My Annual Physical And Prostate Exam From Ol’ Doc Hook…

I like my family doctor…genuinely seems like a nice guy…usually we have a good patient-doctor relationship…I don’t visit him much which allows him to see some of the older more profitable patients…and he keeps my required by him prescription rolling…unless of course I don’t visit him for my annual physical…which as it turns out, I’ve missed a couple with the Hook…though to be fair, it was only last year…the 2 years prior were on him…apparently he had other things to do…one year he even had me take my physical with his physicians assistant…and her trainee?…

I remember when we got to the part that involved a glove, some lubricant, and my prostate…she said she would have her trainee do this particular part of the exam…”Your trainee?…sorry mam, but what made you think I was even going to let you do it”, I protested…

…sorry, but Ol’ Doc Hook is the only one who gets to finger-diddle my prostate…if I’m paying full price, I want the headliner…not the back-up band…

So anyway, back in January, my pharmacy…those bastards…refused to refill my Dilantin prescription…ahh, seizures…forcing me to call ‘Ol Doc Hook’s office for a renewal, which of course…after a 15 minute test of my Patience spent listening to crappy music and commercials where they told me Patients Matter Always…did they mean patients or patience, I was no longer sure…they refused to do the one thing that mattered always at this moment in time…and they adamantly refused to do it too!…

“You haven’t seen the doctor in over a year…you need to have an annual physical done before we can refill it!”

A year?”, I scoffed, “To be honest with you mam, I haven’t seen the Hook himself in almost 3 years…he’s hardly ever there…”

…that snarky answer didn’t really get me any closer to a new script, so staring into a near-empty vial of my daily drug, I finally conceded to try and match my schedule to the Hook’s…or in other words, take whatever date they give me and shut-up about it…they all happily agreed I would be in on March 5th…renewing the prescription however?…no problem…all I would need to do was visit their website where I could request a refill, it would only take 24 – 48 hours to be called in..

…on the day of my physical, as I laid on the table, knees to my chest…my dignity and my pride left far behind in the waiting room …the Hook’s freakishly large, and in my opinion, under-lubricated index finger playing an uncomfortable game of hide-and-seek with my prostate…same place as always, Doc…Doc seemed to be mailing this one in…he wasn’t hitting me on the knee with his little hammer…not asking me to turn my head and cough…hell, he didn’t even check for a pulse…and when this sham of a physical exam was done, Ol’ Doc ordered some tests…

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anyone reading this who knows me, and there might be 2 or 3 at the most, knows that I am in no way “giddy”…the photo below closely represents my outlook on life…okay, dizzy yes, giddy?…hell no…c’mon Hook, do your job…know your patient…I thought I mattered…

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#WeCallBS Movement Needs To Learn How To Play Politics…

I was happy to see this past weekend the public vigils and ceremonies honoring those who were slaughtered in Parkland last week…sorry, but what else can you call it other than slaughtered?…at the same time, as so many have regarding this and so many other things…maybe they proved me wrong about how long the Parkland tragedy will stay in our public consciousness…in my last post I made a point of writing that it wouldn’t take long for us to move on…to disregard any lessons or political changes that could have come from last Wednesday’s events…how school shootings have become the new normal…a senseless, but accepted part of our society…we all hold our noses and just move on…

this time it might be different…this time the students, not just in Parkland, but in many other cities and small towns, have added their voices to the national conversation over gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment…and to political campaign contributions and the National Rifle Association…and this is where as students, the #WeCallBS movement will find a massive hurdle…as strong as their will is…as loud as their voices shout…many are too young to vote…and that is absolutely the defining issue in the #WeCallBS movement vs. the NRA and congressional democrats and republicans…all of these strong young voices won’t resonate with the members of our congress because they are in no danger of losing their seat…losing their NRA money…because of a largely too-young-to vote movement…

If the #WeCallBS movement wants to make a difference it will need to have money and it will need to know how to spread that money around…just like the NRA does now to advance their warped view of the 2nd Amendment…Congress and the office of the President are up for sale…and no, it didn’t just start with this president and this congress…there is a saying that goes…

“To be the man, you have to beat the man”.

