Tomorrow has finally arrived!!

•April 21, 2022 • Leave a Comment

It has finally happened.
“Tomorrow” has at long last become “Today”!

I should probably back up a bit and bring everyone up to speed…
(This is the TLDR section, so skip to the end if you want the truncated version…)

Last year, in the spring, I developed a scab on my left foot/ankle. No big deal, though it was a might large… about the size of a dollar bill. It caused no trouble, so I kept it clean and left it alone. In late July, while camping, I had a mishap that cut through the width of the scab in several places. It was deep, but not bleeding so… yeah… keep it clean and ignore it. Unfortunately, it went infected almost instantly.
We got back in on the second morning after my accident, and by that evening I was in an ambulance on my way to the Hospital E.R. Wound care was brought in and I was was promply moved over to their offices in an adjacent building. The doctor and staff were amazingly friendly ad competent. After removing the vestiges of my scab, the doctor was worried about BEING ABLE TO SAVE MY LEG.

What? I mean… WHAT?! He was willing to try and save it, but it would mean cleaning and dressing the would twice a day or more, regular visits to Wound Care, and a stringent set of restrictions on my diet and movement. Included win that were several visits from in home nursing care every week. Shawna would have to take up the rest of the work. (Which she did AMAZINGLY WELL.) So, August the 2nd, the Long Fight began…

Until mid-October. I had to be admitted to the hospital overnight for another issue, and that seems to have sealed my fate. Two days after returning home, my wound was infected. Badly. So badly I had to take another ride in the ambulance to the hospital. I was unable to even get in my truck. Or TO my truck for that matter….

Once there I was whisked into the bowels of the overly crowded Emergency Room and be poked, prodded, photographed, and swabbed. The wound care specialist walked in, looked at my foot, and walked out again. 5 or so minutes later he returned and informed me the wound was gangrenous. I was then informed they were scheduling me for surgery in less than an hour to remove my foot.


I couldn’t even use my phone to let Shawna know what was happening since Covid regs forbid visitors and cell phones in that area of the hospital. Fortunately there was some sort of delay (My memory is a bit fuzzy here…high fever and infection…) So it wasn’t until the morning of my second day when I went under the knife. By that time Shawna was able to make it through security to see me at least.
I woke up some tie later to find that removing my foot was like someone cutting Samson’s hair. I was too weak to even reposition myself in bed! Until they attached a trapeze bar above my bed I couldn’t even sit up without help! Unreal and nightmarish is all I can say about it.

Sometime in the next week or so I was transferred to a recovery hospital and the fight of my life began. I was delirious and often hallucinating for the first week or so. On top of that, some medication I was being given gave me well, I won’t go into that. Just be ware it was gross, constant, and something I would never willingly go through again.

Around the second week, I became aware of the world around me again and began extensive physical therapy several times a day. Over several weeks, I got strong enough to transfer from my bed to my wheelchair and back again on my own. As soon as they would let me, I went HOME. Fortunately, Shawna had done such a terrific job before that the doctors commented that it was like I had a private nurse at home. Otherwise, I would have been condemned to several more weeks stuck in that same room.

Once home, things did well until about 3 days after my leg had completely healed. I fell. Hard. My stump was split right across the base for about 5 inches. Naturally, after several weeks, it became infected. Back to the hospital. Sigh. They were ready to issue me a parrot and an eye patch because they feared having to take off everything below the knee. Luckily a fantastic surgeon was able to trim just an inch or so off the end and save the rest. So, no parrot. Ah well.

After a week in the hospital I was able to escape back to my own house again. That was a week or so before Christmas. Since then, it has been a steady stream of Wound Care visits, Nurse visits, and wound dressings. And diet and exercise. And adjustment. And waiting. And fear of another fall or infection.
Finally, two weeks ago the doctors declared my wound HEALED. In three days, I begin the fitting process for a prosthetic foot! Then just a few more months of pain, exercise, stretching tendons and learning how to walk again to go!! Fun stuff. Fun stuff indeed.

