Saturday, October 25, 2014

Above N' Beyond

Good to be home. So WTH happened? Well, this is kinda embarassing but here goes:

I was sprain some waterproof spray on my cowboy boots, this bein' the rainy season n' all. Everything was join' great 'til the heater clicked on.
See, I have one of those floor heaters that blow hot air out.

Now, I thought I was bein' careful. I read the warning label on the spray can. No sweat.
But the heater had other ideas, no doubt inspired by Murphy, of Murphy's Law fame.
The air blew as I was sprain' and as I felt the spray hit my face I automatically closed my eyes, which is a good thing cuz this stuff can really do a number on eyeballs.

However, I forgot to stop breathing' or wasn't fast enough and I got a good whiff.
Nothin' happened. Or so I thought.

Two hours later, Murphy's Law went into effect and I started coughing' so much I could barely catch my breath.
This wasn't like any cough I ever had. this went on for a few minutes and then stopped. But I could tell by trying' that I couldn't take a normal or deep breath without setting the coughing' fits.

So I breathed more shallowy. "Okay, no problem. This will heal on it's own, right?"
I got no answer. I felt a foreboding. I inhaled this stuff over two hours ago. Was it too late to go to the ER?
But like a fool I weathered it out.

Throughout the night I would have these coughing' fits then they would go away.
More foreboding filled my mind.

"okaaay...I'll get some sleep and hopefully, this will be gone by morning'."

0500, I awoke to the most violenty coughing' fit yet. It just wouldn't stop and I felt myself getting' weaker by the second. It felt like I was gonna die.

"Dammit! I'm a fool!" I thought, cuz I sure couldn't speak very well.
So I called 911 and managed, after awhile and with extreme focus to tell the 911 guy the who, where, what stuff.

Then I waited, and tried to remain calm...and prayed.
19 minutes later the ambulance arrived and my coughing' fit subsided.
"Oh great, now these guys will think I'm a hypochondriac or a nut."

I met the EMT's on my porch so the dogs couldn't run out and explained to them what happened.
One EMT guy advised me to go to the ER to make sure I was okay, but it was up to me if I wanted to stay home.
I didn't hafta think about it, I chose the ER.

I never rode in an ambulance so it was kinda cool. Although I didn't like vein' strapped down, but I let it slide.
When I got to the ER I explained again what had happened and I had brought the can so the ER docs would have more to work with.

They gave me a nebulizer treatment and steroids and I felt a lot better. About 80% better.
When my blood test came back it indicated I had an infection, perhaps unrelated to the spray. So they gave me some heavy duty antibiotics just to make sure.

Around 1130 a VA ambulance arrived and I was transferred to the Seattle VA. I didn't wanna go there but I didn't want more to pay for everything, so off I went.
it's really weird to see everything from the back of an ambulance.
Both the lady EMTS were really nice kids, around the age of my daughters.

So we got to Seattle VA and I was taken to the second floor, put into a room, where they tok more blood.
I was getting' a bit down when three beautiful lady doctors arrived to inform me they would be my doctors.
They were all very nice and humorous ladies.
I immediately felt remarkably better about the Seattle VA.

When the blood tests came back one of the beautiful, lady docs arrived to tell me my white cell count had gone down. Her theory was my white blood cells had reacted to my lungs vein' irritated by the spray, but to be sure she ordered another blood test the following morning'.
My x-ray had shown my lungs were clear and had no permanent damage.

Later that evenin'beautiful Doc 2 arrived to check on me, and to tell me she concurred with beautiful Doc 1 about my diagnosis.

Later still my nurse, Joe, asked me a bunch of questions they are required to ask. Am I suicidal? No.
Am I homicidal? Not yet.
How much do I drink? Good thing Skully ain't here, I thought.
Do i get depressed? "Aye, I get depressed sometimes. I was depressed when my wife passed away, but I'm okay now," I replied.

Joe offered a heartfelt condolence (I could tell) and I thanked him.
He asked me more questions, but to my relief he didn't ask if I had any guns.

Still later on I got a new nurse as the shift changed.
She was a very nice lady, looked to be Phillipino.
"I heard about your wife's passing and I'm very sorry," she said.

"Thank you, I replied, taken aback somewhat that Joe spilled the bean, but that didn't bother me.

She said a book helped her when she lost her husband and thought it could help me if I was interested.
She also had searched online for an excerpt from the book and printed it out for me to read.
I felt touched by her kindness and fought away some tears that were trying' to make a break for it. But a few escaped.

"Thank you," I managed to say.

"I hope this will help you," she replied, and left the room.

The next mornin' a different Beautiful Doc 3 arrived to tell me the good news. The third blood test showed that my white blood cells were back to normal. They were probably bummed out that there was nothin' to fight and whined about another drill.
I could go home, with the stern instruction from beautiful Doc 3 to go to the ER immediately if the coughing' resumed, or if I have any other symptoms, like coughing' up blood or pain in my lungs.

A bit later Beautiful Docs 1 and 2 arrived to wish me farewell, and to see if I had any questions. I thanked them for helping' me get better.
They also expressed their condolences at Patti's passing.
I thanked them again.

