A Better Place

I was reading through friends’ blogs today and came across a poem that stopped me in my tracks. The writer described his depression and how everything in his world seemed ‘hopeless’.  As I read, I couldn’t help but think about my own journey through that darkness. It is not a place anyone should have to travel to.

Suicide, and thoughts of, steals our joy, our optimism, and our hope. But God is good in that He IS our hope.

It is hard to remember that , let alone champion that thought of grace when the big black dog of depression is sitting on your lap. It’s a scary time. At the moment, every moment, it feels like the hopelessness will never end. And it consumes our minds.

I personally don’t know how I got out of that depression, and my friend didn’t include how he got out of his, but I am so happy that we are no longer in that place. All I can think is that God must have been watching over us and it must have pained HIM to see us that way. He probably cleared a path for us so that the misery wouldn’t take us beyond what we could bear.

I am in a happier place now. I have something to live for and it was there all the time. My eyes were just clouded and my Bipolar brain was confused.

Those close to me, heard me often saying “I’ve done it all. There is nothing left for me to do.” And that became my downfall. I created my own darkness by those words. My arrogance corrupted my path.

God is teaching me. My eyes are opening to the truth. I need Him more now than ever. And at the heart of it all is: TRUST. My sorest muscle. I haven’t used my trust muscle enough to make it strong. I don’t trust God to do what He says he’ll do. I don’t trust myself enough to do what I ought to do.

 

Spring is here and with it, a renewed sense of adventure. We dont’ have the snow like the northern states, but we get some rainy, windy, chilly days. So when Spring rolls around it is nice to see the blossoms on the trees and the blue skies.

Unfortunately, those chilly days will give way to scorching heat soon enough and we will be wishing for Fall again. Summer lasts for 6 months here in the desert town north of Sacramento and the heat can get up to 120 degrees fahrenheit. My first summer here it was 114 and I got indoctrinated properly.

One summer we had temps over 100 for 38 days-in-a-row. That sucked. Thats’ why I dread summer coming. We never know if it will be a record-setting summer or just a normal heat-stricken journey.

Since my med change I am a bit more ‘together’ – more aware. My mind has cleared a bit and I can think things through. And, I am more talkative. LOL. So, I will stop here and let you all get back to what you were doing.

Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for caring.

If anyone is in a bad place right now, don’t give up or give in. Seek out some help. It will be worth your time. The future is waiting for you.

Peace

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Merry Christmas to All

I just want to thank all of you for being so understanding and not turning away from me. Bipolar is a mean menchen and it had me in its grips for quite a while. I don’t know how the depression got so bad because I didn’t do anything different, I was taking my meds regularly and I have people close by who truly love me. I had it all. Then that big black dog of depression decided to wake up and stir up some trouble. Thank goodness for science! Without people experimenting all the time and so many people volunteering to be lab rats I would have gone out of my mind by now.

Good news! I am starting a freelancing business. For the new year I only want 1 customer. If that happens this will have been a success. I am focusing on writing and editing and proofreading people’s literary works. Wish me luck. 🙂

If you can, come visit my website. That would be really cool. It’s at The Inkwell

Let me know what you think. Thanks

So Christmas will be good this year. There will be presents to open and a turkey to roast. At this time of year I really get to thinking about all the folks who don’t have homes, or families, or food and shoes and friends to talk to. As good as it is for most of us, it is heartbreaking and heartwrenching for many others. This holiday season please take a moment to give to a homeless person. I know they are not the cleanest folks around but they truly are nice people and many of them will smile and in their own way thank you for your kindness.

Many of them are addicted to alcohol or drugs and many are also veterans who were willing to die for you. Give them that respect. Be thankful that it isn’t you on the streets begging for food or money. I’ve been there. In many ways I still am.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Anti-depressants WORK!

So, it’s been a LONG while since I’ve felt able to function – and – to write something worthwhile.

