Monday, July 31, 2017

A Good Monday

Monday is turning into another good day.  I didn’t do a hike but I did my knee exercises and played all of the sacred songs and three of the jazz songs.  I also did three sets of weights and yoga.  I left the hollow around 2 because I was hoping to get a lot done and I accomplished a few things, getting my meds at Walmart, dropping by Verizon to reapply for my 15% discount, stopping at East Coasters to have them look at my steering (Ian is going to have to order a part), talking to Kitty Devereaux about the Stephen ministry (it will require 50 hours of training so that may become problematic when I start teaching again but I should get in at least 20 sessions).  I will meet with her Thursday to introduce myself and learn more about the program.  I also get bloodwork on Thursday and have a meeting on Vibrant Paradoxes.  I have been having repetitive nightmares lately and I hope they go away.   I wake up upset, get back to sleep and then wake up one or two more times with the same bad dream.   I am now in Our Daily Bread doing my blog and just having finished an almond croissant.  I will work a bit on my writing and then probably take a walk at the Tech Library then head for the Holy Spirit group, with perhaps a short nap in between.   I am not sure what I am going to do about golf once the Meadows is sold.   I have 8 more 9 hole rounds before they close August 31 so I guess I will try to use them up.  After that I am not sure if I will continue playing because of my financial situation.  Auburn Hills is almost twice as expensive but I'll see how my finances are holding out.  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A good sunday

Sunday was another good day.  I did my knee exercises then since it was going to be a pretty mild day (low 80s), I decided to see if I could still play golf since I haven’t played in a month.  I was very surprised that I played so well (I shot a 94 and had set my goal at 108).  I then drove off to the Blue Ridge Parkway to ride my bike at mile marker 99 and that was a lot of fun.  I sprayed the front with oil and I had no problems with the handle bars sticking.  I drove back down on Route 43 hoping to find a spot on the James to fish but nothing seemed to work so I drove to the Applebee’s in Salem and had a Caesar Chicken Salad and did some emails and my blog.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Another good day

Saturday turned out very well.  I had a bit of trouble getting up (eventually getting out of bed at 9:30) but I went for a hike from the gate to the orchard, trimming along the way and that felt very good.  Last night I had to cut a tree down across the road and today I moved a couple of pieces further off the road.   I got home and rested for a few minutes then did my knee exercises, my weights (with the 10 pounder instead of the 8) and yoga, played through all the sacred songs twice, washed the dishes and then headed off for confession and the 5 pm mass.  I walked some around the church, talked to Jenny Wells (she is doing fine with Paloma and Oliver, who is now 3), then had a very good mass and since I had gone to reconciliation I was able to receive the Eucharist, which made me feel even better.  After that I rested for a few minutes in the Perry Street garage then rode my bike for 40 minutes although the steering was locking up a bit so I have to have East Coasters look at it.  My kayak friend and I are going tomorrow and I will rent from Tangent but I hope to use my kayak on our next trip if I have the strength.  I stopped by the campers yesterday and gave each of the ones who helped cut my grass a gift card from Dick’s.  They really helped me out when I was feeling pretty ill and I wanted to reward them.  I had a Southwest salad at McDonalds and I will finish my blog and hopefully talk to Dave before I head home.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Good Day

Friday turned into a very good day.  I was able to get up at 8:30 and go for a walk from the gate just up to the orchard, pruning some with the hand pruner.  I feel pretty good and my feet felt a little better.  The final trimming before I head out is almost done.  I will cut the grass next week and that should be the last cutting.  I talked to Mike Young yesterday and he thought Dougie would be fine with me coming back to visit occasionally.  I will of course ask his permission but I’m pretty sure he will agree.  David and Laura have already given me permission to return so if I get hollow needy I think I will have access at least as long as the Sissons own their property.  After my hike I lay down for a few minutes but quickly got up and did my knee exercises, then practiced all my sacred songs, then did my weights and yoga.  I also did some more straightening up and then drove into town to have a late lunch with Claire Hall.  It was great to see her and after sushi she treated me to frozen yogurt and we walked some around downtown.  I sent Mike Ellerbrock a response to his group and his articles and I am waiting for Thursday’s meeting.  I helped Dave yesterday a little.  He was in a bit of a funk and I cheered him up and he  was very appreciative.   He has been such a good friend that I am very glad I could reciprocate a bit.  I am in McDonalds doing my blog and then, since it is raining, I will go riding in the Perry Street garage after I am done.  Then home for prayers and songs.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Good Day, Bad Day

