Monday, August 31, 2009


If you read my profile you may have noticed I've listed "Total recall memory" as one of my attributes. Just to avoid confusion, let me explain. A total recall memory is not the same as a photographic memory. A photographic memory is something you can acquire through patience and training. It is an oddity in my opinion. The ability to look at a page in a book, store it in memory and look at it like an old snapshot is weird. You probably do not know any famous people who had that ability. Einstein, Galileo, Newton, Goddard and Hawking; brilliant minds in deed. But none of them had a photographic memory. The only famous person I know that had a photographic memory was Jim Morrison. In his book "Nobody Here Gets out Alive" he describes the phenomenon that he possessed. But he never uses that term.
The most recognizable example I can offer is Cliff Claven, the annoying mail man on the TV show "Cheers". I have that kind of memory. I have an encyclopedic memory full of little-known or cared-about facts. It comes in very handy when taking a test or conducting an argument or trying to teach a lesson without the book handy. But other wise it annoys people. Combine that with my inability to keep my big fat mouth shut, my bad attitude and the chip I used to have on my shoulder. And you may begin to understand why I grew up as a fighter.
I try to learn something new everyday. But because my mind is like a sponge, soaking up everything I see. I put my mind on cruise-control and try not to learn anything from Television. Except when watching The History channel, The discovery channel, Animal Planet and The Simpsons.
There were plenty of government warnings in my life. Some I heeded. Others I scoffed at. The Surgeon general's warnings on cigarettes made complete sense. Smoke enough and it will kill me. Simple and to the point. Other warnings were not so clear. If you smoke dope you will go insane. LSD causes chromosome damage. Drugs are bad. All very well meaning. But none of them were true. Marijuana does not cause insanity. LSD does not cause chromosome damage. And drugs are good. Drugs are so good you may get addicted to them. They may become the central point of your entire existence. They are so good that nothing else in your life will matter. That warning may not be a deterrent to some. But it is at worst, accurate and truthful.
Every human has a whole in their heart. It is shaped exactly like God. We try to fill that hole with everything from lust to drugs. But nothing really fits. And some of the things we try will kill us.
So now let me segue into the rest of my story. RTFL2: Read The Friendly Label, 2 times. I have read thousands and thousands of labels. I weighted all of them on the face of their merits. And they all became a part of my memory. But the one label I never saw, and one that would have saved me from where I am today. Never existed! It would have read "Caution! This product contains Benzine. Benzine has been proven to cause real chromosome damage that will manifest itself as rare and deadly forms of Leukemia, a blood cancer, and could kill you forty years after exposure." Would you have heeded that warning? I might have if I had seen it. But it never existed. And benzine was a chemical additive in every can of paint, primer and thinner used in the Navy. It shortens the drying time. And can shorten your life too. But what is more important? The ship has no rust (metal's cancer). Or the expendable sailors who may die some other more glorious way, anyhow?
It turns out that the PML I had is directly linked to benzine exposure. Had I contracted the disease 10 years earlier I would have died and been in Arlington. There was no treatment and causation was unclear back then. Today the molecular mechanics of the disease are well known and documented. I learned this from my studies when I was first diagnosed. My friends and family pointed this out to me also. Everyone suggested contacting the VA for assistance. "It only fair" they all supported. But I saw this as being a little un-American. To blame my country for my condition. I love this country. I have been in fist-fights on every Continent of this planet, with the sole exception of Antarctica. And there is no place like America. I was conflicted on the inside. Do I wage war on my homeland. Or do I grin and bear it. In the end I want to say that I served my country out of Love and devotion to duty. Money was never a concern. No one gets rich in the military. And money never was an object of desire for me. My country owes me nothing. Our debts are even. But my family has needs and I have to do what is necessary to take care of them.They made as many sacrifices in my career as I did. Sometimes even more.
Next time: The Empire Strikes Back.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Medal Rack

Left to Right:
Navy Achievement Medal. Basically for sustained superior performance of Duty in positions of authority above my rank. I was the first Enlisted man to be qualified & certified as a Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer (ASWO). A position normally reserved for Commissioned Officers.
Navy Good Conduct Medal. 21yrs of service, the last 16 were good conduct eligible.
National Defense Service medal. awarded twice. 1973 Viet Nam, 1991 Persian Gulf.
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. Operation Desert Shield participant.
Southwest Asia Service Medal, Defense of Saudi Arabia (1991).
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Emirate of Kuwait).
Navy Rifle Qualification Ribbon/Medal. Expert Marksmanship} My Father was a Marine.
Navy Pistol Qualification Ribbon/Medal. Expert Marksmanship} I learned to shoot at age 5.

My ribbon Bar

Ribbon Bar left to right:
Top row:
Navy Achievement Medal, a long story;
Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Participation in Desert Shield;
Battle "E"fficiency Award, awarded 3 times over 21+yrs career;
second Row:
Good Conduct Medal, Awarded 4 times;
National Defense Service Medal, 2 awards(Viet Nam, Iraq War I)
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, (Desert Shield blockade force)
Third Row:
Southwest Asia Service Medal, Defense of Saudi Arabia (1991)
Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon 21yrs active duty, 16.5 yrs at sea duty.
Navy and Marine Overseas Service Ribbon, 4 West Pac's & 1 Mediterranean cruises.
Fourth row:
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Emirate of Kuwait)
Navy Rifle Qualification Ribbon/Medal Expert Marksmanship
Navy Pistol Qualification Ribbon/Medal Expert Marksmanship
Edie: because you asked so nicely.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Phantom Mence

I would like to start the day by telling you a little bit about myself. Friendship! There are degrees of friendship. Best friends! Lifelong friends! Friends of friends. shipmates, Bar-buddies, old flames that became cold over time, Casual acquaintances that leave a memory, and people you would die to protect. For me friendship never came easily. I had a basic distrust of all people. I erected a wall of polished stone around me. Very few people ever attempted to scale that wall. And even fewer ever got in. It was the defense mechanism. I had an icy stare that would freeze teachers in mid sentence. The very few people I've befriended have enjoyed my undying loyalty, trust and devotion. The people who know me today would be very surprised to know my past. People from my past would be stunned by my attitude today. In my dark days I had two types of friends. Those I would kill or die for and those I said "hello" to. Now I still have only two classes of friends. The ones I call Brother, and those I want to lead to God's love.
Now back to the story:
You may have heard the term "phantom pain". People will tell you that it is a remnant sensation from a part of your body that had been removed. There is no possible way you could feel it. Because it isn't there. It's all in your mind!
I have experienced phantom pain. And although it may not be as excruciating or as exquisitely agonizing as others I have felt. It is real and not in my head. I hope. But it is very disturbing psychologically. If I sit in one position too long my foot will fall asleep. The pins and needles are very real indeed. You cannot ignore them. They will not subside. No amount of vicodin provides relief. I must reposition my body and shake my leg to get relief. But if I look at the foot to make sure it isn't on fire somehow. DOO DOO DO DOO. Twilight Zone again! There is no foot there. I am staring at an empty air-space, that smarts like the dickens, where my foot used to be. Looking at it does not make it any better. It just adds to the confusion. Some people tell me there is a psychic connection between my foot and my brain. I laugh and ask "Why didn't it hurt when the hospital burned it in the incinerator?" But I must admit! The sensation mystifies me. It's not scary! The "NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD" did not scare me. But I hate that I can't find a reasonable explanation for this phenomena. It has been over a year now, and it is still as real and disturbing today as the first time I felt it. I am open to suggestions that have no surrealistic elements.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Enjoy a Laugh.