Thanks to my psydoc for being aggressive. First, and foremost, he has prescribed me some antidepressants. The first pills didn’t work. I got a bad rash all over my body. I think it was called Sertraline. (My memory is still full of holes) I don’t remember the brand name. Maybe Zoloft or Prozac. Anyhow, it was not the right pill for me, so we next went with Tegretol (Carbamazapine) 200mg. It has been a great change. I have some reason to live.
prescription-drugs

Not only has my attitude changed, but, I feel like I can be a member of society again. I still don’t think I can work a regular 9 to 5, my brain and my outbursts won’t allow for it, but I CAN work for myself and so I have started freelancing. More on that later. Back to the meds.

My psydoc, on our first visit, said he wanted to get me off of the Lithium because I have been on it for 10 years, and, with prolonged use is a high risk of damage to the kidneys or liver. I think the kidneys. Either way, the risk is too great to continue with the lithium so we have been weaning me off of it.

It would have been fine if we had something to replace it with. Weaning me off has led to violent outbursts and I have lost my relationship with the therapist. She was too scared of me and she doesn’t want to see my anymore. Ce la vie.

So, I am again without a therapist. Flying solo here. But that doesn’t bother me so much. I’m a loner and an independent person anyway. But I need those pills. Can’t live without them.

Now, I’m confused. I don’t know whether the Tegretol is the anti-depressant or if the Fluoxetine is the antidepressant. I’m taking them both. I think the Tegretol is to replace the Lithium. Anyhow, I am down to only 450mg of lithium (half of what I was taking at 900mg). Like I said, it has not been without incident.

I almost lost my relationship with my psydoc as well. He got an earful of my rage and he was unprepared for it and threatened to throw me to the curb. And yet, it was his fault that my rage was so prevalent because he failed to replace the lithium and left me (and everybody else) vulnerable to the rage within me. But, good fortune was on my side and he understood where I was coming from. So we are still working together. Whew!

So, now I have a website. The Inkwell — There I am farming out my services to anyone who needs helps with writing, editing, and/or proofreading. It has been a real challenge to put up the webiste, and, it was a lot of fun coding the adjusting. I still have a few things to do with it, mostly links and blog posts to do, but it is up and running. Yay!

If y’all don’t mind, I’d like to link to the site every now and again and show you what is going on.

I tell you, those anti-depressants have really changed my life. If you or someone you know suffers from Bipolar and they are not on anti-depressants, talk to the psydoc and see if that path might be helpful.  It’s a WORLD of difference!

So anyhow, it is nice to be back and I trust that I will be active again. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s stories.

Peace

SUICIDE

It’s a thought-provoking label. Suicide. Just thinking about it causes all sorts of problems. But here’us the deal. I have nothing to live for. I am the poorest of poor. I am Bipolar and constantly in the throes of Depression. I have no joy in my life. I am bored with the Internet, with TV, and with people. Because of my financial status I cannot go out to the forest to get in touch with nature. And the forest is only twenty minutes away! But I can’t afford the gas to go there. I can’t afford to get a much needed brake job.

My options are limited. I have no interest in anything: exercise, walking, shopping, eating, drinking, games, etc. My life is a waste of time. My memory is shot, I can’t work, my mind does not examine things right. I am busted cargo. Damaged goods. There is no hope. Even God is uninteresting. There used to be hope there. But now I can’t see it.

So what do I do? Sit on my ass and stare at the walls. There is no productive force in me anymore. I have no hobbies and I couldn’t afford one anyway. My life is worthless. If it weren’t for the fact that my ex and my son are alive I would have killed myself long ago. They are the only reason I am alive. For now. I don’t want to kill myself, but what else is there to do? I’m tired of this existence.

Better Days

There are better days ahead. I know that. I sometimes forget that though. I get lost in my misery and can’t see the sun shining on the rooftops.

