 hours of sleep this pat 24 hours in little 10 to 25 to 45 minute chunks of time...It is the best I have felt in a very long time.


I am going to try and go to church but the last three weeks I have not made it through the service. If I do not feel prepared to stay the whole service...I am not going to go. The last couple of days have proven one thing and that is that a little rest will go a long way. I just have to stay positive and keep getting sleep where I can.


We have a couple coming over for breakfast after church so that should be cool. It's almost like I'm having a real life for a change...I think I'll keep it!       

My POSSE...


For those of you who don't know me, Saturday mornings at 9a are my favorite moments of the whole entire week! Why, you may ask....Because I have a POSSE of ladies and I get to hang out with them on Saturdays, that's why!

Confused? OK I'll elaborate...I go and read the Bible each Saturday at 9p at a local Nursing Home (Residential Living Center, actually) all of my listeners each week are ladies. Usually around 6-8 of them....and the really cool thing about them is three of the regulars are 100 years old or older! Another 2-3 are in their late 90's...

This is simply the most enjoyable and rewarding thing that I have EVER done...it's incredible what occurs when we get together and hear the WORD of GOD read out loud. I literally seem to levitate at times while I read...it's such an intense experience.

It was this volunteer experience that has lead to the Bible Reading, actually we call it the Listening Ministry that we have today going to shut-ins and on Tuesday nights at our church. It just has taken off on it's own...

We have a snowy morning here in southern lower Michigan and I am not sure what the forecast is for today so I need to head out a wee bit earlier so I'll sign off for now. Have a wonderful Saturday morning.

(Photo: K. Tomson)

Friday, January 27, 2012

BRAVO To These BOYS!



I think it pretty much goes with out saying that the individuals who make up SEAL Teams are absolutely top notch, high wire, super intense, super organized individuals who are trained to improvise anytime-any-where to achieve their mission, no matter how impossible it may be. Impressive and yea it's frightening what human beings are capable of. To anyone interested in exactly how much a human being can endure, I recommend reading Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. This young man's story speaks for itself...


I have no doubt that we live in a world today that absolute demands the existence of these teams of professionals. I happen to know two individuals who are or were Navy Seals. One is here in Coldwater and he is medically retired from injuries. He is an alcoholic/addict and has really struggled since being out of the service. I actually have not seen nor heard from him in at least 6 months or so. His story is not typical of SEALS yet it's not totally unheard of either. I pray for this fellow every day because he carries some serious baggage around with him that he can't seem to work through...



The other is a son of an old friend of mine. I don't really know him that well but he seems to fit the stereo-type. A super intelligent, honor-student, Annapolis Grad...just super motivated go-getter type fellow.

There is a new movie coming out next month, Act Of Valor that uses real, active duty SEALS as the main characters in the film. They also film a majority of the firefight scenes using LIVE FIRE...that's right, real bullets. Check out the movie's web site and look at some of the trailers...it really looks good. I really believe as time goes on, wars are going to be fought more covertly, on a smaller scale and will involve the usage of our countries Special Forces Troops more and more frequently. This can be an equally scary and reassuring proposition all at the same time...

Hanging Around



I have received several very heartfelt and in some instances very concerned private messages about the last couple of posts here on the SHOCK. Let me assure everyone that I am doing well...yes, it's been a rough patch but things are moving along. 


I needed to EMO-V (VENT...emotionally vomit, I call it) to purge that stuff from my system and then focus on growing, changing and enduring whatever continues to come flying my way. The only thing that I know for certain is that there will continue to be adversity...that never changes in life.


But I am on very good terms with GOD though I may have inadvertently implied differently. My point in mentioning that was that I do, even today have moments of questioning and doubt, I just do and that in my mind is part of being human...and I am not ashamed to admit that is the case.  But I pray and will persevere....I have experienced worse times.... much worse and these times will pass just like those experiences did. 


The furnace will not be replaced until Wednesday of next week so I am not happy about that but hey...what can I do? I don't happen to have a furnace in my back pocket!


Well I just wanted to reassure all that I am well and things are fine....we'll just keep hanging in there.


(Photo Kathy Tomson)

Time is NOW

I suppose for clarity's sake I need to get back on here and assure everyone that I do NOT have a DEATH WISH...NO, I actually have a LIFE WISH and want to know when if ever will I get to have a life again. I want to LIVE... please GOD can I live?! Pushing the limits to basic sanity is NOT my idea of fun or entertainment. I am completely out of energy for fun and games...let's solve this problem so I can live. Unless my fate is to SUFFER then leave me as I am because I am SUFFERING in every sense of the word...suffer.

Not sure what else to say or do...typically I focus on myself and changing the things about myself that I can. The time then HAS ARRIVED...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

FORSAKEN, Forgotten Fried Remnant of a HUMAN BEING

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OK and HEY...before I even start this puppy I'm going to apologize...basically because I am pissed, annoyed and sure to provoke or offend....probably (D) All of the ABOVE....


