Thursday, February 21, 2013

Doctor's Visit

As a Type 1 diabetic, I've had my fair share of hospital visits. It was once a month for a while, then once every 2 months. I'm currently doing just dandy so I'm up to one hospital visit per 4 months, not counting the times I visit the hospital pharmacy to pick up prescriptions.

You'd think that after dozens and dozens of hospital visits, I'd know my way around the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics fairly well. Unfortunately, you and I both thought wrong. The U of I hospital is forever changing, renovating, rebuilding, enlarging, expanding, and striving to become the best maze it can be. Also, when changing insurance coverages, I've been assigned to different sections of the hospital. I'm beginning to think that the entire hospital is devoted to diabetic care, and it just depends on insurance coverage as to where you get your checkup done.

There's the pediatric section with all the toys and friendly staff where I went for years as a kid.
There's the Diabetic Care section with all the super incredible machines that take a drop of blood and tell you how much TV you've been watching.
Then there's Primary Care North where all the cheapo's like me go for practically-free affordable medical assistance provided through IowaCare.

I found a parking spot in Ramp 4 on the 3rd story, thinking, "Is there really this many sick people, or did they all drive five cars?" I then immediately realized I was in the ramp on the entire opposite end of clinic that I needed to be. Under normal circumstances, I'd have hopped right back in my car and motored over to the other side. But these were not normal circumstances. These were hungry-from-fasting-and-15-minutes-late circumstances.

Common Sense: Get your buns back in that car and drive to the correct spot, young man.

Brain: Foooooooooooood Nah, I can probably make it on foot. Fooooooooooood.

Is anyone else alarmed that you can find more floor plans for Kinnick Stadium than you can for the HOSPITAL? This handy map shows me how to find my tiny seat in section 101, row 52, seat C, but now where are the maps to help me find Primary Care North? 

One does not park in Ramp 4 (visible only as a "P" in the top right corner) when one's diabetic clinic meeting is on the second story of section A. Hospitals seem a lot larger when you have to get from one end to the other in a hurry.

I do love the University Hospital because it's very advanced and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. I also love that their massive elevator system is categorized by alphabet for easy understanding.

I got to my clinic and signed in, afraid that I've missed my tiny clinic slot that was planned 4 months in advance. The receptionist showed no alarm, as if people coming in twenty minutes late was perfectly normal. I sat down in the waiting room and opened Illusion, an incredible, edge-of-the-seat novel I'm reading by Frank Peretti, and a nurse came to get me WAY FASTER than I was ready for. Normally, when the nearest acceptable reading material is 15 blocks away, I sit in the waiting room for half an hour. This time I was in there for only 5 minutes. My hungry, tired brain decided that either I should always have a fantastic book on my person, or I should just show up to diabetic clinics late more often.

The nurse took my vitals and discovered that I had mysteriously lost 5 lbs. I'm so unaware of what I weigh, I didn't even notice. The last time I weighed myself was at the prior clinic visit, and I couldn't remember how much I weighed. I DID notice that she wrote me down as 6'0", which is preposterous because I'm actually 6'1 3/4". She took my blood pressure, after removing a pressure cuff that was too large for my arm. Either the last patient was Dwayne Johnson, or they just have a lot more flab on their biceps than I do.

 "I wonder what my blood pressure is. I should go visit Primary Care North."

I truly love my doctor, Dr. Ismail. He's brilliant in general, incredibly knowledgeable about diabetes, has a fantastic memory for little details, and he's just plain funny.

I found a picture of him online, but the quality is fairly poor.