The funniest man God ever created.
I was looking out the widow and
I got arrested for mooning.
Rodney Dangerfield.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


When the 2007 year of hospital emergency runs had passed, and the excitement tapered off to home visits by the nurse and Dr."H", the main concern was now my feet. The major idea was to wait and pray for circulation to revive the flesh. The result was amazing. By mid 2008 my feet were still hard to look at. But the right foot had restored so well, only the toes were involved. The left foot was a bit worse. But the heel bone had been involved.
We went to see Dr."S" and he was surprised to see us. While exchanging pleasantries, I commented that if I still had to lose a leg I would have to withdraw from the annual butt-kick contest. He laughed hard and said "Now, I remember why I wanted you to make it." I asked him if he remembered the promise he made to me? He said "Yes . But you must remember that when I said that to you, none of us believed you would still be alive. Your condition was so serious, I did not have the heart to tell you what I really felt. "
My heart began to sink for only the second time in my life. And I had been talking to a doctor both times. Then he told me that just because I might lose a leg didn't mean I would not ride a motorcycle. And he would do everything in his power to get me "In the Wind." He had just used a term that only bikers use. So I immediately asked him what kind of bike he rode. He answered "A Harley! Is there any other kind?" So he understood! And I understood.
I had been riding motorcycles for as long as I can remember. My first car was a motorcycle. I was riding a motorcycle the day I met my wife. She knew the job was dangerous when she took it. I have never concerned myself worrying over death or possible injury. Before I was a Christian, I simply never thought about it. And afterwards, I knew that my God was in charge. If he wanted me dead or crippled, he didn't need a motorcycle to do it. A bar of soap in the shower has claimed more lives than motorcycles ever did. Why aren't there helmet laws for the shower? I know in my heart that God would never look up from his throne and see me standing there, and ask "Why are you here so soon?" Look at My Name! I am crippled, and it had nothing to do with a motorcycle.
Another miracle took place during this time period. The people where I worked continued to shower me with cards, letters, posters and love. I had used so much blood with all of the transfusions I received. Some of my friends organized a blood drive at work. They donated close to 100 pints of blood in my name. Now that's giving from the heart! But it did not stop there. They took up a collection, got together and purchased a software that would allow me to use the computer without my hands, which were still not functioning yet. That way we could exchange e-mails and I could stay in touch with the world. Even today we still exchange e-mails and I send out regular updates on my status. Several of them, my friends, after reading the e-mails said I should write a book. This story is my version of that book. It is dedicated to my family and all those wonderful people at San Diego Data Processing Corporation. I love each and every one of you. Unashamedly!
My appointment for amputation got waylaid three times. Each one involved a new infection. I had a bladder infection. Then a kidney infection. And finally an infection that inflamed my pancreas. There was new and more exquisite pain with each new infection. I have been told that childbirth is the worst pain imaginable. Five minutes after my son was born, I asked my beautiful wife "Would you do that again?" Her answer was "Yes." It has been awhile now and I still don't want an other inflamed pancreas. You decide.
All of the doctors were in agreement. The infections were probably coming from my feet. A surgery was necessary to remove them. However, if they did it while infection was active, there was a risk I might not survive anesthesia. That's between a rock and a hard place! Danged if you do and danged if you don't. One of my favorite comedians George Carlin had a routine he called "Phrases you will never say." Well I ended up saying one of those phrases. Who could of guessed I would say "Please saw my legs off!" To some one who could and would. It ended with an amputation of my left leg about 10 inches below the knee. And all the toes on my right foot went into the scrap bin. I had begged to not have a general anesthesia because of my previous experience with that tube in the throat. My voice was my only means of communication and defense. Dr. S. agreed. One serious dose of sleeping medication, an epidural pain blocker and a couple hours later I was back in my room on the ward.
Next time: The Phantom Menace.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This ain't no pity party. This ain't no sob story. No "boo-hooing!" NO "tears in your beer." No "Oh what a terrible story." The Warrior heart is still alive and ticking. If you are one of the people who knows me not. I apologize for how dark this story sounds. But as those who know me will tell you, I have taken this all in stride. It's how I am. How God made me. I find telling this to be therapeutic. It's way more interesting than telling you stories of what I did after I retired and mowed the lawn. Granted I have some great SEA STORIES from my days in the Navy. But that is for another day. If you leave a pity comment. I promise to delete it.

Deja Vu all over again...

January 5, 2007.
As we continue, remember nurse "S"? She was a very loving, caring, no funny business, straight to the point, take no prisoners, astute, intelligent, professional. Her bedside manner lacked subtlety. But she never missed an abnormality. In fact she was able to diagnose my sepsis recurrence by asking my wife, one question on the phone. They, the home care team, were closely following my proress. I had no immunity and my family was monitoring my condition continuosly 24-7. The nurse asked my Joan to Ask me "What are you doing right now?" When I said "I am watching the whales breaching in the turquoise sea behind my house." "S", said "Get him to the hospital now."
We credit "S" with saving my life. I had reentered the twilight zone. But this time without the opiate assistance. The very same infection as the first one. But this time there was no coma to protect me from the pain. The pain was centered in my upper abdomen and had begun while I was in the nursing home.
Dr. "D" had diagnosed GAS as the problem and given me an antacid. GAS was a symptom. But, not the cause. Well, this trip to the hospital introduced me to a new surgeon. Dr. "G". A wonderfully skilled surgeon. He explained that my abdominal pain and blood tests indicated an internal problem that would require surgery to determine the actual cause. The possibilities as he explained, were "Either my large or small intestine had a serious problem. If it was the large it could be repaired or removed. And life would go on. And if it was the small intestine, something that a body needs, It was over. He would decide once I was opened like a holiday turkey.
I spoke with Joan, and we decided to tumble the dice again and gave the surgeon permission to continue. A prayer for grace, mercy and skill on the surgeon. And off to LA-LA Land I went. A few hours later I came to. And I was still in the OR. Was this a dream also? I could hear everyone talking. But wasn't sure of the content or the context. Then a female voice asked "How do you feel Mr. K?" Why couldn't I answer? Why couldn't I see? Simple questions with simple answers. I could not see, because there was a surgical drape over my face. And I could not speak because a breathing apparatus was shoved down my throat, by passing my larynx. They had removed my entire lower or Large intestine. And closed me up with 29 staples. The infection Dr."D" had diagnosed as GAS, had caused the lining of my lower intestine to completely "Slough off." OH well a minor set back. 3 more weeks in the hospital. And I'd go back home and get well. No biggie. This sort of go round continued for the better part of 2007. Get a little better. Dash back to the ER. Stay a few weeks, go home and start again. The result was a continuous flow of antibiotics with either a poly-syllabic name. Or a string of impossible Initials strung together for a name. I distinctly remember counting the bags hanging from he IV pole and there were 9. At the same time. Exactly, how many holes were in me? I wondered.
A big plus, was I was on a first name basis with every nurse in the hospital. From the OR and ER, to the nurses on the wards. Every single one told me they were Christians and I shared prayer with people from all over the world. From China, Russia, Australia, Japan, The Philippines, and of course The USA. Everywhere I looked God's people surrounded me.
One of the side-effects of most antibiotics is nausea, depressed appetite, and everything tastes like a trash can smells. The condensed version. By Christmas time 2007, I was home. I weighed 147 pounds was still 6'3" on both sides of my body. And things were looking up. Of course I had an ileostomy, and a feeding tube inserted in my abdomen. But the Lord had need of me to still be here. To this very day I have never asked Him Why. Not, why me? Not, why this? Not, why now? His purpose is His concern. I am here to praise Him for His mercy and in My weakness he makes me strong.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Round up.