Wednesday was one of my best days in a long time.  I slept well, got up reasonably early, did my knee exercises and played all my piano pieces, prayed a rosary, read more of Merton’s essay on Faulkner, started reading Genesis and then headed off to see Rob.  He thought my breathing was much better and said it would be okay to go kayaking on Sunday.  He told me an amusing story about Noah having to dissect an animal heart and he really should write it up.  Then I went to my office and did a good bit of work straightening out the pile of letters and papers I haven’t filed.  I then rode my bike for 40 minutes and headed home in time for prayer and songs then dinner.

Thursday morning I was a little tired but I did get up and do my knee exercises and played through my piano pieces (not very well I must add).  I then drove to meet Jen Jordan at 2 and I think I was too aggressive with her, debating issues about God’s perfection instead of listening more.  I sent her a richly deserved apology, and I am going to do more thinking about what she said.  I am certainly struggling with my lack of faith and I am not sure what to do.  I will be heading to the reading group in a few minutes and I hope that goes well.  Dave was feeling a little down so I did have a nice talk with him and I hope it gets him out of his funk.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Not sure of pneumonia

Tuesday was an okay day.  The Holy Spirit group did calm me down some but I felt that asking for prayers for Lee, my roommate during chemo, seemed out of place.  I didn’t sleep well and ended up taking 2 2.5 mg valiums and 1 Trazadone.  I was pretty groggy in the morning but I did eventually do all my knee exercises, and played through all the sacred songs twice.  I also made good progress on changing my address.  I set up the electricity and I found out that basic cable and internet will cost about 80 and that would be affordable.  My hands are so slow but I am getting a little better at piano.  I decided to leave the hollow at 4 and I drove to Radford to give Claire her birthday present.  I then headed to my office to tidy up my files, which are getting messy.  My kayak friend emailed me and would like to go kayaking this Sunday, which may work if the antibiotics clear me up by Friday.  

Monday, July 24, 2017

Pneumonia again?

I thought today was going to go well.  I got home last night in time to do my prayers and songs.  I slept fine, getting up around 8:40 to do some more pruning on the orchard road, and walking a little to test my endurance.  I got home and rested some and the cough I have had for the past 2 weeks seemed a little worse even when I was sitting up.  I drove down to the pasture and decided to make an appointment with Rob for 3:30.  I went back home, did my knee exercises, read some more of Matthew and a Merton essay on peace, then organized the tool box in my truck, then finished separating all the tools that I won’t need when I move.  I did a wash and cleaned the dishes, then played piano through the six holy pieces I am working on.  I got to Rob’s a few minutes early and when he examined me he said he was very worried about me getting pneumonia again and having to end up in the hospital again.  That got me pretty upset and Rob sent me over to the Imaging center for a chest x-ray.  He also called in a prescription for Levofloxacin (500 mg), one pill per day for 5 days. He also wants me to use the Nebulizer again.   I drove right to the pharmacy, then since I needed to take it with food, I drove to McDonalds and had a chicken sandwich and a side salad.  I talked to Dave briefly and he was very concerned since he remembered my last bout with pneumonia where I ended up in the hospital for three days.  I called Rob back and he said I could ride my bike after the Holy Spirit group but stay on flat ground.  I am really upset but I hope the Holy Spirit group will calm me down.  

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Getting back to work on the orchard road and the house

Sunday turned out to be an okay day.  I was able to get up at 8:30 and do some more pruning on the orchard road, then I returned home for a rest, then went to work separating all the tools and stuff and made good progress.   I talked to David yesterday and told him that I wasn’t going to have the energy to clean the house and he said that I had done enough and I also mentioned that I would be leaving the stuff I didn’t need and he was okay with that.  I did my knee exercises and did a number of little things to get things more organized for the move.  I am certainly nervous about it, first the physical move and then the financial cost, which may cause me to look for a new place the following year.  I practiced some piano (going through all of the songs once) and I read more of Merton, although “The Philosophy of Solitude,” though an amazing effort, deals with a subject way out of my realm.  I did a good bit of praying and that always calms me some.  At about 4 I drove into Blacksburg, got rid of the garbage and recycling, and headed to McDonalds to put more of the Barron quotes into my computer and to do my blog.  I should finish by a little after 7 and that will give me time for a good bike ride and also time to drive back to the hollow to do my prayers and singing.   