 Yes I am still living the zombie style life of the sleep deprived half-human I have morphed into and there seems to be no answer anywhere in sight, on the horizon or in the freaking UNIVERSE for that matter. I am STUCK with this crappy, sleepless existence and I can only wonder what type of spiritual FRANKENSTEIN type experiment GOD has going with me....


Truly and honestly I am a WILLING servant...I will FOLLOW and am glad to serve. But I have to say I am feeling ABUSED. And I am a person who NEVER throws that particular word around frivolously....EVER, for any reason at all!


Forsaken...er, YEA! Just a bit, don't you think....wouldn't you?!


OH Wait, that's right...you readers don't know the rest of the story. Like my doc cancelled my FRIDAY morning appointment...AGAIN! I think the cosmic powers of evil have conspired to prevent me from EVER seeing another doctor again...no I'll just die here on the VINE, don't mind me.


Found out this afternoon as well that the furnace is HISTORY and must be replaced. Let's just say because some individuals are not facing FACTS or being realistic I am going to be home SICK as I am, With no HEAT for the entire weekend...possibly until mid next WEEK!! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!


So HIGH Fever, screwed up bladder, HIGH BP, morbid...scary thoughts of me own doom and demise....Terrible, vicious pain in my lower back, left hip...have not slept more then 2 total hours in a day for nearly 7 weeks. My entire body ITCHES, I could tear all my skin off and I do not think I'd find relief.


I am calling out LORD, I'm on my last legs...knees in reality and I got nowhere else to go...I've been asking...pleading...BEGGING for mercy YET only SILENCE...the SOUND of despair.


Do you have a clue, perhaps? Because I do not have the slightest...foggiest ...hair of an idea what I am supposed to do here. Enduring for the sake of just hanging on is losing it's allure and I am weakening...I am caving in to the pressure. HELP ME

A RARE Realization


I couldn't begin to describe to you what other people feel like as they go through their day to day lives. I honestly used to assume that everyone felt as detached and alienated as I did...that was "normal" for me and I took it for granted that all people (at least adults in our American society) felt just the same way.

I see and understand now that couldn't have been farther from the truth, naive and frankly just plain misguided on my part to even assume such a thing. I now know that I am certainly an exception to the rule...not the torch bearer of it....

Because of my past and the various treatment experience's I have had for...alcoholism/addiction, suicide attempt, mental health issues, rape...I now realize that though I am not necessarily he "norm" for somebody my age...I am also NOT really the total outcast and oddity that I thought I was before. I had real honest to goodness reasons for feeling so MESSED UP inside. These realizations were BIG for me...I mean super big because I didn't have to feel like I had to hide who I was and you dear reader can tell that I am pretty comfortable in my own skin. That is huge and let's face it...RARE. I never really felt that way before.

That is just one example of how I am different today then I used to be. These changes came with recovery, they were the result of staying the course one day at a time and working hard at changing my negative behavior.

Often that is how it's been with me...the changes for the better come gradually, over time. Things just get a little better each day until one day I realize that EVERYTHING has changed! That is a cool feeling...

(Photo: Kathy Tomson)                                                              

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Me and The BOY...Skipping Stones Down @ Holy Water Creek



I miss my kids. I really do and it can really bother me sometimes. I think most readers here at the SHOCK know that I am a father of 2 grown children. My daughter Chelsea is 28, married w/2 young boys living in Greenville, SC. My son Ian is 26, engaged and still lives in the town where he was born and (mostly) raised...Holland, MI.


I see them once in a while and talk fairly frequently via phone or communicate using social networking technology tools.  But when I lament that I miss my kids...it is literally the years they WERE kids that I am talking about. I know it is a well worn cliche folks but it is NO joke or laughing matter...that time when you are raising your children goes faster then the speed of light. Before you know it...their childhood is over!


My memory of both my children can be looked at by me in a condensed form that truthfully goes something EXACTLY like this: I remember quite well their mum carrying them both to full term (Chelsea nearly 2 full weeks AFTER)...going into the hospital and watching them being born. 


Then things pick up the pace....diapers, real food, walking, big boy/girl pants, school, puberty, boys/girls, teenage angst, driving, graduation, college and then POOF, they were GONE! 


I want those days BACK...dang-it. And I am totally sincere when I remind friends who are parents of young children today...CHERISH every second of this. With digital cameras and movies there is simply NO reason to NOT document EVERY move they make. We did a fairly good job with film/paper print pictures and video...but man, what you can  do today with smart phone cameras and such...there  is no excuse for not documenting their lives.   


