Terminal…in the depths – a poem

TERMINAL…in the depths 

A life being discarded,

apparently preparing to be recycled, 

tossed into a painful uncertain sea, 

death an unknown door in the distance

standing ajar.

The edges all fade

into a grey, half light.

There are no sunrises, sunsets,

no brisk clear air, 

just a body bag breathing.

Time…confined to the next breath.

The mind…fusses in irrelevance,

dull, grasping, unfocused,

isolated.

The body…appalling, naked,  

confined, restless,

without purpose or meaning, 

in a searing, writhing stew,

infantile and helpless.

The heart…trickles energy,

reaches, longs to touch 

the other or be touched 

by friend, nurse, daughter, my God.

I cry

and somehow find a sweetness,

obliging endurance.

Time…still confined to the next breath and

why in God’s name, get another?…

July 2019

The Moment – a poem

Even tho I had no real relief from my suffering for another couple months until I had my first ERCP from John Martin in late Jan/2011, I  endured better. From that moment on I began to find it in me to go to bible study meetings with my sister’s church group. At the end they would pray for me and I would pray with them. That community along with several other prayer communities added much appreciated power for me to meet each new day and more importantly each night…for nights were always the hardest. 7/11/19

The Moment

Day after day,

Week after week,

Month after month,

With only my body bag holding on

To a mere thread of frayed connection

To an invisible source.

Only able to sleep

I don’t know how…

Probably at sheer exhaustion

For an hour in a day,

Unable to find the least comfort in temperature

Or position

My skin erupting like bubbling lava

Unquenched.

I’m tired

So tired,

I yell out

Sometimes in anger

Usually in piteous moan

What could I have possibly done

What could my father have possibly done

To deserve this fate?

My voice more and more

Fills an empty chamber,

Turns hallow

Eventually speaking not a word.

God can’t be listening

I have lost most everything

But this one breath.

I seem so close to an end, 

I have let go so completely

that it clearly seems

That a final one 

Was a vexing choice

And in the vexing place

transformed to so sweet a spot.

and in that so sweet a spot,

I stood in a threshold 

With suffering behind me 

And I know not what before me.

There was a peace waiting 

And I choose to take another breath

and another

and another until 

I don’t choose anymore

Whatever came came.

Meaning incredibly returned.

There was no fight

Only a sweet act of will. 

It didn’t matter one way or the other.

 

5 year Revisit – Aug/19

Every year, like a bird in migration, I find my way back to the beginning of that new life of mine. I still find myself standing dumbstruck over what has happened in this ‘little life of mine’. Dumbstruck, crying in appreciation and joy that that same crazy God has me here yet.

I just returned from the annual revisit with its updated evaluations at the University of Washington transplant center where so much additional medical intervention occurs and has occurred. The anxiety within me this year before going in for my 22nd ERCP (that resurrection procedure at the altar of death and life) was higher than usual. That is not saying that it’s ever been very high, for I’ve ‘learned’ that my life for the better part of a decade has not been in my hands or control. I will continue to say that surrender has been my ‘go-to’ mode. When I’ve stood on the precipice as often as I have the trip down seems to look not so far down anymore. But it is still a pretty good leap. There is a part I play in the surrender now that I think of it. First, is to acknowledge the anxiety to myself and a few chosen ones closer to me now. Whew…I said it. Then the spirit of this whole mystery tour kicks in and many, many of the people who have ‘been there for me’ start coming into view from the pictures all over my apartment to writings and lists of them all over my apartment to finding them on the street, phone, email. They surround me like a host of angels watching my life on interactive TV, clicking on ‘like’, ‘sad’, ‘stupid’, ‘praying for you’, ‘love’, ‘again?’, ‘ignore’, ‘skip’ icons/actions. Nonetheless, it is magically true to reality. I love them, connect with some, then as in moments like this, send out an update to as many as I know. A special love bolt goes out to Roni, that special one who knows what it takes to stand on that precipice with me!

