Friday, September 25, 2015

If It's In My Head And Heart I Had To Write It

Have you ever had advice given to you way back when and you didn't heed that advice?
Maybe years later you heard that advice again or remembered it and thought OMG, had I heeded that advice then it would have saved me so much aggravation and maybe even some heartache.
For me the answer is a big YES. My first wife's passing, Janet's sudden death, and Martha's stroke made me start remembering some of the advice I had not heeded all those years. I thought if I had listened to some of that advice it could have transformed my life a lot sooner.
I recently read a book called " If Life Is A Game, These Are The Rules " by Cherie Carter Scott, PHD. The very first page of the first chapter made me say OMG, This is so true. It starts with another quote from Helen Keller, Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.
Cherie writes that life has often been compared to a game, were we are never told the rules, nor given the instructions about how to play. We simply begin to make our way around the board hoping we play it right. We don't know the objective of playing or what it means to actually means to win.
These are things we have probably heard or known for a long time but have forgotten along the way.
She writes the rules for being human are not magic, nor do they promise easy steps to serenity. They offer no quick fix, but maybe give you a map to follow as you travel your path to spiritual growth.
She tells her clients and students " Love All The Parts Of Yourself " and if you can't love them, change them, If you can't change them. learn to accept them as they are.
She quotes Eleanor Roosevelt who said " No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent "
Learn self esteem instead of dwelling on the things you can't change, focus on the things you can do. It's not what happens to you, it's what you do about it.

It's not a sin to be glad you are alive. A Song By Bruce Springsteen. Your body teaches you pleasure through your five senses. Open your five senses fully and experience the wonder of being alive.
Sight, enjoy a magnificent sunset.

Taste, like when you eat a favorite food.

Sound, It can come in a glorious sound.

Touch, The soft touch of a lover.

 Like bread baking in the oven.
The lesson of pleasure is to make time and space for it in your life. The old adage of all work and no play making you dull is quite true. You have to pause now and then to indulge your senses.
Pleasure is like the oil that keeps your engine running smoothly, with out it you most likely will break down.
Pure actions like spending time with a beloved friend brings you into alignment, were as false ones such as spending time with someone who is always in a pessimistic mood, never has anything good to say, never lets loose, and laughs little can drag you down.
Someone once said I cried because I had no shoes, then I saw a man who had no feet. Life is not always fair. Focusing on the unfairness of circumstances keep you comparing yourself to others.
Make yourself a list of things you are good at and make you special to your family and friends. I know people that seem to have every thing and are some of the unhappiest people I know.

Humor and laughter are very important. Sharing a good laugh with others does wonders. The health benefits both mental and physical of humor are well documented, a good laugh can diffuse tension, relieve stress and release endorphins into your system which act as a mood elevator. Laughter causes misery to vanish, teaches you to lighten up and take yourself less seriously even in the most serious of situations.
I know several people who have the ability to do this but four people who have passed on could do this and always come to my mind when I am thinking about this subject.
My dearly beloved first wife Louise " Bubba " Jackson, my dear Sister-in-Law Barbara Creamer, and my brave little niece Nancy Carol Creamer, and my dear Brother-in-Law Frank Strawderman.
I have always said if I am ever in that situation I hope I can be as brave as they were.
Give yourself permission to laugh. You will be amazed how quickly a crisis can turn into comedy when you invite humor into your life.
About a week before my wife Louise passed away she was not feeling good, She said I am going to take a shower. She yelled Joe come here, I ran in the bathroom, she was laughing hysterically. She said look I forgot to take my socks off. Sense of humor right to the end.

Life doesn't require that we be the best, only that we try our best, Want leads to choices, which leads to commitment. 
Should leads to decisions, which leads to sacrifice.

Our greatest weakness is in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always give it one more try.
When you have reached the top of the mountain, then you will begin to climb.

To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often, a quote from Winston Churchill.

When you stop comparing what is right here and now with what you wish were you can begin to enjoy what is. Make a list each day of all that you are grateful for, so that you can stay conscious daily of your blessings, Do this especially when you are feeling as though you have nothing to be grateful for. or spend a few minutes before you go to sleep giving thanks for what you have. Spend time offering assistance to those who are less fortunate than you, so you can gain perspective.

The richest person is the one who is content with what he has, We fool ourselves believing that one day we will have every thing we want. But is anything ever enough. Do we ever arrive there? True abundance comes not from amassing but rather from appreciating. No amount of external objects, affection, love, or attention can ever fill that void. The real void can only be filed by looking within.