I want to skip stones with Ian and chase little Chelsea around the playground again threatening to tickle her FOREVER. I can hear her squeals and Ian's peels of laughter as I play "DADDY MONSTER" and wrestle with them on the floor, trying to tickle them both into submission. I want to read "Frederick" to them both just one more time doing my best Winston Churchill imitation voice...
Frederick [English Edition]
I chuckle as I look at the picture at the top of this post, taken in 1989 (I believe). That is yours truly on the far right and my two little angels right in the front, center of the picture. A classic photo of us all here at the lake cottage (before this house I'm sitting in now was built). It's a great pic and an even sweeter memory.


But I do...I miss 'em and I think about those days all the time. Don't get me wrong...I love both of my kids every bit as much today as I did then...in a way even more. They are wonderful human beings and great adults. But once those little kids are gone...well it's forever so don't forget it!

Space Heater Wednesday


From the title of this post...our most discerning readers should have recognized that once again, we are without heat...YEP, the furnace is out for the second time this winter. That is the original furnace of the house which was built in 1995 so who knows, the furnace could just be wearing out.


But the repair tech is here so we should get an idea what the problem is here soon.


OK, I'm back about 2 hours later and the news went from good to definitely NOT good to BAD in about 10 minutes. 


There was a motor that had worn out and it looked like it would be covered by the insurance (we have appliance insurance we pay monthly with our bill to the power company). The repair guy left, said he should have the part Friday so I called my dad since I live in an apartment essentially at my parents home. 


It sounded pretty simple....no cost and would be fixed in 2 days...just as I was speaking to him the repair guy came back. The news was the worst...it's the 2nd time that part had been replace and it turns out the only TRUE fix is a NEW FURNACE. I'm glad I had dad on the phone and he could hear this straight from the repairman because he would have given me a really hard time and he did grill the guy on the phone.


I have to call him here and find out some details...we should get an estimate by the end of the day via email.


So that kept the morning exciting...otherwise the main issues I have are still health related. In addition to the pneumonia, high BP, swelling feet/ankles/legs...etc. I am now having what I would consider a full blown back episode (hips, knees and feet all affect as well). 


My back is the reason I am fully disabled. I crushed half a dozen vertebra in an accident as a teenager and have multiple ruptured disks. Mostly the pain is controlled and my quality of life is reasonable....I am able to function fairly normally but now and then I have episodes of nerve damage and severe pain. And that is what's going on here today and it isn't fun.


Often these will pass but this is a pretty serious one so I am basically confined to bed or a chair with feet elevated...


So that is where we are right now...like I need another thing going on in my life right now and the furnace needs replacing and my back is on the FRITZ as well. Holy SMOKES this really sucks right now...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Throwing Punches Around Makes Me Feel Better...


Yes, well I am ticked off a bit with the whole kit and ka-boodle today. I am frankly more then annoyed with adversity. I get it...I know how to face adversity, OK. It's dealing with lot's of SUCCESS that I need work on...OK?! Kim too...she has ACED the freaking adversity test...we both don't need any more "life challenges" 'ya dig?! No we need desperately NEED...I may add, to learn how to cope with success, happiness, good news and the like. I mean we need at least 10-20 years of practice getting wonderful news...so we can really learn from the ground  up!


So what do you think of that?! Needless to say things did not go well today...as a matter of fact they went down right lousy as far as K's so called JOB was concerned. Honestly it was a cluster-you-know-what of the highest order and thankfully it had NO effect...permanent or otherwise on Kim's job performance or reputation. 


It turns out that the idiotic, unprofessional company that brought her in to work only did it as an interview type scenario without telling the 3 workers involved or the temp agency...who the day before went through the actual process of "hiring " them in on a probationary situation...what a joke. After 3 hours and not even seeing Kim actually do the work the woman "in charge" made her selection and sent the others home much to every one's shock.


So thank you very much Indiana Marine Products...you are a class act! 


I have nearly 30 years experience in the factory working for a Fortune 500 Office Furniture Company. The last decade and a half of that was in Production Management as a supervisor and manager type guy. I know from experience that how a company treats their employees will ultimately be reflected in how they treat their customers...you either CARE corporately or you DON"T. 


In my 15 years of personally bringing in temps from a Temp service I have NEVER seen or heard of a scenario such as what happened today and for the record...Kim was not the only one present or effected by this un-professionalism today. Upper management obviously has a bit of a disconnect with one of their non-supervisor leaders on the floor. makes we wonder where the supervisor was, eh?!


OK...I'm finished slapping these guys around...I'm sure business these days is tough but acting like this is helping your cause. I'm sure I'm over-reacting here but I am tired of not being able to fight back...today I'm throwing some punches around...sorry!   

A Different Start To The Day...



