A DOSE of REALITY
PASSENGER LOG Stardate 22 Jun to 4 Jul 2022
It has been some time since The Passenger has had the opportunity to report from the decks of the Starship Genesis 2 Seven, but recently it’s been hovering over Rocky Fork Ranch and I’ve taken up residence for these few days at the camper. I’m resting and enjoying some fishing while also doing some much delayed writing for Legacy of Honor.
The folks around here claim that these hillsides around Salt Fork Lake hold Sasquatch, aka, Big Foot! But, I have watched the folks here and I find that there may be relatives somehow distant cousins or some abhorrent mismatch of genes that have led to such beliefs. There are two locals that I’ve seen who, when I saw these pictures, I thought for sure it was them… of course it wasn’t but it could help explain the whole ‘Big Foot’ mania here. These are the pictures I mentioned:
Something else about these pictures kind of gives me an insight into how individual folks deal with the difficulties in their lives differently. One becomes sullen and really just gives up and the other type well, he just says… you know what he says! Maybe there is a lesson there!
For many of the folks who know that I have IPF and ask how I am doing they are surprised sometimes when they see me without the oxygen. There are a couple of reasons for that. Somedays, when I am feeling very good, particularly warm, sunny days, I don’t feel the need as much and it is awkward to wear around, I prefer to just leave it. The doctor tells me that by using it I lessen the chances of me getting pulmonary hypertension which basically is an increased blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs because of the workload, so I try to use it when it feels necessary. If you see me without the oxygen thing it is either because I am feeling very good or I just forgot it, (that’s the second reason!).
Speaking of the ‘oxygen thing’ it is actually an IMOGEN one G5. (My portable one). I tell you that to say that my daughter Sarah has begun working for the company that makes these and many other models. She has been in Texas training for the work. It is an amazing tool and I appreciate having it but it does take some getting used to. I appreciate all the engineering that went into it and the way it anticipates my breath and gives me only what I need.
When I had my last doctor’s appointment and I began taking the OFEV medication, and I reported that I had good lung capacity but my lung productivity, (its ability to bring ‘good’ air to the cells and expel the ‘bad’ air) was operating at about 64%. That has become the baseline so when I have my next pulmonary function tests, we will be able to determine if the OFEV is working in part by whether my lungs are still at about 64% or if they have lost more ground. I think it is about the early part of August when we run those tests. I will certainly keep you updated. I’m learning that when you need the relief something like the ImogenOne gives, you worry less about your pride and having to wear it in public.
I can very candidly say to you that over the past couple of months, I am certain I have succeeded in disappointing some people who were blind sided by ways I have reacted to this disease. My actions and reactions have not been “normal” according to them, I guess. I’m having a harder time defining “normal” more than I used to. I used to think I had that pretty well figured out. I am learning I can only walk this road by leaning in faith that God has got this all in His control. When I wonder if He will judge me for my reactions to ‘living with’ a terminal disease, I remember one small Bible verse, Psalm 103:14, He remembers our frame and that we are but dust. Granted, more than a few times in life I have felt more like butt dust however, that isn’t the context. If I am to be judged for my reactions to this new life, then may it be after I’m gone. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in The Hound of the Baskervilles about the death of the crazed convict, “He’s outside the law now, he is in more merciful hands.”
I’m also learning that ‘normal’ cannot, or should not, be defined by anyone who is not going, or has not gone, through whatever experience is the subject of their normalcy. They may not be truly abnormal.
Those who support or seek to provide comfort need to be aware that behaviors may happen that are not typical of that person and to realize that does not necessarily mean he has lost control of his faculties. It will be hard for them and I know I have made it hard on my support team on occasion. I regret that. I have only known one person in my life who lost control of his faculties… of course he was dean at a college where teachers went on strike!
I recently heard of a person in a life-changing time who had been told by the clergy to just call if there was anything needed and so one day, in extreme distress the call was made. Apparently angry and frustrated to the point of weeping over a recent bit of information and news from the doctor that was negative this person’s views were strongly expressed. I’m told that one pastor upbraided this person for such anger not being righteous anger and how the pastor on staff had been offended. That was the sum total of their help. Recently I got word that although this person regularly attended services, that had not been the case for two months and still this person heard nothing from anyone at the church.
