The Curse of Opinions

“Everyone has his or her own opinion and I welcome criticism. That’s why we have freedom of expression and that’s also what I stand for – but I won’t stand for insults.” – Ilkay Gundogan

Talk to the hand because the ears aren’t listening. This seems to be the mantra of today’s society. There use to be a time in this country when two people of different opinions could partake of a little spirited debate and walk away still friends. Not so much anymore. No such thing as peaceful debate. Instead insults and juvenile name calling is more the norm.

Everyone is different. We all have different likes and dislikes. Some people like summer some like winter. There are those that prefer more government and those that prefer less. They are opinions based upon a person’s thoughts and life experiences. It doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong.

The reality is everyone is going to have a difference of opinion. It’s a given and we as a society need to learn to accept it, learn to live with it and move on. We have to learn to agree to disagree.

“The only sin that we never forgive is a difference of opinions.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I watch with great sadness as friends and family turn their backs on each other because of their differences of opinions. I myself have been called stupid, ignorant, moron etc. because my opinion is different than theirs.

I won’t apologize for my opinions nor do I expect you to apologize for yours. I am entitled to my opinion and you yours.

I am not responsible for your happiness. I am only responsible for mine. What I am responsible for is to be kind to you and to respect your opinions. No insults or name calling and to love you as I love myself.

It is time for us to stop, take a deep breath, think about what we are doing and fix it. To bury our differences, embrace each other and seek harmony. We need to eliminate the hate that is running rampant in our society. Can it be done? I don’t know but I do know the world would be a much better place and certainly worth the effort.

Sacred Space

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.” – Joseph Campbell

I really never understood my overpowering compassion for the river until one day I came across this quote. I read it and the lightbulb in my head went off.

The river is my sacred space, or safe place, where I am free of societal pollution. Once I am in the presence of the river I am free to think with my mind, heart, body and soul. I have the ability to examine my own own beliefs and thoughts in great depth and to understand why I believe the way I do. I reach an understanding of who I really am and who I want to be. The revelation of what I want to accomplish in life and most importantly why becomes apparent. In this place I find a me that I can respect and love. If we can’t love ourselves what’s the point of loving at all?

With all the animosity in the world it is easy to plunge ourselves into the pit of depression which robs us of peace and happiness.

Seek your sacred space, find it and visit it frequently. The real you will soon become visible.

Facing Fear

He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

At the end of Liberty Hollow, near the town named Fear, was a modest homestead occupied by a humble two room shack. Void of all the modern conveniences, electricity and running water. It backed up to a gentle slope of Freedom Mountain. Within the walls of this shack lived a mountain of a man, strong as an ox but as gentle as the falling snow.

He stayed to himself and lived a simple life. Lived off the land and never took more than what he needed to sustain his way of life.

Once a month he would venture into town to get supplies he couldn’t produce himself i.e., flour, lard, coffee and a plug or two of Days Work. Standing at 6’4” with his salt and pepper beard cascading to the middle of his chest, jet black hair resting on his shoulders and his chiseled physique made him quite intimidating to the towns people.

He was never violent, showed nothing but kindness and appeared happy, but the inhabitants of Fear were afraid of him. Was it the unknown that they feared? No one really knew anything about him. No one attempted to befriend him or get to know him. They would cross the street to avoid him. Fear was in control.

He was surrounded by mystery. He talked to the woodland creatures and doctored them when they were hurt. The “Keeper” of Mother Nature’s woodland creatures? They had no fear of him.

The inhabitants of the town of Fear thought he was possessed and added to their fear of him. This behavior wasn’t normal. It’s sad how when folks don’t understand something or somebody they are governed by fear.

Years went by with no change. One day he didn’t show up in town to pick up his supplies. Another month came and went and he was a no show. Town folk just assumed he died but their fear of him kept them from investigating.

Fear breeds rumors and it wasn’t long until rumors started circulating around town. Some said he died from a lonely heart, others said he went mad and took his own life and one rumor was that what possessed him transformed him into a coyote and is running wild in the wilderness to this day.

