Archive for the ‘Out there’ Category

Looking at taxes a “new” way

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Maybe this isn’t a new way at all.  I saw this exact text on a comment on a local newspaper website but lost it before I could share it.  I wasn’t too anxious to share it because I’m not convinced this is exactly what is happening, and not sure about the accuracy of it all (and the conclusions).  The end did remind me of Atlas Shrugged, though. It is a comment on this blog post.

Before you read it, I want to share something I learned about the Boston Tea Party. You know, the famous one where people were tossing tea into the harbor?  Do you know the percentage of tax increase that the Americans were freaking out about was?  3 percent increase.  Or wait, was it a small DECREASE?  Anyway, the issue wasn’t about a big percentage…

Let me know what you think about this analogy… is this accurate, or is this propaganda?

Here it is the story/analogy about who should pay what taxes, and what the consequences might be:

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing
The fifth would pay $1
The sixth would pay $3
The seventh would pay $7
The eighth would pay $12
The ninth would pay $18
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59
So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.

“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20″. Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men ? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

The bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,”but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!” “That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

Walking and Woodpeckers

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

I’m trying to get back into walking this year.  Last year was a walking dud.  About six months after the emergency surgery… so about June or July, I was winded just walking 1.5 miles.  This year I’m not sure I’m going to set a firm SMART goal, but I’m going to try to get back into it.  This week has been excellent so far, with three days in a row.

A highlight was coming upon one of my favorite animals….. a woodpecker! This is exactly what it looked like (I didn’t take the picture), and I was probably four or five feet away from it for a while as it pecked the tree to death for about five or ten minutes.  It was really cool, especially considering most of the animals haven’t been coming out for a while :)

Les Mis, Catwoman, Wolverine, Borat

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen… I actually finished the unabridged Les Mis in January… but I saw the new movie right after Christmas (I was about 250 pages away from finishing the book).

To be honest, I didn’t like the movie because there was so much missing!  I know everyone on Facebook loved it but oh well.  What can you do in 2+ hours (compared to a 1,400 page book), right?

Here’s the funny stuff:

Les Miserables review by Sam Richardson….Went to the movies with my wife.  We saw this obscure movie I had never heard of, some French foreign film.  They must have been giving away free tickets because the lines were out the door.  Anyway, the moview starts and Wolverine is singing his guts out.  Then Catwoman starts crying and singing, and it’s all very moving.  The only problem was, the girl next to me, who had apparently read the book or something, starts singing along.  It was very distracting.  So Wolverine is on the run from the Gladiator because Catwoman had a baby at Borat’s house, but now she wants Wolverine to care for her.  Time Skip. A bunch of kids get shot, and in the end everyone dies.  Four stars.


Surgery Recovery: An Update

Monday, January 21st, 2013

It is Monday night, about 9pm.  The family is down for bed.  Kaisie and I fell asleep around 7:00 while watching some show on a laptop. The kids had a great dinner thanks to friends and family who brought over some delightful things (some I can eat, some I just ask for a whiff :p).  Thank goodness for kids old enough to take care of things (get the little ones teeth-brushed, put food away, etc.).

It’s amazing how much my body is letting me lay around.  Typically I can’t lay in bed for too long.  If I take a nap during the day my night is restless.  But since I got home I’ve been able to lay a lot, and still sleep well through the night.  I feel blessed that my back is okay with all this laying around.

Here are some random thoughts since we got home:

