I am There With Them. I’m living what their living. I’m going through exactly what they are going through.
I wrote this last evening, but could not post it until now.
It’s Saturday night and once again I am not able to log on to my blog. I don’t know whats’ happening there so I am posting on a text file so it will be ready as soon as the blog comes back up.
I have spoken with the Hospice people and let them know that I would like to start volunteering to speak with anyone who is going what I am going through, You know, the Stage IV Cancer and everything that goes with it.
There have been many times when I have been at Johns Hopkins getting scan or meeting with Dr
Carducci and run into someone who is going through the same thing I am. I met people that were there for the first time, and one man who had been on the Stage IV level for 14 years! The family have asked me to talk to their father/ brother/ etc and I have. I’m not a doctor or counselor, or pastor, but. I am There With Them. I’m living what their living. Im going through exactly what they are going through. My little conversations with them about the Positive Mental Attitude has been received gratefully and given some of them some help and an incite that All Is Not lost. Life is not Over. It can be overcome.
To that end, I have told the Hospice people that I would be willing to visit with my fellow travelors and share my experience and situations tohelp them. Maybe tell them some stuff that will help them get through this a little easier, either for themselves or their family. I could visit them at home, or they could come to mine.
I have found God thanks to his perseverence with me that has finally shown me that there is no way I could have gotten this far without Gods help.
I have always felt that you have to give something in order to give it back, and I believe that God wants me to do this for as long as I can, and I plan on doing everything I can for them and God. I am not going to become a preacher, but I will be glad to tell my story to anyone who would listen.
I still plan my talks with my Grandchild to be sure she knows me in case I miss her/him.
So, My Just Keep Living family, please keep continuing you support. I plan on doing this as long as God wants me to. I accept his decisions without wondering why me? He knows, and I accept his decisions.
God Bless You All!
Just Keep Living
If you know of anyone that you think would like to be aware of this, please give this to them so they may concact me should they desire.
it’s Sunday night and I’m watching the classic Cowboy Redskin matchup. The skins are already down 14 to 3 so it’s a perfect time to blog. It’s different now because RGiii is playing like he did last year, almost.
This has been an amazing weekend. Linda left Friday early afternoon for a weekend at the ocean with the girls. Jessica came up to stay with me this weekend. The plan was for her and Matt to clean out the attic and maybe get the living room wrapped. wow how much more we got done. Saturday morning Chris BECHTEL showed up as I had forgot and he had promised. A little bit later and Ed Kelley showed up at the door as well.
When Matt so showed up a little later the three of them went to town. Theygot the room above the garage my office and the closet upstairs completely done. Suki joined Jess and they wrapped everything in the living room. Curio Cabinet , dining room hutch , and and our dry sinks, everything
The only things left to wrap are the kitchen stuff. Everything is in boxes ready to go.
I’m laying here tonight in my bed on Jessica’s mattress from her bed upstairs. I never realized how uncomfortable that air mattress really was.
Well after that we had spaghetti dinner out on the back porch with Jessica and everyone that she made it was outstanding. John Paul was able to come up with this so is everyone including Jason and a special guest from the past.
Ed sat inmy room and talked until 2 o’clock in the morning. I love those sessions because he ask you questions that make you think.
Earlier in that evening something happened that made my day. When cleaning upstairs in my room Chris found a baseball. It was a baseball from the 1993 Memorial Stadium baseball game that I didn’t attend but I got a baseball for when I was at fox. He was so excited about it I had to give it to him has he already had a box for it but no ball. The excitement I saw in his eyes just made my day.
Chris showed up again today carrying gifts, corn beef from Attmans! If you have followed this blog and all you know how excited I was. You know what the saying is corn beef on rye with mustard period, stupid.
Eddie came back and he Chris and I watched the ravens. Jess is a big fan but she went home to grade papers teacher that she is.
Linda got home and the afternoon said hi went upstairs and crashed.
She came down later after everyone left for about half an hour, and decided to crash again when I told her I was watching the Washington Redskins.
How did she feel about what they did she was happy happy happy, just a little hung over. She staying home tomorrow with me.
All in all a great weekend. Got a lot of the packing done had a great conversation with Ed that will help me through some things, and restarted a relationship I thought I was afraid that I had lost forever.
You can’t get any better than that.
Talk to you soon.
I know, I know, I’m blogging so soon. I have some stuff I need to get to you you guys.
I had good response from the last one, but realize there was some information than was not the complete truth. Jason was upset that I indicated the house he liked wrong. It is only 2 floors, not 3. But Buddy, I know its only 2 floors, but staying by myself when you and Linda were working down the end of a country road would isolate me in a way that I would be nuts in about 2 days. No one would be coming by to visit. It would be a “destination point” not a “driive by ” while running an errand. He mentioned it’s close to WallMart in Frederick, but not the Walmart that all our friends use, so they wouldn’t come anywhere near it when they went to their Walmart. The possibility of a stop buy would be gone.
While I spoke at length about Jessica and Jason, Linda was once again left out of the conversation.
