Hello Again…

It has been quite some time since my last post. I just haven’t felt like writing for some reason. Perhaps, life has just been too hectic, or maybe I just have been a bit lazy. Sometimes, it is difficult to just stop and take stock of the things going on around you.

Life can seem fairly monotonous. Working from home, as I have been doing for over a year, has added to this feeling. Things seem to be slowy getting back to “normal.” I have returned to my office a few days a week. This has brought back some much needed structure to my life. Staying home everyday to work while I am in my pajamas didn’t seem to give me much of a purpose.

A lot has changed within the last year. Baby Boy is now walking and saying a few words, such as “dad.” Being a dad is such a wonderful experience. I have learned a lot about myself. In addition, I think I have learned the entire catalog of “Wiggles” songs. YouTube and Netflix come in handy when you are quarantined.

Amanda and I have been blessed with so much good. Despite, challenges related to health, 2020 was a very prosperous year. It is hard to believe that we are almost halfway through 2021. God has been good to us, even when we have not taken notice.

I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year holds. We will be taking a family vacation to Florida in June. I am excited to see Baby Boy play on the beach. I’m wondering what his reaction will be when he first sees the Gulf of Mexico. I’m sure we will build some sandcastles. Well, I’ll build and he will sit on them halfway through their construction.

Looking at life through the eyes of a little one has given me a new perspective. Everything is new and exciting. Nothing is left untouched. Everything has to be tasted, even cat food. Maybe life is not so monotonous after all. How can it be when every day is a new experience?

Advice From a Father

I lost my father when I was just 12 years old. At different times I have felt cheated because of this. For instance, my brothers and I missed out on having our dad there to witness most every milestone of our lives. He was not there to see any of us graduate from high school. Likewise, he missed seeing any of us get married. Most importantly, he never got to meet any of his grandchildren.

Recently, I was speaking with a friend about some personal problems I have been having and she asked me, “what advice would your dad give you?” This is something I have never thought about. I’d never really had the opportunity to ask my dad for much advice. Ever since I was asked this question I have thought about what advice my dad would have for me today.

I am a father now and I look forward to guiding my child through the obstacles of life. This fatherly guidance is something that I did not have as I was going through adolescence, which is a critical period in any young person’s life. So, what would my dad have to say to me today?

My dad was a man with much integrity. He was also a person that doubted at various periods in his life. However, before he died I believe he was able to lay down his burden of doubt and was at peace. I’m a lot like my dad in many ways. I am stubborn, selfish with my time, and I have my own doubts that I carry.

I believe if I was to sit down with my dad today, he’d tell me to let go of doubt. I think with age my dad also would have become more giving of his time. He’d probably tell me that I need to be more open to this as well. Likewise, I am sure he’d probably let me know he is proud of me. This is perhaps what I need to hear the most. I often doubt my own abilities. I’d like to hear my dad say I am good at what I do. Hearing it from his lips might actually allow me to believe it for once.

My dad was skilled at so many ways. I wish I could have learned to do all of the things he knew how to do. His work was something in which he took pride. I think having some of his knowledge would make me more confident as a man. However, I have my own skills, which I look forward to passing down to my son. This will be a way for me to honor my dad’s memory. I’ll never be able to do the things my dad did. However, I know he’d proud of me for succeeding in life.

I don’t believe my dad is watching over me. I think he is spending eternity in Heaven where there is no sorrow. I have hope I will see him again. There are a lot of questions I have for him.

Wild Turkey and a Bowling Ball!

I think God often brings people into my life as a way of teaching me things. For instance, I recently met an older gentleman who has lived a life fit for a screenplay. Jack, as I will call him, is nearly 80 years old. He served a few different tours in Vietnam. He also has lost most of his hearing. Communicating with him was difficult, however, it was time well spent.

Jack is a man whose life experiences could fill volumes. I enjoy meeting these types of people, as their stories are so often rich with historical insight and humor. Jack went to Vietnam in the early stages of the war. He stayed until the United States was firmly entrenched within the conflict. He was a Marine, and fiercely proud of that.