Another day and of course it is still pre-dawn. It feels a little different somehow because we got Kim up and  off to work at 5:15a this morning. I do not like to tell God what to do but in all honesty...I sure hope this the job. Kim is certainly due for some good fortune...she has worked really hard and that has been a troubling aspect of this whole thing...no matter how qualified she is, no matter how hard she works...things just would come together. Man I hope today is DIFFERENT...


I am meeting a good friend this morning for our regular Tuesday book study meeting at a local restaurant. Even these most causal of get together have been impacted by my health and I actually had to cancel out of one last week.


One very unpleasant and I suppose unavoidable aspect of being hurt or ill is that unless you have broken bones or recent surgery or are ill with something very serious and well known as Cancer...is people tend to be suspicious about whether you are truly ill or as ill as you say you are.


I have dealt with that suspicion with my former employer Herman Miller, Inc for 20 years they made life difficult (a living hell of suspicion really) and though I was actually injured on the job I never claimed it and paid for multiple surgeries out of my own insurance and pocket. That was a mistake...I should have let them pay but I was trying to be ethical and I don't know...it back fired. But I still had a great career there.


Not sure why I just "went there" and posted that but hey...it is what it is.


I just know that Kim is good at the work she does and she has a vast variety of experience so hopefully that will be an advantage...now it's all about just getting the chance to show who you are and what you have to offer the company.


OK well I have to get going here and get ready for my day so we will catch you  somewhere down the road...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Unleash The Beast: INTENSITY


Once again I am lamenting the fact that I haven't written anything worthwhile or interesting in a long, long time. This...of course bothers me a great deal but whenever I try and rectify that situation....nothing really seems to make a difference or motivate me out of my lethargy. And that really is it...I feel lethargic to the very CORE of my being.

I typically am scattered anyway when it comes to subject matter for posts. I'll never pretend to have a plan or be totally organized but whatever I tend to end up writing about and why is a different matter because there usually is some little bit of FOCUS that comes from the shear joy of sharing that secret..or thought or feeling...it WAS and IS about recovery these days. That's what motivates me nowadays and has since my life depended on it.


Ultimately THAT's really it too....it became about survival. My recovery was the original subject of the blog....and as time went on it became more and more noticeable and obvious that my survival depended on me staying sober and clean one day at a time. Well it became even more obvious to me that my recovery WAS my LIFE..they were one in the same...they HAD to be for this thing to work.

So every time I was posting about staying clean or any other aspect of recovery I was actually writing about saving my own life..each and every day! Well needless to say I had no issue finding the necessary focus when it came to writing about saving LIVES....and my very own LIFE being the first.

With that came intensity...something I had no natural shortage of to begin with, though I had always lacked the positive, safe and healthy OUTLET for letting out that intensity. At times when I would tap into certain feelings or thoughts and feelings I was unleashing the entire emotional AVALANCHE of INTENSITY concerning my rape and the after aftermath. It was dangerous and risky...but that was what people showed me here on the SHOCK, that was what your feedback was showing me so I took the chance and wrote about that very private and personal stuff...and it was hugely successful. In the end that was what people really wanted to read. It was a trip and I was more then a little nervous about doing it but the rest is history...

So I am really lamenting that loss of intensity I typically have and it's temporarily gone because of the exhausted emotional
 state I am in. I want it BACK and yea...
I want it back NOW because I am tired of writing boring milk toast freaking posts...so I will do my best to unleash whatever emotional energy
I can...

Employment

Kim was hired today for a position at a Marine Products Company in assembly. The job is through a temp agency whose major role is to get employees through their 90 day probationary period then they can be hired in.

Needless to say this is a big deal for us because if this turns into full time permanent employment...well we can basically begin a new chapter of our lives...if you know what I mean. Actually we are still beginning it but it will be a huge boost to have that job nailed down.

Thing are looking up...even with the health issues I have stuff is still going pretty well...I really cannot complain.

So that's the big news of the day...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Dark & Foggy Future...


It has been an eventful day in a lot of ways...particularly considering I only briefly left the house for a short-lived attempt at attending church. Needless to say it failed miserably and I had to bag it and come home. I did have a rather strange experience while I was there when I woman I don't know very well come and want to put scented healing oil on me...I guess this stuff is straight from the Bible but I am not familiar with it so though I allowed her to put some on my hand for my Pneumonia, though my heartfelt commitment probably wasn't there.

Now I'm not saying I believe in such things or not...I do understand there are a lot of things in our natural world that have healing powers but I usually like to approach such treatment on my own and in my own way. Sitting in a crowded church lobby at a table having someone I hardly know put oil on me felt rather foolish but oddly (and honestly I am not making this up) I did feel better from a respiratory point of view the rest of the day so....what do I KNOW!!??. I though it was important to be open minded and I really appreciated the fact she cared enough to approach me...

I was half-way excited that the NFL Conference Championship Games were on and as I sit here writing the San Francisco/NY Giants game is at halftime. K-sue and I are taking a short little walk then I'll watch the last quarter when I get back...