I want everyone to understand that Linda is the most important person in my life. She is the one that is there for me 24/7. Think about what she is going through. She will be moving from this home that she and I raised the children for the family.a It has so many good memories that you cannot count them. Sometime in the not so far future, she will be a widow. While she has many many friends and relationsships, I don’t think it will be the same.
I am putting it on record that I want my wife to find someone that she can share the rest of her life with, and not be by herself. I know Jason and Jessica and Lilbean will be there 4 her, but she has my blessing to do whatever she wants, including that facelift that she has talked about so much. While I think that she is beautiful as is, she is a real world beauty, That would make her feel better about herself. LInda, you are not fat. You are where you should be.
I see her go to work everyday, standing on her feet. She is now working with the young ones and new people that make her worktime at least tolerable, she is on her feet all day. She comes home in the afternoon and can barely walk sometimes because of her swollen feet. She expends her efforts all day, and barely has enough to make dinner and watch some tv with me before she has to go to bed to be ready for the 5am call the next morning. While I try to keep the kitchen clean, I sometimes cannot keep it up. In the new home it should be easy for me. I am going to attempt to wash and dry clothes so she doesn’t have to fight with Jason about who is cleaning our clothes on the weekend. Going up and down everyday to take a shower will be eliminated for me over there, so I plan on spending 1 day washing clothes and towels. I can handle up the stairs one day a week. If Jason plays his cards right, I might even do his, as long as we “negotiate” a proper fee”.
I know that I have put a lot of pressure on her lately talking about the move, packing, etc and she just has not been able to let the information sink in.
She is down at Ocean City with the girls this weekend, a getaway that she truly deserves and needs. Girls, I thank you for braving the cold to get her out of here. I will not even be upset if she gets thrown out of anywhere down there. She deserves the right to do it. Jessica stayed with me last night, and Matt is coming up today to help get some of the stuff out from above the garage so we can save the money on the movers.
I am hoping that we can get as much packed as we can to save money on the move. If we can get a lot packed, then we will be able to buy new couch and chair that LInda would like to have. Our couch in our family room has about to fall apart. Linda deserves to get that new couch that she wants.
I want to be able for her to go out and pick out the stuff she wants and get it delivered to her new home!
Jason told me yesterday that one of his coworkers, a single mom that works with his company and does a lot of the “nonproductive” work for the company ( you know, the one that does stuff that is necessary, but doesn’t bring in money, and gets hours cuts before everyone else). was a work in the rain and cold with open shoes as those were the only ones she owned. Anyway, he told me that was taking her to buy her some new shoes and boots to get through the winter. For a moment I thought he was going to ask if she and her son could move in downstairs because they couldn’t afford to live at their apartment anymore. He would do something like that, has in the past. He did not, although I would have been hardpressed to tell him no. IT’s just some of the things he does without fanfare, just because he cares. Any wonder why I’m proud?
When Jess came up yesterday, I was debating on whether to start the communication with Lilbean. I started to have second thoughts about the communication with her. What happens if it’s just too intense for this little baby to hear this voice so close. It might scare the **** out of her(him?). I will be only doing it from a distance. O, maybe a hand on the stomach after I have introduced myself properly. I’m going to work on that gradually. Any suggestions?
I have come to realize that I am not losing my screened in porch! The living room that has the train running around will be where we are putting the wicker table and chairs. The windows open wide all the way around the room, so we will be enjoying the outside air until it gets too cold, so it’s just like the porch except it has heat. Friends could come over in the evening and we can just sit their and talk with the train running above, Playing Johnny Cash records, (or whatever), or watch the 3d TV! how cool it that. Linda’s idea.
Chris Bechtel has just shown up to help us pack! He is the son of one of my oldest and dearest friends, who moved to PA a few years ago. He had promised to come over and he showed. Thank you Chris. Jess, Matt and Chris should be able to get a lot done today with the attic, packing up the living room, and bringing down my stuff from upstairs.
Just Keep Living comes through once again. Talk to you soon.
Finally, my blog is back up. I have been trying to blog for 3 days, but have not been able to log. This is a long one, and profound, so if you are busy, or at work, I would suggest you start reading when you have the time and not get interrupted.
Here we go.
Good morning, it’s Friday morning here at the old homestead. A rainy day, to I”m staying inside, barring a fire, I will not be leaving the house. LInda is coming home a couple hours early to head to the beach with the girls for a much deserved girls weekend. Jason is working, trying to fix dents, looking through the rain. Frustrating work in the least. Jessica will be coming up with Matt to stay with me for the weekend so I won’t be alone.
I am looking forward to a weekend wih Jess and Matt. She’s been having a rough time with her pregnancy, so I don’t expect too much from her other that companionship. which is more than enough.