  1. People are very, very kind.  I feel like my kindness towards people who go through hardships was stuck under a rock.  Watching neighbors, family and friends care and express and serve and help has been eye opening and humbling.
  2. This is nothing.  I have a neighbor/friend who was on a fishing trip out of town last summer and suffered a small stroke.  How very scary for everyone involved. He immediately came home (after getting the right medical care) and is doing great, but I can’t compare what his family went through (what? You are having a stroke five hours away from home??  Are you going to be alright???) and what mine went through (Dad had surgery, but it is routine and he’ll be totally fine in a few weeks.  No thing to see here, move along :p).
  3. This is, well, serious.  All surgery is serious.  And it’s no fun being the helpless observer, a role played by my wife.  Not only during the time at the hospital (where she was a champ, even journaling everything from the Doctors as she loves to stay informed of what’s going on), but at home.  Her goal is to make sure I keep breathing. I don’t have a problem breathing now but at the hospital I did, and that was her main concern after surgery.  It’s tiring to take care of someone else.  My heart goes out to people who do this regularly, long-term.
  4. I love that morphine didn’t touch my pain at the hospital.  I just think that’s cool.
  5. I hate percoset (sp?).  It doesn’t seem to help with the pain much, makes me feel loopy, but worst, it makes me ITCH.  Itching is such a yucky feeling.  From head to to, itch itch itch.  Hard to sleep, hard to relax.  I’ve been off percoset for a full day so far, which means the pain in my abs is tolerable.
  6. The main pain I’m dealing with is getting into or out of bed, when I use my abs.  Walking is fine, I have an appetite, and feel pretty good.
  7. I’m surprised that I am so tired today.  I’ve been told that there is still anesthesia in my body, and as it wears off I’ll feel various things (more pain).  But more fatigue… that’s a surprise.
  8. I’m blessed to have a job where 80% of my work is letting my fingers fall on the right keys on my keyboard.  I can do this from almost anywhere.  In contrast, we’ve had a guy in our house who is fixing our kitchen floor, and if he had a problem like this I bet he would be out of revenue/income for at least a month. Scary!
  9. My “right hand person” at work, Liz, is taking care of pretty much everything for me right now.  It gives me peace of mind to know she is taking care of things, and I love it when she tells me to rest.

I can’t think of anything else. I hope that after I forget how hard this recovery part is, and how real the pain is, I can come back to this post and remember, so I can be nicer and more serving to those going through it.

Thank goodness for a strong support system!

My Very Own Emergency Surgery

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Well then.  This type of thing just doesn’t happen to me.  It happens to others.

Until Thursday night, that is.

Part I: Introduction and Setting the Stage

I’m writing this for two reasons.  First, I’m a writer/blogger and this is how I cope with things. This is my therapy.  Second, to document it, either for people who are curious as to what the symptoms are, what to expect after you go the E.R., or for people who are just curious to know how we spent this 18 hour period.

I’ll start with the week’s plans.

This week I had what I call my January 17th webinar.  This was on the new LinkedIn Profile. I decided to do this webinar myself, and charge people, instead of recording it for another company and making a flat amount or a percentage.   This took a LOT of work, including letting people know about it (marketing), keeping track of sales and getting people receipts and info to get on the webinar. I was blessed to have this webinar qualify for CEU credit, which is awesome on many levels.  It was one of my busiest times at work, ever.  Lots of thinking, preparing, tracking, follow-up, etc.

Combine that webinar with a “staycation” my wife had been planning for a while.  We “dished out”  our kids to friends Wednesday morning (they come back tonight, which is Saturday), and we had a lot of plans.  We actually did about 1/2 of what we had planned, including dejunking our storage room which has in desperate need of attention and catching up on movies Kaisie got from the library.

Combine those big things with essentially being out of a kitchen.  About a year and a half ago we put “fake wood” (aka, laminate) in our main level.  It was a big, expensive job, and we have generally loved it.  Moving away from carpet was easily the right decision for our home.  A few months ago we noticed some movement and buckling by the fridge, and long story short, found out we had a slow leak on the water line that goes to the fridge’s ice maker.  That leak found it’s way under the fake wood (which is like compressed cardboard, really). I tore it up and for about 6 – 8 weeks we’ve had our floor go to about 8 feet of the fridge, which left an ugly subfloor.  Not a horrible thing but subfloor looks like it is more porous and we are a very active kitchen family.  We were concerned about how long this could go on, contamination, cleaning, etc.  After doing some research we decided to engage a friend to put in decorative, or stained, concrete.  Why am I telling you this?  Because our kitchen has been moved to our living room for the last two weeks.  No sink, no working oven… just a fridge and microwave, and a small pile of dishes that my wife will run to a neighbor’s house to clean.  If you’ve ever done anything like that you know how being without a kitchen (and without the living space in your living room because that’s where your cabinets, oven, fridge, etc. are) is a major pain.

Regardless, we were excited to have our weekend to ourselves.

