Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sensory Inventory V

Today the usual complement of weird numb lack of feeling persists and continues sto spread across new frontiers. I noticed Yesterday that I seemed to be wearing a hat all the time I was at the doctor's office. I have explored this new mapping now with a fork (not too hard, I don't draw blood with my proddings!) and have discovered that the scalp of my head is joining the repertoire of absent sensory areas. It is a strange sensation, especially when my hair is rippling in a chill breeze, because I can still feel some thing of that movement, sort of. Well, no not really the same. But I can detect some motion of my hair in the wind. And I can still sense my hair in disarray, some what, but the sensation is definitely different, diminished, sensed in a deeper skin layer less sensitive or more insular. I can't describe the difference to any satisfaction. Only to say it has changed since yesterday in some subtle way.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Emptying the Glass

My friends,

I have to report honestly, things don't look good from where I sit. I am trying to ride this one out, but the situation is getting worse rapidly.

I am counting on a few years probation on my life, because I seriously believe that the Heavenly Father has some sort of mission left for me to complete. But my probation can be cut short at any moment.

I learned at the University of Utah Medical Center from the cerebral angiogram combined with the MRI that I can and will have more brain stem strokes. Not good news, but now I know for certain where the brain stem strokes are originating. None of the other doctors seemed to care.

Some difference of opinion about what that means exactly leads to a slight difference about just how long I might have to wait until I have another brain stem stroke. I have looked at statistics, and found that the odds are dismal for multiple stroke survivors. They seldom survive more than three or four strokes for more than a five year period. What that means to me is that if I have another stroke, probably within five years, it will likely end my life, and even if it doesn’t, I might wish it had. So, I am working on a mission that prepares me for death within that time.

I have met my sons, something I never thought could happen. I take that as a good sign. not just a good sign, a sign direct from Heaven. My four sons stood united together to give me a Priesthood blessing. Nothing like that could happen-- I thought it was impossible. If you said anything even remotely like that was possible I'd stare at you like you were out of your mind. I don't pretend to know what the sign means, but I pledge to work as hard as I can to help them.

I have had some miracles happen to me, and am trying to write about them all. It isn't easy. I get very tired. Things happen.

Tonight, I swallowed a piece of banana down the wrong pipe, and things got pretty exciting for a while. My swallow doesn't work well, and every food bite is a risk. So I have to be careful.

In the half-full department, I found out that I can no longer directly recall my parents names. I remember my mom and dad. They seem like always mom and dad. But I can't bring up their names when I try directly, and it upsets me.

I can envision a pencil the brothers used to use, it had all their names on it, dad, lewis, dean, bill, dave, leroy, john.

Of course, my dad is Bill. Why didn’t I remember that?

And my parents are Bill and Mary. I know that.

My mom's father is Leo Norris. I own a domain name for his family. How could these things be gone from my brain?

It makes me so sad.

The feeling is as if I had accumulated precious knowledge like grains of sand, laboriously, bit by bit, through my lifetime.

I paid a terrible price, but it was worth every cent.

Now, no matter how tight my grasp, it is slowly slipping away, and soon there will be nothing. I will be left penniless and desolate and not even knowing the glorious things I have lost.

So will end the Snail Hollow Gazette.

Banana Bread II

What do I explain to my young sons?

These self-identified homosexual men claim to love each other, and bishop Buttars' cruel church is attempting to prevent them from formalizing their love as a relationship, just as men and women have been doing for ages. They want nothing more extraordinary than recognition of their love for each other, and the special things it qualifies other couples in that relation for.

Is there any flaw in this argument?

What reason do I tell my sons that my church continues to oppose such unions?

Is it really bishop Buttars fault?

What does banana bread have to do with it?

To be continued....

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dentists and Klonopin and Bed Wetting

Yesterday (I think it was Wednesday) we went to Provo. My friend Jim Noorlander went with, what a treat! I almost don’t deserve to have such great people around me. You wanna know how great he is? He helped me limp around at the dentist office, the helped get me food at the Golden Corral later when we went to lunch together. He even wiped my nose for me when it was dirty.

