So, I’m Offering This Simple Phrase…

May you have a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy New Year.

For those of you who celebrate something other than Christmas this season, may love and joy surround you and yours.

And for all of you suffering through this horrific winter weather, I’m truly sorry. I hope relief will come soon.

And of course, Ukraine, you are in my thoughts, as well.

Blessings on you all.

Slow Lane to Acceptance

So, we rejoin our hero as he returns home from an overnight stay in the hospital, due to a sudden onset of memory loss. If you missed reading the previous post, go back now and catch up. I’ll wait.

Okay, we all synced up now? Good.

As I said before, since this happened mere days before Thanksgiving, I certainly had one more thing to be thankful for, that this wasn’t something more serious.

But, this episode is forcing me to face the truth about my health, in a way I never have before.

I have Type 2 diabetes. I got diagnosed with it in 2009. Thirteen years, I’ve known I have it, and the only lifestyle change I’ve made is switching from sodas to diet sodas.

Otherwise, I still eat what I want, when I want, in whatever quantity I want, especially sweets. My exercise regimen mostly consists of getting up from the couch. Oh, I’ll occasionally walk for a few days, but it never becomes a habit.

You get the idea. It’s kinda been 13 years of denial. I get my A1C (3-month blood sugar average) checked at the doctor’s regularly, and I tell myself that as long as that checks good, I can continue all my bad habits. I just keep taking my diabetes medication, my cholesterol medication, my high blood pressure medication, etc.

Yeah. I know. I guess I knew the whole time. But having diabetes is life-changing, and I haven’t wanted my life to change.

In addition, I’ve been telling myself that because my dad and my brother had strokes, I would be spared. No way it would happen to me, too. I mean, my oldest brother hasn’t had one, so I won’t, either. Right?


Well, here’s the thing, and all you diabetics out there already know this:

People who have diabetes are 2 times as likely to have a stroke compared to people who do not have diabetes. (Which neither my father or brothers had/have) People with diabetes also tend to develop heart disease or have a stroke at an earlier age than people without diabetes. And every 2 minutes, an American adult with diabetes is hospitalized for stroke.

Every. Two. Minutes.

This is serious stuff, that I haven’t taken seriously. But, at age 63, with one TIA on my scorecard, perhaps I’d better, don’t ya think?

I just have to accept, this is my life, and it must change, or I could end up in really bad shape. Or worse.

Okay, but after the holidays. Too many delicious homemade treats around to eat, you see.

Pathetic, I know. What can I say? Old habits die hard.

So, this new year is going to present new challenges, as I endeavor to get myself healthy. It’s gonna be hard, and I know I’ll hate it at the beginning. But I must do this; for my wife as well as myself. And I will.

And you know what? To this day, I have absolutely no recollection of that night my wife took me to the hospital; not the trip there, not the questions she asked me earlier, not my disorientation and confusion, and not a minute of that Elton John concert.

Nothing. Nada. Total blank.

Fortunately, that concert is still streaming on Disney+, so I got to watch it again.

And this time, I remember it. It was awesome.

Enjoy your holidays, everyone. None of us know how many we have left, so let’s make the most of them. Give some love, and take some, too. And, let’s all take better care of ourselves.

Peace and love, y’all. ✌🏻❤

The Driver Hits a Pothole

Sunday night, November 20th.

My wife and I were sitting at home, watching the Elton John concert livestreamed from Dodger Stadium. A concert I’d looked forward to since I first learned of it.

Since the concert didn’t start until 10 PM in our time zone, it ended sometime after midnight.

Around that time, before the show ended, I suddenly became confused and agitated, asking my wife repeatedly, “Is it midnight, already? Did we miss the concert? Did I go to sleep?”

(The concert was still on, mind you.)

“No, dear,” she assured me, “we didn’t miss it.” She had to tell me that over and over. She also said she didn’t know for sure if I fell asleep, because she did, too, briefly.

After the concert, when we went to bed, I didn’t recognize the blanket that had been on there for awhile. Or the box on top of it, where we would usually pet Lizzy.

She asked me where we last went on a cruise. I said, Alaska. Which we did, in 2019.

But we took a New England cruise late September. This year.

She asked me what year it is. I said, “Two thousand…something.”

She asked me who the President is. After a few seconds, I replied…”Obama?” 0 for 3 on this test.

“Okay,” she said, “we’re going to the hospital.” And we did.

Two things you should probably know about me at this point. One, I have Type 2 diabetes. Two, I have a history of stroke in my immediate family.

I didn’t have any of the typical symptoms of a stroke, though; my face wasn’t drooping, my speech wasn’t slurred, I didn’t experience weakness, numbness or loss of balance.

I just suddenly couldn’t remember things.