"How's your dad? How's the family business doing?"
It's going well, thanks. Dad's doing great.
"Do you have a girlfriend yet? I think I asked you this 4 months ago, no?"
Yep, you did. I'm working on it, Dr. Ismael. Just for you. :)
"Haha, just for me! Well don't you worry son. So how are you feeling?"
Great! *eyeing sign that declares ALL DIABETICS MUST REMOVE SOCKS AND SHOES FOR FOOT CHECKS* Do I have to remove my shoes?
"Do you have ulcers on your feet?"
"Then no. Are you still taking 25 units of Lantus?"
No, I'm taking 29. But that's unchanged since last time, when you prescribed 29 units.
"I did? Oh yes I did. Very good. Have you intentionally gained or lost weight?"
"Hmm, it appears that you've lost 5 lbs. That's common in diabetics that don't take their insulin."
I've been taking my insulin! Most of the time. Sometimes I forget at snacks.
"Let me take a look at your blood sugar meter. Hmm...these numbers are fairly high. I'm afraid your A1c is going to be 8."
Oops. I was at 7.6 last time, wasn't I?
"Yes, but I fear it'll be in the upper 8's. We shall see. We may have to change your regimen."

A nurse came in to take two large vials of blood, one for my A1c (pronounced Ayy-Won-Cee) test, and one for my cholesterol, which is the reason I fasted. The nurse also gave me a pneumonia vaccine. It was "strongly recommended" since some recent study proved that diabetics are 30% more likely to die after contracting pneumonia. Who am I to argue with science?

Well, my arm still burns from the pneumonia vaccine so I'm fairly determined it'll be the last one I ever take. My arm always burns after vaccines since the injection site is ALWAYS my shoulder muscle. The nurse took one look at my shoulder and said, "Umm, this will probably hurt." Like a Florida weather forecaster, she was right.

I suspect the 5 lbs I lost were all from my left shoulder, because this vaccine hurt more than all the others in my dim recollection. I usually do pretty well with vaccines. At the last clinic, I got the flu shot and stayed remarkably healthy during the flu season in which my siblings and friends dropped like little fevered flies all around me. I normally catch what everyone else has, due to my utter lack of mysophobia.

Vaccines are a touchy subject in my family right now. My mom and sister Shannon are definitively against them, while Shelley is for them. I'm somewhere in the uninformed middle saying, "Whelp, shoot me up. I haven't died yet, hyuk hyuk." I made the mistake of whining about my sore arm to Mom and she let me know how foolish I was for getting a vaccine. I could have become a leper, for goodness sakes! This coming from the woman that loaded me up with vaccines as a baby, and look how I turned out!

Okay, now I'm definitely not going to get any more vaccines.

I was released from the clinic as the blood work was being sent in for diagnosis. My body always behaves, but now it seemed to be rallying a mutiny. Reports of A1c getting out of line, pneumonia bandits on the horizon, and somehow 5 lbs walked the plank. I signed out at the reception desk and scheduled the next visit.

I stopped in at the Pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions.
Pharmacist: Several of these prescriptions need to be renewed by your doctor.
Shawn: But he just renewed them. I just met with him.
Pharmacist: Oh, I see them here now. We'll start filling those out right away.
Shawn: Okay, thanks. How long will that take?
Pharmacist: 45 minutes.

I read a couple of chapters of Illusion, picked up my prescriptions, and hiked the 2.9 miles to my car. Not really 2.9 miles, but hospitals seem a lot larger when you're in a hurry OR when you're carrying paperwork, a lunchbox/man-purse, a dirty winter coat, and a giant paper bag full of prescriptions. In hindsight, I probably looked like some kind of homeless druggie. "Look at that poor unfortunate man. He probably has 18 diseases from living in a parking ramp, and those must be all the prescriptions he has to take to keep from dying. Or massacring humankind."

I went back to work, and was busily helping Stan hang some duct when Dr. Ismail called.

"Hello, Shawn. I have your results back from the lab. Your cholesterol is great. It's very good. Your A1c is 7.5, and that is also good. The last time you were at 7.5 was May of 2011. So well done, keep everything the same. Just do what you're doing. Okay goodbye."

So, this visit was no different than the last three, where he sits me down and scares me half to death about poor diabetic control but then calls back with great news about how well I've been doing. He's a good cop AND a bad cop at the same time.

I'll print this out and award it to my doctor at the next clinic appointment. 

