What is the answer?

Vainglory hope is the answer. How many people have been puzzled by life, hoping desperately to find an answer to the meaning of it all, but die before they find it? I think most, like 99.9 percent.

“Oh, Tim’s full of doom and gloom tonight!”. I may be. But you know, I’m 57 now (2016). 7 years ago, were it not for modern medicine, I’d be 7 years dead. What’s that all mean? That “God” has some plan for me, which is why I’m still alive today? I doubt it. If he has, I haven’t figured it out yet, 7 years later. I’d like to hope that God had some sort of special plan for me, but you know, at this stage of life and living, I’ve learned a lot, and am ok being a bit skeptical now.

The fact is, as I said above, most people die before they figure life out, before they have their epiphany, before they have the “Damascas Road” experience. That’s just the way it is. Why? I dunno.

What can we make of these dismal statistics? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I don’t think we were created for “something special”, folks. Yes, we are each unique and wonderful human beings, but that’s as far as it goes, I think. Whatever we can give or do through to the end of today is itself a huge blessing. I know.

As the bible says, “For today we live and tomorrow we die”. Maybe that’s really it! If we can keep that in mind each day that we awaken, then we might make a difference in the lives of the people around us for that next day’s grace. If we don’t, well…no one will really notice. Oh well.

Today is all we have, folks. Tomorrow is a crap-shoot, a blessing if given…another day to make another day count for those around us. Let’s do at least that.

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ALS it is…

Yes, Bill has ALS. He tried to convince the doctor that his SEVEN falls in the past two years were due to his dog pulling him over during walks. Well, convincing, because Bill had a young “King Poodle” until a couple months ago. That dog almost pulled ME over the few times that I went up to visit Bill while he was still living close to me. “Would you mind taking Jimmy out for a walk?” he used to ask. Sure, I said. Damn dog tried to take ME for a walk until I smacked him on the snout and told him who was the boss.

Anyway, after the doctors appointment yesterday, which I was able to sit in on to listen, Bill acquiesced and agree that the doctor must be right (after the doctor said he was 99.9% certain that Bill has ALS, and added, “Oh by the way, Bill, I’m a ALS specialist”). Ok, I threw my two cents worth in there two to help Bill SEE the full picture.

Marvelous human nature! Bill still left the office optimistic, because the doc said he was referring him to an ALS clinic where they would be able to fix him up with a brace for his leg that would most assuredly help him to keep walking more steadily, for a while…

We went for lunch afterwards, as planned. Bill enjoyed the Dry Ribs and several of the beers.

Today, I got up early and hustled my arse around the building until about 3. Then I drove out to our swimming pool supply place and picked up all of the pool chemicals that we would need for the season and then stopped by the Red Cross Equipment supply place to pick up a 2 inch riser for Bills toilet seat that he really needed. I got to his place about 5, with a nice cold 6-pack of beer to celebrate the toilet-rising! It was a grand event.

Thank God for lifes simple blessings.

Old Bill…

Today I take my elderly (compared to me; he’s 75) friend, Bill, for his follow-up appointment with the Neurologist. I took him to his first appointment about 3 weeks ago. Surprisingly, the doctor invited me in then to “hear the news”. It wasn’t good news. He said, “I don’t have good news for you, Bill. In fact it’s very bad news. You have ALS, Bill”. Bill looked confused. “I thought I had Sciatica?” was all he could sputter, surely, amidst his overwhelming clouds of emotion, with a very confused, searching type of look on his face Meanwhile, I’m trying to remember what the fuck ALS is. I should have asked the doctor. I thought Bill might know. I’d ask him when we leave. He didn’t know. We had to Google it, right there in the bloody elevator as we were going down….

The doc said he wanted to run some tests to rule out “other things” that can mask as ALS, like AIDS. AIDS??? Bill??? Hardly!!! Then the doc said he was going on vacation for 6 weeks and wouldn’t be able to see Bill again until June 7th. That’s today. Meanwhile, two days after that appointment, Bill’s back feels better. He calls to tell me “good news”. No back pain, to Bill, means he doesn’t really has ALS. It’s Sciatica afterall! “Oh that’s great, Bill”. “Ya,” he says with childish delight. Post-script: I can still hear his desperately hopeful voice saying that to me now as I re-read this. (Feb 2018).

I know all the “Stages of Grief“. I first learned all that when I was a cop, then later at university in the plethora of Psychology and Sociology courses I took. Bill classically launched  into the “Denial” stage, and has stayed there for the last three weeks. At least he has been able to relax and have some hope for the last three weeks…

I think I’m more nervous this morning than Bill is. Assuming the doctor asks me in again, I know what I’m going to hear. The doctor didn’t say that Bill “might” have ALS a few weeks ago. He said, most definitively that he “HAS” ALS, but wanted to run those other tests, you know, to “rule out AIDS” and the like.

In the meantime I gotta say I’ve been struggling with my own mortality. ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) usually strikes people in their prime. Think Lou Gehrig or Stephen Hawking. Bill’s actually lucky to be getting it so late in life. Once diagnosed, you have a 2 to 5 year lifespan left. There is no cure and sweet all medications to help with it. Not that I’m assuming that I will get it, or God knows what else. There are a host of diseases running around out there. But hey, I’m 57 and very healthy these days–since my near-death experience at 50. But seeing all this happen with my friend Bill really isn’t easy, for Bill especially, of course. I’m ok. At 11:30 this morning Bill isn’t going to be ok. I’ll take him for lunch afterwards to his favourite spot. They serve good beer there too, which I’m sure he will be far more interested in today than the food…

I realized this morning that I’ve lived a very sheltered life. Nevermind that I saw a boat-load of life for the short time that I was in the police department. Since then, I really have been insulated. I don’t know why. Well, our society seems to be built that way. We hide all of the nasty stuff, in sanitoriums or hospitals or rest homes. And I think the police department may have shocked me so much that I unconsciously insulated myself and closed my eyes to many of life’s vagaries and vicissitudes. Surprisingly, I think, in some weird sense, I’ve been missing something important. Time to open my eyes again me thinks, look-see, and write about it, starting this morning with Bill.

Post-script: Bill died in November 2017.

Save Japan Dolphins

The CoveI watched an amazing documentary tonight about the merciless slaughter of bottle-nosed dolphins that has occurred in the small Japanese town of Taiji. The film documents the efforts of Ric O’Barry, the director of Save Japan Dolphins.

Ironically, Ric was the trainer of the dolphin used in the mid-sixties TV show, “Flipper”. It was after the show finished airing that Ric developed his passion to protect the dolphins, as one day he watched Cathy, one of the Flipper show dolphins, die in his arms. From there started his transformation from training dolphins in captivity to assertively combating the captivity industry.

The film initially had a wonderful response, resulting in a "No Kill” policy being issued, putting a complete stop to the slaughter. But in the past week or so, O’Barry discovered that they have started once again to kill the dolphins.

O’Barry is focusing his efforts now to have the film shown in Japan. I hope he is successful. I will be following his efforts here on my blog. I urge my readers to see the movie (available now to rent or purchase. I watched it via my “Shaw On Demand” TV cable service).

Click here to see the latest update from O’Barry’s blog.
Click here to read one of O’Barry’s first blog postings about this.

 

The water in this picture from the site of the massacre is red from the blood of the dolphins.

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