I guess you have realized that the last month, with the looking for a new home, that it has been a very difficult time for me, probably as difficult a time as I have had so far. Well, I’m coming out of it.\\
My wife has had mixed feelings about the move. This has been our home for the last 26 years. Jason wants to move away from Ellicott City, to western Howard County. He found a place we could rent that he was so excited about that he fought us about not moving there. While it was a very nice house with plenty of rooms, etc. It was too isolated for me and LINda. You have to drive down a driveway a 1/4 mile or so. If it snowed, we no longer have a 4wd vehicle, with Linda’s toyota, my buick, his ranger rwd pickup. He has sold his truck to cut down on his monthly nut, which has releived a lot or pressure to pay his bills. If it snowed more than a couple inches, since it’s a private drive, who knows when it would get plowed. It would not be a good situation for someone in my condition to be in. It had a heated barn, bunches of bedrooms and bathrooms, but I would again be living on two floors.The combination of moving from his only home and not getting the place he wanted, put him in a bad place.
Here is my functioning status. I can now walk with a cane. I can use the cane to walk in from the handicapped parking into Walmart to grab a scooter. The same as Target, Safeway, and a bunch of others. I have to use a walker for any longer walks. I can use the walker to go into Riteaid and a couple other places. That means I can go to either of those places. We are switching RiteAid’s to one that has a Drivethrough so I can get my prescriptions when the walker is just too much. I spoke with Linda about switching back to CVS, but she says the savings we get at Riteaid really adds up. So CVS your still out.
I can walk. Without a cane. I repeat, I can walk. Without a cane. Not far, inside on level floors. I can dance! no JItterbug as yet but can swing my hips, whoo hooo!
My pain is pretty under control. The Hospice has suggested a switchup in pain medicine and it is improving my quality of life.
Now the serious stuff. You can take an intermission now if you want, if you are afraid of being interrupted, please continue when you can without interruption.
The news that my cancer had spread pretty well since I went off of the cancer meds just gave me a headslap that I was hoping not to get, but did. Dr Carducci had told me it is pretty imminent, that I should maybe record a document or tape if I want to leave something for my Grandchild. I have come to realize that I have that already in place in the form of my blog.
My relationship with my children is unique. I am so proud of both of them. I believe that they will be doing great for the rest of their lives. I have been able to get some stability in their live in the form of income that should last for 40+ years. They are both outgoing and helpful to others to a fault. Jessica has accomplished so much and is in a place that I believe that she will be the next Nancy Grasmick (head of Maryland School sytem) whenever she is ready.
I don’t know how many times that I have seen the assistance above and beyond for friends and people unknown to us, if it’s the use of his trucks, cars, stopping on the road to help someone, etc. He never passes anyone up. I like to think that I am good with people, and I have been successful in life because of it. Jason is better than that that I have ever been. He just needs some self confidence, which with come with experience. He will be ok, because he cares about people.
Back to LittleBean, Jessica has informed me that that may be an inappropriate name as she is the size of a peach. I am considering starting to call her the Popper!, with no reference to size. I will look at suggestions.
I am going to blog to LIlbean. I will share what I am telling her (him?) so if I am getting to “out there” Jessica can sensor what I am sharing.
Jessica and I have always had a special relationship. When we brought her home, she was already 2 weeks old. Jason came directly from the hospital to our home, but Jessica was in a foster home for those 2 weeks. I took a week off, and kept Jessica by my side 24 hours for the week. I wanted her to become familiar with my smell as her father.
It worked. We can communicate without speaking. I can tell when we need to connect. I just can. We have a unique sense of humor between ourselves. Notice my Facebook posting that shows Jessica in a teashirt with a skeleton baby in her stomach with the caption “Im showing!. My response, And she has all her fingers and toes.
How smart is Jessica? She teaches young children. She is starting to show, and she will be wearing this shirt to school so her young children can ask her about it. A perfect opportunity for her children to ask about it without being embarrassed. She is already being recognized as a talented teacher. They have already asked her to go on the career track to become a principal.
Jason has just got a promotion at work. He will now have the opportunity to show his supervisors what a good dent man he is, and his ability to develop relationships with the dealers and customers he will be working with. He will be the top man there by spring is my prediction, because it is now based on what he does, not what they perceive.
I will be communicating with LIlbean via telepathy. I absolutely believe that she will understand what I am sharing with her. Maybe not right away, but as she needs it.
So I now believe in Telepathy? Absolutely. I believe that God will allow me to do that. Do I believe in God. Absolutely. The good things that He has done for me since I was diagnosed is just too good to be by chance.
There are too many things to go over again, but I am IN. I’m not going to run to church or start preaching, but I have my own relationship with God. I think of him frequently, and while I cannot get down on my knees, I pray in my way. I am not going to become a Sermon watcher on TV.
I’m not sure if its a new blog, or be absorbed into my Just Keep LIving or do it separate, but I will let you know so you can follow it if you like.
Its sunday night and im about done in. today was a very good day though. we signed the lease for our new home. we move in nov 1st.
once again my luck has come through, or something else. after much looking we found the perfect place. it is within a mile of our current home. which means all my support from neighbors is still here. while it is no where nearer Jessica, its not furthur away either.
this means I keep all my merchant relationships as well. that means a lot to me as well. jason would rather be further out, but he is liking it more and more each time he visits. linda is actually a couple minutes closer to work!