Such stories, I am learning are not unusual. Even clergy are sometimes like prosecutors who for their public record only like to take the cases they know they will win. Clergy may sometimes shy away from terminally ill people because they are just uncomfortable. So much more for the one who is ill. Being a lighthearted cheerleading pastor is a lot more fun than dealing with a living-death.
I am hopeful that as I now understand what it is like to have had times where my emotions were not well controlled, should anyone in distress turn to me for help, I would have a true pastor’s heart and not one ready to take offense. But I digress, this is about my own, sometimes failed responses to act in the way one should when facing hard times. It is good, though, perhaps to realize that a person need not be the one under the specific stress who fails to act appropriately. Caregivers face a great deal of stress and they could use a little latitude as well when the judgers are ready to cast asparagus… or is that aspersions? Right, aspersions. You only throw asparagus to predict the future.
So, if you are one of those I have disappointed, I apologize. I cannot promise to do better, I can only promise to try… whether what comes of it is better or not, I have no clue.
May I also caution some of you who truly believe you have it all together, be careful. That fall is not a fun one. I thought I had a pretty good bead on things and then life interrupted with death. When you think you’ve got it and you don’t… that is a long fall and the sudden stop at the end is painful. And then, when you look around for someone to help you up, guess what… you, your family and closest friends… if you are blessed, and God, that is about the extent of it.
It is interesting viewing life from the deck of a starship particularly when I think about the very first satellite was ever sent into space, SPUTNIK. It was sent up by the Russians much to America’s chagrin and was a catalyst for the ‘space-race’ during which I grew up. The funny thing is, I am older than Sput… yep, I was born in August of 1957 and Sputnik did not go into space until October of that year. He looks a little different than our satellites of today.
Even with Sput, the Russians still could not get any UHF TV channels! They did try tracking major events in the U.S. like Marilyn Monroe. Things were a bit different then. Well, at least according to Weekly World News 2012. WWN reports Monroe had an affair with a KGB agent in 1958 and became a spy inside the White House when Kennedy was in office. She went under the code name Masha. (It was first going to be MOAB – mother of all blondes … but…) What could she possibly tell the Kremlin they did not know already from Jackie?
One day I was fishing over by the marina at Salt Fork and two guys came in who were maybe in their early thirties. Between them they had six children with them and I kind of assumed it was a ‘dad’s weekend to have the kids’ kind of thing but it could have been ‘let’s take the kids out of mom’s hair for a few hours’ kind of thing too. No matter, they brought these youngsters probably ages 4 to 10 to fish and I laughed as I would watch when Dad would be at the far end of the line helping a child with their worm you would hear, “Daddy, Daddy!” from the other end! The smallest child caught the first fish and it was a fish so small, I really thought it was just his bait hanging off the hook but it was a catch! You would have thought he was Ahab and he had speared Moby! The love with which these two fathers wrangled and helped these little ones have the time of their lives was so awesome. As I left I drove by and handed the dad the last of my worms to aid them in surviving the final stretch without running out of worms! The fathers and the kids had a great time. I wish that were true for all those I’ve watched. These guys made some great memories for those kids!
Memories are so vital. More and more it seems my memory is not what it was and I fear that. Whether narcotics or other medicines over the years or just the years are causing the lapses, I do not know. I recall Karin’s advice many years ago. She said that tomorrow I may not remember today but today I have today and I can enjoy every minute of it while I have it. If it’s gone tomorrow, at least I enjoyed it while I had it. More sage advice has never been given.
I’ve had the joy of spending more and more time with my grandchildren lately, though not so much my children, they are too busy. Recently, though, I have been struck with severe head colds, other ailments and just not feeling good enough to participate in some of the family outings and that has caused me to miss time with my kids, it is not just their schedules. I don’t care for that at all but I am discerning as to what I can go to and as much as possible I try to. However, I am also learning, I have limits and trying to push beyond them isn’t always a good idea.
I don’t know if this post of the VOYAGE has done any good for those who follow along. I’m finishing writing this at 4:45 in the morning here at Rocky Fork Ranch because I haven’t been able to sleep. So, from the bunk house here at Rocky Fork about 10 miles straight down from where the Genesis 2 Seven is hovering, God bless!