Easter is a holiday of Hope and Renewal. And this year, for myself, that is more than ever a truth.

More to follow in the coming days as I begin the arduous task of reconnecting with the rest of the world. God bless and I hope everyone out there is at least as blessed as I have been and continue to be.

Pain Med Refill Day!!!

•September 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Glinting in the sunlight,
Lies my remaining trove of liberation and pleasure.
Slipping into a milky haze as ingested medication takes hold,
All I can do is sit back and let the balmy relief flow over and through me.

Ten lifetimes ago I was waiting,
Panting. Groaning. Whining. Begging.
For relief that never came,
Until fully registered and paid for.

This life-saving surcease comes at the cost
Of pride and humility, Self assurance and independence and
Bound within and without by an intricate web of promises,
Commitments, and instructions.

The beating of my bleeding heart
Slows as the two-edged release
Flows through every channel and stream
Of my shuddering, broken body.

Each cell grasps eagerly at the minute amounts
Of narcotic relief now being handed out to all comers.
Vision softens. Thinking reduces to basic functions.
Worries and intelligence blunted in favor of blissful inanity.

A smile works it way past rarely used muscles,
To show on my wear creased face once again.
A glimmer of the fun-loving, carefree being
Takes up residence once again.

Memory of tear wracked nights fades and is replaced
With a feeling of sunshine on lilies and bunny fur in the spring.
Attention diverts away from those things that matter to sentient beings,
To just above those of the mindless herd made only to consume and multiply.

Conversation resumes with smiles and goodwill,
An inventory taken of those found to be in attendance.
Laughter breaks free from a rusty organ,
As the snarling of that vicious wound is muzzled and silenced.

To all outward appearances,
The person in my chair sits in peace and rest,
While in some small corner of the dulled mind,
That spark that makes me who I am
Weeps and hangs its head in frustration and shame.

The Holidays

•December 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The holidays are upon us again,
And with them the Tears, Fire, and Pain.
Hidden from those who don’t know our trials,
And the screams of the broken and lame.

We too want the Warmth, the Love, and the Light,
That are so vaunted and valued by all.
Yet those are the things which seem so hard to reach,
From the depths of our worry and pall.

Everything’s harder when broken and harmed,
From shopping to cooking to cheer.
We wear plastic smiles and shine bogus lights,
That are expected at this time of year.

When alone in the dark tho‘, away from our friends,
We break down and howl out our tears.
Careful, so careful to wipe off our cheeks
Before once again facing our peers.

Remember for some the most basic of tasks,
Are a marathon of effort and strain.
That the simplest of gifts may sometimes be paid,
With a princely outlay of pain.

I miss…

•November 17, 2014 • 1 Comment

Some days…
Most nights…

I feel a longing for the days of old.
The sharp cold dawns of my youth,
Blowing in through the cracks around my windows.
The ice sparkling in the midnight skies.

I miss the smell of a 70’s Ford.
The bark of a log as it is split in the cold,
And its crackle as it warms the house.
And the smell of baking bread lofted into air on the songs of my Mother’s joy.

I miss the sharp joy at the crack of a rifle,
And the grief at the death of one of God’s little ones.
Gathered and prepared in simple respect,
Knowing that all things are subtly connected in life.

I miss the simplicity of that life.

I still catch fading echoes of those halcyon days,
In a stranger’s smile,
Or the sound of children’s laughter on the cold air.
Hidden in the heart of a poorly made snowman.

I am entering the winter of my life,
and I miss the winters of my youth.

The Men Who Don’t Fit in…

•September 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The Men That Don’t Fit In
-Hugh Antoine D’Arcy-

There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!”
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;
He’s a man who won’t fit in.

I Can Feel It…

•August 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I can feel it…
I can feel it….
Like an itch in the center of my mind.
A need. A hunger. A driving desire.
Unfocused fear and anger coalescing into
An unthinking force of nature.