There are two ways of spreading light, to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

No one is suggesting that you float through life completely detached from the past and blend to the future, only that you pause from time to time to be fully rooted in the moment and feel the peace that results.
Spend time with people the age of seven or under and people seventy years plus, at seven children are at total peace, trusting, without prejudice and caring. Most people seventy plus have finally learned what is really important in life.
Healing is a matter of time, but it is also a matter of opportunity. We all realize we have to heal when we have surgery, when we break a bone, etc.. We need to realize we have to heal from emotional problems also. Say you lived with an abusive parent, maybe an alcoholic, you got a divorce, you lost your spouse you truly loved, and as in Joan's case she lost a daughter in an automobile accident. You can heal from all these things if you allow yourself time to heal. But you have to stop dwelling on it all the time. If you can't do it alone don't be ashamed to get help. Just remember the past is just that, the past, you can change any of it, to move forward you have to let go of the past.
You can either engage in the blame game, make frequent use of the statement, I can't, or you can take control of your life and shape it as you like.

Helen Keller once said, life is either an adventure or nothing at all. What you make out of life is up to you, you can either create a life filled with adventure or you can stay huddled and safe never enjoying the joyful rush of journeying out side of your comfort zone. I can truthfully say I have had a life of adventure from my childhood days in West Virginia, up to now at the ripe old age of 75. The moments I have expanded beyond my comfort
zone are some of the most precious memories I have.
At the age I am now, an age where I can now reflect back and see what a great rise I have had,. My childhood days in West Virginia when I had an almost Huck Finn life style. Other than my Dad passing away when I was 12 years old, my childhood was full of fun and excitement. We didn't have a lot but we made the best with what we had.
My teenage years during the fabulous fifties were a blast. Those years and my young adult years in Maryland were wonderful. Friends I made during those years are still some of my best friends to this day.
Been in Florida since I was 33 years old, a few very sad times, but again lots of adventures that are still going at my ripe old age of 75.
A question I would never ask anyone but have been ask a lot, is are you a Christian? My answer is that I would like to think I am, but a Christian with a lot of flaws. LOL
I often ask myself if the way I think and some of the things I do, what would Jesus do in these same circumstances, My guess is He would think and do a lot different than me, That's when the doubts crop up in my mind if I really am a Christian.
When I do a self evaluation I think my number one flaw is that I am not a forgiving person. The two beautiful women I have been lucky enough to have had as wife's, my dearly departed Bubba, and my dear wife Joan are both like Angels on earth. A lot of their wonderful traits have rubbed off on me and I think have made me a better person. Bubba and Joan were and are forgiving women and sadly that part has not rubbed off on me.

 I have always tried to be a good Son, a good husband, a good father,a good friend, etc. and treat every one right, but when someone craps on me I have a hard time forgiving them.
I have read about all the reasons one should forgive, I have prayed about , talked with a couple of Pastors about it, and they prayed with me about it also.
I am still not satisfied with my progress. As I am getting older and crankier at the age of 75 I am still working on it.
My doctors tell me I am in pretty good shape for the shape I'm in, LOL and should be around awhile.
I am as happy and content as I ever have been, and still having a lot of fun, but there are still things that will upset me, I will handle them and move on.
At 75 I have almost no blood family left, have lost most of my best friends.
Some of the people I consider my best friends now are a lot of people I have never met in person.
A lot of good friends on Facebook, and on my Remember When Sites, and I thank God for them.
Most of the thoughts on this BLOG are mine but I did get a lot of help from the book,
" If Life Is A Game These Are The Rules."
Writing is a great catharsis for me, allows me to keep my wonderful memories alive.
Love And God Bless To You All.   

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rude And Dangerous Cell Phone Use And Texting While Driving.

