Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

Decoration Day (Memorial Day) is the most beautiful of our national holidays…. The grim cannon have turned into palm branches, and the shell and shrapnel into peach blossoms. — Thomas Bailey Aldrich

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. — General George S. Patton

We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them. — Francis A. Walker

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
~Lee Greenwood

It is yet another Memorial Day. Time to remember the ones we lost in combat. I lost a lot of friends in Nam and I think about them everyday of my life. Guess that is part of survivor guilt but I never want those men to be forgotten. I hope everyone can get out to a parade this weekend and truly remember the real reason for this holiday. I really like the words in Lee Greenwood's song.

Guess I should update everyone on my motorcycle adventures. My adventure is over as fast as it began. The technical aspects of riding were not really my problem. The mental was the big road block. It was taking me out of my “safe zone” and it raised the anxiety level just as it did when my PTSD first started. With the help of my therapist I probably could have gotten past that point. My pinned hip was giving me problems with support at stops and mentally it was creating problems on right hand turns. I did not want to fall on the hip again. But I did.

Nothing was hurt except my pride and when I got back from that ride I decided right then and there that at 65 it was not a good idea to try and ride again. The bike is going up for sale this week and I did enjoy it for a short period of time. If I could just ride without stopping and turning corners then it would be great. Or if I just rode counter clockwise all the time and only made left hand turns it would be okay.

I know a lot of guys with PTSD ride motorcycles but they have been riding for years and it probably has little effect on them. Guess I have passed the thrill stage in my life cycle. I raced cars after Nam and loved the thrill of high speed. I had a 57 Porsche Speedster and raced E Production in SCCA. I loved that and it was mentally relaxing after a busy workweek. Guess at 65 the same thrills are no longer there. Or we know what real pain is like and don't want to go through it again.

Be sure and shake the hand of a Veteran this weekend and thank him for his service to our country. Or visit a Veterans grave and leave flowers, or take the kids to a Memorial Day parade and let them know the real reason for Memorial Day. It is not just a holiday for hot dogs and beer. Remember our Veterans from all wars and again thank them for keeping us free. God Bless You All.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Damn, I Got Old Quick

“Damn, I got old quick”. Time is sure flying by lately. They say that time goes quicker as you get older and it sure seems to be moving at a fast rate lately. I has been awhile since my last post but seems like just yesterday.

I have found something that does tend to take up a lot of my time on the internet. It is a series of mindless games on Facebook. I play Farkle, Bejeweled Blitz, Jungle Jewels and a few different farming programs. Those being Farm Town, Farmville and Lil Farm Life. I also do those on my sisters Facebook for a total of five farms I'm maintaining. They are mindless games but they do keep your mind off of bad memories. I've seen it mentioned on a couple of different PTSD websites as to how it is therapeutic. Farm Town is my favorite because it is the most realistic. And it is a lot easier than real farming.

I got through the holidays fairly stress free and the New Year got here so quickly. Now we are into February and are starting to plan vacations. “Plan vacations...there is still snow on the ground”. We are going to Colorado this year for our long vacation and that will probably be in June or July depending on scheduling. We may also do a four day trip to Cambridge Ohio and some shot trips to Shipshewana, Frankenmouth, and Manistee.

April is going to be a busy month. That month has the Hall China Convention in Columbus OH, Great Lakes Depression Glass Show in Madison Heights, MI, and I start my motorcycle safety classes. Yes, I said motorcycle class. I bought a 2007 Honda Shadow Spirit 1100 motorcycle off of eBay in November. The seller was a retired Police Chief up in the Muskegan area and had two Honda's and sold the smaller of the two. He delivered it via trailer and it is in great condition with very little miles. It has been over 40 years since I have been on a motorcycle so it will take some getting used to riding again.

I was a fearless young man then and now I know what pain is like so I'm sure I will be a fearful old coot rider. There will be two days of classroom work and two days of parking lot riding to complete the class. Upon successful completion of the class, you are certified to get a motorcycle license. I probably will only tide for a couple of years but I just have the feeling that I want to get back in the saddle. I was so much fun as a youth and hopefully it will still be just as much fun.

I'm still attending the weekly group therapy sessions and that is going well. The local VA still does not have a permanent shrink but they may be getting one next month. Talking to a shrink over a TV connection just does not get it. Usually they are so interested in looking at their computer and what they are typing that they never spend much time observing how you are reacting to the questions. Observation is part of how you understand the patient. Almost all of the VA shrinks seem to be foreign doctors. It is probably just a stopping off point until they can get a regular practice started on the outside.

This is the kind of Health Care the government wants to shove down our throats. Poorly paid and poorly run. The VA is getting better in some areas but is still inferior to most regular hospitals and physicians. The Ann Arbor VA is excellent because they are connected to the University of Michigan Medical Center.

Let's hope I can post again soon.