Wednesday, December 10, 2014

End of the Year Review - 2014

It seems like 2014 has gone by very quickly. A lot has happened to me personally. My wife became very ill with her liver disease causing us to relocate to Salt Lake City, Utah in order to be closer to the University of Utah transplant center.

We've become fairly comfortable in our one bedroom apartment, having moved from a four bedroom home in rural Nevada. It was kind of a shocking change from living in the country where once in a while we would hear a car drive by on our road, to living in the city, listening to police sirens day and night, traffic noise and trains blaring their horns as well as airplanes flying overhead. We're just a mile or two from the Salt Lake International Airport.

The mid-term elections resulted in a change of power in Congress for the next two years. We'll see how things get handled in DC now that the conservatives control both the House and the Senate.

There are riots and demonstrations from coast to coast, protesting racial inequality. If things could go back to the way things were before 2008, I think things would be a lot calmer. Our President seems to relish making comments in the media that simply seem to agitate rather than calm the populous.

Things seem to be escalating in the Middle East by the Muslim extremists. Beheading of westerners has really captured the attention of the West. I mean dead is dead, but beheading just seems so medieval and brutal to most folks. The few wannabe Muslim extremists in the USA want to play so they have taken it upon themselves to lop off a few heads here as well.

This makes Americans a bit suspicious and leery of the so-called 'Moderate Muslims' here in the states. We don't hear them standing up and denouncing the acts of their radical brothers, so one could conclude that they have a broad support base among American Muslims.

I've noticed here in Salt Lake City that many Muslim women who work at Walmart, wearing Muslim dress and rubber gloves, lest they actually 'touch an infidel'. Frankly, I find it offensive.

Less than a block from where we live is a Muslim 'social club' only for men, of course. I often see young men wearing ankle length caftan's (I guess that's what they're called) they look like Ladies house dresses to me. Kinda cute! Anyway, the locals always eye them with suspicion. One old guy (not me) sits across the street and watches them with his camera out. He's always snapping a few pictures. Not much gets by him.

A few of the local markets advertise food that is handled according to Muslim 'Halal' standards, which surprisingly is quite similar to Jewish 'kosher' standards. I wonder if someone pointed this out to them, if there'd be any offense?

On a more personal subject, my wife spent Thanksgiving in the hospital. She had some chemical imbalance that had to be taken care of. She was there for five days. I had a turkey dinner in the hospital cafeteria at no cost. It was actually pretty good. My wife had turkey dinner from a bag hanging above her bed. Not the way either of us planned on spending Thanksgiving. I was thankful she was alive and that we were together. That was enough for me.

You know you've spent too much time in the hospital when you know the nurses and staff by their first names. When they come to your room just to see you and say hi, even though they're not assigned to your case. I went into the cafeteria and the guys behind the serving line just asked "How's you wife?"  and "She's back in the hospital again?"

One of the housekeeping staff, Donald, comes by and checks on her every day she's there. He's become a friend. One of the nurse assistants, a lady from Great Britain, comes in on her own time just to visit and offer companionship.

We've definitely spent too much time in the hospital... but it's nice to see familiar faces there.

I hope we get called by the transplant team soon so she can be on the mend, instead of getting continuously sicker. That would be GOOD.

I hope everyone has had a good year in 2014 and that you'll have a better one next year. It's all we can hope for.

Geezer... out.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Lot Has Been Happening

It's been a while since I've made a blog entry here.

As you may know, if you've been reading this blog, my wife, Ula, has been fighting a terrible liver disease.

She's on the liver transplant list and we've relocated from our home in Nevada to a small apartment in Salt Lake City, Utah, to be near the University of Utah Hospital where her transplant surgery will take place, once a suitable organ is found.

We've started an online fundraising page where donations can be made to her transplant fund.

So far, we've raised over $11,000 of the $45,000 needed.

If you'd like to donate or just check out the fundraiser page to see what's been happening, please go to:

http://gfwd.at/1nH6mjd

This will take you to her page.

Donations and prayers are appreciated.

