Old Posts


A collection of older posts from various blogs and diaries. Items I wanted to keep for me.

These posts are NOT in any order!

From my DonateLife series, April-2009 

5/2/2009 ~ I want to thank all of those that followed my DonateLife Month series in April. I’m thankful to God for every extra day I’ve been given, every extra heart beat.

4/30/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 30 ~ You never know who’s life you might save, it could be someone you love. Please sign up to be an organ donor.

Sign up here (click on your state) ~ http://organdonor.gov/donor/registry.shtm

4/29/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 29 ~ Nobody should need luck in order to live ~ Sign up to be an organ donor today.

4/28/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 28 ~ Be informed about organ donation, then sign a donor card, have it put on your license & talk to your family.

4/27/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 27 ~ Fact ~ There are close to 2,000 people waiting for a lung transplant today in the U.S.

4/26/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 26 ~ Fact ~ There are close to 16,000 people waiting for a liver transplant today today in the U.S.

4/25/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 25 ~ Fact ~ There are close to 2,800 people waiting for a heart transplant today In the U.S.

4/24/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 24 ~ Fact ~ There are close to 79,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant today in the U.S.

4/23/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 23 ~ Give the ULTIMATE gift ~ Be an organ donor!! You could save 8 lives!!!

4/22/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 22 ~ Fact ~ The average waiting time for a pancreas is 501 days.

4/21/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 21 ~ Fact ~ The average waiting time for a kidney is 1,121 days.

4/20/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 20 ~ Fact ~ The average waiting time for a liver is 796 days.

4/19/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 19 ~ Fact ~ The average waiting time for a lung is 1,068 days.

4/18/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 18 ~ Fact ~ The average national waiting time for a heart is 230 days.

4/17/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 17 ~ Organ Transplant Data Source ~ http://www.optn.org/latestData/viewDataReports.asp

4/16/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 16 ~ Question – Does your state teach children about organ donation? If not, why?

4/15/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 15 ~ My personal request – I am asking you to help promote organ donations to help inspire others.

4/14/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 14 ~ Fact : Approximately 1,000,000 tissue transplants are performed annually.

4/13/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 13 ~ Myth: Your religion prohibits organ donation. Fact: All major organized religions approve of organ and tissue donation and consider it an act of charity.


4/12/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 12 ~ Fact : 90% of Americans say they support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to be a donor.

4/11/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 11, Fact : Currently there are over 100,000 people waiting for a life saving organ in the United States.


4/10/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 10 ~ Myth: If you agree to donate your organs, your family will be charged for the costs. Fact: There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for organ and tissue
donation.

4/9/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 9 ~ Fact : An open casket funeral is possible for organ, eye and tissue donors.Through the entire donation process the body is treated with care.

4/8/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 8 ~ Organs & tissues that can be donated include: heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, corneas, skin, tendons, bone, and heart valves.

4/7/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 7 ~ Myth: When you’re waiting for a transplant, your financial or celebrity status is as important as your medical status. Fact: When you are on the transplant waiting
list for a donor organ, what really counts is the severity of your illness.

4/6/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 6 ~ Fact ~ On the average, 17 people die DAILY waiting for organs – that’s over 6,000 deaths per year.

4/5/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 5 ~ Fact ~ Every 13 minutes another person is added to the national organ donation list.

4/4/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 4 ~ If you sign a donor card or designate to be a donor on your driver’s license – TALK TO YOUR FAMILY.

4/3/2009 ~ DonateLife Month, Day 3 ~ Fact ~ Who can donate? Most People Can Donate Organs and/or Tissue. You Are Never Too Old


4/2/2009 – DonateLife Month, Day 2 ~ To become a donor go here – http://organdonor.gov/donor/registry.shtm


4/1/2009 ~ Today is the first day of DonateLife Month and my daily series of posts for the month –

Myth: If emergency room doctors know you’re an organ donor, they won’t work as hard to save you.
Fact: If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ donation can only be considered after brain death has been declared by a physician.
 

 

July 30, 2007

If someone would have told me to consider the following items a year ago, I would have laughed in their face.

But, they are my reality.

1) You will be able to measure your surgical incisions in FEET, not inches.

2) You will be so weak, that you will not be able to stand up by yourself.

3) Your life will end many times, before you are born again.

October 28, 2007

Today marks a “milestone anniversary” since this health journey started.

