Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cholangitis? Update.

I recently received my second lab results and they were worse than the first. After crunching the numbers I did an online search.
Usually, I avoid this but elevated liver enzymes don't have any minor causes, or, to be more accurate, all the causes can result in death or severe damage.

Anyhow, I recently had the symptoms of Cholangitis, but without the jaundice. It can be caused by a bacterial infection or hiv itself (I ruled out an overseas parasite since I haven't been overseas for over 25 years).
I could be wrong, of course, but like I said, it fits the symptoms more than anything else I have read thus far.
Just asked Doc about it but I think he's gone until tomorrow.

An ultrasound is something that would confirm or rule it out but that's not until Aug. 19th.
Thing is, this stuff can move pretty fast from what I gather. If the symptoms worsen again I may go to Madigan or a civilian hospital, but right now the worst symptoms have subsided somewhat to more tolerable levels.

And this appears to be the least problematic thing I can have, unless I'm missing something. Hopefully, I'll hear from Doc tomorrow and go from there. In the event I hafta get it taken care of soon, I'm gonna see who will look after the dogs in the event I need to stay for surgery.

I know you guys have been prayin' for me and for thatI am most gratefull.

Update:
Finally got a few hours of sleep. Sorry for getting so neurotic.
Checked my e-mail and I saw that Doc had replied. He advised me to go to the nearest ER if any of my symptoms get worse again.
He suspects a gall-able culprit but I must get the ultrasound to find out for sure.
Therefor, I'll either get on on Aug. 19th, or if I go to the local ER, in the event I get really sick again.

Yeesh! I'll refrain from thinking about that drive, if it comes to it. No, I would call an ambulance. No way I can safely drive in that condition.

Thank God I'm now at peace.
Now at peace and ready to fight!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

RADAR Love

How's it goin' love? I said to Patti, without words.
I bet the music is really great up there, huh? You know, I can't believe how nervous I am about seeing Doc. I know I shouldn't be but still...
I sure do miss you Patti, but I'm glad you are finally free of all the pain you were in.

Heh. This brings to mind somethin' I heard in that show, Justified. I was watching the first season again and someone asked Raylan's Aunt Helen why she stayed with Arlo, Raylan's dad, who was usually doin' somethin' illegal, why the two of them stayed together since they argued so much.

She said, "We suffer well together."

Well, that got me to laughing. We sure suffered well together didn't we? I can't think of anyone I would rather suffer with, or love like I did with you Babe.
I know you'll think it's funny too. Can't believe I missed that exchange the first time I saw it.
How about a song? remember this one?

We still have our RADAR love don't we?

"Hi Doc, it's good to see you," I said, shaking Doc's hand.

"It's good to see you too, Ben. I'm doing good. How are you?" Doc asked.

"Well, I got some bad news. Patti died last month," I said, my voice breaking.
Damn, I didn't wanna cry again.

"What? Here, sit down. I'm so sorry, Ben," Doc said, taken aback.

Doc had talked to Patti a lot over the last 23 years, especially when I was hospitalized and dying. So he knew us both pretty well.

"Thank you Doc," I said, taking a deep breath. "Yeah, she died in her sleep according to the coroner, so I'm glad she wasn't in any great pain when it happened. We always thought I would be the first one to go but for reasons I can't fathom I'm still here."

"There are good reasons why you're still here, Ben I'm sure of that," Doc said. Patti was only 57?"

"Aye. She had some issues with the diabetes and the anxiety from the PTSD but nothin' major that we knew of. The ME couldn't find a COD so I won't know more until the blood test comes back and they said that could take up to 3 months. Even then the coroner said it might not give them a definitive COD," I replied.

"Yes, sometimes it's a mystery, or maybe it was just time for God to call her home," Doc said. "Don't let that get to you, okay?"

"Okay, you're right. The main thing is Patti's in a better place and I know she's finally full of peace and joy that's greater than anything we can experience down here," I said.

"She sure is," Duane said, "but I know it still hurts you because you two were so close."

"Aye. I can't say I was taking my meds religiously for awhile there. I'm I no hurry to die, but I was overwhelmed the first month, and I'm having all these very strong feelings, you know? I'm not used to this much all at once."

"That's understandable. It may take a year before you feel better about the feelings you're feeling as you process all the changes and the physical separation. That's normal. Ben, you know Patti would want you to take your meds," Doc said.

"Yes, I know," I said. "I know she would. I promise to take them every time I'm supposed to."

"Good, I'll renew all the meds for you so you don't have to call to get any renewed for awhile."

"Aye, that can be a pain. I can get on the VA's website but it never let's me do anything so I hafta call one of the nurses anyway," I said.

Duane rolled his eyes and said, "I hear that a lot. Do you still have my e-mail address?"

"No, I think I lost it awhile back."

"Here it is in case you have any problems," Doc said.