Thanks for everything! The journey continues.

This time, at the last minute, the morning I was to start the drive (8/6/19), a dear friend, Steve Tornga decided to join me in the trip as a co-driver and companion on the 10 hr. trip and some of the schlepping about. The ERCP went even more smoothly and exceptionally than expected. It took Dr. Balmadrid only an hour to complete the stent replacement with only 8.3 minutes of fluoroscopy (radiation)…half of what has been normal. My recovery was my absolute best too. I felt great the next day walking all around downtown Seattle with Steve while pushing those nasty anesthesia drugs out of my system in such a pleasant way.  For those who believe that prayer makes a difference…I have asked those close to me to pray for Dr. Balmadrid’s focus and guidance of his hands and experience as the main focus of intent. It is so evident that that happened. He, himself seemed surprised at how easily it went! And by way of follow up, I won’t be going back for the next replacement for 5 months (as opposed to 3-4). He says with the number of these procedures, I am in rarefied position in the number and success of the procedure worldwide. So, it seems that I now have 5 months to get my act together. Hep Me?! Please Hep Me?

I jest but I really do need ‘hep’. These last few months has challenged my ability to sustain even a functional relationship with a few once key players in my life. I am at a loss to find a way. Apparently, even though I view most of my relationships as at least functional and most, greatly fulfilling, I must have a great shadow following me with them as we can’t seem to find even kindness to guide us. Distance grows. My heart is heavy and resigned. Prayer and my finding a guide to hep me is required. If you are willing, please pray with a picture something like…, put us all in an opaque bubble in which God and desire can shed light where light needs to be shined growing love at any level. Thank you.

My rideshare (Uber/Lyft) experiences are getting quite intense of late. Suicidal passengers, needy and those in some crisis or another keep stepping into my car for our opportunity to connect for the few minutes we travel together. Unconditional regard is about all I have to offer. There is no way of doing follow up.

My writing is moving forward. I will be posting a few of my recent poems. They are essentially right on but know that they will get a few rewrites over time, I’m certain. They can only be understood in the context of the commentary that accompanies them. I hope they can carry something that has been difficult for me to express in any other way.

Clare has returned from her ALG/Adventure Learning Grant year in Australia and Ireland a few days ago. She will be joining me here for a few days as we download that experience as best as we can and begin preparing for her final year at Western Washington University/Fairhaven Honors College. I think all young people need some good unconditional regard from us ‘olders’…and some money. Pray for us on both counts. 🙂  Can’t wait to see her.

This last year has been the first at the onset of my seventh decade! For that I am very blessed and send my blessings to you on your adventure learning experiences!

Please send along any comments, questions, advice. I do eventually get back on this site or otherwise as appropriate.

My love,

-p

 

 

 

An edit of a post I made about Roni, 8/14/14

 

Some edited parts of a post I made just before transplant in 2014. They are about Roni follow.

 

“Somehow, details and stories later but God has graced me with more that adequate energy and mental capacity to see this through. I said today that I have yet to be this busy since going to graduate school in chiropractic when I was in my late 20’s! I will need a transplant and recovery just to have a vacation. And Roni left me a message recently that said, ” you know, Pat, that this is one of those RARE times in life where one focuses on the outcome and not the process.” Amen.

Details: I leave this Sunday, August 17 by plane to Chicago to meet up with Roni at the airport from her travel from Tucson. We may be picked up by one of her cousins (a wonder worker) and schlepped to a hotel near the hospital to be ready to arrive at 6:45am for tests and ‘a bunch of things’ that will prep us. Tuesday is a light day except that we will get out to the apartment and try to make it a little home-like, stay in it one night, love each other (not in that way…this is not a novel) and be with each other in a way where I know someone that I am in a room with is the person who is willing to lay down their life for me the next day. Try that on for size. In my opinion, she is giving me the biggest act of love anyone could give another!!! Then I live the rest of my life with a part of her inside me providing me healthy, new function so I can be me, love more, pray more, be there more when my kids might need or want me.”