It’s an emotional period for me, and I can’t seem to shake it.

I was watching a program on HGTV (Yes, Home & Garden TV) yesterday afternoon that made me cry. HGTV, for God’s sake??

And then again later, in a Kohl’s department store, I saw something that triggered a “memory” and the tears came again.

Even though, these emotions are unlike me, I’m not going to fight them …… they maybe the help I need right now.

December 7, 2007

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Yesterday was another VERY special day in my life.

My second grand child was born, first grand daughter.

No name yet, but they are leaning towards Isabella. She weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces, was 20-1/2″ long, thin, wispy blonde hair.

Since they live in another state, we are going over on Monday to see her, and the rest of the family. We will also celebrate Christmas during this trip.

Another reason why I’m so HAPPY & THANKFUL to be alive.

January 23, 2008

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I didn’t have much planned for yesterday, and there’s not much planned for today either. It’s cold and the weather is not the best for a transplant patient.

I’ve been asked this a thousand times since my heart attack ~ Don’t you get bored?

I am never bored. I can always find something to do, something to read, something to research, something to fix, something to plan.

I don’t just sit …..

And I try not to think of today as “just another day”.

Today is an “EXTRA” day, one I wouldn’t have had without the transplant.

Enjoy YOUR day!!!

A Gift
February 13, 2008

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With all I’ve been through the past year I’ve never forgotten that it’s not all about me. That there have been many others that have been on this “The Long Road Back” with me, every step of the way.

My wife has been the most primary person in all of this and I struggled for months to find the most fitting Christmas gift for her that I could. After months of thinking about this and struggling, it was like all of the sudden my eyes opened and there was “the idea”.

Her favorite television show, without any doubt is “Dancing With The Stars” ….. she really enjoys this and when I was thinking about a Christmas gift for her I stumbled across a story that when the “season” was over the DWTS people were going on tour and would be in our area. Well, the tickets were already sold out, but I found a broker site and bought 2 front row seats. (Yes, VERY pricey – but VERY worth it)

I gave her this “gift” on Christmas Eve with the entire family around and she was elated.

Anyway, we recently went to the performance and it was a very good night. The front row seats were a hit as many of the dancers stood right at the railing a few inches from us. She got to see everything and everyone close up. And better yet, she was happy again.

And that was what it was all about.

April 8, 2008

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Just a quick question …. do you know CPR?

I mean really know it?

My life was saved via CPR ….. normally, I would have had a 2% chance of survival, yet CPR saved my life.

What if you needed to save a life?

Are you ready? Can you do it?

April 28, 2008

People, being people, always seem to be trying to find an EXCUSE in order to NOT do something.

I know that life is too short, too precious …..

Far better is life when we find excuses to DO something, not the other way around.

Try it ……

Quiet Sunday Mornings
June 22, 2008

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It’s a quiet morning here. The windows are open and the sounds of the neighborhood awakening filter into my den. The sounds are subdued a bit today, for some unknown reason. Maybe it was the storms last night that have positioned us for a quiet day break?

I know it’s a great time to sit and reflect and give thanks ……. not only to the donor that saved my life, but to ALL donors.

It’s a great to give thanks to God, my family and the medical community that saved my life.

Thank you!!!

July 1, 2008

For some unknown reason I have been highly emotional the past few days. Nothing has changed recently in my life, there haven’t been any “significant emotional events” yet I’ve been all teary a number of times when I’ve heard different songs, watching a movie and even reading things online.

This morning I read an article about a priest that had a heart transplant ….. he says it better than I would have ever could, but the thoughts, emotions and feelings are the same – you can read the whole article here –

http://www.catholic-sf.org/FPArticle203.htm

Or, here’s a excerpt –

The following day, Dr. DeMarco spoke with me and explained that tests revealed my heart was showing increasing signs of failure. I remember listening to her words and saying, “It’s so ironic that we spend so much of our lives defining ourselves. I am Catholic, I am Irish, I am a man, I am a woman, I am white, I am black – – all the things we use to identify ourselves. But, when it’s you on the gurney hoping for another chance at life, none of those titles or definitions matter. Because, right now, at this moment, you could give me a white heart, a black heart, a Jewish heart, a Muslim heart, a male heart, a female heart, a straight heart or a gay heart and it absolutely would not matter! If it’s a human heart and God wills it and my donor family allows it, I will thank you every day of my life by living in service to God and God’s people.”

