Bella . . . introducing the most beautiful new girl on the strip!

bella -the latest beauty

Bella – Introducing the Most Beautiful Sweetheart on the Las Vegas Strip!

Ode’ to our precious pets and loving friends on four feet!  Bella has the good fortune to have found a new home.  Alan (Erica’s boyfriend) brought Bella home this past week. 

Great news for Bella and Erica, and proof that Alan  definitely has good taste and knows what to give to his sweetheart! 

Over the next few months, we’ll put up some fun photos as Bella grows. 

Our wonderful furry, happy four-legged friends deserve a tribute!

“Here, Gentlemen, a dog teaches us a lesson in humanity.”

Napoleon Bonaparte, after being saved by a Newfoundland after slipping on his ship and falling overboard. He did not know how to swim, and was kept above water by the dog until he could be rescued. See, everybody loves and appreciates a dog!

 

Welcome to dog with dog bone

Welcome to your new home!

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Saturday Morning Musing

Saturday Morning Musings…

Curiosity and interest.  Most of us desire to see things not previously seen – do something we haven’t done before-experience something new. 

Life is filled with exceptional experiences.   Unfortunately as time has gone by, we get jaded…curiosity is replaced with exhaustion, interest is replaced with disappointment. 

I’ve learned that so many, many psychological things happen to us when facing a serious illness.  Even worse, I’ve discovered a lethargy that I never expected. (Albeit, much of that lethargy can be attributed to the poisoning and the many medications that we have been taking for the past few years.)

Regardless, if we have a serious, deadly, or chronic disease, we do become different.  Our minds and emotions change – often because of the drugs taken that are necessary to keep us alive and breathing.  And, yes the pain of the disease or condition that we carry with us every day.

 “Better living through chemistry.”  REALLY? 

 Each day we take our pills and liquid tincture of opium.  And, each day we feel the effects of the disease as it moves through our bodies…pushing and pulling…every day wishing to have a happier frame of mind.

 I’d love to wish upon a falling star and have that wish come true!

 

Falling Stars are a Promise for Tomorrow's Happiness

Falling Stars Come in All Sorts of Shapes!

According to some writers who are care keepers or hospice helpers for dying patients believe that as you prepare to die, patients usually conduct a ‘Life Review.’  I believe that to be true.  If you aren’t hit by a Mack truck and die instantly, but instead face a lingering and painful process of dying…you sift through the past events in your life and evaluate yourself, others, and your life experiences.

It just makes sense to review the past.  I know that I have spent a lot of time going over my past, asking some important questions of myself, “did I do the right thing?,” “did I treat people with respect?,”  “did I give 100%?,” “did I act in an honorable way through my life?”  Those are just a few questions I have to ask myself.

Many nights I awaken with fear and feelings of helplessness.  I hear that’s also to be expected.  I would like to spend more time in the happiness zone.  Being a worry-wart isn’t going to help me at all.

Dying was never on my Top Ten of Desires.  In fact, thinking about it, I believe that I devoted less than 1% of my waking hours in thinking about death until we discovered that we have radiation (U-238 and tungsten poisoning).

falling stars come in all sorts of shapes!

I was busy wishing on falling stars and grabbing those beautiful stars with both hands for over 50 years. 

How blessed I have been . . . I have beat back death on several occasions and have had a life filled with travel, love of a caring man, and more “stuff” than I ever needed.  At the end of the day I value the love of family and friends more than anything.  The junk that I collected through the years is almost gone (good riddance!).

The one major concern I have as “ye ole’ grim reaper”  approaches:  I have lost my curiosity and interest.   I don’t crochet, am a crummy “craft person,” and just can’t figure out how to rejuvenate my curiosity and interest.

 Got any ideas?  I’d be pleased to entertain any concepts.

Much love and friendship to those whom I know and am very grateful.  Without friends and family, our lives would be quite different.  (Perhaps sometimes they could try creating a little less stress – but they usually mean the best – right!)

Happy weekend.

Patti

Patti – back when working was one of my favorite things to do (note: I said “ONE!”)

Love – Patti – on a good day!

 

Planning for the Future

How do we plan for the future? …particularly when we know that there’s not much future left for us…

***
It’s difficult to deal with and plan for what’s coming up in our lives. Heck, planning for anything is hard, regardless of our health, happiness and all that jazz.
***

I’m sitting on the couch with family – wondering about all this planning stuff.  I think it’s important to have our family and friends clued in on what our desires are.  I know our desires aren’t always going to be met, but I gotta’ believe we need to let people know what our preferences and desires are…family (unless they don’t like us much!) want to do what is fair and right by what WE want).

