A Day Of Answers And Blessings

As a writer, you always wonder how much impact you have had with your work. If a book sells well, you know you’ve done something, even if you may not always be sure what you have done. With a lot of other work, stories and online posts, you never know and comments are an extremely unreliable thing. In fact, I will join with others and say never read the comments in posts or such about you and/or your work. That said, you always wonder if you have ever truly been able to reach even one person, for if you have, you have done at least some good in the world.

But, I have to admit that since the open heart surgery, I’ve been questioning my life and what, if anything, I’ve accomplished. Many of the normal things, like a wife and children, are not there for reasons that I won’t go into. I wanted them, and there is still time for marriage, though I am not sure I should have children. It’s been one of those times where you can get down, and when you do you might wonder if anyone will even show up at your funeral. Though I admit I want a wake to go with the funeral, so that if anyone does show up a good time is had by them all. I also still like the idea of a speaker for the dead…

I bring this up as this has been a day of answers and blessings for me. This morning, Sarah A. Hoyt wrote something at Instapundit that made it very dusty in here. The fact is, I had no idea about her reading me. When I began reading her, I didn’t have a clue she had already been reading me. Funny how things work out. Thanks to her, the fundraiser has taken off.

On top of that, it was a good day at Cardiac Rehab. I may not have had a heart attack, but my path back is much like that. We’ve had some things come up that are concerning, though some were not entirely unexpected. For example, it’s not unusual for your BP to go up as you start rehab. I was surprised and disappointed, however, at how high mine went. Not as bad as after the lightning strike, but bad enough. It’s been slow work getting it down, several medication changes. Today was the best BP in a while and while there is a long way to go it is coming down and I’m also starting to get a bit of stamina back (IMO).

There have also been some other issues that have come up. I won’t get into all of them, but will say that I was delighted when the cardiac monitor I have to wear for two weeks showed up today. It’s a cute little thing that has one part attached to my chest and a phone that pairs with it to monitor and record. Hopefully, it will help them figure out what else is going on and see what we can do about it. If it does not show any afib, whatever else it does show, it can help get me off one medicine — and getting off meds is a good thing.

A minor blessing of the day was waking up and not having some sinus issues as normal. Landlord put a humidifier in my room, and it has made a huge difference in breathing and in not shocking myself silly via static electricity. Small potatoes in some way, but it is a positive.

The other blessing of the day is getting all the prayers and messages of hope from people around the world. People who even if they could not donate, offered prayers for me. I very much believe that the prayers I got before the surgery are one reason I did so well.

It has been a day of answers and blessings, large and small. Thank you for them all. My thanks to higher have already gone out. May your day be blessed as well.

Russia, Two Reads

If you are wondering what is going on with Russia, the Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, have two reads for you.

First read is an excellent read that ties together a lot of information. HT to Amy Poindexter (non-blogger) for this one. We’ve talked about the buffers and how Russia (Putin) views the NGOs and NATO expansion before, and this lays out the case very well. Keep in mind Vladimir and the leaders of Belarus and other Collective Security Treaty Organization are desperate and scared. This is not the basis for good decision making. Oh, and if you are not familiar with NED, this read gives some pretty good info.

The second read is sadly one dimensional, but still worth a read for more detail on terrain and buffer zones.

The situation has not improved since the last time we discussed it here. In fact, it has gotten worse. Also, keep in mind that Putin has absolutely no trust in the current administration. That’s because of things that happened in the Obama administration (of which the current is take two with quite a few of the same players) that led to a perception by Putin of betrayal/lying/etc. This was made even worse by a major blunder by the W administration that only amplified the distrust.

Take a read, keep your eyes open, and find non-US news sources to keep an eye on both what happens in Kazakhstan and the Ukraine. Whatever happens is going to have far reaching consequences.

Update: Good, Mixed, WTF?

I like to start with the good, and the good news is that the fundraiser got off to a great start courtesy of an anonymous donor. Now, if more donations come in, things can get moving. Yes, a pun, couldn’t resist. Why a fundraiser? Here’s the post launching it that lays out what isn’t covered at the fundraiser itself. Again, if you don’t want to use the fundraising site but do want to help, hit the tipjar at the top of the page. All prayers appreciated.

On the mixed front, there may have been something good happen — but there’s no record of it. As I noted before, the insurance company denied all claims related to the ER and surgery. In short, the hospital filed the proper paperwork, but sent it to the wrong fax number. The next morning, the error was caught and corrected. However, it was the next morning and that broke the time limit they had to file. So, the insurance refused to cover anything. There are appeals in work, and I’m getting ready to file some appeals myself. However, the billing office of the one doctor who has billed me directly (so far) reports that they have been paid. Only problem is, I can’t find any record of it at the insurance company. Calling their customer disservice is useless 99 percent of the time, so wondering if they just haven’t updated things or just what is going on. Be nice to know before I file any appeals that may not be needed.