Dear Family And Friends:

Those of you that read my E-Mails or follow me on Facebook know that I try to stay upbeat and happy. I am always telling people to Live, Love, & Laugh. I use a lot of motivational pictures with quotes to try to spread humor and upbeat things.
But no matter how much good is going on on our lives there will always be negative things we have to face. One of the biggest things we have to face is rude cell phone use and texting. It has become an epidemic. It is not other people's responsibilty to cope with your mobile phone use. It is your responsibility to use your phone inoffensively. Please note that inoffensively is not identified by what you expect others to tolerat, but by what others do find offensive. Ignore this principal and you are sure to be rude.
You have to remember it doesn't take a cell phone to be rude, people were rude before cell phones, but I do believe they have made us even ruder.
You should not be a slave to to your phone, the technology is there to serve you, not the other way around.
Just a few common sense things that we should not do. Never have a phone on during a funeral or memorial service. I was at a memorial service when a very respected business man's phone rang. My immediate thought was he just forgot to turn it off, but then he proceeded to talk on it.
Turn off the phone in the movie theater. Even if your phone is on vibrate people can still hear it during quiet parts of the movie. The light from the screen is is also very distracting. don't check the time, don't check your text messages, just turn it off until the movie is over. 
Don't use the phone when having a meal with someone. Ideally you should turn it off entirely. If you're anticipating an important call let the people know beforehand that you're expecting a call and that you will need to take it. No matter what don't hold the conversation at the table, step away. Never text at the table, even if the face to face conversation dies down. It is just disrespectful.
Joan and I were at P.F. Changs for dinner. A man and his wife and three children were seated at a table next to us. The Father never put his phone down the whole time we were there.  Even after their food came he would lower the phone, take a bite, go back to texting, lower the phone take another bite, never seen him have any conversation with the family.
Never put your phone, on speaker when you are with others. They don't want to hear your conversation and they sure don't want to hear you are talking to. 
It is rude to book an appointment at the doctors, dentist, hairdresser etc. rather than letting them do their job. If you are on the phone you can't concentrate on what they are saying to you.
Families and friends get together for special occassions, holidays, etc. I looked around and over half the people there were either talking on their phone or texting and no one could hold a conversation. I just took my phone out and starting using it. I thought if they are going to be rude why not me. Then of course all the way home my beautiful wife is giving me Hell. She seemed to only see me doing it and not the others. LOL
When we go to Carter and Griffin's soccer or basketball games I am always astounded at the number of parents and grandparents who are on their phones, not even watching the children playing.Same thing when we take the boys to the bounce house, our community pool or other activities.
Once at a soccer game a boy scored a goal, he was so excited he ran over and said Mommy, Mommy, did you see that, and she said yes, then turned to the lady next to her and said what was that all about.
And last but not least do not text while driving. What message is woth dying or going to jail because of killing someone on the road. I just read that if you are driving 70 miles an hour and you take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds you travel the lenght of a football field.
Thousands of deaths and injuries have been caused by cell phone use.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I Want To Live Until I Die, Not Just Hang On

Including today it will be eight days before I turn 3/4 of a century old. OMG 75
For someone that will be 75 on September 18, my mind tells me I am not that old but my body reminds me that I am. LOL
I have sadly had many family and friends that have left the world much to soon before they understood the great freedom of aging.
I know I can't stop getting older but I am trying not to grow up. LOL I spend as much time as I can with Carter and Griffin, they help me stay younger. I try to avoid negative people as much as I can because they drag you down. Can't avoid it totally.
I have lost a lot of my family and friends that were so much fun to be around, who loved to laugh and had a great sense of humor.
I am sometimes a bit forgetful but that's all right some people and some things I wanted to forget anyway.LOL
I try to drive bad thoughts out of my mind to make more work for the good thoughts. LOL
Has my heart been broken? Of course it has, how could it not have been with all those wonderful people I have lost.
No matter what when I take the time to look back over my life I find that by ups still far outnumber my downs.
If I could give you my Dear Family and Friends advice, and I wish I had started it earlier it would be to dwell more on the good things that are happening in your life and less on the bad.
If you have family and friends that love you, if you still have reasonably good health, if you have laughed more than you have cried, then count your blessings.
As I get older I actually find it easier to be positive, you get to a point where you don't care what other people think of you, I don't berate myself near as much as I used to. I think I have earned the right to be wrong once in awhile.
When I look in the mirror I am often taken aback by that old geezer looking back at me. LOL
When I go to the pool or the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body and see the jet setters giving me the pitying glance, I laugh to myself and think you are going to look like this if you are lucky enough to live this long.
I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here I am not going to waste time thinking what could have been or worrying what will be. And If I want to I will eat dessert every day. LOL
Notice I use a lot of LOL's when I write, that's what we need to do.
I Have Two Mottos That I Try To Follow
And Live Until I Die.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Tribute To My Wife, And I Love Her

A lot of you know the story of how Joan and I met but for those of you that don't
I will tell you my story. The first year you lose someone you love is the hardest,
the first December I was having a hard time as Christmas was always Bubba's
favorite time of the year, my daughter Martha, my son-in-law Jimmy and my
granddaughter Jessica were living with me at the time and we had no Christmas
spirit, we didn't even decorate or plan any thing special.

