Tag Archives: Fir

Life As We Know It

by Richard

Forty years of multiple sclerosis. A bout with breast cancer a decade ago. Osteoporosis. Osteoarthritis. Through it all, Mom managed to stand stronger than any disease. She took whatever life threw at her, spit in life’s eye and dared it to do more. It took meningitis to lay her out flat on her back.

In a way, Mom knew something like this was coming. For years, she’d told my sister and me that she never wanted to be dependent on a tube to breathe or a tube to eat. Her worst nightmare was to be unable to move, unable to think and only be alive through the grace of a machine. And we were right on the doorstep of making that decision.

As my mom’s children, my sister and I had no problem at all with doing whatever it took to keep her alive. She was our mom, after all. There was nothing we wouldn’t do to keep her with us. Unfortunately, she raised us too well.

Mom made my sister and I be her guardians should she ever be sick. Because she gave us her power of attorney, we could make decisions for her, both medically and financially. And that meant we had to do what she would have done had she been able to make a decision.

The doctors at her hospital told us that they could do nothing else for my mom unless we allowed them to intubate her and insert a feeding tube. We wanted it. Oh, dudes, how we wanted it. The problem was that we knew our mom wouldn’t want that. She would never want that. She had spent the last several years drilling into our heads that she would never want to be kept alive by machines.

We didn’t want to do it, but we made what we think was the right decision. We checked Mom out of the hospital and into a hospice, where she could be made comfortable until she and her body decided what they were going to do. She might continue to decline and eventually pass on. She might stabilize and then move to a rehabilitation facility, there to regain whatever of her mind and body that she could. We just don’t know.

Every day here in hospice is different. The first day she was more aware than she’d been in days, responding to visitors, nodding her head, sometimes speaking. The second day, she spent most of her time asleep, opening her eyes only rarely. We just don’t know what she’ll do.

As I write this, I’m sitting in her room, looking at her on her bed. She’s breathing deeply, soundly and, if I closed my eyes, I could almost believe she was asleep. But then I open my eyes and I see that one eye can’t close all the way and one side of her mouth droops down uncontrollably. And I know she’s not sleeping normally.

Share on Facebook

Dude Review: The Lost Hero

by Richard

The ancient gods of Western civilization have withdrawn from the world following the epic events detailed in the Camp Half-Blood books, starring Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon), by author Rick Riordan.

Of course, just because the gods say they’ve withdrawn from their interactions with mortals, well, that doesn’t make it true. Knowing those gods as we do, through myth, legend and a great series of books, we can be pretty sure there’s still some godly meddling going on.

And there is.

In The Lost Hero, the first book of a new series called The Heroes of Olympus, we’re introduced to a whole bunch of new main characters, most notably Jason, a half-blood demi-god with little to no memory of his past, a strange tattoo on his arm, and a metaphorical target plastered on his back.

For now, let’s all get down on our knees and thank those self-same gods that Rick Riordan is back with another book set in the same universe as the magnificently wonderful Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. This truly is a cause for celebration. To me, the Percy Jackson books are what Harry Potter would have liked to have been if he had any ambition at all. They’re full of fantastically complex characters, fast plotting, tight action scenes and genuine emotional heft. These are books that all young dudes would love to read or have read to them.

Both my oldest (Sarcasmo) and youngest (Hyper Lad) young dudes loved these books. Zippy the Monkey Boy, who’s of the opinion that a book without pictures is a waste of paper, preferred to read the graphic novel version and leave it at that. His loss.

Anyway. Back to the book.

Riordan takes a bit of a chance with this book, consigning as he does, Percy Jackson to, if not limbo, then at least the literary equivalent thereof. That is, Percy Jackson does NOT star in these books. He’s talked about and missed, but he’s not actually on stage. The main player here is Jason, who’s memory begins on the back of a school bus on his way to a class trip with two people who may or may not be his girlfriend and best friend.

The action here is fast and furious, starting early and pausing only to let the reader catch his breath before barreling headlong into another adventure.

Jason, you see, isn’t like the other children of the gods who inhabit Camp Half Blood. In fact, his appearance at the summer camp for the children of the gods causes quite a bit of consternation among the staff there, and not a little bit of fear. But what is it about Jason’s very existence and attendance at the camp that’s causing this level of panic?

That, dudes, is the question. And it’s got a great answer. (Of course I had it figured out, but, then again, this is written with the younger dudes in mind. The fact that I and most other older dudes can enjoy it is just a happy bit of synchronicity.)

The Lost Hero is a fantastic read. If you’ve got a young dude or dudette who is even the tiniest bit interested in Greek and Roman mythology, likes fantastic adventure and well-developed characters, then you must get this book. Without question, this rates five (5) dudes out of five.

Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it. Then suffer along with me until the next book in the series comes out.

Share on Facebook

Freaky Friday: Rubbed The Right Way

by Richard

I figured it was time I took my own advice.

About a month or so ago, I wrote about how scientists had been doing some actual scientific research on some good stuff. They’d been looking at massages and found that getting a good massage actually altered your body chemistry, leading to a reduction in cortisol, the stress hormone.

So I went out and booked myself a massage. Now I have only one question: Why in the flark did I wait so long to get a good massage?

After an hour of subtle, delicious pressure, I was barely able to get off the table. I felt that relaxed. Plus, you know, getting rubbed with oil. When is that ever a bad thing?

Anyway, I went to see a certified massage therapist in the Charlotte area named Rachael Schrader. First a disclaimer: I’m not writing about her because I expect to get free massages out of this. I didn’t even tell her about the blog here. I just really enjoyed the massage and want to tout its benefits to you dudes.

I will say I’m not all that enamored of the New Agey stuff that comes along with the massage, but I’m willing to put up with it if it leads to me getting a great rub down. And I did get a great rub down.

First I got asked to disrobe to my comfort level. For some people, that’s stripping down to their birthday suit. To me, that was keeping my suit on. Well, I did strip down a bit, but I stayed (barely) clothed. That’s me, though.

So Rachael oiled up her hands and got to work. I don’t know how she did it, but she found every tight muscle in my body and rubbed, poked and prodded there until those muscles finally unclenched. There was some pain involved, but it was really worth it. The feeling as those muscles finally let go was magnificent.

I really can’t say enough good things about the experience. At the end, Rachael asked if I wanted to schedule another massage, but I demurred. I was floating somewhere above cloud 10.7 and wanted to wait a bit before deciding, not wanting to spend more money based solely on the euphoria I felt in the moment. Well, I waited long enough.

I’m going back. If you can, I recommend you start getting this done. Find a good massage therapist and get into the rub.

Share on Facebook