Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thanks!

Three days in intensive care and now I am back home.  Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers and well wishes.  It is nice to know that I have so many people praying for me.  I am blessed to have so many great friends who care about me and I thank you for that.  Special thanks to my friend, Mark Thrasher, for 'rescuing' me. 

God bless each of you!

The Notorious Meddler

Sunday, February 21, 2010

People I Have Known (In My Life)

When was the last time you went beyond your comfort zone?

There are people I have known who are afraid to go beyond their walls. They are perfectly content on staying inside their fortress. It takes faith to step out. A lot of relationships are lost because of one's unwillingness, for whatever reason, to do their part to make that relationship better, both personally and professionally.


There are people I have known who spent so much time building up the walls around them, when what they really should have been doing is building bridges. Imagine what the world would be like if there was no ethnic seperation or racial hatred. What if human beings could build bridges between each other and make this world a more friendly place? What if that personal relationship had the potential to be something great? Imagine instead of fighting or killing, we actually loved one another. Believe it or not, it's possible. All it takes is tearing down that wall and building a bridge.

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these place had their moments
With lovers and friend I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I'll love you more

The Beatles - In My Life (Lennon-McCartney)
Released on the 1965 album, Rubber Soul


*Photo by Charley Neal.



Monday, February 15, 2010

National Heart Failure Awareness Week

This is National Heart Failure Awareness Week.  I am a CHF survivor.  What is CHF?  It stands for congestive heart failure.  I was diagnosed almost seven years ago.  Because of what I went through, I want to remind patients with heart failure, their family members and others who may be at risk, how best to manage this syndrome, what heart failure means, to re-evaluate lifestyle and consider changes to improve qualify of life.

Here is my story.  Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormal after damage from heart attack or high blood pressure and gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs.  My heart had taken a pounding from high blood pressure and there were even signs of a possible light heart attack, when I was officially diagnosed with congestive heart failure in July of 2003. 

In cardiovascular physiology, ejection fraction is the measurement of blood pumped out of a ventricle with each heart beat.  In a healthy man, the normal ejection fraction is 58 percent.  My EF was barely 13 percent.  I was told to gather my children around me so they could spend as much time with me as possible.  My name was going to be added to a list of heart transplant patients.  All this came two weeks after my dad had died.  I hated that my mother had to be in the room when my doctor first revealed all the above to me.  It had to be hard on her. 

I praise God that within a few short days my condition began to improve, so much so that I was no longer a candidate for a heart transplant. Even though she was obligated to tell me the straight up about it all, I could feel her faith and I fed off it, along with the faith of so many others in my life. 

After just three months, my ejection fraction went from barely 13 percent to 58 percent.  My condition had gone from critical to normal in just three months. I don't think anyone's condition had ever improved that fast.  I was waiting sitting in the patient room waiting for the results when suddenly I heard Dr. Shirley shout, 'Praise The Lord!"  She burst into the room grinning from ear to ear and told me the news.  Then, she announced it to her staff and they likewise rejoiced.  To say it was emotional for me would be putting it mildly.  You see, I had been told that it would take 3 to 5 years for me to get back on my feet, if I even did then.  I owe it all to God and prayer and a God-sent doctor and great medicines.   

Nearly 5,000,000 Americans live with heart failure and as many as 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.  Many people are not aware they have heart failure because the symptoms are often mistaken for signs of getting older. As for me, I was only 43 years old, so go figure.   Recent advances in treatment have shown that early diagnosis and proper care in early stages of the condition are key to slowing, stopping or in some cases reversing progression, improving quality of life, and extending life expectancy.

I encourage all heart patients to follow the low sodium diet you have been given, exercise properly, manage medications and report any irregularities.  The absolute hardest thing I had to overcome was the salt shaker, but I did it and seven years later, I am still salt shaker-free.  When I was released from the hospital, the first thing I did was go online and learn all I could about heart failure.  I learned to listen to my body and not to take anything for granted.  I have made many trips to the emergency room in the past seven years, only to be told I have indigestion, but, it is better to be safe than sorry. 

Please, for more information on heart failure, do what I did, visit abouthf.org.


Thanks For A Great Year!

9,300 visitors to The Notorious Meddler since Feb. 13, 2009.  Thanks for your support.  2010 is off and running and I couldn't be more excited.  The Notorious Meddler stories are published weekly in the Clinton County News and the Pickett County Press, which have a combined circulation of 5,600 readers weekly.

At the moment, my head is filled with so many new story ideas and I just finished writing, God Bless The Weary Well-Doer, which can be found at The Hour of Rescue.  Please visit THOR and read this story.


Thanks,

N. Meddler 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love's Swift Kick

Teddy Roosevelt once said 'no man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his body, to risk his well-being, to risk his life, in a great cause.' This is a story of the time Elijah went the distance for love.  I can't say it was his first love, but as you will come to realize, it will no doubt forever be one of his most memorable. 