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Finally, a little improvement

Saturday was a pretty good day.  I was able to get out of bed at around 8:30 and drive up to the orchard to trim a good part of it and run the lawn tractor for 15 minutes.  I rested when I returned home but did my knee exercises and my weights and yoga.  I read some more of Matthew and more of Merton, who is really interesting but seems to talk about people well beyond any place I’ll ever be.  I just want to create a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit and if I can do that, I will feel incredibly successful.  I am a very simple man who has lived a life without God and I think I can change that.  All the other mysterious and fascinating aspects will have to wait.  After getting showered and dressed, I drove to St. Mary’s and went to 5 pm Mass and I sat behind Joseph and his family.  I saw Jen with her husband Kevin and I talked to them briefly after the Mass.  I felt even more comfortable with the Mass and the singing and if my health continues to improve, I hope I can participate in the Stephen ministry.  It offers individual comfort to people with various problems and I think it would be a good thing for me.  Joseph thought that it would be a good place for me.  

Friday, July 21, 2017

Still Tired

Friday was another struggle to get up and I didn’t take a Zoloft, but after taking a 2.5 mg valium and waking up at 5, I took another 2.5 valium and 2 trazadones.  I did get back to sleep and didn’t get up till 9:30 but I couldn’t stay up long.  I read more of Matthew, three more Merton essays, and did my knee exercises, but really didn’t get up until after 3.  I did a lot of thinking about my relationship to God (and a lot of praying) but I still uncertain about things.   I am not sure if it is the effects of the reduction in prednisone (from 20 to 17 and ½), the withdrawal from the Zoloft or just the extra drugs I took to go back to sleep, but I need to get my energy back.  I did drive to the Tech Library (to charge my computer and to put in more quotes from Barron and Merton) and stayed about an hour and then I headed to McDonalds to email Jen and Joseph, and to do my blog.  I am hoping to go bike riding a little later and get home in time for evening prayers and songs.    Last night I called Judy to talk about my spiritual progress and she was very caring and told me a lot about how she became a good Catholic (she really is a holy person and I can’t believe how I missed that).  She advised going slowly and that I am on a good path and that gave me some comfort.   Joseph from the Holy Spirit group sent me a very supportive email and I responded so he would understand my situation a little better.  He thinks I am on a good path also, with my readings and my attendance at mass, reconciliation and communion.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

So Tired

Wednesday proved a pretty good day so far.  I was able to get up by 8:15 and trim the lower part of the road and then I went back to lie down for a bit but I got up and did my knee exercises and then get ready to go pick up my meds at Walmart and head to my office to do a few things and then meet with Jen and Jessica to discuss the rest of Luke Chapter 5.  I still don’t get the fear of God idea but Jen and Jessica made a good argument.   They feel that I will understand the fear of God as I connect more with him (am I connected at all?).  One of the things that astonishes me in my ignorance is how I have never worried about devils (I guess that is at the core of my agnosticism) but clearly real Catholics believe in them.  I took a quick nap and then drove to Blacksburg to do my bike ride.  I stayed inside the Perry street garage since it was shady and had a slight wind and then I rode home in time to do my prayers and songs.  I took a Zoloft around 9 and then I took a 2.5 mg. valium at about 12.  