Thursday night (I did the webinar in the morning, and another webinar for UCLA at 1pm) we put in a movie.  Then we put in another movie and we both fell asleep. I had “heartburn” or something from eating (not sharing) a big Olive Garden lunch, and then for dinner we scrounged up some frozen Jimmy Dean sausage patty sandwiches — so a day of lots of fat that I’m not normally used to. But no big deal… I thought.

Part II: Symptoms of Death and Prolongued Immense Physical Pain

At 12:30 am Kaisie woke me and said she had fallen asleep too, and let’s go up to bed so we could sleep well.  We went up but when I laid down my “heartburn” wasn’t any better.  Weirdly, it was worse. I put on some DoTerra essential oils and took pepto-bismol and tried to sit or walk around as the pain started to get worse.

I had this painful sensation in November while I was a webinar.  It was a very hard pain right below my sternum, about the size of a softball.  I don’t remember if it was a sharp pain or a dull pain but it was big and really intense.  On my webinar I excused myself thinking I had some serious gas (I hear that many times this pain is just gas), and tried to take care of that for about ten minutes.  Fortunately, the people on my webinar could wait, even though I didn’t tell them I was in immense pain.

That happened and I didn’t think anything of it after that. Just bad gas, I thought.

Another symptom that I always wondered about but usually ignored has happened over the last two or three years.  I would be walking (never sitting, laying, lifting something, just walking straight) and I would feel something like a spear go through my back, through my lower ribs.  It was really, really sharp and intense, but it would only last for a few seconds, then go away for weeks or months.  I knew it was something but it was so irregular and quick that I wasn’t interested in paying for a doctor to say “Hm, I’m not sure, but you can pay $85 on the way out :).”

On Thursday at 12:30 am I didn’t think of either of these things.  I just thought I was having bad gas OR needed a bowel movement (sorry but this is a medical post.  And if that bothers you, get this book for yourself).  Ten minutes passed, then twenty, then thirty, and the pain wasn’t going away. It stayed very intense, so of course I got online to see what it might be.

That was a MISTAKE!

I searched for “burst appendix,” because I wanted to know what that really was, and I heard it is fatal.  I was looking at the symptoms of burst appendix, thinking “I don’t want to die in my basement tonight… that would ruin my wife’s morning :/”  Luckily she was out like a light, getting the rest she needed, which is what I wanted her to do while I was in my pain (I like to be in immense physical pain by myself).

Appendicitis symptoms include pain in the lower abdomen. Mine was in the upper gut.  BUT sometimes the pain starts in the upper abdomen and moves down and to the right (where the appendix is). I was becoming hyper-sensitive to where the pain was, was it moving, etc.  So far it was just staying in one place.

Other symptoms: was nauseous?  Not really.  Did I have gas that wouldn’t pass or was it hard to urinate?  No.  Other symptoms? Not really.  Hopefully not a burst appendix, YET.

The night went on and the pain was so intense I was in fetal positions around the basement… from my office desk to the beanbag to leaning against the couch…walking, fetal, walking, fetal, walking, fetal.

And then it happened.  I got the feeling to throw up.  It was the hardest throw-up session I’ve ever had.  It was like dry heaving, and I knew I had stuff in my stomach, but nothing would come out.  It was like my stomach said “GET OUT!” and my throat said “we’re closed!”    The pain of trying to get it out with the pain of keeping it in, and my brain was like “dudes, let’s do this … get it out!”  I was trying to talk my throat into cooperating.  It hurt very bad.

Worse than that pain was knowing the symptoms of the fatal appendix burst was vomiting.  Now I had two symptoms of appendicitis :(.

I was getting scared.  Partially because I didn’t want to have a physical problem this major, and partially because I knew it was going to be expensive. (I wrote about the actual expenses here)

At about 2:20 am, after struggling by myself and getting more concerned about not dying before my wife woke up, I knew it was time. I called the Emergency Room (ER) with two questions.

First, with my pain, what can you tell me?  What am I looking for and when should I really come in.  He “couldn’t tell me” over the phone, but said if I was concerned then they were there and would be happy to look at me.  Strike one.

My next question was how much money should I expect to pay?  Hundreds of dollars?  Thousands of dollars?  Again, he said he had NO idea.  I would just have to come in.  Strike two.

