Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beyond Belief

Today, I finished reading the book, Beyond Belief, by Josh Hamilton. For those who don't know, Hamilton plays baseball for the Texas Rangers. It's an amazing account of the two forces constantly battling for our souls - good and evil.

In a nutshell: Hamilton was the top high school baseball player in the land a few years ago. Three years later, he had blown his $4.5 million signing bonus on drugs, had alienated himself from his family and his wife, and was wandering the countryside of North Carolina in a stupor. The details are shocking as Hamilton is ever-aware of the stupidity of what he is doing but has absolutely no clue as to how to reverse the spiral downward.

In the middle of still another night of heavy drug use, he wakes up on the floor of a trailor belonging to guys he didn't even know. He realizes he has finally hit bottom. He staggers to his truck and drives to the home of the only relative who hadn't given up on him...his grandmother. She takes him in (at 2 in the morning) and immediately cooks him a meal. In his baseball days, Hamilton had 235 lbs. packed into a 6'4", a spare 180 lbs exposed skin and bone. She basically puts him on house arrest, gives him straightforward advice, and feeds him. Meanwhile, Josh commits his life to God. Horrors! I giving away everything!!

Get the book. Read the book. If your not a baseball fan, skip the first third of the book, which is about Hamilton's precocious athletic prowess as a youth. Concentrate instead on the details of how low Satan can pull someone down and how high God can lift the same person. It's inspiring to the max.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday evening update...

Thrilled to report that Mom has started adjusting to the new environment. My sister Marybeth spent the morning with her and accompanied her to the church service provided by the home. Mom was in good spirits and that, friends, is absolute music to my ears.

Sunday morning update...

Short post this morning. We got Mom moved to Christian Care Center yesterday, but her short-term memory loss was playing havoc with her adjustment. She seems to erase much of what she knows every few hours. So after all the work to explain to her that this move was to rehab her left hand and arm and get her strong enough to go back home, Mom got confused after a couple of hours...thinking she was still at Baylor and not understanding what this was all about. My prayer is that she will come around to the reality of her new environment and be able to grasp why she is there...and accept it.

And...Carole is quite ill with a sinus infection, headache, and fever. I need to be able to snap my fingers and take care of her, too. I'm so glad I have a Father in heaven who loves me and understands me and hears my prayers. What a blessing!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Update on Mom

Just as Carole and I were walking up to the hospital around 12:30 this afternoon, my cell rang and it was Dr. Myers' secretary...informing me that Mom's coumadin level was too high for her to be released today. So now we're looking at tomorrow (probably) or maybe Monday. The doctor has taken coumadin from her med list and so her level should drop to acceptable levels soon.

Dr. Myers made the mistake of checking on Mom late this afternoon when my little sister was there. Marybeth confronted him with the facts: Mom was in better shape BEFORE he began the cocktail of medicines and hasn't felt anything like her usual self since these meds have been administered. She got him to agree to review the meds with the goal of eliminating any she positively doesn't need. The nurse said that most of the meds were for the fluid on Mom's lungs and wouldn't be used once she was out of the hospital. Good News!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


On Friday, we will move my Mom from Baylor Hospital to a rehab facility. One of her nurses told me that they expect her to rehab for two weeks before being able to go home. I'm not so nearly optimistic. She is on numerous meds which make her feel woozy and sleepy. I'll be working to see if we can cut those down in the next few days. One concern I have is that she's given pills as though she's a full-sized adult. Actually, she's somewhere in the 85-lb. area and is extremely frail. I pray that she endures the transition well.

On a much lighter note, I'm finally driving a nearly-new bus. It is so great, so modern, so light-years ahead of the dogs I've been driving that I genuinely feel guilty as I motor down the road. Then I think of all the years I'd climb aboard an old yellow-hound that had been sitting out in 100+ degree heat all day...yes, climb aboard wearing nice slacks, a starched shirt, and a nice tie, and then drive for an hour. When I'd get back home, nothing on me would be dry. Bees flying in the windows, kids yelling out the open windows at passing motorists, and scores of other memories are now just memories since the windows on my bus should never have to be lowered regardless of the season.

My new bus has intermittent wipers, remote-controlled outside mirrors, a power captain's chair for the driver's seat, three powerful air-conditioners, tilt steering wheel, a cup-holder (uh, just for the driver), and a bunch of buttons whose purpose I haven't investigated yet. Life is good!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday morning finds me...

...sitting here at Baylor Hospital where Mom is being cared for. This was to be the day that she might go home, but I think she's too weak for that now. I got here before 7 today so I could catch the doctor on his rounds...he said he'd be by between 7 and 8, but now it's after 8 and no doctor.