I have said so much. But I would be remiss if I failed to mention a few more details. While in the ICU, after waking from a coma, one of my greatest desires was to drink some Mountain Dew. It was an addiction I have formed a year or more before this incident. I had dreams, or maybe hallucinations of breaking into 7-Eleven stores, charging directly to the reefer box and chugging full 2 litre bottles one right after the other. My thirst was insatiable. I asked my wife please bring me some Mountain Dew. She said that Doctor "A", my primary physician, would have to approve it. Remember my gag reflex was gone. I was unable to protect my airway. Their concern was I might drown. I had not realized I was being fed through a tube. After begging and pleading, and a few sailor words thrown in Doctor "A" gave in. But, with limits. My Wife was allowed to give me Mountain Dew. However it had to be given to me using a 10 mL syringe. I couldn't get enough. But my wife, bless her heart would empty bottles, 10cc's at a time forever as long as I wanted. and if I wanted more she would walk to the store, returned to the hospital, and proceeded to empty the bottle one syringe at a time.
Visitors! I cannot begin to explain how important they are and were. The biggest morale booster you could imagine was to have somebody take time from their day just to stop by and say hello. I could fill this blog by simply listing the names of people who provided this for me. I'm afraid I would not be able to remember all the names. So to avoid hurt feelings please accept this as my "thank you." You know who you are, and so do I. Your love has touched me. And My Heavenly Father is a witness.
On December 21, 2006 I returned to my home. The insurance through my work covered assisted home care. My wife voluntarily attended classes to learn how to use all the apparatus needed to keep me alive. This included many different pumps to continue dispensing the plethora of antibiotic concoctions that were prescribed. Recall that my immune system was gone! Completely gone! I had been given enough antibiotics to effectively cure an entire third world nation of all its ills. God's creation of our immune system is a complex and ingenious mechanism. No man-made drugs can begin to replace this miraculous machinery. But we tried anyway. We plan and God laughs.
I enjoyed Christmas at home with my family. As much as was humanly possible. The smiling faces of my children, and wife were a sheer delight to behold. As anyone who has visited me in my home can attest. I enjoy a spectacular view on the east side of my home. We placed my rented hospital bed right beside a huge window that allowed me to look down on the valley and city below. I have the Cuyamaca Mountains as a backdrop. This view was a major factor when we purchased our home 7 years earlier. But lying in a hospital bed to enjoy this view was never a consideration.
My family decorated the house inside and out. Something we had previously always done together. Lights around the eaves and on the railings and stanchions of the front porch and illuminated lawn decorations outside. Lighted tree, stockings hung on the mantel and festive decorations inside. It was beautiful. I was proud of them all. In years past it had been a whole day project with my assistance. They did this by themselves. It was no mean feat.
We sang carols, watched seasonal movie favorites and enjoyed a good old fashion Home style Christmas turkey dinner, with all the trimmings. I was usually the holiday cook. But my wife and children filled in without a hitch. Everything was going great for me. But it must have been miserable for my family. I was changed. But their change and challenge was even greater. Their formerly independent, world traveled, self-sufficient father and husband was now a person who needed assistance scratching an itchy forehead, nose or ear. I required round the clock monitoring and assistance. They never complained or hesitated. But it would have made me crazy if the roles had been reversed.
We celebrated the New Year together. Dick Clark's Rockin New Years Eve on the tube, we watched the ball drop on 2006 and prayed for God's grace in 2007.
The home health care nurse was a wonderful nurse practitioner who helped us to cope in our new reality. but when she told us that Doctor "D", from the nursing home was going to be my attending physician, we protested like scalded cats. Thank God our words did not fall on deaf ears. Nurse "S" told us she would get Doctor "H" to replace Dr. "D". Knowing nothing of Doctor "H", we took the nurses word. Joseph Stalin would have been an improvement over Dr."D". I was concerned. But it turned out to be needless concern. Doctor"H" was, and still is a blessing straight from the Lord.
Next time; ROUND 2, or it's deja vu all over again...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Breakout the fire-extinguishers

Ladies and Germs, BUCKETHEAD!

As the world churns...

