A 60+ S_ O _ _ R ~ Early Afternoon Thoughts

Leaving all the “Sturm und Drang” that I last posted at length about –here– I want to move forward to the merry month of May. A wonderful time of may-flowers (except for those that were being flooded or frozen) and supposedly a welcoming of spring. In my case, it was the welcoming of yet another surgery. Over the years, those who know me have realized that walking had become much more difficult and sometimes quite painful. (bad joints for 100, Alex)

In the month of April, I realized that something was going to have to be done ~ and quite soon. I was walking as if I had been riding horses for 100 years (bow-legged really doesn’t even begin to describe it. I was beginning to look like the curved sides of a ship!) And I was beginning to be unable to walk for all but a short distance without having to sit down and let the knees recover. All of which contributed to making me fell exceptionally old and somewhat feeble. This time I began to plan and research 1) where I wanted to have it done and 2) who I wanted to have do it. (shocked friends and relatives for 500, Alex)

Several years ago I had researched the cost of getting my knees done as a cash up-front patient. The results were absolutely stunning overwhelming…out of all the major hospitals in Houston ~ for cash payments I would have been able to literally buy a house for a little more than what the two knees were going to cost me! To one business office (after THREE days of trying to get in contact with them.) after she quoted me the price I simply told her ~ “Look honey, I am not buying the operating room or donating a new one! I just want to rent the one you have!” At that point I simply decided the operations were not going to happen until I was on Medicare or had won the lottery. As both seemed to be long-term before they happened. I gave up.

Now, there was no giving up. Things had to get done and I was the one that was going to have to make it happen. I had decided WHERE I wanted to have it done. It’s a small (79 surgical beds) hospital located just on the edge of the medical district called University General Hospital. I found out that the hospital is operated partly by the University of Houston, Baylor College of Medicine and the doctors who are affiliated with the hospital. So far so good . . . So, I simply called and asked for a list of Orthopedic Surgeons. There were five that were immediately recommended. Armed with Google and my own determination I went on a surgeon hunt. The first name on the list had not only his own website, but was on several others. He had a list of accomplishments a mile long and even had a video on his website that showed through animation what would be done during the operation. –>here<– (it’s not a graphic movie folks!!)

I made an appointment to meet with him – and without a moments hesitation on my part (after we looked at the x-rays) I was scheduled for surgery on May 9th ~ having to be there at 5am . . . A time I hadn’t seen for several years, and wasn’t sure still existed!!!

Of course, once you have something like a total knee replacement surgery scheduled ~ the horrors begin the come out of the woodwork . . . each with a different view of how terrible the operation is going to be and how horrible I’m going to feel once the operation is done and I’m on my own. These were usually prefaced by “Of course, yours might be different BUT my (cousin, uncle, sister’s friend’s aunt three times removed or I read about) . . . whatever had or ended up doing …. whatever. I’m sorry now that I didn’t write them all down. They would have made a wonderful plot line for a soap opera or a lifetime of Lifetime disease of the week movies!

–more tomorrow on the adventure and more clues on the hangman puzzle in the heading!!

And The Non-Winner Is …. Early Evening Thoughts.

My apologies for not posting over the last few days. I really couldn’t bring myself to post something humorous or trying to let you know part of the story when I myself didn’t know how it was going to turn out. I wrote in the last point about my friend playing crash and burn with his body and mind. I think crash and burn won….

After he recovered from last Sunday ~ we had several l-o-n-g talks about what was happening and what he was not only doing to himself, but to those around him. I was trying to be careful not to be judgmental and/ or evangelical. It was becoming an extremely difficult task.

I finally got through with the sentence: “I can care unconditionally – but I don’t have to accept the behaviors unconditionally.” So, he agreed that getting to the counseling center and getting into therapy was the only way to go.

Yesterday, I got a phone call from him wanting to meet for lunch and talk. He was worried about what was going to happen and if he really had the strength to resist his addictions. We talked for a few moments and I hung up to get ready to go down the road and meet him for lunch. He arrived and seemed in good shape – looks and demeanor can be deceiving. I realized that when he took out a bottle of vodka during lunch and helped himself. Once again I’m thinking – “holy Crap now what!” (raging drunks for 1000 Alex.)