I don't know what you think of people who treat you like that, but I know Jim Noorlander is one of the few that I count as my brothers in the fullest sense of that word. If the opportunity arose for me to take his place to give my life for his, Jim would never ask, but I would never hesitate for an instant. Jim goes through some difficult times just now, and thinks he has lost most of what he strove for, but in the greater war, he is one of the mightiest of Heavenly Father's generals, and without his efforts thousands would be lost. Thank God for Jim Noorlander!

Anyway the dental hygienist took xrays and cleaned. We discussed a prosthetic device that will keep me from breaking any further teeth. I need a crown and a filling replaced. It will require at least three return trips to his lab for dental operations.

While the hygienist worked, I noted that some rather large pieces of hard stuff were being flushed away. She said it was broken crown material. I don't remember ever biting my teeth that hard, though I recall irritation with sharps cutting my tongue and cheek.

I have turned into an incessant and ever voluble chatterbox, blabbering all the time about the most inane things. Ruth, the delivering angel, brought some instant dissolving Klonopin yesterday. I don't want it, or most of the other drugs doctors have given me.

[Postscript from Jim's honest alter-ego: I am lying. I am such a liar about the luscious, wonderful, beautiful, heavenly drugs. Please give me drugs that make me feel good. I want them always. Don't let me feel the hurt. I won't do anything bad any more, I'm sorry!, just stop hurting me please, I can do anything you want me to,just give me nice drugs that will stop the hurting, I can't I cannot I cannot hurt any more please stop the hurting before it comes again, I am so afraid of the sharks, I'll do anything you say I promise, I promise Just stop me from hurting, give me those nice drugs that make me feel good and I'm not afraid any more, and everything that is hurting me is going away, please helpme please HELP ME, PLEASE, PLEASE, HELP ME, PLEASE HELP HELP HELP HELP HELP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

I put the Klonopin into the hands of my wise mother and father. They have the skill and the experience to see when I can best benefit.

Anyway, last evening I was very distraught, and they decided to administer one of the pills just before I went to bed. It was so effective, I rested on pillows of pure cloud, and did not awake from slumber until a familiar sensation of wetness and warmth raised my awareness to alarm.

I was peeing the bed! I have not done that for more than fifty years!

In the process I tried to aim the stream out off the bed, and discovered that I just could not stand up. I finally located a urinal and squirted a little bit there, but most went on the floor. Okay, the bed was mostly saved. Now I had to just get off the wet stuff.

Pretty pathetic. Pure comedy.

I was convinced that I needed gloves, 'cause all the nurses stop and get them first before they do anything that exposes them to body fluid, I couldn't find any rubber gloves. We have boxes of them around, but that’s another story. I spotted some woolly insulated gloves and put them on best I could, but could not get thumbs in right, no matter how many times I tried.

I was laughing like a crazy man in the mean time, fits of absolute humor about nothing in particular would sweep over me every me every few seconds, and I would just laugh like I never have in my life. Mean time, I am wrapped up in peed-on wet clothing in varying stages of soaking wet and dripping with pee, and stinking with my own urine. It was such a struggle just to remove the wet stuff. Pretty much went okay until the right shoe, then I was stuck, and just hopeless, and took what seemed like an hour to work that damned shoe and sock down, fraction of an inch at a time, and finally I could use the left foot to push the whole wet mess off and and could only find insulated things with wool, so I got the wet stuff off and crawled back into the bed buck naked, clothed with my Cox ATV sports cap and the wool gloves for safety. As I think about it now, I had the gloves on the wrong hands at the time, which is why it was so difficult to get the thumbs to align properly. That seems to be as good a hypothesis as any other, anyway.

I went back to sleep like that, and don't remember anything at all for several hours, but when I awoke, I found was somewhat distressed to find myself and my room so obviously disarrayed. I don’t usually sleep like that.

So I called dad to help.

I am beginning to ask about what options I have. Before, I refused. Now, they begin to seem too real. Will I need these kinds of help soon?

You all know what these are, and you've made and heard the same jokes about them that I have. Now, to me, they have turned into something real and very awful looming in my future. I certainly hope my mission here is done long before that comes to pass. But I WILL endure to the end, COME WHAT MAY. GOD'S WILL BE DONE. It has been too long coming that I gave true recognition to that fact. Thanks and all praise be to Him for His Eternal blessings.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Miracles III: Helping and Being Helped

Its getting better by the minute. Just hang with me!

