Recovery, A Lengthy Measure and Thank You

It has been 7 weeks since I developed a small bullseye rash on my inner thigh. I have been taking Doxycycline, 100mg twice a day, for six weeks now. I feel every day is an improvement from the previous. My strength has elevated, my joints have loosened, the nausea is near becoming extinct, and all the pains associated with Lyme are further and further apart. It’s a very joyous feeling and one I am very thankful for, but I couldn’t have had this success on my own.

I have a family of support that cares for me beyond words or imagination. There love, understanding, and acceptance has helped my recovery and created a bond that will remain always. I can’t thank them enough. On days when my strength was frail, my appetite had vanished, and my mood was dismal they would pick me up, entice me with sweet treats, and lighten my load with a friendships laughter. My gratitude is beyond measure. So to my support, whos arms held me when I could not stand, I thank you.

Power Arises Within

I found inspiration during a recent hardship. It was so overwhelming and powerful I’m not sure how to transcribe how it happens or the sensations associated with it. I do know internally, from the innermost of the inner, there is a power that needed to be released. This poem was the release.

An Unseen Melody

I say yes,

You say no.

I say happy,

You say sad.

I say easy,

You say hard.

 

You say yes,

I say no.

You say happy,

I say sad.

You say easy,

I say hard.

 

This is beauty,

A circles reunion.

Created with difference

Ever infinite

 

I say I love you,

You say not today.

I say I want you,

You say stay away.

 

You say I love you,

I say as I do you.

You say I want you,

I say I want you too.

 

This is the surest way,

Keeping the flowers out.

This is the roughest way,

Harboring the dark of night.

 

Look at your perspective,

Which way do you go?

Look at your direction,

What do you see?

 

I say I love you,

You say as I do you.

I say I want you,

You say I want you too.

 

You say I love you,

I say as I do you.

You say I want you,

I say I want you too.

 

This is loves gift,

A circles completion.

If each sees,

The outstretched arm.

The flower will bloom,

Under a rainbows glow.

 

I say yes,

You say no.

I say happy,

You say sad.

I say easy,

You say hard.

 

You say yes,

I say no.

You say happy,

I say sad.

You say easy,

I say hard.

 

“The future is no place to place your better days” ~Dave Matthews~

Grossly Incompetent: Self-Righteous Idiocy

A few weeks ago, Friday March 16, I removed a tick from my inner  thigh. I am unsure how long it was attached, but I can confidently confirm he/she was sucking away. I immediately attempted to remove the tick and found it to be a little more difficult than I had envisioned. When I would tug on him/her the skin on my leg would completely lift up and I could feel the pull. I decided to give a nice big yank and see what happend. I was in luck. I pulled the parasitic abomination out in entirety. I immediately ran to the kitchen and grabbed a paper towel to place the infectious varmen in. I took one quick look and become so overwhelmed that I went directly to the fireplace and tossed it in.

I know ticks carry Lyme so I decided to take pictures of the bite; I would be able to monitor and have a record of what transpired this way. At first it didn’t look bad, but by early Saturday Morning I was a little concerned. The area was still red and had a rashy look. It still was nothing like the horrific google pictures, but it was looking a little conspicuous. I decided to take morning and evening pictures to help my documentation and by Saturday night I was a little concerned.

I sent the pictures to my brother, a medical employee who has years of service as an EMT and a veterinarian technician. His reply was simple, “go to the Dr. and get some Doxy. Time is critical”. Well heck, that’s not what I was hoping to hear. I also sent the pictures to Monique who was out of town for the week volunteering at an event for at risk children. She is also a Lyme recovery and has been symptom free for 6 years. She promptly called and expressed her concern. She also expressed her concern that many doctors do not listen and for me to be cautious to arrogance. Hmmm. I know that battle as I suffered its appearance during my Celiac Diagnosis. I wasn’t going to go to the ER, cost reasons, but I would go, on Monday, to a doctor.

By the time Monday morning rolled around there was no mistaking it. There was a tiny, about the size of my pinky nail, bullseye on my inner thigh. I promptly looked up an infectious disease specialist and gave them a call. I was informed that without a referral I wasn’t going to be seen and they are unwilling to give any advice over the phone. There only advice: go to Urgent Care. Wow, these people could care less whether I was ok or not. I took the advice and went in to our local Urgent Care in Santa, Cruz. It was operated by a large health care chain.

