Sunday, December 21, 2008

Come Sail Away With Me

Chapter 23: Ain't nobody Leavin' this place without singin' the Blues

Damn. This is harder than I thought. Gainin' weight was a drag. Nothin' tastes good. I have no appetite whatsoever. How do I get past this? Gotta eat and get stronger.
Yeah, the answer was easy, but doin' it...well, that's another story. A story of deep heartache with hole to big to fill.
It ain't just my belly that's empty.

I took the drugs, and they made me sick. My body was repulsed by this toxic...poison. But I didn't stop. I knew full well what the alternative was. I just had to convince my body to accept this...poison. It wasn't gonna be easy. Hell, what is?

I read the long list of side effects for each drug. It took awhile. It's funny how the papers call these miracle drugs, I thought. They had no idea. They didn't hafta take 'em. It's so easy to have hope when you ain't the one that has to...aww hell!

Well ain't this great, I thought, chokin' down another ensure plus after throwin' up the first one. Would this one stay down? We'll see. This is so depressing. And when I get depressed I get despondent. I don't wanna do much of anything. I just wanted to escape. I was a spiritual quadraplegic.

Video games helped in more ways than one. Saving the princess again helped me regain my hand/eye coordination. Helped me focus. Gave me somethin' to do while I waited.
Waited. For what? It was so clear to me before, but was foggy and unclear.
I needed to gain strength, to gain weight. And I was so weak.

I threw up again. God...I am so depressed. This sucks! I shook as I wiped my mouth and blew my nose. I shook with...shame. Where is that can do spirit? Where is that warrior, ready, willin' n' able to fight? What in the hell is wrong with me?
Patti brought me a cold wash cloth. Bless her heart Lord, I thought, reaching for the wash cloth.

"Thanks," I said, trembling. I was shaken, to my core.

A deep concern etched Patti's face. She wanted so much to help me. I felt guilty for that. I didn't know what I would do without her. I wanted to take her concern away. She shouldn't worry, I thought, as she hugged me. Enduring this was just somethin' I had to do. But...I sure didn't feel motivated to throw my guts out and feel miserable. Quit bein' a baby! I told myself.
I smiled. A forced smile, in an attempt to show Patti I was okay. But she saw through my lyin' smile. Damn, I thought, reachin' for another ensure plus.

And so it went, day after day. Week after week. Month after month and year after year. I slowly gained in weight and strength. But depression was never too far away.
It was the 800 pound monkey on my back.
I had somehow managed to get to 140 pounds, and I hit a wall. Still better than 118, I thought, but short of my goal of 160-170.

I couldn't recall with clarity my purpose. All I knew was to live, to survive. But I knew there was much more than that. A much deeper purpose I had once known so clearly. How do I recover what I had once known so well? Somehow I had lost my purpose, that great gift God had given me.

Oh yes, I was rarin' to go when I saw my purpose, my Destiny. It was so beautiful, noble and full of Life! I was so ecstatic and filled with energy! I was so ready to battle my way to wherever God would lead me. I saw the chart of my soul! I knew who what and where I am and where I was goin'!

My oh my how the mighty Ben has fallen. Mighty...yeah, right. I'm not mighty. I'm a f*ckin' fraud, I thought. I ain't nothin'. Who was I to dream? What vision of mine matters? What damn meanin' will I ever have? No, I'm full of sh*t and I know it!
How in hell did this happen? Was it all a sham I dreamt up? A pathetic grasping of hope that was never there?

No. It was real. I know that much. I'm in a desert and I couldn't find a way out.
I needed desperately to find an Oasis. A place to recharge my soul. Inspiration.
My cynicism repulsed my self. I was tired. Sick n' tired of bein' sick n' tired.
I felt like a petulant teenager and I was filled with shame n' guilt. And...I felt worthless.

I remember that day so well. I had spent all night playin' vedeo games and when I stopped, I turned on Fox news. Just in time to see a jet airliner crash into the World Trade Center! What the hell? Immediately I knew it was terrorists. That's the only thing that made sense. Tom Clancy had written about a similar tactic in a book years before, only that pilot crashed into Congress.

And then, another plane hit the other tower. My heart jumped. My God! All those people! Please help them, I prayed. We are at war, I realized. The Pentagon was hit too, and I knew the white House and Congress were probly next. Whoever was behind this was evil incarnate! I suspected the only terrorists that had been committing homicide bombings, the radical Muslims. Perhaps the Palestinians. They did this to Israel all the time.

Then the unthinkable happened. The World Trade Center fell! Oh my God! I felt a deep sadness for all those folks, all those firemen and cops, all the military at the Pentagon, all those workers...and I felt a burning anger at those responsible for this craven and cowardly attack. I wanted nothin' more than to bring justice down on their God damned heads!

But the Navy would never take me back in my condition. It hurt so much not bein' able to fight the scum of the help wipe out these evil bastards. I knew every Veteran felt the same way I did, as well as many Patriots.

I was pissed when I heard a few pansies makin' excuses for the terrorists cowards!
It was a good thing I wasn't anywhere near these punks, and I wondered how the reporters could hold back whuppin' their candy asses. Parasites is what they are, I thought. Parasites on liberty. They have no f*ckin' problem taking advantage of the liberties they ain't never fought for, in the flesh or at the voting booths. And then they spit on everything America stands for and kiss the asses of God damned evil sons of bitches?! Tar n' feather the bastards and send them to Iran! That's what I would do if I could.

9/11 fired me up, but I was still depressed. I still didn't know what to do, or where to go. I prayed and I did my best. My best was never good enough, however.
It wasn't self pity so much, as it was the truth. Deep down I knew this time in the wilderness would end, but then what?

In 2003 Patti got a WebTV thingy. It was sorta like a computer but it was very slow and very limited. She talked me into playin' chess again online. At first, I balked, but I soon caved and started playin'.
I made some good friends over time. It was a place called and I made friends in Norway, Austria, and Tennessee.

Over time I heard of a place called from another player, and I liked that site better. I played primarily chess, but they had many other games like backgammon, checkers, grabble, battleship, and many, many more. They also had discussion boards, including politics and religion. Ha ha! Uh oh. When I read some of the leftists posting there I hadta respond.
Then there was an atheist spouting off at the religion board. I went after him too.
That was fun, but it soon got kinda old as well. I recall one conservative leavin' links to other conservative sites. Dr. Sanity really caught my attention, so I went there.

It took so long to load but man was it worth it. Dr. Sanity made so much sense! She explained many things I had always wondered about and answered so many of my questions. So that's why those lib's do that. What a treasure Dr, Sanity is, I thought, eagerly reading her posts.

It was a lot of fun to comment there, and I learned a lot about how our minds function. This was the very first positive experience I had with a psychiatrist.
Many times I wished I could see her personally. She would be able to help me find my purpose again, I thought. But I decided to be polite and courteous. I knew she couldn't help me directly online, and I wasn't about to take advantage of her and ask the many burnin' questions in my mind. That would be uncouth and just...wrong.
Besides, I was learnin' a lot about my self through her posts.