"Thanks Doc," I replied.

"Do you have any plans? Thinking about moving or anything?" Duane asked.

"Well, I'm definitely not moving to Phoenix," I said, smiling grimly.

"No, don't move there," Doc said shaking his head.

"I'm not gonna move until you retire at the very least," I said. "I tell everyone I'm really blessed that this VA is so good, with a top notch staff."

"Thanks. It's not easy when bureaucrats are in charge. Plan on doing any activities? Doc asked."

"Hmm, I have been looking for a place that rents horses to ride. Used to ride a lot when I was a kid. One of my friends was the son of a rancher," I replied. The places I have found are pretty steep though. 65 bucks an hour is way too high for me."

"That's a good idea! I know a guy in Ellensburg that has horses but that would be about a 4 to 5 hour drive for you, one way. I'll give him a call and see if he might know any horse owners a bit closer," Doc said. "Might not pan out but I'll give it a shot if you want."

"Thanks Doc! I don't mind payin' if it's more reasonable. Might take up some bowling as well. No pool though. I think it's best I stay away from bars," I said.

"Yes, you don't want to go to bars," Doc said, chuckling.

"Besides, trouble always finds me in those places. Some guy is a jerk or slaps his wife or girlfriend I can't simply not do anything. Patti used to say I was too chilvalrous," I said, laughing.

"I'm that way too," Doc replied, laughing. "So no bars."

"Right. Funny thing is I rarely see those troubles outside of bars. Been at least 27 years since I been in one and I don't miss 'em. Except for shooting pool that is. But I can find other stuff to do," I said.

"Good advice," Doc said. "How are you sleeping?" Doc asked.

"With my eyes closed as far as I know," I replied.

"Very funny, Ben. Isn't it time for your prostate exam?" Doc asked, grabbing some rubber gloves.

"You're pretty funny yourself, Doc. You are joking, right?" I asked.

"Okay, this one time I'll give you a pass but you are due for one next year," Doc said, smiling.

"Don't remind me. Seriously, don't remind me," I said.

"So you are sleeping I take it?" Doc asked.

"Aye, most the time. Maybe a few times a week I have trouble but that's it," I replied.

"Good. If you do have problems you know the drill," Doc said.

"Wilco, Doc. You got anything for unexpected emotions?" I asked, trying to smile.

"I wish I did. Do you have any friends? Nearby, I mean," Doc asked.

"No, not nearby but I got some great friends online. They helped me with their prayers and with Patti's funeral. We pray for each other often, and get together to discuss metaphysics, religion, philosophy and wherever there is truth to be found. I reckon you could say we are like a fraternity group too. We call ourselves raccoons," I said.

"Like the Royal Order of Raccoons in the Honeymooners?" Doc asked, smiling.

"Aye! Almost exactly like that!" I replied, laughing.

"Now that's the most interesting thing I have heard in quite awhile," Doc said, chuckling. "Here's your lab slip."

"Oh goody. I can't tell you how much I enjoy the lab waiting room," I deadpanned.

"You hang in there Ben, alright?" Doc said, hugging me.

"Thanks Doc, you too. I'll be okay," I replied.

"Take care," Doc said.

That went better than I was expecting. Don't know why I was nervous. Doc misses you, hon. I could tell. Like he said, I'm gonna hang in there. For you my love, Doc, my friends, and myself. "cause it's the right thing to do.
It's been good talkin' with you love. I feel better than I have for a long time. Talk to you later. Love you.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

You Make Me Feel...


Man, I love this song but how did they talk the lead singer into wearing that mickey mouse glove? Wonder who came up with that brilliant idea?

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers and helping with Patti's funeral bill, and for your condolences and wise cracks.
I know how awkward that can be, but you know, you have really been helpful to me.
Oh, I know it's virtually impossible to find the right words to say, but it's your heart I am hearing not so much the words. I'm happy to say your hearts are in the right place and are saying what the words cannot say!

This is no small thing, IMO. This is spirit to spirit communication, and it's chock full of truth, goodness and beauty!

Amidst the pain, my broken heart and sorrow, is this good and beautiful thing you all did, individually and together.
Awkwardness? No, what may have felt awkward has become something truly remarkable, because you didn't allow the awkwardness to stop you from being friends, brothers and sisters.
Instead of awkwardness you became blessings to me and in a language that cannot be constrained by words. That's the best kind I reckon!

Thank you! Thank you for the outpouring of love you have given me.
I realize some if not most of you guys wanna remain anonymous so I'll refrain from typing your names but I will never forget you or what you have done for me.
We are connected in a sense (I'm not gonna stalk you. Honest).

I do wanna give say thank you, Julie and Leslie for setting up Patti's funeral fund. This has helped immensely and, I'm glad to say I'm not in a deep financial hole because of your help.
And thank you, Bob for putting this up on your blog, and for a truly remarkable post that helped me more than I can describe.
Again, it was a mixture of the words and what was behind those words that touched my spirit.