Yesterday I went to church – online. I can’t afford the gas to go to a regular church so I do online church. It’s quite convenient actually. You can choose to attend a live stream with the praise music, the prayers, and the filler moments, or, you can view past sermons without all the hub-bub. A stripped-down sermon with just the meaty juicy truth. I chose the stripped-down sermon.

It was centered on the book of Daniel. I am, in fact, working my way through a series focused on the book of Daniel. This episode was on chapter two. The pastor labeled this installment “Crises”. It covered the events of Nebuchadnezzer demanding that his wise men tell him about a dream he had. And he wanted them to tell him what the dream was first of all and then interpret the dream for him. The chief astrologer told Nebuchadnezzer that what he asked was impossible, only the gods could know what the dream was and they didn’t share that information with mortal man.

Nebuchadnezzer was very wroth and ordered the killing of ALL of his wise men, including Daniel and his friends. But, Daniel was wise and asked the guard if he could speak with the king and ask why the hurry? The guard accepted Daniel’s request and soon Daniel was facing Nebuchadnezzer. When the opportunity arose, Daniel asked the king for some time to take care of this challenge and the king granted Daniel time.

Back in his quarters, Daniel came together with his friends and they brainstormed and decided to pray to the Living God and ask him for help. That evening Daniel was given a vision of the king’s dream and the interpretation. The next day he went to the king and the rest is history.

The crux of the message the pastor was trying to convey is this: How you act in times of crisis does not “define” who you are, but instead, it is a reflection of who you are. There is a key difference between the two. Your character is not defined by crises it is revealed by crises. Your character is shaped and molded through time, through your daily experience. As you go through each day you are given opportunities to choose and your choices, accumulated, shape who you are. So it is important to make deliberate choices. Choices that are the result of careful thought and reflection.

You don’t expect a child to make tough choices, but you do expect them to learn from their mistakes. And why do we not expect adults to have learned from their mistakes and make informed decisions? Aren’t we adults better equipped for considerate thought? Shouldn’t we be making better decisions than we did when we were young? Shouldn’t we rely on rational thought rather than emotions?

So, if we want to act rationally in moments of crises, we must harvest good decision-making practices. We must continually strive to learn from our mistakes and learn to judge a situation with keen eyes and a thoughtful understanding. Daniel showed that. He did not panic and get all emotional when the heat was on. Daniel, cooly and calmly, addressed the situation and was rewarded with his life. He went on to be one of the most powerful men in the kingdom.

Let’s try and remember, it is not circumstances that define our fate. It is the choices we make in those times of crises that reflect our character. And our character is shaped by the choices we make on a daily basis.

Please feel free to visit these online resources for bible study and worhsip.

Crossroads Community Church – scroll down to see the message library.

Indian Rocks Baptist – Current series link

Faith Church – message library

Just a note: I don’t ascribe to any one denomination. I think most all have merit. And if you want to turn me on to your church, please, feel free to offer suggestions. I  will be happy to include the information in future posts.

If all else fails…

I have been struggling lately. I am in quite a mess of depression. Nothing inspires me. Nothing interests me. Nothing soothes me.

I am a big music buff. I love my music. I listen to everything from classical to oldies to country to rock. And nothing is relieving this malaise. This numbness of thought.

I have no appetite. I only want to drink. But I have to stop drinking soda. It is killing my gut. The reason I am so thirsty is simple: the pills I am on cause extreme thirst. And it has been getting more extreme over the past few months. Whereas I used to drink 3 gallons of liquids a day, I am now up to 3 1/4 gallons a day. It’s nuts. I wake up in the middle of the night to drink. Not alcohol. Soda. Or chocolate milk. Or even lemon water. But the point is I am insanely thirsty.

I was working on a short story for a book I will publish “someday.” But I have no desire to write. I have no desire to research. I have no desire to be on the Internet, Facebook, or WordPress. I am standing without. Yet, people look at me and think, “There’s nothing wrong with him.” That is the stigma we mentally ill folk have to live with. The broken pieces are all inside the mind. Far away from prying eyes.