I didn’t want to have a strike three.  After about 10 minutes of realizing where I was at, and prayer, I knew it was time to get Kaisie.

I knew how she would react (“Let’s go!” without any judgement), but I was still nervous. I really didn’t want to go to, and pay for, the emergency room!

I went upstairs, opened the door.  “Are you okay?” she asked.  “No. I think I need to go to the emergency room.”

And with that, we were off.  My wife knows I’m not one to voluntarily ask to go to the E.R., and if I say something like that then it’s serious.  After more than two hours of struggling alone I was relieved to know that if it was serious, I wasn’t alone anymore, and we were going to go to the right place to get this taken care of.

I can’t undermine the pain of those last two hours, but I know others have, and do, struggle worse.  I’m amazed at how much physical pain there is in this world and it makes me grateful for the people who are compassionate and help alleviate pain (mental, physical, spiritual, etc.).

Part III: Leaving Home and going into Surgery

What do you do to get ready to go to the emergency room?  I don’t know.  We weren’t necessarily rushing out because I wasn’t dire just yet.  I got my phone and charger and stayed in my comfortable clothes (pajama bottoms, walking shoes, and a church sweater.  I did not look cool. I almost changed, but quickly  thought “I DON’T CARE.”  Goofy clothes it as.

After Kaisie got dressed and grabbed her purse, we were off.

Then I dropped the bomb on her.

I said “I want to go to Jordan Valley,” which is an older hospital that is kind of close to us, and where we have had our hospital experiences (2 kids born there,  and two non-kid surgeries).  I’ve always liked Jordan Valley with their bedside manner and staff, and they have a 50% off policy for self-pay (which is what we are).

The minor dilemma is that we just got a new big hospital, an IHC regional hospital, just minutes from our house.  Do we get there FAST, which means the IHC hospital, or do we go to the hospital that I feel more comfortable with and loyal to, and the one that will work with us financially?

My wife was said she would go to either one, but I knew deep down she just wanted to get me to the closest E.R. and not spend the extra 10 minutes driving to Jordan Valley.  She later told me it was one of the longest times of her life, as I was moaning and writhing in pain next to her on that long trip.  I felt bad for acting that way but it was how I could try to cope with the pain.

We get to the emergency doors at Jordan Valley and I walk in while she parks the van. I get to the reception desk and the lady asks me walk a few more steps so I could sit down to check in.  I thought those last few steps where horrible and wished she could have just done it right there…

She asks my name, which I could barely get out.  She asks me to fill out the paper and I could barely scribble my name.  I was in the right place but the pain and some emotion had overtaken me.  If that wasn’t sign enough for her, when she put the thermometer in my mouth I pulled the garbage can from under her desk to throw up.

Now I was communicating well!  My body language was saying “please don’t make me wait in a room for hours before someone checks on me.” That’s how I perceive emergency rooms… you wait and wait and wait for hours.  But with my vomiting and inability to write or talk, they got the message :)

In my room the first nurse (an EMT) took blood but couldn’t hit a vein for the IV.  So he got another nurse. As I continued to moan I felt bad that he thought it was because of his continual attempts to get the IV in (aka, digging around), but that was nothing compared to my belly pain that was not letting up.  His needle prodding was like petting a bunny, in comparison the other pain I was feeling.  Give me bad needles all day long compared to that tummy pain.

At this point we still had no idea what the problem was. I was thinking it was appendicitis.  My moans didn’t help my wife, who was in that horrible place of feeling completely helpless and you just want to say “get all the doctors down here and fix this, NOW!!”

Finally, I got the IV from another nurse. I remember he had a camouflage  shirt. I thought that was weird, but you know, didn’t care too much at the time.   He was good and quick and got the vein (in my bicep, not my elbow-pit) so he could give me 5 units of Morphine.

Morphine.  You know, in movies this is the drug they give to people on the battlefield who have serious wounds, and they need relief immediately.  Morphine, I thought, was top-of-the-line.

Five units wasn’t touching the pain.  It didn’t make one difference.  They gave me another five. Then another five.   Then another five.  With four times the original amount, and no pain relief, I wondered if I was resistant to morphine??