Linda came to me today, upset that i was planning on inviting all my relatives down to our new home. she was afraid that someone would be there every weekend, so she would have no rest. i had to assure here that it would only be like once a month. i would like some visits from them. i spoke with brother Gerry in Michigan and invited he and kris down. i think its 50 50 whether he or brother terry get here first. When Big Moses gets its claws into you, it is hard to get away.
Those who know that, know that.
i have come to a decision though. i truly believe that God has blessed me once again solving a problem I had worried about since 2009. where was Linda going to be living? i was so afraid that she would be forced into a bad decision on where to live after I’m gone. i knew that, unless she made some mistakes, she and the kids would be OK. when she told me that she liked this home so much that she may want to live there after I’m gone, i knew that My just keep living crew came through once again. i was so relieved. there is even an option to buy clause with it, so she can stay here as long as she wants and even exercise the rent to buy.
the house was laid out by a man with a disability. he had a married son so he set up the first floor for them, with a bedroom,, full bath, kitchen, 2 refrigerators. it has its own driveway and back entrance. the detached garage will hold Linda’s car, a couple of motorcycles and has a pot belly stove to heat the workroom attached. Jason can work on things out there in winter with heat. how Kool is that?
the loving room is completely surrounded by windows. a large train that you see running around in restaurants runs around it. i am going to name it B& O railroad and every once in a while it will play “take me home country roads ” as it passes through my ‘big moses East’. i will put out some pictures and books about it and display them.
my wife and son think I’m going over the deep end.
God has made this next change in my life so positive that i have decided to extend the bucket list once again. i am slowly getting back on top of my feelings and by adjusting to my limitations and not getting myself in pain situations or worse.
On the advice of Dr Carducci i have joined gilchrist hospice. when the managing nurse came out she explained the benefits, one of which is shower assistance. when I ask her for brochures on those volunteers, or glossies she looked at me a little weird.
I usually don’t post this early in the morning, but I just t have been running out of gas early in the evening and just haven’t been up to it. It has taken a while to absorb this new news and pass it on to everyone.
My CT Scan has shown new extensive growth. I’m not going to spell it out but will send A copy of the report to anyone who asks.
Dr. Carducci sat down with Linda and I and explained that while there are some treatments we could try that there is a very small chance of doing anything and the side effects are not good. At this point in time he is only trying to improve my quality of life for the time I have left. He would not give me a timetable of course. When I asked if I would be around for my new addition in April he suggested I take a message to them or write them a letter. He had told me when we originally started that without treatment I could expect to live six months. You know me however I will be here for that big event.
We have decided to move right away rather than fight to stay here longer. I want to get into a house that works for me, one that I do not have to go up and down the steps to get a shower. Sometimes I’m up to doing that sometimes I’m not.
We may have found something to by we are hoping to get it soon.
That It is five minutes from here and a rancher so I would only have to live on one floor. I want to get them moved and settled in a new place so that they aren’t forced to make a living decision until they are ready to. Linda can decide where she wants to retire and what Jason wants to do. There would be a minimum of Distraction.
I met with Hospice care yesterday to see what they are offering. Linda comes through once again because the insurance rep told me that my coverage is just about the best you qualify for. I don’t need it just yet, but I wanted to know what I could expect.
My next CT scan is Dec 17th. It is already set up. We will look at everything at that time and see what can try next.
Please understand that I am not giving up. I am not interested in being miserable either. I want to have as good quality of life as possible for my whole family, not just me.
I just want to go out with dignity. I am sure you would understand.
The things I enjoy most is visiting friends and family, so please don’t be afraid to call or come by.
I got a lot to talk about so let’s get going. I just got back from the Bigmoses reunion a couple days ago. They changed the venue to the Tyler County Speedway where we rented a hall to get out of the rain that never came to accommodate us old folks. Well it was great for us old folks, But I’m afraid that the young kids are missing the real Bigmoses reunion. The highlight the little ones was me pushing them around in my walker. I have a seat on it and the kids actually fought to get a ride on it. Compare that to the fun they got riding on ATVs, or playing in the creek or the mud puddles. The food was prepared in the kitchen or brought from home. A far cry from the pork and other animals they roasted on the open fire the night before. The food was great as always but not quite the same. They might have had a bonfire back at the farm I was too tired to wait for it. Neither My son or daughter went so I can’t report on that part of it. I’m not saying it was a bad reunion because I got to visit a bunch of old relatives And I mean old. There was a few of the younger ones but the gray has overtaken the majority.
I cannot imagine these young kids being excited to go to Bigmoses reunion in the future. A ride on a walker just doesn’t have the same appeal as an ATV up to hills Or playing in the creek. It was all I could handle though As I crashed as soon as we got back to Dennis’ at 7 PM.
The hall was very nice but I can’t imagine any of the younger ones getting excited about the Big Moses reunion at that hall. We need to get back to the farm for the Reunion next year or we are going to lose it.