After returning from the war, Jack opened a barber shop and cut hair for nearly 50 years. He just recently retired. I would have enjoyed visiting his shop so that I could have heard more stories of his life. I’m not sure Jack was always an easy person with whom to get along. It sounds as if his relationship with his family was strained. This may be due to Jack’s years of substance abuse. He is a recovering alcoholic. Jack’s brother is also an alcoholic.

The way Jack described his brother was humorous to me at first, however the more I thought about it, the sadder it became. Jack said his brother could simply be described as having “a bottle of Wild Turkey in one hand and a bowling ball in the other.” This description makes me think Jack’s brother is not a very pleasant person with whom to spend time.

It also got me to thinking how others would describe me if they just had one sentence in which to do it. I am hoping I’d be known for something much more positive. Fortunately, I don’t drink Wild Turkey, and I am a horrible bowler.

Goodbye 2020!

The end of last year brought hope. Amanda and I welcomed a three-day old baby boy into our home. Since this time he has become a part of us. In two days this bright, smiling child turns 1 year old. We will have a party with family. There will be cake, smiles, laughter, and maybe a few presents.

It has been strange raising a baby during a time when the world is filled with such uncertainty. This year has had many ups and downs. However, despite all of this, life has gone on and everyone has remained relatively healthy. There is much for which to be thankful.

Amanda and I have great friends and a loving family. We have a baby who brings us so much happiness on a daily basis. It has been our great pleasure to become his parents. We feel fortunate to have been blessed with the responsibility of raising him and providing for his needs.

God has protected us through times of trial. This year has truly been a struggle at times. The isolation brought on by the pandemic has often been too much to handle. However, life is still good. I will be happy to see 2020 come to a close. I’ll carry the things I have learned this year into the next. One might think that the future looks bleak, and in a lot of ways it does. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am curious to see what the future holds. As we approach 2021, let us all treat each other with more love and understanding. Everyone has a burden they are carrying. Let’s make time to listen to others.

I recently had a friend reach out to me to share some things that were going on in his life. He expressed to me that he needed others to “do life with.” This is something we all need. The English poet, John Donne, writing in the 17th century, wrote that “no man is an island.” Hopefully, 2021 is a year we can reconnect with each other. Good riddance 2020!

Six Weeks

Yesterday was my last dose of antibiotics. This was cause for celebration. It has been a long six weeks of medication, home nursing visits, doctor’s appointments, and sleepless nights. There were times it seemed like it would never end.

However, my body has healed. My PICC line has been removed, and life is slowly getting back to normal. Now it is time to once again build up my strength. My body has become very weak, as I have been quite inactive. Working from home has not helped this situation. Despite this, I am thankful to have a good job. Likewise, I am thankful that my body has healed.

I am curious to see what the next few months will bring as we head into autumn. There is a lot to look forward to, especially with Baby Boy here. For instance, Halloween should be fun with a little one. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be extra special as well. Hopefully, 2021 will be a better year for us all. I know I am ready to say goodbye to 2020!

My parasitic PICC line. It felt like a worm slithering through my vein as it was removed from my arm.

Drip, Drip, Drip…

I seem to be living life one drip at a time these days. Four weeks in to being on IV antibiotics and progress is being made, despite the drip, drip, of time. The wound on my foot has healed, for the most part. However, there are still two weeks of antibiotics to go.

I am dreaming of the day when the PICC line will be pulled from my arm. If all goes as planned this should happen the week of September 21. After that I hope things will get back to normal.

In the time I have been down, Baby Boy has begun to crawl. This has presented some challenges, as I cannot always catch him before he gets his hands in to things where they don’t belong. For instance, he has sampled some cat food, explored the bathroom floor, and played with television remotes. I am hoping he hasn’t purchaed anything from Amazon while I wasn’t looking.

