Saturday Posts . . .

One of the worst moments of my life . . .

Yesterday my wife took the day off to take our vacuum cleaner to a repair shop to find out why it wasn’t working correctly. Because she had to travel to a larger nearby city, while she was there she visited a health food store to get some things that we normally buy whenever we’re over there. While she was doing all of that, I was here at home trying to get some sleep.

At about 1530 (3:30pm) I heard the phone ring. When I answered it, a woman asked if she was talking to me. I assured her she was, and her reply sent chills down my spine. “Mr. Pope, I’m a nurse at the hospital ER, and we have your wife here – she’s been in an auto accident.”

Before I get any farther – I want to be clear that although she has many bruises and is in considerable pain, my wife suffered no major injuries and was released shortly after that phone conversation. However, it seems that our car was damaged enough that expectations are not high that it can be repaired at a cost comparable to it’s value, and all of the groceries she bought were ruined by getting left in the car. We have no idea if the vacuum cleaner survived.

Because it was Friday afternoon, we couldn’t get to any car rental agency before they closed – and because it is a holiday weekend we probably can’t get to one before Tuesday morning. We also can’t contact our insurance agency to file a claim until Tuesday morning, which leaves us mostly house bound for the balance of that time.

Even though we had to scramble to adjust our expectations for this weekend, we’ll be alright. Mostly I’m just glad to still have her here, to listen to my awful jokes.

Happy Anniversary to my beloved wife . . .

Today my wife and I celebrate 22 years of marriage. Yes, we’ve had our trials, and hardships, but together we’ve seen each other as partners and friends. We’ve endured through my wife having an emergency appendectomy, endometriosis, Lupron treatments, and numerous nutritional allergies. We’ve also endured through my hospitalization for a stress-induced heart attack, migraines, arthritis, and eventual weight gain that seems non-reversible.

However, I feel that I can’t fully celebrate today without fully disclosing how we got here. You see, my mother knew my wife before I did. When I asked mom about her, mom’s answer was, “Stay away from her. I’ve put too much work into getting her to join the church for you to ruin it.”

My mother and my wife both worked for the same small town community college when I became a piece of the puzzle. I wasn’t even looking for a new girlfriend – my last girlfriend had become my fiance’ just before dumping me for another man after I caught her cheating on me. I was open to making new friends, but had huge guards up against starting new relationships. So, imagine my surprise when she kissed me as I left her home after avoiding one of my mom’s Super Bowl parties.

There is more that I should share about the relationship between my mother and myself. It literally goes all the way back to my first girlfriend. Every relationship that I’ve had with a girl where my mom became acquainted with her ended with my mother deliberately destroying the relationship by any excuse she could manufacture. One girl was from the wrong side of the tracks (never mind that in our own home town my family was also from the wrong side of the tracks). Another girl was the daughter of my mother’s high school rival, and my mother had never learned to bury the hatchet – unless she was literally burying it in someones back. Over the years, I began to suspect that my mom either didn’t consider me worthy of them, or she didn’t want to ever see me happy.

And now we come to the point where I recently tried to repair my broken relationship with mom. In only the second phone conversation I had with her, mom asked me if my wife and I were still together. Please remember – my mother spent about 30 years as the wife of a minister of a Christian church, after getting the divorce from my dad that she so desperately wanted. Most Christians would applaud a long, stable, happy relationship. But, in only our second phone conversation, my mom asked me if my wife and I were still together. When I told her we were, her reply was, “Oh, that’s too bad.” I knew right away that this spelled the doom of our reconciliation, but I gave it another two months just to be sure.

When I told my wife about that conversation, my wife’s reply was, “That BITCH!” My wife knows everything about the history between me and my mother, particularly since she met me.

As much as I love my wife, and wouldn’t trade our relationship for anything, I feel that I owe all of my former girlfriends an apology. None of them deserved to be treated the way that my mother treated them. Each and every one of them still holds a special place in my heart.

Saturday Posts . . .

Also, I have some updates.