Tomorrow is a big day medically because I have to first and fore-most get my blood pressure under control then I have to decide what I am going to do about changing my personal physician. This has to happen and I need to move on.

So that is the terribly exciting stuff I know but hey...it 'tis me life...as they say. K had a big-time interview on Thursday and we are fairly optimistic that we might hear some good news in the morning....so if you are a praying person and have a little time to spare we could sure use the prayer.

All right it is time to venture out into the fog...

Small Minds DISGRACE The Legend: RIP JOE


Joe Paterno, legendary football coach at Penn State University died this morning at 85 years of age. He was fighting Lung Cancer and it's various complications plus being 85 years old. But don't kid yourselves...this man died of a broken heart. Having his team and coaching career end in disgrace absolutely shattered this man's heart. Much like another legendary football coach, Alabama's Paul "BEAR" Bryant ...Paterno did not live a year after he stopped coaching. It is clear that for both men...it truly was their life.

I know that Paterno's reputation was damaged by the Jerry Sandusky child rape case at Penn State. I would also agree that knowing what we know from the Grand Jury reports that morally Joe could and should have done more but the truth is he did something and it was at the time what he thought was right.

Please, dear reader...remember as I write about this subject (child abuse and rape) that I am a victim of sexual assault and rape by 3 grown men when I was 12 years old. I suppose if anyone has a special reason to be critical I could claim it...but I won't. Why?

Because I know as much or more then anyone how complex, insidious and painful this whole thing can be. There is no black and white answer for something so EVIL as Child Rape. When Paterno said last week that he dropped the ball, that he should have done more but at the time he just didn't know what he was supposed to do and how to do it...I believe that because I felt that very same way MYSELF...about my own RAPE! There is no freaking BLUEPRINT showing how we are to respond to this kind of insanity...

I had no clue what I should have done...so I did nothing but be quiet and try and let it. As a result of deciding NOT to DECIDE...I am still dealing with this nearly 38 years later!! So I am not going to stand in judgement of this man who did so much good not for just the University of Pennsylvania but for mankind just because he made a terrible mistake in judgement. I know and understand perfectly what he did (in this case DIDN'T DO)...it does NOT in my humble opinion invalidate his whole life's work. I think it's tragic how this ended...for everyone involved.

I do however condemn the Board at Penn State who fired him so hastily. I think that is what "SMALL MINDED MEN" do when they do not have the BALLS to stand up and take the heat for doing what is ultimately right. Now I am using the term "MEN" here in a universal sense since there were and are woman on the board as well...

I believe they took an opportunity to get rid of him when the program was in disarray because they were resentful of the power and prestige he had. I do think that they had a right to if they chose but I think he accomplishes more good by staying the coach. I think they were short in the courage department and panicked, when patience was the prudent answer here. But it's all too late now.

Anyway I find it heartbreaking that he dies this way, that his life came to an end like this. I think it is a HUGE injustice and my love and sympathy goes out to his family...                                


Saturday, January 21, 2012

I am resigned To HEAL this Time...



By Kathy Tomson
I am going to do my utmost today to rest. I know, I know...we have all heard this before but this time I really mean it! This is such classic statement  that you typically would hear from someone trying to change a bad pattern of behavior. For me it would be my drinking in the past..."This time I really mean it, I'll quit. You'll see...this time it's different" and more often then not...nothing ever changed. So I get it...it will be a challenge to do what I'm supposed to do but I am so tired of feeling...TIRED, sick and so weakened that I can't function normally. It's true...I have always had a hard time following the instructions from a doctor or physical therapist...that explains why I've struggle to heal properly at times in the past. 


When I had knee surgery a couple years ago..I felt a ton of pressure from my employer to work though I was supposed to be off at least 6 weeks. I felt guilty about not being there so I was back working in the store in less then 3 weeks. This was at the very same time that my father was very ill with an infection from a burst appendix and in a hospital in Ft Wayne (an hour away) for 45 days. My knee didn't have a chance...So I basically am walking around on a right knee that is damaged almost beyond repair. It's just shredded inside and that is exactly what it feels like too. And it's always something like that too...I feel guilty and can't take the time for myself so I cut corners and it is my health that suffers.


This morning dawned bright...and I mean BRIGHT. We have blue skies and the sun is shining fiercely this morning. On top of that we have 5-6" of freshly fallen, light and fluffy powder...I usually hate that combination of snow and sun...it physically hurts my eyes but today for some reason I rather like it. I suppose it is because I've accepted my fate today...I'm staying in all day and I'm keeping my feet elevated with ice.


Purdue plays at Michigan State in Basketball at noon so that gives me a bit of incentive as well. Hope you, my dear reader have a wonderful day...we will check back some time after the game.       