Every day it creeps into thought,
An unheard whisper to my soul.
An unspoken request in my mind.
An incandescent desire,
Burning its way through my will.

Silently it sits there
Within the reach of my broken hands,
As if mocking my self-will and determination.
Knowing all it has to do
Is wait for the petulant crawl of time to pass.

Like a broken steel fang,
It hungers for my flesh and blood.
Impatient with desire,
It seem to call out to me at every turn of my head.
It begs to taste me, test me, try me.

I can feel it…

But you are so fat!!!!

•May 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

But You Are Too Fat!

“If you just lose weight…”
“IT is all because of the weight…”
“Are you aware you are overweight?…”
“If you would only exercise more…”
“You need to eat healthier…”

Sound familiar? Time after time, I get the distinct impression that many doctors and nurses cannot see beyond my weight. Yes, I am “obese”. I always have been.

It never kept me from being extremely active, however! Backpacking, camping, fishing, hiking, carrying furniture, cutting and splitting wood, and any one of a hundred other activities one can do in living one’s life.

And then the pain struck. Suddenly even walking was difficult. Every day became a battle to merely keep moving. More and more time was spent curled up in a ball, or laying on my side in bed. More and more nights spent the same way. It has been a losing battle.

Unfortunately, because of the pain, my activity level is far below ‘sedentary’. 50 steps a day. Maybe. So I gained about 70 pounds over ten years. And plateaued at 365-ish pounds. And there I stayed. I cut out carbs. I shrank my portion sizes drastically. Nothing mattered. Not being able to move meant that in order to lose weight, I would just have to stop eating. Period.

This was proven last year when they took away all of my pain meds over the course of 3 weeks. From 400 mg of morphine a day, to NOTHING. I lost 60 pounds in about a month and a half. Better than a pound a day. The effect on my pain? NOTHING. If anything, I hurt *worse*! (Possibly due to the lack of any ‘insulation’ around my damaged left hip/pelvis.)

They restarted the minimum possible pain meds. Just barely enough to keep me from opening a vein. Just. (Don’t think it doesn’t cross my mind daily.)

So, after waiting for the better part of a year to die, I have decided to let them hack me open yet again. They will cut my stomach away and leave a small tube in its place. It really won’t change my eating much, as I don’t really eat more than a few bites at a time as it is.

I feel little need to feed this broken body that is holding my spirit hostage and in pain…

It is what it is.

I am so desperate for better pain relief I am willing to let them cut pieces of me away.  To let them basically make my body starve itself.  They call this kind of ‘treatment’ “Malabsorption surgery”.  It is implied that the only reason you are overweight, fat, obese, is because you eat too much.  Because you have no self-control! 

R-i-g-h-tThat is what it is… *Eyeroll*

So in a month I have an appointment to start the ‘program’ which should culminate in them cutting away my stomach. Then I should lose weight.  Should.

I wonder just what they will say when they can no longer hide their refusal to treat my pain behind the image of my weight?

I just wonder

“Why are you still alive? What keeps you going?”

•February 8, 2014 • 4 Comments

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Why the Hell Do I Go On?

My therapist gave me ‘homework’ a short while ago.  I have thought about it for a while, mulled it over, and here is my response:

Why haven’t you committed suicide?”
Why are you still alive? What keeps you going?

Tough questions.

As many of you know, I lost most (all for a time) of the pain medications that I use to brace against this terrible pain I live in.  Every jagged breath is salted with pain, and every heartbeat is tinged with agony. Day after day, hour after hour, and minute after minute; the pain is there.  Malevolent. Cruel. Unyielding.

A year and a bit ago, I put the barrel of a loaded gun in my mouth in preparation for ending my life.  I was saved by a Private Message asking me to give the cause of those like myself without pain treatment a day. Maybe two. I figured one day wouldn’t *really* matter….
It has been a little over 400 days since….