I am happy to report that almost everyone got their checks Or wiill have them shortly. The effective word is almost. Guess who hasn’t got a check yet. That’s right it’s me. It’s not Anteros fault though. The bankruptcy trustee in Baltimore somehow found out about it and put a hold on it. I have no idea how they have a right to do that. My bankruptcy was discharged earlier this year, I don’t have any assets they can take from me. My attorney is looking into it. It really does seem I might be doing all that work and all get almost nothing for it. Istill would do it again for the family because of the good it did and the help it gave me to push on.
I filed bankruptcy to delay foreclosure so we could stay here for the duration. It’s working so far.
My next CT scan my report card is due September 24. I’m not sure I want to know. I have just extended my bucket list to the end of April the reason is not for me to say on this public venue. Email me if you would like to know.
I will let you know what the CT scan says when I get it.
Love you all
It’s Thursday evening laying in bed with my new iPad writing my blog. I must say it’s much more comfortable bending over in my chair looking at the computer. Saves a lot of wear and tear on my back and believe me my back needs it.
Linda went back to work this week, I’ve been been adjusting. I’m coming back fast. I drove to the bank yesterday to get a lease notarized. Yes that lease. I picked up a prescription at Rite Aid and milk at 7:11. Also had lunch from two different fast food restaurants. Got to stop that.
Tomorrow taking a trip to Wally world. By myself.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Next week I have one lunch date so far Plan on setting up some more.
Like i said I got my lease and signed it yesterday. I overstated the amounts a little bit. I forgot that we only own about 60% Not 100% like on the McIntyre.
No one has asked me to throw myself on my sword yet, But I haven’t heard from everyone. Some of the heirs got their checks yesterday. I hope to get mine by Monday or Tuesday.
As far as my health I’m getting better and stronger every day. I can walk with a cane and even without one for a short distance. As long as I take my pain meds routinely my. Back pain isn’t a concern.
I emailed the doctor about getting the cement In my back If he feels I need it. I won’t have that done until after the Bigmoses reunion for sure.
Talk to you soon.
I know, it’s in the morning, but I felt I needed to update you all as soon as possible. So much has happened, I am sure I will forget something to tell you, but I’ll do my best.
I left you all the last time with some pretty negative thoughts. So much has happened in the last week and a half, I am 180 degrees to the Positive Side once again. I have extended my bucket list for several years, just so you know.
Last Friday LInda and I took off for Ocean City. It was nip and tuck whether we would make it earlier in the week, but we headed out. Weather was beautiful, rode down with the top down on a perfect day. I didn’t get a boat ride, but did get dinner at DaVinci’s, superior as always, went on the Boardwalk for a while, got to listen to a great keyboard, only to be ran off by a bad storm, but just had a wonderful time, just the 4 of use, Jimmy and LuAnne, LInda and myself. It was perfect, and I felt great!
We drove back Sunday morning, one again to perfect weather, and got back in time to greet cousin Lanny, who was bringing the Rolls Canardly back from borrowing it while his truck was getting fixed. The ride back to West Virginia in the Solara, with myself, LInda and Lanny was an experience in itself. I’m sure you have heard the stories I have told about Linda and our road trips, well, Lanny is LInda’s male counterpart!
It was so bad that Lanny volunteered to hitch hike the last 5 miles to his house rather than ride once again with Linda driving. With his baggage and all!
We talked him into dropping him off, then headed to stay with Dennis and Karla. Our plan was to stay a couple of days and visit some relatives so I could get some pictures and information for the Big Moses Book I had also hoped to meet with my Attorney and a rep with Antero just so we could talk in person.
I learned something from Linda a long time ago. When you couldn’t get something done with company, you go to the top. You don’t know how may Presidents and Owners have heard from her over the years and capitulate to her requests. I have used it successfully for may years in working deals in the car business.
As you know, I have been working with the family to get some leases for the farms. We had just about completed all the leases with the exception of Big Moses itself. It was the largest acreage of all the farms, therefore the biggest bonus.
We had a lease for 2500 per acre, but lost it when I sent an email threatening to sue them, and cousin L went in the office and had some words with the managers there. Well, the combination of them both made Antero cancel the lease! We had another company that said they were interested, but had not committed as yet.
I emailed the President of one of the entities and followed up with a phone call. I told him that, sometimes in the heat of battle , words are said that hurt, but in the cold hard morning air, shouldn’t be a deal killer.
I spoke with him and told him he could have our 257 acres under lease within a week because the title work was complete. The only stipulation was that, since they cancelled the lease, we would need to get today ‘s competitive rate 3800 per acre and 18% royalty, not the original 2500 and 18%. He told me last Friday that he would have to check with his abstract supervisor and Antero to see if they could do it, and get back to me over the weekend.
On Tuesday, Dennis and I were having lunch with cousin DeAnna in Middlebourne. She let us know she was going to the Antero office to pick up a check. I decided to go with her on the chance that the President had been trying to contact me, but because of the lousy cell service for Sprint in that area, had not been able to. We stopped over and when I introduced myself the Manager over there told me that he had indeed been trying to get hold of me and wanted to do a conference call right then.
