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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Catching Up! PART II

I couldn't get all I wanted to write on the previous entry, hence this Part II.
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A Word Or Two About Medicare And Drug Costs
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Life In The Gap

If you're on Medicare or have a loved one who is, you'll know what I mean. For those of you who don't here's quick and dirty explanation.

Medicare allows your Part D insurance carrier to pay only a set amount (about $1900.00) a year for drug costs. When you reach that limit, you'll be in "the gap" or "the donut hole" as it is more popularly known. You'll know it right away because (for 2012), you will pay 86% and your chosen Part D carrier will pay 14% of your drug bill. This is for generic drugs only. Sometimes brand-name manufacturers will offer a discount, but until you're out of the hole (when you reach about $4300.00 or the first of the following year) you'll suffer financially.

Recently Dondra and I were floored when our pharmacist  rang up our drug total (6 prescriptions) and the cost was $315.00! Her drugs understandably cost more than mine and the majority of them are brand-name, but still we didn't see that one coming and it was an all-time record drug expense for both of us.

I got a laugh from the pharmacist and waiting customers when I said to Dondra, "I think it'd be cheaper if we just went ahead and died, Honey,"
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My Dementia Symptoms 

I saved this one for last because I'm thinking it may be time for another of those psychological tests which measure dementia and are a whole battery of tests lasting up to 3 hours or more.

The reason I think it's time is because lately I have begun noticing myself "living in the moment" a lot more than usual. This is my own term and not one you may see in a psychology magazine.

To me, living in the moment means a kind of "avoidance-compensation" for my short-term memory loss. For instance, I can be watching a movie or the news on TV, and while I do grasp things as they are being said, a minute or so later I couldn't tell you what even a sentence of the content was. I could tell you what it was about maybe, but if you were to ask me, "What did he/she say?", I couldn't tell you.

Why is this happening?

I can't say, but as I wrote above, it's a form of avoidance. That is, it's more comfortable not to have to remember stuff, so I don't try anymore.

What do you think?
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End Of Part II

Catching Up! PART I

Hello everyone and apologies for not having posted in a few months. Other things have occupied me, not the least of which is Dondra, who has had 2 hospital admissions for atrial fibrillation (rapid , irregular heartbeat). It was a scary time for us, because she needed to convert to a normal rhythm which sometimes happens on its own, but when it doesn't, off we go to the ER.

She was put on an IV and after about an hour and a half she finally converted with the medicine they gave her. She's done this both times, but had the meds not worked, then shocking the heart would have been necessary.

Right now all is well and she's feeling good. She's on a new medication which we hope will control the a-fib.
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WHAT'S BEEN GOING ON WITH ME

Let's go from the latest to the earliest.......

A month ago I had another sleep study. We did this because I have sleep apnea, which could be one of the causes of my symptoms and a CPAP machine would be an indication for use by someone like me to improve brain function and overall well-being.

The results were shocking: I had an average of 80 episodes an hour of either cessation of breathing or breathing too shallow to oxygenate my brain. This means I'm in the "danger zone" and I could either have a stroke or die of a heart attack. 

A week ago, there was another study done, this one with me wearing a CPAP mask hooked up to the machine. This test was to determine what settings I would need in order to properly oxygenate myself during the night.

The setting is called "Auto Synchronized Ventilation" or Auto SV. This just means the machine gives me a breath as I demand it, or if I don't, it cuts in and delivers a breath.

We are currently waiting for a home care company to come to the house to instruct me and set me up. I am looking forward to using it, because I hear people raving about getting the best sleep they've had "in years".

Dondra, herself a polysomnographer or "Sleep Technologist", was with me both times watching and listening to me on cc tv. She told me afterwards that when I fart, I breathe normally, so I'm considering eating Mexican every day. Just kidding.

Having worked as a respiratory therapist, I should have my ass kicked for not having this done sooner. I have no excuse at all.
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In other news, due to recent lab results ordered by my primary care physician, I've stopped drinking diet sodas and drink water now. Only water, nothing else. I just ended my first week and I'm doing great. I thought I would miss the sodas, but I don't. I do need some sodium, but I get that from the foods I eat, and I have begun watching that content as well.

Before I started this regimen I was drinking no water at all, only diet sodas and I was putting away over 2 liters a day!

Another reason I stopped with the sodas is because I was so dehydrated that when I went for an epidural (more about that in a moment), the nurse had problems penetrating my skin to start an IV.

The epidurals (there have been 2 since last we "spoke") were necessary because my Osteoarthritis has gotten so bad that I have developed  C3 and 4 "compression", otherwise known as herniated disc, in my spine. I went to see a bone guy and there is a procedure which can be done, but it would leave my neck rigid, completely immovable, according to the doc. I am still thinking about that one, and in the meantime I have some pain meds if I need them.

While we're on the subject of my physical health, have you ever heard of the term "trigger finger"? It's not what one would think: something out of a western, but a painful condition of the thumb or fingers which, due to inflammation, causes them to lock. It hurts like hell to pop them back out and I plan to have this fixed after the first of the year.

IN CONCLUSION

When I began this blog, I did so with the goal of being proactive and fighting my disease with involvement and humor, but today, even though my sense of humor is intact, I'm feeling more like a "patient" and this frightens me.

It frightens me because during my employment as a respiratory therapist, I saw my patients as people lying in a bed depending on me to help make them well, to help end their suffering, as it were. 

I don't want to feel like that. I don't want to feel like that, but every now and then I do and I fight it by doing something, anything just to be active until that feeling goes away. That didn't used to happen.

To end on a positive note, a couple of weeks ago, in my role as an Alzheimer's Advocate, I was invited to speak to a local church group. We had a great time, with me sharing some anecdotes, including the time I went into the wrong bathroom, didn't realize it right away and began looking for the urinals.

Of course there weren't any, so I entered the stall and used the toilet. When I exited, there stood a woman with eyes as big as saucers, and as I passed her, I indignantly said, "There's no damn urinals in here!" Of course, I cleaned it up a bit for my audience.

So that's it for this time and I'm sorry it was so long, but there was a lot to tell you about and it helps me to write it all out of my system.
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In the spirit of the season, I'd like to leave you with a rendition of an old holiday classic which I think is the best version I have ever heard. There's a bit of dialogue in the beginning, but it's short. At the bottom of the page you'll see an icon to click on to help feed homeless animals. It's free, so please go to the site and do it daily.





The Animal Rescue Site
Thanks! Bill

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Update Coming Soon!

I'm still "kickin'", so don't forget about me. Got lots to tell y'all and I'll get it posted before the weekend, promise.

Bill

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Suicide Due To Alzheimer's?

Don't worry. I'm not giving you a heads up, and wouldn't anyway.

No. That isn't what this entry is about.

What it is about is my wondering, "How many of us diagnosed with Alzheimer's Dementia kill ourselves because of it?"

The "short and dirty" answer is, no one knows. No one can know for sure, because depression  is so prevalent in many of the diagnosed cases. Especially with those of us diagnosed as "Young Onset Alzheimer's" patients.

Consider the following true story: A friend of mine, with whom I once worked in broadcasting, had a Grandmother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's by her doctor, went home and promptly blew her brains out with a double barrel shotgun. How can you attribute that to Alzheimer's and be sure?