First, the experiment of my reconnecting with my family has failed. My parents do not want to deal with anything that has happened in the past. My father repeatedly told me that “you just have to let go of it” while my mother was quite different. She denies everything, including events that I was personally there to witness or took part in. For my own personal integrity I was forced to return to the total disconnect I had previously been enforcing.

Second, I have recently been watching a show called “Dr. G: Medical Examiner” which has me a bit riled up. The first problem I have with the show is that it seems that some states have laws which require an autopsy on nearly every death that happens within their jurisdiction – something Dr. G seems to revel in because she loves to “solve puzzles”. My problem with this is – what gives her the right to solve a puzzle about me if I do not care to have it solved? Another problem is that she seems to view ALL medical problems as preventable, and is particularly judgemental about any and all suicides. Has she never heard of “death with dignity”? If someone already knows that they are dying, do they not have a right to choose to end their own suffering early? Dr. G does not seem to believe this is an option. Since she currently works out of the Orlando, Florida, USA, medical examiner’s office, that is one jurisdiction I will not be visiting anytime soon.

Finally, I have recently gotten approval through the VA’s community care program to begin receiving chiropractic care at a local wellness center. I’m really impressed with the size and scope of the facility, but I’m not so impressed with the results I’m getting. To me, the first red flag was their focus on longevity – like they just can’t believe anyone wouldn’t want to live to be 115 years old. Sorry, but that was never a major consideration of mine. I’ll take every day I can get – but only if it comes with a good quality of life. So far, I’m not really seeing any improvement, and after getting acupuncture yesterday morning I had a very stiff neck and headache that lasted well into the evening.

Saturday Posts . . .

We’ve had a lot happening here over the last couple of weeks. I learned that my dad’s home, which he’s owned for over 30 years, is about to be condemned because raccoons have invaded the attic and are destroying the house from the top down. My youngest full-blooded brother is going through a divorce, and is coming up here to see what we as a family can do to help dad.

But, there was one thing I found to be both refreshing and encouraging. About 21 years ago I bought a brass Zippo lighter, which I’ve used almost constantly ever since. Zippo advertises that they offer a lifetime warranty. A couple of weeks ago my lighter got stuck – the striker wheel that scrapes the flint wouldn’t move. So, I looked up the information for the repair center for Zippo, and after filling out a form and paying a $5.00 USD fee for “processing” – I sent in the lighter for repair. Yesterday they called me back to say they’d received the lighter, and I should have it back within a month.

Here is something I bought for my wife shortly after we became a couple, and it has hung on our bedroom wall ever since. In case you have trouble reading it, the text says, “I Love You More Today than Yesterday, and only half as much as Tomorrow.”

Saturday Posts . . .

First off – congratulations to my wonderful wife – who on Tuesday morning will be awarded a special prize for her excellence as a librarian. I can’t really say any more than that before the ceremony, because it’s supposed to be a secret. I’m comfortable saying that because I don’t believe any of her coworkers reads my blog.

Secondly, some bad news. A couple of weeks ago I learned that my dad’s home, which he bought for cash with a disability settlement about the same time I was getting out of the US Army, is on the verge of being condemned. His attic is infested with raccoons, and they are destroying the house from the top down. I have a younger brother who is coming to help us work as a family to deal with the situation, and I have an idea that most of the plans are already in place, but we’re going to be getting together as a family (probably Tuesday afternoon) to finalize everything. The main idea is to get everything Dad wants to keep out of the house, knock down the house, and bring a mobile home in for him to live in at the same location.

Good News . . .

In our postal mail delivery yesterday, I received a report that I feel overjoyed to share.

Last week I had a scheduled visit to the VA clinic that I usually go to. My primary care provider had asked me if I’d agree to get a Carotid Ultrasound – as a routine procedure because I’m almost 60 years old. I told her that it wouldn’t change any of my decisions in the Advanced Directive or Living Will, but that there didn’t seem to be any harm in knowing what it may reveal.

The letter that I got about the results stated the following:

“Mild atherosclerosis with normal flow all velocities bilaterally and no evidence of significant stenosis.

Carotid Ultrasound results were normal no significant carotid artery disease.”

So, it looks like my wife is going to have to put up with my jokes a while longer! LOL!

