Thursday, July 19, 2012

Six Months and Two Days

Just a progress report. I wrote a lot of this in a comment on Tamara's blog. I guess I'm almost a hundred days ahead of her. In some ways, she's doing a lot better than I was doing, but her headaches are something I didn't have to deal with. Feel free to pray for her.

I was at 6 months day before yesterday. Last week I had a day where I fell asleep at every turn, so that I basically slept from a Monday evening until Wednesday morning. It came out of the blue, unknown cause. I usually don't need any nap at all at this point.

I'm weaning off the one steroid I'm taking; one month left. Then I start the Tacrolimus taper. That's the only immunosuppressive I'm taking, and I'm not taking much of it. It builds up in my blood pretty fast. In fact, I think almost all medicines work on me very effectively even in small doses.

I still have ongoing hemorrhoid problems. If I could cure them, I could exercise better and get out more. I've had advice from more than one doctor, more than one nurse practitioner, more than one nurse, and more than one fellow sufferer, so I think I've tried about everything at this point. Most of the advice helps, but the 'rhoids always come back quickly.

Still, I can't complain too much. My energy is very good for a transplant patient, and I can probably walk as far as a lot of "healthy" 50-year-olds.

In fact, I'm already back to overdoing it. I'm back in the middle of church life, going to meetings, talking to people, and I even did a teaching on "the faith once delivered to the saints" over Skype for friends in California Monday night. I'm playing catch-up at my warehouse business, and got a great idea for a new business to put in the empty building my church owns and makes payments on, but which has been sitting empty the majority of the time we owned it. So I'm not just trying to oversee a business, but I'm starting a new one, too!

Well, let's make this a little longer and tell you a funny story.

Monday I had the teaching (over Skype to California) scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Tennessee time. I went car shopping with my wife that afternoon, in southeast Missouri, about 2 hours and 15 minutes away. I went that far because I found a perfect lot for a guy like me. The used car lot sold all cars under $5,000, and they had several under $2,000, including a 1997 Buick LeSabre.

Now understand, I bought a 1997 Buick LeSabre back in 2003 (or maybe 2004). I bought it at an auction, and I learned there that no one wants to drive a Buick like that except African American young men and Caucasian old men. All Buick LeSabre drivers, or almost all, have either black skin or grey hair. Maybe there's a rule out there requiring this (#joke).

Anyway, because almost none of the people at this auction wanted the Buick, I got it for $1700. It had 174,000 miles on it, but it was in excellent condition.

Last year, when I went in the hospital, I gave that car to my son. I had driven it 8 years and put almost 170,000 additional miles on it. I drove it to California and back when it had almost 310,000 miles on it. Completely reliable, and it got 28 miles to the gallon on the highway, even at 75 MPH.

I had to pay $1950 for this Buick LeSabre. It has 165,000 miles on it. It runs great, and I love the gas mileage, power, and room.

Okay, enough about that. It turned out that the owners of the used car lot, a very southern woman and a Pakistani man, were very chatty. So we had trouble even looking at cars because we were having such a good time talking.

Because of this, we didn't leave the car lot until almost 8:00 p.m. There was no way to get back to our house by 9:00 for the scheduled teaching.

So we opted for Dyersburg.

There we stopped at a Burger King that had wi-fi. It wasn't working. We drove from there, following Google maps on my iPhone, which seems to be getting worse, not better, to find a McDonald's, which always has free internet. Google maps said there were three McDonald's on one block. That was weird, and as it turned out the only McDonald's was inside WalMart.

To put the final nail in the coffin, I got a great phone signal in Dyersburg, but it was all Edge. No 3G! Selmer is smaller than Dyersburg, and we have 4G!

I can't Skype over an Edge network.

By then, it was very close to 9:00, so I gave up and drove to the nearest place we could get a bite to eat quickly. I found a Dairy Queen, and we went in.

I asked if they had internet, and they told me that if I sat in the back corner of the restaurant, I could probably pick up the high school's internet.

It turned out I could, but weird things were happening when I tried. My computer was just randomly disconnecting. I tried restarting it (thank God for 30-second MacBook restarts; a Windows computer would have taken up to 5 minutes), and it worked!

I opened Skype at 9 p.m. sharp.

At that point the Dairy Queen had two other people in it. No big deal. We were in the back corner, and I would talk quietly. DQ closes at 10 p.m. in Dyersburg, so it was really quiet in there.

My friends got on, but they were still cleaning up from dinner, so I chatted with a couple of them while we waited for cleanup to finish.

Finally, they were ready. I got ready to start, and a ridiculously loud male voice announced from the entry door, "Hey, you better get ready! Got a whole baseball team coming in."

Yeah, it was. About 30 people came in, and they were the loudest, most inconsiderate batch of people I've ever met in the South.

I pressed on, anyway, occasionally having to stop to laugh at the absurd situation.

It turned out that it was the birthday of a lady in the party. So about 9:45 everyone in the restaurant sang a rousing round of "Happy Birthday to You" while I, my wife, and our friends in California laughed even more.

My wife told me afterward that the guys at the table next to us, who made absolutely no effort to keep their conversations at even a normal sound level, made occasional mocking comments about the things I was teaching. Ah, well. They did a lot worse things to Jesus and to many of his disciples through the centuries. I keep thinking that someone nearby enough to hear me—I was trying to be polite and keep my conversation as quiet as practically possible—was meant to hear the things that were taught. We talked about unity, about the essentials of the faith that history and the Scriptures say the apostles gave to the church, and about the real standard of unity, which is the Spirit of God inside us and our obedience to Jesus.

Hmm. I always find a way to turn a short post into a long one. I have to go. Lots of other stuff to do. Thank you, everyone, for sticking with me over this last year.

A friend suggested two tablespoons of oil—coconut or olive—with every meal to help with the hemorrhoids. I can use the extra calories anyway, so I'm definitely going to try it. I'll let you know how that works.


  1. That's hilarious! When it rains, it pours, doesn't it? Sounds like an amusing and tiring day and night you had. Thanks for the update.

  2. Wow.... Who is like our God and His good friend Shammah? That is so neat. When do we get our Skype teaching? Miss you terribly. Prepping pastor's here for you in a year or so. Much love Noah

  3. Oh, I so hate video talk. Is God really going to make me do this regularly?

    If you want to pray, a trip to Kenya is based on 1.) successfully weaning completely off immunosuppressives (October if everything goes without a hitch, a hitch being GVHD) and 2.) successfully enduring the entire gamut of immunizations.