Thanks again, Roni dear!

What comes through my email daily

I care about my fellow man as I am sure do you. My 70 years of being taught to care, learning how to care, making a living caring for others as a chiropractor, volunteering in serving my fellow person…poor, uneducated, unhealthy, rich, religious, non-religious, disabled, dying, spiritual, cruel, clueless, mean, kind. Everyone of them amazing but…

Now just in one day on my email message board is this representative sampling of those messages that began with something like…

  • Our society/country risks falling behind…
  • Our saving won’t last long. Hurry…
  • I spend much of my time worrying…
  • The count down in On!…
  • Experts prepare for 100 years flood…
  • The wait is over, redemption will happen this weekend…
  • You appeared in 12 searches…
  • Our son goes to trial in one week…
  • I’m asking you for $…
  • Help raise the Laugh Force…
  • The richest family in America, $170 B…

Again with added info

  • Our society/country risks falling behind…could be from any presidential candidate
  • Our saving won’t last long. Hurry…could be from any corporate entity
  • I spend much of my time worrying…notable leader
  • The count down in On!…for more ‘stuff’
  • Experts prepare for 100 years flood…give now even more
  • The wait is over, redemption will happen this weekend…hoped for currency reevaluation, could be Jesus is Coming too.
  • You appeared in 12 searches…ohhh, someone is looking for me
  • Our son goes to trial in one week…help us. it’s so unjust
  • I’m asking you for $…a very straight up plead, from a candidate, could be from any office
  • Help raise the Laugh Force…from a very creative political activist
  • The richest family in America, $170 B…I have to admit this is appalling 

So how are you coping?

I don’t have TV but what’s that content communicating?

If I listened to regular radio, tv hmmm?

How much do we need to know?…before it erodes our ability to abide in love, joy, belief?

 

Short Update 5/24/19

Hope you are all well and have good weather for the Memorial weekend!
As you know since September my blood tests have been going funky bad with what has finally turned out to be bile duct obstruction again. A couple weeks ago it came on suddenly, you know, “the turn”, when my body goes into crisis. Overnight, I raced to Seattle for another ERCP intervention that proved obstruction. I had lost only two nights of sleep so was in not too bad of spirits but pretty uncomfortable. Dr. Balmadrid said it was his most challenging procedure with me in time and difficulty. He reinserted stents again. I’ll be on a every few month redo now.
The good news is great again! Over the last couple weeks since my blood values have returned to almost normally great again. My energy has returned although many would say it hardly waned. For those who got wind of this and threw up a heap of fine prayer work, thank you again!! My prayer is pretty much the same, I ask God for what ever needs to happen to happen and may it be for His greatest good. It is definitely not in my hands the final outcomes. I just do my part to eat right, sleep when tired, give thanks for it all…win, lose or draw. I’m still here for a bit longer.
Clare is in the latter stages of her adventure learning year. She arrived in Ireland last Saturday and is adjusting to the big change in Dublin, cobbling together a wonderful, meaningful time. I can’t tell you how jazzed I am now to be heading over there on June 2 for two weeks. What a grand opportunity for us! I just got back my heritage DNA test results today. My origins are 40% Irish/Welsh/Scott, 25% Balkan, 17% Baltic, 15% East European, 4% Finnish roughly. Thankfully no English, haha.
Loving you all and appreciating my mom a lot since she passed on 5/21/11 now 8 years ago. My dad’s birthday was 5/10/19 the day of my ERCP strangely enough. Their spirits are with me in more ways than I’ll ever know.
Patio

A Two Year Hiatus found under the bed

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Here I sit two years away from my last post. I’m dumbfounded! Where have I been? Actually, I’ve been busy but not letting folks know what that means on a more timely basis is not a good thing…mostly because it doesn’t allow me to be accountable for my new life and at least those who are or have a big part of it. Sorry to me and sorry to you. When ‘I’ say such things, ‘we’ (the me and you) have to know that ‘I’ (the me) mean I am speaking to Innate (the God within). When I am deliberate like this, I take the attitude that this is my best Self, the Self of what I hope is a higher self. I know that this must sound like a lot of esoteric bull shit but it isn’t really with what I have come to know as not only who I am but how I am. I have come to appreciate my life as mystical.

