Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Am I Taking Myself Too Seriously?

Late last year, after having to write a couple of articles about the 2019 False Teacher Of The Year, I stopped publishing blog entries. Why? Because everything felt wrong, nothing I touched felt right or good. It was a bad year and it continues through to this year.

Last year I was laid off by Comcast because some VP wanted to impress his boss by showing how much money he could save the company so he laid off the vast majority of the team I worked with. Yes I did get a few months severance and a monthly pittance to help with medical for the next few years. To prove that this wasn't because we were old the company sent us a form to show the age spread of everyone laid off - except for a couple of people we were all well over 50. The few exceptions were all over 40. Ooops.

The VP who did this was fired, he may have impressed his boss, but he destroyed a lot of lives without permission. And to put the frosting on this cake, due to company policy we who were laid off cannot be rehired for 3 years and they will not budge on that. Believe me, several VPs have tried to get some of us (including me) back, but they were blocked by the head offices. So Mr. Trump was right, it's pronounced CON-cast. And getting a new job? You can't imagine the looks on the faces you see when you, a 60+ year old man walks into a job interview on oxygen. You just know that the only thing the interviewers really want to say is "Next!" Fortunately they know many polite ways to say "Go away and stay away." 

An MRI I had taken before my medical benefits dried up showed that my back is broken, a compression fracture at T10/T11, 25% healed, an injury I suffered while on active duty and if Glen Chatfield has a picture in his vast archive of a USAF load crew installing a SUU-23 gunpod on an F-4 Phantom II I can show you how my back was fractured. My VA Claim for this and other maladies has been stalled since last year and will probably continue to be stalled since the VA offices are shut down due to the Chinese Virus*.

And speaking of closed offices, my wife and I need to move, Colorado is just too expensive a place to live for someone on Social Security Disability, we want to pack up and take mother-in-law with us, we even have a buyer for our house. However every office we need to seal a deal on selling our house or buying a new house is closed due to the Chinese Virus*. 

Besides a messed up back I suffer from Pulmonary Embolism, Emphysema, and Pulmonary Hypertension, conditions that need to be monitored closely so even though most hospital functions are shut down due to the Chinese Virus*, I still need to be tested, I still need to see Dr. Awesome and Dr. Chicago who monitor my progress, or my congress. (Congress is the opposite of Progress) A couple of weeks ago I had an appointment to see Dr. Chicago about my Pulmonary Hypertension. PH is an insidious condition, it's high blood pressure inside the heart. At the arm my BP is 120/80 on a bad day. I don't have high blood pressure, I'm a carrier, I give it to other people. However inside the heart the reading is about 33 - much higher than it should be.

Side note: in January I had a bout of "Cardiac Asthma**" I texted both Dr. Awesome and Dr. Chicago about my symptoms both said "GO TO THE ER", it was Dr Chicago who said "Sound like Cardiac Asthma**" I got to the ER and told them what Dr. Chicago told me and the ER Doc checked me out and sure enough, that's what it was: Cardiac Athsma**. After mega doses of diuretics the ER doc who knows Dr. Chicago asked me when I spoke to her, so I showed the ER Doc my phone and our text exchanges. The ER Doc said "Wow, did you know she's in Peru at a Pulmonary Hypertension conference?" - that' the kind of doctors I have.

One business day before my March appointment with Dr. Chicago, the hospital finance office called and told me that I need a referral from my family doctor before I can see Dr. Chicago or Dr. Awesome. So in the middle of a global pandemic I have to jump through hoops to get my PCP's referral secretary to jump through hoops to get the referrals completed, which generally takes a week to do. Something that the financial office knows but really doesn't care about. The secretary with the golden heart assured me that there would be no problem and she faxed me copies of the referral paperwork to show the finance office if there's a problem.

I get to the hospital in question and when I go to admissions, honest to God, they made me sit in a 'time out corner' until someone from the finance office would speak to me. After a very long wait the woman who gave me grief over the referrals showed up and said "You have 13 unpaid accounts" and that's it, she knew nothing more and anything I tried to say she dismissed with a hand to my face and all my questions were deflected with "I don't know, I just know you have 13 unpaid accounts." So I called my wife "Did we get any bills from the hospital?" My wife called the billing and told them what was going on - it was our previous insurance provider sitting on hospital bills, AKA Business As Usual. Billing told me to go back to admissions and go see Dr. Chicago.