This clinic visit went well, as do all the others. God placed me in the precise spot, 20 minutes from an incredible hospital, where He knew I'd be blessed. The hospital took great care of me when I was a child, so I was never able to foster fear and loathing for hospitals like most kids do. Excluding scary Dr. Hoffman, I've had wonderful doctors that care about my personal medical needs. But I really don't want to turn into another Asa.

"In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians." -II Chronicles 16:12, ESV


Some people assert that the disease in Asa's feet was ulcers, a complication stemming from diabetes.

Lord, please help me to recognize the difference between the blessing of doctors and a dependence on them. Let me always look to You first for wisdom, counsel, and healing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Accident Prone

Now, I don't consider myself to be clumsy, but my actions prove otherwise. I am constantly bumping into things, removing layers of skin on sharp surfaces, injuring appendages, whacking my head on low-hanging objects, and generally keeping pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer (one of the several makers of ibuprofen) in business.

There is a lot of work to be done with sheet metal when we're out on a job, and that's a source of cuts and scrapes. I'm not unfamiliar with tin, but my hands sometimes betray me when I'm not concentrating closely enough.

Righty: Hey, check it out! Shawn's thinking about what he's going to do AFTER he's done with this sharp piece of metal.
Lefty: You're right! This is a perfect opportunity for us to completely forget how to function!

Righty: Stupendous idea! Initiate "Butterfingers"

Lefty: One of my personal favorites! Bombs awaayyyyy!

Righty: Wait, wait! Lemme get out of the way first!


Lefty: Oh. Ooops....

I need to remember to get more hydrogen peroxide. My one-quart bottle is getting pretty low.

Have you ever heard of convertible pants?

They're a fantastic invention. The pair that I own is exceedingly comfortable and I wear them often. I seldom use them for shorts, because I'm usually cold.

I was wearing them the evening that I played some flag football with my youth group. We were inside Pathway gym and having a fantastic time. I dove after a loose ball with gusto and landed hard on the concrete. The only thing that protected my knee from the full force of the floor was the pant zipper, which stamped itself into my kneecap.

That was a week ago, and my knee still bears the bruises. It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 12:26 which declares   

"If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together." (ESV) 

The verse is talking about members of a church body, but I'm using it literally since a single knee injury seems to make everything more difficult. Of the two hundred and six individual bones in my body, it feels like I've been bumping into things with just one: my right patella. 

I'm sure you've experienced something similar. The thumb that got smashed volunteers (without your permission) to get hit again. The sore elbow enthusiastically helps you find your furniture in the dark. Each time I connect my tender kneecap to a foreign object, the shooting pain briefly causes me to contemplate amputating the silly thing and going in for an upgrade. 

What now, coffee table? I'm made out of titanium! 

Of course, I only contemplate amputation briefly, because I've heard about phantom pain and that doesn't sound pleasant at all. "Hmm, I feel like my toes are itchy, but I have no toes. Guess I'll just have to let the itchy feeling drive me to insanity."

I could list other injuries,

That one time I lost my eyebrow due to a potato cannon misfire.
Smashing two separate fingers with a large hammer while nailing a tin duct piece today. 
Fracturing a wrist while playing "Dare Base" when I was 15. 
Nearly biting the entire way through my own lip when I hit that tree with the 4-wheeler at 13. 

but I won't, because then I'd just be heaping even more evidence toward the theory that "Shawn is Certifiably Clumsy."

Think of all the nerve endings in our skin and way they constantly relay messages to the brain, giving instantaneous status updates on pressure, moisture, wind, and temperature. (Which, coincidentally, is quite similar to most Twitter users.) 

That's cool and stuff, but you know what's even cooler? Coagulation. When your skin gets cut and blood begins to seep, your body instantly organizes your blood-clotting proteins, dispatching them to the scene of the accident. There are 13 separate coagulating proteins in your body, and they have to act in a precise order, as a team. Each protein is called a factor, and they're named Factor I through Factor XIII. If even ONE of the factors is low or missing, a clot can't be formed and you would quite possibly bleed to death from a paper cut. (If you somehow lived in a world that didn't have any band-aids.)