Geezer... out!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Waiting Sucks - Part Two

If you haven't already, please read 'Waiting Sucks'  the post just previous to this one.

I'm doing a 'Part Two' for one reason. I need money!

My wife's doctor has upgraded her status from 'stage 4' to 'end stage' cirrhosis. This means that without a liver transplant, she will certainly die.

To top things off, her doctor wants us to move to the Salt Lake City, Utah area. This will keep my wife close to her doctor, but more important, close to the University of Utah Hospital where the transplant surgery will be performed in the event that a donor liver becomes available.

Ula in the ICU of Salt Lake Regional Medical Center

Nevermind that we live in rural Nevada on a rather small income. Move to the big city! Now! How can we not do this, given the consequences?

The fact is, we don't have the financial resources to make the move. We are contacting the State of Utah about affordable housing subsidies and assistance with our financial responsibilities. 

We have good health insurance, thankfully, but it doesnt pay for everything.

So here's the plan - we've started a page on a website that raises funds for medical and related expenses. This site allows those interested to make anonymous donations as well as leave messages and words of encouragement. 

The website is:  www.giveforward.com

Go to the site. On the opening page there is a search box in the top right corner. In this box, enter: "Ula's Liver Transplant Fund". This will take you to our page. Click or tap on the photo to go to the full fund description. From this point you can make a donation, leave a "Hug" (a short message) or view the messages others have left.

If you check this out and can't donate, that's okay. We appreciate the fact that you took the time to check it out. Please remember this site and tell your friends, church groups and families. Perhaps they'll feel moved to donate.  In any case, your prayers are always appreciated!

Geezer. Out!

6/21/14 - Update: 

Ula is scheduled to be released from the physical therapy/rehab hospital on Monday, 6/23/14. We will be staying at a cousin's house in the area while we search for a permanent place for us to live while waiting for the liver transplant.

I would like it if readers of this blog would use the following line as their signature line in all of your emails:

Ula's Liver Transplant Fund - http://gfwd.at/1nH6mjd

This is a direct link to her fundraising page at giveforward.com. If those who do this are asked about it, it would be a great opportunity to explain what it is all about. Someone may feel moved to make a contribution to help save a life. Not just any life - my wife's life. 

She is very dear to me. Before this happened to us, I wouldn't have ever dreamt of going to the public asking for money. Now, I've become shameless. I will do anything to save her life.

Please help me do this.

Thanks. GEEZER


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Waiting Sucks

My wife of 37 years is sick. 

Her liver is failing her. 

While it does this, it causes her abdomen fill up with fluid. This has to be surgically drained every three to four weeks. It's been averaging around twelve liters each time. Last night they drained off fourteen liters. That's about thirty-five pounds of fluid.

Her doctor says that without a liver transplant, she has from between two to five years left. The catch is that for her to even get on the transplant list, she needs to lose a bunch of weight. In the neighborhood of a hundred pounds.

They've recommended bariatric surgery.

That's where she's at right now. They took her into surgery about thirty minutes ago. She'll be there for two to three hours.

Waiting sucks.

Before her surgery, her Doctor informed us that with her condition, this surgery is risky. She seems to have a fifty fifty chace of surviving. Not good odds in my book. But it has to be done. There's really no choice. Take a chance for a better life now or face an early death later.

Life sucks. Waiting sucks.



Her name is Ula Garrison. (pronounced yoo-la)

I'd appreciate it if you'd say a little prayer for her.

Thanks!



UPDATE: My wife is out of surgery after five and a half hours.

Her doctors say the next few days will tell the tale. If she tolerates the recovery and begins to heal, she'll be going home an a week or two.

Thanks for your prayers. We both appreciate it more than you know.

4/22/14: My wife is doing fairly well. She's up and doing some walking in the ICU hallways.

Her strength is improving. She will have another surgery, probably on Thursday or Friday to install a shunt between her liver and a large vein in order to redirect fluid from pooling in her abdomen. This surgery is fairly risky, so we are doing some serious praying.