I went to the cemetery one day and I said Bubba I am having a hard time
adjusting to you being gone. I said I have prayed, I have talked to family and friends
but it is still tough. I said I know God is very busy but if you get a chance to talk
to him ask him if there is any thing he can do to help a lost soul down here on earth.

About a week after that I got a Christmas card from Joan, Joan and Bubba had been friends
for many years and had bowled together, I was really surprised that her being Joan's friend
and Bubba had passed that she had not scratched me off her card list as I had only
met here a few times through Bubba. That was on a Saturday, I thought about it all weekend
and on Monday I looked in Bubba's old address book and Joan's phone number was in there,
I called her to thank her for the card and we talked for an hour. Joan had lost her husband
at a young age also when her daughters were 17 and 13 so I knew she had been through
the loss of a spouse. When we hung up I said WOW you did not tell me any thing I probably have
not heard from lots of other people but it was like I was hearing it for the first time. I said this is the best
I have felt since Bubba died, can I call you again some time and she said yes you can.

I waited about a week and called her again, another hour just flew by, I said I have a friend in the hospital
in West Palm Beach, I was living in Lake Placid, Florida at the time I asked her if we could continue our conversation over dinner and she said yes.

Now as Paul Harvey use to say, now here is the rest of the story. LOL:

I called her a couple of times to confirm us going out to dinner and got nervous and hung up. I said to myself you dummy if she has caller ID she is going to think you are nuts so I finally made the call to confirm. We were going out on a Saturday evening so I came over on Friday and stayed with some friends. When I got up Saturday morning my friend said Joe how did you sleep, I said do you really want to know or are you asking just to be polite, he said of course I want to know and I said well the truth of the matter I didn't sleep hardly at all. I told him I was to nervous to sleep and I said as a matter of fact I am really nervous now. He assured me every thing would be alright . I showered and put on my best cologne and headed over to her house. I was so nervous that I drove around the block a couple of times before I had the nerve to pull in her driveway. LOL I knocked on the door and she opened and I went in. We were standing in her foyer talking and she asked me if there was something wrong with my ear, I said I don't think so WHY, she said I was just wondering as you have a Q-tip sticking out of your ear. LMAO What an impression that was, any way we went to dinner, talked a lot and when I took her home she said it is a holiday weekend and she had something planned for Sunday but if I was going to be around on Monday she would be off work and maybe we could do something. Well I have to tell you what a relief that was as I thought well maybe she doesn't thing I am a complete idiot. LOL

Long story short that was a start of a wonderful relationship that ended up with us getting married on November 10, 2002.

God needed Bubba for one of his Angels and in looking out for me replaced her with another Angel, and I thank him for that every day.
Since Joan and I were married in 2001 we have experienced some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows.
I could write a book just on the high points alone. The wonderful cruises we have been on, the other trips, all the fun time shared with family and friends, the birth of Carter & Griffin, I could go on and on.
But we have experienced some very low, lows also. Joan has been through a couple of scary health problems, Thank God she is ok now.
She has been with me through two back surgeries, and now my current bout with neuropathy which has limited me in some ways. I have used the word can't more in the last 6 months than I had used it my entire life. Because I CAN'T do a lot of things it has put more of a burden on her. She refuses to let me get down, constantly telling me it is ok, don't worry about it She is living proof that all Angels are not in Heaven, she is one here on this earth.
My problem is not the worst thing we have gone through, one year after we were married Joan's beautiful daughter was killed in a tragic automobile accident on Christmas Eve 2002. Then in 2003 my beautiful daughter was struck down with a major stroke, she is very limited in her movement but the worst part is she has not been able to talk since then. Her mind is as sharp as ever, she still smiles and laughs and has some enjoyable times, she can say words just can't put them in a sentence.
I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with the proper way to pay tribute to my beautiful wife and then the other day I heard a song by the Beatles called
3 min - Dec 5, 2013 - Uploaded by Rock Remastered
This video is unavailable. You need Adobe Flash Player to watch this video. Download it ...
The Lyrics To The Song
And I Love Her

I give her all my love
That's all I do
And if you saw my love
You'd love her too
ILove Her
She Gives me everything
And Tenderly
The kiss my lover brings
She brings to me
And I love her
A love like our
Could never die
As long as I
Have you near me
Bright are the stars that shine
Dark is the sky
I know this love of mine
Will never die
3 min - Dec 5, 2013 - Uploaded by Rock Remastered
This video is unavailable. You need Adobe Flash Player to watch this video. Download it ...
You all know that I am always talking about how important it is to have a sense of humor and how important it is to laugh, well this Ladies story will confirm why I say that all the time.

