Surprised By An MRI

“Just so you know, you’re going to be in there for a while….”  said Jami the nurse, just as I was about to enter the MRI machine this past Thursday..”and in case you need something, just  push this button.”

This was the first time I’d had an MRI, and a little part of me was looking forward to it, just for the experience.

On the little questionnaire, before the procedure, they ask if you’re claustrophobic. I checked “no”, because as far as I knew, I wasn’t…..

About two minutes in, my mind started racing.   I seriously thought about pushing the button.

Took me totally by surprise.  

In the end, I was able to sit still for the entire time (30 minutes) but it took me most of the day to shake it off.

After the procedure,  Jami the nurse escorted me back to the lobby.  She seemed much more subdued than when she took me back initially.  I knew she would not be able to give me the results herself, but I wondered  if she had seen something?  I would have to wait until my Doctor’s office called….

I talked with  a co-worker of mine later on Thursday, who said he’d had an MRI. His lasted an hour. (I can’t imagine)   He laughed when I told him I was seriously thinking about pushing the “help” button-  he said he did have to push it.  They had to stop the procedure, let him get out for a few minutes, and regroup mentally.

Daughter number 3 works  in a pharmacy.  I was telling her about my experience…being surprised by my reaction.  She too has had an MRI, and told me, 90% of the people she knows who have one, take something to relax before going in.

Next time, I am asking for the highest dosage of Valium  they will give me. 🙂

Got a phone call from  my urologist’s office  later in the day with the test results.

“Everything looks fine!”

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On a completely unrelated note,  I submitted the final  edit for my new book Thursday night.   The file is uploaded, and a proof copy has been ordered.  Should have it sometime next week and be in the distribution channels shortly thereafter. (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.)

The graphic designer who helped me create the cover of the book,  also helped me with the interior layout.  He didn’t want to commit to that initially, because it had been a while since using that software.   I am so excited he had a change of heart.

I would have been OK with my initial version of the book, but with his help, the end product is 1000% better.

Seriously.

I have a lot to be thankful for this week.  DM

 

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Free Floating Angst

As I putter about my kitchen this morning, sauteing freshly picked winter onions from the garden patch,   I have been aware of a “free floating angst.”

I go down a mental check list of things I am  thankful for…

Work.

I have work.

I love my job…and have loved it for 40 years.

I have enough work to get me into July, and the building season has just begun.

The Orchard….the apple trees are again in bloom. It feels like I wake up in a park most mornings.

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Current evening routine.

We started reading another book together in the evenings.  Larkrise To Candleford by Flora Thompson. Watched the complete series on Amazon Prime, left me wanting more. The series was loosely based off a book, and the writers for BBC stopped midstream, leaving us with lots of unanswered questions 🙂    Ordered a used hardcover copy of the book that we hope to peck away at in the evenings  for the foreseeable future.

Feelings follow thoughts.   Not an absolute rule of human nature, but in general that is how it works.  When I meditate on dark things, it tends to put me into a dark mood.

So, why the angst?

A quick inventory of the stuff sloshing around in my brain this morning include….

Friend A- not acknowledging nor returning my texts.

Friend B- ignoring my counsel, overly suspicious, manipulative and forgetful.

I came across the following quote by Mr Rogers again last night:

     “Forgiveness is a strange thing.  It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends.  It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love.  Like all of life’s important coping skills, the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early in our lives…”

In friend A’s case, I plan to get a hold of him today to visit in person.  He has not been his normal self for several months.  We will have a good visit and clear the air, one way or the other.

In friend B’s case, I have made a decision to step back and stop giving input into the situation.  It wasn’t like I was sticking my nose where it didn’t belong, rather, he has asked me my opinion on multiple construction related issues, but he has asked so many people I don’t think he knows who to listen to or trust. I don’t pretend to know all the answers, BUT, this is one of those situations where it is probably best to step back from the roll of construction counselor completely…I think of those of you that are Doctors…if a patient comes to you looking for direction, but refuses to listen, then it’s no longer your monkey…

not my circus not my monkey

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The hard part for me is watching someone ignore your counsel, knowing they are going to be spending ten’s of thousands of dollars needlessly.

Oh, well.

This stuff might sound trivial to you (and on one level it is) but, what concerns me more is how much energy, and peace of mind these two situations have sucked out of my life of late. I seem to be regressing instead of growing in the “life’s important coping skills department.”  For years (ever since first reading Norman Vincent Peale’s book on positive thinking,)  I have prided myself in my ability to keep a good great attitude in situations  that would cause other people around me to grumble or fret.