There is not a way right now to catch up to two years of  lack of posting realistically anyway, so I’ll try to make a long story trite.

In the beginning of 2017 I was just beginning to appreciate a life with my body acting like it was healthy. I had just completed one year of those  medical/GI interventions (ERCP) where Dr. Balmadrid was inserting a series of stents keeping my exit point of bile from my liver to my small intestine from closing/stenosing. So technically, from then on my body was on it’s own with no more help other than the rejection drugs. AND from then on I began to push for lowering those medications in an attempt to ultimately get off rejection drugs altogether when I discovered that about 1% of transplant recipients do. Me being who I am, that’s the group I sought to be like. All that was going quite well. I was beginning to get my vitality and my mind back. I was beginning to work again (more later). Over the next year and a half I was slowly lowering my meds and my blood tests were staying in the healthy ranges. Last fall, September 2018, however, right when I was (to be more than forthcoming) noticing that my attitudinal heart was beginning to harden which means that I was beginning to take for granted, my life, my labs went south again. Over the ensuing months  the transplant team and myself learned that ultimately my precious liver was in rejection. The meds were raised back up to a former level, prayers increased, uncertainty increased, celery juice, homeopathics, CBD oil all played into my liver returning to normal just a two weeks ago. What a great relief, a blessing to know that the Universe (whatever the Universal Word means to me) is really to be acknowledged!…God blessed me again! So whenever you see me use the Universe word you can take it to point to God and everything that is; God, He/She, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Universal Intelligence, Innate, Nature, the Word, All That Is, Allah, Jehovah with me/I in there somewhere. The mystery continues its mystical ways.

So I’m good now.

My heart is softening again. With a little effort or letting go, I can cry out of appreciation again.

Other ancillary details are I have cobbled a work world of work I could find that allowed a degree of flexibility and decent pay enough to let me put away Clare’s last year of  college tuition and housing costs = about $23K. I finished this project this month! For this part of my mind’s reason for still being here on the planet is complete. In the process I’ve learned to enjoy the beginning job of ushering at an event center for $7.35/hr. that morphed into being a substitute teacher for $11/hr., to being a elementary school basketball coach for $incalcuable/hr., to a volleyball and softball sports official for $20/hr., and Uber/Lyft driver for between $15-20/hr. I’ve found a good amount of joy (although not jubilant joy) enough too in it. It helps too that Clare and my life with her was Roni’s main reason for her most generous donation to me in August 2014! Whew!!!

That said Clare continues to be one of my new incarnation’s great joys. She is not simple to talk about because her life is so full, so amazing, so humbling, so soulful, so meaningful to me, her and my guess, the world and it’s future, our future. It is her and young people like her that give me hope. My remaining purpose is not to keep fucking it up as much as before but to contribute the Me that I am. Please help!

She happens to be 6+ months into a year long Adventure Learning Grant (ALG) that her Fairhaven honors college awarded her. $20K to create a year of well…adventure learning…in Australia, New Zealand, and soon Ireland. If you are interested in some of what that is about you can go to her website/blog: clareityexpressions.com.

My writing has taken a back seat sorry to say for these last two years. It’s not that I have stopped altogether but my focus is subject to fits and starts of major proportion. I thankfully have been consistently meeting with a friend I met at a writer’s workshop at our Log Cabin writers meeting place. Now that I have completed one of my purposes, the new plan is to devote 4-5 hours a day to writing starting no later than June 1. For this I would love support and prayer. When this level of devotion becomes daily routine, perhaps I’ll become readable.

I shall end now. Later there will be more.