Friday, January 20, 2012

Grilled Swiss Cheese Heaven



Well, well...I thought Id see if I could conjure up a few sensible mutterings that I might be able to call a post. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to know what I want to say yet be too exhausted to stay coherent enough to actually write it. I can't tell you how many times I have come to to find myself passed out on my keyboard or sitting up in a chair. I just cannot stay awake. Most of the time I'm not really even safe to drive.


It would be comical if it wasn't so sad and didn't present so much difficulty for me at the moment health wise. I really have no actual, functional life to speak of at the moment.


I am going to do my best to rise above that stuff for now. On the bright side I have been able to get a bit more sleep and I'm still keeping my self physically occupied and get some exercise but my feet/calves/lower legs are quite swollen and very tender to the touch.


If this persists into Sunday I am going into the ER and get checked out. Or if my BP continues to stay so high. That probably has me the most concerned right now mainly because I am so unfamiliar with high blood pressure and that ignorance frightens me. Plus i can literally FEEL when it spike. 


So We'll give it tomorrow and go from there.


I had to pull out of the Chaplain Training for the Jail but I have a feeling that will work out for the best in the long run. I could not have withstood the rigors of the training. Plus I just could not have physically done it. I can't go have coffee in a diner for an hour with out their being a major issue so this is best....


Sounds like there is a late night snack (grilled Swiss Cheese on Pepperidge Farm Bread)being made right now with my name on it...so I need to avoid seeming rude and go out there and eat that thing.


Talk to you all in the morning...


Hey...sorry about the picture but I just couldn't resist posting a little summer time picture of the lake...it's amazing the difference a few months makes.

The EFFECT



I had to back out of my commitment to the correctional chaplaincy training sessions beginning tonight and going for 3 total days. Chaplain Dave understands and will help me take the courses when I am feeling better.


This illness is very humbling and yes, it is also starting to kind of frighten me somewhat. I need to step back and let God take over because I just get really stressed if I keep thinking about it. 


I am going to leave it at that for a while.....

A Quick Good Morning...



As the post title suggests...I am in a bit of a hurry this morning. I am going to try and keep a commitment to a new (new to me that is) Friday morning book study group that meets at 6:30a at the Coldwater Garden (a local greasy spoon). My trips out into public lately have not gone very well and I'm already feeling poorly so I don't know...we'll see.


I am even more concerned about a Jail Ministry training class that starts tonight (6-10p) and continues tomorrow (9a-5p) and then repeats those same hours 2 weekends later. Right now as I sit here I cannot see how it will be possible for me to make it through even the first few hours...all I can do is pray about it. If it is truly meant to be...then so be it.


OK I'm off to town...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yea, I Caved & Bought Goldfish...


I will say that I have not softened my opinion about doctors since my post this afternoon. But I imagine things will get sorted out but I'm still left with some BP concerns and I have no doctor to rely on. I told Kim that my Doc is not a Physician and he doesn't want to be...too much responsibility. No he is a "health care  provider" and that's it. He takes no oath and works 9-5 (if that). He only cares when he is on the clock...and hey, more power to him. That is his choice...it just isn't the relationship I seek with my doc.

Now the pic I posted is of my two new pet goldfish...so NEW that I haven't even named them yet. But I will and as soon as I do well hey..I'll let you all in on it since i know you jhust can't stand the suspense.

Unhappy With MD's...


I was two blocks away from the Doctor's office when I got the call...Doc's wife had the baby so all his appointments for the rest of the week are canceled and I have to call in Monday to re-schedule. It seems that even super High BP isn't enough to get them to adjust a person's BP medication by making a call to the pharmacy. So it's: "If it becomes an Emergency, then go to Prime Care (the ER)?!". Yea, that's what I want to to, provoke a blood pressure emergency by ignoring obvious warning signs as opposed to simply addressing the need now when it is but a concern...and one easily (and cheaply) remedied by calling in a new and stronger BP med and water pill.

If you ask me about all this debate going on concerning the type of Health Care this country should have...well, in my opinion and experience, the Health Care We Have Now Ain't So Hot and I am insured with a private physicians office. They run this office like it's a family owned Diner and not a house of medicine. So whenever they decide to close...well tough sh*t...get your grilled cheese on rye somewhere else...we don't care!

I told K-Sue in the car that even a plumber's shop has off hours service call's but this office won't even call in a script for a patient who has a KNOWN serious issue, that is well documented and that they are aware of...by her rudeness and manor...this receptionist could have cared less...and why should she...she has the rest of the week off, WAHOO!

Some folks will probably say my expectations are too high...and perhaps they are but they are based on the Regular, EVERYDAY service of my doctor's office in HOLLAND, MI for the last 26 years. And really..calling in a new prescription for HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE is NOT too much to ASK...come on.

