Weekend Coffee Dreams

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

If we were having coffee today I’d tell you about the dreams.  Oh, not any dreams.  I guess we all have repetitive dreams, but last night I had more of a repetitive theme dream.

These revolve around finding some hidden section or room of the house.  Sometimes it is the current house, sometimes it is some past house, sometimes it is even (this will sound silly) some other dream house, a place that seems familiar from past dreams.

These are funny after I wake up, I mean, the notion that a room or in some cases a vast network of rooms, might exist.  I guess psychologists would read a lot into that.  Our house is cluttered, I guess deep down maybe I really wish I had extra rooms.  It wouldn’t have done much good in last night’s dream, the rooms were cluttered with broken furniture and leftover debris.

This dream even had another level.  Not another level to the dream, another level to the rooms.  During the dream, after marveling at the find, I later went back and looked a little closer and found a stairway and another set of rooms off to the side and below. I guess within the context of the dream it makes sense. The first one was supposedly outside an upstairs window.  When outside I had noticed something hanging near an upstairs window.  Later I remembered and sought to go out and take it down. The additional level provided access from below.  I didn’t get a chance to do more exploration before waking up.

I have had another series of dreams where there were vast furnished rooms branching off a hidden corner hallway, easily doubling, perhaps tripling the size of the house. Oddly, for some reason, it occurs to me in the dream to go into this area and I keep wondering to myself why I don’t use these rooms more.  I had a dream once that a house we had looked at when we were house hunting had a complete and fantastic basement section.  The house itself was somewhat lacking for our purposes but this basement section made it a no brainer that we should have bought that house.  In the dream, when I found this out, I got miffed at the real estate agent for failing to show us the extra rooms.

Anyway, this was so vivid, it was just on my mind when I woke up.  I need to go look around now, to make sure I haven’t missed anything in the twelve years since I moved into this house.

What sort of repetitive dreams do you have?

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Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.  For information on his writing check out his web page at http://thefensk.com

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Weekendcoffee Adios

If we were having coffee today I’d sadly tell you that LadyBird, our dog, had passsd away. 

It’s actually been almost three weeks but it’s been a hard thing to share.  Thanks for the condolences. 

She was a big dog, about 100 pounds, so at over 15 years old it wasn’t unexpected. She had slowed down considerably the last few months and it was even worse in her last couple of weeks.  

We’ve started to get over the initial sudden shock of her passing. Now it is the little things. Like walking down the pet food aisle … we still have cats … and turning to the dog food and stopping mid-turn.  All the usually “going out” times are still a minor struggle, especially coming back from shopping or something when in the past taking her out would be the first thing on my mind when I got home (at her age she couldn’t wait too long between outings). 

I had some  “jingle bells” attached to her coller so I could hear her getting up, especially in the middle of the night. I keep expecting to hear them, but they aren’t there.  Feeding time is a totally different routine. I keep looking at the empty spot on the living room floor where she spent most of her time, expecting her to be there.  Even the cats avoided that spot for the longest time. 

These and dozens of other minor rememberences will linger, I know. The bigger ones will never go away. She was 100 pounds of pure love. 

I guess I’ll end with my favorite prayer which at first sounds like a joke but … well, it isn’t:   “Lord, help me to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.”

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Thomas Fenske is a writer, living in North Carolina.  More information on his novels and cookbook can be found at http://thefensk.com 

WeekendCoffeeShare-Update

img_6284If we were having coffee today I’d have to tell you I am very happy to see you.  Last week I talked about my upcoming eye surgery on my cataracts, so I thought I should give you a little update.

It is nothing short of amazing.  And that’s just one eye.  Of course, my right eye was my dominant eye, it always has been, but I’d been depending more and more on my left eye, although I knew it was rapidly deteriorating too.  The doctor suggested I have the right lens removed from my glasses but I actually think I function better without that … since my left eye, even corrected, is pretty bad.

I was just standing on the front porch.  There is a small store across the street from us.  I can close my left eye and see the small, lit “OPEN” sign clearly.  If I cover my right eye, I CAN’T EVEN SEE THE SIGN.   That’s uncorrected.  I can see that there is a store there, as I can with most other big things.  It is like looking through smoke and haze.  Understand, this eye is about 50% better than my right eye had become.

I had become pretty used to my deteriorated vision.  I was still driving up to two weeks ago, depending on the weather and the light conditions and how my eyes seemed to be functioning at the time — some days I could see better than on other days.  Since the surgery, my wife had been reluctant to let me drive again, but I told her, really, I can see so much better than I could even see two or three months ago.