Thursday was an awful day.  I slept until almost 8 but had to return to bed several times.  I separated a few things in the baskets but that was it.  I had to lie down and really didn’t get up until after 4.  When I talked to Rob later, he said it could be the Zoloft, the chemo, or the reduction in prednisone.  I felt the same way last Monday so I am going to stop the Zoloft or I will cease to function.  I did a lot of reading and thinking, rereading the first six chapters of Matthew and finding the later part of the Sermon on the Mount incredibly strict about anger being equated with murder and even to lust after someone is to commit adultery.  That is a pretty harsh god that Jesus represents so I guess that Jen and Jessica’s belief that the Old Testament God is the same as the New Testament one makes sense.  The earlier part of the sermon is much more compassionate.  I also read more of Robert Barron’s Vibrant Paradoxes and more an essay “The White Pebble” by Thomas Merton about his conversion to Catholicism and then to a monk and then to a priest.  His description of mass is absolutely transcendent.  I can’t ever hope for such lofty heights but I still am praying for a direct connection with the Holy Spirit.  That would be a wonderful start and maybe all I can achieve in what’s left of my life.  I prayed several rosaries today and I realize that I haven’t really loved anyone in my life (How sad!  I loved nature and fought to preserve it and I was always very fond of little kids but I never was really in love with an adult).  But I really think I can still have a loving relationship with the Holy Spirit so that would be so special and so important.    

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Very Bad Day and some better news

Monday was a real struggle and really a waste of time.  I had talked to Rob about getting bloodwork done at his office on Monday but obviously there was a miscommunication since the results wouldn’t be ready till Tuesday but Rob promised to send the results over at 8.  I got to his office around 10, and Valarie did her job as well as she always does, then I picked up some food and headed back home where I dropped off to be and had such a struggle getting out of bed.  I finally got out around 3 and decided to head into town to do my blog and then go to the Holy Spirit group at seven.  I was too tired to blog so I called Rob and told him what was going on and how I couldn’t get out of bed so he told me to stop the Zoloft which I was going to do anyway.  I parked in the Perry Street garage and rested until 6:15.  It was hot and I got all sweaty and I finally had to open all the windows to get some air in and I decided to drive about to air out my shirt and I put on some deodorant.  I mentioned to Joseph that I wasn’t feeling well and later he praised me for coming even though I wasn’t feeling well and asked for prayers for me.   It was a pretty powerful evening with about 20 people showing up and some pretty good singing.  Both Marys chatted with me afterwards but I still wasn’t feeling well and I was kind of numb driving home.  I had an orange and some steamed vegetables for dinner and went to bed around 11:15, taking a full valium and hoping for a decent night’s sleep but that was not going to happen and I kept checking the clock every 20 minutes or so.  Awful night but I finally got up around 6:15 and washed the dishes, took a shower and then packed up my stuff and headed out.

Tuesday is going to be a long day since the bloodwork got messed up again so I had to have the bloodwork done here even though I had it done at Rob’s yesterday.   Nurse Lorrie put the IV in around 9 (it took her two tries but it didn’t bother me much) and then finally we got the IV started around 10 so I won’t be getting out until around 9:45.  I had a roommate, Lee, a 28 year old fellow with stage 4 rectal cancer and he was getting 5-FU and Oxalyplatin.  He had a criminal past (non-violent) but we chatted quite a bit about Jesus and he also is looking for faith.  He told me to talk with his father Gerald when he came back and Gerald was impressive, telling me stories about his seeing Jesus and other folks seeing angels around him.  Eventually he knelt beside my bed and had me confess in front of Lee and Gerald’s pregnant young wife that I believed in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and he said that now the Holy Spirit had entered my heart.   I didn’t feel much of a change but I did appreciate his efforts.  Definitely an intense and interesting guy who certainly has the Holy Spirit in his heart.  Claire Hall also came to visit and it was nice to chat with her and while she was here Dr. Trivedi came by and said that my test results were better, that my blood level only a pint and a half down, and that the other figures were closer to normal.  She is okay with me going down to 17 and ½ on the prednisone but she thought I should wean myself off the Zoloft slowly, one pill tonight (I didn’t take any yesterday) and then skip a night then one pill, then two days off before taking another pill.  Sounds like a reasonable plan and I just hope that I can get some energy back.  It is almost astonishing how tired I became.  I am pretty sure it is the Zoloft although Trivedi said the chemo could also weaken me.  She also said that it is possible that if my numbers are good enough, that I may not need another chemo.  I took a twenty minute walk a half hour ago and I hope to get another one in before my 9 pm treatment. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Successful Yard Sale