She's had her second surgery to install a shunt that takes the excess fluid from her liver and directs it into her circulatory system, but it's not handling the volume of fluid she's producing... so theyre planning a THIRD SURGERY to take place in the next day or two. It's 4/27/14 right now. I don't know how she's able to take this abuse, because that's what it is, even though it has a purpose. She's bruised from all the incisions, blood draws and even the handling by the staff here at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, even though she's getting excellent care here.

I'm not sure how much more she can handle before she just gives up.

4/30/14: She's had a third surgery to put in a second shunt because the first one isn't able to handle the volume of fluid produced by her liver. This surgery failed because the doctor wasn't able to attach the second shunt to her vein.

Now they're planning a fourth surgery to put in a different kind of shunt. A TIPS shunt.
The problem with this is that one of the side effects is that she'll suffer from memory loss and diminished mental acuity. It's not something we want but it is necessary.


5/2/14: The Doctor told us this morning that he's going to attempt to install the same type of shunt as in operation #3 but that he would insert it through the jugular vein. This was at 9:00 am this morning. Ula went into surgery at 11:30 am and is still there. It's 1:40 pm right now... More waiting.

2:45 pm: The fourth operation seems to have been successful. It will take a day or two to see if everything's working as it should. Then, if all is well, she goes to physical therapy and then home. The waiting may be coming to an end.

5/5/14: Just got word that Ula will be released from the hospital tomorrow. She'll be transferred to a physical therapy care facility for a few days, then to home.

It's been three weeks in the ICU as of today. This has been the longest three weeks of our lives. I don't want to do this again.

Home sounds real good right now... at least we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope it isn't a train!

5/14/14 After four weeks in ICU, she was finally transferred to a rehab facility for physical therapy. Her release date is somewhere around the 25th of May... then we're going home!

 Ula with her physical therapist


5/21/14: We received word today that barring unforseen circumstances, Ula will be released to go home on Monday, 5/26/14!

This makes us very happy. Ula has been in the hospital since 4/14/14. That's 42 days for a hospital stay that was supposed to be ten days max.

This has been a nightmare, but she's feeli g much better, she's stronger than she used to be and the symptoms of her cirrhosis are greatly diminished. That's something to be thankful for, at least.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers.

Here's hoping the 26th comes without any complications.

6/12/14: Ula had a major setback. On 5/24/14, she suffered extremely high ammonia levels. This caused her to lose control of her muscles resulting in her squirming and thrashing about constantly until she could be transferred to a hospital and sedated.

She suffered short-term memory loss, not even recognizing me. She was placed in a coma for five days until her body chemestry could be brought back to normal.



She's back in the rehab/physical therapy hospital to regain what she lost during the period of infection. This has been a difficult struggle for the both of us.

When she started this adventure, her weight was well over 300 lbs which was mostly fluid retention due to her liver disease. She weighed in yesterday at 229 lbs. Well over a hundred pound loss.

We still have a long way to go, but she is very close to being placed on the liver transplant list. Once there, we will have to find a place to live in the Salt Lake City area. Should a liver become available, we'd have to be able to get to the hospital as soon as possible. Living in rural Nevada isn't an option in that circumstance.

More to come.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Signs of the Times!

You know, I'm getting pretty upset with the way things seem to be going here lately. Here's a few reasons why.

The so-called "Income Inequality" issue that's being debated in Congress. 

Ronald Reagan once commented (and I'm paraphrasing here) that A Democrat sees a fat man and a skinny man standing on the street and believes that the fat man got that way by stealing the skinny man's food.

It seems that our Progressive Democrat friends in Congress believe that very thing. They want to tax and take away from the wealthy then give the money to the folks on welfare. You know,the folks who are out of work so that they can pursue their dreams of writing poetry or
painting. I'll bet they have dreams of having a job and eating, too.

Anyway, by adding more taxes and fees and other financial obligations on the rich to finance the government's giveaway programs because it's "fair" is really a crock!

When a person goes to college or studies to learn a trade, then leverages that training and knowledge into a business then making that business successful through hard work so that he or she can provide for their future and make a nice life for themselves, well, that's the American Dream. The fact that if you work hard and apply yourself, you can become successful. 