How do we get it through to those regular Joes and Joanies that we are suffering? I do not wish this on anybody, but boy would I love for everyone to have a touch of mental illness for a day. Feel what I am feeling. Live in despair for just a day. Feel the highs, the lows and the numbness.

I am listening to music that I used to close my eyes to and drift off in bliss. But that isn’t anywhere close to what I’m feeling today. The music does nothing for me. In fact, it is an annoyance to some extent. It’s like children playing outside of your window when you are trying to sleep or read. Music just fills the void. Keeps my mind off of itself.

If all else fails……try God. But God is not interesting to me right now. I just want to sleep away this terrible dream I am having. To keep my mind off of itself.  To avoid all of “this.”

Today’s Bible Verse was on Suffering

Suffering for Christ

I did some Bible reading today (I get daily emails from Bible Gateway) because today’s Bible verse grabbed my attention.

“Philippians 1:29 – [NIV Bible]

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only

to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,…”

This passage conflicted me. I’ve heard about suffering for Christ before, many times in fact, but today it sparked an interest. I just had to look deeper into it. So I went on a hunt. Mind you, it was not a thorough excursion but merely a curiosity thing. What I found was the usual: people suffering for disobeying God; Job suffering; and Paul suffering for Christ because of his commission.

But what I also found through using the study helps was this:

Job 36:15 —

“But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction. [NIV Bible]

Life Lessons – Charles Stanley..

“God wants to use our afflictions, and the way He delivers us from them, to lead us into a deeper and richer relationship with Him. We should treat adversity as a bridge to a closer walk with God.”

Stanley’s idea touched me. Years ago, when I first heard about us having to suffer for Christ I was bothered. Isn’t He supposed to deliver us from this stuff? Why do I have to live my entire life suffering?

I still have issues with that. Just because Jesus died for me shouldn’t mean I have to live my entire life suffering. But Stanley says this will lead us to a closer relationship with God. And that’s cool. So I am trying to open up my mind and grab this thing and embrace it. Maybe my suffering won’t be so bad. Maybe I won’t be as bad off as Job.

So, I looked further and found this:

Colossians 1:24

[ Paul’s Labor for the Church ] Now I rejoice in what I am

suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still

lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of

his body, which is the church

Paul is actually “rejoicing” in his suffering. Job didn’t do that, and God had mercy on him. But how can Paul be so gleeful in his persecutions?

1 Peter 4:13

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings

of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

There’s the answer. I have to change my focus. I have to look for the future – to God’s second coming. I have been so busy just living day to day, barely making ends meet – suffering – that I have lost sight of the prize at the end of the race.

I guess we can suffer without being miserable. But, for me, that will be awfully hard. Because….I am miserable just being here in this life. Again, my focus is not on the hereafter, but on today. I guess focusing on today could be good if I were to be accomplishing my mission step by step, day by day, but I am not. I am sitting here wasting away like a good little mentally ill person. OKAY! So enough to the negative stuff. Let’s get on to some happy stuff.

Paul’s motivation for enduring suffering was to benefit and build Christ’s church. That must be my attitude as well. And my mission. To build Christ’s church. How do I do that when I am homebound? How much can I do? How much is expected of me?

Charles Stanley again comes to the rescue:

“To live the Christian life is to allow Jesus to liveHis life in and through us.”

I never thought of it that way before. I mean, heck, I’ve heard of allowing the Holy Spirit to take up residence in my heart and soul, but it never really came alive for me. But Jesus actually “living” in me and through me? That’s profound!

So, my reading took me to more verses and somehow I got to

Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

It always comes back to prayer.

That’s it! I don’t spend enough time praying. I spend too much time complaining and not enough time being thankful. I need an attitude adjustment and I need it now. What was possible for Paul is also possible for me. I just have to change my focus. Change my whole outlook. Change my mind.