People in pain in this country are in dire straits.  Finding a doctor to treat chronic, intractable pain is becoming harder and harder to do, and even if found, there is a very good chance that they will not be able to purchase their medicines even if they get a scrip!  It is a nightmare!

No one WANTS to be in pain.  None of us WANTS to take high dose opioids.
We do everything in our power to fight on our own, and only break down to see a doctor as a last resort. As a last cry out for help before the Pain Wins and we end our lives to stop the agony.

To have them refuse to treat us seems like confirmation that our lives are not worth anything!  Like we don’t matter!  Like we somehow deserved our fate!


So I do what I can to reach out to the thousands of people left to cry out in their pain, alone, with no one left to hear their faint cries.  Sometimes just an acknowledgment that people are listening can be enough. Sometimes it isn’t, to our society’s loss.

Suicide rates among pain sufferers are WAY up. Astronomically.
Illicit drug use is way up as well, as people seek *some* kind of relief.  (Heroin use among those over 40 yrs of age has more than doubled in four or five years… that should tell you something.)

These aren’t ADDICTS, they are people in PAIN, desperate for just a few moments relief!!

So that is reason one, I guess.

Second, is the woman I love.  She has been by my side through everything, including this terrible journey of the past year and a half.  Over the days, I have lost more and more of my mobility. More and more of my strength. More and more of myself.  I feel like an empty husk. Like a faint glimmer of who I was or could be.

It would be oh so easy to slip away into the ether!
To fade the rest of the way into the darkness!
To give up and let the pain take my final breaths.
To finally find relief!
So easy…….

But I made a promise to my dearest Love. My best friend.
I promised I would try and keep fighting, and if I felt myself ready to take that final step, I would tell her.
I would give the system one more chance.
(The same system that has slapped me down at every turn. That has betrayed my trust and caused me untold eons of misery. That system.)

But I owe her.  So I keep breathing. I keep trying. Long past my Point of No Return…

As a man of Faith, I used to think that no believer in Christ could really commit suicide.  Now I know better.  My God and Master are loving enough to understand that every person has their breaking point. Every person has their limit of endurance. Their limit of agony.

I have had to so withdraw from the world, that the only ones to be effected were I to cease breathing would be my immediate family.  I cast no shadow. I affect no lives. I effect no response from the society I live in. I no longer count. It is what it is. *sigh*

The third reason?
If I die with narcotics in my system, the DEA will list my death as Drug Related and will use it to continue to create a false narrative that the drugs themselves took my life.



I am a little angry.

I no longer “Hope for a brighter future.”
I have no hope left.
I know, as certainly as the sun rises every day, that the pain will take my life.  Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon.  Almost certainly within the year.  Or the season.  I can feel it. Like some giant clock beating in the back of my mind… SOONSOONSOONSOON

My wife carries our hope. I just don’t have anything but tears and numbness left. And nothing but time to stare out into that frozen darkness that is calling my name…


The Silent Epidemic

•February 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment

There is a pain epidemic in this country. Actually there is an epidemic of people not being *treated* for pain issues.  The DEA’s misguided war on Pain Medications has caused many hundreds or thousands of moms, dads, sons, daughters, and even grandparents to resort to anything they can find to fight the agony.

In the past few years (since around 2007 when the DEA *really* started turning the screws on pain meds and the doctors that prescribe them) there has been a sharp uptick of people over 40 who *begin* using heroin.  Think about that. They haven’t used it before and just suddenly start?  For no reason?  Not hardly.

Just what would it take for a normal human being to *start* using heroin.  What kind of unbelievable circumstances would it take?  What terrible conditions would or could do such a thing?

Fact is, thousands of patients have been left to scream out alone int he darkness.  left alone to face insurmountable odds and try and survive. Left alone to rot and die. And no one seems to care!

The DEA labels *every* death where there is opioids in the bloodstream as a “drug-connnected death”. In other words, “Just another junkie overdose.”  It doesn’t matter *what* caused the death, if drugs are there, it was an overdose death. NONSENSE!!!