Eventually, I checked out some of the links on her sidebar. Hmmm. Ace of Spades was pretty cool and funny. I enjoyed Blackfive, hearing from Veterans the truth about Afghanistan and Iraq. Oh here's one...Shrinkwrapped. That sounded promising.
I had no idea how promising.

Shrinkwrapped was a bit different from Dr. Sanity but I liked him. He had good, meaty posts. And there was this one commenter, Gagdad Bob. I couldn't peg that guy.
His comments were...thoughtful, and compelling at times. That is, when I understood him. Ha ha! He was funny, too! I liked his puns and jokes about Palestinians.
I found myself reading all of his comments. What a keen mind! I thought.

It wasn't long before Gagdad started his own blog, and I followed the link Shrinkwrapped so generously provided.
What's this? I thought, readin' Gagdad's first posts. Some of it made sense, some, sounded new agey, but no, new agers don't believe in absolutes! The comments from Will, Sal, Gumshoe, Lisa, and others was usually above my head. Thankfully, I didn't comment much, 'cause I knew I was the ignoramus here.
Some posts were easier than others to comprehend, at least partially.

Sometimes, Gagdad would write somethin' totally off the wall! So I would leave for a few days. But I always felt compelled to come back. Who in the hell is Petey? I wondered. I stuck with Gagdad, and I looked up the definition of a brazillion words. Some of them weren't in the dictionary. Oh, I see. He's makin' up words to better explain what I have no idea about.

There was this one lady, she was Catholic, very cheery. But one day Gagdad quoted Schuon and she went ballistic! Bob was gracious but she left never to return.
Sad, I thought. I saw nothin' wrong with Schuon, personally. What I could understand anyway.

Gagdad stressed absolute Truth and that is what hooked me. Well, that and his great sense of humor and command of language. He wrote stuff I knew I was thinkin' but could never put in words. How does he do that? I thought.

I recognized that Bob was...special. Touched in the head (in a good way). A freakin' genius! So I devoured his posts, sometimes spendin' several hours readin' and rereadin' them. Includin' the comments. My questions and answers were in there, I knew. This is what Religion should be. Challenging. Inspiring me to think, ponder, contemplate and pray.

I made more good friends, such as Jimmy J., over at ShrinkWrapped. His comments were so filled with truth n' wisdom and I always enjoyed talkin' to him, and learnin' from him. We soon started
e-mailing each other and Jim sent me his book, which was very good! I learnt a lot from The Life of Walter.

Before I knew it my depression was gone. I rarely played video games again, because interacting with such good friends, Masters and Sages, invigorated me! I was...spellbound, you might say. Spellbound to Truth. That was certainly part of my purpose, Truth. I was on the right trail, and I knew my journey would soon lead me back to my purpose.

Then came the day. I'm not sure how it happened. I believe I had said somethin' about my poor health, and Bob e-mailed me, askin' what was ailin' me.
It took me awhile to respond. This wasn't somethin' you just tell anyone. But I knew I could tust Bob, so I told him, "I got AIDS."

"Oh." Bob said. He seemed surprised, but it's hard to tell by e-mail. But that didn't scare him off. Later, when I started tellin' my stories, I asked Bob if I should mention the AIDS. My question was more about the timing, actually, because I realized I couldn't tell my story without mentioning AIDS. I wanted to wait until my readers go to know me a bit before I dropped the A-bomb.

Now, the stories. Yes, that was definitely a scary thing at first. Bob had been talkin' about O-->(k) and O-->(n). IOW's God inspired gnoledge n' Nous (wisdom).
The experience and realization through experience of it. That's how we really gno.

So Bob, he basically leaves the door open for his readers, us Raccoons, to respond in the manner we are inspired.
That's when it hit me! My purpose. Tell the story. Tell the stories. Oh God, I was so scared! Trembling, I typed my first story, wingin' it. Improv all the way. I just let it flow. When I was finished I trepidly pushed the publish button.

Then I waited. And waited. And waited. Oh sh*t! I'm such an idiot! I thought. Who am I kiddin'? No one is gonna like my stories. Why oh why did I do that? They're gonna think I'm a moron!

That's the way faith is. You make the leap and pray to God you don't look too foolish. I had a feelin' I knew I was probably overreacting but I was caught up in the drama. Why is this taking so long? I wondered. The scene would play out, one way or another. The final act was about to unveil.

It don't matter what they think, a voice said. Yes it does! This ain't Ace of Spades where the expect moronery! I thought.
You really need to learn how to relax, the voice said. Easy for you to say, I muttered.

What's the worse that can happen? I wondered. No, I didn't wanna go down that road. God! I'm so pathetic sometimes!
That's okay. I won't hold it against you, the voice said.
Why did this mean so much? Because I respected the Raccoons so much. What they think means a lot to me. More than my blood relatives even.

That's the way faith works. You make an informed leap, but you can't gno what's on the other side, said the voice. That defeats the purpose.
Okay, I get that, I replied. But why is it so suspenseful?
What you don't like suspense and drama?
Well...yeah, I like it, but still...
Oh, forget it.
I can't.
Why didn't you stop me?
Stop you? I inspired you!
Oh. Right. Can you give me a hint? Thumbs up or down?
Are you asking for my opinion?
You need a lifetime of work.
What does that mean? It's bad?
You realize this is ego driven, don't you?
Yeah, you need to quite lettin' your ego get you all riled up.
You didn't answer my question.
Yes I did.
Who inspired you to make that leap?
Ohh. Sorry...and...thanks.
'Salright. You're new at this.

I hiyt the refresh button again, and finally, the comments appeared. it? I was in shock. A good shock.
Yes, they do, said the voice, smiling.
Oh my God! That is so cool! Thank you!
You're welcome. Now get started on another chapter.

Tommy James and the Shondells
Sweet Cherry Wine (Alterated by me)

Come on everyone we gotta get together now
Oh yeah, love's the only thing that matters anyhow
And the beauty of life can only survive
If we love one another

Oh yeah yesterday my friends were marching out to war
Oh yeah listen now we'll keep a marching evermore
Yeah we are gonna fight
Now God sure has the right
To decide who's to live and die

He gave us sweet cherry wine
so very fine
Drink it right down, pass it all around
So stimulating, so intoxicating
Sweet cherry wine
To open your mind
And everybody's gonna feel so fine
Drinking sweet cherry wine
Yes they will

Watch the mountain turn
To dust and glow away
Oh Lord, you know there's got to be a better way
And the old masquerade is a no soul parade
Marchin' through the ruins of time
To save us He gave us sweet cherry wine

Sweet cherry wine, so very fine
Drink it right down
Pass it all around
So stimulating, so intoxicating

Sweet cherry wine
Drink it with your brother
Trust in one another, yeah, yeah
He gave us sweet cherry wine
Sweet cherry wine
Drink it right down
Pass it all around
People don't you know the cup is running over
Sweet cherry wine

Come Sail Away

I'm sailing away, set an open course for the virgin sea
'Cause I've got to be free, free to face the life that's ahead of me
On board I'm the captain so climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow, on every shore
And I'll try oh Lord I'll try, to carry on

I look to the sea, reflections in the waves spark my memory
Some happy some sad
I think of childhood friends, and the dreams we had
We live happily forever, so the story goes
But somehow we missed out, on that pot of gold
But we'll try best that we can, to carry on

A gathering of angels appeared above my head
They sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said
They said come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me

I thought that they were angels but to my surprise
They climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies
Singing come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The River Will Flow

Chapter 21- Pain Is My Friend

Father...I focused as much as I could, cryin' out to God. Now would be a good time to fix this, I prayed. My bladder is gonna blow up! And I was pretty sure it was irreplacable.