The answer is, you can't.. You can't because there's no way to blame it. Not even if one leaves a "suicide note". You can say, "Well, he or she was so depressed because of the Alzheimer's and its hopelessness, he/she decided death was the only way out", but that is all you can say, because there just isn't any way to pinpoint the cause. You can make it an adjunct, I suppose but the fact remains a decision was made and carried out.

This may be a good time to let you know that what I am writing here is opinion, okay? I did google "Suicide due to Alzheimer's Dementia Studies", and got a few morsels, but the consensus seems to be "we can't be sure." I urge you to go to the Alzheimer's website and take a look at the "10 signs", "The 7 Stages" and "The Virtual Tour of The Brain". See anything definitive there? Neither did I. No definitive figures, I mean. There's just no way to know.

There is, however, a PDF from a recent Symposium in which Kim Bell, LPC-S gives us a very nice snapshot of what can happen if the depression gets bad enough. It's for the patient and the caregiver and is a very good and informative read.

Before I close out this entry, I'll provide a caveat of sorts.

Here's the scenario: A patient arrives DOA in an Emergency room and is a known Alzheimer's Dementia patient. This can be noted in the chart and the hospital could keep a record  the results of which can be sent yearly to the Alzheimer's Association. This way, we could at least speculate.

So there you go.

Do you agree or disagree? Am I full of it? Do I need correcting? This blog is a two-way street and always has been, so your input is needed. Please don't write me a note and tell me why you don't contribute. I understand, I promise I do, and don't dislike you for it. In fact as always, I thank you for coming here and reading. It means a lot to me to write this blog, because it is one of the few ways I have left to communicate.
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Thanks!

Bill

PS: Blogger is having some problems, so I am unable to link you to the rescue animals site. Just use one of the previous posts' links, thanks!




Thursday, September 20, 2012

Martin (Marty) Franklin Neese 8.9.1963 - 9.19.2012

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our dear friend and teammate Marty Neese, who passed yesterday evening at a local hospital due to complications with his heart and lungs.

Team C2CR2C, consisting of myself, Dondra, Becky Purkiss and BillDL, will miss Marty, his enthusiasm and his love for people and animals. Each member of our cycling team played a very important part in making the two rides (our first was in 2008) a success, but we honestly could not have done it without Marty, and we spoke of this many times after the cross country rides from Texas to Georgia to benefit Humane Societies as well as the Spay, Neuter and Adopt project.

Our friend had not had an easy time of it, having lost his 9 year old son, Joshua to Muscular Dystrophy  and his daughter Brandie to Ovarian Cancer at age 28 in 2010.

Dondra and I, as well as our son Jason and daughter in law Susan and our grandson Julian considered him not only a friend and team member but a part of our family as well. Dondra was "Mom" and Jason was "Brother". Anyone who never met Marty missed out on a very unique charismatic personality. When you met Marty, you knew that this was a person you would not forget.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday September 22, 2012 at Hope Fellowship Church here in Carrollton.

Rest in peace, Marty. God bless you and may we be forever in your debt.


Bill, Dondra, Jason, Julian and Susan Craig; Becky Purkiss and BillDL.

Friday, September 14, 2012

WOW! Another Month Whizzes By!

Sorry to have been MIA for so long, guys and ladies, but there really hasn't been a whole lot news-worthy going on with the "German Boy" of late, so we'll make this entry a compilation of sorts, okay?

So I finally had the eyelid surgery and am still recovering from that. I don't get out in public much anyway, but everyone who's seen me tells me I look like I've been "rode hard and put up wet".
I'll post some "before and after" pictures a little later.
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In addition to posting to my blog, I have also begun writing about my dementia on my Facebook page. This gets news and information "out there" a little faster and gives me a chance to do some Q&A "live", as it were. If you, as a subscriber to my blog want to befriend me, find me under the name "Wilhelm Trommler" there. I've had to delete the "Bill Craig" FB account due to some hacking shenanigans, so that's the reason for the nom de plume. Those of you who know me, will be able to figure out the "joke" behind the name. This will also give us a chance to chat, which I would enjoy since I spend so much time on the computer anyway.
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Recently I underwent an MRI to find out why I am having pain ("burning" and "stabbing") in both my upper thighs. What I found out to some degree changes the dynamic of my dementia in a somewhat "positive" way.

I have what is known as a "C3 Compression/Hernia" on my cervical cord. I also have pain in my shoulder and numbness in my fingers and I have no reflexes in either arm. No reflexes = Neuropathy.

This will require surgery, and it is tentatively scheduled for early January.

So you're thinking, "What's positive about this, Bill?"

This: A few of the symptoms I have heretofore attributed to my Stage IV Alzheimer's could be due to the C3 problem and may go away with the surgery. For example, my clumsiness and my gait and my periodic incontinence have become worse and more frequent of late, and although the surgery won't do anything for the dementia, it will at least remove these symptoms by reclassifying them.
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Unconventional Treatments for Alzheimer's Dementia: My Ongoing Mission To Try Everything I Can Get My Hands On To See What Works

Coconut Oil

For the past week, I've been eating (or drinking, in its liquid state) 2 tablespoons of this stuff and using myself as a kind of rough "control' to see if this helps my Alzheimer's. I have tried this before, but feel that I really didn't give it a chance so I'm trying once more.

When I first found out about the coconut oil on an Alzheimer's message board, I did some research and found the following:

If you decide to try this for yourself or a loved one, be sure to buy "EXTRA VIRGIN" not
"EXTRA SLUTTY" coconut oil. :)
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Thanks to all of you for reading, tell someone about the blog and most of all, let me know if I can help you in any way. You can communicate with me in the comments section or at wolkenlaufer@gmail.com.

Please remember to click on the purple icon below to help us feed and care for unwanted pets. It costs nothing and please do it often.

See y'all next time!

Bill
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The Animal Rescue Site



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Long Time No Read? Here's Why.......

Sunday, July 8th......

We aren't sure why, but during the night and early morning of that day Dondra began having seizures. Some so severe she bit into her lip deep enough to draw blood.

Because of my sleep apnea and snoring, I sleep in a separate bedroom, so when those seizures began, I wasn't able to hear her crying out, so it wasn't until later Sunday morning that I heard her call my name, rushed into her bedroom just as she was going into another one. (She told Jason and I that she could actually "feel" herself about to go into one of them, and was aware of her surroundings). I immediately called 911 and Rescue and EMT's arrived within minutes. It was very fortunate that our son Jason and his wife Susan were here with us - they kept me calm and helped the EMT's with questions they had.

Let me tell you something: I don't care if you've been trained one year or 20, when it's a loved one who is right in front of you, thrashing about, looking grey with eyes rolled back in her head, it suddenly becomes VERY difficult to be calm. The EMT's arrived and off to the ER we went. Her stay in the hospital was 3 days with 2 of those days spent in ICU. An MRI was negative, so we're all still puzzled as to what happened.