Salvation is available for everyone. You only need to ask. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and to take up residence in there. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to save you through the renewing of your mind. Take the Roman Road to Salvation:

Romans 3:23 NKJV  – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:10 NKJV  – As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
Romans 5:12 NKJV  – Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–
Romans 6:23 NKJV  – For the wages of sin [is] death, but the gift of God [is] eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8 NKJV  – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 10:9-10 NKJV  – that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation
Romans 10:13 NKJV  – For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

What to do after you’ve prayed that prayer.

Romans 10:17 NKJV  – So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Go. Find Christian outlets, Christian people. Go to churches. Go online to churches and read, listen and watch videos. Immerse yourself in THE WORD. And then reach out to Christians for fellowship, companionship.

Here are some online resources to get you started:

Bible Gateway – https://www.biblegateway.com/

Community Crossroads Church – http://crossroadschurch.net/

Indian Rocks Baptist – http://www.indianrocks.org/

Asleep at the Wheel

No, this won’t be a post about the band. Sorry to mislead you. But I do feel like I have been asleep at the wheel these past few weeks. Lately I have been battling sleep issues and faith issues. Last night I finally went to sleep around 11pm. That sounds normal right? Well, consider I had been up for 32 hours. Not so normal anymore, huh? I go through these cycles where I am on a “normal” sleep routine for a few weeks and then out of nowhere I am caught up in the world of insomnia and it takes me up to a week to get back on track. The flip side of this is that there are days when I am so tired I don’t get out of bed until late in the afternoon. I have no explanation for any of this other than the fact that I am Bipolar and with that I experience many side effects from the pills they have me on. Anyway, this happens far too often for my comfort and it interferes with everything. It’s hard to make appointments because I never know if I am going to be in a cycle or not. I have canceled many appointments due to this problem.

My faith issues are a direct result of me not being a regular church-goer. I don’t have the money that it would take to pay for the gas to get me to church every Sunday. So, I try and do my own Bible Study online and it has been difficult. It is not easy to do this as a one-man-show. I need people to bounce ideas off of. I need other folks’ input. The big question at present concerns my salvation and my standing with God. I am certain that I have committed the “unpardonable sin”: blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. You see, I have anger problems (bipolar, hello) and when I have an episode I could care less who I am talking to and who the audience is – I will yell and scream and cuss and say all sorts of things. And, I think on one occasion I cussed out the Holy Ghost. And if Matthew 12:31 is accurate (Jesus speaking) then I am in pretty hot water.

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. “

So, reading this and not having the knowledge that, say, a pastor has, I am worried that my episode will be held against me and that I am going to hell. Simple as that.

It would be a shame if God is so anal that He does not take into consideration a person’s mental health when He judges a person’s faithfulness but the Bible is not clear on this. Jesus says that particular sin will not be forgiven, but does that carry over into my salvation? I mean, if – and it’s a big if – I were to be saved, would He look at me differently in heaven? Will I be sent to the back of the bus, pushed out of His immediate presence? Will this affect my opportunity to store up treasures in heaven?

What are your thoughts?

Passing Through

Passing Through

My dad went into the hospital. He had had two heart attacks in one day. They put him in ICU (Intensive Care Unit). I was three thousand miles away in Seattle, Washington. My sister called to tell me the news. It didn’t look good.

I had no money, so if I were to make there to Tampa to see him I would have to hitch-hike cross-country. I had done it many time before so it wasn’t that big a deal. But I was older now. The roads were far more dangerous. The world had changed.

Somebody convinced my mom that it would be a good idea to buy me a plane ticket so I could get there sooner. Just in case time was cut short. She was reluctant, but bought me a ticket.

When I got there a host of other family members were already there, weeping in their misery. Dad was loved by everyone. He was a true hero. Not some media darling or commercialized here, but a true hero. A man you could count on if ever there was a need. A man who came to the rescue many times when family issues arose. A man who lit up a room like a sun lights up the sky.