They then gave me something else, which is a man-made (synthetic) morphine, 10 times as powerful.  The pain went from what I’ll call a 10 to a 4 or a 5… so it helped, but the 4 or 5 still hurt really bad.  Apparently by this time I was in and out.

Right before I was to be wheeled to the operating room two angels (that is, two men who I would like to consider best friends) came to give me a “blessing.”  I know many of you do not share the same religion as I do, although you have faith in something.  A blessing is when two priesthood holders follow instruction from the bible and current revelation, anoint your head with oil (like in the bible), and lay their hands on your head (like in the bible), and pray to God (like in the bible).  This is a comforting thing, but it can also come with healing powers, whether for your body (like the healings that happened in the bible) or to help the doctors and nurses be inspired.  If you want to know more just ask…  I include this because this brought tremendous comfort to me and my wife.

Finally, my bed was being wheeled to the operating room area.  I remember thinking, as I was getting wheeled down the hallways, that  it looks totally different than in the movies.  My other thought was “where’s Kaisie?” I knew she was close but I wanted to see her AND I wanted to see that she was okay.  She didn’t need to comfort me, but just seeing her would have comforted me.  I wasn’t scared, though.

We then went into “the room” where they have you sign papers and tell you what is going to happen.  This was the same room where Kaisie was when she had her last surgery.

Then, I was wheeled to the operating room.  They asked me to scoot from the bed to the operating table.  I was thinking “are you freaking serious?” I didn’t feel up to scooting.  Why should the guy in immense pain and on narcotics have to be the one scooting?  In the movies they pull you over… :)  AND, the operating table seemed like it was for skinny people 😛

Alas, I scooted.  And they put something in my IV. And I felt the icy liquid go through my arm and shoulder and then I didn’t care about anything.  The ice going through my veins was a neat sensation and I wondered how much more I would feel. I thought the anesthesiologist would talk to me and ask me questions so he could figure out when I was out. But he didn’t talk to me at all. That drug put me under within 5 seconds.  I was OUT.

This was my first time in surgery (except when I was six months old when I had surgery on my head) and I was relishing all of these experiences.  I’m grateful for the systems and technology and knowledge that has gone into this type of procedure.

Part IV: Post Operation

I’m not sure where I woke up. I think I remember being wheeled to my recovery room and hearing it was room 322 (“322” I thought, “we should tell people I’ll be in 322!”). I don’t remember, though.  Kaisie was told “I was a fighter” when I came up from the anesthetics.  I wish I could have a video of that.

I do remember the recovery nurse (or whoever he was) trying to get me to breathe.  Of all the things I had to do, I didn’t want to breathe.  It was so laborious. I know breathing is important but it was really hard, and I just wanted to sleep.

So he tried to do stuff to get me to breathe through my nose, where the oxygen tubes were. I kept dozing off and the nurse and my wife would wake me up and say “breathe through your nose.”  What the heck is so important about nose breathing, I thought?  Just let me take a little nap and I’ll breathe later, okay?

I was joking about things, I remember, because Kaisie said “well, he’s got his sense of humor back… he’s getting back to normal.”  I had very little sense of humor a few hours earlier.

The joke I remember was when I said “I feel sorry for this guys wife!”, about the nurse trying to get me to breathe through my nose.  He was such a nag.  My comment was funny to me, and I hope it was funny to him. I recognize that his job was to get me healthy and I sure appreciated his role, even if I didn’t want to breathe just then :p

We were in that room for about 14 hours, from 7am to about 9pm.  For what seemed like a few hours, after the guy had left, Kaisie took over the whole “breathe in through your nose!” thing.  It was not fun, but I had to do it.  I also had this breathing exercise thing where I inhaled through a tube and a blue ball/disc would go up the tube.  The goal was to get it up in one inhale.  I still can’t do it but it felt good to try.  The purpose of this thing was to exercise the lungs, considering you do a lot of laying around.  I think someone said it prevents pneumonia.

I was in a hospital gown and really didn’t care about being naked.  No concern at all.

I had these really cool white cast-like things on my legs from my ankles to my knees.  About every 30 seconds or so they would fill up with air and compress my calves.  I think this was to get the blood moving since I wouldn’t be walking much.  I LOVED these.  We actually got to take these home, but don’t have the air pump.  The nurse said some people love them, some people hate them.