When last we visited, the KrippledWarrior was moving from the dream world into reality. Rather than drag this out as a daily soap opera. I will cut to the chase and provide details as necessary.
Doctor "S" had promised me I would ride a motorcycle again. This was an anchor point I used to hang on to sanity! When I became fully aware of my condition and my surroundings, this was my personal assessment.
1. I was paralyzed.
2. My arms were so swollen it was no wonder I could not lift them.
3. Everything hurt. Everywhere.
4. My feet were covered in bandages and I could not feel them. (I didnot fully understand why).
5. My Leukemia was "Cured."
6. The Doctors and my wife were concerned about my feet.
My wife and two wonderful physical therapists that assisted with me were surprised to hear that the neurologist (I could not recall a name to save me. I could pick her out in a line up. But one was never organized) had told me I was a quadriplegic. And in spite of that assessment they persisted and helped me to retrain my hands and arms. they would help me move my arms and hands and wiggle my fingers. It was physically and mentally exhausting. It was the hardest I had ever worked. But, with their insistence and assistance, I was able to wave hello and give a thumbs-up with my left hand. God bless those angels, all three of them.
Then one day while I was unusually alert and focused, a nurse came in to change the bandages on my feet. I have always had extremely muscular legs. Not Tom Platz or Arnold Schwarzenegger legs, but very muscular indeed. I could stand flat-footed under a basketball goal and jump straight up and grab the rim with both hands. Without benefit of a running start.
My feet were not exceptional other then they perfectly fit my frame, and had done everything I had ever asked them to do. But after the bandages came off, my heart sank and I instantly became aware of why the doctors and my family were concerned. And I also understood why I was being attended to by an orthopedic surgeon. My feet were something right out of a horror movie. They were purpleish black, shriveled and and alien. My mind reeled as I tried to comprehend the situation. The medical term for the condition was dry gangrene. Technically it meant my feet were dead. Mummified. It was evident that they would have to go. Everybody was very careful around them because there was a very serious possibility of breaking one off and letting loose a new round of infections that were sure to be disasterous. When Doctor "S" had told me his good news, He was referring to after my amputations. Something I would have to wait for. And to get physically better to be able to survive through it.
Phobia number one looked plausible. There was a very good possibility a wheelchair was in my future. But I had other hurdles to jump before that ever came around. At the beginning of October the hospital decided they had done everything for me they could do, and decided to discharge me. I could move my legs left and right. I could raise both hands off the pillows and wiggled the fingers of my left hand. I could turn my head left and right. But not lift it off the pillow. Fortunately there was a nursing home near where I lived, and we prayed they would have room for me. They did! And I moved in. My wife visited every day. she would stay with me until bedtime. The day staff were wonderfully kind people. Fully attentive to all of my needs. My bed was right beside the picture window. Another patient had placed birdfeeders outside and I would watch beautiful finches and hummingbirds gang the feeders. Since I was unable to move my hands the only method of gaining attention from the nurse was to yell. Nobody liked it, especially me. But the nurses and my 96 year old, hard of hearing roommate did not complain.
But when the midnight shift came on, everything changed! At first I was unsure of my circumstances. Was I still riding the Dragon's tail? Or was I in jeopardy? For a while I was unsure. But because the new incidents only occurred during the midnight shift I was sure things were not right. They always kept the curtain between me and my roommate drawn. Personal privacy was the explanation. But it made the situation sinister because the actions taken by the mid-staff were never directly witnessed by anybody. It was your word, or more accurately, my word against theirs. And everyone knew I was hopped up on narcotics like a junkie at a Woodstock reunion. On one particular night one of the night staff and myself got into a verbal confrontation and both of us were using our outside voices. Fortunately she had gotten loud enough for all of the other patients to complain the next morning. And their versions of the confrontation supported mine. That particular person was forbidden to come near me. But no one else would come assist me in her place. I won the battle but lost the war. Phobia number two fully realized. Confined against my wishes and making it worse with my own mouth.
The next Dr. in my life I will call Doctor "D." as in Donald duck. You know, quack! he was a doctor in charge of patient care. My heart breaks for the people left in his care. He refused to allow me to participate in a fully staffed gymnasium and physical therapy sessions. His reasoning was "you are here as a hopeless quadriplegic. Your care is strictly custodial. There is no need to waste our resources on you."
Phobia Number 1, Fully realized. I was now 2 for 2. What on earth could be worse? It was not all bad there. My wife would come and the day staff would put me in a wheelchair and Joan would wheel me around the complex. Rain or shine. It was the highlight of my day. I was never physically abused. But I was uncomfortable there and would be glad to leave.
Next time, my homecoming...

Support team;

These are my children at ages 6 & 4. This is how I remember them when I reminisce.
My family is the most precious gift God has given me. My wife is a beautiful, statuesque, Loving caring, giving, faithful, dedicated, christian, intelligent, courageous and friendly person. Her voice is like music. Soft, subtle and pleasant to listen to. If you spend a few minutes in her company, you will come away with not only a favorable impression of an acquaintance. But, realizing you just met a truly unique person. I can't help but love her. She's simply irresistible. When I met her I got butterflies in my stomach. I was 28, and I felt like a school kid who had just met his first crush. I was on a motorcycle and already had a hard heart. But she melted it on the spot. I spent the next week in complete anticipation of meeting her again. My heart was racing, my palms were sweaty. adrenaline pumped through my system. It has been almost 30 years later. And I still get then same feeling every time she comes into the room. She knows all my secrets and she loves me anyway.

We have 2 children together. Our eldest, a son, is a 23 year old college graduate. He is an extremely intelligent, non-assuming man. I often refer to him as the single most intelligent person I have ever known. And I know more than a few extremely intelligent people. He is tall, slender, fair of face and incredibly compassionate. For the last 4 summers he voluntarily gave his time to be a counselor at a Youth Christian Summer Camp. He endeared himself to literally thousands of children. Plus he volunteered and went to Nicaragua and three times to Mexico to provide camp experience to children who's families could not afford such a luxury. At 6'5" he is an imposing, but gentle soul. His mathmatic skills are legendary. In the 6th grade the school sent him to take the PSATs, because they could not measure his ability. As a 6th grader he scored in the 97th percentile of high-school juniors nationally. In the 7th and 8th grade, his classmates nicknamed him "Professor", and teachers would look at him for confirmation and approval when they put complicated equations on the board. When I was taking Calculus in college (I went after leaving the Navy) he learned how to use my Texas Instruments Graphing calculator (without the 300 page manual, and only a 2 minute intro from me) and assisted me with my homework. He was 8 at the time. No college Professor ever asked a class, "Did your children help you with your homework?" If they had, I would have been undone.
Our 20 years old daughter, is equal to her brother's intellect. But lacks his love and intricate knowledge of math. She is the only woman I know who rivals her mother's beauty. She inherited all of her mother's stellar attributes, with the single exception of height. But, what she lacks in height, she more than makes up for in heart.
Despite having an extroverted, former Navy Senior Chief, turned Biker, for a father, she is a quiet, loving, compassionate person. She has a heart of finest gold. And she would give you the clothes she is wearing if you had need of them. Literally! She is a senior in college, majoring in Psychology. So I don't pick on her anymore. She's too smart for me, and doesn't take my guff anymore. She is my darling daughter. Boys beware I'm a card carrying NRA member. And you won't be good enough for her. No one will. (Have gun, will travel).
The only thing either of my children got from me was my witty sense of humor. All of their other fabulous traits came from the maternal side of the family.
Both of our children have a heart for the Lord, and have both been to the Arizona Pima Indian Reservation and down in Mexico on mission trips to build homes or make repairs and improvements to facilities for others less fortunate than them, and who they never knew before hand.
"What does all this have to do with the Cancer story?"you ask.
As a matter of fact; EVERYTHING!
If not for their loving care, tireless assistance, Herculean support, heroic love, and total dedication to healing and caring for me. This blog would never have existed, there would be no KrippledWarrior. And the only way you would hear of my story would be in an obit page somewhere. It was my wife and children who hovered at my death bed. Praying for my survival, an coaxing me back from the brink. Not only did they unselfishly give their time and love. They made me the center of their lives and world. It is almost a cliche to say "I owe them everything!"
But that is the essence of my story. I have enjoyed support and prayer from thousands. And I will be eternally grateful to those people. But only Christ's sacrifice for my salvation surpasses the sacrifice my family has made for me! Before this episode, I would have given my life for any or all of these three people. But now, I can't think of emotions strong enough to express my gratitude and love for them! Joan, Kyle & Amanda, Thank you. I love you all.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And now for something completly different...

For the life of me. I still can't get what women see in Mick.
Yes, he can sing. and rhyme. But look at that mug.
No offense Mick. This was the first song
I learned to play on the guitar. Keep on rockin'

Reality Sets in...