So now that she's back home, I'm sleeping with one ear open, but at the beginning of my vigilance, I didn't sleep at all during the night and slept off and on in the daytime. Fortunately, nothing else has happened. I swear, that woman has 9 lives!
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In other news, 2 weeks ago I was scheduled for another MRI. I requested an "open" instead of a closed one, but they put me in a closed one (I didn't remember what an open one looked like) without telling me and I'm afraid I freaked out on them because of my claustrophobia. I yelled at them to get me out and they did. They also lied to me, telling me it would only take 20 minutes, but when I asked to be let out 20 minutes had passed and they told me, "But we're just getting started!". So the MRI has been rescheduled for August 23rd, but not at the same place!

The MRI of my head is done to keep check on what's going on with my brain.

We also had to reschedule my eye surgery due to Dondra's recent hospital stay and that will be done on the 31st.

So a lot going on right now.
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Here in Carroll County, the Alzheimer's Walk is scheduled for October. If you are elsewhere, you can go here and find your region to join or sign up. You can walk either solo or with a team.
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I had some cards made up and here's one:


These have been left at our hospital, senior center and local churches. I hope they will come in handy.
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Here's a very relaxing tune you may like. It is called "In A Monastery Garden"


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Please remember to click this icon to feed unwanted animals. It costs nothing and you can do it daily.
The Animal Rescue Site
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Thanks and see y'all next time!

Bill

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Julian Craig ("Top Cat") Is In Da House!

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That's it for today, but before I go, I want to share a special song done in a unique way with y'all. The group is named Gregorian, and as you might surmise, it's sung in a way a group of monks might sing it......
The band is from Germany, and there's more of their music on YouTube
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Please remember to click and feed the animals......


;The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks and I wish you a pleasant weekend

Bill

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Another Father's Day To Celebrate (With A Difference This Time)


The difference being that my son is with us for this one (he and his wife live in a small apartment in our basement) and he and I have patched up a lot of rough spots in both our pasts. I think he realizes as I do that we're not omnipotent and we better set things right before we both shuffle off this "mortal coil".
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My eyelid surgery got pushed back to July 13th (a Friday!), and I'm looking forward to posting pictures of my two swollen black eyes as soon as I get back home from the same day surgery.

Speaking of medical stuff, I'm also due a colonoscopy so that's on the agenda as well. That's where they stick a tube up your rectum and check for colon cancer. They also stick it down your esophagus to check for ulcers and/or lesions there. The same tube. Which I fervently hope they use on my esophagus first.

You know? We medical folks are the worst to have ourselves checked out, and I think I figured out why we don't practice what we preach: we see so much sickness and terminally ill patients that when it comes to us (well, me really), we'd rather not know about it if anything is going on. That's my opinion, anyway.
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In other news, I'm taking long vacations away from The Straight Dope (my favorite message board), Facebook and even my beloved World of Warcraft. I am letting my daughter in law play some of my other characters. I just feel I am spending too much time indoors and not out in the sun these days, and this will help me get outdoors a little more.

Also, our grandson "Top Cat" (aka Julian) comes to spend a couple of weeks with us at the end of this month, and I always look forward to that.
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That's it for this time except to ask you please not to forget to click on the purple icon below to feed the unwanted pets in shelters nationwide, thanks.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads!

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The Animal Rescue Site


Thanks!

Bill

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What Up, Dawgs 'n Kitties?

And I don't mean the 4-legged kind, but the 2-legged ones who are supposed to take care of the 4-leggers!
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Today, I had a couple of very good things happen and I'd like to tell you about them and tell you how they interrelate, okay?

First good thing is that a very good internet friend of mine told me he appreciated my being non-materialistic, caring for and loving my wife, the world and the people in it. I didn't realize I was projecting that, but I am glad he recognizes that in me, because I tend to have low self esteem at times.

Joke: When I don't feel particularly energetic, I sometimes complain that I have "Low Self-Steam".
HAHAHAHAHA. *ahem*

Back to the subject.....

The second good thing is that on my Yahoo Finance page I found this.

Isn't that a great story? Talk about non-materialism (is that a word?)! This little family is doing everything just right and laughing in the face of adversity and that's where I get MY strength.

Here are just a few others: Michael Landon, Elizabeth Edwards (I hate that bastard husband of hers and am glad he's not our president) Patrick Swayze and so many others we never hear about.

I believe.... that at some point in our lives, we come to the point where we don't fear death anymore.

I have feared it all my adult life until now. The reason is because I was afraid I wouldn't get to do some good before the "Grim Reaper" took me out, and I think that is the same fear a lot of folks have: that they'll have to go before they can make a difference.

Luckily, with the help of some very dear and loving friends I was able to do that in several different ways, and now I am happy to go when the time comes.
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For my friend Ed and all those who feel the way he does about life:


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Please don't forget about the "4-legged" ones I mentioned earlier, support your local shelter, call them and ask what is needed and please click on the icon below to feed them. You'll make a difference. I guarantee it.
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The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks and see you next time!

Bill

Friday, June 8, 2012

STOP THE PRESSES! Bill and Dondra Forgot Their Own Anniversary!

We really did! It was May 31st. Many of you know this was our second marriage and our first anniversary was February 27th. So I guess I can list forgetting that special day as another symptom !!! HAHA!
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In other news, I'll be going for eyelid surgery in a week and a half. I have drooping lids and Medicare will pay for that procedure if the lids are low enough to obstruct my vision. There's also a possibility they may approve surgery on the bags under my eyes which are so large I can catch rainwater in them, but that's not a guarantee.
If that can happen, I'll feel like a new man.

Next, I'll be going for a sleep study to determine the amount of sleep apnea I have, which is so bad it's scaring Dondra and making me sleep poorly. I already know I'll be getting a machine, it's just a matter of what the settings will be. According to Dondra I have stopped breathing for as long as 34 seconds. This she played back to me on the tape she used to record it. Before, I never wanted to do this because I thought it would make me look and sound like Darth Vader, but now I know I need it, if only to sleep better and feel good the next day.
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I had a couple of weird symptoms today: I couldn't figure out how to control the volume on my computer and couldn't identify my deodorant, even though I have been using the same one for 20 years.
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Today, I want to link you to the Alzheimer's Association website for some interesting  reading. If you are a caregiver of a patient or know someone who is or someone who has Early/Younger Onset you might link them to this good information.
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That's it for today, friends. I wish you a pleasant weekend and please remember to click on the icon below to take you to the site which lets you feed an unwanted animal and try to remember to do it daily.
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The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks! Bill

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

When Panics Attack

I've had panic attacks before, but not as bad as the one I had Sunday. I was sitting in front of my computer writing some memories, some opinions, some (I hope) funny stuff when all of a sudden I began misspelling words, not only misspelling them, not making typos, but writing words, even spelled correctly that didn't make sense with the rest of what I was trying to write.

Now, some folks are likely to tell you the most recent one is the worst they have ever had, and for a lot of them it's true, because a panic attack is a very personal thing. A panic attack is like someone following you meaning to do you harm. You never know where or when it may strike, and the first thing which pops into the head of someone observing is that it must be drugs, next thing is an epileptic seizure and the third misconception is a heart attack. I don't have a cite for these statements, it's my conjecture and whether I'm right or wrong I will leave up to you, the reader.