One of the hardest things to do was to pee.  I was laying in bed with a “urinal” where I was supposed to pee.  I had oxygen in my nose, an oxygen monitor on my finger, an IV in my arm, and the leg things. They gave me this portable “urinal” since it’s supposedly easier to just pee in that than unhook everything and walk to the bathroom.

I think I spent about an hour having a conversation with my brain: “No really, it’s okay to pee in bed.  Everyone does it.”  My brain/subconscious: “DO NOT pee in bed!  Remember that’s a bad thing?  Where do you pee?  In the hole!” (that’s what tell my three year old: you pee in the hole (aka toilet)

My subconscious won the argument.  No matter how logical or charming I was, my body would not pee in bed.  So we unhooked everything and as soon as I was in the bathroom my body was like “YEAH!  We won!  Don’t tell us how or where to pee!”

Too much information, I’m sure, but it was an interesting inner dialog.  In the end, I got what I wanted: an empty bladder!  Considering that’s the only bladder I have, now, I want it to feel right :)

Kaisie went to the pharmacy where she stole a moment to call the kids and update them.  She said waiting for the narcotics to be fulfilled was a very long wait.

While she was gone I got my dinner.  It was okay, but nothing I’m anxious to get back to.  The menu was rich, but I wasn’t in the mood for that food.  I ate all the vegetables (might as well turn over a new leaf) and the chocolate pudding, but the “Asian stir-fry” and the “clam chowder” didn’t do it for me. I’m guessing that was a high-fat diet, which surprised me.

Kaisie called the finance office and learned that we could stay until 7am the next day, and after that we would be charged another $1,300 (that is after applying 50% off).  That made us feel good about leaving that evening! I just had to have my oxygen “past 90,” which means:

My finger monitor was a device that helped measure how much oxygen I had in my body.  When I was on narcotics/anesthetics, or sleeping, it dropped below 90.  When I walked to and from the bathroom it was up to around 95.  When I sucked on the lung exerciser it was between 92 and 95.  BUT I still had oxygen coming in through the pipes in my nose.  They wanted to ween me off of that and have me still above 90.  Around 7pm I took the oxygen off and was able to stay over 90, except when I dozed off.  Long story short, I was finally above the 90s on my own, and that was the last thing I needed before I could leave.

I remember asking the nurse why I had a flemmy cough, which I didn’t have before (although I had just recovered from the flu).  He said it was because I was intubated.  That means they put a tube down my throat to help me breath during surgery.

I asked why I had a horrible pain on the right side of my chest.  That, he said, is the gas they put in my body when they do laparoscopy… basically they put this gas in my belly between my guts and my skin so their cameras and tools can move around easier.

I remember Kaisie had this pain but wow!  It is seriously painful.  It’s more painful than my incisions.  Right now I can’t lay down or the gas makes it impossible to breath.  I hear it goes away over the next few days.

We got home, slept well, and Kaisie left at 7:40 to get the kids to their stuff. Taylor was supposed to have a make-up birthday party since we all had the flu during her birthday, but that is now moved.  Poor girl.  All the anticipation is really building up, though.

The surgeon said he pulled out a three inch gall stone.  Apparently this was big.  Most sites say your gall bladder is about three t0 four inches, so this stone was hogging up all the room in the bladder.  And, there were other stones and and all the regular gunk in there. Crowded :)

I have entered the “one bladder per person” club.  Here’s to a speedy recovery. I’m sure my wife has more memories that I’m not including here. I’m just glad to be on this side of the ER, since we know what the problem was and that it’s not a problem anymore.


It’s been amazing and emotional to get the outreach that I have gotten, from friends, neighbors, colleagues.  I’ve definitely felt loved and appreciated these last few days (more than normal).  I love my kids, my wife, and my extended family. I always have but you know how things like this make it easier to get your priorities right…


Science, Whales, and Does God Exist?

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

If you are a real scientist I think your position is supposed to be that religion is fairy tale, God doesn’t exist, and that creationism is beyond fairy tale and has not purpose in our elementary education.