No sweat, right? There's plenty of coagulants to go around. NOT. If you filled a 55-gallon drum with human blood, the amount of coagulation proteins in that drum would equal one drop. Point to the nearest 41 people beside you. Between you and them, there's a single drop of miraculous blood-clottery. Of course, your body makes the proteins when they're needed, which is nice.

I frequently put my coagulants to the test, and they do pretty well. My hands and arms have several cuts that are healing nicely.

Wait, how did I get off on this tangent? I'm supposed to be whining and complaining about stuff!

Sometimes I get the sneaking suspicion that God allows me to get cuts and scrapes so that, in a roundabout way, I'll geek out about how amazing His creation is. God's pretty crafty about that sort of thing. Truly, only a Divine Creator could design and create the complex systems we take for granted.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14 (ESV)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Surviving Valentines

To the wife that God has planned for me,

Thank you for being patient.

In God's timing, I'll find you and snatch you up. I apologize for taking so long, but God has been teaching me a lot of essential lessons lately, and I'm sure you'll agree that I needed some lessons in patience, wisdom, and maturity.

Over the past few years, I've come to appreciate Valentines day. "But you're not even dating!" Valid observation, Milicent Bystander. Do I love my mom only on Mother's day? Of course not. Do I remember Christ's resurrection only on Easter Sunday? No. Do I value romantic relationships only on February 14th? Incorrectamundo! A surging majority of our culture would like to do away with the entire mushy day with all its nonsense, but I'll be that little irritating voice of disagreement. It's still pertinent to have a day set aside to memorialize romantic sentiment. The holidays set in this country honor noble things, such as July 4th, President's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and 9/11. Loving relationships are something we should honor and applaud, not subdue.

Dear future wife, thank you for surviving Valentines, waiting for me to get my rear in gear. Some day, I'll make it up to you. Until then, I'm intent on serving God in the calling He has for me, which currently requires that I stay single. It isn't a bad deal, truthfully. I just got finished with an incredible evening of Bible study with some of my manfriends. One of the regular attendees couldn't make it tonight because he spent the evening with his recently-acquired wife. (Don't worry, I won't say your name, Nevin. We don't judge you.)

Now, when God brings you along, I'd trade all my manfriends and a wheelbarrow of bacon cheese fries for you, but at this point I hope the Lord takes His time. I need every spare day to keep growing and learning.

I found an inspirational post on Mark Muldez's tumbler, which you can visit here 

To My Future Wife: 

God's teaching me His way to love, so I can truly love you.
I'm not going to follow this world's standard of "dating" 
theory & chase women for temporary relationships.
I'm chasing God & letting Him handle this crucial aspect of
my life. I tell you the truth, and you can count on me on this, 
that my heart belongs to you and "worldly dating" is not
part of my plans. But for now, wherever you are right now, 
I'm praying for you & that God would be with you always to 
comfort you, protect you and strengthen you until the day
God brings us both together in union.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Road Hazards and Puppy-Sitting

When I woke up on Thursday, I found the weather to be most contrary. It was 35 degrees and raining. It was so slushy and icy, my work van slid off the driveway and into my neighbor's yard. The yard was so mushy, I got stuck. I got so stuck, I had Dad come pull me out. That went swell and I made it all the way to the top of the driveway and nearly onto pavement, which is where I got stuck again, a mere 10 inches from the road. We reattached the tow rope and got me out onto the road. The whole ordeal only took 45 minutes. Of course, 45 minutes with a dear friend from out-of-state has a much different length than 45 minutes with icy chains, pouring rain, and crawling around in the mud to attach the aforementioned icy chains.

 Silly van. You belong on the road, not in my neighbor's yard.

The reason I've been driving one of the business work vans for the past several days is because my car is in the shop, getting repaired. Last week, I snapped a photo of the minivan that my brother Shane had buried in a drift. I chuckled and declared that I'd never do something so silly.