The post comatose KrippledWarrior, when we last left him, was racing toward recovery. But there were a few dramatic details which were overlooked. During the unconcious state, doctors and staff were increasingly more concerned over my situation. Gag-reflex, the last reflex to show my automatic response was still intact, was gone. The doctors called my family to advise them "If you want to see him, one last time, you need to get here now." Sort of anti-climatic after yesterday's post. But essential knowledge for the future. Family and clergy, some both in one, from all over, were in attendance. Prayer warriors one and all.
Occasionally when my sister sat by my bed, a nurse would say or do something suggesting I might not survive, she would raise my unresponsive hand and move my digits into a biker's "one finger salute." And then giggle to me that one day I would be able to do it for my self. Thank you Sis. You know me well. The water used to raise my blood-pressure, had swelled my body to slightly over 300lbs. The skin on my hands and arms burst under the pressure. But rather than blood, water flowed. One of my beloved pastors pleaded out-loud "Let him have some dignity and relief Lord."
My sister-in-law and her husband, both wonderful, loving, Christians, left their home in the middle of the night to join me in my time of need. After arriving, they began to sing praise songs, and the monitors responded favorably. The more they sang to God's grace and love, The higher my blood-pressure would go. Finally, on my 54th birthday, after all the doctors had given up hope, I opened my eyes. The doctors said "it was an unconscious reflex, common in coma cases" (I was now a case, no longer a person). My wife reassured them I had opened my eyes when she told me to. And then I would look from side to side at the family around me.
I had been hooked to a respirator for so long, the dry air had chapped my mouth and lips to parchment (Why don't hospitals use Chapstick?!?). I had been in the grave and looked it. Bloated, swollen, disfigured and hideous. My normally angelic countenance, was grossly twisted and scarred. But I was back. I was completely paralyzed, with no memories of the incident. But I was back. The Lord had more for me to do in this world and did not call me home. My wife asked me if I was disappointed to not be in heaven. But never waited for an answer. Then told me how glad she was to have me back. At that point in time, I had no idea what lay ahead. She had maintained a round the clock vigil at my bedside from day one. Holding my hand and asking God to spare me. She stood this watch mostly alone, but often accompanied by my children. I cannot imagine their anguish. It must have taken the strength of Hercules and the patience of Job. A few years earlier, I had avoided my mother's deathbed, knowing I would have been of no consolation to anyone. Especially my mother. For this very reason, I personally discussed this with my mother a month before she died. The cancer that had taken her, had ravaged her so badly before hand, that it hurt my heart to look at this woman who had always been so strong and beautiful. My loving, faithful, beautiful, caring, wonderful wife and children have stuck by me like glue. I love them and will forever be in their debt. To this very day my lovely best friend, who is also my wife and sole-mate, continues her guard duty, out of love, by my side.
After leaving ICU to a lesser level ward, I was allowed visitors who were not family or clergy. I could hear the HARLEYS in the parking lot. And my room was always filled by leather clad brothers, and business suited friends, family and neighbors. Then one day Mary, head of the HR department where I had worked for 10years showed up with a giant poster and a pile of GET-WELL cards. She unrolled and hung the poster on the wall of my private room. It was 3ft tall and 5ft wide, and every inch was covered in prayers and well wishes written by my former coworkers. Nurses and doctors would stop in mid-sentence to stare at it in wide eyed wonder. And whenever I felt down, someone (usually my wife) would begin reading the inscriptions to me. The sentiments would bring tears to my eyes but my heart would soar.
Along with all the visitors, a continuous parade of doctors marched through my room. The titles they carried were very impressive. And I'm not easily impressed. But the things they chanted at me were a droning litany of medical terms, one more complicated than the last. I had already heard what I wanted to hear from an orthopedic surgeon. When Dr. "S" asked me "Do you have any questions?" I said "Yes. Will I be able to ride a motorcycle again?" (That was important because it was the only thing that could be taken from me. Not my family or my friends or my Faith in God's love). He smiled and said "Yes."
To tell the truth I did not know why I was seeing an orthopedic surgeon. Was it part of the elaborate web of dreams I encountered while riding the Dragon's Tail (Morphine)? Or was it something more serious? In the middle of this medical procession, another Doctor appeared. This one seemed real. She was physically attractive, professional and alarmingly direct. She was a neurologist, and her news was not encouraging. During my coma, my muscles had, for lack of a better term, began to die. The copious quantities of saline injected had short circuited my nerve system, and the "strokes" had caused an undetermined amount of damage. Short story "I was now a quadriplegic and I might never recover!" BANG! a blow to the head delivered off the top ropes, "Rick Flaire Style."
Not even my imagination could have come up with a shock like that.
Cue Rod Serling. "You have just crossed into the TWILIGHT ZONE."
But Doctor "S" said I would "ride a motorcycle again." I protested. She responded in typical T-Zone fashion; "Who is Doctor 'S'?" (I use initials and first names to protect IDentitys.)
"He's my ortho surgeon" I responded. And her retort was that Dr."S" was not aware of the damage done to my nerves or muscles, and that it was unfortunate that he had told me that.
Which was the dream and which was the nightmare? Had my greatest fear in life tracked me down and thrown itself headlong into my reality? Or was this a paranoid delusion brought on by the Dragon's tail crashing against my skull?
Next... More tales from an alternate reality.

Friday, August 21, 2009

How I got here PT II Life after Motorcycles...