It took about an hour for the Dr. to come in and see me. I explained what had happened and he looked me in the eye and said, “Yes, it looks like a bullseye rash, but it isn’t one. It isn’t big enough. Also if the tick wasn’t on you for over 24hrs you can not contract Lyme. I’ve been doing this for 20 yrs and that isn’t Lyme. However; since you don’t know how long the tick was on you I’m going to give you a dose, two 100mg pills of Doxy, to take care of it. If any Lyme did get in this will prevent it from developing and you will be fine.” What the BLEEP! Monique was livid. I brought her with me as she has dealt first hand with the disease and cares about me more than the Dr. To him I am #6219544. The doctor assures us it’s not Lyme by saying it doesn’t look big enough. No test is ran, no discussion of possible symptoms, and no concern is shown. With this we make are leave.

Monique and my brother are both furious and urge me to start a treatment of Doxy, twice a day, until symptoms are not present. Both are sure I have Lyme; now, I am sure I do as well.

It’s been roughly three weeks since I was bitten and I can honestly say it has not been the easiest. Herxheimer reactions can be down right debilitating. The fatigue I experience is difficult to transcribe, the ache in my joints is beyond bearable, and nothing helps take any of the symptoms away. It’s just part of the die off. The last one I had lasted for two and a half days. I managed not to let it keep me out of life though. I went to a Shen Yun performance and helped collaborate on the development of a childrens pirate ship; however, my external expression was no less than ailing. I can say that I am feeling better now than I have since I was bitten.

I’m not sure how long I will be afflicted with this dreadful disease, I have read some reports of it being chronic, but I’m determined not to let it put me down. Yes, it did knock me down, but it hasn’t put me down. Oh, and I have continued planning and prepping for our long distance hike. I’ll have more to come on that in the near future.

 

“There is nothing so stable as change” ~Bob Dylan~

Soap Box Truth: A Hasty Retreat, Avoidance, Dismissal, and Shunning

Current world events are staging to redirect the entire populace of this beautiful planet towards the vulgar, grotesque, repugnant, cringeworthy, abominable, nauseating, and insufferable disgust that is war. Don’t plan on being informed of this by your local news outlet, e.g., newspaper, journalist, news station, or any other form of controlled, artificial news. These types and forms of news are designed to distract and persuade to the point of control. It is their “job” to drive how the populace thinks. Check for yourself. All one needs to do is tune into a news station and try to find a story that is beyond, or far removed from, sensationalism. Find a story promoting a coming together of nations, a unifying of people, or a conflict solution through synergy created by collaboration. All very tough finds.

Truth is a kleptocratic governing body will steal more than just your wealth. They will also rob you of your free will and oppress you to the utmost while increasing privation all the more frequent. This governing body is made up of more than politicians. It includes news anchors, journalist, police officers, military personnel, teachers, supervisors, managers, sales representatives, and any other position that places morality on the back burner for purposes of economics and blind obedience. These perfidious parasites spew their mendacious venom in all directions and play biase to their income generator. In doing so they divide humanity, incite riots of race, spark violence as a solution, and educate for conformity. So how do we help change this course of self destruction?

Simple, we change ourself. When we do this and operate within a construct of moral, righteous behaviour we inspire our self; however, that inspiration isn’t limited to our self. It touches others as well. This wouldn’t be a bad thing to perpetuate. Yet how many will take up the call for the betterment of humanity? How many will be courageous enough to follow their true, inner self?

As unpleasant as the truth is it is still no less than truth. I would encourage all, myself included, to stop and consider the moral implications of what we each do in our day to day lives. Consider as well: One does not have to follow an order because it is demanded of them. Fear oppresses freedom, obedience oppresses free will, and oppressed liberty is slavery’s welcome.

“If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of “clear and present danger,” then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.” ~John F Kennedy~

relevant

Transient Pleasures

As one directs efforts and attentions towards goals they may find inspiration leading them in a different direction. It may sprout, like a spring flower, slow and after the appropriate circumstances have developed. Then again, it may develop, like a supercell thunderstorm, fast and furious over a rather short period. Regardless of how it came to be, the creation is so strong it changes the entire course and direction of their life. Welcome to our current situation.

