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IMG_5318Word of my friend Michael’s passing still makes me shake.  It was a total shock and surprise.  Someone so special in my life now gone.

For some reason I thought that I could reflect on that life-change for at least a little while.  Yet, life as meted out by the Great Administrator does not always coincide with human assumptions.  Instead, more friends are spending massive amounts of time in the examination room as doctors poke and prod.

An email alert came from Becky.  One of my buddies, her husband, and I have shared many moments in the woods open to whatever the wonderful world of the wilds had in store for us.  Hiking, gazing and exploring were filled with conversation and laughing.

Richard was in and out of the hospital.  Doctors could not figure out what was not right.  Yet, Richard knew something was off kilter.

We play tag on email as he keeps me up-to-date with the latest medical guess.  He is in pain.  Something is wrong and we are praying that the wonderful world of medicine can figure it out.

Then, another email flashed across my screen.  Frank was in the hospital.  I picked up my phone and gave the hospital a call.

Frank laughed, “Yep, I am in the hospital.  I had a few strokes last year and led to a visit to the doctor.
“THREE strokes? Doctor? Like are you for real?”
“Yeah, now the doctors tell me I need a quadruple bypass.”
“Good grief! Dude, you sure know how to surprise your friends.”
“Ha. I told Cindy to trade me in for an upgraded model.  She told me she was happy with what she has.  Cool, eh?”

The telephone visit was brief but encouraging all the way around.  Friendship among guys is like that.  There was no denial, no worries, no whining.

Another email alert raced across my screen.  This time it was Duane.  He was in the hospital.

I picked up the phone and called him.  He just got to the hospital that very morning.  His internist had been treating him for pneumonia but the treatment was not making Duane feel any better.

When the antibiotic schedule was done, Duane went in to see his doctor.  The stethoscope told a very different story.  Immediately, the doctor admitted Duane into the hospital.

Duane needed a new heart valve.  Yikes! My friends are hurting.  I am praying for them, texting them and hoping that next week all will be better, much better.

photo credit: brucefong photography

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IMG_5318One morning I woke up to an uncomfortable feeling.  My throat was itchy.  A hacking cough exploded from my lungs.

It sounded terrible.  Something has found its way into my lungs.  Every breathe irritated a build up and stirred a headache causing more coughing.

My body was aching.  Pain in my head seemed to spread into more pain in my joints, muscles and normal functioning was uncomfortable on its way to being more and more sore.  I groped for my cell phone.

As comfortable as I could get, I began canceling appointments, rearranging other meetings and contacted key people with whom I needed to meet.  For one of those very rare times in my life I sent a note to my office that I would be taking two sick days.

Two speaking engagements loomed on the horizon.  One was the next day.  A second one was not only in three days but it would also require a plane flight to another state.

Just to be on the safe side, I called my medical clinic and scheduled a visit to a quick exam.  Have not all of us been through IMG_5319enough illnesses  to predict how things are going to pan out.  I would be worse before I got better and maybe if I went to my doctor early enough then I could get some meds and shortchange the bug that was growing inside of me.

Like so many of my machismo brothers we self-diagnose and self-over-the-counter medicate until we break down and go in only to be told that we are getting better.  We who are the sick ones know that we are getting better but the doctor’s office said that they had no openings until the next week.  This time I was going in before I passed the worst of my illness.

My regular doctor was out of the office.  They scheduled me with someone what had an opening.  I was ushered into the waiting room by the nurse who took all of the preliminaries.

Then the P.A. came in.  She was friendly, professional and knowledgeable.  All of the symptoms were discussed and the test results showed no evidence of Flu or Strep.

Is it not amazing when serious options are eliminated and I cannot help but be a little disappointed?  If it was neither the Flu nor Strep then there was nothing that the doctor could do!  Rats, since the medical clinic cannot do anything to help my illness do I really have to fork over the co-pay?  Yeah, it is a guy-thing.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

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