If I come to mind tomorrow morning, and you believe in this sort of thing, keep me in your prayers.  I am scheduled for an MRI at 9:45.  I think it involves being stuck in one of those tubes. I’ve never had one before and am honestly looking forward to it just a little. (New life experience) 😉  Some people say they get nervous being in a confined space.  I don’t think that will be a problem for me…but something is not quite right with my psa count and my Urologist suggested this is our next step.  DM

Good Medicine

We get together with a few other people once a  week for coffee, conversation and laughter.  We’ve been doing this  for going on 16 years. This group, has helped me stay sane through thick and thin… I’ve wanted to write about it occasionally, just because it has been and is such a source of encouragement but never quite knew how.

Some of you may be familiar with Joey and Rory Feek.  Wife has been following their story via Rory’s blog.  Joey recently passed away after a couple of year battle with cancer.  Anyway, when I got onto the computer this morning, I noticed a link to Rory’s most recent blog post.  After I read it, I thought to myself...he just described our little get-together to T…  Maybe this would be a way to describe it. What I experience isn’t unique, although it is kind of rare, and definitely precious.  😉

His blog post starts out with this:

“One morning a week I meet a few of my buddies on our neighbor Gabe’s porch for coffee….While his wife and babies sleep inside, a bunch of us guys take over the porch of their little farmhouse and drink coffee and do man stuff – whatever that is.  Mostly talk and share stories and laugh.  

There’s no agenda.  No plan to get to the bottom of anything… except our coffee cups.

Some are doctors and some are musicians that travel the world and perform.  Two of the guys, Chris and Matt, own a little coffee shop nearby in Columbia called Muletown Coffee and they supply the inspiration.  Both of them have little ones like I do and their wives used midwives when they had their babies, so we have a lot in common….

It might be something heavy and profound – like what Joey and I’ve been through the last year or two – where you feel His presence and you know you can not get through a single day without Him.  Or it might be something much smaller.  A moment that seems insignificant, but most-likely it’s not.

Like having coffee with friends.  This is where lives change.  Where something is said and a path changes.  In my life, it’s never been the big events that change everything… it’s always been the small ones.  The ones that you don’t think matter.  But they do.

And so I will celebrate and capture the big stories and the small ones in my life.  Because they are all part of a much larger story that someone else is telling.  A story about healing a heart that is broken.  Too broken to talk about, so we don’t.   We just drink coffee.  And we laugh.

And maybe that really is after all…

The best medicine….”

Here’s a link to the rest of  post 

 

 

 

 

Emotional Numbness In Men

Last night as I came over the crest of a hill heading home after work, I met a skid loader heading west.   I recognized the guy behind the controls..

What struck me though was the expression on his face.

Blank.

No emotion.  None what so ever.

I know him, and that expression on his face has been there as long as I have known him.

Later last night as I was unwinding, I was thumbing through a book of quotes by (don’t laugh)  Mr Rogers. 🙂

I read the following  and thought of that guy in the skid loader:

 “Part of the problem with the word disability is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do things that many of us take for granted.  But what of people who can’t feel?  Or talk about their feelings?  Or manage their feelings in a constructive way?  What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships?  And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love?  These it seems to me, are the real disabilities.”

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Now I know there are multiple reasons a person could be experiencing emotionally numbness.  I have a friend who has had heartache after heartache the past few years. In her case, it’s a protective response.  Like the breaker on an electrical panel that trips so the wiring doesn’t overheat.

That’s not what I’m talking about.

One of my role models when it comes to the place of emotions in my life is a man who lived 3000 years ago.  He started out as a farm boy tending sheep.  Made a name for himself as a warrior.  Eventually appointed as king over a  nation.  Not only was he a warrior, but he was a writer, a poet.  If he lived today, there is no doubt in my mind he would have a blog.  His words run the gamut of human emotions.

 His name was David.

Well, I am going to keep this one short and to the point.  Would love to hear your thoughts on this one for sure.

Well, time for another episode of Larkrise to Candleford.  g-nite.  DM

 

 

Appreciation

installing tile

I stuck my head in the door one last time tonight to tell Edna I was taking off for the day.  We are installing a handicap bath tub and new laundry room on the first floor in her house.  Her husband had a stroke a few weeks ago and I offered to work this project into my already busy schedule.

She thanked me  profusely for all of my hard work today…

(I did put in a big day, I was installing ceramic tile from 8 AM until quitting time and my helper was no show.)