The most shameful moment after peeing all over Provo's immaculate hospital was having someone actually open a door for me. No, I don't mean my dad or mom or one of my friends. We do that all the time for each other, because courtesy is not a lost art. We still practice it between ourselves and with others. It is a very little thing that helps remind each of us how much we mean to each other, as friends, and as brothers and sisters, always.

Well, this person who opened for me was not part of my group. He was obviuously queued by the same kinds of motivators, but instead of seeing me as a friend, he obviously saw me first and foremost as a handicapped person, one who was less able, who would benefit from his more capable abilities. I was absolutely nonplussed. I think I even stood there with my mouth hanging open for a moment while the erstwhile do-gooder grew quickly embarrassed. I jumped through the door before he could slip away, and offered profuse thanks, albeit belatedly. It was an embarrassing moment. I didn't realize yet that I am well and truly a handicapped person in every definition of the word.

That's okay.

People can open doors for me if they want. When I'm ready I'll challenge them to a footrace to the top of Timp Mountain. And I'll WIN!!!!!!  Well, maybe not, but I can still be an optimist, can't I?

Oh, please, please if you see someone who is handicapped and needs a helping hand, just pitch in and help like it was the natural thing to do. It is so hard for us to be in the situation where now we need help.

I don't want to be reporting to the master someday when someone confronts me, and says, "I needed your help, where were you when I needed you that time?"

The point isn't that we are missing chances to help handicapped people. There is actually is enough to do the ones we like.

Next instalment:  Setting the Stage

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bananna Bread and Current Affairs

I am so concerned about the confused world we live in.

What does it mean?

Is there black and white?

I am thinking now about teaching my sons, but I fear greatly that the power of the destroyer reigns openly now and is winning on so many fronts, it causes me great fear.

One issue that brought my fear to the front so dramatically was an article in Sunday's Salt Lake Tribune. (A copy of it online).

The article stated that two gay men advocating same-sex marriage were baking some banana bread to distribute, by no coincidence, in the district of Utah Senator Chris Buttars. Senator Buttars has a rather poor public image, to put it mildly.

I have a different view. Turns out, Buttars is bishop of an LDS ward, and my one of my son's wife used to be in his ward in West Jordan. Now on with the news story.

The homosexual advocates staged a visit to Buttars' home and feigned astonishment that he willingly accepted their embassy, and actually even appeared to be listening to them while they pleaded their message.

This was the essence of the article.

To the unaware or uninitiated, there were many things here that were not apparent, and would lead to gross misunderstanding. On that basis, I was so offended that I nearly went into shock, literally. I got out of my rehab bed at the hospital to denounce the article to my room mate. Bob was more sensible and less emotional, but he was also outraged and visibly upset.

First problem is casting Buttars as a bad man, a homophobe, and bigot. Because of my church affiliation and loyalty, and life-long practical experience in such matters, I know without asking that Buttars meets the highest moral and social standards, and is an honorable man in whom I could trust.

Something is wrong here. Whose judgement of morality is the more reliable?

Should I believe the sensibilities of a news editor and some social advocates with an axe to grind, or men who I know are serving the Church of the Living God?

For me, this is no choice at all, but I recognize that this kind of background information is totally missing for most readers of the news article. To them, Buttars is a firmly entrenched homophobe whose Archie-Bunker like heart is melted by kindness and gay love and banana bread.

So it teaches us that gay lovers really know what love is after all, and we are just cold hearted and mean- spirited to say our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposes same-sex marriage.

The position staked out in the newspaper article by the gay advocates is laughable, to any who know the job a Mormon bishop fills.

Bishops are primarily a sort of social counsellor to their congregation, thus they serve first and foremost as a sympathetic listener to the troubled. To any and all who are troubled or afflicted in any way, they can knock on the bishops' door, day or night, and at the very least, unburden their soul to an active and sympathetic listener. The Bishop does more than just listen. He often pays bills for the indigent, soothes the troubled soul of the abused or depressed, gives referrals for professional counselling, provides food or clothing or financial assistance for the naked or hungry or cold, or perhaps just a shoulder to cry on or an ear to share glad tidings when there is no one else. How ironic that these two men come bringing symbols that represent the very essence of what no being on earth could possibly understand better than a man like bishop Buttars. And according to the SLTrib columnist, they feign surprise that he listens to them!