Sometimes I may get a short warning of an impending attack. A short "reminder" of a previous one will trigger the beginning of a panic response from me. Looking up at a tall building in downtown Atlanta is one, riding my bicycle over a very long bridge over the ocean (like the one in Panama City Beach) is another. I fought that response by skydiving but since that time, they've "snuck in" without warning.

It's "fight or flight" time, friends.

"Meanwhile back at the farm", I'm sitting here becoming more and more anxious because I can't understand what's going on and I'm afraid I'm losing my grip. "Give it some time, breathe into that paper bag lying next to the desk, think about something else, and then just let yourself relax".

Nothing.

And this time it was way different. This time I couldn't swallow. It's like I had to tell myself  "SWALLOW, DAMMIT!!!'
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It kept getting worse and worse to the point where I was making these little mewling sounds in the back of my throat. This happened before - about 3 years ago, I think, and what I thought then as I did this time, is to drink water, lots of water until it went away, but this time that wasn't the answer. So on the ER doctor's instruction I began sucking on some hard candy, which helped me to swallow as long as i was eating candy. It got so bad to the point of being out of breath and so I began using Dondra's oxygen, which also helped. Next came posture: I had to sit still with my head tilted slightly forward and try to swallow that way.

I finally got so short of breath and exhausted I had to lie down flat, and that seemed also to help. I don't know how, but I finally dropped off to sleep and when I woke up I was much better except for a rattling in my chest and a swollen tongue.

So when I felt like I could, I got up and did some more reading: what could cause this????

1. A series of mini-strokes (also called TIA's), and

2. Onset of Parkinson's Disease and a few other things seemingly unrelated. But it was the Parkinson's that got my attention

I expect to undergo another MRI and bloodwork, to see if we can pin it down, but for now that is where I stand with this.
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Have you ever had a panic attack? I have had less than 10, but was always able to "talk myself down". This time it was a mite different. This time I thought "It's all over for the German boy."

Having worked in the ER of our local hospital, I have seen my share of both sexes brought in with either a migraines or panic attack. More often than not, what I would hear from my colleagues (or even the doctors sometimes) were the words, "Drama Queen/King", Prima Donna" and "Drug Seeker", and this was before anyone had even seen the patient!

Never, ever let some doctor or nurse tell you "It's all in your mind." It may very well begin that way, but if it continues, it can cause all kinds of nasty little problems and if up till then you didn't have those problems, "Well hellllooo! We'd like to introduce ourselves: I'm tachycardia and my friend over there is V-Fib. Tachycardia is defined as a rapid heart beat and ventricular fibrillation (V-Fib) is what will happen if you don't slow that fast heart beat down. Tachycardia + V-Fib - Prevention = (possible) Death."

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, but I speak from 17 years of experience, and I know what can happen when you blow off a panicked patient with "It's all in your head", so don't let them tell you that and send you home. There are many ways to test your heart to see if it's in trouble. Remember too, an Electrocardiogram may show normal at the time of the test, but that may be a false negative, and often the heart can fix its rhythm to appear normal. Not all the time, but some of the time.
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And speaking of the heart.....

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The Animal Rescue Site

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Time To Get Your Affairs In Order.

What, all of them???? Well, okay, but I don't know where some of those chicks live anymore! *JOKE*

But really, at 62 I'm beginning to have those "Well, it's been a good life" thoughts, and I wonder if any of y'all who are my age do too? Is this the age at which one "prepares" himself for "Mr. Death"? If so, I guess I'll go quietly, but I have to admit, I have been scared to die all my life up till now. I've never thought I'd live forever, but now that I have this shitty disease, I do think about it a lot. Hopefully with a little humor.

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In other news, I got this in my e-mail this morning.

As I wrote on my FB page this morning, I hate to be a Killjoy about this but having been involved as an advocate and visited our nation's Capitol and spoken with Senators and staff, I see this as a "Get 'em off our backs!" measure more than anything else. Yeah, the wording's nice: "We can no longer ignore Alzheimers....", but the problem has always been funding for research. That said, I have to say it's at least a step in the right direction. For me and others like me, unless there's a huge breakthrough, it may be too late, but with people being diagnosed as young as in their 30's, and one every 70 seconds, perhaps this will be an impetus for our politicians to get the hell off the dime.

Just my 2 cents, but everyone involved with the project has and is working hard to get funding for research and many of us can't wait until 2025.

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A little satire for ya?



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Please help me feed unwanted animals by clicking here:
The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks, see you next time!

Bill


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why I No Longer Work As A Medical Professional

If you've read the blog since I began writing, you'll know that for 17 years I worked in the ER of a local hospital as a respiratory therapist and why I voluntarily left the profession. On several emergent occasions, I'd blank out on important things necessary to save a patient's life. For instance placing the patient on airway life support and forgetting to plug in the ventilator (some of you call it "respirator"), drawing arterial blood, looking at the lab values and blanking out on how to adjust the ventilator in order to improve a patient's breathing. Something I'd done for 17 years in less than a minute.

As these things became more frequent, and knowing about dementias (both my parents had Alzheimer's and I carry the gene for one of its causes) I decided to see a neurologist, and after several MRI's, lab work, MMPI and other testing, it was decided I had Alzheimer's Related Dementia. I decided to quit my job before I killed someone.

If you're new to the blog this capsulized history will help you understand what's going on with me.
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Today I was digging around in some old textbooks and found a copy of an old multiple-choice practice test I had not taken, so just for hell of it. Out of 25 questions, I scored 80%! Isn't that great????

No, it's not. Why?

Because this was a written test and I could take my time thinking about the answers. You can't do that in the ER.
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Please remember to click on this icon to help feed unwanted pets in shelters across the USA.

The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks,

Bill

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Remember that accident I caused last April, which almost killed me and two other drivers, but luckily injured no one, and which is the reason I no longer drive?

Well, guess what?

I'm still not over it.

I think about it every single time I get into the car with Dondra to go to my doctor's appointments and the few times we go to the supermarket or post office together. At those times, I usually take my Kindle and read or play word games on it. I'm nervous as a cat at those times, and if I weren't reading or playing, I'd have to lie down on the back seat. Anything to keep me watching the traffic and keep my head down. I absolutely do not look up, because my sharp intakes of breath when I think I see an "impending" accident make D nervous and piss her off.

That is also the reason I stay at home a lot, unless she takes me to the track or the gym - a very short ride. I estimate that out of 7 days, I am at home at least 80% of the time - I just have no desire to be in the car unless I absolutely have to be. I do go outside, sit in the swing and play guitar, but that's it.

Is it the dementia that's keeping me so fixated? Don't know, but the three anti-depressives aren't helping with that, so I'm planning on going back to counselling.

I'll let you know how it goes.
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Please remember the animals and click to feed.
The Animal Rescue Site
Thanks,

Bill

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day One Of The Improved Format

Hey Everyone

As promised, here I am on the blog which has been set to "invitation only". Some of you have already been invited and are ready to read, and some have not. These are folks who haven't followed the blog in some time, and some who are no longer followers at all, so it will take some time to build the readership again. But no worries, at least this way I can control who reads and/or posts here.

Thanks for hanging in there with me (I started this in 2008) and I'll continue to keep you informed as to any changes.

Welcome to all the new "kids".

Thanks and please remember to click and feed the animals. It's free!