Now...because this is but one of several concerns and issues I have with them....I have to decide whether to pull the plug and start over with a new doctor....I have a sneaking' suspicion it won't be too difficult.

Today Please!

A snowy morning's adventure to see yet ANOTHER member of the medical profession that calls themselves: Physicians...


One element of saving grace in all of this is I actually feel like headway has been made. I slept a total of almost 2 hours last night even though I had my worst evening of recorded  blood pressure results ever.


I posted yesterday about how uncomfortable this high BP makes me feel and I am NOT getting used to it!  I said then that I was in the weird position of actually looking forward to going to the doctors appointment and that feeling still holds. I'm really concerned and I know that with high BP for this length of time that something is not right. Let's just get to the bottom of it...today please!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

It's WIDE Open!



In spite of the latest difficulty with my health...I cannot let myself forget that I am at the crossroads of a very special and unique time in my life. I have been clean and sober for sometime and have learned to live life quite happily and productively (one day at a time) with out drink or drugs. I have never lost sight of the fact that this is quite honestly a miraculous event that I had very little to do with. I was truly at wits end and with out all hope that day I tried to die...yet it didn't happen though the doctor's involved are baffled. I should have died... But I didn't and what has happened since then is special...


I have a relationship today with God that frankly...I NEVER thought could or would happen. Why? I hated God and wasn't that sure to begin with that I even wanted to be involved with him...


But...because of this relationship with HIM...I have discovered and become involved in a bunch of very special relationships with several people that I am extremely close to and very fond of.  This I never saw coming for I was an isolationist...I craved time ALONE and looking back on it I didn't like people very  much....


Today I cherish these relationships and they are most important to me...Bottom line is I love people today and I truly enjoy my interactions with them no matter the situation...Even debilitating long term illness has not prevented me from loving and embracing this new life of mine.


Most importantly, today I am capable of having a healthy and loving relationship with K-Sue. There were times, even recently when I still felt so scarred, so damaged and mistrustful that I wasn't sure I would be able to clear that hurdle and be capable of loving her unconditionally. And it isn't easy of course and this relationship like all of them is a work-in-progress.


So I feel an immense amount of gratitude as I sit here this morning knowing in my heart that GOD is here with me and the future lies ahead, wide open and full of possibility instead of full of dread...like it used to be.   


(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting On With It!

I have never before experienced high blood pressure and I can say that just from having this current experience with it right now...that I am quite unnerved by it all. I feel very uncomfortable physically in  my own skin, which is not I typically feel so it all feels very strange to me at the moment.


It is certainly rare that I actually look FORWARD to a doctor's appointment but that is indeed the case tonight. I am hoping we can get this figured out and treated accordingly...I want to get on with living a life!


So yes...I am quite frustrated by the lack of progress and just want to get over this miserable period of exhaustion, sleeplessness, illness and physical hardship. Hopefully tomorrow's appointment will lead toward finding some answers...and then a solution

Resolution..Required, Please!



Honestly...I think this latest health crap is interfering with my life long love affair with coffee. Those people who know me understand that I truly love coffee and have made a routine of drinking it starting off first thing in the morning since I was 10...perhaps 11 years old. That is pushing 40 years of morning coffee, coffee after dinner...coffee at one time was appropriate for for just about every occasion. 


I never tired of it or graduated to expensive, fancy Latte's or Ice coffee's...NOPE, just strong black coffee for me.Truly one of life's simple pleasures...


Well, when a human being goes for WEEKS with out more then an hours sleep a person gets desperate. I drastically have increased the amount of coffe I drink a day. I basically have a cup of coffee in my hand around the clock and I realize it isn't a good thing so it really has to stop.


But even when I don't drink coffee I can't get to sleep or stay that way for very long. Let's just hope this visit to the doctors tomorrow brings some resolution to this whole big mess!                         

Snowflake


This is an actual photo of a good, 'ole Southern Michigan, mid-January snowflake...taken by my friend and photographer Kathy Tomson. It's complex yet there is something very pure and straight-forward in it's beauty.

I am very fond of art...Impressionist Painting for example is probably my very favorite form of artistic expression. And I have often stood in awe as I look at the works of Van Gogh, Renoir or  Cezanne. But nothing I have ever seen created by man they don't come close to matching the beauty and exquisite joy seen in this one single, solitary creation of GOD.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Uncle Abe

Cover
I just got finished reading the book: "Killing Lincoln". The book turned out to be a worthwhile read and frankly I recommend it. It's interesting, moves nicely and for the most part is solid history. I would dare say most historians or history minded people as myself would feel that way except this book has a problem.

One of it's co-authors is Bill O'Reilly from FOX NEWS. People find fault with this book solely because he wrote it. Now I totally disagree with that and I am not a fan at all of "Mr Bill". As a matter of fact looking at the cover of the book alone gets me upset because O'Reilly takes larger billing for himself then the SUBJECT OF his freaking book! A Man who happens to be one of our countries most revered figures EVER!!