August 10, 2006:
That day I rode my trusted, two wheeler (a 2001, HD Superglide. The color is called, by the manufacturer, DIAMOND ICE PEARL) to the hospital and back. At the end of the ride home that day, the odometer read 88,427 miles. Today 3 yrs later it reads 88,427 miles.
I was hooked up to a constant flow infusion pump that contained, daunorubicin, and given another bottle full of the a fore mentioned ATRA. I wore this infusion pump for an entire week. A week off with pay! Who could ask for more? The doctor's orders were to avoid crowds and people who had been in a crowd. My immune system was going to be "Depressed" by the drug and a simple cold or flu bug would be all she wrote for the good guy.
My children were in school and my wife worked in a public facing office. So I was not supposed to get too close to them. I have always been a hugger (but not all touchie, feelie), and that week was almost insufferable.
I returned to the hospital on Sunday August 17, 2006, to drop off the pump. I returned home (in my lovely wife's car both ways) with new instructions. The others were still in effect. But, now I was to monitor my heart rate and temperature. This would be easy. After raising 2 children I had always had several thermometers around the house. And after the earlier concerns about my heart, that lead to diagnosing my leukemia, we already owned a sphygmomanometer. The most important point emphasized by my doctor, was, "IF your temperature rises to 100.6°, drop everything and get to the emergency room immediately. Don't call first or don't wait for any reason."
The next three days dragged slowly past without any significant incidents. But while taking an after dinner nap on the 4th day, I started to feel warmish. I took my temperature, 100.8, Oh great." I thought and forced myself to tell my wife. I really did not want to go to the hospital! I had never gotten any good news in one of them. My entire blood family was gone, with the exception of my younger sister. Burying your siblings and parents and grandparents SUX. The only thing worse I can think of would be to bury one of my children.
Anyway! I went to the hospital and checked into the emergency room. That is the last thing I remember until sometime in late August 2006. This part of the story comes from people I trust who visited me in the ICU. Apparently my immune system had not been "Depressed." It had been crushed, smashed, eliminated. GONE.
A bacterial infection, had crossed over and turned my blood poisonous. The condition is called sepsis. But you may have heard it called "Septic Shock." And in a reaction to self preserve, My body went comatose. This was not the only reaction. To stop pumping poison to my vitals, my brain tried to help by making my heart pump inefficiently, lowering my blood pressure to almost ZERO. That led to a no circulation condition in my legs, and at least two strokes. In an attempt to overcome the low blood-pressure, the ICU responded, quite correctly, by intravenous water (saline) infusions. I have vague memories of my sister (who had actually driven from Kentucky to be with me and she says she did the things I recall) leaning into a smoke filled room(my mind) and telling me "I am here with you. And I will protect you." And several of my wife holding my hand and asking me "Are you still with us?" and saying "I love you." But when I tried to reply I couldn't make my voice work. So, if anyone tells you that people in a coma can't hear what you say to them. Feel free to tell them I said "BS." It was dream-like and surrealistic. But I heard and remember hearing them.
When I finally became aware of myself again, I was stoked up on enough morphine to cause hallucinations. I know it sounds like a real party. But it was exquisitely frightening. People who came to visit were mixed into the most extreme situations that even Quentin Tarantino couldn't visualize. I had an elaborate imagination already. And back then, it was in overdrive, with an unlimited fuel supply.
In my mind I was tied down on a pallet unable to move (the strokes had left both sides of my body paralyzed) and I would plead with visitors to untie me. And curse them when they wouldn't. This unnerved my 19 year old son to no end. I actually told my wife (The gentlest, most sensitive and loving person I know), that if she would not untie me. I would divorce her as soon as I got loose. I suffered a constant barrage of these cartoon episode reactions. So much so, that after I became aware of what was really happening to me I apologized vociferously to every visitor who came through the door.
The hallucinations continued for a long time, because my pain was so intense I was on round the clock morphine injections (sepsis causes such acute intense pain, my eyelashes burned with pain, and I would scream and freak out whenever someone touched me and the feel of the bed linens on my skin was excruciating).
The hallucinations eventually became more sporadic, but way more realistic and frightening. I would ask visitors who had come in alone, to identify for me, the people who had come in with them. Sometimes they would just laugh. Other times they would spin around to see if anyone had followed them in. And my dreams at night were so complete in there emotional reality, I would awaken screaming for help. But I had not awakened from the hallucination. And the nurses unwittingly became victims of my unconscious terrors.
This was my world until late September 2006.
Next time reality sets in and Phobias realized.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How I got here Pt. II

It started March 10, 2006. when I woke up in the morning, I had a bloody nose that took about 15 minutes to get it stop. In the next couple of weeks the same thing occurred two more times. I became very fatigued and had a hard time catching my breath after the slightest exertion(singing in church). When I would get home from work, I would be completely exhausted and needed a nap before dinner. My job as a securiy analyst was not physically demanding. But outsmarting hackers and monitoring a Metropolitan area computer-network for evidence of intruders is mentally taxing. But I have always been an energetic person and my symptoms concerned me greatly! Especially since the symptoms were getting worse.
On March 20, 2006 I made an appointment with a doctor and he ran a series of tests expecting something wrong with my heart. The ECG, came back to normal except my heart rate was 120 bpm. Heart attack was ruled out so he ordered a battery of blood tests. And I went home to await the results. At 1:50 AM March 21, 2006 my telephone rang. Assuming bad news about my family, back in Carolina, was awaiting me, I scrambled to the phone.
A strangers voice on the other end, asked to confirm my name, and then proceeded to tell me he was calling from the hospital and that my test results showed I needed to come to the emergency room immediately. The man refused to elaborate. But he insisted that I come now. I went in accompanied by my best friend in the world, My wife. And after being visited by a plethora of medical specialists, around noon an oncologist showed up and told me I had a blood problem that would require a bone-marrow biopsy to identify the cause. 2 lidocain injections, one relatively painless needle aspiration of my hip bone and my first-ever blood transfusion later, I went home to await the results. The blood transfusion reinvigorated me and I went back to work and enjoying life.

At my follow up appointment April 7, 2006 the transfused energy had waned considerably, and my Oncologist told me I had AML (Acute myeloid leukemia). I had heard of leukemia. But never strung together with those other words. So I asked, half jokingly, "Does that mean I have a blood cancer?" The "YES" answer was so unexpected, a kick in the crotch would not have centered my attention any faster. I had a thousand questions, all of which he answered. But the only two I recall were; "What if we just let it alone?" and "What is my prognosis if I submit to treatment?" The answers are equally burned into my memory. They were; "you will be dead within the next 3 weeks." and "you have a 25% chance of surviving 5 years." I have never been big on gambling. But the latter sounded like a much better bet.
So, I got another transfusion and he wrote me a note excusing me from work (until further notice), and made an appointment for me to be admitted a week later and begin chemotherapy. There was never any mention of marrow transplants. I had no idea what that meant. In the ensuing days, with the aid of WIKIPEADIA, I become a subject matter expert on leukemia and various other subjects concerning human blood diseases. Before I returned to the hospital my Doctor called me with what he termed as "Good news." It turned out, he had an update for my diagnosis. I had a very rare, but highly treatable subform of leukemia (M3, promyelocytic, or acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) t(15;17)). It appears my death sentence had been revoked. As treatments recently devised by the Chinese have proven to provide a 90% cure rate. I asked the doctor if he meant to use the word "cure" and he said "yes."
I underwent chemotherapy with a combination of drugs consisting of "idarubicin," and "all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)." The latter was a giga-dose level of Vitamin A. The former was an intravenous drug that resembled "Orange Kool-Ade" inside the plastic tubing that lead into my arm. By July 4th 2006 I felt great and went to a picnic at my work to visit (Those people are the greatest support group anyone could ever wish for. From the Facilities Custodian to the CEO). I was due to go back to the hospital the following Monday, July 10, 2006 for a final dose of chemo. That Saturday July8, 2006, I went on a motorcycle ride with some friends. The pictures taken of me that day are titled "last ride."
NEXT TIME "Life After Motorcycles."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cut a brother some slack...

I have a friend, (Well a follower) on blogspace who is inundated with members of the Female persuasion. he's a very humorous observer of life. Give him a read! and comment his posts. At the least you might find some very interesting women there . And get a laugh or two on the side! He's a Carolina Home boy, and a TARHEEL TRUE.
There you go, Blasé. Now it's up to you.

Johnny Be Good, By Johnny Winter...

And. Yes. Johnny played at Woodstock.
He's that old! and still rockin'
Can ya feel me?

Monday, August 17, 2009


And a little STEPPENWOLF to kick off the week...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

An Isolated Incident...

