Amazing the friends you gather throughout a lifetime. As I walked out to take my grand daughter to high school this morning, my mockingbird greeted me with his beautiful voice. Yes, my heart is down so he was right on time to lift me up. I am going to miss you Jerry! What an impact you made on my life the few short years I had the privilege of knowing you! There are too many. Just too many as the days continue to sift like sand through the hour glass of time. But it is our turn now.
In Memory of Jerry Emile Breithaupt
April 2, 1943 --- February 7, 2017
Posted February 8, 2017
I am a public servant for the city of Pineville. Like the fire department and police department I wear a uniform. I interact with the public daily in my work, taking pride in speaking to, acknowledging everyone I come into close proximity with. Nothing like Merry Christmas, happy new, Veterans Day, whatever. But folks? Forgive me, but walking past a male figure and telling him happy Valentine's Day just seems very difficult for me to do! So, to all of my gender specific friends out there? You know! Have a happy one.
February 14, 2017
I was raised to be a southern gentleman. My father taught me how to shake hands before I was 10 years old. To open doors for women, ladies or "older people," to include the car door of my daddy's car when I had a date with someone's daughter. Simply stated, to conveniently be of assistance to anyone that I happened by that may by chance need help with almost anything. A simple practice of courtesy? Yes. That's it. Well, today for instance, the dawning of the last remaining... chapters of my life defined the first few paragraphs. I was making the City of Pineville's bank deposit at on of the larger banks across the river in Alexandria. As I moved to exit the building, a well dressed younger woman stepped in front of me and opened the door for me. I laughed and told her, "it is my job to open the door for you!" She smiled and followed me out the door as we made our ways to our respective cars when it dawned on me?!? Still within speaking distance, I spoke to her one more time. "You know something, you just made me realize I am truly an aging senior citizen now! Thank you again for the door. After all it is official, I received my first social security check yesterday!" She just laughed and I went back to my office to check my blood pressure and blood sugar level.
February 17, 2017
Paige, Your mother wanted me to text you and let you know she has a dead cell phone. It will not recharge or function. If you need her call your aunt Paula or Jansen. If they can't answer your questions then call Kennard. Our house phone is an option but I wouldn't bet on it as We never answer it. You could call my phone but I have caller ID so if I see it is you, I probably won't answer it. I am hoping you can make it a couple of days until her new phone arrives. You can find her at Super 1 over on the bypass tomorrow after half of your kids go to school. Do not just show up at our house as I have Ebola Cocca Pneaixier which is highly contagious and can kill kids, age 10 and under very quickly. Love, Dad!
I was visiting with the Ferguson Family during June of this year. Every summer month gives resident Alaskans time to prepare for the coming winter. Stewart rented a splitter and we spent a good part of the day splitting logs and stacking the cord wood. Where he did most of the lugging and heavy lifting, he enjoyed a few photos of him directing his old man in what I was to do with these logs!!
Posted in June of 2017
Beautiful morning to start your day in. Nice brisk walk with Sarah, my daughter in law amongst the hills and valleys of her neighborhood. Yes, I thought about a med-flight a couple of times but managed the last hill without any kind of cardiac infarction.
Posted June 8, 2017
I am leaving DFW for New Orleans sitting in a window seat next to a very pretty, just graduated high school senior from California. She of course is sitting next to me and the isle seat is empty. I told her I get sick real easy and always throw up in the isle when I'm sitting in that seat. She asked if I wanted to move there and I said no. I tell her that looking out the window sometimes keeps me from getting sick. She has not moved! I just can't help myself sometimes.