***

Planning for the future, I have found that I don’t want a darned thing.  Need things – yes / Want things – why?!

***

Holding Hands = Love

Holding Hands = Love

I think I’ll plan on holding hands with Richard this evening.  Now, that’s a NEED!  I feel my heart nourished when we hold hands…feeling that fabulous feeling of being loved and cherished is soooo soooo important to all of us.

***

We are in a place right now with family that makes us both feel loved, safe and secure.  This is a sincere need for us right now.  Our physical and psychic pain isn’t curable, nor is it helped by medicines (perhaps a clunk on the head with a hammer would help!).

***

But, you know, physical touching, gentle looks of love and affection can get you through a lot of pain.

Patient in 214, West Wing

Doctors-Hospitals-Surgeries-Yuck!

I’m particularly reluctant to go the doctor – especially when it involves sharp objects…like knives

Hi – haven’t been my best lately!  Over a week ago I ended up with a ruptured appendix.  Hospital #1 and Doctor #1 took x-rays, hooked me up to saline, asked about how I felt (you know…the ole’ on a scale of 1 to 10…10 being the highest rate of pain you feel where you would like to kill a small town of innocent rabbits if you could . . . or 2 – you’re ready for an evening of dancing).  I was a “fast boot” – over and out, otherwise known as Pump and Dump…sending you back to the bacterial-ridden streets that you and I came from.

A few days later, in extreme agony – another medical facility, 90 miles from home.  The doctor (Doctor #2) inquired if I would please prepare for surgery (after he took a look at the CAT scan results and was literate enough to read the blood and urine results….don’t mind me – I have a gallows sense of humor).   He warned me that I needed surgery.  I figured a day later or something, but – no – how about 20 minutes later.  Richard gave blood for a transfusion and hung by my side hysterically for 5 – 6 days.

I’m home.  Hurray #2 – and glad of it. 

* * * * *

The “exploding appendix” may yield some important information regarding our uranium and tungsten poisoning.  While in the middle of scooping up my messy gut, the doctor found some very unusual string of cysts and managed to get his hands on a bunch of them for samples and medical evaluation and pathological. tests.  While checking in, I had to explain to the doctors about the 35 or so pills I take a day and particularily about the tincture of opium  that I take. He was interested and curious – – you never know.  Curious doctors are a rare breed and needed when you don’t have just a “run of the mill” illness. 

So, Doctor #2 may be of more help than he planned.  And Perhaps it’s a good thing that Doctor #1 didn’t touch me. 

Understanding Your Limitations

It’s difficult to come to a point in your life where you encounter a limitation.  Even one limitation or a “Uh oh…I can’t do that,” is a very real disappointment to me.  The past 3 years have proved to us that we have those “I am unable to do that bla bla bla…”  And, it’s disheartening to say the least, particularly if you’ve been a Type A person all your life!

Richard and I have met our match on some things in this process of life and dying, and we’re not too darned happy about it at all.  This past weekend we traveled a lot of miles to a customer’s site to do work that involved both of us and our skill-sets.  (At least what USED TO BE our skill-sets).  We managed about 2 hours of honest to God work before we both collapsed in a heap in our hotel room.  We passed the baton on to our capable employees, and had a heart to heart talk about limitations. 

Interesting, but a good friend sent a book to us called God’s Promises for your every needs…I opened this little book up and it just opened straight to a section “What to do when you have a physical sickness” – page 156.  I’ve never considered myself “religious” but these days, I’d say “spiritual” might be a fair description of how I’m feeling.  I gotta tell you, when the book fell open to that page, my jaw dropped. 

It is post-game time.  We’re not in charge of this game of life.  We have just been bit-players.  And here are the questions we asked ourselves last Tuesday as we faced up to the facts of our lives and deaths:  Have we talked straight?  Did we demonstrate respect?  Create transparency?  Have we righted wrongs?  Have we shown loyalty to those who deserve?  Did we deliver results and get better at it?   Are we confronting reality?  Do we clarify expectations?  Have we practiced accountability?  Did we listen first?  Have we kept our commitments?  Did we extend trust?

Answer: Probably not always.  But, once we put it out there to reflect upon, maybe we’ll do better at it.  Wanna’ bet?!  We only have a little bit of time on earth to do these things – and yes, I think that it can be accomplished.  Sometimes we just need to listen to that little guy that sits on our shoulder that we have ignored in the past.