The new situation is not without its adjustments and pitfalls.  I still have what they call “floaters” … including one I was calling a dragon’s claw, shifting back and forth just out of my central vision, a bit like a hair on an old projector lens at the movies.  It has diminished over the last several days, now more like a spider or fly, dancing around.  The doctor said it is not uncommon and should likely fade over the next couple of weeks.  The nature of my eyes precluded a complete adjustment … although the eye tested at 20/20 for distance, I still need enhancement to read.  Although this seems a minor adjustment, it is actually more than I anticipated.  I’ve worn progressive lenses for almost 20 years … basically trifocals without lines.  I used to joke they were like being young again.  Now, I don’t need glasses for distance but have to relearn what I used to do years ago before the progressives and keep reading glasses handy.  I haven’t had to do that in a while and it is different now with things like tablets and smart phones.  I’ll know more when I have the other eye complete.

But considering I struggled to even see the screen to type last week’s dispatch, I can see the screen clearly now with minimal strength reading glasses, although I think I’ll need to take it easy because even now I can detect eye strain as my left eye struggles to help. Not complaining, mind you, as I know this is temporary.

Eye two scheduled for early December.

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Thomas Fenske is a writer living in NC.  Find out about his novels The Fever, and A Curse That Bites Deep at http://thefensk.com
He really needs some sales to help pay for all these related medical expenses!

WeekendCoffeeShare…How are YOU?

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.comIf we were having coffee today, since I don’t have much to talk about I think I’d just listen.
Well, I do, but these little sessions all seem to be just about me so for once I would just shut the heck up and let you take the lead.
I’d want to hear about your woes and your joys and your concerns and your observations. I’d laugh at your jokes, and express sympathy for your sorrows.
No matter what craziness you seemed to have going on in your life, I’d nod and commiserate.  I’d do my best to bite my tongue and not tell you how much worse my situation(s) have been.
We would hug or shake hands and part and you might feel just a bit better about getting it all off your chest for a change.
I’d still be carrying my burdens, but they’ll keep for another week, don’t you think?
Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.
His latest novel, A Curse That Bites Deep, will be published  October 1 … and the eBooks are currently available for a 25% pre-release disccount … Links and other information are available at  www.thefensk.com

If we were having coffee …

img_5454If we were having coffee, I’d be complaining about how hard it is to sell a debut novel.  I’d tell you how all my author friends say the first book is the hardest but to keep at it.  They always assure me that by the time I publish the third or fourth book I will be on my way.  But then again, they’re not really friends, are they?  They are the competition.    

Still … I’d tell you that I see their point.  I’d finish my coffee and carefully place the empty mug on the table, then stand up and announce, “That’s it, then .. my next novel will officially be my FOURTH novel!”

Sigh.

Thomas Fenske is the author of The Fever
http://www.thefensk.com

 

Transplants … Fascinating

Albert Jefferies (Al-J) and Ashley Larimore continue to recover from last week’s back-to-back heart transplants. Both of these brave young people have endured a lifetime of health problems and now have a chance to change that. They both still have a ways to go … it is major surgery and like any major surgery they have some serious recovery time. I continue to remember them both in my prayers and wish them the best.

This weekend I found myself contemplating why I was so fascinated with these two stories. It was pure happenstance that I even found out about Al-J, and Ashley came to my attention because she responded to Al-J’s story like a lot of people did … but in her case it was to tell him that he was not alone, she was in the same situation.

Anyway, I am surprised I hadn’t thought about this before, but I have several coincidences in my past that serve to link me to things involving transplants. I just didn’t consciously put them all together until this weekend.

Well, I actually had thought about the most recent coincidence. This was my on-line friendship with Susan Steinsapir. Hers was likely one of the first heart disease/transplant stories that was chronicled in depth on-line. The world-wide internet community rallied around her, there were even articles written about the power of the internet bringing people together for this one common purpose. A bunch of us knew her from postings on internet interest groups called newsgroups. She kept us informed of her status via emails, and eventually web pages popped up. Compared to today, it was quite primitive, but we keep up with her case in almost real-time. But her case also had a sad ending … it turned out she was simply too ill to survive the operation. That was twenty years ago this past January. You can read about her on this tribute page a mutual friend has kept since that time: http://www.mimimart.com/susan/obit.htm (given the age .. some links may no longer be valid).

But there were three other coincidences in my life I hadn’t considered in this context. For some reason these all popped into my mind this weekend.

Two of the most famous pioneers in the realm of heart surgery worked in my hometown, Houston, Texas: Doctors Denton Cooley and Michael DeBakey. When the first heart transplant was announced in 1967, by Dr. Christiaan Barnard, I was fascinated by it. I read everything I could and local news stories concentrated on the two famous local surgeons.

The first coincidence … I went to grade school with Dr. Cooley’s daughter for a while. It’s true. Okay, I hardly knew her but we were in the same class! I didn’t realize that until after his first transplant, but I still remember her. Okay, it is pretty lame, but it IS a coincidence, right?