Yeah, like God couldn't hear me, I thought, wrapping my arms around my abdomen, tryin' to get just a moment of relief from the intense pain. Besides my bladder, my stomach muscles were screamin' as well. Maybe I'm gettin' a hernia, I thought.

Everytime I thought it couldn't possibly get worse...well, of course it got worse.
Throughout all the silent screams of agony within my body n' mind, I could...sense a voice sayin'...somethin'. But it was too faint to make out.

Quiet! I silently ordered my body n' mind. What? Please! Speak up, Lord. Too much ambient noise. I couldn't make it out. I tried to single out the voice and increase the gain...the volume... ... O c'mon! Give me a break! I beseeched.

How long this went on I couldn't say. My sense of time was simply gone. There was only now. Right now. Here. Now. I tried to relax, to receive the signal, to get the bearing...and my bearings. It was a bit louder...wha? Shh! ... ... nothin'.

Okay, not quite nothin'. I knew one thing, I hadta quiet my mind, my body and my soul. Ha! Yes, of course. I knew that but how, Lord? I asked. But there was no answer. Because...I already knew the answer. I had to beat the pain. It wasn't enough I wasn't screamin' on the outside. I had to overcome the screamin' on the inside. I had to embrace the agony which meant...which meant...huh? I gotta what?!
Is this a joke?! I asked. Am I goin' nuts? Crazy? Insane?!

I almost laughed out loud. As it was I stifled it, glad that Crystal couldn't see my face, 'cause it was turnin' red from the hilarity of my realization.
This has nothin' to do with my bladder, I thought, encouraged, knowin' I was on the right track.

My bladder flared up again, and I stifled more laughter. I was positive it would sound utterly try explainin' that, I thought, with a big grin on my face.

Okay, I gotta be serious and fight this thing...the pain overwhelmed me and I damn near passed out.
No! I thought. I can't do it that way. Dummy! Back to the in...sanity.

The laughter erupted and I no longer cared to attempt hiding it. "Bwahahahaha! Hee hee! Hahaha!"

"What is it Dad?" Crystal asked, an unsure grin on her face.

I tried to answer, but the laughter continued. Ow! The laughing was hurtin' my stomach muscles! It also increased the pain of my bladder! Normally, I might have pondered this predicament. Instead I found it incredibly funny! Among the funniest I ever encountered!
There was no simple explanation for it. I couldn't explain it with mere words. But it sure made perfect sense at that moment!

Finally, my laughter subsided like a tide, but the see salt of humor remained on the shores of my psyche. A supernatural calm radiated from within me, and clarity followed, ridin' in...sanity. I chuckled at that.

It wasn't words I had heard. Not exactly. It was a song. A familiar song I was sure I knew but I couldn't reacall ever hearin' it anywhere. Radio? No. LP's, tapes, cd's? No. Concerts? No. Church? No. But I knew it! How is this possible? I wondered.
I had clarity but I didn't know everything, I realized, laughin'.
All I knew was I knew this song, and it...was mine?! Yes, it was! Now my mind was racin' with more questions. Ha ha! Everytime I got an answer, more questions popped up! And it was so immensely funny!

The pain got worse, but it had lost it's bite, because now it was only physical pain. My soul was...pain free. No! Free from pain! No! I focused...liberated from the bad effects of that pain. It was still there but I could use it. Embrace it! Now this is funny! I thought.
Damn! That hurts! And it has power over me. Ha! can help me! If I sing my song right, I grinned, involuntarily cringing from the pain.

Now it was easy not to scream. I had sensed much of this mystery before, but I had never gone all the way with it. It was only when I embraced the pain...the humor...the in...sane...the revelation! That I had begun to realize how to continue my journey. And fullfill my...purpose.

Pain played at the periphery of my conciousness as I delved deeper, burnin' me...the old me that remained on the surface. Aye, Holy fire accompanied the pain. Sounds crazy, I know, but trust me, if you choose to, you too can be burned, ha ha ha!
But it wasn't crazy. I wanted the old me to be burned away, so I could...grow!
Pain was a small do I put this in words?! I wondered.

"Hi, I'm Brian, your nurse. How are you doing?" Brian asked, briskly walking into my curtained "room."

"Great!" I said, cheerfully. "Where's Doc Hsu?" I asked.

"She had a code to go to, so she sent me. Traffic accident. Looks pretty bad," Brian said, solemnly. "Anyway, are you ready to get out of here?" He asked.

"You mean like leave and go home?" I replied.

"Yep! I'll have you fixed up in a jif!" Brian exclaimed, grabbing a portable urinal container from a cupboard.

"What is the diagnosis?" I asked, smiling. At least it's not major, I thought, thanking Father.

"This right here," Brian said, pointing to the tube protruding from my penis.
"You see, I saw the x-ray pics and the tube wasn't inserted all the way. It was put in wrong. Wanna see the x-rays?" He asked.

Actually, I did, but I didn't wanna keep Crystal any longer than necessary. Besides, I could picture it in my mind.

"No, that's okay, but thanks anyway. So, are you gonna push it in the rest of the way or take it out?" I asked, pointing to the tube.

"I'm going to pull it out. It's been in too long, and you are at risk of an infection. If you can't pee after I take it out, I'll put a new one in, sound like a plan?" Brian asked.

"Roger that!" I exclaimed. "Crystal?" I asked. It wasn't like she hadn't already seen me nekkid for hours, helpin' me get through the day, but still...

"I'll be outside the curtain, Dad," she said, smiling.

"Here," Brian said, handing me the urine container. "Use this if you gotta go."

"No problem," I replied. The narcotics I was receiving had made it difficult to pee, and sometimes I couldn't pee at all, which was part of the reason for the urine bag. That, and until recently, I couldn't walk.

Brian slowly pulled the tube out and quickly moved back. I stood up and voila! The pee flowed like the mighty mississip! Old man river, keep on rollin' kinda flowin'!
Ha ha! Wow! Whatta relief! This was like...paradise! Well, sorta. I never knew that peein' could feel so good! However, I wasn't eager to repeat the experience.