There’s nothing fun about the process of dying.  But, I’m personally grateful for the time to reflect a bit on the past, remember beauty that I’ve experienced, love that I have been bestowed, and appreciate the opportunity to face myself and express my love to those in my life who I truly love. 

It appears that last week Richard had a couple of “mini” strokes.  I realized it fairly clearly on Wednesday morning when we awoke and his right eye was drooping, he was talking out of the left side of his mouth, he has no strength in his right arm and hand, and leg.  He’s keeping his senses about him and we aren’t panicking, but we see the writing on the wall ever so much clearly now.  It’s easy to be frightened.  But it’s also easy to say, “I love you, and I’m with you – no matter what.”

Something to Smile About

Let’s smile a bit, shall we!?

http://www.wimp.com/catowl/ – a beautiful video of a friendship between an owl and a black cat. Watch this video and you’ll enjoy this immensely — if you appreciate friendships!

Good Friends - My Richard and Our Friend Christine in 2009

Good Friends – My Richard and Our Friend Christine in 2009

Aren’t we lucky?  We all have the ability to have friends.  People are out there who do care for each other.  Even animals and birds as shown in the video above…  I hope you see the fun and friendship that we saw when we watched the video.

We just finished watching an interview between Piers Morgan and the Dalai Lama on CNN.  What a joy to see a man who sees something to smile about – one way or another.  We watch http://www.ted.com and you will find talks on Ted that will blow your mind; including several incredible discussions with the Dalai Lama and many other very spiritual, intelligent, THINKING people.  …another recommended web-site that we both highly recommend. 

Richard and I received a gift of love from friends in Santa Monica (you know who you are!) this past week that literally put us both in tears.  Thank you for your love and caring to us when we most need it…we cried, and through the tears, smiled, and remarkably, I hand wrote a letter to them.  No typing or email thank you for this…you deserved a handwritten letter of gratitude.  I was a bit rusty at the beginning of writing the letter, but eventually got the hang of it again!  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  You are miracle friends.

Today, we searched for something to smile about, and surprisingly, we found quite a few things to smile about.  We’ll keep working on this! 

Food has been a problem for us over the past 3 years…Richard has now lost about 40 pounds and I’ve lost about 60 pounds.  Friends and family have been helping out – yet another thing to smile about!  My cousin Mark went to the only place we know that sells mizithra cheese (the Spaghetti Factory) and bought two packages to use over noodles.  It’s the one things we find that we can eat without getting ill.  He’s shipping that to us in an ice container – and refuses to allow us to give him financial  payment. 

So, there is much in our lives to be grateful for.  Sometimes we just forget to look around closely for happiness.  I know I’m going to work on this . . . I will have nothing to lose!

Die with Dignity – We Wish….

When I first began this, my last blog, I wanted very much to express my feelings about dying.  As the last months have passed, I realize more and more, I want to express my feelings MORE about living than death.  Funny thing happened on the way to death:  I have learned that we humans cling to living much more than we ever thought.

* * *

I have read stories and followed stories in the news about families who literally insist a member of their family whom they love so dearly – NOT die…but continue to be kept alive on life support.  All sorts of events transpire from there – the media jumps on board, medical “heads” have something to spout off about on FOX or CNN or whatever television programming they have found to get on-board with.  (Shame on all of you involved in mixing yourselves into such a private and spiritual part of humans life and death experiences).  It’s none of your darned business, and if there’s a family member spurring it on, shame on them too…death is an experience that I seriously doubt any one of us who are alive want complete strangers yelling across oak tables on television about . . . “they should do this, they should do that, they should, they are wrong, they are right….bla bla bla….”

* * *

How horrified I would be to have a legacy left behind like that (unless everyone gets paid and ALL the money goes to a worthwhile charity).  I say that with my tongue in my cheek….

* * *

Then there’s the story of Terry Pratchett – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0120dxp who looked seriously into the eyes of death ala Diginitas in Switzerland.  Do you blame him?  I certainly don’t, nor do I feel anyone has a right to cast an opinion on such a personal feeling and decision. 

* * *

My question tonight is simple.  Can anyone die with dignity?  Is there such a thing?  I wonder….I wish for it, but perhaps it’s a dream that won’t be there, and I have simply wished for it to be so.

* * *

I face one thing:  I have loved life.  And, I believe we all look for that new day rising….