My cousin came just moments away from dying last week. She has R.A. which requires her to take regular shots of a medicine that lowers her immune system. Her choice is to risk infection or spend the rest of her life in crippling pain.

So her body had no defense when she contracted strep throat. It quickly lead to pneumonia. Within hours her lungs filled. Her husband got her to the hospital where she required 16 bottles of oxygen just to gasp in air. It was clearly time for her to go. He called all their children in to say goodbye. But somehow, through her strength, her faith, and the amazing efforts of the hospital doctors and nurses, she recovered.

Just a few days later she was released and went home.

She lives in a different state, a long ways from me. I first heard about her plight via a Facebook post then got more details when her husband called. I don’t get to see her much but she is very dear to me. I’m so glad I didn’t lose her.

Another person I know only through his television and radio shows passed away during the same time. Alan Colmes died at only 66 years of age, one year older than me. His politics were vastly different from mine but I enjoyed listening to him. You might remember him as the other half of the Hannity & Colmes show on Fox. He was a pleasant, knowledgeable, and happy man. Of course I didn’t know him personally but his death did affect me.

So all this has gotten me to thinking about this life I have and the inevitable passing we all face. I have so many things I still need to do: books to write, a wife to care for, children and grandchildren to love… so many things. But all that could be taken away. It doesn’t matter whether we have a disease like leukemia or we are perfectly healthy. We are here for such a short time.

It’s an odd thing death. Everything that you are just stops. I don’t know about the other side, or even if there is another side. All I know is what I’ve seen. When my folks passed they went from a moment of being there and then the next they were gone. A working brain, a living soul, and then nothing. They are only memories now. Even much of their possessions have been given away or sold.

It doesn’t seem fair does it? Yet, that’s what it is. I guess I can use the knowledge of my own demise as a motivation to be a better man and a good memory for my family and friends. In the end all you have is the summation of your life. When it’s all averaged out, I hope my life will reflect more of the good I’ve done than the wrongs I’ve committed.

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Car stuck in snow

February, as usual, decided to give us a last blast of Winter before Spring. Now I don’t mind the snow, my wife and I enjoy how beautiful the yard looks all covered in a white blanket… Ahem… probably because it covers all the stuff I was supposed to clean up last Fall.

But my admiration for the white stuff vanished when I got stuck in our driveway. We don’t have a normal kind of suburban driveway. We live in the country. Ours is about 500 feet long and dips down into a gully then climbs up to the road.

This wouldn’t have been a problem when the snow was, well, snow. But it was melting into slush which means there was very little traction. I was stupid to even try to go anywhere. I should have stayed home. But, oh no, the macho man in me took over; I could do it… no problem.

Yea right.

Tow truck stuck in snowThree hours later the tow truck came and as you can see, he got stuck too. Finally, after four hours and $400, I was pulled free. Yes, that’s right… $400!!!! AAA sure earned it’s fee that day.

So I’ve had my car parked near the road for a couple days. The weather has turned now with temperatures in the upper 40’s so I should be able to get the car back home.

Please, Spring, get here soon.

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Apple computer closed

Wow. Something got into me yesterday. I spent nearly eight hours writing my book. Eight hours! That’s like working at a “real” job. I am so close to being done. There are still some inconsistencies in the story that need fixing but the whole story is complete now.

You could say I’m on my third draft. I need to do some editing, have a professional editor look at it, come up with good cover art, and market it through Amazon. I took way longer than needed to write this thing but then again it was my first book and I was learning as I went along.

Now this isn’t going to be one of those classics you were forced to read in high school. It’s no Hemingway. I’m a long way from writing anything brilliant, but I think it is entertaining enough.

I may not make much money on this one but it has served to give me a better feel about how to write a book. It’s a small one – only around 22,000 words. I was shooting for 50,000 but the story didn’t seem to need it.

Anyway, point is, I am pursuing a dream I’ve had most of my life but didn’t take it on because I had other commitments. I retired early because of health reasons so now I have the time and the gumption to actually write.

That’s not quite true. I did do some writing back then. I wrote a weekly column for our local paper and did some news releases and ad copy. But I never took on something as hefty as a book.

What do you want to do with the remainder of your life? Even though Leuk is in your life now, do you still have things you’d like to accomplish?

In the past I have had depression issues but that was years ago. I find that focusing on a goal, being involved in life in some way, keeps me well away from the rabbit hole.

So I hope you keep busy too. Maybe you cook, or read, or write poems, or play drums, or color in one of those cool adult coloring books. It doesn’t matter what you do just do something. Don’t let Leuk take center stage because that’s exactly where he wants to be. It’s up to you to put him in his place.

Godspeed

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I’ve had that dizziness for the last three days. It went away when they discovered it was being caused by a medication overdose. I don’t have that problem anymore so this must be for another reason. I have not been getting enough sleep lately so perhaps that’s it. I am refusing to believe Leuk is doing it.

Regardless of the dizzies I’m sitting at my desk writing. I figure I can’t fall down if I’m not standing up LOL. Speaking of LOL, I’m not really Laughing Out Loud, just smiling. Maybe there should be an SAL (Smiling A Little).

So, here I go. After this post I’m hitting the book. I hope to write at least 1,000 words today which isn’t much. I should write a lot more than that. We’ll see how it goes.

The snow is still thick outside so I’m not going anywhere which means I have no excuse to not write. Writing is a strange task. At times you really want to do it and at other times it seems like a chore.

So for now I’ll give you Spock’s immortal words:

Live Long and Proper

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Car stuck in the snow

Not feeling too hot today but I’m not letting it get me down. The snow is wet and thick outside. It’s pretty and I’m enjoying it because I don’t have to go anywhere. Still, it will be nice to have February done. Not that I’m rushing it. Each day is precious. Even snowy ones.

I think it is a choice whether we feel up or down. So much of who we are and how we feel about things is in our heads. I hope I remember that if the day comes when Leuk gets worse.

Anyway, for now, and hopefully for years to come, Leuk and I are doing okay. I hope this Winter sees you all finding blessings in your lives. Leukemia is definitely not a blessing, but the really important things in your life are; family, friends, and even the snow.

Enjoy what’s left of Winter, Spring is on its way.

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