At this point I’m also thinking “This is a restaurant I will be unable to go back to….” But my deepest concern is for my friend. He’s at this time beginning to spin out of control. I finally get him convinced to leave the restaurant ~ he wanted to buy a backpack and I thought the walk to the store might help. (foolish thoughts for 500 Alex.) And once again I was left shaking my head in disbelief.

I knew I could get him a ride ~ a friend of both of us was still willing to work with him. Several calls later he agreed to pick us both up – but particularly “Mouthwash”.

He “earned” the nickname from the Crisis Residential Unit we were both in after my stay in the hospital. He actually managed to get alcohol and smuggle it into the unit. He wasn’t selfish evidently ~ more than willing to share with others. Of course, the fact that everyone was on medication that might have a very negative (as in deadly) reaction to it never figured into his conscious. The alcohol? One that needs to be banned from drug store shelves. I’m not going to reveal the name – but the next time you are in a drug store look for a mouthwash that is more than 50 proof. The night at the unit was very interesting. He was turned in to the director and actually never denied the alcohol, merely blamed whoever turned him in as being at fault.

As the counseling center I was hoping to get him into was closed Friday/Saturday and Sunday. He had promised to call on Monday to get the intake appointment, and I agreed that I would go with him. All I could do was hope that he would be able to hold on until then. We finished getting the backpack and a really great pair of sunglasses for me and went outside to wait for our friend to come and take him away.Mouthwash decides that sitting on the sidewalk is the best option. So, now I’m sitting on the sidewalk (getting down there with my knees was a fun undertaking) ~ and he’s sitting there taking alternate hits from a vodka bottle and soda bottle. All I could think was what a great picture we were – and how much we both looked like older homeless men sharing a moment. As we were not sharing the bottle that’s all we would be sharing. He rambled on and on and I kept praying that no one I knew would show up.

That’s when the rest of the story came out. Not only had he been imbibing alcohol this week – but he had been mixing codeine cough syrup and pills (Xantax specifically) ~ a sure-fire meltdown combination. Now I’m worrying about getting arrested simply becvause I’m sitting next to him . . . and I have begun to create a catastrophe out of the situation. I’m not going to share those with you at this point ~ but later they became quite funny.

Finally we had poured him into the car and he was being taken back to the center where he lives to sleep it off …

The sleeping it off hope ended ~ evidently ~ when he passed out in his doorstep and awoke moments later cursing and threatening everyone in sight. . . including the friend that drove him home and was trying to get him into his room. Details are a little sketchy, but from what I found out ~ he checked himself out of the center and headed off to one of the most dangerous areas of town to add crack to the ingredients in his system. Today we learned that he was beaten up and arrested…no one knows for sure, but it sounds pretty likely to me.

Today when I contemplated what had gone on – I realized that my view of things/people/places and events has really changed. I know that there is nothing I can do to help this person directly and that worrying about it is neither productive nor helpful.

What does concern me is what this says about people I am around. There will be more on that soon.

Ok, Maybe I’m Not Reading This Correctly ~ Early Morning Thoughts

As we approach the New Year with all its resolutions, hopes and dreams (more about that later) … perhaps a reflection on some of the idiocy of last year would be in order.

I normally don’t provide a link to another web site, but in this case ~ the stories are worth reading in their home blog and perhaps you might find the site as interesting as I do. These three blood-pressure raising tales are true stories that have been published on the This Is True website. (OK, his copyright had something to do with it as well ~)

One involves police unable to release pictures of escaped murderers because….well, I’ll let the spokesman speak for himself at the end of the story. Another involves a blind boy who is not being allowed to take his seeing eye dog to school (the principal wanted him arrested) and last but NOT least – a town deciding to go to plan B . . . at a lot more money.

Hopefully, you are intrigued to visit
Randy Cassingham’s “This is True” Blog , and relish the stories ….

about New Year’s later ~

A Small Parable ~ Early Evening Thoughts

He sat on the bank looking longingly at the water. The sky reflected on the moving surface created a continually changing pattern – sometimes calm, reflective and sometimes dark, foreboding. But always, the water seemed inviting and yet, challenging. He’d been warned that the water was dangerous. That it was deep, full of currents – riptides that would pull him under. However, as he looked he could almost hear music that the ripples and/or waves made as they pushed against the shore.