When it comes to gun legislation in America, the NRA is the man…they have the most money for buying votes…the largest membership, otherwise known as voters…and can influence any election, any ballot question, any vote by congress they feel crucial to their defense of the 2nd Amendment…they can financially support a candidate just as easily as run attack ads against those they consider a threat to their way of life…right now the NRA is the 800 lb. gorilla behind the 2nd Amendment debate…in the House and especially in the Senate…

#WeCallBS needs to have the ability to challenge them…financially and in voting membership…they scream they know about government…they now need to learn about back room politics and how to win and influence members of Congress…simply, they need to know which Senator’s seat…or which Congressman’s gun debate vote is up for grabs, and put it in their pocket, not the NRA’s…and when our leaders like Florida’s own Marco Rubio whose own seat is Encrusted  with so much NRA money say, “Let us pray.”…#WeCallBS needs to shout, “Let’s change, what’s it gonna cost us?”…

Marches on Washington, prayer vigils, and social media are great starts…those things alone won’t unseat a Senator, won’t change a Representative’s vote…#WeCallBS has to become more than just a movement to save students lives…they will need learn how  real politics works to silence the 800 lb. gorilla in the room…if #MeToo can effect change, so can they…

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The Parkland Tragedy…It’s That Conversation Again…

Another senseless school shooting this week…more screams from liberals for gun control of some kind whether it’s background checks or bump stocks or limiting automatic weapons or whatever…more replies from 2nd Amendment supporters and gun enthusiasts about how now is not the time to discuss guns in America, instead let us pray for the victims of this senseless tragedy…and they’re right about praying for those affected by Wednesday’s shootings if you believe it will help…but let’s be honest this time and just admit it…we’re all full of crap…

Do you really think this time next week that we’ll still be talking about Wednesday and the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, FL?…sure the kid will show up on TV at some point where he will plead guilty or not guilty or for whatever…and we might scream, “You miserable bastard, I hope they put you away forever!”…but tragically, the event will exit our consciousness as fast as it entered…and not a damn thing will change…I know it…you know it…Congress and the NRA know it…

Let’s face it…nothing will change until assault style weapons, bump stocks, background checks, all of it…are acted on by our legislative leaders…you know, the guys who don’t have the balls to stand up to the NRA…who continue to suck the golden teat of the NRA year after year…and who like Senator John McCain turn to prayer instead of legislative action…

“Cindy & I are praying for the victims of the terrible #LasVegasShooting & their families.”…

I only choose John McCain because his name is at the top of contributions from the NRA list…but what I would really like to hear John say is that while he is praying for the victims (in this instance Las Vegas) he is also committed to keeping We the People safe from events like Las Vegas…like Parkland…like Orlando …like Sandy Hook…like Columbine…#dosomethingforfuckssake…#ifnotnowwhen…that goes for all of them…reds and blues alike, because I’m sure there are some Democrats getting NRA money as well…we need to quit lying to ourselves…we need to assure We the People that when we send a child to school, or if we go to church on Sunday…we all get to come home the same way we left it…it really is time for changes…

If you listened to Number 45’s statement this past week, it was really from the heart…but it was also 6 1/2 minutes of nothing…of not taking a stand politically…of not challenging congress to grow a set of balls and stand up to the NRA and the over enthusiastic gun “enthusiasts” who have really stretched what “the right to bear arms” means…to not take the money from the NRA…to put the safety of We the People ahead of campaign contributions…like the $11 million Number 45 received during his run in 2016…or Senator McCains $7.75 million which puts him at the top of the congressional list…

I saw a comment from a reader of a different blog who wrote a couple of things that I think sum up why our attitudes about guns and the 2nd Amendment seem to never change…in response to the writer’s call for changes, he wrote…

…we need to have gun-free school zones…

…does anyone who is still reading this think that would have stopped anyone determined to commit mass murder…like Parkland…like Virginia Tech…like Sandy Hook…like Columbine…does anyone think a sign on the side of a road announcing a Gun-Free Zone is a proper deterrent to mass murder…the commenter also wrote…

…it’s why I carry a concealed weapon, it keeps the bad guys away.

if you see the flaw in the commenter’s logic, just go ahead and shout it out…if not here’s a hint…if he can’t see it, then how would someone bent on doing you harm be deterred?…listen I get it…if there are people in this country who need to carry a concealed weapon to feel safe, let them…but we need to find a way to do it responsibly and, sorry NRA’ers…there needs to be tighter restrictions…whether it’s expanded background checks…or bans on assault style weapons and high capacity magazines…and that requires work and action from a bi-partisan congress and a President who is willing to show the Courage to finally wean themselves from the NRA teet…#dosomethingforfuckssake…