"Um, Brian?" I asked, pointing to the container which was rapidly filling up.

"Whoa! You were full, weren't you?" Brian replied, grabbing another container and setting it on the gurney.

I finished the first container and quickly grabbed the second, without spillin' a drop! Oh you're good Conrad, I thought, smilin'.
The river of urine continued to rush out, showin' no sign of slowing down. It wasn't long until I was close to topping off the second container!

"Brian?" I asked.

"Damn! I think you're going to break the record!" Brian exclaimed, getting another container.

I switched to the third container, again, without any hazardous waste spill, and the river started subsiding to a creek. Finally, it slowed to a stream and the last trickled out. Two and a half containers! It was difficult to see how my bladder could've held all that without burstin'!

"That's one strong bladder you got there. I'm amazed it held up with that much in it," Brian said.

"Me too," I replied. "I had some help. My daughter and Him," I continued, pointing up.

"I hear that," Brian said, smiling. "You must be rarin' to go. I'll go get the paperwork ready, okay?"

"Sure. So, the visiting nurse put the tube in wrong?" I asked.

"Yeah, it was about six inches too short. A really stupid mistake," Brian said, shaking his head. "You should say something to her supervisor. She obviously needs more training. I'm serious, Dude. You could have gotten some major damage. Do you know the nurses rank?"

"Yes, she's an RN," I replied.

Brian shook his head again. "No way an RN should ever, ever make a mistake like that!" he said, a hint of anger flashing in his eyes as he left the room.

"You can come in now Crystal," I said. It was only now that I noticed my throat was very dry.

I hadn't drank anything since early that mornin'. I looked at the clock and did a doubletake. We had been here eight hours! It was a little past 1600 (4 pm).

"Hey Crys, wanna go get us a few sodas?" I asked.

"Sure, Dad. What do you want?" Crystal repled.

"I'll have a root beer or coke," I said with a lot of anticipation. My stomach picked that moment to growl so loud that we both heard it. We both laughed at the same moment after makin' eye contact.
"I reckon we should stop for some somethin' to eat when we get outta here," I said.

"And we better call Mom," Crystal said, before goin' on a coke run.

"Right! Gotta call Mom!" I repeated. She's probably worried sick, I thought. She knew it would take awhile to be seen and treated, but she would still worry. I hadta wait until I left ER first, though, since cell phones weren't allowed to be used there.

Crystal returned with my root beer and she had a mountain dew. I quickly popped open the can and drank. Root beer tastes better when you're parched! I forced myself to slow down. No use gettin' a brain freeze, I thought.

"Thanks Crys!" I said. A loud burp escaped right after I thanked her, "buurrp!"
Crystal burped at the exact same time, "buurrp!"
We both laughed, as quietly as possible.

"Shhh," I said, burping again, and we both lost it.

The curtain whisked open and a doctor stood there. A Colonel, I noted.

"Everything okay in here?" He asked, gruffly.

"Yes sir," I said, burping again. Oh crap! I thought. Crystal laughed again, turning red. "Excuse me, sir," I muttered, tryin' my level best not to laugh. Then I started hiccuping! Oh no! Not now!

The Colonel looked at me, then Crystal, who was still cracking up, and back to me.
"You been drinking?" He asked, his eyes narrowing.

"N-no, hiccup! Sir," I said. "Hiccup!" Oh that'll convince him, I thought, as Crystal really lost it.

"Try to keep it down kids, capisce?" He said.

"Aye aye, hiccup! Sir!" I said, my hand over my mouth. "Hiccup!" Crystal waved, still laughing.
I thought that maybe, just maybe, I saw a very faint smile on the Colonel's face before he left, but I couldn't say for sure.

"Navy. I should of known," I heard the Colonel mutter.

"Are hiccup! you okay?" I asked, smiling. Crystal nodded, still laughing with her hand over her mouth. Her face beet red.

When she calmed down she said, "you should've seen your face when you burped and hiccuped!" And off she went, laughin' again. I laughed too. That Colonel looked soo serious and puzzled at first. And it was funny, watchin' my daughter laugh so hard.

"Here we go! Just need you to sign..," Brian said, stopping as he saw us laughing.
"What did I miss?" He asked, smiling.

"My Dad...ha ha ha!" Crystal tried to explain.

"We had an encounter, hiccup! with a Colonel," I said, and the burps wouldn't stop. Hiccup!"

"Ookaay. You better lay off that root beer," Brian said, chuckling.

I signed the release form and between hiccups I thanked Brian, and asked him to please thank Doc Hsu. Then we rushed out of there, me hiccuping and Crystal tryin' not to laugh.

There inside my dream
I heard the river roar
I stumbled through the darkened mist
But I couldn't find the shore

Then a voice within the mist said,
"Tell me what do you seek?"
I said, "I have a mighty thirst,
but I feel so tired and weak"

He said, "I am the river
full of power and truth
you've been looking outside yourself
when it's there inside of you"

And the river will flow
The river will flow
Through all of the times of your life
The river will flow

And the river is love
The river is peace
And the river will flow through the hearts
of those who believe

So put your hands in mine
Oh, put your hands in mine
And let us all go down
And kneel by the river's side

We'll cry our tears of joy
Cry our tears of pain
We'll let them fall down from our eyes
to be washed in the sacred stream

Even the secret tears
Buried in our memories
Let them all be swept away
to the depths of the endless sea

And the river will flow
The river will flow
Through all of the times of your life
The river will flow

And the river is love
The river is peace
And the river will flow through the hearts
of those who believe

Whiteheart- The River Will Flow

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Introducing my Lady, Patti Ann. She whom completes me. She's my best friend. She has seen me at my best and at my worst, and still she loves me. She loves me when I can't or won't.
Why? Hell if I know.

There have been times I didn't want her to love me. Times I knew I didn't deserve this Lady. Times i was hedonistic and times I was...shattered. But she loved me regardless. She healed my broken heart with her broken heart. the heart I broke.
She forgave me though, and continued to love me. Trust eventually returned as well.
That's a complete love. A perfect love that only comes from Spirit and spirit.

Patti knew this one thing throughout our 27 years of marriage; throughout all the good n' bad times, mostly bad and tragic: I would die for her and our children without thinking. The duty of every husband, if it came down to that. Chivalry. Honor.

And yet I dirtied my honor and betrayed my love, our marriage, betrayed myself, and betrayed God.
And still, my love would not stop lovin' me. I didn't deserve a love like this, I thought, countless times. But thankfully, I couldn't stop it.

How perfect. It took me several years to realize, although I already knew, the perfect love of my Patti Ann.
My how we have changed, but our love has endured and continues to grow. Our love has become more pure, and Godly. We understand each other (most the time) without even talking.
Thank you, Patti Ann.