[I am not half done with the issue yet, but I'm much too tired to continue and do any justice to th subject, I thought it would be a idle time in my life, and I can hardly get a word in edge wise, More to come,,,]

THOUGHT occurred to me last night that some might mistakenly think I am attempting to defend bishop Buttars. Or represent his position better than the SLTrib editors and columnists can do. I am not. I am just making my voice heard, for what it is worth, because I think there is a problem with the way the story is being told now, from both sides of the aisle.

I don't know the banana bread makers, nor the SLTrib people, nor Chris Buttars, nor any of the countless others involved in this melee of misunderstanding. I just want the big wheel to stop on a number that is a winning number, that pays off for all. I believe the world was designed very purposefully and carefully to afford us all the opportunity to find our own kind of happiness, if we just take the right opportunities as they come along. We get subtle guidance to help our choices, so we aren't completely alone all the time.

Anyway, more about the news article and the bishop.


I woke up this morning in a sweat, worrying about a small donkey that somehow shas secretly hidden itself in my dad's house. It is not a very big threat, because I think the creature is quite small, I'm not sure the exact stature. He is constructed of something like paper. Perhaps even made by one of the grandchildren at play on thier many previous visits.

Anyway, this paper animal now lurks upstairs in my dad's house. He is endangering my parents in some way because they aren't aware of him and are not defensively prepared. I will move my quarters into the main house immediately, and stand guard, so that nothing happens. I don't know what this creature is trying to do.

I also recognize that he isn't real, but I must satisfy very real fears. Right Now!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Shark Attacks

Just a quick note for my friends.

There are still some sharks in the water, I fear. I do not know or care if these attacks are caused by something I am doing to myself purposefully or not. I can only say it can be so painful in intensity that I cannot bear it, and I scream from the agony. Usually attacks of this intensity are very short, or they seem so to me. In any case, I pass out very quickly after the pain really winds up, so I'm not sure what happens after the screaming phase. Ruth's characterization seem fairly consistent.

I have been with my dad most of the time today. He reports only two shark attacks, one that was moderate and one pretty severe. I hope with every wish that they go away forever.

I have several broken teeth broken along the right lower molars now. They have sharp edges that cut my tongue and the side of my mouth when I am not careful. I am seeing a dentist this week, but am reluctant to get any repairs before I am sure the sharks will not return. Maybe will just ask for some sort of protective mouth gear.

Brief Interjection

I see from sitemeter that lots of people are following and reading my posts.

I apologize for the lack of order and organization. I would like to offer you something better, but at the moment, this is the best I can muster. Right now, I need to take a break for a short nap. I'm sorry, but I am very feeble, and even this simple operation is taxing. I don't do such a good job when I get tired, and I grind down to a virtual halt.

Please be patient. I'll do the best I can.

Thanks to all.

Miracles II: Handicapped

After the July stroke things seemed to settle down into a routine of rehab. I hated the inpatient treatment so badly in the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. I don't know what happened there , except the one incident when I peed the bed, and the nurse called me a fat pig, and accused me of doing it on purpose.

 I’ve already written about this experience. Suffice it to say that my only thought at that moment was to get out of that hospital as quick as I could.

Several other misadventures as I returned home, refusing to acknowledge my handicapped status. I recall the shame I felt when I slipped getting out of the shower, and fell and broke the toilet into a thousand bits of china.

Just imagine the ludicrous picture of a fat beached whale of a fat helpless old man with a broken butt wriggling helplessly and sobbing out loud, soaking wet from the shower and surrounded with the ruins of the broken toilet strewn across the floor.

It took me a long time just to stand up, and I was so upset that I had to tell my mom and dad that I had broken the toilet into little pieces. and probably broke my butt too.

The broken commode was streaming water all over the floor. I got dressed, finally, and confessed to the folks tearfully, blubbering like a baby. My parents tried to make light of the incident, and dad cleaned up the mess. We went to Home Depot and bought a new toilet that dad installed.

What a mess!

Next instalment:  Visiting My Doctor

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Miracles I: Chronicles

I must write down a record of the most amazing series of events I have ever experienced or heard about. I still cannot believe all these these things really happened to me. I have been having psychotic delusions as well, so take this testimony for what it is worth. In my defence, I will say that I am among the most scrupulously honest persons I know of as a life-long habit. I will always be truthful, even when it costs me personally or is painful.