 Literally two minutes later, I was firmly entrenched in a deep ditch of snow. I'm not even going to try to preserve my dignity: I was texting and driving. I received a picture message from a friend and was glancing down to see if it had downloaded as I took the inside of a large sweeping turn. I always take the inside of this particular curve, because it's on a minimally-traveled gravel road and it's banked so I feel like I'm in some kind of World Cup race event. Well, I failed to notice the slushy snow on the inside of my personal Indy 500 track. The snow grabbed my front tire and I plowed a furrow for 20 yards, trying to regain control. When my vehicle came to a stop, I was beached on a drift. The tires couldn't get traction because the snow was holding up the underbody of the car.

Shortly after assessing the situation, my friend Craig stopped by and offered to help pull me out. He had shovels, tow ropes, and a 4-wheel-drive SUV. We gave it a try but there just wasn't enough traction to pull me out. Craig left to get a tractor and I kept shoveling snow, vowing to amend my texting ways by buying a rotary phone, if I ever got my car out of the drift. While Craig was gone, a very kind neighbor with a very large truck came and pulled me out, easy peasy. Except I had failed to attached the tow rope to a sturdy portion of my car frame, so I ended up with a bent tie rod or strut or something fairly important that keeps my car from jittering like it has epilepsy. In hindsight, I should have realized that a 1/2"-thick steel bar is not strong enough to withstand pulling a 3,650 lb car backwards out of a snowdrift. Celia, we need to get you on a diet. In my defense, there wasn't really anywhere else to attach a tow rope. Chrysler 300M's have independent suspensions, which is nice and fancy but the tradeoff is that there's no axle to attach ropes to.

I missed seeing my awesome manfriend Doyle Byler by 30 minutes because I was busy digging my car out of the ditch. Never again will I giggle at someone stuck in a ditch. 

Had that been the end of my vehicular woes, I would have been just fine and dandy.

Yesterday we replaced a furnace in a home/daycare. The job was difficult but it went really well. There was no parking space in the driveway for all of our work vehicles, so we dropped one of the vans off at the Sycamore mall parking lot. After we finished the job, I ran over there with Dad to pick up the van. I whipped into the parking lot beside our van and let dad out. I was in "Big Blue", our 1-ton dually flatbed truck.

This is how Big Blue looked before we converted it into a flatbed. Because of its giant hip-like fenders, I nicknamed it the Hippo.

After the conversion (AKA the "hipposuction"), Dad named the truck Big Blue. Probably because the truck before it was called Big Red. You can see the converted truck in this photo. Well, half of it, since I was evidently more interested in the artistic composition of the leaves and sunlight when I took the photo back in 2010.

I normally enjoy that giant brute, but it has a particular weakness. As you can see when the power lift tailgate is up, the truck has a noticeably large blind spot.

I backed into a car. AN ENTIRE CAR WAS IN MY BLIND SPOT.

What makes me upset is that I saw the car when I drove into the parking lot, but didn't think about it until I heard the marrow-chilling *SKERUNTCH* which results when you back a giant diesel truck into a family sedan.

Big Blue was fine. He didn't even notice that his monstrous blind spot had effectively put a large, wet blanket on my day. I scraped the bumper, chipped the rear reflector, and bent the trunk lid of the Ford Taurus that was perched behind me. That particular model has the ugliest-looking back end of any vehicle I know, but adding a few dents certainly didn't help.

That isn't the vehicle I hit. This is just a reference photo of what I'm talking about when I say "ugliest-looking back end of any vehicle I know."

I left my name and number on a note, along with an apology for my mistake and for the inconvenience I've caused. I placed the note under the windshield wiper and left.

That happened at 3pm yesterday, and I haven't gotten a call yet. I feel a weird mixture of relief and guilty dread. I want to make things right and get that person's car fixed, but I'd be alright if they didn't call me back, either. My manfriends have reassured me that there was probably a body in the trunk of that car, and the car had been intentionally abandoned by the body-hiding thugs that owned it.

As I drove Big Blue back to the office in a particularly mournful state of mind, I came to a dreadful realization. That very morning, while driving Big Blue to the job, my mind had wandered back a few years to the time that Dad had bent the power lift on the rear of the truck by backing it into our shop. "Who does that!" I chuckled. "How could you possibly back into something if you knew it was there?"