Patti is the best Mother and Wife I ever knew. So many times my eyes have watered up as I saw this Beautiful Lady love our children. And they knew they were loved by Mom. They could always trust Mom. And as teenagers they knew they couldn't fool Mom, ha ha!

Guys, there here are a few things I have learned:
There are times your girl just wants you to listen...and she doesn't want solutions.
There are times she just wants you to hold her, and protect her with your undivided attention.
There are times she won't make any sense at all. Smile and accept it.
There are tmes she wants romance. Remember to tell her she's beautiful, often.
Tell her why you love her. Show your love; do the dishes and sweep the floor without bein' asked.
Never stop bein' a man. She may be angry at times but she wants you to be a man.
A strong, honorable, chivalrous man. A man that can say no, but a man who does so outta love.
Be a man she can be proud of. A mans man. Tough n' cool, and not a wimpy fool.
Manly leadership. That's an awesome responsibility, guys. Don't let your Love down.
Don't forget to serve n' protect her. 'Cause if you can't serve you can't lead.
A human man, as God meant. Yea, a Godly man. That's what wives want.

Aye! I would die for you my Love, and I gno she would die for me. We understood that from the beginning. Now we're fillin' in the blanks, so to speak. It's a challenge to be sure, but I can't think of anyone else I would rather be with as we continue to conquer that which isn't love n' truth with Love n' Truth between each other.

How is your love perfect? Some may ask. If you don't know you ain't been listenin' to me.
Here's a hint: my love ain't perfect. Patti's love ain't perfect. But our love is perfect.

As Robin so beautifully says:

my love ain't perfect
and my love's love ain't perfect
but our love - perfect
(Thanks DoJo!)

Ho! Perfect! We have a blessed marriage, thanks be to God! It doesn't get any better than that. Truly, I'm the luckiest and most blessed man alive. :^)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Return Me To My Ship

Chapter 20 (I think) I can't do this by myself no more

I woke up in my hospital bed and I experienced somethin' I had never experienced before. It felt like my bladder was gonna burst. I'm not talkin' about drinkin' too much grog and havin' to wait for an empty urinal at a bar kinda burst, I'm talkin' about a literally gonna blow-up.
I checked the urine bag, as I was sporting a catheter and there was nothin' in there.
Hmm. Nothin' sine yesterday at around noon, when the visiting nurse had changed it.
Not good, I thought. Damn, this hurts!

I looked at the clock and it read 0930. My eyes turned towards the kitchen, where my wife was fixin' coffee.

"Good morning," She said, cheerfully. "How do you feel?" Patti asked.

"Well, okay, except it feels likew my bladder is gonna burst," I said, smilin' grimly.

Patti walked in and looked at my urine bag, concern etched on her lovely face.

"You might have a bladder infection," she said, checking the connection to the tube and checking for leaks.

I remembered when several weeks ago, the visiting nurse insered the catheter. I must've been red with embarrassment, and, thankfully, it was quick. I prayed the entire time, because I was afraid of gettin' aroused.
I know, it's funny, but I was terrified that would happen. I thanked God when it didn't.

"This will hurt," the nurse had said.

But it was nothin' compared to everything else that was attacking my body. In fact, it was more a relief.

"The nurse should be here soon. Let's see what she says," I offered.

"Okay, but if it gets to bad you're going to have to go to the E.R.," She said, looking at me, as if I would decline and she would brook no protest.

Like most folks, I reckon, I hated goin' to the doc unless it was absolutely necessary. I liked my doc, but I didn't enjoy the long trip or most of the tests I had to take. Because most of the tests were invasive.
Besides, in this case I would hafta go to MAMC, Madigan Army Medical Center, and not the VA. 'Cause this, I was sure, was an emergency. I would hafta see a different doc, a long wait (longer than the VA), and someone not familiar with my history (although they could read the three inch think record (vol. 1) and the equally thick vol. 2. Yeah, that shouldn't take long, I thought.

"No...problemo," I said, wincing from the building pain.

Patti looked at me with more concern. She knew it must be bad if I agreed so readily.

A half hour later the visiting nurse showed up and Patti told her my symptons, pointing to the empty urine bag.

The nurse checked the connections, like Patti had done.

"Are you in pain?" She asked.

Does a bear sh*t in the woods? I almost said.

"Yeah. A lot," I said.

"Where does it hurt?" She asked.

"Right here," I said, pointing to my bladder.

She pushed on my bladder and I clenched my fists, resisting the urge to punch her lights out and scream.

"What...part you not...understand?" I rasped.

"I think you should see a doctor," the nurse said, ignoring my question.

Gee, ya think? I wanted to say.

So it was decided. Patti helped me get up and put my clothes on, which was harder than I thought with the stupid urine bag. Plus, moving made the pain worse.
I was still very weak, weighing only 118 pounds. More than 50 pounds less than my usual weight.

I had been exercising since my brush with death, but recovery was slow. Real slow.
Gainin' weight for me had always been difficult. It was even harder when my tastebuds were covered with candida, everything tasted bad, and mild to severe nausea from the dozen or so pills I was takin'.

Huh. The pills. There is a story behind that. You see, I had a problem takin' pills.
Especially the AIDS pills. Time after time I would try them, everytime new ones came out.
And time after time I would get sick as a dog who ate bad fish. Then I would refuse to take 'em.

When I was gettin' close to death my doc had a talk with me.

"Damnit, Ben you have to take the AIDS meds or you will die!" Doc exclaimed, angrily. "This isn't a game, you will die! Do you understand?" Doc continued, a deep concern in his eyes.

"Y-yeah, I read you Doc," I said, stunned.

I had thought my faith in God would sustain me. I really believed. Is there somethin' wrong with my faith? I wondered. I didn't believe in the 'name it claim it' preachin', but I did believe that God could heal us if we had enough faith.
I still believe God can heal, for he has healed me. Just not in ways I might want, but spiritually...yes, I am healed.

"Look, I know this stuff makes you sick, but you got to tough it out, Ben. The alternative is death, and I don't want to see you die," Doc said.

My religion at the time, Pentacostal, was basically shattered in my mind. Just like that. Not everything I had learned, but a lot of the basic concepts. I was shaken.
My faith was shaken, and I was at a crossroads I had tried to avoid...with my faith.
It was easy to believe that God would simply answer my way and everything would be hunkydory if I believed hard enough.

No, not by my power. In fact, I rarely prayed for myself. Your will not mine, Lord.
It was a paradox of my own creation. Heal. What's that really mean? I knew my soul was, in the process of healing. It depended on my choices. I had to work it out by what? By learnin' what God is really tellin' me?

Then a new thought occurred to me: my faith could not trump reality...the truth.
And this is reality, I thought. I will hafta reexamine my faith, my beliefs.
Bitterness and a denial or hatred of God was not an option. Any problems was my fault, not God's. And sometimes, sh*t just happened.
I'm runnin' outta churches to try, I mused. It wasn't...enough.