Everyone knew something I didn’t. But I found out sooner than later. Dad wasn’t given much hope to survive. He was on life support machines with all manner of hoses going into his body and tons of wires coming out all over. He couldn’t talk – obviously. And he couldn’t eat. They fed him intravenously. The poor guy was on his death bed.

For two weeks I stayed by his side, icing him down, reading his notes and talking to him. I didn’t want to believe what was so obvious to everyone else. He was only 54 for damn’s sake! I was 28 and I was not ready to see my daddy off. But I could not stop what was already fore ordained. His kidneys were failing, his stats were not optimistic. He was dying right before my eyes.

In those two weeks there was no sign of him getting any better. There was no hope for his going home to tough it out again like he had done so many other times. This time it got the best of him.

I had moved away just six months prior. I had lived with him for ten years and watched him deteriorate over that time. When I got out of the Coast Guard, they had given him five years to live. And so together we battled through the diabetes and the heart attacks. We lived as full of lives as we could. We moved from California to Florida to be closer to my sister and my mom.

They had divorced when I was three. I was never told why. It was none of my business. I suspect it had something to do with my father being a flirt and my mother being a stone. They were about a incompatible as any couple could be. But they were both great people. They just couldn’t make it work.

Dad was in the military. His dad was in the military. His two brothers were both in the military. It provided a good life for them…..if you can handle the strict discipline and orderly lifestyle.

He could. He excelled in that environment. He was a lifer. Before they forced him into retirement, Dad made it to E-9; Chief Master Sergeant. The highest enlisted grade in the Air Force. He had served through Korea and Viet Nam. He saw action in both theaters. He was a munitions man – bombs and things. It was a good life. But as I said, they forced him out. Medical reasons. Diabetes.

This was before medicine got a handle on how to treat diabetes. This was when complications from diabetes included loss of sight, blood sugar episodes and heart attacks.

Dad was on 9 different medications. He took nitro-glycerin for his heart, he gave himself two shots every day of insulin (from pigs, beef and humans) and he took a host of other pills to manage his other diabetic issues. I watched him for ten years.

When I got out of the Coast Guard we planned the move to Florida. All was going well until we got to Texas. His foot had got a blister weeks before and it just wasn’t healing. We stopped in Waco, Texas to see our relatives, his brother Emil and all my cousins. It was there that dad decided to go to the VA hospital and have his foot checked out.

The doctors immediately admitted him and proceeded to experiment with his foot. A training crew had been brought in from DC or somewhere and without so much as a thank you, they cut off his toe. BUT, they did not take care of the wound. Within two days of him “coming home” to the apartment that I got, his toe exhibited signs of gangrene. We had to go back to the VA and have them fix it. But they again experimented and only cut out a canal and left some dead tissue to test out different medications to see if they would kill the infection.

It didn’t. They continued toying with it and now his foot had a huge crater in it with the edges being infected. Before long they had to chop off his leg at the knee. And that is how my dad lived for ten years. With a prosthetic because those doctors toyed with his foot instead of fixing it right to begin with. So I had real issues with him being in the VA hospital in Tampa. I had a hard time believing that he had no hope of coming home. I secretly wished I could just whisk him away to some “competent” facility where they would work miracles and my dad wouldn’t die.

But, that was not to be. He was dying and there was nothing anybody could do about it. Somehow word got to me that it was time to make a decision. And, that I would be the one to make it. This was not what I had hoped for nor expected when I got on that plane and flew to Tampa. I didn’t want to make the decision. Heck, I was the youngest of the bunch there. Why couldn’t my aunt or uncle or mother or someone else take the responsibility?

After they chopped off his leg, we stayed in Waco for two years and then moved back to California. Our trip to Florida just had to wait.