A few minutes later in Dr. Chicago's office we mourned the loss of opening day (I call her Dr. Chicago because she's a Cubs fan) and since most of her appointments were cancelled we had a much longer than normal visit and a great chat, we discussed ways to easily quantify Pulmonary Hypertension WHO Class 3 vs Class 1, pretty geeky stuff, but it may help a doctor who is not a PH specialist save a patients life. 

We also discussed how exercising on a treadmill can effect a PH patient. I don't know if that's ever been studied seriously, but if it has, Dr. Chicago would know about it, she's a huge fitness buff. I received a new treadmill for Christmas, and I've been pretty diligent about using it (I'll top 250 miles for 2020 this week) and can't wait to get back into testing (Echo Cardio gram, measured 6 minute walks) Then I mentioned "It's getting harder and harder to get my pulse rate above 100 on a flat and level walk" I honestly thought there was a problem with my equipment.

Dr. Chicago's eyes flew open and she grinned "You're getting fit!" I left her office praising God for the gift of this doctor.

This week I was scheduled to see Dr. Awesome for my COPD, but one business day before my appointment I was told that Dr. Awesome doesn't see patients on Mondays (Being a professor and the leading Pulmonologist in the US she has other duties). I knew that, I've known that for months, I mentally kicked myself for forgetting that and allowing scheduling office to set me up with a Monday appointment. But I had blood work that HAD to be drawn so I drove into the hospital on Monday and called scheduling to reschedule my appointment with Dr. Awesome, they set me up with an appointment on April 13. Since I was driving I wasn't able to check my calendar, but like I said, Dr. Awesome is the very top in her field, any chance to get in to see her is a gift from God.

This time check-in was a breeze, the woman working in admissions was an old friend from the rehabilitation clinic that Dr. Awesome likes to send me to. My blood work was drawn by a nurse that I've known and have been friends with for a half decade, and coming out of the office I saw a tiny woman in ill fitting scrubs and mask carrying a huge load of laundry. I held the elevator door open for her and she said "Hi Doug"

I replied, "I sorry, I don't recognize you"

"It's me, Angie." It was Dr. Awesome in the basement of the hospital carrying her own laundry! This woman should have a half dozen students and interns following her, carrying her books and papers, holding her pencils, fetching her coffee, fending off reporters, setting up interviews with the president, answering her fan mail... and here she was being a real person. We talked a bit about what she was doing on Mondays now, I mentioned that I had rescheduled today's appointment for the 13th and she gave me a look over the top of her mask that clearly said "How can one of my patients be so dumb?" We both chuckled, of course the 13th is a Monday. I got that changed a little while later.

Again I left the hospital praising the Lord for giving me these wonderful doctors and nurses and admins who are working hard to keep me alive, and being so nice about it. The only thing I can do in return is to be the spot of joy in their day with a smile and a laugh and a profound thank you, even that woman in the finance office who didn't understand my billing statement. And that really works, I've had several healthcare providers thank me for showing them the love that Jesus shows us. 

C.S. Lewis said, "A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you."

The concentration camp survivor, Corrie ten Boom, said: "Look at the world and be distressed. Look within and be depressed. Look at Jesus and be at rest."

Yeah, it's rough out there, but want can we do?
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
I think I'm going to go for a walk... More when I get back.

* Chinese is not a racist term because Chinese is not a race, just like Canadian is not a race, French is not a race, Egyptian is not a race, it's an identification of nationality. White, Yellow, Black, and Brown are not races, they're colors. Asian is a race, Caucasian is a race,  need I go on?

** Cardiac Asthma is when fluid in the lungs causes shortness of breath and also presses against the heart, it feels really really bad. If this is what Chinese Virus* sufferers are going through, take my word for it - it sucks


  1. Sorry, I just photograph the planes, not the stuff in them! :oD

    Keep on truckin' -- as we said in the 1960s and 1970s.

    1. I wish I could find a photo of hanging that gun pod, it was quite a process. Being the smallest guy on the load crew I drove the bomb lift truck under the plane and on several occasions during the download, the bomb rack hooks were opened before there was enough up pressure on the lift arm of the lift truck. 6,000 lbs of gun and ammo got transferred to the truck in an instant and the truck became a teeter-totter transferring 140 lbs of A1C into the belly of the Phantom. Ouch.

    2. I found one that's close, here's a bunch of guys loading a bomb on the inboard pylon of an F-4G (This even has the right sleeting on the tail, Space Pig!) To hang the gun pod on a D model I would drive that bomb lift truck up under the belly from behind and have to crouch down so that my head was below the headlight.


    3. I'm all about da bombs (and other maintenance) 😁