If God does exist, it is not the god of the bible… it is an uncaring, mean, almost purposeless god.

Not too long ago scientists had the world believe earth was flat.

Check out this headline from this week:

Once again, scientists are wrong.

If they can’t find a big whale on this planet for 2 million years (granted, I’m sure they weren’t actively looking for it), how can they explain a God that they can’t define?

I don’t think we can look to scientists to explain everything…

Owning Up to it in Court

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

When I was in school I took a business communications class.  I remember the professor said the #1 reaction to something bad, from a company, was “we didn’t do it!”

Complete denial.

I hated that concept.

If a company did something wrong, especially knowingly (but even if they didn’t know it) they should own up to it, not deny it.

This is abundant in the business world.

Similarly, it makes me sick when people who do bad stuff go to court and plead innocence.  I’m sure their lawyers recommend that tactic, but what would happen to our world, society, economy, etc. if people simply plead whatever the most honest plea is?

That’s exactly what a young man in Utah did.  You can read the article here: Man apologizes for killing classmate, says he’s ready for consequences

Wow.  This is a man of integrity (at least on this topic. I don’t know him and can’t vouch for him, but on this topic, I think it’s extraordinary).

Awesome quotes:

“… Angilau himself told the court he was ready to face the consequences of his actions.”

“I want to be held accountable for this. I’ll do whatever to make this right, or as right as possible.”

This is one of those stories you can read to restore your faith in humanity.

I would love to see this type of response from more people in court.

Limousine Horse for sale

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Check out this add on my local newspaper website:

Tell me that isn’t a limousine horse!

Why I Hate “Politics” and Election Years

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Most everything to hate about human nature comes out during election years.

It’s really disgusting.  It is embarrassing to a country, and should be embarrassing to the human race.

Here are a few things that bug me:

Voting for your party.  Too many people are staunch this or staunch that… they have been forever, or their parents and grandparents where.  And so that’s how they vote, regardless of the issues, regardless of the individual polititician, regardless of how the party votes/thinks (which evolves, doesn’t it?). Parties are flawed, and it’s ugly business on either side.

Voting based on superfluous stuff.  I heard that many middle-aged women voted for Bill Clinton because he was hot/cute/attractive. Seriously?  That’s how we make a decision on voting for a four year position to rule the country (and have a huge part in ruling the world)??? Because he is cute?

Not voting at all.  What’s the voter turnout rate? Ridiculously low.  Wine about where we are at but you have to realize the people voted into office can have a huge impact on our current laws, spending, budget, freedoms, etc.

All the talk about the Constitution without knowing anything about the Constitution. I’ve said that Americans, in general, are ignorant and lazy thinkers.  Some of the other things on this list show that (voting for cuteness, etc.).  I think stereotyping and generalizing help us become lazy, and not critically assess situation.  I’m guilty of this, but I know it is worse than where I’m at right now.  Even people scream about the politician might not have read the constitution (I haven’t, until recently).  No, reading it in high school does not count.  Personal study is where it’s at. I read an awesome quote (I can’t find it right now, it’s from The 5000 Year Leap) that says the Constitution deals more with human nature than specific government policy.  In that case, when will human nature be outdated??

Generalizing and Grouping and Stereotyping becomes rampant.  I remember last election the four candidates were described as “the black man, the Mormon, the woman, and the white man.”  Seriously? The news perpetuates our inability to think by continuing to use the labels.  Oh, if he’s black he must think this way.  Or if he’s a Mormon, or if she’s a woman, that must mean ____ and ____ and ____.  Just wrap it all up in a one-word-label so the dumb, lazy Americans don’t have to study the issues, and we can vote by how we generalize.

Voting based on who we are.  I think there’s an assumption that all blacks voted for Obama, because heck, wouldn’t it be cool and historical to have a Black man in office?  So, Blacks vote for Blacks.  People think Mormons are supposed to vote for Romney because he’s Mormon, right?  Folks, let’s vote for leadership and politics and ability to make change happen, not because they are our gender, or race, or color, or religion, etc.  Here’s a horrible headline on my local news site: An unprecedented presidential race for Black Mormons. (I’m not even going to link to the article)  Seriously?  This insinuates they are torn because they want to vote for their religion (not the right reason to vote for someone) and for their race (again, not the right reason to vote for someone).