Saturday was another tough morning to get up, but I was able to head to St. Mary’s by 10:30 and get there by 11.   There wasn’t much to do at first, but I helped load a few items for buyers.  The real work began around 1 when it was time to start boxing things up, starting with the books.   To me two people stood out, Sandi and Jim.  They were indefatigable.  I also met Dennis, Jerry and Cathy and Kate the gardener was there and very friendly.  Mary was handling the food and I chatted with her a little.  It was hard work getting everything outside for the Goodwill truck to pick up everything that was left.   estimated that we made 810 but the real figure was over 2200 so it was pretty successful.  I was exhausted when we finished around 4, putting away the tables and cleaning up. I did get a chance to go to confession before mass so I was able to go to communion.  However Rob called and wanted to go for a walk so took some pain reliever and then went to McDonalds, got a southwest salad, and then headed off for a nice walk with Rob at 7.  Rob thinks that once I get off the prednisone he will be able to take me off the Zoloft and that would be very good.  I did pretty well considering how tired I was.  I ended up visiting with the campers and had a fun time with them.   

Sunday was a struggle getting up (I ended up taking 2 2.5 valiums and one Trazadone because I woke around 2:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep).  However, around 8 I did get up and went out and used the trimmer around the house and I felt very good that I could accomplish that.  I had to lie down but I ended up doing my knee, exercises, cleaning out the bathroom drawers and organizing more stuff.  I also played some piano but I did rest a lot.   I have been reading Bishop Robert Barron’s Vibrant Paradoxes and there are many insightful things in it.  I also prayed quite a bit and read some more of the Gospel of John.  I am at McDonalds doing my blog and I think I am going to start putting my research in separate sections.  

Friday, July 14, 2017

Thursday and Friday

Thursday morning I couldn’t get out of bed until almost 11.   It was a real struggle and when I finally did get up I was very lethargic, doing a few things around the house before heading in to the reading group which turned out to be very interesting.   I think Deacon Mike is a really smart guy and several of the 15 or so people were pretty sharp also.  I bought the book Vibrant Paradoxes at the group but I was still able to participate pretty well, and Mike complimented me on one of my questions.  I rode my bike after the group and that was good for my legs.

Friday was another struggle to get out of bed and I ended up lying down a lot but I got a lot done around the house, which made me feel pretty good.  I did my knee exercises and I ended up driving into town around 3, dropping off some garbage, stopping at goodwill, then heading over to St. Mary’s to help with settting up the yard sale.  I got there around 4 and worked almost till 9 and I think everyone appreciated my efforts.   I called Judy to thank her for her card and she left a nice, loving message this evening.  I really do appreciate her concern.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

still very tired

Monday turned out okay but it was very hard to get out of bed and get going.  I did my knee exercises and eventually drove to St. Mary’s to drop off my yard sale stuff (it turned out that Mary was wrong and things started on Sunday so when I got there the tables were was loaded with stuff and people were driving up with lots more.  Luckily I got rid of all my stuff and my books then I helped set things on various tables after they were priced.   At 7 I joined the Holy Spirit Group and made a few funny comments.  Glenda was there, which was nice, as were most of the regulars.  At chatting with Felistus after the meeting, I was stunned by her situation, with diabetes and only Joseph working, and by Kate’s situation (she finally after three years got a work visa.  If I had the 55K that I should have gotten, I would have been able to pay off my equity line, pay off Tracy and still have some cash to help out.  Now I have to be so careful about every dollar.  Yet I know I am so spoiled and as I rode my bike at Tech I started crying about how hard life is for so many people.

Tuesday was another very hard day to get up but I did and eventually drove to Dr. Trivedi’s to get my shot to help my blood.  They didn’t have my lab results so I had to wait an hour and a half to get the shot and it was pretty painful.  Then I went to East Coasters and Ian put a new tire on the back and fixed the shifter.  One of the other fellows put the replacement piece on the rack.  I couldn’t tip them as I usually do and I got dizzy at the store. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Hard Day