People turn to alcohol or heroin because it is the only way they can be *HUMAN*, even if only for a few hours. The pain is that bad! YES IT IS THAT BAD. Maybe even WORSE.

NO THEY CANNOT JUST “Suck it up” and “Move on”!  The PAIN wins. Another soul fades into the black.  These unique, strident, valuable persons disappear from amongst us.  And we are all poorer for it.

The DEA’s War on Pain Medicines has REAL VICTIMS.
I am just one of its MANY, MANY victims.

Thinking the Unthinkable Thought

•January 21, 2014 • 2 Comments

January 21, 2014, 2:47 AM

There comes a time in the struggle to maintain our self identity whilst being hammered away at by constant pain where “The Unthinkable Thought” begins to form.

It isn’t anything substantial at first,  more of a nudge at the back of your mind than anything substantial. An itch that you daren’t think about or scratch at.  It sits there biding its time, because it knows that in the end, you will have to come to terms with it.

“Are you ready for me yet?”

So you battle on, fighting that terrible war of attrition where everything you are and have done is burned away one dream or memory at a time.  All sacrificed to the Need of the NOW.  The pain eats away at your joy, hopes, and dreams and devours them without any relief in sight.  You slowly begin to feel hollow inside, or so thin that a good breeze could blow you away.  And still the pain comes. And the thought waits…

Years, sometimes longer sometimes shorter, go by and this dark passenger in the back of your mind begins to ride along in all that you do or are.  It sits patiently, biding its time because it knows there is no answer to its unasked question:

“Is it time yet?”

“Is it time for all of this pain to finally stop?”
“Is it time for this book of your life to come to an end?”
“Are you ready yet?”

You refuse to look at or think about it.  You try and keep your mind busy with other things. You fight for some form of activity to keep your mind from that darkest of corners.

But late at night. In the deepest of night, when all you have between you and that questioning ..thing … is tears and your heart-beat, you hear it whispering ever so softly:

“Are you tired enough yet?”
“Are you brave enough yet?”

You war on, beyond any rational point of return.  Slowly but oh-so-surely you lose the battle with pain step by agonizing step.  Sometimes there are faster losses, like when you are denied aid. Or when your medicine finally runs out.  When the doctors refuse to hear you any longer and tell you that living in this horrendous pain is “for your own good.”  When you look ahead and see nothing but even more terrible dark nights alone, with nothing between your naked soul and that searing agony.

And still the voice calls out softly,
“Have you had enough yet?”
“Will it be soon?”

You isolate yourself away from those who cannot understand your pain, or simply stop trying to explain.  You lose friends and family because the pain comes between you and those ‘common ground’ activities that keep us bound together.  Your pool of people in your life slowly shrinks to just a few, or one. Or none.

You seek out the help of professionals who try and help you fight a rear-guard action against that dark passenger, but in the back of your mind you finally have to admit, “This pain is going to cost me my life.”  Maybe not today. maybe not tomorrow, but eventually.  And over time, you become okay with that.  You go through the motions. You learn to say and do all the right things.  But it is all puppet theater.  You know. You finally know.

Heavy with that knowledge, you fight for every day. You tell yourself “Not today. Or tomorrow.” and somehow that has to be good enough.  But you know.  You grasp at any small success or possibility, with the realization that you will probably just be disappointed, but you have to try.  And you do try, but eventually you just become too weary. Too exhausted.  Too tired.

The Pain finally Wins.

So you sit in the dark, alone with that lonely passenger as your only companion.

“Are you all set yet?”
“Have you finished your plans yet?”
“Do you have all of your papers and such organized yet?”
“Are you ready to stop dragging those you love down with you yet?”
“Is it that time yet?”

“Are you ready to end your life yet?”

And through a face with cold tear-less eyes, you quietly whisper to the lonely darkness, “Yes.”