I don’t remember much about the in-between years in California, but I do remember we moved back to Campbell. A tiny enclave in the heart of San Jose. Campbell was where I went to high school before I joined the service. Dad had agreed to let me live with him after mom kicked me out of the house. I was fifteen.

She had been dating a guy that she met at work and brought him home one day and said, “I’m getting married!” To which I replied “Over my dead body!” She and I could not resolve our differences and so she kicked me out.

Dad was a bachelor. He hadn’t had many companions after he and mom divorced. So having a kid move in with him was a challenge. I was unfazed. I was happy to live with my dad. For all my life I had looked up to him even though I only got to see him on a few occasions. We got along famously. Especially when I showed an interest in the military.

At school, I joined the ROTC and learned all about the military, its customs, expectations and all that sort of stuff. And I enjoyed it. Playing soldier was exciting. By my second year I was named leader of the class. I was on cloud nine.

It was short-lived. I had been cutting art class and got caught by the dean of boys. He asked me where I was supposed to be and I smarted off and told him “I dunno. Where do you think I should be?” And from there it quickly dissipated. The whole thing. My dad was called and I was expelled from school. They wanted to make an example out of me. And then my dad asked me where I wanted to go? The Army. Navy. Marines. Air Force. Or, Coast Guard. I was not in my right mind as this happened so fast and so I decided on the Coast Guard because I liked water. What a stupid move. But then, any move at that time was wrong. I should have asked for some time to think it over. Anyway, within weeks I was in the Coast Guard marching and drilling and barking out “yes, sirs” and “no, sirs”.

During this time Dad was slowly getting worse. While I was in Alaska he had a blood sugar attack and drove himself from Lake Tahoe all the way to Reno, where the closest VA hospital was. His blood sugar was in the 400 range and the doctors told him that they knew of no way he could be driving because with that b.s. level he should be dead.

He also had a heart attack in this time. As I recall, it was his first one.

So the decision was left to me to make. The doctor said I had two choices: I could either take him off of life support now and let him pass quietly or I could keep him on the machines, but, this second option would give us extra time for a price – he would be in great pain as his kidneys died first. So there really was no choice at all. I would have to tell them to pull the plug.

I didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye FOREVER to my father. It wasn’t fair. My dad was loved by everyone and he loved everybody too. He wasn’t a criminal. A jerk. A boozer. He wasn’t anything like that. He was a decent, loving man who only wanted the best for people and they loved him for it. But, I went home that night and cried myself to sleep.

The next day I went up to that room and talked to my dad. It would be the last time we would be alone – together. Later, all the family would gather in the room to send him off. And I would have to tell the doctor to take dad off of life support.

The hour came when it was to be done. I had already talked to dad about it and he was ready. I don’t know how anyone could be ready to die, but he was fully aware of what was to happen and he was okay with it.

My heart sunk. Okay, let’s do this. The nurses came in and did all the dirty work: they pulled all the electrodes, yanked out the tubes and then left the room for the rest of us to deal with. My uncle couldn’t handle it, it was too devastating for him, so he left and took my dad’s sister with him. Poor Louise, she didn’t even get to say goodbye to her brother. Dad’s other sister was there, my Aunt Gertie. She was somber, like everyone else in the room. We looked at dad and I could tell, we were all wondering how much time we had left with him.

He couldn’t speak. His throat was left raw by that darned tube they had down his throat. Dad did manage to get out a few words – “chocolate shake”. I was ready to go get him a shake at the 7-eleven just a couple minutes walk from the hospital but everybody freaked out and made me stay in the room. They were worried that dad would die before I got back, so, dad suffered and thirsted because everybody was so scared of him dying “suddenly”.

Well “suddenly” never came. What did come was some damned smelly hospital food. For some reason the VA thought dad would “enjoy” a last meal. But it stunk so bad, dad almost threw up as did I.