The Animal Rescue Site
Bill

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

As Promised: The Story About My Short Time As A Communist Youth

Sorry. Been a while, hasn't it, but there's really nothing new except to tell you that my good friend and co-editor of this blog, BillDL is recovering nicely from abdominal surgery and D and I are very pleased about that! He's been hurting a long time, and actually knew what was wrong with him before his doctors did. My favorite Scot is a genius!

Oh yeah! Speaking of Scotland, I looked up the Craig Clan tartan, and that thing is beautiful! I'm planning to buy the material and have Dondra make me a klit.
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And so, on to the story.....

When I was about 8 (I think - gotta check it out with my uncle Bernd) I spent some time with my German grandmother who lived in Communist-occupied East Germany. Since there wasn't a whole lot to do in the Summer, I was asked if I wanted to join a youth organization (much like the Boy Scouts here) called The Young Pioneers. "It's fun!", I was told. And it was. But my time in the organization would come back to haunt me as an adult. More in a later paragraph.

So we went to classes, went on field trips, learned to sing (Russian songs) and I was given a parade drum to play in the YP marching band (probably because I couldn't sing at the time).

It was a good time, but little did I know I was being indoctrinated into the ways of Communist doctrine. That was what the classes were for, I later realized.

Did I say they were like our Boy Scouts? Oh yes! They even had the same motto: "Always Prepared".

The Pioneers were a little like the Hitler Youth and have a long history dating back to the "October Revolution" fighting on the side of the Bolsheviks.

So anyway, I was proud to wear my white shirt, shorts and blue neckerchief (the more advanced Pioneers had red ones) and playing my snare drum and learning all about an ".....economic system characterized by the collective ownership of property and by the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members." (Wiki)

During the time I was with my "Oma" I got the measles (German, of course!) and it was a Russian doctor who came to our house to treat me. The town we lived in (Zeitz) had A Russian camp and my uncles and I used to go there to beg for bread at the window of the kitchen. The Russian word for bread is khlyep (pronounced "kleb") and was pretty much the only Russian word we knew. The cooks were always generous, and since there were three of us, we all got a loaf.

My Oma and her children were dirt poor and lived in a "courtyard" kind of apartment infested with rats. I could sometimes feel them crawling around on the bed I shared with my uncle Jürgen.

So anywaaaayyyyy..... I don't remember how long I stayed (again, gotta check it out), but I reckon it was long enough to learn how to beg and steal. Oh yes! My uncles and I used to walk to a local farmhouse and steal eggs until we were caught. We also stole sugar beets from the backs of trucks. We were hungry and my Oma's pastries or biscuits she received as part of her pay at a local bakery weren't enough to fill our bellies, hence the stealing.

Yeah, okay, we were caught and our punishment was to work on a farm picking lettuce and beans off the acres of land. Sometimes we had to seed. It was tough work, but we were always given a very good lunch and a dinner to take home to the rest of the family. Our farmer understood times were rough all over and he had a lot of empathy for us. He was a very kind and fair man.

So now you know this. Do I think Communism was a bad form of government? Well, it must have been, because it no longer exists, and I love living in a Democracy where you don't have to watch what you say for fear of being sent to a Gulag!

Okay. Fast-forward. I eventually left East Germany, much to the dismay of my Oma and my uncles. We had come to consider ourselves a family, and although I didn't much like being poor. We all made do. I hated to leave them.

Skipping ahead to 1970. I was 20 and had flunked out of college (I took correspondence courses while in the service to pass) and my number came up for the Draft. My son Jason was only 5 days old and I couldn't leave D with a brand new baby, so I elected to join the United States Air Force. This got me a 90 day delayed enlistment, so I could settle things at home.

Finally reported, got sent to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio (home of our Alamo) and took basic. After basic I was given orders to report to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to serve on a SAC (Strategic Air Command - defunct now) base as a police officer....... BUT... I needed a Secret clearance, and that was when I was confronted with my time in East Germany and my membership in the Young Pioneers.

No idea (to this day) how they found this out, but they did, and I was questioned intensively for about 30 minutes. "Are you now, or have you ever been... and the Lincoln Brigade. All kinds of stuff, but they were finally satisfied and I received my "Secret" (not TOP Secret) clearance.

And there you go. I served my time honorably and was proud to do so. Questions? Ask.

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Please remember the unwanted pets and click below to feed them!

The Animal Rescue Site

As always, thank you for reading my blog!

Bill


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Full Blown Panic Attack About An Hour Ago

I've never really had one and this was a doozie, folks. Right down to the rapid breathing, rapid heart beat which I could feel as a flutter, and sweating.

It happened while I was fixing my daily meds for the next week. Some of them sound alike to me and some are almost the same shape and color. For example, "Metaprolol" and "Meloxicam", "Lamatrogine" "Losartan" and "Lovastatin".

I had several partial bottles of the above meds, and wanted to combine them and then it happened. I put the Losartan into the partiall full Lovastatin bottle. Luckily just to make sure everything was cool, I checked all the bottles I had combined with the description of each pill, and couldn't find the Losartan. That's my blood pressure pill and I never miss a day.

And there I went. Checked, double checked, triple checked. Nothing.

I'll spare you the swearing, but believe me, it was there, as was the throwing of the empty bottles against the wall, so they could be eliminated.

Today was the day I picked up my refills and at first, I believed the pharmacist had forgotten to add those to my purchase. But no, the bag was there and the drugs had been checked off as having been the correct ones.

My daughter in law, (Susan) came into the bedroom, calmed me down, set me down, had me find the
empty Losartan bottle and describe what the pill looked like (it's white and oblong and small) as she began separating all the pill bottles onto my bed. She poured them all out and looked at them and put them back. Finally she found my mistake and all was well, as I slowly settled down and stopped my chattering, my pulse slowed to normal (right around 60 is normal for me) as did my breathing.

As I write this, I feel okay except for a splitting headache for which I just took something.

During my time working in the ER, I saw many people (brought in by ambulance, some of them), and I took all of them as seriously as I would have anything potentially dangerous to the patient. A cardiac event can sometimes result, or may even be the cause.

What I said at the outset of this entry is true, I have never really had one, though I thought I did. Looking back, I believe they were more temper tantrums than anything else, but now that I've been through one, I know now what it feels like, and friends, it doesn't feel good.

So no more preparing my own meds and before you suggest it, yes, I do have one of those daily compartment thingies. Gonna make a list of what and when and let Susan or Dondra help me.

Sorry if this seems a bit disjointed, but I'm not going back to edit this. It's the result of what it's like afterward, and I'm a bit disjointed right now as well.

Thanks for reading, and please remember to click and feed.

The Animal Rescue Site

Bill

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My German Grandparents Wilhelm and Helene: Separated By The Wall (Another Remembrance)

After World War II in 1959, the Russians built a wall separating East from West Berlin.

Both my grandparents were born and lived in an East German town called Zeitz and they had 11 children, only 2 still alive, my uncles Bernd and Jürgen (pronounced "Yer-gen").

My grandfather fought for the German army - the "Wehrmacht"*. He wasn't a Nazi, just a common soldier who never took the Hitler oath of loyalty - and when the war was over he was on the west side, and she on the Communist-occupied eastern side.