I belonged to the Staying Alive Fitness Center in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida in 1993, 1994 & 1995 and I was lucky to meet and become friends to Amy. What a character she was.
When she started coming to the center she had arthritis so bad she could hardly get around, Working her way through a lot of pain she got to the point that she could walk on the tread mill, ride the stationary bike, and even do some light lifting on the weight machines.
And oh I failed to mention I knew her for three years when she was 83, 84, & 85. At that time she lived alone, she had outlived her Twin Sister and ever other relative except one niece.
Her niece talked her into moving into Classic Resident By Hyatt, the Lantana assisted-living facility. After that I lost touch with her. Everyone at the fitness center missed he so bad. I have never forgotten Amy and I have told some of her stories over and over through the years.
She was the first woman to ever serve on the City Council in Pittsburgh and I was told by friends that knew her she held her own with all the men on the council and never backed down from a fight.
So many reasons I will never forget Amy, I would like to share a few of them with you.
One day she said Joe did I ever show you my locket?   I thought she was going to show me pictures, she opened it up and it had a COMDON in it and she roared with laughter and she said JUST IN CASE I NEED IT.
She said she was on a cruise and a man older then her asked her to dance. While dancing he whispered in her ear, Amy lets go back to your room and make mad passionate love. She said to him who is going to lift you on and off.
There are so many more stories but I will close with the message she had on her answer machine. It said
" If you are a millionaire on Viagra leave me a message, other wise please hang up "
Staying active, having a great sense of humor, and always laughing carried Amy to 100 years young. RIP you wonderful, wonderful lady, and I for one will never forget you.

This Was Her Obituary:

AMY BALLINGER " 1910-2010"

Amy Ballinger loved to make people laugh. When the 100 year old Pennsylvania native passed away Thursday, saw a sad eyed friend she'd toss out a joke. Still blond the husky voiced centenarian revelled in making a bawdy joke, bringing out a smile or a blush.

Amy was vivacious, over the top. She embraced life said Lisa Shawn the lifestyle director at Classic Resident By Hyatt, the Lantana assisted-living facility that was Amy's home.
An avid swimmer, great dancer, and a decent golfer, Ms Ballinger grew up in a family of steel workers in Pittsburgh. She and her twin sister were the ninth and tenth children of parents who were immigrants from Germany. Amy quit school after the eighth grade and went to work in a Laundry said her friend Jeanne Shaw.

Angered at the poor conditions of workers, Amy helped establish the Laundry and Dry Cleaning International; Union. Her fearless attitude and political contacts got her elected to the Pittsburgh City Council twice beginning when she was 70 years old.