Dennis, DeAnna, the Manager and myself sat down with the manager and he called the P. After some discussions and clarifications, we agreed to do a new lease at 3800 and 18%, exactly as I had requested! He also wanted to have it done by next week! The local heirs could walk into the office, signed the lease, and get their check right then Of course, the rest would get done my mail. I will sign mine and spend the $20 to overnight it. I might get a check by Monday a week!.
The bonus for this lease is just under 1 million dollars for the family. I would like to see the faces when they get their checks. Needless to say, I was floating on air. Biggest deal I had ever done, and it was for family.
This story isn’t over. Dennis and I went back to his house and I contacted the relatives by email to let them know what to expect. After that,the four of us sat down and watched TV. I stayed up a little long as I was dead tired once I hit the bed about 11 pm. I slept so well through the night, I missed several doses of my pain meds. When I got up the next day, I knew I was in trouble. My back was hurting so much it hurt to breath. I took the pain meds and hoped that I could get over the hump, but after a while I felt that I needed to get to the hospital. The ambulance took me to Marietta Hospital. They are excellent in that they didn’t try to fix all my ailments when I got there, or run 50 tests. They put me on Oxygen and monitored the vital signs. After a while, my pain started to reduce and I finally got on tract after a couple of nasty hours. They released me, and after eating some Captain Ds seafood, Linda and I headed back to Maryland. Dennis and Karla couldn’t have been more hospitable. I think I would just like to move in with them. Of course, Linda would not move to West Virginia, even if we hit the PowerBAll 400 million tablet. If we did though, I would have me a jet and boogie back and forth whenever I wanted.
So we got accomplished alot. How many pictures and information I got that was the reason I came for? 1 picture and almost no information. I do feel we did get a lot accomplished.
It looks like they will be drilling next year on Big Moses and some other sites we owned, so we should start getting royalty checks sometimes next midyear as best guest. I have decided to extend my bucket list until then. What other reason would I have to extend it? Well, one reason is that I have a 20 year term life policy for 750k that expires in 2018 or so. I told Linda I was going to last past that date, just to piss her off. That was during one of our “heated discussions”. Of course, I can extend that policy for a premium of 175k per year!
So Michiganders, I’ll be at your reunion next year, not to worry!
This is going to be the hardest blog I have written to date, but I feel like I have to get it on paper. I feel that maybe it will help someone who experiences the same thing as I did. The Michigan trip has come and gone, one of the best, but a little portion was one of the worst times I have had. It all worked out in the end. My eyes have been opened about the decisions you make for yourself and how it effects everyone around you.
I mentioned that I bought the tickets a little over a week before we were supposed to fly out. I meant to, but forgot to purchase travel insurance. When I went into the hospital a couple days later when my system messed up and I had to go to the hospital, I thought I might lose the money. The first night I was there, I was feeling really bad. The worst part was I had so little energy the first day, I was too tired to hold my eyes open. I appreciated when I ask Linda to stay because I knew she would be on top of the nurses all night. From experience, I knew the level goes down at night everywhere and I would need some prompt attention that she would guarantee. I was very surprised that Jason, Jessica, and Matt stayed as well. I wasn’t aware that the nurses told them that my systems had started to shut down and I was in cardiac failure and may not make it through the night.. I didn’t think it was that bad. I had complained about my breathing being hard, but it was because the pain was really bad when I breathed and I new that the pain medicine would fix that. My worry was that I would not get fed properly and have a problem that way. I have been eating 7 smaller meals a day for the last 10 years or so and the hospital fed you at 8;00 12:00 and 6:00 period. Someone had decided that I needed to be on an 1800 calorie diet, when I needed to eat more often. The thing that saved me the first night was 3 packs of graham crackers and a small container of 25 milk. I was there for a couple of days, and felt like the food was inedible. I don’t want to make this war and peace, so that’s all I’ll say about that. I was released a couple days later, with new meds, stool softener, and the recommendation to start drinking Ensure. Don’t laugh, because it has helped me maintain my blood sugar level since I started drinking it.
I was upset that the Nurse’s told my family about the system shutdown, because I don’t feel I was anywhere close to that. It did help me appreciate what my family is going through with me in my little journey down the “C” road and how hard it has been on them. My wife has been forced to take medicine to help her cope, and sometimes she can do nothing but take one and lay down and sleep just to make it through the day. Please do not judge her, because you are not in her shoes. It is much harder than you know. Jason has had a rough two years, probably rougher than myself. He has gone through a divorce, then was hit on his motorcycle that cost him not only much pain and the loss of a job he loves. He didn’t lose the job with Dent Wizard, but has been placed on routes that made it almost impossible to make enough money to live, let alone pay for a truck, motorcycle and various other bills that were well within his income range when he decided to do it. Of course, they don’t care about why he can’t pay, they just want their. Constantly being threatened by creditors, with lawsuits, etc from not only his bills, but his part of the Medical cost that his insurance won’t pay because the other person was responsible. We have helped him out as best we can, but it’s not very much. Things are looking up, so hopefully he will get back on top of things in the next few months. The “huge” settlement that the lawyer, while not estimating and amount, turns out to be limited to the other persons’ insurance. After the lawyer gets his cut, the medical bills get paid. he will clear a a few thousand dollars, but by the time he catches up the bike and truck, it will just be about gone.