      Saturday was a very difficult start, and this blog is quite messy but I think it is very honest and may lead to some good writing and insight into myself.   When I dropped back into bed exhausted, a deep dread took over and I had to take a 2.5 mg. valium.  I was almost totally panicked, clutching the crucifix from my rosary and begging the Holy Spirit to come give me peace.  Eventually I calmed down (am I becoming a drug addict?) and did my knee exercises while reading the book Claire loaned me called Wild at Heart by John Eldredge.  His primary thesis is that  “men need something else.  They need a deeper understanding of why they long for adventures and battles and a Beauty.” “No question about it—there is something fierce in the heart of God.” 31 This book is really affecting me, especially a passage from a section called “What about adventure?” “If you have any doubts as to whether or not God loves wildness, spend a night in the woods….alone [this is something I have done many times, camping by myself in wilderness areas like the Outer Loop of Big Bend National Park and on a solitary 50 mile hike on the West Coast of Vancouver Island or on the two vision quests I experienced].  “Talk a walk in a thunderstorm [hiking out to Lewis Lake in Yellowstone I was hit by one of the fiercest thunderstorms I every encountered and sat it out, drenched but not panicked and another time with my girlfriend up in Canada’s Glacier National Park, where a huge storm hit us and while my friend was scared, I just told her we had to sit it out] “Go for a paddle with a pod of killer whales [when I was camping on the West Coast Trail I went for a swim right near a pod of killer whales].   The passage goes on to talk about “the deserts of the Southwest with all those rattlesnakes—would you describe them as “nice” places? Most of the earth in not safe, but it’s good.” 31  From my childhood on I have always had the desire for wildness and adventure.   I have hiked and fished many times in grizzly bear country, my only protection my singing to alert a grizzly if I couldn’t see very far.    After my first encounter with the Canadian Rockies, I returned every year for ten years.  It was a sacred place and one of my greatest experiences was climbing to the higher peak of Mt. Rundle (after failing the first time by losing the trail).  Perhaps this experience was what led my ex-wife to fall in love with me.  But I did these things for 30 years and ended up living by myself for eight years in a Thoreauvian cabin without running water, a mile from my nearest neighbor, with foxes, deer, wild turkeys, coyotes and bears ,
And then Tracy and I had a log house built and we lived there together for 6 years until she left to move into town.   
“Why is pornography the number one snare for men?  He longs for the beauty, but without his fierce and passionate heart he cannot find her or win her or keep her.  Though he is powerfully drawn to the woman, he does not know how to fight for her or even that he is to fight for her….What makes pornography so addictive is that more that anything else in a lost man’s life, it makes him feel  like a man without ever requiring a thing of him.”40  I remember my first experience with pornography when I was an early teen.  My older brother had some Playboys hidden in a secret place under his desk.  I would masturbate to them and this behavior only stopped recently when I started going to the Church again.  For the first time since my teens I haven’t masturbated in months (although the desire starts at points but I stop it immediately by praying) and I feel that I have made a real change in my life.  The pornography affected the sex I had with many woman because I would fantasize about someone else when I was with certain women..  I also had dark and violent fantasies also so I perverted an act that should have been a satisfying emotional commitment into a meaningless ejaculation.  
     Now, diagnosed with kidney lupus, on a number of drugs including prednisone, and getting ready for my fourth Cytoxan chemotherapy, I am trying to return to the Catholic church.  I have gone to confession and confessed the sins above, received communion and I go to mass every week and to the Holy Spirit group each Monday.  I also pray and sing on my porch whenever I get home before dark.    But I can’t say I see much change.  Nature was my god for close to 60 years and it is hard to change gods.  “God wants to be loved”  37  I believe this but how do you do that?     I beg for the Holy Spirit to enter my heart.  I see all the holy people in the Holy  Spirit group and I want to be like them.  But how? 

I was tired most of the day but I did a lot of writing (much of it going into the essay I am working on) and I did get to 5 o’clock mass but I didn’t feel like I got much out of it.  I am anxious and confused and I am not sure the Zoloft is helping me that much.  I am going to go for a bike ride and then head home for prayers and songs.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Forgiveness from Greg

       Monday was another struggle to get up morning, but I did and ended up doing some work around the house, my knee exercises, a rosary, some Bible reading in Luke, and then heading into town for the Holy Spirit group.  It was a good experience and at the end the group prayed over Eileen and I and it felt good just to have their prayers for my efforts to connect with the Holy Spirit.  I did volunteer to help out with the big yard sale and I am going to give them a lot of books (mainly nature books and poetry and then some other stuff, including two fly fishing poles, a heating blanket, a music stand and a few other items).  After we finished around 9, I went and did my bike ride on the VT campus.  I got home and watched some TV and finally went to sleep around 12:15.  I was a bit restless but I didn’t take anything except the initial 2.5 mg of Valium.