My WTF moment this week came from my visit to the Nurse Practitioner at the cardiologists office. As always, a ECG was run and glancing at part of it I thought it was off but didn’t get a good look and the NP didn’t say anything about it. She did talk to me about wearing a monitor for a few weeks, and if there was no afib, I could come off one of the meds I’m taking. That would be good. However, I do get all test results electronically and I’m thankful as the ECG was indeed abnormal and is likely the real reason for the monitor. I consider that a lie of ommission, and am not happy about it at all. At the same time, just hoping that this doesn’t indicate other problems that could keep me from returning to work/being able to work. Especially as we still have not gotten the BP back under control after it spiked when I started cardiac rehab.

That’s the week so far. Hope all of you are having a good one. So far so good on my goal of not getting hit by lightning again this year.

A New Life

As I wrote the other day, it is time to make some changes. I’ve been given an amazing opportunity to start anew as it were. It is not, however, without its challenges.

There were delays getting me into cardiac rehab, which in turn has impacted other things including my return to work. It will now be February before I can do that (we hope). I am slowly getting strength back, but stamina can still be an issue.

Rather than just try to get by until February, some friends have encouraged me to do a fundraiser and go for what will get me moved to the desert Southwest and make a truly fresh start in an area that will be much better for my health. So, I’ve started A New Life fundraiser on GiveSendGo to raise money to do three basic things:

One: Cover my basic expenses while I remain out of work;

Two: Cover the cost of traveling to the SW to follow-up on employment opportunities, determine which area is the best option for now; and, secure a place to live there;

Three: Cover the expenses of moving there, as I will not be able to lift, tote, or otherwise do the normal things of moving myself.

As of right now, I’ve exhausted my financial resources. With this fundraiser, I can use the time I know I will be out of work to take care of the things needed to start my life over again on the best possible footing, and to be prepared for being out of work longer than expected. It’s sort of the way things have been running.

The fundraiser has more details on what led me to this point, from decisions I made to little things like getting hit by lightning and needing open heart surgery. I will share that I’ve been looking hard at West Texas, South Central New Mexico, and Southern Arizona. Originally, I was looking hardest at West Texas but for some odd reason I’ve had to start factoring medical into the search on a much larger basis, both cardiac and for things related to potential long-term issues from the lightning strike. While I hope to avoid such, better to plan for them now than try to deal with them later. It has changed my focus a bit, as an area in the search zone really popped for medical. I need to check it out, and follow-up on some potential opportunities.

So, to get into what I would like to have happen. First, get the immediate bills covered. If you want to help with that, but are leary of the fundraiser, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right. Second, I need to travel out to the locations under consideration; follow-up on some opportunities and explore some new possibilities; and, if things click as hoped, secure lodging so I can move out there. I’m going to have to rent a car for the trip as my vehicle is not up to doing much more than getting me around town, and I’m scared it may stop doing that…

If all goes as hoped, I want to come back, hire a mover, and head out as fast as I can do so. Part of me hates the idea of having to hire a mover, but if I try to load a truck and drive it, a number of friends have indicated they would hurt me. At this point in my recovery, trying to do that would hurt me as well. I’m going to have to be wearing a monitor for 2-3 weeks here soon as it is, no need to give them something too interesting to watch.

I hate having to ask for (more) help. The overwhelming generosity of three months ago has gotten me this far; but, along with my savings and other funds, it is gone. So, I’m asking for prayers, and for the help that will help me get to where I need to be to make the most of this new life and the opportunity it presents. As I said above, you can feel free to hit the tip jar if you are more comfortable with that, or you can donate through the campaign and read a bit about what led to this point. Yes, I am asking for a good bit, but I’ve tried to ensure realistic amounts (in some cases worst-case amounts) so that there are as few unpleasant surprises as possible. The idea is to have as solid a foundation in place as possible, so I can concentrate on standing back up as rapidly as possible.

Thank you for your time, and for reading both here and at the fundraiser. I hope you may help with the immediate and with trying to build a truly new life. As always, prayers are very much appreciated.

Farewell 2021, Hello 2022

I come not to praise the year that was; yet, I shall not condemn. At least not completely.

On a purely personal level, one could see it as a flaming train wreck. Various automotive and other issues were there. I was hit by lightning in June and ended up having emergency open heart surgery in October, quite likely as a result of said lightning strike. There were cognitive issues that went with the lightning strike, and while those are dealt with for now, there are unfortunately good odds that there will be further cognitive and/or neurological issues. Then, there’s the whole being out of work since mid-October.