The family has had serious issues with this guy from the beginning. He tends to over-prescribe, over-scan, and generally miss the point of trying to keep Mom comfortable. The biggest issue is with something called amiodarone, a drug designed to control arrhythmia (sp). It has powerful side effects and dosage must be carefully monitored and tweeked. The doc gave it to Mom 18 months ago when she was hospitalized and it just about killed her. When we demanded that the dosage be seriously reduced, she got better immediately and went home. On Thursday, when the doc said Mom would be admitted, I reminded him of this episode and warned him of her vulnerability to this drug's effects. Well, he started her out on a full dosage, and Mom has gone downhill since.

But he hasn't shown up yet. I only hope that when he does (if he does), I can control my anger and speak in measured tones. Hard to do since he's messin' with my momma.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


We had to put Mom back in the hospital on last Thursday. She had suffered a mild stroke a couple of days prior and hadn't told any of us kids. She was also having general weakness and some nausea. Turns out she was having another episode of atrial dibrillation as well. The doctor says she could go home Monday if she responds well to the medicine. The mini-stroke affected her left hand and is making it difficult for her grab or grasp things.

We kids know that we're looking at the inevitable now...getting her into some sort of assisted living arrangement. Fortunately, Mom understands this, too.

On another front, I am so tired of the Fox News Network. Carole has become so very enthralled with the election and its plethora of stories that she has to have the FNC on all the time. I haven't the heart to tell her how utterly beaten down I am by the yelling at the camera by Fox's news anchors. It sounds like I'm intervening in an argument every time I step into our den. Maybe Carole will read this and have mercy on me. Just two more weeks of this...unless there's some sort of disputed election result, something that could well happen.

For those of you following the saga concerning my school bus situation, here's the latest. I had a field trip this morning and amazingly was given bus 824 to drive. It had arrived back from the shop. Even though the field trip never happened (the sponsors and students were no-shows), I got to drive it across town and back. It was a's only 18 months old, has tilt-steering, and power outside mirrors. Drives and handles like a Lexus. I should officially be assigned the bus on Monday afternoon. I'm really blessed to have a retirement job I thoroughly enjoy. To get to drive SuperBus is icing on the cake.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This is getting silly...

All I do these days, these lovely days, is drive a school bus. My world is a lot simpler than when I was in the classroom trying to explain the International Date Line to middle schoolers. ("What you mean you go back a day?") Retirement is truly wonderful. But if you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that I've been trying to get a new, or almost-new, bus assigned to me. I've spent 26 years driving buses nobody wanted.

It was supposed to be different this year. I was supposed to get bus 819, an almost-new beauty. But when I arrived for work in August, they had pulled 819 and given it to someone else. I was given 499, a really good bus with, uh, 120,794 miles on it. I complained but got nowhere.

But then yesterday I was told that I was being upgraded to bus 824! Outstanding! A wonderful bus barely a year old. I couldn't start driving it yet because they wanted to give me a quick training session this morning. That's fine with me. I've waited 26 years; another 12 hours won't hurt. But then this morning, I was told that the bus was in the shop and that I'd have to get the training session this afternoon. No problem! So I return this afternoon...where I'm told, "We're sorry, but we're sending 824 back to the manufacturer." "What? Why??" "Well, it's horn honks randomly and we can't find the source of the problem." "When will I get it back?" "We have no idea."

Some days, you just can't win. Hey, some decades, too.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Still want him to lead the country?

If you consistently handle the small things in life, chances are excellent that you can tackle the big stuff with ease when life gets tough. I urge you to read the following story about the difference between Obama's campaign and that of McCain:

Monday, October 06, 2008

It'll be okay, even if HE wins...

I want McCain to be inaugurated next January as much as anyone, but there is already much angst building among Republicans (and family members) as to whether life will still be worth living if Obama gets elected. I'm certainly convinced that his chumminess with Ayers and other weirdos by itself should disqualify him from the Presidency. And his pro-abortion stance is horrible. And he's a liberal. Case closed.

But there's still a month left for things to change, and the political atmosphere these days is nothing if not volatile and subject to quick changes. But there's an even better reason to take a chill pill about a potential Obama presidency. Could it be that a little more challenge would be healthy for us Christians? If Barack really is Muslim-friendly and inclined to make deliterious decisions impacting the future of our great country, wouldn't we be forced to almost draw a line in the sand of our spiritual consciousness? One thing's for sure...we've had it a lot easier than the souls who make up the book Fox's Book of Martyrs. I mean, after all, we live in comfort, we have little or no persecution, and maybe, just maybe, that makes it easier for Satan.

I haven't researched this tonight, but I've always heard that Christianity has flourished in times of persecution. Most of us, if we had to make a quick decision...renounce God or die...would have no trouble staying loyal to our Maker. But we sometimes don't pass the test when the decision is spread over decades...and Satan has a chance to erode our commitment with his lies. Personally, I don't want persecution. I hate confrontation. I want McCain to be elected and Obama to go back to organizing communities. But most of all, I want to go to heaven. If an Obama presidency forces me to "man up" my relationship with God, then it's all for good.