As we worked and applied efforts toward our Alaska adventure we couldn’t help but feel the pull of a familiar nature. Like a fish toying with the fisherman’s bait it would tug and then release, tug and release. What was this intermittent tugging and why was it reaching for us? Neither of us could define the answer or cause, yet we couldn’t help but listen. We knew, just as a fisherman does, we will eventually catch the fish or miss it altogether, but an attempt to catch success would be made.  Then, one night, while working in Santa Cruz, it happened. The fish was hooked!

It happened as Monique and I were sitting at the dinner table. I made, audibly, the observation that it seemed neither of our hearts were in the venture we were planning. Yes, we both enjoyed the thought of traveling to Alaska, the numerous opportunities it would present, the wonderful people we would meet along the way, and the freedom, but the enthusiasm was lacking. Not just from her, but me as well. There was something else we both wanted. I asked, “what do YOU want to do? What resonates within that aches to be released? Her response, “finish the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)”. As the last words left her lips I felt my internal vibration jingle a jangle that is the voice of truth. This same desire had been weighing on me. It is one of the two incompletes in my life.

It took all of ten seconds for us to decide that this is what we wanted to do, but not just the two of us. We want Lyla to accompany us. She can already outpace me on all our day hikes. Within moments of this decision we were already planning. We had, within an hour, a gear list for Lyla and a timeline plan. However, the most beautiful reward of this is seeing the sparkling oceans of Azure that belong to Monique. 

 

“Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.” ~GANDHI~

Life Nectar

It’s easy to walk into a kitchen, grab a glass from a cabinet, and fill it from the tap. Presto, thirst quenched in under a minute. What happens though when that option isn’t a viable avenue? What if on top of not having a kitchen you can’t purchase water either? How does one procure the life sustaining drink when the two most culturally accepted methods to obtain them are not pursuable?

I have found, through experience of trial and error, a couple things that helped resolve the above questions. The first being a water filter. I cannot begin to emphasize the value of this little contraption enough. It has the power to turn a brown, cloudy liquid into a clear, crisp revitalizing refreshment. It also removes giardia and a host of other contaminants. We opted for a four liter gravity system for our travels.

The system itself allows us to be hands free while it filters. No squeezing or pumping involved. I simply fill the “dirty” bag with water, hang it from a limb or lay it on a slope, and gravity does the rest. It’s a simple process, but does take time and a water source. Usually around ten to fifteen minutes per gallon. I pass the time by attempting to meditate or sitting quietly just being in my surroundings. E.g., today I filtered five gallons from a mountain stream in a national forest. the water is clear, no cloudiness like when you get it from a city source, and has a crispness that I cannot transcribe. As I listened to the stream I found my thoughts roaming ever more inward until my focus was blurred and time was no place to be found. It is most rewarding. It was in one of these states that I understood a second, helpful tool for the acquisition of clean drinking water. Perseverance!

Yes, I said perseverance. I didn’t associate this with the collection of water until I actually tried gathering it from alternative sources such as mountain streams or springs on numerous occasions. This new understanding arose from much personal experience. A couple contributing factors are unreliable water sources and people. Let me elaborate more on the first factor.

Water can be indicated on a map or atlas by a blue line. This blue line can be either broken or solid, both indicating water. The broken line usually refers to intermittent or seasonal water while the solid line, supposedly, represents a reliable, year round source. Unfortunately with the ever changing climate these solid lines are becoming less reliable. I know, from personal experience through years of travel, that some of these water sources have dried up and some are intermittent. I see this currently in California. Imagine having half a liter of water and driving through a particularly long dry stretch. In the middle of this dry stretch is a solid blue line on your map. However, when you arrive at said blue line you find a riverbed occupied by only loose gravel and dirt. The only option at this point is to drive, even if it’s out of the way, to the next reliable water source. Don’t be discouraged though; not all water sources are like this. I actually believe the second factor to be more irksome.