Some town folks recall one odd night when the coyotes became restless and their mournful howls could be heard throughout Liberty Hollow. It was as if they were mourning. The other woodland creatures seemed to go into hiding for a week. Had the “Keeper” of Mother Nature’s woodland creatures been called home? Fear kept the town’s people from ever knowing.

Never let fear rule your life. Always face your fears and put them behind you. You will be a better person for it. Facing fear not only changes your life it also encourages those around you to do the same. When we let fear control our lives we rob ourselves of peace, love, happiness and quality of life. Fear can be defeated but we have to do it ourselves, no one can do it for us. If just one person would have faced their fear of this man it could have turned the whole town around and there could have been a happy ending. After all the animals had no fear of him. They saw the good in him.

A Week Gone By

My new cast.

When I began my journey to full ankle replacement I had so many questions that I couldn’t get answers to. I talked to a couple people who had had it done but they really didn’t help much.

After some thought I decided to record my journey and do a series of blogs outlining my recovery. I figured those who were thinking about having the surgery could maybe get some of their questions answered to help them in the decision process.

First off a little history about myself. 66 years old, 6 feet tall, overweight (250 lbs) with high blood pressure. Retired farrier. Injury happened in 1980 crushed heel, broke ankle and broke instep. Never took a step without pain since it happened. Lived with chronic pain for 40 years. Warning: some of the photos are graphic

Surgery was 10/07 and I had my follow up doctor visit today 10/15. Cast was removed. The incision looked good and the doctor was pleased.

After a thorough examination Doctor Sloan informed me that I was to return in 2 weeks at which time he would remove new cast and I would begin physical therapy. He then applied the new cast.

My thoughts on the first week. I know everyone has a different pain threshold. Mine has always been relatively high. Ten years ago I was kicked by a horse and I incurred 2 broken ribs and a bruised spleen and was shoeing horses 3 days later. Pain chart I am using 1 is little pain, 10 horrible pain. They used a nerve block on me which lasted almost 14 hours so that helped. The first 3 days my pain grade bounced between a 4 and an 8. I am not going to kid you. It hurt like hell, but it was bearable. By day 4, 5, and 6 the pain began to ease considerably. I still had my moments but they were fewer and farther between. On days 6, 7 and 8 I only took 1 pain pill each day.

My biggest mistake was not losing weight and I had plenty of time to do that and didn’t do it. I couldn’t put any weight on my foot so my arms, shoulders, left leg and foot were taxed heavily when I needed to go mobile. Then figure in my age with this it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out if I would have dropped 40 pounds it would have helped my predicament a lot. I also should have done some upper body strength exercises. Even though I had plenty of time I didn’t do either. Two things that would have cost me nothing but would have benefited my endeavor immensely. Lesson learned!

That pretty much sums everything up. If you decide to get the surgery don’t be a Wayne, use your brain instead. I know, I wish I would have.

Chronic Pain

Pain is the body’s way of telling the brain we are still alive. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

I have wrestled with the idea of addressing this subject for sometime. I think I can speak for the majority of us who suffer from chronic pain syndrome when I say we aren’t looking for sympathy or pity. We just want you to understand what we are dealing with. Too many think we are overreacting and are just cry babies. I am here to tell you the pain is real and can be relentless at times.

Mine began when I crushed my heel, broke my ankle and instep in 1979. My toes were about the only thing that were spared. The doctor who treated me said he didn’t think I would walk again and if I managed to do so it would be with the assistance of a cane. He was wrong on both counts.

The bones healed but the pain never really stopped. It just got worse. It has wreaked havoc on my quality of life. I have reached a point where all I want to do is sit on my arse and keep my foot elevated to combat the pain.