Monday, December 29, 2014

People are funny creatures. We can be greedy and impatient one day and kind and considerate the next. And always we are unendingly complicated.
Take being thankful for example. We have Thanksgiving, a day to set aside to show our gratitude and we also have New Year's Eve to show our thanks for the past year.
That's good we have those special times to express our thanks, but what about tomorrow or the next day or even for a few minutes are we thankful then too?
Let me share a few ways I'm thankful and I hope you are thankful for some of the same reasons.
I'm for sure not a preacher but I like to think I am a Christian, all be it one with a lot of warts. And I have not always been a true believer. I was one that was always questioning  God and asking Him Why certain things happen. But after Bubba passed away and we lost Janet in that terrible automobile accident I realized that I had to believe the fact there is a better place that the people we love and care so much for go to after they leave this earth. It was not an easy thing for me to do but since I have come to believe that, I am much more at peace with myself. After coming to that conclusion I have been able to move on a lot better with my life.
Like everyone else I have had hard times, and good times and great times and horrible times. But the last few years as I look back at my life I realize how much the good times have far outnumbered the bad times. When I lost Bubba and was floundering around I was led to Joan, one Angel replaced by another Angel. After my Daughter Martha had her terrible stroke and it is hard for her to communicate first Carter and now Griffin entered my life and those two little guys have been more of a blessing than I could ever imagine. So I realize that every prayer I say is not answered, but I have had so many great things happen that I didn't pray for it is my saving grace.
If you are having trouble finding your blessings, ask yourself a few of these questions.
Do You have people that love you?
Are you part of a family?
Do you as I do have beautiful grandchildren that adore you, make you feel younger, keep you laughing and just make your day when they say I love you.
Are you part of a family that loves you?
Do you have friends you can be with, tell the same old stories from the past and laugh at them as if you were hearing them fore the first time?
If you can answer yes to a few of these questions I hope they will make you realize that you are blessed. If we hang on the tragedies of the past too much about things that may or may not happen in the future then you will forget the joys of today.
One regret I do have is that it took me so long to realize how many blessings I have had. I did hold on to things from the past too long, and until I learned The Serenity Prayer I for sure worried about too many things I cannot change.
I am also thankful for all of you that are reading this BLOG. If you are reading this it means you are a family member, a friend, an E-Mail friend, or a Facebook friend, people that I love and enjoy so much.
Joan and I want to wish each and everyone of you:
Remember the laughter, the joy, the hard work and the tears,
And as you reflect on the past year, also think of the new one  to come,
Because most importantly this is a time of new beginnings and the celebration of life.
We will open the book , it's pages are blank,
we are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called opportunity and it's first chapter is New Year's Day
Fill your life with happiness and bright cheer,
Bring to you Joy and Prosperity for the whole year.
And it's my New Year wish for you,

Life is short, break the rules
Forgive quickly,
Love truly
Laugh uncontrollably.
and never regret anything that made you smile.
Like birds, let us, leave behind what we don't need to carry.
Before the sun sets in this year
before the memories fade before the net works get jammed,
Great start for January
Love for February
Peace for March
No worries for April
Fun For May
Joy for June to November
Happiness for December
God Bless you and keep you safe not only
today but throughout life that is coming your way

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Tribute To The Cornell Institute For Rehabilitation Medicine At Bethesda Hospital East In Boynton Beach, Florida.

A Tribute To The Cornell Institute For Rehabilitation Medicine At Bethesda Hospital East In Boynton Beach, Florida.
After my back surgery at JFK Hospital in Atlantis on July 28 TH the surgeon came to talk to me after I woke up. He told me that after starting the surgery he realized the damage was worse that he had expected after viewing the X-Rays and MRI's. He said the surgery took two and a half hours.
He told me that I was going to have to go to rehab. Every one I talked to at JFK strongly recommended that the best place I could go for rehab was Cornell Institute.
I'm glad I took their advice. What a wonderful place.
I was there from August 3 until August 30.
It is an acute inpatient rehabilitation Rehab.
For me I needed physical and occupational therapy. Their goal is to help patients reach their optimum level of wellness and to be as self sufficient as you can be when you go home.
All my therapists were totally professional and caring. Constantly assuring me that what they were asking me to do was going to be for my benefit.
The entire team meets each week to discuss the patients treatment, and their progress. They find out from each other what the patient is doing well and what they need to work on that they may be not doing so well. A total team effort.
Every day I was there I was amazed to see the detail they go through with you.
They have all these specially designed aids to get you ready to be back on your own again.
Again I found it amazing.
The treatment I received when I was not doing therapy was wonderful also. Great nurses, again totally professional but very, very, caring.
Always coming to check on me to see if I needed anything.
Before I came home they had my wife come in for training by therapists on things she could do to help me once I came home.
Finally from the morning I left home for the surgery until my wife picked me up to bring me home I was only outside twice. Once when they moved me from JFK to Cornell and once to go for a follow up visit with my surgeon. Missed the fresh air, but even though I wasn't going outside I saw a bright ray of sunshine every morning when I entered the rehab room.
There was this Angel on earth who worked in the rehab place. Her name was " Annie " and usually the first thing I seen when I entered the room was her beautiful smile, I told her thanks to her even though I didn't go outside her smile was my sunshine every morning.
Love You Annie And You Are An Angel On Earth. What an uplifting personality.
I still have a way to go but thanks to the training and treatment I received at Cornell I am making progress every day.
I just had to single Annie out but my heartfelt thanks goes out to every one I had the pleasure of working with there.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24 Latest Update On My Surgery And Rehab