People, sometimes they’re the worst. They can pose problematic when you aren’t living the way they believe is appropriate or their rules and regulations tell them they are not permitted to accept what you are doing. We were in a National Forest recently when we ran into a rather annoying situation. We came in the back way to avoid the hordes of people and traffic. This has always been a solid way to circumnavigate the delays and avoid being in the way of others. On this trip it was considered the winter season in the forest so I knew not many people would be here. It’s late February and the temperature is swinging from a low in the forties to a high in the sixties. As we entered the park we could see the river about five hundred feet below us, but there was no possible way to descend the drop. Luckily there was a day use area to our right that had a trail leading down to the water. The only problem was a locked rail preventing anyone from entering the area by car. The sign read closed for winter. No worries. I can park off to the side, there are no “no parking signs”, walk around the gate, and down to the water source. We decided to do this and Monique would walk Lyla while I filtered. It took a whole five minutes before I was approached by a forest official saying I wasn’t allowed to be parked where I was, I wasn’t allowed to get water from the stream, and we must leave; safety reasons of course. He didn’t care we had no water and he didn’t seemed concerned if we got any. Our safety and health wasn’t his problem, but the safety of the closed area was his problem and he was to protect that safety at all cost. Perhaps he was concerned the toilet would spontaneously combust and needed to be sure the fire apparatus could make it through in a timely manner. I couldn’t say either way, but I did manage to fill up our four liter water bag. I returned to the van knowing I had at least managed to retrieve a gallon of water. I don’t think he noticed the bag I was holding had water in it. We then drove to the overflow parking near the campground to filter the water. Surely we would be out of the way and not bothersome to any. The campground was open and held around five campers on the forty plus lot. As I set up our water filter a second forest official came over and informed us we couldn’t be in the overflow parking area. Perhaps they were expecting a mass exodus of city dwellers to converge on the campground that evening and we were in great parrel by being parked there. I can’t say for sure though. I politely explained we were filtering some water and then would be on our way. He mumbled something about fifteen minutes and then left. We drove another fifty six miles after this and filled the rest of our water via a stream on the opposite side of the park; there were no officials in this area whatsoever.

I still have not figured out what I did in either situation that was problematic. Both officials seemed burdened by our presence and only wanted our removal as timely as possible. This I deduced through a correlation of words and actions. I must note that not all forest officials are like this. There are service members who commend us for reusing plastic instead of always purchasing new ones, thank us for practicing leave no trace, and express inspiration in what we are doing. These are the stars in the night that give me strength. Don’t be discouraged by naysayers, the opposites, the friendly, encouraging service members, are worth the brief discomfort.

“The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules, but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages” ~Banksy

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A “Rusty” Memory

I was working for a rehabilitation and nursing home in Englewood CO., as a custodian, and received the universal gift, love. It was mid-day when I found myself in the room of Mr. Rusty, having a fun round of questioning as I cleaned. This was a reoccuring theme between me and many of the residents. Our conversation soon led to his past and the boxes of pictures residing in his bottom dresser drawer. I’ve always enjoyed looking through photos and enjoying the memory of another’s past experiences.

 

As curiosity tugged at my mind I thought of some things; I have an opportunity to help, psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally, the well being of another. It is a life reward that will bear no financial acquisition, but if money isn’t a motivating factor the treasure is immeasurable. I recall thinking, if I go through these photos my list of “corporate chores” will not get done and there is usually a questioning of why from my superior. I am confident my, although valid and justified, reason will be dismissed and shunned. At this moment I laughed and smiled thinking “I get it”, promptly asking if we could go through the bottom drawer.

 

For the next two and a half hours I sat in a small room of a nursing home learning, laughing, and loving. Turns out Rusty was a fisherman who enjoyed travel. He had an old 1970 something full size truck that had a camper attached to the bed. I still remember the yellowish tone and white stripe down the side of the pickup. The top of his little camper rose up to provide more head room too. He would take this camper to alpine lakes mainly, fishing for trout. He had been doing this, on and off, since retiring from the Denver Dept. of Water. This portion of his life filled an entire photo album. I am still honored knowing he took time out of his day to share a portion of his life with me; however, like all good things, it ended.

 

I was found in Rustys room, sitting cross legged like an Indian with pictures and a photo album around me. The look of shock on the face of the nurse will forever be engraved in my memory. She very curiously asked what I was doing so I informed her. She had an odd, unknowing smile and then told me I was being sought for the last hour. Evidently some water had spilled in front of the nurses station and no other associate had the ability or competence to create a solution: at least one beyond putting a yellow caution sign over it and then looking for the janitor.

 

The smile and joy on Rustys face when I left his room was worth all my trouble, or lack thereof. My supervisor, Clark Kent, never questioned me about the incident either, but I believe that my choice was admired that day by more than just Rusty.  
“There is more to health than physical and more to life than money” ~Team Juice Box