The next two weeks will drip, drip, drip on by and my left foot and my left arm will once again be fully operational. I can then be on full-time baby patrol every evening. I’m sure the cats will appreciate that. I know Amanda will, as she has been working overtime keeping our household running. Without her I’d be lost. She has been wife, mother, nurse, housekeeper, chauffeur, and friend all while holding down a full-time job.

Please Shut the Door Behind You

I wish someone could explain to me what sense it makes to wake someone up who is in the hospital every three hours to take their vitals. If someone is critically ill, yes, I can see keeping a close watch on their blood pressure, temperature, and pulse rate. However, for a patient who is stable, and has been since their admission then why the need? Rest to me seems as if it should take precedent over anything else.

If a body needs healing, rest seems to be one of the best ways to promote that. I get horrible sleep in the hospital. It is more like a series of cat naps I take at night. This is because I know that if I try to fall asleep for real, I’ll have someone in asking to check my blood pressure, my temperature, and my pulse rate. This is despite the fact all of those numbers have been consistent for days!

I’m a quiet person who generally doesn’t summon the nurse or an aide for anything, unless I need to use the bathroom. Then I ask for help getting to and from there. Once that is done I expect to climb back into bed and be left to my own devices. If I have my phone and iPad within reach that is all I need. I like my door to be shut and to not be bothered.

This seems to unnerve some nurses and aides. I am a low-maintenance patient who loves to be in the quiet of my own space. That is not to say I don’t appreciate their kindness and their helpfulness, but in all honesty, I’d rather just enjoy the solitude. Maybe in hopitals there needs to be a side of the floor for those who need the extra care and support, and a side for those who just want peace and quiet.

In reality, I am pretty certain none of this will ever change. however, if I am in a hospital to rest then let me do it. I know my body and it enjoys its rest. Let me sleep and I will be gone much quicker out of your care. Yes, I know I sound like an old man who is growling through clenched teeth for medical staff to “get off my lawn!” Nonetheless, I do appreciate what they do. They just need to do it more in someone else’s room. I am fine, I will be fine, and I know when I need to call for help.

What is There to Fear?

If you read my last blog post you know I have been struggling physically the last few days. I thought things were looking up until I went for a follow up with primary care doctor today. The infection in my foot appeared to be getting better. However, upon closer examination the wound on my foot had a sneaky, little hole that was leading down to my bone. Through this hole poured some of the infection. What this means is yet another surgery tomorrow.

As I have gotten older I have begun to question just how much more my body can withstand. I’ve had over 30 procedures done in the 43 years I have been alive. It seems there isn’t a part of my body that has been left unscathed by a surgeon’s scalpel. I have seen large chunks of flesh removed from my body, my head has been shaved bald, and I’ve had muscles removed from one part of my body and transferred to another spot.

I’ve had some great doctors. I have also had some fairly incompetent ones. The nurses, on the other hand, have all been terrific. They are the ones who really know what is happening. I’ll ask a nurse something before I ask any doctor. A nurse, even if they don’t know the answer, can usually do some investigative work and get you the information you need. Plus, they clean up all of the messes!

I don’t mind having surgery. It is nothing that scares me. I’m confident in the doctor who is performing the surgery, so I know I am in capable hands. There are great nurses around as well. Likewise, I know prayers are already being spoken for me. Therefore, it is in God’s hands. What is there to fear? I just hope they ask me what kind of music I want to listen to as I drift off to sleep!

P.S. I had my first test for COVID-19 today. It felt like someone shot onion juice up into my sinuses, as my nostrils begin to sting and my eyes began to water! After that I feel like I can face anything.

If I Could Be Like Mike

Last night I finished watching “The Last Dance.” This is a documentary miniseries co-produced by ESPN Films and Netflix. This 10-part series centers on the career of Michael Jordan. In particular, the film focuses on Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls.

For those of you who may not know who Michael Jordan is, he was a professional basketball player who is considered by many to be the greatest to have ever played the game. He was a person that I idolized when I was younger. I was fortunate enough to meet him when I was 12 years old. This was a thrill of a lifetime.