     Tuesday turned out okay.  I drove in for a walk with Rob on the Tom’s Creek Trail.  I did okay for about ¾ of the walk then got wobbly and Rob had to help me walk.  It was embarrassing but I should have shortened the walk and I would have been okay I think.  Then we went to Rob’s and he made me an excellent lunch of chicken and beef kabobs with onions and peppers with a nice salad and then some expresso coffee ice cream.  We had a nice chat during the walk and then at the house and I finally left around 2.  I tried to nap but could only rest a little in the Perry Street garage, then I rode my bike and headed back to the hollow, where I found that the campers had left.  I packed the truck with two large boxes of books and then lay down and rested until around 8, got up for a cup of tea and then did my prayers and songs at 9.  That made me feel better.  I played through the Christian songs and then watched some historical TV.  As Rob advised, I took 2 zolofts an hour and 15 minutes before going to bed and that eliminated the heartburn.  I took a 2.5 mg Valium but I got up around 2:30 and took another 2.5 which let me sleep until around 7.

Wednesday was a struggle to get up, but I finally did and then I did a lot of work on packing things up, getting together a good pile of things for the yard sale, and cleaning out the two closets in the study.  I emptied the shelf thing with the fishing gear and that was a good bit of work.  I think I am making progress but I still have so much to do it seems.  Fortunately, I still have at least 5 weeks to finish up and I am going to ask Claire to come help me with the attic.   I drove down to the pasture a few times and I tried my call to Greg.   He was kind and forgave me for the angry and mean-spirited way I had treated him and the rest of the family.  I told him about the lupus situation and he seemed to be doing very well and so is his wife Chris.  I am glad for him and my other siblings.  They all seem to be doing well and that makes me happy.   Around 3 I drove in and got rid of some recycling and some garbage, then dropped off a few things at Goodwill (where the guy coughed right in my face), then signed for the cancellation of my home insurance (I should get almost a thousand back I hope), and then headed to Rob’s office for blood work (where Valarie wasn’t feeling very well and I wasn’t wearing a mask).  I hope I don’t get sick.   I then had an egg biscuit at Bogangles and took a short nap in the parking lot before heading to McDonalds for coffee and a small fudge Sunday and to work on my blog.      

Monday, July 3, 2017

Another tough night sleeping

Sunday turned out to be okay, with a visit to the campground in the afternoon, my knee exercises, some more packing and culling out books (I have changed my approach to the books and am only keeping about a third of what I originally boxed).  I am basically keeping only the ones I might teach and if I want to read one of the books I have donated to Goodwill, then I will go to the library.  I headed into town about 4:30 and did my 45 minute bike ride over by the golf course and the fraternity area on Oak Lane.  I rode up to Smithfield Plantation a couple of times and then headed back to the Perry Street garage.   I did my blog (which turned out to be a lengthy one) and I headed back to the campground and ended up having a long talk with Dougie, then I sat with the others around the campfire until after ten.  When I got home I was too tired to do my weights and yoga but I cooked a veggie burger and a bowl of mixed veggies and stayed up until 12:15, figured that would help give me a good night’s sleep.  I took 2.5 mg of Valium and fell asleep pretty quickly, but then disaster.  I awoke at 2:30 and knew I needed at least another 2.5 mg of Valium, but after taking it, I still wasn’t sleepy at almost 3:00 so I took 2 Trazadones and finally fell asleep at about 3:30 and slept till 8:30, again struggling to get out of bed.  I did get up around 9:00, took one Zoloft and my synthroid, and then started to do some separating of books and cleaning out three drawers.  I had to lie down regularly, but I got a good bit done, testing the generator and getting two bags of garbage into the truck.  I finally started getting ready to leave around 3:00, stopped to say hello to the campers, then dropped off the batteries and the garbage, dropped off a bunch of books at Goodwill, took my pants to Rose Tailor to have the zipper fixed, and then drove to McDonalds to do some phone calling and to do my blog.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