Posted June 14
Interesting short story. I visit my primary care physician on July 13th. You are losing weight he says! I walk 12 to 15 miles a week I tell him. Keep up the good work he says. Anything else? My legs have Edema. Fluid he says, take this lasicks and I'll set you up with a cardiologist! July 31 I see my old cardiologist for the first time since 2010. He said, ya got some time for some test? I said, I reckon so! The games began. EKG or EEG? Get em mixed up. Then they body slam me on a table and put this sonogram on my chest, complete with baby lotion. Neat I said, is that a alive in there? Yup, she said! Dang, I said, wiggles a lot in there, glad I can't feel it or it would aggravate me to death! Again she said yup. Then they stick this needle in my hand and flush it with saline and inject some nuclear medicine through it. Gonna hurt , I asked? Nope, he said, be still for 10 minutes with your hands above your head while this thing takes pictures of your heart. I stated to him, this means I'm radioactive? He said yup, just A little. After this we jump on a tread mill he said it will only take 6 minutes. I said, I walk 12 to 15 miles a week. He smiled and keep increasing the speed and grade until my heart rate reached 131 BEATS PER SECOND!! More nuclear meds in the hand port and back for another 10 minutes of heart pictures with my hands above my head. Do you know your tongue can actually reach your belly button? *sigh* after all of this, I am told they are going to fit me with a holster! I asked, how did yaw know I carried concealed ? I then told them I had a good holster but I appreciated the offer! Another nurse said, this holster is for a 24hour heart monitor. Ya gotta bring it back tomorrow after 11Am. Oh!! Couple of observations here. Diodes. Know what they hook them to? All 7,000 of them? Real sticky things they stick on your chest! After they wax off the hair I cultivated for 66 years with a dull razor. The 24 hour heart monitor thingy? Only 7 diodes but those sticky patches? No wax on wax off! Push 4 of them into the uncultivated hair. I thought, God?! He said, don't have to worry about pulling them off for 24 hours, so I went back to work. Know how fast 24 hours passes? In the rest room of city hall I tear these E6000 glued on patches from my chest complete with skin the hair once grew in! I placed the monitor, and what looked like my scalp into a baggie and presented it to them on time. Tuesday they call me! Congrats. You passed the treadmill. Two hours later they call from the same office and say congrats, we found nothing with the nuclear medicine stuff! I smile. Told them I walk 12 to 15 miles a week! And then Thursday comes. Rod, they said? Yes, I replied. The monitor you wore for 24 hours showed some inconsistencies and the Doctor wants to do a heart cath to see what's going on! We will check scheduling and call you back tomorrow and tell ya when. I said, you have the wrong number. She laughed and hung up. Friday came, so did Saturday and Sunday. Monday and Tuesday came and no calls. I know I was fine. Prolly was more a case of wrong patient than wrong number. So Wednesday, august 9 at 1245 pm in the middle of my PBJ crackers, my blue tooth announces an incoming phone call. I said, hello, and she said, hello darlin! So at 5 am or just 5 short snores from now, I will climb out of bed, put on clean pannies and rush over to the surgery center on Bolton avenue and see a friend who is have a knee replaced. Then I fast forward to Cabrini Hospital day surgery where I will have my heart cath performed as to ascertain what is obviously a mistake by a faulty 24 hour monitor that expressed incomprehensible data when I turned on the microwave to heat my peach oatmeal! Did I tell you I walk 12 to 15 miles a week? Hmmm. Hope these cardiologist don't have a weekly stint quota!!
Posted August 10, 2017
On August 10 I reported to Cabrini Hospital for my heart cath. I knew when I went in there would be nothing discovered by the procedure. I was that confident. Upon completion, however, they informed me I needed three possibly four, bypass graphs or open heart surgery. I was incensed. I was in the best shape I had been for years. I knew what angina pain was. I had angioplasty done to my left interior descending or the widow maker in 1993. Here I am with no pain when I walk 6 miles in 105 degree heat index? I re-hydrate and keep going. No way I needed this stuff. I wanted to go home. The surgeon comes in and tells me. If you want to go home, I will not stop you. In fact, I will not even be upset with you. If you are lucky, however, you will feel some angina, faintness or weakness and you will come back and let me take care of your problem. If you are less lucky, you are going to have a heart attack and damage will be done to the heart muscle I cannot repair. In worst case scenarios, your heart will stop and you will be dead when you hit the ground. It happens to many times. In your case, this can be avoided.
I guess you can imagine what was going through my mind. I could not believe I was at this intersection in my life. I still had too much to live for. Didn't I? Linda was crying, and I am flushed with anger and deeply concerned at the same time. I thought about my Dad in 1966 having a stainless steel valve placed in his heart that gave him another 30 years of life. My mother who had bypass surgery that gave her years of life and my oldest sister why had undergone two open heart surgeries in her 72 years of life. Did not my baby sister just a few weeks before this have two stints placed in her heart? For some reason, I took a back seat to my desire of going home and relented. From here on, is a recoup of messages collected mainly by Linda of the next few days.
Getting ready for surgery by noon today. Rod is a bit apprehensive, so please pray for peace in his heart.
Posted 11 August before surgery by Linda
Four bypasses done and his chest is being closed now! Thank you Jesus for a successful surgery!
Posted 11 August after my surgery by Linda.
Day 2 post op finally dawns and Linda post on facebook, "Hallelujah, The tubes came out and he is feeling better all ready." What she didn't tell you was this cute Red Head Nurse Practioner came in with a rather healthy looking guy and she said, "Mr. Ferguson, we are taking the tubes out this morning. It may be a little uncomfortable but you will be glad to get rid of them." Tubes. Drain tubes. One under my lungs and the other under my heart placed there in surgery to make sure excess blood would properly drain from my chest cavity! Here we go. She grabs one and starts this slow pull. Words I cannot print in my blog came to my mind! I thought for sure my heart was on the end of the last one she pulled from the deep recesses of my soul! Oh yes. Hallelujah! I do not want to go through that again without being under anesthesia!!
All of this was done a scant hour or two after the first walk since surgery. Oh my. Have I mentioned they want me to have a bowel movement? Dear Lord. Help them to understand that if I have a catheter, a bowel movement is the last thing on my mind?