Life simply amazes, yet overwhelms me at times. Transplants leave me in total awe ……

July 24, 2008

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It’s the small, wonderful events in life, that when added up, will over power the largest negative events in one’s mind.

I was walking on the beach at sundown the other evening, when a noise or something attracted my attention away from the crashing waves. For what was maybe two minutes of “real time” I stood an watched the sun setting in the west. The awesome colors, the clouds that framed the rays shooting from the horizon, the perfect event. The perfection of a single event. PRICELESS!!

A sunset may not cure your money problems, trouble with a lover, or even heal you physically ….. but it will help you emotionally if you take the time to enjoy life.

Live your life ~ Laugh, love, live!!!

The Key to a Good Life
August 12, 2008

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The key to a good life are balance, a decent diet, a decent amount of exercise, a decent amount of laughter and a lot of love.

What Will Matter
August 18, 2008

A transplant friend of mine sent me this over the weekend.

It’s awesome!!

Ready or not, someday, it will come to an end.

There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.

All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.

It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.

So. too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.

The wins and the losses that once seemed so important will fade away.

It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived on, at the end.

It won’t matter if you were beautiful or brilliant.

Even your gender and your skin color will be irrelevant.

So, what will matter?

How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.

What will matter is not your success, but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence, but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you are gone.

What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who love you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what. Living a life that matters does not happen by accident.

It’s not a matter of circumstance, but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.

Author -Michael Josephson

500 Days & Counting
September 22, 2008

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500 days ago I had an organ transplant that saved my life. I’m still in awe of the entire process.

I pray for the donor that died, so that I might live. I pray for the donors family, so that they might be blessed. I pray and thank God daily for the extra breaths I’ve been able to take. Give thanks for the extra time with my family and friends. Thanks for simply being alive.

In the past 500 days I’ve learned about things that I never even knew existed before. I’ve learned more about life in the last 500 days than I knew in over 50 years of living.

If there’s one single thing I’ve learned in the past 500 days, it’s this ……..

Life can end in a blink of an eye, without notice …… so tell those you love, daily, that you DO LOVE THEM.

Helping
September 27, 2008

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This week I was able to speak to a number of people that are in the hospital waiting on an organ transplant. I had very nice chats and discussions with all of them and tried to give them not only hope, but to also ease some of their fears. It was interesting to note that each of us have different fears. I tried to give them (and their families) some peace of mind ……… I’ve been told I was successful.

That’s what it’s all about!!

Simplifying Life
September 29, 2008

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One of the outcomes from my health issues and transplant has been the ability to see that I don’t need nearly as much “stuff”. I have been through the basement, which is now virtually empty. The attic, which is empty. And the garage, including all of my hand, power and gardening tools to the point where there’s very little left. I’ve cleaned out old files, old PC’s, …….. you name it and I’ve sorted it and cleaned it out.

Only 2 areas are left …….. with the upcoming holiday season, I will “sort & purge” our Christmas decorations, and then this winter I will go through 2 huge plastic containers filled with a lifetime of pictures.

It feels good to be rid of this “stuff”.

Simplifying life …………..

Dinner
November 30, 2008

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Recently I was asked if I could have dinner with anyone living, who would it be?

It really didn’t take long for me to go through my thought process.

What about some gorgeous or famous actor or actress? No …….

Singer? Naw ……

How about a politician? Heavens NO ………

A sports star? Not likely …………..

How about my family & friends ? YEP!!!

If I could, I would invite my family & friends from around the globe and fly them for wonderful dinner. And since we are dreaming here a bit, we would all eat ANYTHING we wanted, and drink as much as we could hold. We would talk, laugh, and even roast each other a bit.

If I ever win the lottery, I will do this ………

Best Christmas Ever
December 28, 2008

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For me, this was the best Christmas ever. Getting to spend it with my son and his lovely wife and for the first time, with my grand-children made it VERY special. We were there to see them sit on Santa’s lap and get their pictures taken, go go along to some holiday displays and watch their little faces light up. We were there to see the annual placing of the cookies & milk for Santa, the gifts (way too many, thank you very much) and simply the love of the family.

And, we get to go back for New Year’s!!!

Happy Holidays to all.