On those days I force myself to get up, put on my big boy panties and deal with it. Some days are harder than others. The pain is not only physical but emotional as well. I have to fight off depression daily but I can say I have remained victorious in that battle. I get tired of hurting. I try to remember what life was like without pain. It keeps me awake at night and causes fatigue. It becomes a chore just to go to town 3 miles away. Negative thoughts try to creep in but I have learned to keep them at bay with positive thoughts. It can be quite the emotional battle that some days drain me mentally and physically.

Recently I have had to start the day using a cane but once I am up and moving for about an hour and the foot loosens up I can lose the cane. There are mornings that I have to work diligently to get my foot in a boot. The majority of my pain is caused by inflammation and arthritis.

I have enrolled in pain management with little success. I was on hydrocodone for ten years until one morning I got up and took myself off it. It basically just dulled my pain and I was afraid of what it was doing to my body. I wasn’t getting any real benefit from it. I have tried ointments and even used horse liniment that gives short lived temporary relief never completely eradicating the pain.

I contribute my ability to cope with CPS to my love of nature, fishing and kayaking. They keep me motivated to deal with it and to keep on trucking.

I am by no means the only one who suffers from CPS and we all have different ways of combating it. Just please be aware that for the majority of us the pain is real. Our quality of life sucks and we become cranky and hard to be around. We don’t mean to be but the fatigue and pain sometimes become so unbearable we lash out even though it against our better judgement.

No doubt you all know someone who suffers from CPS. Please don’t offer us pity or sympathy. Instead try to understand us and be a positive force in our life. Help us through the rough spots. There are days that an “atta boy” or hug can ease the pain, give us hope and brighten our days. Please don’t judge us just try to understand us.

Tough Choice For Pet Owners

I wrestled with writing about this particular subject but I felt it might be beneficial to other pet owners facing this tough decision. I was faced with it in November 2019 and again in January 2020.

To euthanize or let nature take its course. It’s a very tough decision and when you do decide you almost always second guess yourself. Did I make the right decision? Who knows what the right decision is? We really don’t have anyway of knowing for sure. We have to ask ourselves if we are keeping them alive for them or for us. They can’t talk so we really don’t know if they are suffering.

In my case the first decision came when my Great Pyrenees, Eros, was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer. The veterinarian gave me my options. Treat with steroids, chemotherapy or euthanasia. I didn’t want to put him through chemo so I opted for steroids and pain pills.

Eros responded well the first 3 days. Then he had a couple bad days. He began to get worse. I knew I had to make a decision and it was gut wrenching. I weighed the pros and cons and looking at them I asked myself if I was keeping him alive for me or him. In my case I decided it was for me so I made an appointment for him to cross the bridge.

I almost waited too long. The night before he got down and the only way he could get up was if I lifted him up on his legs. I practically had to carry him to the truck and load him to go to the vet’s office.

They had a room for us to go to without going through the waiting room. It was nice but just seemed such a cold impersonal place for him to take his last breath. I got down on the floor and held him as the vet injected him with the death serum. It was over quickly.

My second decision came in January 2020. My beloved Australian Shepherd, my ride dog, had developed a strange cough. I made Kate an appointment at the vets. I was afraid it was heart worms but that test came back negative. They decided to take some X-Rays. Her lungs were riddled with tumors. This was a Wednesday and when I asked the vet how long he thought she had he said a week two weeks tops. With Eros fresh in my mind I made the first appointment they had available. It was for Monday of the following week.

The vet had prescribed her some pain pills to help make her comfortable. Friday morning I needed to go to town so I took Kate with me. She had a rough time getting in the truck. We headed to town. Little did I know this would be our last ride together.

Back at the house I had to literally pick her up and set her on the ground. That’s when I noticed the spark was gone from her eyes. She got worse as the night progressed. I am not going to go into detail but the last 15 minutes of her life was not pretty. She took her last breath at 12:21 a.m. at home with just me and her.

I had hoped Eros would pass in his sleep but the memory of his death isn’t marred by a death struggle. I will always have Kate’s terrible fight haunting me.