Practically everyone I know, including my very conservative mother-in-law, Remembers WOODSTOCK, (excluding those friends who had not been born yet). And for some strange reason, that I cannot fathom, the government and most of the media(Newspapers) wanted it to be a dismal failure. NY Times reporters said that the paper wanted to report the horror stories. But the reporter refused to give them what they wanted. Radio stations coast to coast lied about the terrible conditions while parents who had talked to their children on land-line phones at GROUND-ZERO, called in to correct the reports.
To be totally honest, there were 3 fatalities at Woodstock. 1 drug overdose, 1 fall from scaffolding, and 1 occupied sleeping bag accidentally run-over. There were 3 reported miscarriages, and only 2 births. (on a side note; Former Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler, was a 17 year old audience member).
Then NY Governor Nelson Rockefeller, said to one of the Festival financiers, that he wanted to send in the NY national guard. Reportedly because of the negative press he was hearing. The promoter appealed to the politician, and he acquiesced. Can you imagine the result of sending armed troops into 500,000 drug crazed, anti-war, anti-american, hippies? (this group gave a standing ovation when Jimi Hendrix played the National Anthem). That question was answered 8 months later at a peace rally in Kent State University in Ohio.
What did America have to fear by their youth gathering peacefully while the rest of the world looked on? Granted the notorious anti-war, anti-military, anarchist rabble-rouser Abby Hoffman was in attendance. Despite being tossed off stage while interrupting The Who, he actually established, set up, organized and ran the EMERGENCY MEDICAL Hospital (in his auto-biography he referred to himself as the "FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE of the fair.") on site.
But in spite of the outside interlopers, the event was declared a success. Financially, the investors did not break even until after the movie was released. Yet Woodstock was never about the money. The promoters had under-anticipated a 200,000 attendance, and after being overwhelmed on the first day, they removed the gate and allowed everyone else in for free.
Maybe that was the key to its success. Because, every endeavor to re-create that spectacle failed dismally. Four short months later in Altamont California, a rock festival, billed as "Woodstock West" became the failure the government had been looking for at Woodstock.
Later generations tried to re-create the magic and we're surprised when rally attenders rioted and destroyed the venue. Punk rockers and Head-bangers just don't get it!
Woodstock was after all, an isolated incident. Not the dawning of the age of Aquarius. Not a watershed event! These days, only the Super Bowl comes close to the (peaceful?) same attendance levels of Woodstoc. And none of those have ever exceeded 150,000. It was a case of "In the right place at the right time." Entrepreneurs have erected an indoor musical theater nearby the original site. But the movie "Woodstock", produced by a group of unpaid filmmakers, is truly remarkable. It is the closest you will ever come to realizing the gravity of that epic event. "500,000 people, that's a whole lot of freaks" Arlo Guthrie.

Friday, August 14, 2009

August 15, 1969. WOODSTOCK Music & Art Fair.

Maybe ya had to be there. But I don't think so.
During an interview on VH1, Grahm Nash stated.
" If all the people who told me they were at WOODSTOCK,
Had actually been there; the earth would have tilted on its axis."
If some one tells you "I was there." Ask to see their ticket. Or an
original photo. CNN has been showing never before seen photos
all weekend...
Time flies like an arrow, Fruit flies like a banana.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Teach your children well. Their father's hell, did slowly go bye.
And feed them on your dreams... The one they picked, the one you'll know by
(CSN&Y)Teach Your Children

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Ancient Philosophers have been quoted as saying "the measure of a man can be made by the strength of his enemies". I personally think this is a load of crap. It sounds great as a splash screen in an adventure movie. Like Nietzsche's "That which does not kill us, only makes us stronger!" At the beginning of "Conan The Barbarian".
But any fool can amass enemies. A better measure would be "the strength of his friends."
An even better measure, would be "the strength of his fears."
I wasn't personally affected by the release of the book or the movie "Jaws". I am a PADI certified scuba diver. And have been since 1973. And I grew up near the coast of North Carolina, and had seen 100's of live sharks. Both in and out of the water. But many people were:
The novel "JAWS"
Jaws was published in 1974 and became a great success, staying on the bestseller list for some 44 weeks. Steven Spielberg has said that he initially found many of the characters unsympathetic and wanted the shark to win. Book critics such as Michael Rogers of Rolling Stone Magazine shared the sentiment but the book struck a chord with readers.
The movie JAWS:
Jaws is regarded as a watershed film in motion picture history, the father of the summer blockbuster movie and one of the first "high concept" films. Due to the film's success in advance screenings, studio executives decided to distribute it in a much wider release than ever before. Not only did it set a motion picture history precedent. It literally scared people out of the water. Due in part to the fantastic creativity of Peter Benchley and Steven Spielberg.
For years everyone thought, including myself, that this was simply a product of Mr. Benchley's imagination. But if you watched "shark week" on the Discovery Channel this week, you would have learned that the entire incident in the movie actually took place in real life at the coast of New Jersey in July 1916.
During a 12 day span in that month, a shark killed several people at the beaches of a small coastal town. The shark also made a two-mile trip up a freshwater Creek where eyewitnesses watched it devour three humans. It was the first time in American history when multiple shark attacks were reported. Shortly after the killing spree a local taxidermist managed to catch an 8 foot juvenile Great White (Carcharodon carcharias, also known as white pointer, white shark, or white death, is an exceptionally large lamniform shark found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans. Reaching lengths of more than 20 ft and weighing up to 4,938 lb) and found human remains in its stomach.
I have always enjoyed movies that affected me emotionally i.e. thrillers, horror, science fiction and monster movies in general. I have enjoyed them for as long as I can remember. But I have never had a problem separating reality from fantasy. And although the Jaws movie made me jump in my seat more than one time. It, did not follow me out of the theater! It was after all a figment of someone's imagination. Or so I thought until shark week, 2009. But the fear of having my limbs ripped off, and eaten by the king of the Marine food chain still holds no particular interest to me.
I have had two deep-seated fears in my life. And neither of them came about because of a movie experience. My first fear, dawned on me during the incident I related in my earlier story where I told you about my accident with a machete.
While wearing a cast from my hip to my ankle, and having been told by a doctor I might never run again (something I did every day as a youth just for the sheer delight of feeling the breeze in my face). The horror that crept into my young mind, and has haunted me ever since was the fear of being confined to a wheelchair for life. I can't explain why! I get sick to my stomach just thinking about it.
My second greatest fear is just as far-reaching and far-fetched as the first. It came about after a dream I had at around age 20 in which I had been confined in an asylum, Involuntarily! The more I protested my sanity, the crazier I sounded and acted. Which led to only more severe confinement measures by the staff. What really got to me was the fact that I was aware my protests were going to escalate my confinement, and I still could not shut my mouth.
I've had a similar dream two more times in my life since the first one. And both times I awoke in a cold sweat shaking uncontrollably. I have no idea what spurred the dreams. But, one time when I was in the Navy while on duty I was escorting a shipmate, who had made a suicide threat, to the psychiatric hospital for observation. When we arrived at the door, I couldn't make myself walk into the facility. I froze solid with sheer panic. I wanted to run away, but I could not move. Nothing like that had never happened to me before or since. And I have collected combat pay during my military service. I tell you this, in hope of alleviating these fears and trying to put them into perspective. Thank you for your indulgence, and please stay tuned for the further adventures of my life!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

How I got here...