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Goodbye Bailey…You’ll Be Forever In Our Hearts…

I’ve seen things this week I thought I would never see in my lifetime…about a week ago Bailey stopped eating his food so we figured a flavor choice was all that was needed…to make a long story short…Bailey turned his nose up at everything that we put in front of him…if you’ve ever owned a beagle or are fortunate to have one in your life now, you can imagine our Shock  since there’s not too many things they won’t eat and they will always let you know when it’s time to eat…always…

After a vet visit…a trip to the hospital for an ultrasound…multiple medications for pain from his newly diagnosed ulcer and pancreatitis…Bailey’s was now taking 7 different medications…I wondered if it was us who were actually killing him slowly…Bailey still had no appetite…no longer made an effort to get off his bed to greet anyone who walked in the room…his tail which always gave his happiness away no longer wagged…he just had the soulless and sad look of a dog who had nothing left…he could have been one of the dogs on an ASPCA commercial …it was heartbreaking to see him that way…

Bailey came to us as a puppy and has meant more to our family than we ever imagined he could…over the years he developed relationships with each member of the family…when my daughter came home from school, he never left her side…on nights when my son would fall asleep on the family room floor, Bailey laid next to him…my wife returned from a business trip?…he was first at the door to greet her with the happy tail…it also led to the question, “Why does Bailey always greet me at the door first?”…and when both the kids were at school and my wife was traveling?…Bailey sat with me…of course I also fed him so that probably had something to do with it…

Bailey looked and acted as if he’d given up…the hair on both sides shaved so they could do the ultrasound…he no longer had that signature hound bark…his huge brown eyes Bailey&ducksaw us, but failed to move his happy tail the way they did before…he would only take his food through a syringe we inserted in his mouth…he no longer told us when it was time to go out, walking had become difficult for him, so he mostly used a spot of linoleum flooring in the laundry room…we became so concerned about the direction of his health on Sunday that I stayed with him on the floor of our family room all night…

On Monday Bailey stopped walking altogether…he began panting as if he were gasping for air…we laid Bailey in an over-sized laundry basket cushioned by towels to make carrying him easier and rushed him to the hospital…they wanted to keep Bailey for the next two days to treat him around the clock…the vet who saw him thought he had no more than a 50/50 chance of making it through the night, but we felt we needed to give him that chance…

Sadly…very sadly…today we decided to let Bailey go…he didn’t respond to any treatment from the vet at all, looking weaker than the day before when we dropped him off…they let us take him to a private room where we could spend some time with him and say goodbye…we were happy when he lifted his head to look at us…but within a few minutes he began to moan and it became obvious that he was in extreme pain…Bailey raised his head and looked at each one of us…his pained and saddened look brought us all to tears…and it would be cruel of us to make him stay any longer…his end came fast and with so many more tears…a cruel irony for the simple life of a pet who brought so much happiness into our family…

I had always hoped Bailey would live a pain-free life and one day just pass in his sleep at home with us…he deserved to…it’s terrible to think of what his last week of life was like…the pain…the forced feedings…I often wondered this past week if he grew to mistrust us…

I wanted to post this yesterday, but it became too difficult to write it…as much as Bailey was a family pet, because of all those nights spent by ourselves…his morning walks at breakfast time and his treat and last walk of the night I always gave him…playtime and our wrestling matches for the one true duck he would never give up…he was mine…I was his…and even though this is the morning after, I’m still crying…still mourning his loss…struggling to cope with the fact I’ve lost him and in some ways failed him…he gave us so much happiness, and our lives were forever changed when he was with us…his sudden loss has left a hole in our family…one which will never be filled…

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I’ve written other posts about Bailey in the past…I hope you’ll take the time to read them…

Bailey and Us…I Remember When

Bailey…Our Pet Store Beagle

When Bailey Lays Around the House…

My New 2018 Resignations…

 

No, that’s not a typo…these are my ten 2018 resignations…these are things I’ve not resolved to do, but some things that I have resigned as being in my future, or not…whether I want them to or not…so in no particular order…

1. I’ve  resigned myself to the fact that I should call my sister. It’s been a few years since I’ve had any contact with her…I have no idea why…

2. I’ve resigned myself to taking a week to go to Florida, whether anyone else wants to go with me or not…I prefer by myself…but if they must come, they must…