I've never liked eating my words, because I'm not particularly good at seasoning them and they usually end up tasting like a big bowl of "I Told Ya So O's."

Upon the close of the workday, I ran home to take care of the children I'm babysitting. You may call them puppies but from my perspective, I've got two whiny children that bawl and fuss and cry for attention constantly wonderful purebred German Shepherds available to be adopted into your lovely home!

While Shane is off on a grand adventure to South Carolina, I'm taking care of his dogs.
The characters in my little drama are:
Nigel: Giant, fluffy bear that has masqueraded as a German Shepherd.
Mitzy: Elderly dog that has birthed half of the German Shepherds alive today. Probably.
Chasm: Neighbor's German Shepherd, daughter of Mitzy, mother of puppies.
Puppy 1 and Puppy 2: The unnamed little demons angels. Both female: one white, one black.

Like I mentioned in a previous post about these puppies, our standard operating procedure when releasing the puppies for exercise is to keep their 10-foot chains attached to their collars. The benefit of this is two-fold: it (slightly) slows the puppies down, and if a situation arises, we can grab them and tie them to the nearest tree. I'm thinking we could market this idea to mothers with multiple toddlers.

I got distracted throwing snowballs to Nigel and Mitzy, and when I looked up, I saw that the dreadfully malnourished Chasm (pronounced "Chazzm", instead of the normal "Kazm"/silent 'h' pronunciation) had led her offspring on a journey to the river's edge. I ran to apprehend the fleeing bandits but it was too late. Mother and children had smelled something interesting in Illinois, and they were making great strides to get there. They skipped out across the partially-frozen river, during which I envisioned all sorts of horrible scenarios in which the puppies broke through and froze to death or were pulled under and drowned by their neck-anchors. They got to the opposite embankment just fine, where I then immediately began to envision horrible scenarios about them getting lost forever or getting mauled by eagles or coyotes or something. Have you ever felt that cold sweat when the precious objects you've been trusted with are on the verge of being destroyed and/or lost? I don't stress about things normally, but I was right up there in Panic Mode. All I could see were $500-worth of energy and fur disappearing into some woods perched right beside a busy highway during rush traffic on the opposite side of an impassable river. Meanwhile I'm whistling and calling "Come here, puppies!" and wishing they had names but also realizing that if they had names, they still wouldn't respond to them, because they're still puppies.

I quickly surmised the situation and did the only logical option available: I ran up the embankment on my side of the river and crossed over on the bridge. Mitzy was with me, which was alright because she's smart and avoids cars. We crossed without incident. I quickly grabbed the puppies who were romping around in the woods and forcefully pulled them up the embankment to the road and began to cross the bridge. Despite being north of 100 lbs, Nigel managed to cross the questionable ice on the river and join in the fray. Now I had four German Shepherds and we had to cross the bridge. I grabbed the puppies' chains near their collars A) so they wouldn't have the ability to jump in front of a bus and B) so I could walk three steps without getting tripped by the weaving duo of chain-whipping mongrels.

If I was a dog, Nigel and I would be kindred spirits. He's fun-loving, energetic, crazy, friendly, and terribly distracted by everything. As we slowly progressed over the bridge, with semi trucks whipping a mere 20" away from us, I was sure he was going to turn into a large pile of Roadkill Du Jour. The puppies wanted to run every single direction EXCEPT the direction we were headed, Mitzy was carefully walking in a straight line and behaving nicely, and Nigel was everywhere. He would briefly listen to me when I shouted his name but with two puppies thrashing around, I was fresh out of hands to hold him back. After peering over the bridge bannister to a grim 30-foot drop, (at which I immediately became a hostage negotiator. "Please, step away from the edge. Think of the children!") Nigel busied himself with eating some road apples, which to the best of my knowledge have nothing to do with fruit. Consequently, I'll never again allow Nigel to lick my face.

Against all the expectations of my over-creative imagination, we survived. I drug the puppies to their kennels and reattached their chains. I took Nigel to his special zipline and tied him up. I patted Mitzy on the head and told her that I really appreciated her maturity through all of this.