My life before the US Navy and my personal battle with Leukemia and the side effects of chemotherapy...
I was born and raised by a career Marine and his registered nurse wife. We lived in Jacksonville North Carolina. Were I was raised and steeped in the traditions of the old South. American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. A place where gentlemen are born and not made by an act of Congress! Where big Brothers not only defend and fight in place of their siblings out of love but also out of duty. It's what was expected. People put Southerners down as being backward. But the world would be a much better place if there were more big brothers out there. There would be no workplace sexual harassment for fear of having your face caved in by an overzealous brother who had nothing better to do that day.
Before my 16th birthday I had survived several life-changing and life-threatening incidents. I survived them all but was either scarred physically or mentally by each and every one of them.
At age 8, I was run down by a speeding car while riding my bicycle across four lanes of traffic. My first concussion and experience with road rash. No broken bones and only a very short hospital visit. Age 12, I almost amputated my left leg by accidentally swinging a machete at a pine tree. The blade glanced off the tree and down into my left leg just below the knee. Another short visit to the hospital and into the orthopedic surgery unit. A couple dozen stitches and a few tendons reattached and six months in a full leg cast from hip to ankle. Doctors prognosis "you'll be lucky if you regain 40% motion in that leg. But you should still be able to walk". Later in life I played high school sports, football, baseball, basketball, wrestling track and field, so I never really let it slow me down. I figured the doctors opinion was only an opinion and not a proclamation of how I must live. So of course when I accidentally hanged myself at age 14 I almost turned the Doctor's prognosis into a self-fulfilling prophecy. And then a month and a half before my 16th birthday, while goofing off with illegal fireworks I accidentally (there's that word again) shot myself in the eye with a bottle rocket. That one landed me in the hospital for two weeks. But when it was over I had completely regained my sight. Then during my junior year in high school, I guess I was 16 by that time so this one doesn't fit with the others, I got a pretty serious scrape on my left hand that got infected during a varsity football game. Nine days in the hospital hooked up to IV antibiotics. I returned to practice with the football team on the 10th day and played in the next varsity game two days after that. Although I was not bulletproof, it seemed that I was invincible.
And if I had accepted what Doctors told me about my future, every-time I was in the hospital, I would have left this world long ago.
Truth be known, I faced my mortality many times in my early youth and was quite familiar with the warrior's heart and the survivor spirit God had placed in me. But it was much later in life before I acknowledged God as my Savior. He is still my Savior and in my weakness he makes me stronger. I owe him everything that I am and ever will be. And I dedicate my life to telling others about the good news of God's great love and salvation. A gift that he freely gives and asks nothing in return. It's really that simple.

And now for the rest of the story:
I got married late in life (age 30) to my best friend in the world. She has stuck by me through thick and thin. She knows all of my secrets and loves me anyway. We have two grown children that live nearby. My son is 23 and my daughter is 20. There are pictures of them on my pictures page on classmates. I never really thought about having children, I was too much of a kid myself. But after the first one I couldn't imagine life without him and couldn't wait to have another. I wouldn't trade the world for either of them. And I wouldn't change a single thing about them. I love them and am very proud of what they have grown up to be. I remember when my boy left home to go to college. I was lost and heartbroken. He went to the University of California at San Diego UCSD. He is the single smartest person I have ever known. It was every bit of 25 miles away from our front door. But to look at me, you would have thought he moved to China. I was almost as much of a wreck when my daughter went to San Diego Christian College, about 12 miles away. She hates it when I call her "my little girl", but I can't shake the memories of that little girl calling for her daddy! I tell her "I can't help it" and to "get over it". She sighs at me but I think she understands or at least doesn't grumble about it so much anymore. The cancer story next time! Be BLESSED...

Monday, August 3, 2009


SHARK WEEK on the Discovery Channel is one of the best information sources about this Apex Predator, anywhere in this world. They are remarkable, intelligent animals. And like all of God's creations, they are a necessary part of their oceanic ecosystem.
If you are the squeamish type or are already afraid to go in the water, then; Due to graphic scenes of predation and the aftermath of humans attacked I recommend, maybe you should watch the Oxygen Channel or Sesame Street instead.
It is the plain, simple truth about the natural world. The world we live in is not a lovie dovie hug you favorite spotted owl, lets all hold hands and sing, kind of place. You cannot anthropomorphize the world we live in and still comprehend how it works.
In nature there is no "evil", or "cruelty." Animals are not "poor" or "vicious." There is only survival and procreation. But, truth be known, Sharks have far more to fear from mankind, than mankind has to fear from sharks. The estimate by conservation scientists is that in 2008 mankind killed 250,000 sharks each day for the entire year. Most of them were victms of a practice known as "FINNING". The live sharks are dragged aboard ship, their fins and tails are cut off for sale to make "shark-fin soup" in restaurants world wide. Then the still living animals are dropped back into the sea to drown. If evolution is true (I don't believe that it is) then mankind has not descended as far as some may think.
Anyway; please Enjoy nature as it really is and watch SHARK WEEK.
this is an unpaid personal endorsement.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

SOMETIMES I DON'T (For my Sister AmyK)...

Everyday in America, Motorcycle enthusiasts are needlessly killed by Drivers who recite the aggravating cliche' "I never saw the motorcycle." I for one am getting tied of it. If you are a biker and this gets to you; find a blood-sucking lawyer and bleed those jerks dry! Call the Law-Tigers.

You owe it to your family, and all of us will benefit when cagers find out that it ain't ok to kill bikers in the US anymore. For you automobile enthusiasts; watchout for the stealth motorcycles. The life you save could be your preacher!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sometimes I feel like Telling a Joke...

This story involves two phone calls.
Phone call #1:
"This is the 911 emergency operator. How may I help you?"
A male voice responds. "my name is Johnny and I want to report a crime."
The operator says "Thank you sir, go ahead."
Johnny responds. "A neighbor of mine, Josh Billingsley, has found a way to hide marijuana and cocaine inside the pile of wood stacked up behind his garage."
The operator says "Do you mean he has drugs stashed under a woodpile?"
Johnny yells. "No! He hid the dope inside the logs."
"Inside the logs? Are you sure?" Asked the operator.
Johnny replies "Yes I'm sure. I saw it there with my own eyes" Johnny replied.
The operator asks Johnny for the address information on the Billingsley home, and after he gets it from Johnny, they hang up and call is ended.

Phone call #2:
The phone in a private residence rings.
The homeowner answers on the third ring and states, "Hello, Billingsley residence; Josh speaking. May I help you please?"
A male voice responds "Hey Josh this is your cousin Johnny. How are you doing buddy? Are you enjoying your Birthday?"
Josh says, "Yeah, it's been okay.. What can I do for you cousin?"
Johnny says "Did the cops visit your house today?"
"They sure did" Josh said suspeciously, "how did you know?"
Johnny asks "Did they chop up that firewood piled up behind your garage?"
A very puzzled Josh says "They sure did. How in the hell did you..."
And just before he slams the phone down, Johnny yells " Happy Birthday cousin."