Not just good intentions but right intentions through truth, beauty and goodness. A work of art in action!

I hope n' pray I may likewise be a help to any of you guys should the need arise or anyone else that may be in for some high seas.
There will never be a time from this point on, where I will worry about awkwardness in expressing love to others who are dealing with a death or some other tribulation.

Because the point ain't coming up with the right thing to say with mere word,s but with what's between and beyond those words.
I am truly blessed to count you all as friends in deed! :^)


Monday, June 30, 2014

My Best Friend

As you guys know, Patti passed a day before we had met 33 years ago.
Today, June 30th, 1981, we got married and began our adventure through life.

There was smooth sailin' and rough sailin', fair winds and storms, good times and not so good times, but I remember much more good times than bad.

Truly I can say this:
Patti is my best friend and she always had my back, stickin' with me through some hellacious storms, a few that were consequences of foolish choices I had made, yet she never wavered, never sought the easy way out, never quit believing in me, even when I didn't believe in my self.

Before Patti passed, she had gotten me a card for our anniversary. I chose not to open it until today. Just seemed like the right thing to do.
She didn't have the time to write anything on it, but she wouldn't have gotten it for me unless it said whatwas in her heart.

Seems also right to share it with you guys, who I consider good friends, brothers and sisters.

Our lives have taken us in so many different directions since we first became friends, and yet our friendship has remained a gentle bond that keeps us from drifting too far apart.

We've been there for each other in good times and bad, with support and sympathy, laughter, and love.

As I think about our friendship I realize it is one of the God given gifts I cherish most about my life...
And today, I just wanted to be sure you knew it, too.

Thanks Babe, and Happy Anniversary! I love you forever!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Gotta Read Between The Lines

When I was young I thought I knew what love was...until I met Patti. I'm still learning, of course, but my Love taught me so much more about love than I ever dreamed was possible.


Patti liked Bobby Darin, Connie Francis and those cheesy surfer flicks. I used to kid her about it but they made her smile and that was good enough for me. Besides, Patti loved the Three Stooges too, so her sense of humor was excellent although I think she got too many ideas from Moe. :^)

Patti always gave me a kiss when this song was playing. So naturally this was a song I listened to, a lot.

Lately love, well it hurts. But I know it's a good kind of hurt.

Ironically, because of love I am able to endure it.

And, hopefully, grow from it...





Monday, June 16, 2014

Dream


Last night, for the first time since Patti died, I had a dream.


The first thing I recall from this dream is how remarkedly vivid it was.
Usually, I know when I'm dreaming. But not last night. Not at first.

Vivid. It felt real and it looked real. It even smelled real. Super duper high def (without the download wait)!

At the beginning of the dream I'm walking down the hallway to our living room. When the entire living room and the kitchen (in between me and the living room) is in view I see her, sitting in her favorite chair!

I'm taken aback and I stop. Try as I might I cannot process what I am seeing adequately.

"Patti!" I shouted, a feeling of relief and joy overwhelming me.

My God can this be true?

I move forward, slowly, afraid to take my eyes off of Patti (not that I wanted to)!

Patti turns her head to look at me and smiles.

And my heart khips a beat in excitement!

Then the questions start. Questions I could've done without. At least for awhile longer.

Was I dreaming Patti's death and everything these last few weeks? Am I dreaming? This doesn't make sense.

And then I woke up.

I curse my mind for asking these questions snd tell it to "shut up! You fool!"

Tears flow from my eyes for a time and then I recall Patti's smile...which causes me to smile.

Thank you, Lord, I thought.

"I love you, Patti," I said, getting up to take the dogs out.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Riding My Blues...Aweigh

This song...definitely strikes a chord through my soul...right through the hole in my heart...and the whole in my heart.


Our daughters selected the perfect urn. Such incredible beauty! They get their artistic talents from Mom.

As is this candle holder and a more recent photo of Patti!
All three together, along with our children, our music and your prayers fills the hole in my heart into a whole again.

Grief n' joy. Joy n' grief.

The sun was shining...shining God's grace. The clouds are pouring...pouring God's grace.
And although I have lost my love, she is not lost. We are parted for now but not forever.
The seeds of love, planted within by our Father and nourished by Patti, continue to grow, by God's grace...
And my choice to be thankfull rather than bitter.

A choice that is easy for me to make, thanks to Patti and our wonderful children. And. of course, His Blood and Spirit.

We had a very poignant, joyfull service. We all shared good memories of Patti and we continue to learn from her example to never give up, no matter how painful it may be at times.

I was truly blessed beyond measure to have had the privilege and honor to be Patti's husband for 33 years.
She was an outstanding Mom, wife, sister, daughter and friend. She is my best friend and one, true love.
Thank you my love.
Patti's Memorial