How nice it would be if I was merely satisfied with not enough. I mean, I was grateful, but I wasn't growin' no more. And I knew I ought to be growin'. I hungered for more truth. Truth is eternal, isn't it? Truth is God, and I should grow in God eternally, right? If I stop growin' I stop livin' and when I stop livin' I die.

All the churches I had been to, readin' the Bible several times, studyin' to know God's Word, prayer, Communion n' Eucharist, I still didn't know...I am a fool.
What am I doin' wrong? What am I missin'? I hadta find out. I would keep searchin' for the God, my God...the Truth I knew was there...where? Somewhere. It felt close.

"I'll take 'em Doc," I said, "come hell or highwater." And I'll keep searchin'.

"Thanks Ben," Doc smiled. "And we're going to work on getting you fattened up.
I know you can do this," Doc continued, starin' me in the eyes.

He believes in me, I thought. Damn, he's puttin' all the pressure on me! And...and what? I'm gonna whine about it? Hell no. I respected Doc. He was more than my Doc he was my friend. He saw reality, and he's tryin' to show it to me.

"Aye," I answered. "I can...I will do this, Doc." I smiled.

I had to. Life or death, ain't that hard to choose, I thought. Well, it was harder than I thought when death hit the fan, but I got the message.

"I'll take Dad," Crystal, my oldest daughter offered.

Patti hadn't been feelin' well, so I thought this was a good idea.

"Yeah, you stay home and rest," I said. "You need a break. I'll be okay," I smiled.

"You better call me if you have to stay," Patti said, givin' me a hug.

"No problemo," I answered. "I'll be back."

This was a new, I thought. The first time Crystal was takin' me to the doctor. I remembered all the times I took her to the ER or appointments as a child. Now she's all grown up and drivin' me. I smiled sadly and yet happily. They grow up so fast.

"Make sure you drive the speed limit," I said, spyin' the speedometer.

"Okay Dad," Crystal answered, slowin' down. "I'm just worried about you."

"I'll be fine," I said, tryin' to hide my pain...unsuccessfully. Damn, this hurts!

I could've gone to the closest hospital in Centralia, around 18 miles from our house, but they would know nothin' about my history, and the copay would be in the thousands of dollars.
So it was easy to pick Madigan, although it was 60 miles away.

When we arrived at the ER I slowky shuffled into the waiting room, using my cane and Crystals shoulders. It was the farthest I had walked in months so it was like a marathon. My bladder made it more grueling. Are we havin' fun yet?

I told the receptionist what my symptoms were and then we stood by the wall because all the seats were full.
Welcome to socialized medicine, I thought grimly. This sucks.

Oh screw this! I thought as I sat down on the floor. I was too tired and hurtin' too much to care about what everyone else thought. That was better. Crystal sat down beside me and I smiled, appreciating her kind gesture.

Fifteen minutes later: "there's an empty seat over there," snother patient pointed.

I noticed it was only one chair. "No thanks," I said. "Not without my daughter."

"I don't mind, Dad," Crystal said.

"I'd rather sit here with you," I repled, smiling. "Besides, it hurts too damn much to move," I chuckled, immediately regretting it.

A few hours later I finally got into the actual emergency room, which is faster than normal. I told the nurse what the problem was and she pressed on my bladder.

"Aaaahhh!" I screamed. "You're gonna burst it! Take my word. It hurts," I hissed.

"Sorry," she said. "The doctor will be here soon."

"Hey kiddo," I said, "thanks for bein' here."

"Of course," Crystal smiled. "I'm glad I can help, Dad."

What a great daughter, I thought, fightin' the urge to bawl. I'm so proud of her.

The doctor showed up around fifteen minutes later, smiling.

"Hi, I'm doctor Hsu. You have bladder pain?" She asked.

Damn straight, it's freakin' gettin' ready to burst! I thought.

"Yes Ma'am," I replied. "Also, no urine since yesterday."

"We will get x-rays asap," she said. "Hold on, okay?"

"Thank you doctor," I said.

Around 30 minutes later a guy wheeled me to x-ray where I received torture and pic's of my bladder n' gut's. Then I was wheeled back to the ER.

Then the unexpected happened. And try as I might I couldn't stop it. The pain increased, exponentially it felt like, and crap came out.
I was so embarassed. Right in front of my daughter. Dear Lord, make me disappear, I pleaded. Unfortunately, I didn't vanish.

"I'm sorry hon," I said, not lookin' my daughter in the eyes. "Would you please tell the doc?"

"Sure Dad. It's okay," she said, then she was off to find the doc.

She soon returned with the doctor.

"I'm very sorry, doctor," I muttered. "I couldn't control it."

"Don't worry," she replied, cleaning up the mess. A doctor, cleanin' up crap? I thought. My respect for this doctor was now sky high. She wasn't too good to clean up the worst of messes. I was still embarassed though.

"Here, try to use this if you can," the doctor said, givin' me a tiny plastic bowl in the shape of a crescent moon.

"Um, okay," I said, lookin' at the small bowl doubtfully. Unfortunately there was no instructions on it.

I crapped three more times, and mostly got it in the little plastic thingy, and each time the doctor cleaned up the mess, and the mess on me. She treated me with nothin' but respect, like i was royalty or somethin'. If I ever needed a new doctor I would pick doctor Hsu.

Crystal was there the entire time, helpin' out whenever she could. Oddly enough it was a bonding experience, but one I would never like to repeat...not in that manner.
Nevertheless, I was both ashamed and very proud of my daughter.
She held me everytime my guts went into spasms, and waves of pain crashed into me.
I managed to suppress the screams to barely audible gasps. I didn't wanna disturb the other patients and...well, I sorta took pain as a challenge in a sense, and screamin', to me, meant I was losin'. So I was determined not to scream.
I was determined not to be a whinin' weenie in front of my daughter.
Like the Indians, I thought, recallin' all the westerns I had seen. I reckon you can call it a man thing. Ha ha ha!

Finally, the crap stopped comin' out and I lay there, my body wracked with pain.
It felt literally like someone sticking forks inside me and twisting.
My bladder was gonna burst any second! I just knew it!

I prayed, please God! Oh God! My God! I could no longer stop the tears from streaming, gushing from my eyes. A warrior doesn't cry, I thought, ashamed I was losing control. A warrior doesn't cry.
But I did. And there was nothin' else I could do but refuse to scream. I will not scream. I will not...Oh God!
I waited for my bladder to burst. Was I at the edge of my sanity or was I insane?

Can't...think. I kept seein' white flashes as the pain kept gettin' worse. It can't possibly get any worse, I thought, but surprise! It did. Eternal pain without end.
Surely, I couldn't take anymore. I was slippin'. Hell, I had already slipped into a total loss of control. This ship is goin' down. I'm sinkin'.

I won't scream. I won't...I...Father...

Everybody, listen to me,
And return me, my ship.
I'm your captain, I'm your captain,
though I'm feeling mighty sick.