Life Goes On
January 17, 2009

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This part of the country has had some brutally frigid weather, but as usual, we adjust and keep living life. It’s just an inconvenience for a lot of people.

And life does go on ……. the patients I see when I volunteer, many have been there for months waiting, are still battling their daily battles, hoping an praying for an organ to come soon so that may be transplanted and then begin to resume a normal life.

Now, I’m aware that lots of people do not like even the thought of a hospital. They are afraid if they go there to visit they will become ill and have to remain. However, I will counter that you will meet the best people at the worst times of their lives. Being ill, seems to be a great equalizer for the world. We all have our own inner fears and things that bother us, but once you are sick and have to put that gown on, to face the unknown, something happens ………. the facade that we keep to protect ourselves starts to crack …… and the fears begin to leak out.

Don’t be afraid to visit people in the hospital (unless you have a cold/flu or some other similar illness).

And stop making excuses ……. life is too short, if you love someone, tell them. TODAY!!!

Believe
February 7, 2009
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This morning it’s already 43 here and our glacier has started to melt. This is a good thing as the ice is 4 to 5″ thick on most of my driveway. We need a nice thaw every once in a while.

I bought a new Digital SLR camera yesterday, and hope to post some better quality pictures …… after I learn how to use all of the buttons, switches, bells, whistles and lights.

My message today is simply this ………. YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ……… in yourself, in a higher power, in your friends, your family. Believe in your life ……. you are on a path, and at times you may not know where that path leads, so it’s up to you to find out. Example – I was on a path, when BAM I landed in the hospital, had a new organ placed in my body and told I needed to follow a new path ……. I don’t have a map, but I BELIEVE in where I’m headed.

The good and the bad
March 5, 2009

It seems there aren’t enough hours in the day at times. Or, maybe I truly lack the required motivation to write here more often?

Regardless, life has been busy since my last post. We’ve been living life ….. working out at the gym almost daily, getting out and enjoying what life has to offer, which is a whole easier when there isn’t snow and ice covering the roadways.

A big part of my week is volunteering at my transplant center. It’s big because it’s something I truly care about. I’m engaged! I truly care about the patients, as I know what it’s like to be laying in that bed. Each week, after visiting patients, I could recite a list of high & low points emotionally, but I make every effort to stay grounded.

Yesterday was the best and the worst day I have had since I started my volunteer effort. The best was seeing one of my favorite patients and friends finally being released to go home. To get to sleep in their own bed, to enjoy their family, to sit in a quiet place they hadn’t known in a long time. This brought tears of happiness. (I vividly remember the day I went home)

I also heard through unofficial sources that another friend had lost the ultimate battle. I later verified this and it brought some tears of sorrow. I knew that this day would come eventually ~ losing a patient, a friend.

In retrospect, maybe it was best for both events to happen on the same day …… instead of being too high or too low, I feel balanced, or on some kind of “even keel”. Good things and bad happen to people every day, we all know this.

Today ….. well let’s just say that I will tell my family that I love them, and I will go on living my life. I will also smile and give thanks for the extra days that I have been given through my transplant. Life is good!!

Direction????
March 27, 2009

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We all need direction in our lives no matter what age we are. We all know that the young folks need direction, and then continuous monitoring to allow them to grow into responsible, intelligent adults. But, even we older people need direction as well. And, in an effort to not start a war, I will NOT define what an older person is, except to say anyone beyond their childhood years. (Wimped out on that one, didn’t I?)

Is direction a constant? Yes, but we are multi-faceted people, so we are going in many directions at one time. You may have a career path, a philosophical path, a religious path, a physical path, and many others where we must stay the course and to keep progressing in a positive manner.

Where can we find direction? Well, from our family, our friends, professionals, and one of the most important, but often the least listened to ….. OUR INNER BEINGS. Listening to your gut instincts is often ignored, and maybe it shouldn’t be.

I’m heading in my direction and I’m very comfortable with where I’m headed. My inner GPS is set and showing me the path, I am surrounded by family & friends lighting the trail for me and my inner being says to keep moving forward …… UNAFRAID.

So, what direction are you heading today?

Statistics
May 16, 2009

This past week was my 2nd heart transplant anniversary. May 11th to be exact. The day itself was emotional for me to a degree. Overall, it was a typical day, filled with errands, gym time, phone calls, emails and text messages from friends and family.