But then Uncle Sam comes along and sees that you have an "unfair" advantage over the poor, the lazy, the welfare rats and the otherwise unfortunate that the government allows to live on the tax dollar of those who actually work for a living. The government takes from the rich, keeps a big chunk for themselves and gives the rest to the "poor". Yeah, that's "fair" all right!


The only problem with this concept is that life ISN'T "fair". It never has been. Fairness only comes into play in organized sports and board games.

So, they say, what about where it says that all men are created equal. Huh? Well, it's true that I believe that all men ARE created equal... but from that point forward, what you do with your life, what you choose to become, is up to you. Some succeed and some fail. Is it up to those who succeed to foot the bill for the failures? No, it's not... unless they want to voluntarily donate to help the less fortunate. It's called charity and it's voluntary.

Life would become so much simpler if the word "fair" was removed from our language.

What the government proposes is something akin to Robin Hood, except that
the government keeps most of your "donation" so that they can give it away to countries who don't like us. And they still don't like us, but they are more comfortable hating us... Don't get me started on THAT!

Back to Income Inequality... If the government makes he wealthy pay higher taxes, the businesses lay off workers to foot the bill, causing more unemployment. That, or they raise prices to cover the loss. Unless they sell something that is indispensable to the buyer, their sales will go down and they risk losing their income. That, or the business will just cease to exist
because the cost of doing business is too great. 

Rather than take this path, how about the government just put a hard limit on welfare programs which will make the would-be artists and poets go out and get jobs? There WILL be jobs if this is done, because businesses will have more money to operate with. They will expand their operations and train new employees to fill the vacancies. Prices will go down since there will be a lot of lower incomes being generated out of necessity, for a few years. This means that suppliers of food and other consumables will have to sell their wares in greater volume rather than higher prices to meet the demand.

The problem is, that politicians will not vote for this because it will make them look bad to the voters and they won't be able to keep their cash-cow jobs in congress. They would lose their power. like stuffing Superman's shorts with Kryptonite.


The problem is a never-ending one, but they way it's being approached is just wrong because it robs all concerned of their INCENTIVE. If there's no payday, why do it at all?



Police Overreaction to routine events has really gotten out of hand lately. Recently, a 70 year old man was shot at a roadside because the officer
thought the man's cane was a shotgun. It seems that the police are getting spooked by the littlest things. Not everyone is out to kill you. They need to take a step back, take a deep breath and ask themselves what the heck is going on before they start shooting. Before you start saying, "You just don't understand..." yeah, I really DO. I served for fifteen years as a Sheriff's Deputy and a Police officer. You guys need to dial it back a notch... okay?


Reducing the size of our military is NOT a good thing right now. Not with the
nimrod we have as Commander in Chief of the military. Everyone believes that this guy is so smart, but it's obvious that the only clue he has is that Colonel Mustard did it in the kitchen with a candlestick. The US foreign policy is in tatters and the reputation we have earned on the international stage is somewhere between Somalia and New Guinea.

Things are starting to irritate me more and more. I either have to stop watching the news or get a hobby, like making Molotov cocktails... yeah, be a bartender!

Keep smiling everyone. If you don't, you'll start crying.

"Knock knock"
"who's there"
"Crimea"
"Crimea who..."

"Crimea river!"


See ya next time. Geezer... out!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Global Warming and Other Thoughts

Hello, folks!

It's been a while since I last posted on my blog. If you care, check out my entry a few months ago entitled "On Being a Caregiver". I take care of my lovely wife of 36+ years who is having some serious health issues. It's taken me away from this blog for a while. The fact is that I really haven't had anything major to write about, at least important enough for me to take the time to sit at the keyboard and write.

Well here it is... a few words about current events from over the past few months.

Global Warming! There are those who would have us believe that the sky is (literally) falling in the form of climate change. World governments have bought in to this idea as a means to pass legislation restricting industry and business, and even the common citizen, to fall in to line and become more "Ecologically Responsible".