I've been lost now, days uncounted,
And it's months since I've seen home.
Can you hear me, can you hear me,
Or am I all alone.

If you return me, to my home port,
I will kiss you mother earth.
Take me back now, take me back now,
To the port of my birth.

Am I in my cabin dreaming, or are you really scheming,
To take my ship away from me?

You'd better think about it, I just can't live without it.
So, please don't take my ship from me.
Yeah, yeah, yeah ...

I can feel the hand, of a stranger,
And it's tightening, around my throat.
Heaven help me, Heaven help me,
Take this stranger from my boat.

I'm your captain, I'm your captain,
though I'm feeling mighty sick.
Everybody, listen to me,
And return me, my ship.

I'm your captain, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I'm your captain, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I'm your captain, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I'm your captain, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I'm getting closer to my home ...
I'm getting closer to my home ...
I'm getting closer to my home ...
I'm getting closer to my home ...
Ohhhh ...

I'm getting closer to my home ...
I'm getting closer to my home ...
I'm getting closer to my home ...
I'm getting closer to my home ...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Welcome Back To the Snailnet

One of the things I absolutely hate is lying deceptive liar pukes. They really get me up in arms!
Enter WildBlue satellite high speed internet "service" (lying pukes that deceive).

Not long after getting this so-called "service", the WildBlue pukes informed us that we were downloading "too much."

I looked at Patti as I said "huh? What in the hell are they talkin' about?"

So we read the very long, two page lawyer's manifesto. Basically, it boiled down to this:
WildBlue first claimed they weren't spying on us and that they weren't monitoring our 'puters.


Then they proceeded to tell us we could only download "a certain amount" each month.

Why? I wondered. We are payin' for a freakin' product. It's as if I bought a car and the dealer called and said we were drivin' too much.
All we were doin' was lookin' at youtube videos. I was workin' on a post of Skully's favorite tunes. This was before my blog disappeared.

Then, the WildBlue punks go all commie on our asses and tell us how important it is that everyone gets their "fair share" of downloading quota's.

Even if everyone doesn't download the same amount? I wondered, gettin' hot under the collar.

Now the WildBlue hippies again accuse us of "using more than our fair share." The share we paid for.

"Waitaminnit! Didn't these bastards just say they don't monitor us?" I asked.
"How in tarnation do they know how much we use?"

Somethin' was rotten in Denmark, or wherever the hell this mob run outfit is!
We read the rest: "blah blah, if you keep bein' greedy and usin' our product that you paid for you will be cut off until next month, blah blah."

"Well then, how freakin' much is too much?" I asked aloud.

No reply to that.

"Furthermore," the WB bozo's continued, "we may arbitrarily change the amount (you hafta guess) of downloads you are authorized to use at any time we deem necessary."

"Arbitrarily my lily white ass!" I boomed. "I'll arbitrarily kick their asses!"

Patti stopped me from throwin' the 'puter out the window, and talked me down.

"If we just don't download any videos until next month it will be okay," Patti said.

"But we pay for this #@%$&^* #@%$! I exclaimed.

"I know, I know," she said, gently, "but we have no choice."

No choice. Fine. Whatever. "I'm gonna tell everyone I know what weasels these commies are!" I said, realizing that's all I could do.

"Okay dear. You do that," Patti said reassuringly.

"They're messin' with the wrong guy!" I exclaimed.

"They sure are," Patti said.

The days pass, and my anger flashes each time I can't watch one of Bob's really cool jazz video's. I went into bereavement and wore black when I missed the Redneck World Music. Not to mention all the cool (I'm sure) vids my fellow Raccoons recoonmended.
I hate commies, I thought.

But I did my time. Until suddenly, outta the blue, outta the WildBlue, I get a notice on my 'puter a few days ago: "You are using too much CPU time, blah, blah, if you keep usin' too much we will be the fascist pigs we are and punish you, blah blah,
we are the Borg, resistance is futile."

"#^%@ you!" I shouted.

Patti asked what was wrong, as the same message appeared on her computer.

"What the hell does that mean?" I asked. "I haven't watched any videos. Not even the Redneck World Music!"

"It means you are using the computer too much," Patti said.

"What, first they tell us we can only download so much without specifying, then they tell us we can only use our computers so much, without specifying?" I asked, tryin' to make sense of this communist manifesto.

"Yeah, basically that's what they're saying," Patti said.

I read the last paragraph: "we aren't monitoring you, however, you are using more than your fair share..."

Liars! I thought. How do they know bupkis if they tell me what they can't possibly know unless they are buggin' my 'puter?

I took a few deep breaths and resisted the urge to track these cyber pinko's down.
You see, I wanted, and still do, to administer some cyber justice...some "innernet vigilanteism" as Skully would say.
Kinda like Charles Bronson in Death Wish...all five of ' once!

Unfortunately, I realized, that might be a misdemeanor or somethin'. Although Skully is convinced no jury would convict us.

"Okay," I said, a gleam flashing in my non-twitching eye, "put me back on dial-up. At least MSN ain't commies...yet."

So Patti worked yesterday, tryin' to get it to work. See, we have it on the 'puter but it just wouldn't connect. I had already disconnect the NaziBlueFascist network, so that wasn't it.
Unfortunately, the MSN tech support was gone for the day.
Today, after about an hour, Patti got ahold of a real live tech support lady in the Philippines.
A few hours later, still with no success, the Philippino lady who spoke Philippino very well, but not english so well, transferred Patti to a super-duper tech.
Finally, after another hour, success! Hurray!

Yeah, it's slow, and I can't watch videos, but at least I'm not bein' told when I can and can't be on the innernet. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
Let this be a warnin' to any of y'all (or anyone y'll know) who might consider gettin' high speed internet (this includes HughesNet BTW). Don't do it. Stay with dial-up until DSL shows up in one or two decades.

You'll thank me later. :^)

BTW, if anyone sent me an e-mail the last few days, you might wanna resend. We had to basic reset stuff and it's like I started a new acct. even though I didn't. Or somethin' like that. I dunno. Anyway, just send me an e-mail if you want. I still got everyone's addresses so that's cool.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bell Bottom Blues

Chapter 19 or 20 (Death Becomes Me)

Bell bottom blues, you made me cry
I don’t want to lose this feeling
And if I could choose a place to die
It would be in your arms

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it because

I don’t wanna fade away...
Give me one more day, please!
I don’t wannna sail away...
In your heart I want to stay!

It’s all good, and it’s all right
The way that you treat me baby
Once I was strong but I lost the fight
You won’t find a better loser

I don’t wanna fade away...
Give me one more day, please.
I don’t wannna sail away...
In your heart I want to stay.

I don’t want to sail away...
Give me one more day, please!
I don’t want to fade away...
In your heart I want to stay!

Bell bottom blues, don’t say goodbye
I’m sure we’re gonna meet again
And if we do, don’t you be surprised
If you find me in our blue Heaven

I don’t wanna sail away...
Give me one more day, please.
I don’t wanna fade away...
In your heart I want to stay.