After Barnaard’s transplant, there were several transplants in the US, but Dr. Cooley completed what is regarded as the first successful heart transplant in May of 1968, when he operated on a gentleman by the name of Everett Thomas. Mr. Thomas lived for about seven months with that heart. Without the transplant he would have been dead in days. The reason I remember this was for one simple reason. Like I said, I was fascinated with the subject … so I had kept up with the news and read everything I could about his progress. Shortly after I read that Mr. Thomas had been released from the hospital and was living in Houston to be close to Dr. Cooley, I went to Catholic Mass one morning. I liked to get up and walk to the early service. This one Sunday morning, a family filed into a pew two rows ahead of me. It was Everett Thomas. I recognized him because of my fascination with the story and had seen his picture dozens of times. I respected their privacy and after Mass they quietly filed out of the church with their secret intact. I never saw them again at that service. In reality I was too shy to have ever even thought about approaching him, but I was amazed that here was this famous guy, with somebody else’s heart, sitting almost within arm’s reach. It had quite an impact on my fifteen year old brain.
Okay, third coincidence … years later I worked closely with a woman … we shared an office for seven or eight years. Years earlier she had been a secretary for Dr. DeBakey. I mean, she worked for him for years. She knew him. He called her by her first name. Sure, for me it was an association removed by a couple of degrees, but how strange is that … two associations with two famous heart surgeons?

Okay, so maybe I’m stretching the psychological boundaries of newsworthy fascinations, but who cares? I will continue to check on the progress of my newest heroes, Al-J and Ashley. Their recovery continues … small issues with blood pressure and pain, so everybody keep the prayers up. These kids deserve a long and happy life.
Keep up with Al-J here: http://www.teamalj.com
Ashley’s Heart Journey FB page: https://www.facebook.com/ashleysheartjourney/

Transplant Update

My pal Albert Jefferies, aka AlJ, is out of surgery and in recovery.   

Bear in mind that although heart transplants seem very routine and commonplace, it is major surgery. But AlJ is young and he has a great team working around the clock to give him excellent care.  And his mom, Tina … Let me tell you, if I ever have some trouble I want her fighting on my side.  The force is strong with this one. 

Just remember, AlJ and his family will continue to need your prayers and support. 

More info on #teamalj here:  http://www.teamalj.com

Keep Pounding!

Hopeful News

  I’ve shared about Albert Jefferies … aka AlJ … and his long wait for a new heart. Today we have some hopeful news.  

His mother, Tina Turner, reports via Facebook:  

day 99!!!!! THE HEART IS HERE , TRANSPLANT WILL BE DONE TODAY !!!! 

PRAY FOR RECOVERY AND HEALING 

I agree, keep AlJ in your thoughts and prayers.  

Keep fighting, AlJ!!!!!   

http://www.teamalj.com

Keep Pounding!

img_5478In a blog post a couple of weeks ago I  wrote about Alj — his full name is Albert Jefferies.  He is still in the hospital, waiting for a new heart.  He has been no stranger to hospitals in his short life but this time, the hospital has been his home for the last 78 days.  Well, he did get a chance to go back home once but he had to return almost immediately.  I’ve stayed in the hospital twice, both times for like two days and both times I hated it.  I can not imagine spending almost three months there.

Alj  is inspiring.  This young man has endured so much:  prodding and poking and endless tests … and he continues to do so.  Part of his strength, I’m sure, comes from his mother, Tina Turner.  I’ve only met her online, but I know my wife met her in person, briefly,  before Christmas.  Tina beats the drum about Alj’s illness relentlessly, recruiting “angels” as she calls them … all the time trying to add more prayer voices to those she has already recruited.  In that brief conversation, my wife was moved by Tina’s passion and her love for Albert, and by her force of will.  If the strength of a mother’s love was all Alj needed to be cured, he would be out playing ball with all his friends right now.  Both Albert and Tina are tremendous human beings.  They are my heroes.

I’m writing this update to let you know about a couple of new things.  For one thing, Alj has a new website and he’d love to hear from you.
http://www.teamalj.com/

Just click the contact tab and send him your well-wishes.

Also, he’s made the news!  He’s met more reporters in his young life than most of us will ever meet.  Why?  Because he is an inspiration.  The latest story just aired on a local Raleigh North Carolina TV station WRAL.  Great story.  Please check it out and tell your friends.
http://www.wral.com/teen-awaits-heart-transplant-at-unc-children-s-hospital/15377063/

Their hospital expenses are enormous and there are links on the web page for a gofundme campaign.  Every little bit helps.  There is also a local fundraiser this weekend in Hillsborough, NC … if you are in the area, you might consider participating.  As I said, every little bit helps.  You can find information about it on the web page as well.

TeamAlj has a motto, “Keep Pounding” — Take one moment every day and place a hand on your chest and feel the magic of your own beating heart and think about young Albert and silently repeat that motto —  “KEEP POUNDING!”

God bless you, Albert and Tina.