On Wednesday, I was up at my transplant center seeing all of my friends/patients and we went through another week without a transplant. I’m a numbers guy, I love statistics, but I couldn’t figure out, at least in a logical manner, why transplants are behind the “norm” so far this year.

Later that day, I ran across an article from a Miami, Florida newpaper that gave me some insight. It may or may not be true, but it did get me to thinking. Basically the article says trasnplants are down, because the economy is down.

See article – http://www.miamiherald.com/business/story/1047636.html

If that is the case, it’s very sad as many people will die needlessly this year.

In the mean time, I will keep my drive going to advocate being a life saving, organ donor. I’m walking, talking proof that donors DO save lives.

OK, time to get out in the garden.

Beauty
June 20, 2009

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In my opinion, too many people (most?) don’t take the time every day to stop and smell the roses. Or even “see” the roses. There is an over abundance of beauty in our lives if we only take the time to see it.

A small child walking down the street.

The clouds in the sky.

A rusting, junk car.

A simple mud puddle.

Leaves in a tree, moving with the wind.

Since my health issues and subsequent heart transplant, I do see these things more clearly, every day. They are God’s treasures, enjoy them.

History
June 22, 2009
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I love history.

I have always loved history. All through my life I have enjoyed visiting historical places and then visualizing life at times when these places were made famous. Washington DC is one of my favorites because TONS of our history has happened there. Other places are just as great, Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and tons of places all along the east coast and into the midwest where are country was formed and where it grew.

Beyond simply just the places, I respect the major historical events that I have lived through ……. JFK’s assassination, the fate of the Challenger, and more recently 9/11/2001.

I also love to speak with people that have “lived” through historical events. They were there, they saw, they felt, they knew first hand ……….

Today’s blog is dedicated to one of these historical type people, that I had known for a long time. My parents owned a condo on the beach in Florida for many, many years and my wife, our son & I would vacation there a couple times a year, for decades. One of the year round residents that we met LONG ago, on our honeymoon actually, could easily be described as a man of history.

He was known as the “Colonel” ….. an ex-military man, slightly built, completely shaved head, friendly, soft spoken, obviously intelligent and a man that would instantly command any normal person’s respect just by the way he walked and talked.

The colonel died a few weeks ago at age 97.

I was in Florida at the time and came across his obituary in the Miami newspaper. Beyond his schooling (PhD) and other personal accomplishments he was also a part of history.

Colonel served in the 13th Air Force under General Douglas MacArthur.
He was a squadron commander and flew the P-38 Lightning.
At the end of war, he was selected to observe the surrender of the Japanese aboard the USS Missouri.
He was as a member of President Eisenhower’s Scientific Advisory Board.

Colonel, I salute you one last time and may you be resting peacefully in God’s arms.

Days later I came across another piece of history ……. in an ice cream parlor. Maybe not as historical as the Colonel, but just to sit and eat a cup of chocolate chip ice cream and read the paper in the same spot as the gentleman above ……… made the chills run down the back of my neck. (See pic at top of this post)

Learn to Live Life
July 6, 2009
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I had to look death in it’s evil eyes, smell it’s nasty breath, before I really learned how to live life.

Miracle?
July 9, 2009
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There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

I believe everything is a miracle!!

Same Road, Different Path
August 5, 2009
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This is a pic I took on my last trip to Florida. Where we go to the beach, you rarely ever see any shoes on the beach. And, for me to see what appeared to be the print of a work boot, I had to take a pic.

I’ve been thinking for a while why I took this. I think it symbolizes all of our lives. Every day you may drive in traffic on your way to work, or to run errands, with everyone, hopefully, all going in the same direction on your side of the road. But, most likely everyone is not going to the same place. So, we are all on the same road, but taking different paths.

All of life is like that. People come into our lives for various reasons and they leave our lives for various reasons as well. Why? Who knows, but we must follow the path of our choosing. Not the path that someone else thinks we should take. Enjoy those that touch your heart and try to touch the hearts of as many people as you can.

We are all different (thankfully) and my walk on the beach was in the same direction of whomever wore the boots and walked before me. I was there to relax and get some exercise. The person before may have very well been working, picking up trash or seeking treasures coughed up by the ocean. Who knows.

Be yourself, walk your on path and believe!!!!

Life is good!!

PS : Be aware that your path can change in an instant. It took me a long time to learn this fact.