Unless there is any setbacks " Please pray there won't be " I am scheduled to go home Saturday, August30.Joan is coming in today for some instructions on things she may have to help me with when I come home.
    This week coming up they are going to be working me hard on any thing I may still be having a problem with. They want me to be as self sufficient as I can be when I do get home.
     I told Joan I want her to get me one of those little bells that I can ring when I need her. She has already  told me what I can do with a bell.LOL
     I have always said that God looks out for West Virginia Hillbillies and Fools and since I am both he has a full time job guiding me. LOL
     I wanted to go to a rehab center closer to the house but was guided to The Cornell Rehab Center. The things they do for you is unbelievable. Something I struggled with like two days ago I am acing them now. They have pretty much thought of every thing.
     The help from you my great family and friends has helped also. The phone calls, the cards, the visits, the prayers, are therapy in themselves.
      So I hope my next update will be from the comforts of my own home.
God Bless You All.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Update On My Surgery And Rehab

Dear Family & Friends,
     I really appreciate your concern about my surgery and rehab. Several questions every day like how are you doing, when are you going home, etc.
     I wanted to find out more information myself before I tried to answer those questions.

So yesterday did a follow up appointment with my surgeon. They removed the staples, which is a good sign of progress,

On  Monday July 21, I went to JFK hospital in Atlantis, Florida for pre-op to surgery.
Monday morning July 28, back to JFK for the surgery. When the surgeon got into my back it was worse than he had expected so the surgery lasted two and a half hours. Spent the rest of the week at JFK, quite a bit of pain and discomfort.

Came to the rehab center on Sunday August 3 and started rehab on Monday August 4. The first week of rehab was pretty painful. The rehab place is Cornell Rehab. Great place with wonderful physical therapists. Weekend was still some rehab but not to much.

They told me the second week was going to be more intense and they weren't lying. LOL But now I find I can tell the difference day by day, getting stronger, and most of the things they have me do is getting easier. So today Saturday August 16 and tomorrow Sunday only an hour each day, but they said Monday they will start being more intense each day.

They have a tentative day to come home as August 27 but depending how it goes this week it could be before than and than again it could be longer, so keep those prayers going.   

Thank God Martha and Jimmy bought me  a new laptop, first laptop I've ever had and I love it, because when I am not doing rehab or sleeping the rest of the time is very BORING LOL

Carter & Griffin have visited me a few times and you know that makes my day. They will be starting back to school on Monday, they have had a very fun filled summer.

Again I can't thank you enough for the cards, the phone calls, and just your concern.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

From A Baby To Now

The Countdown To My Surgery On Monday Morning, July 28, 2014

Trying To Grow Old Gracefully:

For some one that will be turning 74 in September my mind tells me I am not that old but my body quickly reminds me oh yes you are. LOL

On Monday I will be having my second back surgery. I had major back surgery in 2011. The pain before that surgery was excruciating. The pain was from Spinal Stenosis. I am not having that kind of pain this time but the stenosis is coming back again so I decided to go ahead and have the surgery before it gets back to where it was before.

Before my first surgery the surgeon asked me questions about my past as far as activities I had participated in the past. I told him I had played just about all sports and played them hard. I told him I had rode ATV's, wave runners, horses, probably lifted things the wrong way over the years etc. He asked me if I had it to do over would I do anything different. I told him NO as I had too much fun to look back and complain about it now. As I am getting older I've become more kind to myself and less critical of myself.

I have had too many family and friends leave this world too soon before they understood the great freedom of aging.

My thought is I can't stop from growing older but I can delay growing up and that is what I try to do. That's one reason I try to spend so much time with Carter & Griffin as I can, they help keep me young. I also try to avoid negative people as much as I can because they will drag you down. I try to hang out with crazy people as much as I can, for me that is pretty easy as most of my family and friends are crazy. LOL

I am some times a little forgetful but there are things in my past I want to forget any way. Actually I tell myself I drive the bad things out of my mind to leave more room for the good memories.

Has my heart been broken? Of course many times. How can your heart not be broken when you have lost as many family and wonderful friends as I have. How could I not have been heart broken that after being in bad health his entire adult life my Dad passed away when I was 12 years old.

My wife passed away also after a lot of health problems at the age of 55. My daughter had a major stroke at the age of 45. One year after Joan and I were married her beautiful daughter Janet was killed in an automobile accident on Christmas Eve, 2002.

These are just a few of the times my heart has been broken. But you know what when I look back over my life I realize that even with all that the ups in my life far out number the downs. And for that I am very grateful.