He decided that being a normal German living in a democracy was better than being a Communist and got ready to have her and the kids brought over.

But fate intervened.

First of all, she and the kids were now under the rule of the Russian Communists and travel anywhere to the west became pretty much impossible unless one tunneled under the wall, but my grandfather kept trying to get special permission for his family to join him. It was never given.

Did I mention they were both stubborn as mules? She would not desert her kids and he would not go back under Communist rule (which he could have done).

So, for many years, they lived apart, until the one time Helene (pronounced "Heh-lain-uh") did got special permission to travel to the west and see him. By that time he was in a nursing home. That many years had passed and it's the last time each saw the other alive.

In the 70's however, my Mom and Dad were able to get my grandmother ("Oma") to the US, because by then she was too old to be of any use to the Communist government. She stayed with us for a month (the limit) and afterward my mother made many trips back to Germany (at least one per year) to see her. Helene died in 1975. She was in her 80's.

Willi too, made it to the US, thanks again to my Mom and Dad, but due to his declining mental health (it wasn't called Alzheimer's officially at that time) it was difficult to keep him with us in the house, and he sneaked off many times, and the Villa Rica cops had to bring him back. My "Opa" was used to walking everywhere, and he didn't mind the 3 mile hike into town, where no one understood a damn word he said.:) He died not long thereafter, also in his 80's.

So even though both made it to see us, it wasn't at the same time, and of course they never saw "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down (that) wall!"

I don't doubt they loved each other. They wrote and telephoned and never divorced, but neither would relent and that's how that story ends. Sad, huh?
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* I could teach you how to pronounce "Wehrmacht", but you, probably not used to making the guttural "ch" sound, would probably hawk up a loogie in the process, so just say "Wair-Mahkt" and you'll avoid embarrassing yourself. :)

In a future entry, I'll tell you about my short time as a Communist while staying with my Oma for a few months, and how the United States Air Force found out about it, when I joined in 1970 and got a secret clearance.
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A couple of tunes I listen to while jogging on the track:


Looking at Mozart's profile makes me hungry for some cannoli. You?


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I usually end my blog asking you to click and feed unwanted pets, which people I'm sure take to mean cats and dogs, but this time I want to link you also to a FB site called "A Hoof And A Prayer", which my friend Anna from The Straight Dope told me about. Unfortunately google won't let me hyperlink to facebook, so you'll have to do a facebook search. We sometimes forget there are other of our four-footed friends who need our help, and this is just one of them.

The Animal Rescue Site
Please remember to click and feed!

Thanks

Bill

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Rec Center Track, Me and A Story About "Junior"

The weather here in Georgia has been unseasonably warm, so, because there's really no way to ride a bicycle here in Carrollton without risking one's life, I've taken to the track to start my running program (and lose about 25 pounds of "holiday weight"!).

D doesn't trust me on the roads or sidewalks, so it's either the track or a treadmill, and since I don't have one of those, it's left-turn, left-turn, left-turn, which is okay with me for right now. If I run the marathon later in the year, however, I'll have to get some hill training somewhere. As far as the cycling, don't know. Maybe mount my bike on a trainer and cycle stationarily.

I'm doing this as a kind of experiment on myself. I've been very sedentary of late, which really has added to my depression, so I want to find out if the release of endorphins and the exercise will help not only that, but also the dementia. I've read up on this, and exercise is definitely supposed to help us folks. We shall see. I'll do a before and after kinda thing with memory too. I have a friend who's a psych major, and he's going to put together something for me.

"Endorphins" and "pheromones". I always get those two mixed up: one makes you feel a "natural high" from being released in your brain, and the other is what your body releases to lead you into a situation and make you feel really nice in another kind of way - nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Speaking of getting mixed up: Our track, covered in asphalt has regulation lanes (8), and there's a sign at the edge of one asking walkers to take the inside 2 lanes and runners the outside lanes. Okay, got it, Coach!

So, as I'm jogging merrily along, I suddenly forget where the instructions said I should be: inside or outside. That should be easy enough to remember, right? It's just 2 instructions. Problem is, though, sometimes I'll pass walkers who aren't where they're supposed to be, and that throws me off.

So, as I used to do in college, I made up a mnemonic (I had so many in school, that a former GF called me her "demonic mnemonic"): "wi-ro" (walkers inside, runners outside). That worked okay for about a half mile and then I forgot the frickin' mnemonic! "Is it "ri-wo or wi-ro,?", I asked myself. "This doesn't work either, dammit!"

So what did I do?

What I usually do: adapt, and thinking like that old King Solomon, put myself smack-dab in the middle, problem solved. Of course there is no problem when no one's on the track but yours truly.
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So long Davy. Thanks for the music and the laughs. You'll be missed.


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In a neighboring county (Douglas) someone shot and killed a 29 year old Palomino in his pasture. "Junior" was one of the family who owned him and was loved not only by them, but the surrounding neighbors and their children as well. Here's the story: I hope the authorities don't let this murder fade away because he's "just an animal".
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The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks,

Bill

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dinner And A Haircut

I hadn't realized what a recluse I'd become until D and I took our son and his wife out to dinner Sunday afternoon. Other than meeting an old classmate of mine a couple of weeks ago for lunch, it was the first time I've gone anywhere of any substance in 8 months or longer. O'Charley's has a weird way of wrapping their silverware - they don't just roll it in a napkin - they lock it in some way, and as I ripped it open those utensils flew off the table, and we had to ask for new ones. I guess they've made them childproof or something.

Anyway, I don't have a lot of luck in restaurants and Dondra had to hold me to keep me from bolting out of the booth. I remember once I couldn't figure out which goes on the lap; the silverware or the napkin and I kept doing back and forth "trials" until it finally "kicked in" and we all had a big laugh over it. That's the visual/physical stuff.

Also still having trouble with the written/spoken words.

For example, D and I were talking about a friend of ours who suspects she may have something going on with her ovaries but has no insurance, so how's she going to afford to see a gynecologist, etc.?

So I came out with this gem: "Well, she really needs to have those things autopsied and specufied. I'm sure we can find her someone who will see her?"

Well, you know what I did, right? I mispoke the word "biopsy" and somehow, in my addled brain, pictured a speculum, a gynecological instrument, and there I went. We were in the car at the time and Dondra sprayed the windshield with her Snapple, as I uttered those appropriate, well thought-out words.

Just another day in Bill's "Bat(shit)Cave".

We're doing something new now called "Word of The Day", and all I have to do is remember what it is when I'm asked, but I've been driving D crazy because I also try to use it in a sentence.

Last week, the word was tragic. So Sunday, after a jog around the track, someone asked me if I'd enjoyed it, and I answered, "Tragically, yes."

Oh yeah: the haircut Monday. My stylist looked at me and said, "When's the last time you were in here, Bill????.

She checked, and it had been almost 4 months.

If this is a trend, I don't see myself going to my 45th year class reunion.
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Some cognitive function news for ya.

Seems that recently some researchers at a university in North Carolina discovered that playing World of Warcraft (an online "first person" game) can help in the retention of cognitive functions.

I've known that for almost 4 years, and it's why I started playing it in the first place!
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Please don't forget to click to feed. You can set yourself a reminder on their website in case you don't do it because you forgot my reminder here.