Jan 6th, 2008

“I had to drive a family member to the hospital for some scheduled tests and to see the doctor this morning. This is not just a “hospital”, but rather it is a world class, highly acclaimed facility. I’ve been here before, it’s not too far from where I live. But, even though I’ve been here, I’ve never had the opportunity where I could simply sit and people watch. This morning as I was waiting on family members I was able to really “see” & “hear” the patients. There were people there from at least 20 states, as I heard them asking each other as they were discussing their ailments (at times it was TMI!!) There were people there from Russia, France, Germany, Kuwait, Canada, England, Israel, Hungary, Ethiopia, Japan, Korea, China, and a few other places that I either couldn’t hear or couldn’t understand what I was being said. I was in awe …… the world was right there, all around me. No one screaming, no one throwing rocks at each other … everyone simply talking.

What a radical idea? Communicating with one another!”

10/28/2008

Friends – New & Old ~

When I volunteer I meet so many really wonderful people and we have really good discussions more often than not. Each time it’s a very humbling experience. I see a little bit of myself in each and every patient I meet. I see fears that most of us have, individual fears and I get a lot of questions about my own experience. Today, one person threw me a bit of a curve when I was asked, if I cried after my transplant. I was honest and told this person that, yes, I did cry and I still cry a bit, almost daily …. but they are not tears of sadness, they are tears of life, joy and thankfulness ……… the people I meet are my friends ~ there’s an unseen, unspoken bond.

The above are new friends. This evening we were running a few errands and getting in some additional walking and I ran into an old friend ….. he was a guy I worked with that retired many years ago. He had heard about me through the “grapevine”, which was always faster than any PC network you can imagine. We chatted for a while about others we worked with that weren’t as lucky as either of us and as we said good bye, we both wiped a little tear from the corner of our respective eyes. Old friends.

Tonight ~ It’s simply a time to relax. 🙂

11/26/2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I was going to write about an entirely different topic just a little while ago, but something happened …. I heard an oldie but a goodie on the radio, by Frankie Valli & the Four Season, “Can’t take my eyes off of you” and one verse kept hitting me right between the eyes as I thought about Thanksgiving and prepared to write.

Friends and family ~ that’s what life is all about. We can work like crazy & strive all of our lives to become wealthy, but if you don’t have family & friends, and some level of health and faith, you truly have nothing.

Let me try to pull this the above random references together into something that at least seems coherent.

Today, I saw people that have become good friends, when I visited the transplant center. I enjoy talking with them and as I give them hope, they lift me up, they give me strength, they inspire me in ways I have never been inspired my entire life.

Tomorrow, I will spend a good part of the day with my family. My wife is my best friend and always has been. We’ve gone in the same basic direction for 37+ years and when we have differed on things, we talk them out, we inspire each other as well. My Mom will also be there, as will my father-in-law. We won’t see our son and his family this holiday, but they are ALWAYS in our hearts & mind and we will see them at Christmas. We will also see some other old friends tomorrow. People that have been there for us for decades. Maybe we don’t inspire each other the same way, but in this case it’s more like we support each other.

So as I’m thinking about all of this, the radio is playing the aforementioned “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” ……. and the verse, “And I thank GOD I’m alive” ……….. kept screaming at me ………..

Family …. Friends ……. I Thank GOD I’m alive ……………… that’s Thanksgiving to me.

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL of my friends and my family!!!!! You inspire me and support me ……..

11/29/2008 ~

31529

“Life from my window ……….”

So after my transplant, I was going to write a blog, and that was going to be the title. Even though there is a lot of life outside my window, I wanted to include pictures and not everything I “see” outside the window, can I photograph. Example – it was late spring when I returned to my den after my heart transplant. I have a small couch, which is where I sit with my laptop. When I got home, winter was over and I was able to enjoy the rebirth of each day, early in the morning. I could experience, but not take pictures of the wind in the trees, the birds singing ……. the entire gambit of the sounds of nature, all the way through the neighbor down the street firing up his Harley at 7:28am each morning to head off to work.

Even though I scrapped the title, life continues to go on outside my window ……… I see it on my PC, the TV, through my friends and family.

So, no matter where you are, limited means or not …. life goes on. Enjoy the simplest of visuals, or sounds, as well as family & friendships. You ALSO have life outside your window ……… or door.

Embrace every moment, every breath.