Looked at another way, however, it was a year of miracles large and small. In March, I switched jobs and found myself in a place where they actually liked me and were glad I was there; and, I got to make use of prior knowledge and experience to have fun and help our customers. So much fun that I even was made employee of the month at one point. When all the fun with my health started, they have been very good to me and have let me know that if possible they want me back.

I survived being hit by lightning. A secondary strike it is true, but it was an electrifying experience that had good odds of killing me. While it most likely led to the cardiac problems I’ve experienced, it may have been for the best. One of the theoreticals discussed is that it may have “activated” something dormant or building and forced it out into the open. Even if not, the fact that I was getting cardiac care allowed a suddenly rapidly deteriorating situation to be identified and care sought.

That care quite literally saved my life. My “quick” visit to the ER turned into an admission, a heart cath the next day, and open heart surgery the next. Again, while the odds were good, when you have multiple things going on it can and does change those odds. To my mind, it is another miracle that I survived and that I am healing as well as I am. For all I will complain about the slow pace, know that I do realize just how well and fast things are going. Compared to even five years ago, it is amazing.

So, while 2021 was in many ways a barely warm buffet of fat warty hairy suckitude leftover from 2020 — and that will NOT be missed — I have to look at it as the year I was in many ways reborn. The thing is, miracles and getting another chance do come with some obligations. I do feel there is something I am supposed to do, possibly more than one. I wish that such things were clearer, as I tend not to get subtle. Keep in mind, it took a lightning strike to start getting and holding my attention…

So, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I’ve spent the last few years, quite a few in fact, trying to rebuild my life. 2021 saw an abrupt end to the life that was, and in many ways provides a clean start. I think that is one of the things I am supposed to take advantage of…

Before 2021, the major medical issue in my life, aside from allergies, was arthritis and related inflammation. Both shoulders are, eventually, going to need replacement or real regenerative medicine. Given all I’ve done, including jumping out of perfectly good airplanes a time or two, my hips and knees are in fair shape, though my lower back seems to be trying to make up for that. The cold and humidity up here are not good for me, and sudden pressure changes can be literally crippling.

I’ve been advised to move to a warmer climate for a year or two now — including by doctors — and I think it’s time to make that happen. The recent surgery and such has made me feel the cold like I never have before. Given all, the desert Southwest has been rather strongly recommended and I need to go visit for a bit to explore options and get things in place so I can move out there. It’s also time to quit with the ‘pain and suffering are good for the soul’ thing and get the orthopedic mattress also recommended a while back.

The financial issues that have been more than a minor impediment go back a number of years. Let’s just say that while parts of that were my fault for bad decisions (getting talked into helping start yet another charity was not a good one), having a false diagnosis of cancer followed a couple of years later by a botched colonoscopy made life far more interesting than it should have been. The former came from someone making a diagnosis on the basis of a visual exam, not pathology, but they were backed up by an oncologist who declared that the first person had the experience to make such a claim even before doing a cursory exam. Net result, I stepped down from a job to deal with this, and after getting to a real doctor who did a surgical procedure and proved via pathology that I did NOT have cancer, had to take a lower-level job to get by. That job went away in the aftermath of the botched colonoscopy (among other things, my manager had not wanted me to have the colonoscopy to start with), which resulted in something lower paying to get by yet again. It seemed like each time I got to a position where I could start to move up and/or rebuild, the stuffing got knocked out of me.

This time does not feel that way, despite the fact that I am still out of work and likely to be out into or through February. Why? I’m not sure of all the reasons. One is that I do feel guided. Another is the incredible generosity from people hitting the tip jar here and offering up prayers for me. I honestly feel that without both, I might not have made it this far. Just as it took me a while to accept that I needed help with my health, it has taken me a while to realize I need help to start over. Accepting help is not one of my strong points, but just as I had to accept the help of nurses and others to stand, walk, and do the basics of life in the hospital until I was able to do them on my own again, I need the help of others to stand back up and get into position to do all the things I am supposed to do with this new life. Not easy. Scary. On more levels that I want to admit. But, I think getting into a better place (on every level) is part of what is intended for me to do in 2022.

So, don’t be surprised to see a fundraiser started in the next few days. Contribute if you will; if you want to help but don’t want to do that, feel free to hit the tip jar at the top of the page. Also, as always, prayers are most welcome. I’m praying for that which is right to be, and I hope you will too.

Meantime, I will not mourn nor miss 2021. I simply hope that 2022 builds on the good that did happen in my life in 2021 to take me where I need to be, and to do that which I need to do. I wish I better understood what it is I’m supposed to do, but I also have faith that I will be shown. Hopefully without another lightning strike to get my attention.