Perhaps, and I can’t be certain either way, part of the reason for this outcome is that I’ve been mostly a vegetarian since January 1st of this year. I say mostly because living in this area limits the options for eating vegetarian when I travel – even the relatively short distance to the VA clinic. Also, I’m terrible about using supplements – and almost everything I’ve read or watched has said that Vitamin B-12 is impossible to get without eating meat. So, I’m mostly vegetarian, occasionally eating meats to get my B-12 fix.

Communicating final decisions . . .

I’ve written several times in the past about the importance of making an Advanced Directive or a Living Will, or both, for the purpose of controlling your last life decisions. Ever since the USA case of Teri Schiavo, (my apologies if I misspelled her name) it has been obvious that clearly communicating your plan for the end of your life is of paramount importance.

I already have a legally binding Living Will, and another legally binding Advanced Directive. But, I’m choosing to take the entire matter one step farther. I’m getting a tattoo in the center of my chest that will read “NHM – see medical alert bracelet”. The medical alert bracelet has digital copies of both the Living Will and the Advanced Directive on a flash drive contained within it, and the NHM stands for “No Heroic Measures”. As far as I can tell, this is the final step in making absolutely certain that ALL first responders will know exactly what my wishes are.

The whole point of this is to prevent the first responders (EMT’s, paramedics, Law Enforcement personnel, and other people who might initiate life-saving actions) from taking actions that may result in bankrupting my wife if I’m involved in a catastrophic event of any kind.

Yes, I want to live – but not so much that I want to live with the assistance of expensive equipment that can’t guarantee my chance of recovery. My wife’s future is more important than my survival.

False Advertising . . .

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of shows on a Playstation app called tubi. There is one advertiser on tubi that I have a very hard time watching commercials for.

The name of the advertiser is ” eHarmony ” and the reason I have trouble watching their ads is that they claim to “get to know you better, to match you better.”

From actual experience it isn’t true. My first wife turned to eHarmony to meet her 2nd husband. Since I am still friends with my first wife, and we have a daughter together, I knew her while she was married to her 2nd husband.

He was a major, abusive, bastard. He physically abused my first wife, and emotionally abused our daughter. If he is an example of getting “to know you better, to match you better” then NOBODY should ever use eHarmony to search for love.

Personal Integrity… update

Last week I posted a blog where I questioned what the difference was between personal integrity and trying to get along with my family when I knew things they wouldn’t or couldn’t acknowledge. I continued to question that for several days after posting that blog.

Last Friday evening I had a light-bulb moment, which was quickly confirmed by an email I found that Anita had sent shortly after my blog posted.

Basically, there isn’t just one truth. There are different truths for every person walking the planet. Personal integrity is all about YOU remaining true to your own view of the truth. But, it does not mean that everyone else isn’t also doing their own best to do the same thing – remaining true to THEIR own view of the truth. Every person on the planet wants nothing more than to be right – which is why peer pressure is such an effective means of social control. How many times in your life have you done something you thought was crazy or silly just because “everyone else is doing it”?

Where we venture into the realm of social peace and global stability is when we acknowledge these truths and grant others their own point of view without trying to force ours on them. We can all be right, even when we disagree.

The Price of Personal Integrity . . .

After my post yesterday, Anita sent me an email with a graphic she valued as almost a personal mantra. What she shared was that a two word phrase was the key to defusing conflicts. That phrase was “You’re Right”. Supposedly, my saying that to my family would be the end to our troubles, but only if I not only said it to them, but actually mean it when I say it.

The problem is, I have done the research, and in the cases of trouble within our family I have lived through the incidents. I know that historical evidence proves they are NOT right. To say “you’re right” to any member of my family, and actually mean it, is to deny FACTS. I fully understand why it is important to acknowledge another person’s point of view, but to deny documented facts goes against everything I’ve ever been taught to believe – even what my parents taught me.

So, the question becomes, “at what point is family harmony worth more than the truth?”

As it is right now, I can’t sacrifice my own integrity to restore harmony in my biological family. It would kill me as a spiritual being who is striving to reach the next level of enlightenment. I feel that I must honor what my own experience says is true, even if it leaves them behind.