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.


julie said...

I'm glad you have such a great doctor, Ben. It would be really neat if he could help you get back into horseback riding. And bowling is definitely good. Or anything where people are depending on you to show up a time or two a week :)

Another thing to consider - if there's a community college near you, sometimes they have interesting "adult enrichment" classes, and they're usually pretty inexpensive. Depending on where you are, they can have everything from standard college classes to blacksmithing.

Anyway, I'm glad the doctor visit went well.


mushroom said...

That is just hilarious that he immediately said the Royal Order of the Raccoons. Yes, I'd say you have a doctor worthy of the title.

Thank you for sharing that with us.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Julie!
Thanks for the suggestions. Blacksmithing would be a good thing to learn. I'll look into that or whatever else they got that looks interesting.
Yeah, Doc is one of the good guys. He's a major in the Army reserves, so every year we talk turkey about the Army Navy football game.
Navy has won thelast ten straight so I almost (almost) wish Army would win this year for Doc.
Don't tell him I said that though. :)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hey Mushroom!
Aye! That was great! Most people that I try to explain this to either look confused or slowly start backing away.

John Lien said...

Glad to hear you are feeling a little better. Sounds like you have a fine Doctor.

I took a two-day, intensive blacksmithing class. I really really liked it. Only problem is, an anvil will set you back about $1000 bucks. I've got the forge and a section of rail to pound on at I just need some coal -and some slack time.

Anyhow, still praying for the two of you.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for the info, John!
Yeah, I didn't think those anvils would be cheap, and I can only imagine what the shipping costs are.

I'm purty sure I wouldlike it though.

Leslie Godwin said...

I am so thankful that you have such a wonderful Dr. Too funny about him getting the raccoon reference!

Julie is right about showing up somewhere a couple of times a week.

I hope your daughters are doing OK. You all are still in my prayers, too.

Take care, Leslie

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thank you, Leslie!
Doc has sure been a great blessing!

The girls seem to be doing okay. Crystal calls or texts almost every day and Amber has been very busy working in the ER so she doesn't have quite as much time to communicate as much.
She also has a fiance who is a doctor at the same place she works.

I believe you and Julie are both right. Now if only I can get over the guilt of leaving the dogs alone. I know, it defies reason but I feel that way even when I go to the store or the VA.
Guess that will pass with time.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Yikes. My liver enzymes are to high. No more devil's weed for them!
Now I hafta get an ultrasound on Aug. 19th.
Hopefully it's just a fluke or somethin' minor.

julie said...

Yikes - I hope it turns out to be something minor!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Me too. I've been kind to my liver so it better deliver! :)

Leslie Godwin said...

Prayers on the way...

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks Leslie!
Just another test of my faith. my first reaction was "you gotta be kiddin' me, really?"

After searching what the diagnosis could possibly be (I ruled out heart attack, obesity and all the hepatitus's but there's still plenty more other things) I realized it may be a while before I know if it's a little thing or a big thing.

Now it's "well okay then. I'm trusting in you Father. Let's do this."
But I would be lying if I said this doesn't bother me.

julie said...

Could it be a medication issue? The one my son takes for his seizures can cause liver problems in some people, so he has to have his blood levels checked every six months or so.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Julie,
That's a good question. I have been taking these meds for a long time so it is possible they have had a cummulative effectthat might cause this, or it could be thr disease itself, or it could be completely unrelated.

I'll ask Doc, but if it was the drugs that would be bad because I'm already taking the top-tier drugs to combat the disease.

There hasn't been any new drugs developed for several years because most researchers are working on a vaccination, which, I think has been a colossal waste of money.
You might've read where one of tje key scientists working onthis was fudging his results to make it look good so he could get more research money.

I've learned a long time ago never to believe newspaper reporting of promising cures just around the corner bevause most reporters just report what they wanna hear.

Anyhow, I hate that I was right about this.