I don’t wanna fade away...
Give me one more day please!
I don’t wanna sail away...
In your heart I long to stay...

Bell Bottom Blues

There he lay, a shadow of his former self. An IV was connected to his arm, and a catheter protruded from under the covers of his hospital bed.
He had decided to die at home, if at all possible, so his doctor kindly ordered him the hospital bed and some men set it up in the living room.

Hospice visiting nurses arrived every day to check his vitals, lungs, heart and any problems they could alleve or fix.
His loving wife Patti did all she could to make him comfortable, bless her heart and his daughters helped out when they could.

For months he had wasted away, and for weeks he lay in his hospital bed, still fighting, still intent on conquering this live.
He could barely say a few words without going into a seizure, he could not read or write without also seizing up and blacking out.
He could not walk without assistance which is why he had a catheter these last few weeks.

After hospice care was started a nurse asked if he wanted to sign a form stating he didn't want to be revived if he died. After much prayer and meditation he decided to sign a revised form: no super human efforts to be revived. That was as far as he would go, because he believed that life is precious, a gift from God.

Yes, here Ben lay, unconcious, having blacked out for no apparent reason other than...he was fading away...dying.

I heard Patti shout my name, and then everything went black. I felt warm in a seductive darkness that beckoned me to let go and surrender.
It would be so nice to rest, I thought. To go to sleep and dream...

Where's Patti? Where's my daughters? Where am I? There was no sense of time, here.
As if I was suspended in...nothing. I could see no light, but I felt good, and there was no pain. No pain! When was the last time I was without pain? I wondered.
I couldn't recall. I felt so...alive but it made no sense to me.
This is weird, I thought.

And still, the darkness, which seemed to me to be alive, beckoned me to let go.
I'm dying, I thought. For weeks I knew I was dying, but I didn't really believe it.
Afterall, I had survived so much, thanks to God.
I had survived a four inch tumor on my pancreas, which had disappeared after showing up on x-rays and CT scans.
That sure baffled all the docs, except for my doc. Everyone started callin' me the miracle man.
Shingles three times, the first was the worst, but I survived. Weight loss, more times than I can count.
I went years with virtually no immune system! With CD4 counts in the single digits.

Nurses and docs started lookin' at me differently. When asked what I did, I gave all the credit to God.
All I did was choose to live. Sometimes that wasn't easy. Sometimes I wanted to just give up and let go. But I couldn't. It wasn't in me to give up.

I sensed a voice but it wasn't a voice, it was more like thoughts, but hey weren't mine.
"Sleep...let go...dream. You have fought the good fight. You deserve to rest," the thoughts seemed to say. It was so tempting. What do I do? I wondered. What should I do?
I knew, without a doubt in my mind, that if I succumbed, I would surely die. This is really death I'm hearing, I thought, struggling to clear my mind.

Everything at once entered my very being. All that I was and all that I am. My entire life, the good, bad and ugly. Every waking and sleeping moment. Every good and evil thing I had done or thought about.
I cringed at the evil and even the "good" made me ashamed at times. I was..naked.

Oh God! I cried. I'm so sorry! Immediately I felt Love embrace me, my sins removed, but the darkness remained.
What should I do?I asked. But there was no answer.
The darkness became still darker. I didn't think that was possible, but it did.
I knew, somehow, that meant something, without knowing how. I knew many things at that timeless moment without knowing how.

It's like, a massive amount of knowledge had downloaded or entered not just my mind, but my entire being...actually, more like seeds. I had a vague sense what they were but not their full potential. I tried to understand what this meant, but I felt an urgency within. I had to choose, life or death, now!

I wanna live! I thought, almost involuntarily. The darkness closed in, trying to enter me, and it hurt! All sorts of pain flashed within me. I could barely think as I assumed a fetal position, trying not to black out. This is killin' me, I thought, clenching my remaining teeth.

But it's already black, I thought, tryin' to smile. So I can't black out.
The darkness was no longer warm and comforting and it didn't appreciate my attempt at humor. It seemed malevolent now, and I am certain I could hear a howl of despair and rage as it attacked me.

I'm too weak to fight this, I thought, trying to remain concious in this strange place. This is too much pain! I cried to God. Help me, Lord!
But there was no reply.

The darkness was succeeding. I could feel it tearing at my flesh, yearning for my soul. A flash of fear entered my mind and a deep sense of despair.
I can't...I can't, I thought.
Something that had entered me of those seeds sprouted. I don't know why but it seemed as if it was more important than anything for me to know this seed, now.

Again, I struggled to clear my mind as the darkness assailed me. I gotta...focus, I thought. What is that? I gotta know! Leave me alone! I screamed, and the fear was replaced by anger. I punched and kicked at the darkness but it only constricted me further, laughing at my feeble efforts.

Well, that don't work, I thought, wryly. Oh yeah, the seed, I thought. Maybe it will help me fight. I tried to focus again, but the darkness made a loud scream that hurt my ears and scrambled my thoughts.
I winced, praying for God to make it stop. But I knew at that moment, only I could make it stop.

The seed grew, and it was tryin' to tell me somethin'. Somethin' I had to know!
This is more important, I thought, redoubling my efforts to resist the darkness.
I...will...not...surrender! Period!
The seed was now growing...nonstop. I recognized it, but I didn't know, yet.
What? Pur... I had to hurry! I was bein' overwhelmed!

Damn it! You are really pissin' me off! I thought. Then it hit me...the seed.
I knew. Purpose! I had a new purpose! I felt it, and it energized me!
The darkness shattered as I opened my eyes.

"Hi," I said weakly, tears flowing from my eyes. Patti's eyes were red, and tears flowed from them.

"I thought I lost you," Patti said, hugging me tight.

"It's all right," I said, feeling no seizure coming. "I'm not goin' to die anytime soon," I whispered.

Patti held me tighter and we both cried. My life was renewed and I had a purpose. But what is my purpose? I wondered. I knew I would know after it was full grown.
For now, my purpose is to live! I knew.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How To Contact Blogger

I found these links useful in finding out what happened and how to contact the ever-elusive blogger guys. Reply's may take awhile, though. Also, if they don't give you the reply you want, make sure you follow up by replying.

How to contact blogger

This was the result of several hours of searchin'. I got sidetracked many times by promising links to nowhere. Patti found the link to somewhere. :^)

Dummy's guide to Google Blogger

How Long?

Okay, apparently my blog can be recovered (with comments!), by the blogger guys, but it may take awhile. One guy says 1-3 weeks, but several people have waited longer. One guy said he's been waiting 9 weeks and still nothin', so who knows.

I'll blog here in the very mean time. :^)

Lost Open

Well, irt the lost blog, I'm still workin' on that.
But it did say to start a new one, if I wanna keep the name. Which I do. Obviously.
Man, I already gotta headache. Time for aspirin. :^)