12/4/2008 ~

friends

I’ve made some very nice new friends in the last number of months since my transplant. There’s a special one that drops by here every once in a while to look at my pictures and I appreciate that, especially since this person has been down a very rough road . I also know that this friend likes to garden, as do I, it’s one of my passions. So, while you are laying there, dream a bit of your own gardens and what you’ll do with them once you feel better (and you will, soon) ….. the pic ~ I saw today and it seemed fitting. (You are in my prayers daily) ~ DAP

12/16/2008 ~
PlanB
One of my favorite quotes of all times is the following (I’ve posted this on TxBuddies in the past) ~~~

********************************************************

The Power of Attitude –

Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but how we react to what happens; not what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude can cause a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst ……. a spark that will create extraordinary results.

*********************************************************

The reason I mention this is fairly simple ~ The other day a friend of mine was on a very crazy, and I mean VERY CRAZY rant, because one of their children and the spouse are breaking up / getting divorced. I’m not going to trivialize such an event because they are very emotional, even traumatic. I was trying to explain that worse things can happen and do every day. I explained that if I look at my own life and compared my top 3 “worst” events, to someone else, they might appear trivial.

I obviously went through a lot in receiving a heart transplant, and I’ve also buried two of my own children. However bad that may sound to some, I know for a fact that others have gone through WAY worse times in their lives. And, it’s what we do with these challenges, and what is our attitude towards life that can make or break us. I wish I could take this person with me when I volunteer. It would not take long to see the “power of attitude” at work.

I also an a true believer in that …… God will never give us more than we can handle.

Believe and it shall come to pass …………. what is your plan B?

4/11/2009 ~

098

Happy Easter to everyone. May your day be filled with inner peace, happiness, family & friends.

Yesterday was, “Good Friday” ~ it was a very good day, it marked exactly 700 days since my transplant. 700 “extra” days of life. A day of reflection for me, a day filled with prayers for others waiting on a chance to live again. A day of emotion and a few tears.

Thank you, God

5/2/2009 ~

DonateLife

It’s been a very busy time around here lately, as spring things have kept us busy.

During April, which we know was DonateLife Month, I ran a daily series of posts on my web site, blog, Tweeter and FaceBook, and talked to many, many people. I passed out over a 100 donor cards. My goal was to raise awareness and try to sign up one donor per day. I got commitments from 57 individuals, which was very cool to me.

Late April is also has become a very emotional time for my wife. The days in late April mark the worst times in her life, as these were some of the days when I was the sickest. I saw the effect of her last year and this year I was ready to help her get through them. Fortunately for me, I don’t remember these days, but they are all to vivid for her. As patients, we have to remember the “bad” times our caregivers went through as well as our own anniversaries. We have a bit more than a week or so of these to work through ………. I have to return the support that she has always given me.

Last night my son was going to a concert in Philadelphia, where he lives. Not just any concert, but one of the very few GRATEFUL DEAD reunion concerts. They have not played together for something like 14 years, since Jerry Garcia’s death. Now, I was never a huge Dead-head, but some of their music was incredibly awesome. If you are too young to know about the “Dead” ask your parents, LOL. Anyway, we were getting ready for bed about 11:20pm last night and I hear my cell phone beeping, signaling a text message has arrived. My son took the time to tell me that one of the Dead members, Phil Lesh, had just given a 5 minute speech on organ donors are received a standing ovation. Phil Lesh is a liver transplant recipient. It brought a tear to my eye.

Life is good …… I am thankful for each extra day I’ve been given.

5/11/2009 ~

2ndBdayCake

Yes, today is my 2nd transplant anniversary. A day filled with prayers, with thanks, and with reflection. A day partially filled with tears ……. mine, my wife’s, my Mom’s, and maybe others. A day filled with prayers for those waiting for an organ transplant to save their lives, and also for those willing to give up their organs so save another’s life.