3. I’ve resigned myself to the idea that I’ve spent a lot of money on life insurance…maybe my family could be better off with me permanently out of the picture, if you will…I hope they’ll at least wait until I get back from Florida…

4. I’ve resigned myself to the idea that I may have taken my last walk down Main Street U.S.A. or walked around the countries at Epcot with my daughter for a long time…

5. I’ve become resigned to the chance that I will need to take a second type of medication each day to go along with my Dilantin…sucks getting old…

6. I’ve become resigned to the fact you (me) can never go back there again…and my days of truck driving are over…

7. I’ve resigned myself that, in conjunction with Number 5, I may have to give up those wonderful sticky buns with my breakfast…especially if I want to get back under 200 pounds again…

8. I’ve become resigned to the idea that I may never…ever…run the marathon at Disney World…this really isn’t much of a resignation since I don’t really want to run a marathon…I can still feel just as fulfilled raising money for St Jude Children’s Hospital running a 5 or 10k…

9. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will never again celebrate New Year’s Eve by watching that silly ball in Times Square drop…all of the awkward interviews of people I have never, nor will I ever, meet…all those lip-syncing singers trying to pretend their singing live…from here on out…it’s a movie then to sleep…if I haven’t already fallen asleep during the movie…

10. Last year went a long way to helping me resign myself to the fact that I’ve been a crappy son, brother, father, friend, and at times co-worker/employee. I need to Treat     people better…

And…if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably muttering to yourself that I should throw crappy writer into the mix as well…

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So Long 2017…You Sucked…You Sucked Hard…

It’s New Years Eve and I’m spending the last few minutes of the year watching some King Arthur movie on television…it’s not even a good one with Sean Connery or anything…my wife and son are both sick…struck down by their first colds of the winter season…even my loyal dog Bailey has abandoned me for a better spot on his bed in front of the fireplace…to be quite honest?…I’m okay with all of it…2017 hasn’t given me a whole hell of a lot to celebrate anyway…

Some bloggers at this point might break into a lengthy diatribe about Narcissistic Number 45 or our dysfunctional Senate and House of Representatives…how the new tax plan will only benefit the extremely wealthy…like them…or about the abuses that have come to light by so many men of power and influence…but no, this year has sucked for me for so many other reasons…reasons I wouldn’t wish on anyone…

For the second time this year, I’m watching as my wife struggles to find another job…as a consultant we always understood that she would be going from contract to contract…this last one ended much earlier than we anticipated…not to mention it comes at a time of year when companies just aren’t hiring…in 2017, thanks to job changes, our family was covered under 4 different health insurance policies…each one progressively more expensive than the previous one…after so many years of stability…healthcare had become a huge financial burden for us…

In October, after a short illness, my father-in-law Joe passed away…Joe accepted me into his family…despite all of the negatives I brought with me as a young and immature man…and he treated me more like a son than a son-in-law…unfortunately, I didn’t always show him as much loyalty as he deserved…

My daughter chose that weekend to also deliver a gut punch that has changed our relationship…she will be going into the Navy in January…yes, I should be happy and very proud of her decision, but I’m not…when I hear her talk about it?…she sounds like a commercial and her reasons just don’t ring true with me…part of my disappointment with her decision comes from my own past…I never went to college…it was something my family could never afford…I turned 18 and went to work at the sewer plant…I literally shoveled shit for a living…my wife and I put my daughter through 4 years of a very expensive private college…maybe I expected her to graduate…get a job I approved of…start a family…all of those things are on hold now while she pursues a career I’m not sure she really wants…then again, maybe I don’t know her as well as I thought I did…

But 2017 wasn’t done yet…the final blow coming when I learned a close friend who I grew up with in New Jersey was killed in Maryland…as painful and as difficult for me to accept that he’s no longer here, I can’t imagine the pain his wife, his sons, his parents and his brother are feeling now…

I included links…my own little depressing year in review if you will…hope you will take the time to read them…

Worst Christmas Card Ever…

And Then She Broke My Heart…

Oh Joe? Sadly, Won’t See Him No More…

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I can honestly say that not everything about 2017 was bad…I landed a new job…I’m no longer a truck driver…I’m a grocer…more about that here…

The Best Worst Decision I’ve Ever Made?…

I participated in…to say I competed in would be too much of a stretch…my first half marathon…and I raised more money for St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital while I did it…