This is in spite of the fact that there is overwhelming scientific evidence that any climate change is the result of natural climatic cycles and not the doing of man.

It's very egotistical to think that we small humans have the capacity to damage this planet in any manner so as to be noticeable. If we were to gather every human on the planet and bulldoze them (us) all into the Grand Canyon, there would be plenty of room left over for all the animals on the planet and then even all the bugs. There would STILL be room left over!

What I'm saying is that compared to the global area of all the land masses on Earth, humans inhabit such a small percentage of that land mass so as to be totally insignificant. It's true.

I'm not saying that ecological disasters haven't happened and will never happen again, but the Earth is such an amazing machine that in a relatively short period of time, the damage heals and is no more. Just like a human heals from a scuffed-up knee.

Case in point are the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. Three Mile Island in the USA. Bikini Atoll in the Pacific ocean. New York City in the USA... well maybe there really isn't much hope there, but you get the point.

Recently, a group of environmental scientists aboard a Russian research ship
sailed to the Antarctic to measure and record the retreating ice shelf to offer proof of global warming and climate change. Ironically, their ship became trapped in the ice and was the subject of an international rescue.

How embarrassing! I can just hear the conversation:




"Yo, Bob. We're stuck in the ice"

"You noticed that?"

"Yeah. It wasn't supposed to be here."

"Where do you think it came from? I mean with the Global Warming thing and all."

"That's what I was thinking! Sure is a LOT of ice, huh."

Keep this in mind the next time tries to sell you on the idea of climate change
and 'global warming'.


On another topic.

There is a "game" being played by street thugs called "Knockout" here in the
USA. The point of the game is to attack a complete stranger and try to knock them out with a single punch. Oh, what fun!

When I was a kid, we told "Knock-Knock" jokes. We would never have even thought about striking someone as a "game". 

My only question is, where are the parents? What did they teach their kids to make them believe that this was an okay activity? I have heard all the arguments that tell me these kids were raised without a father or are from broken homes or are living in poverty. That's a bunch of crap. They still know the difference between right and wrong!


Moving on:


A sixteen year old boy from Texas got drunk and high on drugs, then went out and drove his car into a group of people, killing four.

The judge in the case sentenced the boy to probation, stating that he was
from a wealthy family and therefore had no concept of personal responsibility. They called in "Affluenza" as if being affluent was a disease of some sort. Again, I have to ask, where are the parents? What did they teach this kid that made him believe that this was acceptable behavior? 


Next up:


Our wonderful President continues to embarrass the
United States on the world stage. Behaving like a teenager at the funeral of Nelson Mandela, taking "Selfies" of himself with other heads of state. What did this guy's Mommy teach him that makes him believe that this is acceptable?

Or being the skilled diplomat and striking a bargain with Iran in which the USA gets nothing while giving away the farm and all the cows. In doing so, leaving Israel out on a limb and flapping in the wind. Disgusting!


He charges in like a bull in a china shop in the Syrian debacle and had to be rescued by Vladimir Putin of Russia before he starts World War three. Then he walks away and starts posturing as if he was some kind of genius foreign affairs expert when everyone in the world (but him and his cronies) knows what a fool he is. It would be funny if it wasn't so deadly serious.

This man has no vision or ambition to improve life in this country.

FDR strove to defeat the Germans and Japanese in World War Two. He did it!

Kennedy wanted to put a man on the moon and bring him back safely to earth before 1970. We did it!


Reagan wanted to put an end to the Soviet bloc, calling for the Russians to "Tear down this wall!"  They did it!


Obama wanted to have his website fixed before the end of November. 



I don't have to tell you how THAT is going. Really? A website? Embarrassing!



I'm certain that there are other gems that deserve my attention but I'm tired and my wife is calling. She spent the week before Christmas in the hospital from complications of her disease. She was discharged on Christmas Eve. It's good to be home!

Thanks to everyone for continuing to read my Blog. I promise to be more attentive in the future.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and will have a Happy New Year. 2014 is going to bring more changes for all of us. Batten down the hatches and let's weather the storm together!

Till next time,  The Geezer!