Jessica has her own problems dealing with it as well. She and Matt are trying for an addition to the family, to which I am looking forward to as well. To be able to hold my grandchild at least once would be wonderful. With the additional stress of feeling guilty about not being here constantly for me, she is coping, but it is hard.
None of this concerned me when a couple days before, I felt good enough to go. I was so excited to be going for several reasons, the most important was that Jason would be getting to meet the Michigan Branch of the Spencer’s and my Step-Brother. I felt that this was probably the last chance we would have for my son. Jessica had met them all a couple of years ago the only other time Gerry and I had met. I felt it was so important for Jason to get to know them so there would be a chance he would want to maintain a relationship after I’ve gone. I felt it would be such a great thing for him to be aware of these Special People.
Everything was perfect. I had returned my other walker and my new walker came in the day before the trip. It was the same, but much smaller and lighter than the other one. Linda had hurt her back trying to get the Heavy Duty one in the trunk, but this was the same weight as my original and was much easier to walk with. Jessica was picking us up and taking us to the airport. When I purchase the tickets, I was advised to be there 45 minute before the flight, so I scheduled accordingly.
It started downhill when Linda woke me up 30 minutes before I had set my alarm. She was in emergency mode as she thought I hadn’t given us enough time to get there. Jason agreed with her when she woke him up.
Jess got there on time, but an additional problem popped up because my new walker would not fit in Jessica’s Mazda 3 trunk I felt that we could have fit it somehow, but they were in the crisis mode and I accepted the old walker which was Ok around the house, but difficult to walk any distance because it had 2 wheels and 2 gliders.
Problem number 3 was when we got to the airport and I got out and went up to the Air Tran check in place, not waiting for Jessica to say goodbye. I was up to the place when I turned around and realized she wasn’t with us because she couldn’t leave her car. I was too far away to walk back so I was not able to give her a goodbye kiss and hug. How awful I felt.
We got to the check out counter about 55 minutes before the flight. Everything went smooth, but there were a lot of people and we ended up being on of the last people boarding the plane. But we had made it and everything was Hunky Dory, or so I thought.
The flight was perfect, we actually arrived 10 minutes early. Our trip took a disastrous dive when they told us they had lost our luggage! Linda and Jason were very upset because of the loss of luggage, Jason more so because he had several hundred dollars worth of GoPro Camera and accessories. To complicate it further, my phone decided to forget the email password so I could not access the rental car confirmation, and, I’m blaming it on the pain medicine could not remember who we had rented the car from. I had a note in the phone that said Enterprise, but they could not find it. We ended up renting one from Avis, at a higher price than I had planned for. Our selection of a Fusion turned out to be a good one, though. 30 mpg and a nice ride. I had reserved one at Hertz, if you care.
We had a couple more stops to make now however, at Walmart to buy clothes, and the Verizon store to buy phone chargers so we could stay in touch with everyone.
Jason also insisted on driving past my cousins about 15 miles to make sure we actually had reservations at the hotel as I had claimed. We did, but not a Handicapped room, although I had asked for one. There was no safety bars in the bathroom either for the toilet or shower. When you are tired, getting up without a safety bar to use is difficult. I could not take a shower as I was just too unsteady. We finally did make it back to Steve’s in time for dinner with some of the Michiganders, as well as cousin Dennis and Karla, and his sister Sadonna and Roger, her husband. They had decided to come as well for the first time in a long time, if ever. It is a 12 hour ride, after all. It was looking up once again when the Airline called and told us they had located our luggage and would deliver it to Steve’s house, albeit at 5am in the morning.
The next morning cousin Steve called me and told me they had delivered the luggage around 5 am and offered to bring the luggage to me, a turn around trip of an hour or so. Since we had purchased the Walmart stuff, I told him we were ok.
Saturday was the day of the Reunion and we had a great time. I know that Jason did, meeting his cousins for the first time, and I’m sure he felt as if he had known them forever, talking about family stories, mostly by Cousin Linda, who is the official Grand Spencer Story Teller, keeping you in stitches the whole time. The food was outstanding as always and Steven gave us a tour of Big Moses North, his 10 acres inherited from his father, along with the pond they swim and ice skate on, and fish in. We went past his Volley ball set, including the sand and on back to the duck pond, deer blind and paths back through to the end of the property. He then took us to another project that his wife’s parents owned, that he has landscaped and set up beautifully. If he had the time and we would turn him loose on Big Moses, the results would be amazing.
I called my brother Gerry after dinner to see if he was going to be there tomorrow as we had discussed. His wife Kris told me know that he was not going to be able to make it at all because he was in Lansing Mi where he was running a pipeline job with a bunch of employees.