The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks

Bill

Monday, February 20, 2012

Time

Time.

Man!!! Where does it go???

Seems like only yesterday I was playing my drums, shaking my long hair and having a great time playing in rock band after rock band.

Now, here I sit ("broken-hearted. Paid a dime and only farted," - an old pay-toilet joke.) 62 years old, feeling it in my bones and my brain, but not yet in my body (except for having to wear the incontinence "Speedos" of course!).

I ask myself sometimes, "What are you still doing here, dumb ass? She doesn't look a day over 50, and you're just taking up space! Get the hell off the planet!"

But then she does or says some little thing that makes me remember why I fell in love with her in the first place, and I gain strength from that to make it through one more day.

"Madondra". (She hates when I call her that, but I do it because I like the way her eyes narrow and blaze as I say it, heh-heh!)

Dondra: A woman for the ages. A woman for all seasons. And a friend to all she meets.

She's who keeps me on "the planet!"
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The songs I chose really are only slightly related to the subject of the blog, and one of them is a "re-run", but I hope you enjoy them anyway.
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Lord, I hate sequential segues (coming out of one subject and going into another of the same), but "time" is running out for many of the four-footed ones. They sit in shelters nationwide, not knowing what they've done to wind up this way: in a cage and/or a run, but surely missing the warm "human touch" some of them may have enjoyed for a short time.

If you have a place in your heart and home, please adopt one or more of them, and get them the hell out of the hell they are in now. Don't cause them to be thrown off the planet yet. The "Rainbow Bridge" can wait.

Tell y'all what: I'll play you a HAPPY song that you and your new friend can dance to once you get them home, okay? This will be y'all's theme song, because your love will be "happening" to them!
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The lyrics if you'r singing along:

Hey life, look at me
I can see the reality
'Cause when you shook me, took me, outta my world
I woke up
Suddenly I just woke up to the happening
When you find that you left the future behind
'Cause when you find a tender love
You don't need to take care of
Then you better beware of the happening
One day you're up
When you turn around
You find your world is tumbling down
It happened to me and it can happen to you
I was sure, I felt secure
Until love took a detour, yeah!
Riding high on the top of the world it happened
Suddenly it just happened
I saw my dreams torn apart
When love walked away from my heart
And when you lose a precious love you need to guide you
Something happens inside you, the happening
Now I see life for what it is
It's not a dream
It's not a bliss
It happened to me and it can happen to you
Ooh, and then it happened
Ooh, and then it happened
Ooh, and then it happened
Is it real?
Is it fake?
Is this game of life a mistake?
'Cause when I lost the love
I thought was mine for certain
Suddenly it starts hurting
I saw the light too late
When that fickle finger of fate
Yeah! It came and broke my pretty balloon
I woke up
Suddenly I just woke up
So sure, I felt secure
Until love took a detour

'Cause when you got a tender love
You don't take care of
Then you better beware of

The happening

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As always, if you can't adopt, then please click on this link
The Animal Rescue Site
to feed them, and remember to do it daily.

Thanks!

Bill

Friday, February 17, 2012

More Regrets.

Still not to the deepest and most regretful of all of them, but don't lose interest! There are several more to come which may make you wince and/or shake your head.

I regret very much treating my brother like shit most of his young life, and this goes back to the "me-me-me" life I led and am still leading, regretfully, today.

My Mom and Dad were both very industrious people and worked hard until they died - Mom sometimes 2 jobs plus her volunteer work at the hospital in Villa Rica. My Dad, retired after 20 years in the Army, went right to work in "millville", AKA "Fullerville" - a suburb (for lack of a better word) of Villa Rica. There he inhaled cotton dust until it finally killed him in '95. Mom died two years later, after we both had taken a vacation trip to Germany on my USAir employees' pass.

An in-depth entry about my parents is in the works.

But back to my Bro': Because they worked so hard and were gone much of the afternoon and evenings, it fell to me to help with his homework and just generally look after him and make sure he didn't go crawling around underneath the house, where he might have to be dug out later (Sorry, Bro'!).

So those were busy times for me, having to do my own homework, helping him with his, trying to keep up my extra-curricular activities (the high school band, my rock groups, plus working part time), and I'm afraid I began to resent my brother for taking up so much of "my" time!

My girlfriend and I would talk for hours at a time on the phone in the laundry room of the house (I think that phone cord was about 30 feet long), and the poor little guy used to knock on the door and ask for help with a math problem. I'd help, but not without a lot of groaning and sighing.

I think the worst thing I ever did to him (No. I never hit my little brother) was make him go to bed when it was still light outside just to keep him out of my hair so I could talk to my girlfriend in peace.

I also used to scare the hell out of him when I'd put so much wood in that old pot-bellied stove we had, that it turned it red-hot. Our house was what's known as an ante-bellum style and had no insulation in its walls. During bad winters, you could actually see the ice forming on them.

If you follow this blog on a regular basis, you'll recognize a term I use quite frequently: "saving grace".

Well, our father was my brother's saving grace.

I didn't like to fish and hunt, but Skip did, and so he wound up closer to Dad than I was, and I was closer to our Mom, being that we both spoke fluent German and had our homeland in common.

She knew I hated being in the USA. She didn't, but there wasn't a whole lot she could do about it, so about all we had was our memories, and then later, in my 40's, our repeated trips home together through my airline job.

So my brother and I grew up and we look back on those times and laugh, and I am glad about that for him because I could have done some real damage, not knowing how to be a "parent" at age 15. Plus, he's so big he could beat the tee-total shit out of me today!

So, Skip. All is forgiven, I hope?

Better be, Dude's in charge of my funeral/memorial service! LOL!

Speaking of which, it's in my will that I am to be cremated, but that I want my ashes mixed in with dip and salsa and served to everyone who comes to pay their finals, so I'll always be a "part of my beautiful friends!" Awwwwww!

Don't worry! he ain't goin' for it!!!! HA!

Love you, mah Brotha!

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One thing both me and Skip inherited from our folks was their love for animals. "Mr. Ed", our old white mule, whom I taught to gait till we were the envy of Stockmar Road; cats, dogs, pigs we never could slaughter because our Mom named 'em, and all the strays left at our fence because people knew we'd give them a good home.

Hell, Mom used to cook for our critters, and sometimes they ate better than we did! (that was a joke, btw).

Skip and I are glad we got that from our folks, and he has carried on the tradition, I am happy to say. He reads the blog and clicks the below icon to feed the unwanted pets, and I hope you will as well.

Thanks for reading, and if I haven't piqued your interest yet, don't worry. I soon will. *wink, wink, nudge nudge*.

Bill
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The Animal Rescue Site

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Regrets? There's Been A Bunch

I've always liked that Frank Sinatra (written by Paul Anka) tune, but never liked the part where he sings, "......too few to mention". Bullshit. I bet if some thought were given to it, that phrase could be written the way it appears above.

I'll talk about a few of my own while I still have a little time remaining on the planet. I'm sure the list will be added to and amended several times throughout the course of this little diary/blog or whatever you'd like to call this drivel you're kind enough to read!