In the hospital Monday morning, my wife was asking me questions about things we did recently, and I couldn’t remember them. And I kept asking her why we were at the hospital, having forgotten all the times I’d already asked her.

I was getting scared. She, understandably, was already there.

So, I had an MRI done; nothing wrong was found. I had an EEG done; nothing wrong was found. I had a carotid ultrasound done; can you guess how that turned out?

Oh, and I wore a heart monitor overnight to check for atrial fibrillation. Nothing wrong there, either.

They checked my blood sugar when I got there, and it was normal. I did have an elevated blood pressure, though, but who doesn’t when they’re in the emergency room?

So basically, the doctor had no explanation for what happened. Granted, it would probably be easier to determine while it was actually happening, but while they kept me there for observation, it didn’t happen again. And it hasn’t since.

And no, it never had before, either.

I was sent home after one night in the hospital, a couple of days before Thanksgiving. Needless to say, I was a little more thankful this year. Mainly, to still be around.

Well, as it happened, I had an appointment with my primary care doctor the following Monday. He’d already looked over the details from my hospital visit, and concluded I had probably experienced a TIA, or Trans Ischemic Attack.

I knew about these from my father and brother having them.

Also known as a mini-stroke, it leaves no permanent damage; it just serves notice that something bigger might be coming down the line.

So, I guess it’s finally about time to give up this whole denial routine I’ve had going for so long.

There’s more to this story, and I’ll tell you about it in the next post.

Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

Please, Men. Please.

Hey, fellas, it’s me. How about we sit for a little while and have a talk?

Ladies, you’re welcome to listen in, but this is really for the guys.

When I saw the headline yesterday about the death of Stephen “tWitch” Boss at the age of 40, I was shocked. I was floored. I just couldn’t believe it.

Then, when I read that it was a death by suicide, my heart just broke.

Here was another guy who appeared to have it all: a great wife and family, a successful career, the love and respect of his peers and countless fans.

And nobody knew about the battle he was secretly fighting. Until, ultimately, he lost.

His wife, Allison Holker Boss, with whom Stephen had just days ago celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary, issued a statement which said, in part, “Stephen lit up every room he stepped into. He valued family, friends and community above all else and leading with love and light was everything to him. He was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans.”

His former boss, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, said about him, “tWitch was pure love and light. He was my family, and I loved him with all my heart.”

The online tributes to “tWitch” have been flooding in from various people in the entertainment industry, expressing complete shock and sadness over the loss of someone so universally loved.

Many of these tributes have included an urging to reach out to people in your life, because you never know what someone is going through.

So, this is me reaching out to all you guys out there.

I know men are expected to be strong, tough, self-sufficient. We can handle anything. We don’t need anyone’s help. Whatever is bothering us, we can deal with it.

Admitting we can’t causes us shame. It means we’re weak, inadequate, that we’re not real men.

So we just kill ourselves, instead. More than 38,000 of us in the USA just last year.

You see that, guys? Thirty…eight…thousand.

I lost an uncle to suicide, in August, 1985.

I myself have thought about it more than once. Even came close to doing it one afternoon. Fortunately, I didn’t go through with it.

Instead, I called a counselor I was seeing at the time, and told him I needed to come talk to him right away. And he said, okay.

So, I’m familiar with how it feels, in that moment of desperation, when you’re certain there is no other solution. That utter hopelessness that almost crushes you under its weight. That convinces you that everyone would just be better off without you around.

I’ve been there, gentlemen. And in that moment, I reached out for help.

So please, please, listen to me, men:

If you find yourself at this point in your life, if you’re battling a demon (or demons) that only you know about, if you’re seriously thinking about suicide…

I beg of you, tell someone!

Whatever you’re going through, I promise you, you don’t have to do it alone.

Asking for help does not mean you’re weak. It does not make you less of a man. If anything, it makes you more of one.

There are plenty of veterans who have asked for help. There are plenty of athletes who have asked for it. You gonna tell me any of them are weak, that they’re not really men?

This, knights in shining armor, is just too big and mean a dragon to try and slay by yourself. Trust me.

Listen, I know it’s out there, the public stigma surrounding suicide. Nobody wants to talk about it; everyone just wants to ignore it.

Well, guess what, y’all: It’s widely considered a public health crisis. Worldwide. We ignore it at our peril.

Help is available, guys. In the US, call 988, or go to right now.

Live outside the US? Look here for additional resources from other countries. ‘Cause it ain’t just American men who need help, you know?

Get help, gentlemen. I guarantee you, all Stephen Boss’ family wants for Christmas is to have him back with them. Give your family the gift of yourself.


(And please, everyone, be kind to each other. You really don’t know what someone else is going through.)