Then I realized that Chasm was missing.

And I realized I had an hour before leading worship with the youth group, and my mind was far from worship. My mind was predominantly occupied with "If Chasm ever returns, I'll kill her."

I texted my youth leader Anthony and told him that I was having a pretty bad day, and that if he would be so kind as to pray, I'd appreciate it. He replied that he would be praying.

I decided to take a shower to remove the layers of filth I accumulated during work and dog-chasing. Chasm wasn't under my jurisdiction, so I didn't feel AS guilty that she was missing.

But, upon exiting my shower and finding her back, safe and sound, I was extremely relieved. It's a true, unexplainable miracle that she returned. No dog, malnourished to near-starvation, comes back to their kennel to get tied up again. I give credit to God for that one.

God provided even more blessings by giving our youth a fantastic evening of worship and fellowship, which is precisely what I needed.

Thank You, God, for being so good to me. I am blessed. Blessed with a giant yard that I can run around in, blessed with countryside and rivers and trees. I'm blessed with a car that, even though it doesn't double as a snowmobile, gets me to all sorts of places that I need to go. I'm blessed that nobody was hurt during my fender-bender.

I'm blessed with hundreds and hundreds of days of "normal" life. When things go wrong and I have a rotten day, it's rare. That's a blessing. If I were in the Middle East and there were constant bombings gunfire, and kidnappings, a day of simple fender benders and chasing puppies would seem like a ridiculous fantasy.

 "For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you." -Psalm 86:5

 "For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." -Psalm 100:5

Yep, blessed.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Could you give a guy some rest?

Honestly I'm not asking for much. You've been on my mind for quite some time now. Distracting me from work, haunting my dreams, creeping into my thoughts while I hang out with friends, invading those quiet moments of the day when I'm trying to enjoy a good thousand-mile stare...

All I'm asking for is some respite. Could I have a few hours a week to think about other things, like life? You're derailing my plots to overtake the world! I don't remember giving you permission to set up shop inside my brain. It started simply, a few stray thoughts about you here and there, but now I find it difficult to stray my thoughts from you. It's pretty alarming.

Next thing I know, you'll disappear into a void and never be seen again. Or perhaps you'll become permanently unavailable. What will I do then? I haven't known you for long, but you've become a big deal to me. It was a few years ago that we met through some mutual friends. I didn't know what to think of you at first, because you were unlike all others. But as I got to know you, I began to value my time with you and I desired more. Most of the time, I can't be with you, so I'm stuck with just thinking about you.

Then again, it's not TOO terrible thinking about you. It's sorta like having an excellent song stuck in my head on a continuous loop. Well, more like the intro to the best possible song. A springy, peppy, full-of-life-and-humor intro. I'd like to hear the rest of the song, to see what kind of conclusion it will bring. Does a minor key come swooping in to dump drama all over the place and make a melodramatic disaster of this song? Or perhaps the lyrics and melodies blend into a wondrous sonnet that fosters strong and lasting communication?

Everywhere I go, I'm reminded of you. People talk about you often. Even my mom likes you!

Let's presume that you and I are in for the long haul. Will this be a mutually-beneficial relationship? Will our continued interaction produce lovely results?

Life could go on without you, I suppose, but life is a lot nicer with you. I'm having trouble making up my mind. You're helpful, sweet, and humorous, but you're also clogging up my mind every free second and I can already tell you're just champing at the bit to remind me that Valentine's Day is just around the corner.

Enough already, Facebook. If you don't quit distracting me every moment of the day, I'll have to do the unthinkable: use you less often. I'd threaten to delete you, but who knows what kind of ripple effect that would cause? There's probably some kind of horrible withdrawal people go through when they decide to talk to people face-to-face instead of through the aloof comfort of the internet. Unfortunately, during real conversations, I can't delete and retype my responses to make myself look wittier, or take my time to craft a snappy reply. Also, I use you a lot to organize my schedule and remind me of important upcoming events. Your usefulness outweighs your bothersome attributes, so you're off the hook for now.