Yesterday, was Mother’s Day ……. a good day, a decent day. My wife did well this year, not in regard to Mother’s Day, but in regard to the date …….. 2 years ago yesterday was the bleakest day in my life. I was barely alive and she had tons of stuff to deal with in a very compressed amount of time ….. in the previous 2 weeks I had a heart attack, then triple by-pass had been airlifted to the Clinic and of course had a zillion tests, the social worker interviews, etc,etc. And then had been placed on the transplant list 24 hours before and they (the doc’s) had talked to her about putting me on the full artificial heart, and she had signed the surgical release papers for that surgery …….. when the “CALL” came later in the day that they had a heart. Of course I knew NONE of this stuff, because I was and had been in a coma ……… I could tell she was a bit on edge much of yesterday, but she did pretty well overall. I thank & praise God for her, every day. I made Mother’s Day, her day, and she wanted to go to The Cheesecake Factory, so that’s what we did.

Last year we celebrated with a lot of the family and we were in Palm Beach, Florida. My 1st anniversary fell on Mother’s Day so we were going to celebrate both “events” together. We went to a fabulous restaurant in Palm Beach, called Testa’s. This restaurant is one of Palm Beach’s oldest and is also a very highly respected restaurant. My sweet sister-in-law had bought me a “birthday cake” and later when I was being presented with the cake the waiter asked what we were celebrating. Someone told him my “story” in the, “Cliff’s notes” version, and a few minutes later the entire staff was singing happy birthday to me and of course then there was the applause from all the people dining as well. A great time. My Mom gave me a birthday card for a one year old (see pic below). I remember lots of tears last year.

This year was more like a “normal” day here. Ran some errands, went to the gym, got an oil change, etc, etc. But there were some smaller celebrations as well. A small restaurant where we go frequently, our favorite waitress knew it was my “birthday” and brought me an awesome piece of strawberry shortcake, later when the mail came, I got a birthday card for a 2 year old, from my Mom …….. my son called, friends called, more friends emailed and sent text messages …….. there was no way I was going to escape the day. It was a good day.

I will thank God again and again ………. and tomorrow will be another glorious, extra day of life.

6/30/2009 ~

When we were in FL, we had our 3-1/2 year old grandson. Like LOTS of small children, he likes to get up early. About 7am every day. That’s not an issue with me, as I need to be up and awake to take my 8am meds.

So, each morning we would get up and head for the living room and allow grammy to sleep in. He’d play with his hundreds of cars and I’d read. Or, I’d play cars with him or read books to him. We entertained each other.

Normally, my little buddy sees me in jeans. But in Florida, shorts are the rule.

One morning he found a plastic knife. The kind you would use at a picnic. Using said knife, he grabbed a fist full of the hairs on my leg and was trying to saw them off. Needless to say, I put a stop to that process in a hurry, and back to playing cars we went.

The next morning, he was sitting on my lap and I was reading a book to him. At one point, he grabs the book and closes it and says, as matter of factly as a little one can …… “Papa, ME NO LIKE YOUR FEATHERS!!!”

At first I had no idea what he was talking about. It took a few questions and finally he reached over and grabbed a handful of the hair on my leg and said, “THESE FEATHERS” ………. I had to laugh, couldn’t help it.

He didn’t like the hairs on my legs. I showed him that even he had “feathers” ….. on his arms and legs …….. he was fascinated.

About 3 weeks later we are still laughing about “feathers”.

It’s what kids (and life) are all about. I enjoy every second, every day.

Here’s a look at the “real” feathers …….

Feathers

7/13/2009 ~

Title – Picture 45

While the title may seem a little odd, it’s a phrase that I have used a few times in an attempt to tell others how fragile life is and how quickly it can change, or even come to an end.

If you aren’t familiar with downloading pictures from a digital camera memory card to computer, you will see all of the little pictures in a box on the screen as they are being transferred, or copied. Each picture has a number associated with it. Generally, they flash up there pretty quickly.

At the point in time where my life changed forever I was downloading pictures from a recent trip, onto my PC. I was sitting in my den, at my desk watching the little pictures load. The very last thing I remember seeing before I had a massive heart attack was ….. you guessed it, picture number 45. In that split second in time between picture 45 and 46, my switch was flipped, the lights went out, and my life changed forever. Since it is an event I will never forget, I look at the picture frequently. (See below)

And, I will admit that I say a little prayer each time I’ve downloaded pictures to the PC …….. “God, please let me see picture 46.”

A line I use occasionally with family, when I’m asked how I’m doing is the following …….. “Oh, I’m watching for picture number 46”. It took a while, but they understand, that I will always be watching for picture number 46.

I don’t think I’ve shared this pic before …….

From left to right ~ My sister-in-law, nephew, grandson and my adorable wife.

Pic45

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