We put too much emphasis on what a politician says they will do. A friend of mine said to study how the politician has voted on things in their past.  Study what they’ve done to learn who they are.  Don’t listen to campaign speeches because they are ALL LIES.   I watched a few speeches from both conventions but I thought “wow – how stupid are we to trust 20 minutes of promises from anyone… we need to go back to what their record has been!” But all over Facebook you’ll see people who are so passionate about what their politician promised…. folks, people lie all the time.  ALL THE TIME.  Politicians are in the business of saying the right thing to get the vote.  They are like the guy who is trying to impress the girl to get a date (or more).  But once the relationship progresses, they might change.  Common story, right?  Why put ALL your confidence in what is promised for 20 minutes, instead of looking at what has happened.

I got to get back to work, but these are some things that bug me about politics.  And it’s not just a U.S. problem.

Like a good neighbor: When your insurance company kicks you in the teeth

Friday, August 17th, 2012

This post is long overdue.  It’s been brewing for over a year (since around March or April of last year).  I haven’t written it yet for various reasons, but unfortunately I just read an article on the news that brought back all the bad feelings.

That means I’m mad right now, and I shouldn’t write when I’m mad, but I’m going to anyway.

Check out this nasty article/story about Progressive insurance: Progressive insurance on defense after court case.

In a nutshell, a lady died, Progressive was supposed to pay the family because of an insurance policy, but they went to court to try and save $75,000 by blaming the lady who died.  In court it was decided that it was not her fault, even though Progressive tried hard to make it seem that way.  Luckily blog posts have a way of getting out into the public the way that media should. I think this is the link to the blog post.


It reminds me of The Incredibles, when Mr. Incredible worked at an insurance company and got fired for doing what was right, and within the contract.  I heard from someone who worked in insurance that standard policy was to reject claims twice, for no reason at all, before they would do anything with them.


Last Spring our good neighbor insurance company sent us a nasty letter saying that on July 1 our auto coverage would be discontinued. I seriously thought it was a mistake.

After a few phone calls I learned it was NOT a mistake.  There were two distinct reasons we were getting let go. According to them, either of the two was cause to be let go.

The first and main reason they said we were getting let go was because we had too many claims.  We had six claims in about a year (I’m not positive on the timeframe).

The 5th (I think) and most significant turned out to be a $30,000 accident (more on that later). The rest?

Two calls for a locksmith. I’m guessing this cost less than $100.

One windshield replacement.

NOTE: When we called our agent’s office to ask about these, they bent over backwards to encourage us to get a new windshield, and THEY called the locksmith for us.

We had NO idea there was a tally to keep track of the “incidents.”  They said we had six incidents in a way that made it sound that a locksmith call carried the same weight as the $30k accident.

Another of the six was a “fender bender” at a credit union parking lot.  Unfortunately the other lady involved submitted a claim for a dent, and was paid for it.  The only thing was that my wife got pictures, which we emailed to our agent, and there was NOTHING to repair.  I think she took her car in, got claims for OTHER dents, and submitted it.

Guess who got stuck holding the bag?  Our insurance company dinged us, even though we had pictures to prove it was a fradulent claim.  They could care less.

So, that was their big claim: we had too many claims in too short a period.  3 were meaningless and very cheap.  One was fradulent (by the other party).

When I pressed this issue with my agent, who was super awesome at selling insurance (but turned out to suck when representing us to his company), his next big argument was the big $30k accident.

It was clearly a business decision, he said, and how could we expect to pay in just a little bit but get $30k of value from them?


My understanding is that is how insurance works. You pay money, and if you need to file a claim, they pay out what is right, and according to the policy.

You know those minimums and maximums they say they’ll pay?  That’s what I expected them to pay…

Well, they did pay the $30k (or whatever they paid)… and then sent us the nasty letter breaking up with us.

My wife calls them the “paper plate insurance company” because once you use them you have to throw them away.

How very disgusting the insurance industry can be.

Even though we had about 16 years of NO claims… a very clean record…

I’d be hard pressed to go back to that good neighbor… I’m sorry for recommending people to them, and I’ll never recommend them again.