It's your call as to whether what I'm about to write has any merit, but it does need to be written down and remembered. Consider it a "work in progress" ("regress"?)
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My first regret (note I did not write "deepest") is that I never "forgave" my Dad for bringing me, my Mom and my brother to the USA. I had many opportunities to do so; the very last one as I watched him die. I was with him almost constantly (my Dad was also my patient) at the end and although we (I) spoke of many things, this one was never mentioned.

Why not?

More than likely it's because I'm a self-centered SOB and deserve that "narcissistic" label a former SO hung on me.

Ever notice how close those acronyms (Significant Other and Son Of a Bitch) are to each other? Just add one letter and you go from a loving relationship to a hateful one.

So yeah. I was majorly pissed off being "torn away" from my home country, Germany, and "dragged" over here.

My mistake was allowing that grudge against my father to follow me into adulthood. No matter what I may have felt in the beginning, this wonderful man was only doing what he thought was best for the little family he'd begun in post-World War II Germany. I don't know what would have transpired had I not awakened in New York (I was given a sedative because I kept running away at the airport) USA, but I do know I've been given some golden opportunities here and I should not ever forget this.

I just noticed a huge error in a paragraph above which I will not correct because it's further evidence of my "Me-me-me" personality. Did you catch it as well?

I wrote: ".....I never forgave my Dad.......".

What the hell, Bill????

It should have been me asking his forgiveness, dammit!!!!
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I can already see that this "regrets" thing is going to involve more than just a 1-2-3 list if it's going to make any sense to me or to you, so we'll let this entry be "Installment Number 1", if that's okay with y'all?
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It was 19 degrees here in West Georgia during the night, and while talking to my good friend Trace in Mississipi online last evening, he excused himself to go and let their three dogs (he and his wife adopt rescues) in, and it made me think of all the unwanted pets who don't have a warm place to spend the night (or any part of a day). So, as I always do, I'll ask you to consider adopting a pet from your local shelter - an elderly dog or cat if possible - and give them a forever home.

If you can't, then please click on my icon at the bottom of this blog entry to help keep them fed.

Thanks Y'all!
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The Animal Rescue Site

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hello Again, Darryl! Lunch With My Very First Friend From 44 Years Ago


It was awesome seeing you again today after how many years - 44????

Darryl was the first kid ever to befriend me following my family's emigration to Georgia in 1960. Specifically a small town named Villa Rica - not really the friendliest place for a kid of 11, who barely spoke any English.
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So there we sat today at noon: two old guys with similar afflictions (he with Parkinson's added in), throwing memories at each other, correcting them and, at times, guffawing so loud it caused the Longhorn's clientele to turn and smile as they caught little wisps of our conversation.

We couldn't have looked more different had we been born on separate planets. Me with my brown hair shaggy with bangs in my eyes, Beatles' style, and he with his snow-white hair and flowing beard, making him look like a pirate (his favorite historical character), his once flame-red locks now having given way to the "salt" of the ages.

"I still remember your phone number", I said, and repeated it to him.

"And I remember yours", and, with a wink told me exactly what it was.

"As kids, were we magicians with refrigerator or washing machine boxes, or what?", I asked, and then recounted that said boxes served as spaceships, castles, bunkers and tanks. For what seemed like days (our days - as long or as short as we wanted), we role-played our way through the space age, medieval times and chivalry and World War II. I was kinda glad we were on the same side (The Allies) during that last time period, because I was having enough trouble in real time being a "soldier in the German Army".

Intrepid hunters we were! Yes, indeed!

Many a night would find us camped out in my back yard using the two shelter halves (somewhat larger than a pup tent when buttoned together) our Dads had kept from their days in the service.

We played Army until dusk and built ourselves a small fire to cook our K-Rations on. Dessert were PB&J's from a CARE package sent from way back in the "States" by our Moms.

Yes? You have a question?

'Why was there an extension cord snaking out the back of our tent?'

Well see, we were ordered by our commanding officer(s), "General Mom" to always have a source of light in case we needed to escape in a hurry from the squirrels....errrr, enemy. We couldn't very well try to grab our weapons and other gear in the dark, could we?

We also needed the lamp in order to read the  comics (Batman, Superman and Sgt. Rock) we needed in order to enjoy some mini R&R.

Yes. There were 6 cords hooked together.
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There is much more "history" to be written from both our memories, but today was a very good start.

Thanks, Darryl,  for what I know is only number one of our historical series
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Afterword

Sitting across from my friend and listening to his words, I was glad I'd brought a pen and notebook, because the memories flew across the table faster than the speed of light.
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Please remember to click and feed our four-footed ones!

The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks,

Bill

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Little More Pot Pourri For Ya?

As many of you know, I'm very active in animal welfare. Not as much as I'd like to be, but I keep myself informed and contribute what I can where I can, and in keeping with that, I've found a way to help contribute funds which only requires a little time: filling out surveys.

Now, one has to be careful with this, because some of those sites are nothing but scammers and spammers, but I've found a trustworthy one and I'll tell you about it, if you'll send me an e-mail. I can't mention it in the blog because that would be advertising, and the blog isn't set up that way, sorry.

It isn't only surveys (those are the "money-makers"), it's also "paid e-mails" (which only pay 2 cents per mail), but it all adds up, and when you get to a certain amount, you ask to be sent a check, and mine goes to the Paulding County Humane Society, alternated with the Carroll County Humane Society.

So if you want to know more, send me a private message and I'll tell you about it.

As I stated above, I do stay abreast of what goes on in the animal welfare world, and as I surfed the web this afternoon, I found this picture:



I have seen some pitiable photographs of animals, but not one which hit me as hard as this one does. It relates to a petition Californians are asked to sign to be sent to their Governor Jerry Brown regarding the length of time an animal is kept before it is killed. The link is here if you're interested.
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The sleeplessness continues, as does the periodic incontinence and, for the first time, some very dark thoughts about myself. Not only thought, but voiced and that's a totally new and scary thing for me to be experiencing. I'll have to explore those in a little more detail with my shrink and/or counsellor at our next meeting.

Does that surprise you? If so, why? Remember, I've said from the very beginning of writing this blog, I will share with you everything that is going on with me no punches pulled, so this is what I'm sharing with you now.

I hope no one thought that just because I try to keep things light-hearted here, that I don't have bad days. I do. Dark times, pretty mama. Dark times indeed.

But! I have my "Saving Graces"! Dondra, Julian, Jason, Susan (my son and daughter in law) and, last but not least, The Bertster (My Maine Coon kitty, brought to my apartment and left with me ostensibly for just a short time, but it turned out to be "forwever more", because we kinda just fell in love with each other).

Heeeeeere's Bertie!


So I have to try to hold on to these little graces of mine and try to remember it isn't about me, no matter how bad the days may get, and I may need y'all to remind me from time to time if I get too down in the mouth! Could ya do that for me?

One thing that helps is to always have something going - one project or another - even something so simple as writing a song or a poem. Gotta stay busy and try to remember not to wet my britches! LOL!!!!




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That little guy up there? Please don't let him and his brothers and sisters go hungry, okay? Please click the icon below to feed them. It won't cost you anything and you can do it every day. I do appreciate y'all coming here and reading my drivel, but I appreciate even more your love for the four-footed ones. Always.

Thanks!
The Animal Rescue Site
Bill