Watching “The Last Dance” for me was a particular treat, as it brought back many of the memories that I have of watching the Chicago Bulls in the 1990’s. They were an exciting team to watch. I feel lucky to have seen them play live at the Chicago Stadium before it demolished in 1995. The stadium was aptly nicknamed “The Madhouse on Madison.” This is perhaps the loudest place I have ever been.

It held just a little over 18,000 people for basketball games, which is quite small compared to the stadiums of today. However, when the Bulls were playing the building shook as fans stomped their feet and roared with excitement. There were times when it seemed as if the place might just crumble into a heap as a result of the noise coming from the crowd. I relived some of this excitement as I watched “The Last Dance.” I also felt proud to be a fan once again.

Michael Jordan is human being. He has faults, as we all do. He has been criticized by some for his overly-competitive nature. It is true that he was cruel to some of his teammates and competitors. However, I appreciate the drive that he had. He sought perfection in everything that he did. This is something that I admire. It is a quality that I long to see in myself at times. I’d like to be driven enough to eat healthier, to exercise as I should, and to practice other habits that I know would improve my quality of life.

I am aware that it is unhealthy to compare yourself to others. However, I think we can look at others and learn from the examples they have set. Michael Jordan was focused on excellence in his professional life. He worked on improving his skills every day. This is something that I think we all can do. Jordan has not always been successful at everything he has tried. For instance, his foray into professional baseball lasted only a short time. Despite these failures, Michael Jordan never stopped striving to become better.

Despite his faults, Michael Jordan is someone that I look to as a hero. He played his sport to the best of his ability. Furthermore, he drove others to perform at their highest level. I find that inspiring.

Just a Little Vitreous Humor

This past Saturday my eyes started playing tricks on me. When I woke up I saw flashes of light in the corner of my left eye. These flashes were accompanied by floating specks and pin-point sized dots. Being the hypochondriac that I am, I thought perhaps I might be having a stroke. Despite this, I decided I’d wait to see if it would all just go away. Likewise, I consulted Google to see what my symptoms might mean.

I decided that I probably had a tear in my retina, or there was a chance that it was diabetic retinopathy. However, I tried to put these things out of my mind. I then spent the rest of the day on Saturday trying to rest my eyes as much as I could.

On Sunday, I woke up and the same flashes of light were there, as were the “floaters.” Again, I thought I’d wait another day to see if my symptoms would subside. However, by yesterday morning they had not. Well, the flashes of light had disappeared but the “floaters” were still present. This is when I decided I’d call my doctor. My doctor got me in almost right away.

Going to the doctor in the midst of a global pandemic is quite the experience. Obviously, you are required to wear a mask. After you fill out the paperwork they give you at reception, you are allowed to keep the pen. If I’d have known there was a free pen involved I’d have not hesitated for a second about scheduling an appointment. However, my favorite part of the day was the card I was handed before I sat down.

It looked like a flashcard that school children would use to practice their sight words. On the card was the word “dirty,” printed in nice block letters. I thought I smelled pretty good, but apparently not. Anyway, I was instructed to leave this card on my seat in the waiting room after I was called back for my exam. This was so the receptionist would be reminded to disinfect my seat.

Fortunately, nothing abnormal was detected during my exam. The doctor explained to me that the eye contains a jelly-like fluid called vitreous humor. This fluid fills the space between the lens and the retina in the eye. Apparently, as a person gets older the vitreous humour begins to liquify and shrink. The collagen and proteins that are present within the vitreous humor then become stringy and can begin to float around the eye. So, I basically found out I am becoming an old man who will see “floaters” in his eye for at least a little while.

Better still, I will be getting my first pair of bifocals in a few weeks. I am not sure how I feel about this. I am going to have a difficult time adjusting to them, I imagine. However, at least now I won’t have to take my glasses off to read things that are close to my face.

Hopefully, I won’t have to go to the doctor again anytime soon. Although, it might be a great way to start a new pen collection.

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