But the story he tells is compelling and for anyone interested in this subject...whether they are familiar with history or NOT will find they can understand and enjoy this book...

That is my recommendation, read and enjoy the book...it's a worthwhile read.

I have read at least a dozen works on various aspects of Lincoln and his Presidency. Each time I read one I am profoundly affected by what I have read. Lincoln is a historic hero of mine and I am typically overwhelmed by sadness at the conclusion of the book. This one was no difference...it did a great job laying out the facts, and portraying the time period in a way that makes it all easier understand that very different time in our country's history.

Don't let who the author is influence whether you should read this...as I've said, I've read over 10 books and I am better for reading this one as well...it is NOT a great HISTORICAL work but it is very informative and worthwhile.

Hanging In There!



I am getting a little frustrated with the so called "winter" weather this year. As I write this it is 50 degrees outside! The ice that finally formed on the lake for the first time this year is all but gone again. Last year at this time the lake had been frozen nearly 2 months time by the middle of January.


I happen to like having and experiencing all four seasons. I am not quite as "gung ho" about it as I used to be but still, I like having snow. And we have had very little of it this year.  The forecast does not look all that promising for a change either so I guess we are going to have to accept it the way it is. I cannot change NATURE, I realize that.


There is a great deal of chatter about the NFL and and the playoffs but I am not that interested. Same with the Presidential Election stuff....I have trouble caring.


I did find that I have Bronchial Flu (respiratory) and have signs of pneumonia so I am very happy I went to the doc yesterday. I am already on day 2 of anti-bionics. I should see some progress soon.


I am reluctant to come out full bore and say it but I have a feeling that I am started to turn a corner a bit with my health...we'll see! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

The DUDE

The visit to Dr. Dude (Dr Daoud and it's pronounced "Day-ood" and as far as I'm concerned that's close enough for said nickname) went well. The Barrett's Esophagus is still a concern but we have opted to "wait and see" instead of trying to pursue any untried laser techniques that may or may not reward us with positive results. 


The truth is the current situation is trying enough so we will stay the course for now. I meet with my regular Doc Thursday and we will figure out a strategy that hopefully gets us through winter and
and then we'll go from there.


So it was a cautious yet optimistic visit and that's good news for me. So I' going to close because I cannot keep my eyes opens...i'll               WRITE LATER...

Well...Thank You For That, Emily!


"Not knowing when the dawn will come...I open every door" - Emily Dickinson

Anyone who has me as a FaceBook Friend knows that I post a ton of quotes, anecdotes and poems, etc. It is sort of "My Thang" if you know what I mean and I have several web sites that send me quotes each day. And I really enjoy reading them...

This quote by Dickinson to my knowledge is not really well known though I could be mistaken, I am not well versed in her work or her personal story. But the idea here of not burning a bridge or wasting ANY opportunity for something special to happen is a familiar philosophy and one that I have to one degree or another always embraced. Though I have taken it to another level since I have been in recovery.

I think that holds true for a lot of us who make this kind of life change...we don't want to "waste" any more of life's chances so we take every opportunity to grow...or as Emily would put it: Throw open ALL the doors!"...You figure if you look everywhere, something is BOUND to turn up on the good side...

Another benefit of getting these email quotes sent to me every morning is they often inspire me to "get a move on" when the reality is I'd rather NOT, hehe. Now honestly...today wasn't going to be one of those days...As I was already feeling "sparky" and ready to go. I actually managed a couple hours of sleep in several naps so I am physically feeling a bit better then the last few weeks. We'll see if this is a case where I just eventually HAD TO sleep so my body just gave in.

Anyway I feel better...I have an appointment with the surgeon at 2:15 o I'm gonna kick back and rest so we'll see you this evening...


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Holding Off The CLOWNS...Who Persist In Running AMOK



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 happens...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....

Gonna Try

Sunday morning...8 Januaray, 2012 and it just happens to be a cold, clear and crisp 14 degrees out there.


K and I are going to try and go to church. I know why bother...I have over a 100 degree temp but we'll wing it and if I don't feel up to it I'll come home.


OK the great church pilgrimage begins...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Too Tire To Write...EXPERIMENT FAILED

(I am actually going to try to post something tonight. Let's see how long it takes before I completely run out of gas and haven to quit, lol!


I'm not sure if I am just going to free form  and just RIF whatever comes to mind or just h....)


The text above was as far as I got before I nodded off onto the keyboard for 10 minutes or so. And that is just the way it happens...boom and I am out of it. I have no idea how long this whole episode of ill health is going to last but it is definitely starting to take it's toll and yes, worry me a great deal. But what can a person do except go on...


And I am going to close for the night. I thought I might be able to pull this off but I am too exhausted to write....