The last thing she said was, “OK….I will see you tomorrow!

Pause…

I love you.” 

One thousand one….one thousand two…..one thousand three….

“I love you too,” I said with a smile, then closed the door and headed home.

 

 

Sometimes, Good Things Can Happen When Cancer Comes To Call

Phone rang this morning.

It was my dad.  He was calling to let me know he’d talked with a couple of men this morning at a men’s breakfast who both expressed an interest in ordering my latest book. He sounded excited.

Pause.

Growing up, we were not a family that expressed affection outwardly toward one another. Not until my mom was diagnosed with cancer in her mid 40’s that decades old patterns began to change…ever so slowly.

I was already out of the house, married and starting a family, so we were all pretty set in our ways.  Intellectually I knew they loved me by that point, but to this day, it still feels just a little weird to voice it…but we’re working on it.

I’ve mentioned this before, but my wife’s family was (and still is) a bunch of huggers.

Both of her parents passed away in their early 60’s…way to young. More than once my wife  will  voice, she wished her mom (or dad) was still alive to share in one of our kids’ weddings, or  birth of a new grand child, etc.

No matter how old I am, there is still a part of me that is a little boy, who wants to make his parents proud.

Heck, when I was 48 and got injured on the job, heading to the hospital in an ambulance, I wanted my mommy….it was  a really random feeling, that came out of nowhere, and it was strong.

I am thankful for the level of intimacy I do enjoy with my parents.

Pretty sure things would not have changed, had cancer not paid a visit.

It is never to late to start trying.

Better Is….

“Better is a handful with quietness than both hands full with painful effort, a vain striving after the wind and a feeding  on it.”  Solomon

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I came across that proverb two weeks ago.   It continues to resonate and give me a warm,“I am on the right track feeling,” with our most recent decision to downsize and take another look at our finances.   I am  enjoying a season of “quietness” on multiple fronts of my life currently.

Is “a handful with quietness” worth pursuing or have you bought into “two hands full with painful toil”   road map for your life?

That is a watershed question, each of us gets to answer😉

If you are a dad with a wife and  children in tow, then before you answer all by your lonesome, include the family in that decision.

I do know what it feels like to have the wolf is at the door.

It is not a fun place to be.

Back when I was in my late 20’s, under tremendous self-imposed stress I came across the following ditty:

You are a fool if your goal is to make it to the top of the company ladder but end up loosing your family in the process.

BAM

Like someone took a 2 by 4 and smacked me across the nose.

I wasn’t trying to climb a corporate ladder.  I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, putting in long days at work, etc.  It wasn’t until my wife was almost at her breaking point, that I finally stopped long enough to see what the heck I was doing to everyone.

(It may not be making it to the top of the company ladder, but making payments on  stuff.  Stuff  that rusts, breaks fall apart, including a fancy house.)

In talking with another young dad recently about his financial pressures, I was dumbfounded at how much money they were spending on “needs” like Internet/cable, school activities, extra curricular activities, etc. that were costing $100’s of dollars a month.

I just listened as he rationalized all of their well-meaning decisions.

I never quite know if I’m dealing with a fool or a wise man so I tend to keep my thoughts to myself.

I don’t need the grief.

But since this is my blog, and you are free to leave, I will tell you what I think.😉

When we had kids in the home, part of what it looked like to make ends meet included starting a family cleaning business. We cleaned the offices,  a bank, and a house.   The kids got in on cleaning  toilets, scrubbing floors and experiencing the joy of getting a pay check for a job well done.   We bid the bigger jobs, so rather than working by the hour, it was a set price.   Each of us had our specific jobs and were usually done in an hour .  The money they made went to help buy their clothes.

We rented instead of owning, the first 12 years of our marriage.  At that time, coming up with a 10% down payment on a house was impossible on my income.  I remember coming to the painful realization we would probably never own a home. That was so counter cultural, and painful to my ego , but I had a higher calling, I wanted to have some energy left at the end of the day to be present with my wife and children.

* By the grace of God we were eventually able to own a home.  It can be done.

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Thanks for stopping by.  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this one. DM

Here are some  pictures taken by a photography club  when they visited our home:

 

 

libby 2014

Libby the Great

doug in the orchard 2014

Interacting with photography club

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Heirloom variety of apples

honey crisp

Honey Crisp ready to be picked

litter carrier

Litter carrier in the barn

sun crisp

Sun-crisp variety of apples

And finally, if you are still reading along and have a minute,  here is a link to one of my favorite songs on Youtube :