One horrible night

     Friday night was a hard night.  I went to bed at about 11:30, forty five minutes early, and that seems to have made a huge difference in my sleep pattern.  I took my usual 2.5 mg valium and expected to have a reasonable night sleep, but I awoke at 2:30, completely awake, so I took another 2.5 mg and that didn’t work so I just stayed restlessly in bed until almost 4 when I took 2 trazadones and finally fell asleep at about 4:30 and slept till 8:30.  However I couldn’t get out of bed for over an hour and I took my synthroid and one Zoloft (my third day) and dropped back into bed.  I finally got going around noon and was too tired to accomplish much.  I did get perhaps 40 books in the truck and finally headed out about 4 to drop off the books, then drop off the DVD and the Thomas More book at Tech and then take my 45 minute bike ride at Tech.  Dave called and he reassured me that I was a good person, and that helped me along with the passage from Breath of God, which spoke of how once your sins are forgiven in reconciliation (assuming you are sincere in confessing them and you honestly repent for them, which I think I really do), then they are really forgiven and if you start feeling that your sins can’t be forgiven, that they are too bad, then that is either the devil speaking to you or the flesh.  The Sissons and friends were camping out and I brought them 3 12-packs of Busch Light.  I sat and chatted with them for a while and had some tacos with them then played a game of cornhole with Chris Patrick against two of the teenagers and then headed home for my porch prayers and cooking dinner.  I stayed up until 12:15 and then I was unsure how I would sleep but I only took a 2.5 mg valium and hoped for the best.   I was so relieved when I slept through the entire night and woke at 8:30, without waking once. 
      I still stayed in bed for a while but I got up, took one Zoloft and my synthroid, then did some more culling and packing.  I am basically done with the novels (only keeping the ones I might teach) and I also separated out the poetry book, getting rid of many that I probably will not read.  I loaded up the truck with perhaps 60 books (and one of my prednisone bruises started to bleed) and I will get rid of them Tuesday.  I read some from the Gospel of Luke, and that was where Jesus teaches them how to pray the “Our Father.”  I said a rosary, read some from the unabridged Catholicism, which would be more interesting to someone who was not a believing Catholic.  I found the discussion of whether or not you can get to heaven with just faith and not good works also rather interesting and it sounds like faith is the crucial part.  I thought about my loneliness, and I am hopeful that once I move into Blacksburg that situation will change.   Certainly if my health returns it will much easier for me to get involved with the church and with Radford groups and perhaps even some environmental meetings.  About 1:30 I put on my bathing suit, tevas, and a long sleeved shirt and drove down to the campground to take a swim in the North Fork.  I made it to the new hole dunked myself and spent about 10 minutes in the water and it was pretty cold.  I can see how an occasional trout could survive in that water.  The fishing was pretty poor (Andy said that locals are fishing it out) but the kids got a few, which was nice enough.  I drove back to the house, rested a bit and then cleaned the dishes and headed out to take my 45 minute bike ride at Tech (up along the road to Smithfield Plantation, up along Oak Lane to the fraternity buildings, then back over to the Perry Street parking garage.  I decided to do the bike ride first since I am trying not to take any more Valium during the day, and that was a good move.   It calmed me quite a bit and by the time I got to McDonalds, I was okay to write.  I have done some writing about my blog so far (and Claire Hall liked my opening about Tracy leaving, but I have put that off for now since it is too negative for the Catholic state of mind I want to stay in).   I think a good, fairly short piece would be to show how the hollow was such a welcoming place to me for so many years (over 20) and suddenly, after the lupus diagnosis and my loss of 4 pints of blood, it became a place I couldn’t handle anymore.  That should make a good piece and I think it won’t be a problem with my newfound Catholic beliefs.   I still don’t feel like I am making much progress in connecting with the Holy Spirit, but considering I have the pressure of the move coming up, my financial issues (even with getting sick leave for the fall), all the drugs I am taking (especially the prednisone), and the fact that I am still isolated in the hollow, I wonder if I can really expect a deep connection with the Holy Spirit right now.  Jen said that none of those things would affect the all powerful Holy Spirit but I guess I have some doubt about my receptivity to the Holy Spirit right now.