I was crushed. I almost broke out in tears before I hung up with her. I rushed to the bathroom where I lost it. I had just lost the last chance I had for my son Jason to meet my brother. While he had met the Michiganders, I felt that if he knew that I had a brother that he might be able to have a relationship with he and my Michigan cousins after I was gone. There would be someone that looked like me, with my father’s side of the blood, maybe it would be a little easier on him.
I was doubly upset because he had not wanted to come at first because he didn’t know anyone and was just getting better paying customers from his work, and he would have to take off at the end of the month. He came when I told him it was really important to me. Linda had reservations about coming due to my health. She didn’t know whether I should make the trip or not. Adding to that the fact that they were upset with me about losing the luggage, and not happy already.
I said some things to Dennis and Steven about how I think I needed to be away from them for a while because of all of this was really taking a toll on them. Well, I guess they heard me, and they both were really upset that I would say those things about them. Sometimes you say things that should never be said, no matter how much pain medicine, especially when it is not true and very hurtful. I can only apologize again for my saying those things, especially when I had told them earlier in the evening, when their complaining, justified or not, that I would never take another plane trip ever with them, another horrible thing to say, pain meds or not.
One good thing that happened that night was that Gerry called me and told me he would indeed come in tomorrow from Lansing and go to dinner with us at Big Rapids. It took a lot of the edge off. Jason would get to meet my brother after all.
Dennis and his crew were set to leave the next morning but we planned to have breakfast before they left. I didn’t sleep much at all that night at the new hotel (still without handicap room), and didn’t wake up until they had been on the road for over an hour.
We met brother Gerry and his wife Kris at Apple bee’s in Big Rapids across the street from the Super 8 we were staying at on 6 pm Sunday. Kris brought pictures of my other half of the family, including my father, his parents, my other brothers and a bunch of aunts and uncles and grandparents. It is now official, we have Indian blood on both sides. Maybe I own enough to get a piece of the action on a casino somewhere?
It was a great dinner. He was as I remembered, a Big Guy, but as nice as could be. He closed down the whole site so he could leave early to be at the dinner with us. I think that Kris had picked up on my reaction, as much as I tried to hide it, and decided to come. He planned on leaving at 4 am to go back and get the job restarted. He did the same thing the last time. I almost lost it when Kris brought out the pictures of my Dad. She did as well. Watching Jason’s reaction to my brother and the discussions they had warmed my heart. I don’t know whether they will ever meet again. I hope so, and at least I had the opportunity to make the introduction, I am pleased.
We went to Denny’s for breakfast and then headed up to cousin Linda’s to visit and take pictures for my Big Moses Book. I wanted better pictures of all our Michigan branch for the book. It couldn’t have been better, we spent an hour or so with Linda and her sister Marcia taking a gold mine in pictures. My Big Moses Book is coming together. We left there and went over to Steve’s where everyone else showed up. Steve even took off at 11 am so he could visit us one last time. He told Jason that once visit doesn’t cut it and he expected him to be up next year. I told him we would be there.
What have I learned from this trip? That is is much harder on family than I thought it would be. I lost a cousin a year or so ago. He was diagnosed with cancer and was gone within 2 weeks. I know it was hard, but the ordeal was over very fast. While they miss him, they are moving on. Maybe my choice was too selfish. I had made myself a promise that I wouldn’t be a burden for my family for a long time. My mother lived in a nursing home for 10 years or so. My sister Denise, the Saint she is, took care of everything for her for all that time. My brother Terry and myself lived too far away to be much help, but we could have done more. Denise did it without complaint. I am not comparing her to LInda or Jason, because it is two different things. Mom was in a nursing home, so Denise didn;t have to wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, or run out to get something in a snow storm, or miss work because I had to get somewhere. It’s not the same thing at all, so do not compare them. She could go home at night, knowing that someone would be there for Mom. Linda and Jason are the backstop for me.
I have made myself resolve to be less demanding and more flexible in what I expect of them. It is going to be hard enough on them. I’m adding that to my bucket list, be nice to L J and J. I do not want to be a burden. I know I will be, but if I can lower that burden, hopefully it will make their lives a little easier.
That being said, I have a conundrum. I said before that I needed to get away from Linda and Jason. Well, I still do, but not because of them. I would like to go to Big Moses either earlier than the Reunion or after it. Linda, it is not that I want to be away from either of you, or that I don’t love you. Your first week back to school is difficult. I have made you come down to the reunion on Labor day. You then leave on Monday, get up at 5;00 am on Tuesday and work like that through the rest of the week. The adjustment is very hard on you.
I would like to stay there for another week or so after, so I can visit the relatives and tell just visit with people I haven’t really been. I could then finish up the Big Moses Book and get that out to everyone. In the meantime, you can adjust to getting up at 5:00 am and not worry about me for the first week or so while you get adjusted to the school year. I can probably get Lanny or someone to bring me back. I promise I will return.
So my advice to those who may be in my position sometime in the future? I do not know. I am glad I made the decision I did because I have lived so much these last few years. I know it has been hard the last few years on everyone, more so than I thought it would be. I would do it again, but just try harder to help make it easier on my family and my Just Keep Living Nation’s people.
I Love you all.