Posted August 13
I actually felt pretty good when this picture was taken. I lived in four hour intervals which was when they fed me food and gave me oxycodone that helped me exist comfortably during these four hours segments. Of course this was augmented with dilaudin which was administered intravenously. During my feed and drug sessions they introduced milk-of-magnesia into my diet. You need to have a bowel movement they said. You can go home when you have a bowel movement, they said. I ate, took and dealt with what ever they gave me but noticed when meal time drew near, I asked for my oxycodone because it was making me nauseated... Imagine that.
This picture was taken by Linda on August 14.
My first chance to respond to my friends that had kept up with me the last few days. I would like to share with all of you my sincere appreciation for your concerns and your continued prayers. What an interesting trip thus far. And thank you God, for allowing me to continue! Oh, did I tell you that I walk 12 to 15 miles a week? In the wee morning hours of day 3 post op, they introduced some kind of nuclear laxative. It was in a small glass container and the RN told me to do what I could with it because, as he said, it taste awful. I drank half the contents with him watching at breakfast. He told me when I have a bowel movement they would let me go home. Oh cheers! Lunch came and I was feeling ill from the oxycodone when I finished the rest of the nuclear laxative. The clock was ticking and something deep inside sent my mind a message saying, soon!
He was true to his word. Within 2 hours of this surprise, the picture here was taken. A short 50 some odd hours of having my chest opened and four grafts placed on my aging heart to give me move time on this earth, I am being sent home...
So here I am, getting ready to go home!
Posted September 15, 2017
He's had a tough day today. Lots of pain and mood swings! He's hanging in there cause we know better days are coming!! We both appreciate all your prayers and comments to us. Thank you all for your friendship!!! Linda has been very good at keeping our friends updated on facebook. I was in pain and mood swings was Linda's was of saying I was not a good patient. The Oxycodene was making me sick. I could not rest well and nothing she put in front of me seemed to work including the outdated soup. I actually felt better when I was in the hospital and just could not understand what was going on and when would I ever start feeling better? The idea of taking the Oxycodene for pain made me shiver and actually went as long as I could before I would take one. I was again at an intersection I did not want to entertain. Hurt or not hurt, eat or not eat. Regardless, I could not sleep and every minute turned into an hour. As the 10pm hour of the 16th approached, the worse fear I had gripped me as my mouth began to salivate. I grabbed my red heart pillow and headed for the closest restroom. I carefully placed this pillow between my stitched chest and the rim of a toilet seat and started to throw up. I don't ever remember any pain that was worse. I simply could not control myself. I do not remember when the 16th of August turned to the 17th, but I do know it finally came.
Posted August 16, 2017
We're back home with a change in his pain meds and additional nausea meds. After running several test they came to this conclusion! Only after I told them more than once that it's the pain medicine. Don't have a medical degree but I know pretty much the symptoms. Doctors just don't listen!!
After this experience I truthfully tell you that the hour I left that emergency around 10am on Thursday, the 17th of August, my healing actually started. I want to tell you that the healing progress from that moment could be measured in hour increments , but for sure every day and for that I am thankful.
Posted August 17, 2017
Posted August 28, 2017
Friendships that last a lifetime are well worth cultivating. The most productive gardens are worth the time you have remaining. And yes, those are pork ribs. Labor day spent with a long time friend and his family in Downsville, LA is priceless.
Posted September 4, 2017
At four weeks post op, I had already built my strength up to walking close to 4 miles again. I felt wonderful. I boarded a plane in New Orleans, LA and spent the next 2 weeks in Fairbanks, AK with my son and his beautiful family.
For some reason this moth intrigued me. Caused me pause to look closer and ask why God stopped me from my routine to sorta, gawk? And I still ask myself, just why, I felt it important enough to share with people on my wall? I only had 1 share and 7 likes.
Posted October 4, 2017
I gave her the pressure washer and told her I wanted KBear to go away!! This is my oldest granddaughter, Mckinzi. I had printed Kbear into my dirty driveway with my pressure washer and asked her to make it go away. If you want to know what this child has been in my life, find the time to read that short story I posted in January of 2014. It is called Dawning Truth.
I called this child Kinzi Bear for years after she was born and call her Kbear today. Until I pass from this earth, she will always be my Kbear. What a blessing. She lives with us most of the time and is in her senior year.
Posted October 15, 2017
Upon reflection three months later, I must admit I should be grateful they can litter my floor with what God has blessed me with.
Posted October 17, 2017
Posted December 4 from my home.
Linda Sent me an email a couple of weeks ago of an email I sent to my sisters and other select friends, December 24, 2008. I was actually a Sunday School Teacher at Donahue Family Church at the time and I was totally unaware of this until Linda forwarded to me. Though I would include it 9 years later in my December 2017 blog entry.