I have a lot to learn in 2018…my training as a grocer is much more extensive than you would think…definitely more than I thought…but it also allows me many more opportunities for success than a life of driving…I hope…

I know my wife will land a new job this year…she has too much experience…she’s too smart…too driven not to…I think if I have one concern right now it’s this guy (this post is short, I promise)…

When Bailey Lays Around the House…

Oh, and my son finally finishing college and finding a good job…but, at least I have my health…some health…maybe we should wait on that Conversation  …I’ll let you know after my physical on the 8th…

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Worst Christmas Card Ever…

Most of the time I try to add humor to my posts, but this won’t be one of them…I found out this week when I received a Christmas card in the mail, that a friend who I grew up with had been tragically killed when he was run over by a police car…as hard as that card was to receive, I can’t imagine how difficult it was for his wife to send…

For close to 30 years, Tom was the person who knew me better than anyone…at least until my wife came along anyway…my wife…who Tom introduced me to one hot day on the beach in Cape May, NJ…

…of course, as friends will do, Tom and his girlfriend…his future wife and now sadly his widow…also then took us (me) for a round of drinks that day at one of the beachside bars after a round of couples miniature golf they shamed us in…if I didn’t know any better, I would have said THAT was Tom’s true motivation for introducing me to my future wife…she was really bad at miniature golf…

Tom and I were part of a group of 8 friends who, starting in high school and into our 30’s did everything together…there were always other people who passed through our little Communal group from time to time, but once the nolvety of them wore off…well, you get it…mostly what we did together though, was drink…we also played a lot of bad golf together…it was Tom who took me golfing for the first time…he taught me a couple of lessons that day…Tom bounced a tee shot off my rear end as I was reaching into the cart to get a ball, then walked over, picked up his ball claiming a mulligan (a free do-over in golf)…still hear him laughing…he also taught me what a $2 Nassau in golf is…and how expensive it can be to lose every side of one…

As a friend, Tom was also supportive…when my mother passed away too soon, he (and my other friends) all came to the viewing, but it was Tom who took off work the following day to come to the burial and spend the next day with my family as well…some years later, after my wife and I had moved to PA, my father passed away…even though we had lost contact for some time…when my father was buried, it was Tom who came to pay his respects to my family…

Tom and I took a couple of vacations together…a week skiing in Killington, VT…a week where we each skied our first expert hills, ready or not…none of the other guys enjoyed skiing as much as we did…we also went golfing down in South Carolina…Tom’s father and mother once took Tom, his wife and newborn son, and my wife and I with them to Montego Bay for a vacation one cold winter…I remember Tom and I took a walk one afternoon off of the estate and surprisingly ended up in a beach bar where we spent several hours just talking and catching up on things…drinking too…but not like the old days…and watching some sort of photo shoot with women who were wearing varying styles of swimsuits…what can I say, we were still young…I remember walking home that day and we decided that we each had to get a coconut to take back with us…we also learned that it’s a lot harder than it sounds…especially after you’ve spent the last couple hours drinking Red Stripes…no matter how hard we tried to just shake them from the tree?… they weren’t coming down…not until we found a couple of large sticks laying close by and put 2 and 2 together…I remember a group of local girls walking by and laughing at our ridiculous efforts…at least we got one coconut any way… 

I was the Best Man at Tom and his wife’s wedding…and him at mine…we went to Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers games…I remember his father had gotten tickets for us to Game 5 of the 1983 World Series…even though we knew the Phillies were going to lose the series, I was still excited about going to the game…Tom felt the tickets would be more valuable if we scalped them for whatever we could get…the Phils lost 5-0 that day, ending the series…Tom was right…

…neither Tom nor I went to college, we were blue collar workers right out of high school…he worked for his uncle installing gas mains and services and I worked for the township where we lived…at least I did until I got a DUI one night on my way home with Tom after celebrating his birthday…sadly, my mother passed away the following year, on Tom’s birthday…I never celebrated another birthday with him again…and he never asked me to…

Tom and I saw less and less of each other after my wife and I moved to Pennsylvania…something I’ll forever regret…this week has brought back a lot of memories…some good…some not as much…I could write a book about growing up with Tom and our group of friends…I’m sure if I had taken more time I could have come up with a better tribute to my long-time friend…one thing Tom’s passing has taught me is I need to be a better friend…somehow I’ve forgotten what that means and how to do that…

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