We stood there, lost in our embarrassment for what seemed like eight hours. Plenty of time to have gone to the store to get dad a chocolate shake. That bothered me. But who could have predicted how long he would live?

As the time wore on, his vitals started dropping. He was starting to breathe shallower and shallower. And as the hours passed his attention span dwindled as well. He was slowly succumbing to the inevitable.

There wasn’t much talking going on that day. Sure, there were the expected “I love you’s” and such but we really didn’t connect with him. It was sad to watch and be a part of.

When he finally “gave up the ghost” it was a shocker. It was not at all like what they show in the movies or on tv. He passed quietly and peacefully, but, his body lunged out for one last breath and that was freaky. And then, when I least expected it, his spirit passed through my abdomen and then went away. It was the coolest thing. My thoughts on death were pretty tame before, just assembled the beliefs that Hollywood offered. But to be there and go through it, and, to have his spirit pass through my body – that was special. No words can tell how that moment has impacted my life. I question everybody’s take on it now: the Christians and other religious folk; the doctors and their click; the Hollywood moguls and the way they depict life and death. I question it all. Reality is far more sophisticated than what I was taught.

In all my years I never would have guessed that my dad would die at 54. Nor did I expect to be the one to kill him, to cut off his life. It’s a damnable thing: this existence. It’s been 27 years and it still hurts.

Not Again – Please

Had another blowout yesterday. It happened at the grocery store. I was quite wroth and I cussed and yelled in front of everybody, even children. And I didn’t care. Said so. I was really, really mad. In those moments I could care less if Jesus, himself, was standing next to me. Later I came to my senses and am saddened by my behavior but that does me no good when I am “in the moment.” It’s not like I can turn it off and on  like a faucet. Something triggers my anger and there’s no turning it off. Except time. It took me over an hour and a half to come out of it. A complete change of scenery helped. Maybe if I can remember to leave where I am and go somewhere unrelated and somewhere neutral. Maybe that can help. I will have to try and remember that for next time.

 

Well, I’ve been making progress on my short story. Did a lot of research over the last couple of days. Now I can dive in and revamp the story and revamp the outline to guide me through the scenes. This new program, Scrivener, is really just so cool. Back in the old days I would have papers strewn about the living room with notes and research and bits of the story and I’d have to scramble to  find the right paper for what I needed at the time. Now, I have it all digitized and organized and within one mouse click away and it is split-screen too so I can keep on my page without losing my place and, still go find the research papers and all of that. This is just so cool.

 

Still waiting for the weather to warm up so I can go walking. I am on blood thinners and that makes me get cold faster and stay cold longer. So in order for me to go out I have to break out the wool socks (two pair), the thermals, the sweatshirts, etc. I end up putting on three layers of clothes just so I don’t have to freeze – in 40 degree weather. Honestly, you’d think I was bracing for freezing temps. And then it just isn’t fun anymore. So I stay cooped up inside all winter and gain weight. LOL. In truth, I eat less in the winter. Last night I had a sandwich for dinner. The night before I had HALF a sandwich for dinner. Just enough to take my pills. I am tired of food. Well, almost all food. I really like fruit. Give me a bushel of berries and I’m a happy camper. I can eat fruit all day long. But veggies and meat I am tired of.

 

So, yeah, that blowout. I hate being this way. Can you imagine how bad it could have been if I were not on my pills? Scary thought – I’ve seen what it’s like without my pills. And the police are just a phone call away. That’s what keeps me taking my pills. It gets ugly. I’m just a first class jerk/monster/ahole. Makes me glad I live in this day and age where there are technologies that can help people like me live a semi-normal life. Back in the wild west I’d have been shot by the sheriff of Anytown, U.S.A. and that would be the end of it. Think about it, there are tens of thousands of people walking around with mental health issues that, if we were back in the 1800s, we would have been locked up and placed in some hospital to wither away.  Even earlier in history and we would have been placed in dungeons and never heard from again. I’m counting my blessings.