I don’t second guess myself on my decision for Eros anymore. I had made the right decision with Kate but the appointment was too late.

For anyone having to make this decision I hope my experience helps you with your decision. Most of all I hope you don’t ever second guess yourself.

If you choose euthanasia promise yourself you will be there with them when they take their last breath. You being there helps their anxiety. Please don’t let them take their last breath alone with strangers. You owe them that much.

In Memory Of

Eros

Kate

Gone But Never Forgotten

Meddlin’ Kate

January 1, 2011

January 25, 2020

The picture at the top was taken Friday morning on our way into town. I had no idea it would be our last ride together. Somehow I think she knew it was.

Poor Kate was a victim of bad breeding. She had hip dysplasia and when she reached a year old surgery was performed. She recovered well. As a pup she suffered from crystals in her urine. They were quite painful.

This picture was after we brought her home from surgery. She slept on the couch after surgery and I slept on the floor beside her.

There are so many memories. I have never felt alone in my life but today I for the first time feel alone. RIP my precious girl.

Don’t Know How Much I Can Endure

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.” – Thom Jones

I just had to have my Great Pyrenees euthanized on November 6, 2019. Cancer had attacked his body and he lost the war. He was only six years old.

Today, January 22,2020 I had a veterinarian appointment for my Australian Shepherd, Kate. X-Rays showed her lungs were riddled with tumors. I was devastated.

Kate was born on January 1, 2011. We became very attached to each other. I was a horseshoer and she was my ride dog. We were inseparable.

The vet thinks she has 1 to 2 weeks left with me before she crosses the bridge. Her crossing will leave a huge hole in my heart. Those who don’t love and respect animals like I do think I am being silly. For those of you who understand what it is like to love or be loved by a dog I thank God for you because you get it.

Wayne White

“The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of its master.” – Unknown

My Take On Life

” The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of those depths. – Elisabeth Kubler-Rossi

Life is a series of curveballs. It seems it is going to smack you head on then at the last minute turns away from us leaving us confused and perplexed wondering what’s next.

Was it fate or was it a well orchestrated move by a higher power? Was it’s purpose to wake us up or a warning of what’s to come or to prepare us for future events?

In life there are times of celebration, struggle and failure. Nothing in life is guaranteed. Death is the only certainty in life. Rich or poor we all face the reality of death. There is no guarantee that there will be a tomorrow. We are responsible for writing our own book of life.

Life should be lived to its fullest. Every day we are given should be celebrated. Be thankful for every day you are awarded.

Fill your heart with love and joy. Don’t entertain drama or negative thoughts for they are only poison to the spirit and void of any usefulness. Depression feeds on drama and negativity robbing one of a joyous and productive life.

Don’t wish your life away on material things. Be thankful for who you are and what you have. It could always be worse even if you hit rock bottom.

Stay focused on the positive things in your life. Be kind to everyone even if they aren’t to you. Don’t be quick to judge them because you know not the demons they may be facing in their life. Never blame someone else for your mistakes. Accept the responsibility of your decisions. Never doubt yourself or your abilities.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Frederick Douglas

Always believe in yourself and love who you are. Know that you can overcome any obstacle in front of you on the road of life. None of us are immune to hard times. Learn to overcome them and learn from your mistakes. Be victorious in your struggles.

I am not going to sugar coat it. Life can be a tough row to hoe. Determination is an essential element of life to help you win the battles you face. Your struggles build character and how you confront them will determine if you will be happy or miserable.

The above is just my opinion of life from what I have learned in my 65 years. I hope life is good to you and your life is full of love, happiness and joy.

Update On My Eros

2013 – 2019

“Dogs die. But dogs live, too. Right up until they die, they live. They live brave beautiful lives. They protect their families. And love us, and make our lives a little brighter, and they don’t waste time being afraid of tomorrow. – Dan Gemeinhart

He will be missed deeply. Lots of good memories. Cancer is an ugly disease. RIP my good friend.