Then, as sometimes happens – a storm came up. There was tremendous wind, thunder and lighting. It should have been impossible to hear anything above the fury of the storm, but he was positive he could still hear the sound of the water against the shore.

As always, the storm finally faded away – and peace resumed again. The water looked as if it had never changed. The sound of the ripples against the shore line moved him to stand and move toward the edge.

“There’s nothing in there for you.” said a voice behind him. He turned to look. “Nothing in there but deep roiling currents that could take you and smash you against the rocks and crags. Leaving you broken and possibly dead.”

“This kind of water is best left alone.” said another voice. He moved his head to one side to see the speaker. “This kind of water offers nothing …nothing but – well, they say it has poisonous properties that can eat away at the flesh. This kind of water supposedly has sharp microscopic animals that dig in and cause great pain.”

He shook his head in disbelief. “Have either of you ever been in the water?” was his not so subtle challenge to the two speakers. He was met with silence. “I thought so,” he finally said to them.

So, he turned back and watched the water under the setting sunlight. The rays of light skittered across the surface and seemed to dance before his eyes. Then he saw it. In the middle of the water was a small boat, and standing in that boat a solitary person. This person seemed to be looking directly at him. (If the truth be told, it was too far to be sure that’s what the person was doing, but to him it seemed as if he was.)

With only a moments hesitation, he took the first step into the water. It was warm, pleasant without sharp creatures. He took another, then another. Finally the walking placed the water at his knees. He continued to move into the center of the water. He now was creating ripples that pushed toward the shore and toward the small boat in the center.

The water was now up to his waist and yet, all was peaceful. With his eye on the target, he moved further and further away from the shore. Suddenly he realized – the fear of what he didn’t know had been keeping him back on shore. The advice of those on the shore could have kept him there and he would never had tried.

He was approaching the small boat and its occupant. The water was no higher than his waist. The depth and fear was nothing more then an illusion. He realized he could handle this. This was manageable and would provide many memories in the days to come.

—wd

Go Into The Light ~ Early Morning Thoughts

When people aren’t engaging my interest, I get some of my best thinking done on the bus (also in the shower, but that’s for a later post). I’m not sure why, but while traveling along the streets and areas I know quite well, I can let my mind run down all sorts of interesting “pig” trails and byways. Today I was looking back over events of the last four weeks, the last week and the last 24 hours. It was then I realized that I was really looking at what I wanted to call “defining moments.”

Sometimes the phrase is used politically or socially, but I realized I was looking at it from a very personal point of view. Some of the moments have passed, but I also realized I was going to be dealing with defining moments yet to come. This allowed my mind to move toward another term that can be part of defining moments: epiphany.

Epiphany (feeling), a realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something or someone
or to be more dictionary about it ~
e·piph·a·ny ĭ-pĭf’ə-nē)n.
1. Epiphany

3. A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something.
4. A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization:

“I experienced an epiphany, a spiritual flash that would change the way I viewed myself
–Frank Maier

Creativity is an instant — a moment when our lives are defined. It’s the moment we touch each other’s lives. And our response to that tiny passing event doesn’t change just us. It changes the world we live in at the same time.
–John Lienhard
The Engines of Our Ingenuity


If only there were a longer time between epiphany and epitaph
–David Glaser

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
— John Milton

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.
–Charles Darwin

Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.
–Jim Horning

In a moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.
–Theodore Roosevelt

Part of discovering who you are and what you are capable of requires you to reflect upon some of the key moments from your past. We all have experienced “defining moments.” Those moments that define who you are and what you stand for. Those moments that help you create clarity about your life purpose and your life values. Sometimes those moments are in response to life’s challenges. It’s when you rise to the occasion. It’s when you become the person you always wanted to be.
–Mark Susnow

We are a way for the cosmos to know itself”
–Carl Sagan

Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
–Oscar Wilde

See I’m a dreamer, man, and when I was a cook I’d always work with people who weren’t dreamers. Like, I was cooking at this restaurant and I put a hot dog on the grill and my kitchen manager came over, and he said, “Mitch, put the hot dog up here, in the right hand corner of the grill, so in case you get a whole bunch of orders at once you have all this space available.” See that’s how I knew he wasn’t a dreamer, ’cause the day I give up my dreams is the day I have strategic grill locations. A dreamer has a philosophy: the entire grill is hot!
–Mitch Hedberg