The EMT's, Docs, Nurses, janitor, everyone I met at Providence and the Seattle VA went above n' beyond their normal duties and I can't praise them enough for helping' me out. They were all great kids, close or right on to my daughter's ages.
They give me a renewed hope that their generation just might turn out to be good. Regardless, they were good.

That goes for you guys too!
Thank you for your prayers and kind words. I don't feel alone any longer and I feel good known' I can call y'all friends, brothers and sisters.
You truly have gone above n' beyond to help me, and I can't thank you enough (if I tried you might think I'm stalking you).

And a big thank you to Phil, my Guardian Angel! He's really rackin' up the OT, and I hope he get's a big reward when it's my time to go.
The Angelic Medal of Honor. Phil deserves it. He must be a special forces Guardian Angel because I can't imagine how hard it would be to be my Guardian Angel.

And thank you Lord Father for hearing our prayers and answering them. I feel humbled, honored, and most of all...Loved.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Soon, Hopefully

I got a post lined up but I still need to actually write it. I have been busy. Had to get new brakes and I think a tune-up is needed soon on the truck.
Catching up on cleaning now that I have more energy, mowed the lawn (hopefully for the last time this year), and trying to keep the clutter to a minimum.
Got more stuff I wanna give to the Visiting Nurses and Salvation Army or Catholic charity that gives clothes and stuff to those less fortunate than myself.

I also am now using Patti's Mac which is a bit different than the Ipad and more different still than the PC I had that burst into flames.
Did I mention that?, I guess I didn't. I dunno. Well, since I dunno I'll pretend I didn't.

It happened a few months before Patti passed away. I was talking to a tech guy because the computer was giving me problems and all of a sudden sparks and then flame shot out of the back of the hard drive.
I kept my cool, fortunately, and immediately unplugged it, then I snuffed the flame out with an old flannel shirt I had nearby.

"What did you do? Are you okay?" Patti asked.

I picked up the phone.

"Um, I gotta let you go," I said to the tech on the phone. "My computer just erupted in flames. Thanks for tour help."

"Seriously?" The tech asked.

"Yeah, it's fried. It's toast. Gotta go, bye." I replied, hanging up.

"I'm fine and I didn't do nothin'," I said to Patti.

"What happened?" She asked.

"I dunno. It just shorted out then it caught on fire. Probably made in China. Damn commies!" I exclaimed.

So Patti has let me use her Ipad since that happened, which is great, except it's difficult, time consuming or more time consuming and sometimes impossible for me to post the photos and/or videos I wanna post. The text is no problem. But the Mac should be able to handle the other stuff once I learn how.

In a way I'm glad I no longer have a pc because I have had nothin' but bad luck with them freezing up or blowin' up.
Not that it can't happen with a Mac, but Patti never had a problem with it at all.
Plus, I got so sick of the brazillion updates for the pc nearly every day and microsoft making anything that works right into somethin' much worse with those updates (Motto for microsoft: if it works fix it until it don't).

Anyways, I never hear about all these problems from Mac users. So I'm gonna give it a go.
I am very thankful I have this option.
Hopefully, soon I will get the new post up and be able to post more often. I really do wanna get back to the stories.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Breaking Point

I kinda feel like a wuss, but the pain from these gallstones has reached new heights so I'm headin' for the Madigan E.R..
Seems like
I used to tolerate pain better. Then again, maybe this is a sign. At any rate I ain't gonna take any chances.
Don't wanna get gallstoned outta my gourd.

I'm takin' my AyePad with me, so hopefully I can stay in touch from the hospital. I jest hope they don't screw up and amputate my legs or arms. Or worse.
If for some reason I don't make it I want you guys to know it's been an honor to know you and to be accepted as a Raccoon, and
i'll see you on the other side.
Chances are it will be okay, but you know what they say about chances: leave nothin' to it. So I won't.

Um, sorry to get all maudlin on you. I trust in God, so whatever happens will be okay.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Stoned Gall

Hi guys.
I finally know that I got Gall Stones, which will require a minor surgery to remove. Doc will set up a date and let me know when.

I am so thankful it's not a big deal. Thank you, my friends for your prayers and encouraging words.
Once I get this taken care of I will feel much better and get my appetite back.
Plus, I'll get to eat bacon again, can I hear a hallelujah?

I did lose 15 pounds and can now see the long lost six pack I thought had gone awol. While it's nice to lose that fat I don't recommend the gall stone diet.
Still, it's nice to see somethin' good come out of all that sufferin' those Gall Stone Cold Stoners put me through.

The lady who did the ultrasound was very nice. She likes dachsies too so we talked about our dogs, then she showed me all my internal organs which is kinda cool.
The VA is lucky to have such a cheerful, friendly ultrasound technician, and so are us veterans. She did a superb job.

My biggest surprise is that they can now heat up the jelly stuff they put on you. I was expecting cold jelly stuff 'cause that's always what I got before, but it's been years since my last ultrasound.
Warm jelly stuff is much better I think.

My thanks to God that this wasn't cancer or one of the other heavy hitters. And for warm jelly stuff. :)
When this is all over I'm gonna have me a nice cold one and raise my can to you guys for helpin' me through this.
Thank you.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

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.

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


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.