Dear family and friends the advice I would like to give you and I only wish I had started doing it a lot sooner in my life is to dwell more on the good things you have experienced and a lot less on the bad things.

If you have a family and friends that love you, if you have reasonably good health yet, if you have laughed a lot more in your life than you have cried, then count your blessings.

As I grow older I actually find it easier to be positive, you get to a point where you don't care what other people think of you. I don't berate myself nearly as much as I use to, I think I have earned the right to be wrong once in awhile. LOL

When I look in the mirror I am often taken aback by that old person that is looking back at me. LOL

The secret is and it is not easy to do is not to agonize over your problems to long.

When I go to the pool or the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body and I see the jet set giving me those pitying glances, I just laugh to myself and say you are going to be like this if you are lucky enough to live this long.

I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here I will not waste time thinking what could have been or worrying what will be. And if I feel like it I will eat dessert every day. LOL

Notice I use a lot of LOL's when I write. that's what we need to do, the motto I try to live by is:


Friday, July 11, 2014

A Little Update On My Medical Report, Back Surgery

 In 2007 I was experiencing a lot of pain in my back. My Primary Doctor sent me to a Doctor that specialized in pain. After a series of tests, X-Rays, and MRI's they diagnosed me with Spinal Stenosis. He told me before they would even consider back surgery there is something they always try first. They would do what they called an Epidermal Injection first. He said if need be they could do three of them. The first one worked and I was virtually pain free.
He recommended I start going to the fitness center and start exercising. I did and started slowly and after awhile I was pain free. Things were going great until about November of 2010. Then all of a sudden the back pain reoccurred. I went back to the pain Doctor who helped me the first time. This time after three Epidermal Injections the pain was not improving.
They could only do three of those treatments. When the pain was actually getting worse my Primary Doctor recommended I see a back surgeon. I told him I had heard so many horror stories about back surgeries that I would only do that as a last resort. The pain just kept getting worse so I told Joan I think I am at the last resort.
The back surgeon compared the MRI's from 2007 with the new ones he had me go for. He said the reason the Epidermal didn't work was because my condition had gotten much worse.
I had the surgery in April 2011 and the pain went away almost instantly.
Awhile after the surgery the pain was gone but I started having some tingling in my legs from the knees down. I talked to my Primary Doctor about it, and he sent me to a Neurologist. After a series of tests he told me I had Neuropathy. Neuropathy can present many differing symptoms, including numbness, pain, weakness and loss of balance. It is an abnormal and usually a degenerative state of the nervous system or nerves.
At first I didn't want to believe it, I thought it was too much of a coincidence that it started so soon after my back surgery.
My Primary Doctor after reviewing every thing, he said Joe you do have neuropathy. I said what is the worst case scenario. He said, I just know that you have been on Google and read every thing there is to know about Neuropathy, he said you probably know more about it than I do.
So he said from your research you know that it as an progressive thing. He said the best case scenario is that yours will be a slow progressor.
Fast forward to 2014 I went to the surgeon for a three year follow up. I told him my back bothers me a little bit but my legs are getting weaker.
He had me do X-Rays and an MRI and sent me for a follow up visit with a Neurologist. Today I went to get the scoop on all the tests. He had the results from the Neurologist and the X-Rays and the MRI.
He said the Stenosis is coming back some and it could start giving me pain again. And it along with the Neuropathy my legs could get worse, He said surgery for the Stenosis is what he would recommend.
I didn't hesitate I said lets do it. I told him I have a nine year old and a five year old grandchildren and if it can slow down my deterioration so I can remain as active with them as I can I am willing to take the chance.
Teach me, O God to be patient with myself. As I grow older and discover I cannot do as many things as I used to, help me to accept the changes happening to me. Amen
So now I will see if I can follow my own advice that I have been giving to all of you, which is get up every day Thank God I am here for another day and make the best of each day.
If you see or hear me whining give me a good swift kick you know where,
When I look at my Dear Daughter Martha, my little problem is miniscule to what she has to go through every day of her life.
I have had a lot of set backs in my life but one thing I know for sure is that I have packed more living into my almost 74 years than a lot of people could pack into a hundred years. LOL
If you want to say a little prayer for me that my condition will continue to go slow , please do that but don't spend time worrying about me as I am doing fine.
Sending lots of love and best wishes to all of My Dear Family And Friends.
My pre-admission Surgical Visit is scheduled for July 21, and my surgery is set for July 28 barring any changes .