It's going to take a lot of writing to get this story all down, so I will serialize it into short instalments and intersperse with other things that come up in the mean time.

I should like to start, I think, with a bit of background. I first had a stroke back in July last year. I remember not feeling well, so I was thinking that a bit of vigorous exercise was what I needed to make me feel better.

We had a stack of spruce tree rounds that we bought from the local sawmill. Most of them were huge -- over 40" in diameter and 100 pounds in weight. I was swinging a heavy maul to split the rounds into sections small enough to fit into the stove.

While I was swinging the maul, someone came up from behind and hit me over the head with a 4x4. Or anyway, that's what it felt like. It staggered me, and as I fell to my knees, I looked to see who had hit me.

As I recall, this was the first of a series of incidents my sister and I later decided to call "shark attacks". After the initial attack, I recovered on wobbly legs enough to stagger over to the porch of the house, where my dad was sitting in the shade. I tried to speak to him and explain that "my legs are all unhinged" but was only able to mumble some unintelligible sounds.

After a long period of recovery, we went to dinner together in Mt Pleasant. I suffered no ill effects at the time, other than continuing generally feeling poorly, but I drove to the food place and home. That night, I had the first stroke in my sleep some time, and when I woke up next morning, most of my right side was paralyzed, what the doctors call "hemiparesis".

In retrospect, I understand now that what I initially experienced, the "shark attack" was NOT a stroke or a mini-stroke, a TIA, or anything normally related to a stroke. My assumption that this was the case has led to endless confusion and miscommunication between myself and doctors, resulting in a great deal of needless misunderstanding and distrust on both our parts. I apologize for the terrible miscue. It was my mistake, I take full responsibility.

Next instalment:  Handicapped

Sensory inventory IV

The sensory map is getting really interesting features. Today in the shower, I noted new sensory deficits on my face, around the skin that surrounds my eyes and over my nose. This is a totally new area for lack of sensation. It begins to feel kind of similar to the skin of my belly, which resembles a leather bag. I received anti-coagulant heparin injections daily in the hospital, in the fat area of my belly, and I could only tell when the nurse was applying the cold alcohol swab. I had to ask them to tell me when they completed the injection. They said most patients complained that it was painful and traumatic.

My feet are also withdrawing into la-la land. When I woke from neurosurgery, my left foot felt like a wood block from toes to heel. It has not changed. Now the toes of my right foot are beginning to lose sensation also. More may develop.

In addition, The skin on the back side of my fingers and hands has lost sense of temperature. I noted this testing the shower water.

Seems as though things are changing very quickly. I'll try to keep up. Thanks to those who are following.

Home again, thank God

My heart is so full, I am as happy as can be with life right now. I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, and been given a reprieve to set affairs in my life in order before I report to to master of heaven and earth. I know now that my time is short. I will try to elaborate in future posts. I must also tell of miraculous events that have given great new meaning to my continuing existence, purpose for prolonging my days. I am truly anxious -- nay, fearful in anticipation that I might get it wrong again. I think the time is far spent. I am In fear and trembling. There is some great task that I am left to do - - I don't know what it is, but much sense of urgency, like I never had In my life.

More to come. Sorry for long absent.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hospital Update

If you click on the title above, it will take you to Jim's sister's blog. I'm Ruth, Jim's youngest sister. He is in a special room with telemetry, and sometimes he can't use his computer. The rest of the time he doesn't have the presence of mind to do so. He loves you all, and wants you all to keep apprised of his situation, so I've posted a lengthy blog regarding his condition. If you will follow the link to my blogspot - 9ofnine (I'm the youngest of 9 in our family), you'll get a comprehensive update. I'll also try to keep things up to date as often as I can, and I'll relay any messages you leave to Jim. He'll love any notes of encouragement you leave for him.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Near as cold as it ever gets in these parts. Temp read -15 F this morning.

I've always wondered why my nose has all those little hairs. They tend to freeze up and stick together when the air is so cold. That how I can tell it is real cold. Otherwise just make a job harder for the Kleenex.

Poor design feature, I think. ;-)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Stroke III

More stroke damage.

Hard to speak.

Not walking good.


Don't really know what to do now. Mostly stay in bed. Will update when feeling better.