As president, Teddy Roosevelt's slogan was 'speak softly and carry a big stick.'  Perhaps Elijah should have carried a big stick during his first grade year at school.  I remember well the day he came home from school that year and announced to me that he had a girlfriend.  I also remember a few weeks later when he came home and said "I tried to break up her, but she kicked me in the shin, so I decided to stay with her."  He pulled up his pant leg and showed me the bruise.  I guess he thought 'it is better to be unhappy than have a bruised shin.'  So, his first grade courtship, if you can call it that, with the girl continued and I didn't hear anything else about it until the school year was almost over.  Twice more, it happened.  He would try to break up with the girl, but always with the same result:  a kick to the shin.  I was ready to report the incident to the school or even call the girls parents, but he talked me out of it, saying he had a plan.  So, being curious as to how he would handle it, I suggested he wear shin guards to school and just decided to let it be. 

I think it was Mark Twain who said 'courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.'  It takes a mighty big man to overcome the things he is scared of...even a little girls swift kick to the shin.  On the very last day of school, Elijah walked the girl to her bus and then continued on to his bus, which was parked about 40 feet away.  He waited until he was the last person to board then, just before he did, he turned to her screamed, "I'M BREAKING UP WITH YOU!" He hopped on his bus just as the door closed, and, turning to look, saw her standing there stomping the ground.  Elijah's plan had worked.  He had broken up with the girl and had escaped without another bruised shin.  I said, "What about when you go back to school next fall?  She will beat you to a bloody pulp."  He was convinced that over the summer she would forget him, which she did.

His successful breakup with the girl who had worn his shins out gave Elijah a new found courage like he had never had before.  I think that summer was one of the best he ever had.  Oh, the joys of growing up, the experiences, the unforgettable moments, the memories we make and later come to cherish.  I often wonder if looking for love is worth a bruised shin.  It's hard to say, really. I guess it all depends on how desperate you are.  Maybe a bruised shin is worth forgetting about love.  Elijah would say yes, it is worth it.

Happy Valentine's Day!



Monday, February 8, 2010

Who dat say gonna beat dem Saints?

Last night, I cheered as the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Superbowl XLIV.

It was a gutsy call to open the second half with that onside kick. Coach Sean Payton called the play during halftime, while The Who rocked on the field. But, what really rocked was Tracy Porter's interception return for a touchdown. It was special because Porter is a native of Louisiana and who better to shine than Porter. You see, what he did was carry the entire city of New Orleans into the end zone when he scored. What a great moment it was for the city, and literally everyone around the world.

With Hurricane Katrina's devastating torment of the city in 2005, the Saints playing in the Superbowl was a time of renewed hope for New Orleans, because, along with thousands of residents, even the Saints were displaced from the city for a while because the Superdome was damaged.

So, the victory is good for the city; for its economy and for its morale.

106.5 million people watch the game. I heard someone say Superbowl Sunday is the biggest 'non-holiday' holiday in America. I agree. It's huge.

"Who dat, who dat, who dat say gonna beat dem Saints?" Nobody can say it now.

"Everybody back in New Orleans gets a piece of this trophy," said Coach Payton.

Very fitting.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Hour of Rescue

I have begun a new project, which I am very excited about. The Hour of Rescue is a faith-based work that uses a Christian approach to help all of us get through the difficult moments in our lives, using encouraging or inspirational stories and anecdotes. It is my prayer that The Hour of Rescue will comfort and keep you, and that you will be blessed. Guest commentaries are always welcome.

The Hour of Rescue


Thanks,

The Notorious Meddler

Monday, February 1, 2010

Anticipations

I caught up with an old friend today, even if it was by her words only.

Strangely familiar, not-forgotten words and phrases written with such grace and beauty, in the same poetic fashion I had been accustomed to. Words full of charm that always swept me off my feet and took my breath away. It made me realize the worth of an old friend, especially this one. It was the backdrop of days spent wrapped in the lulls of winter, and it reminded me of how much I yearn for tomorrow, and a new season filled with promise, and with hope, and with...anticipations.


I love preliminary things
(wrote JSJ in The Sunday Times on March 25, 1922)
The tuning of flutes and strings
The little scales musicians play
In varying keys to feel their way
The hum - the hush in which it dies
But most to see the curtain rise

I LOVE preliminary things
The little box the postman brings
To cut the twine, to break the seals
And wonder what the lid reveals
To lift the folds in which it lies
And watch the gift materialize

The snowdrop and the daffodil
The catkins hanging straight and still
The blossom on the orchard trees -
Do you know any joy greater than these?
Each represents the hope that springs
In ALL preliminary things

Thanks for today old friend.

My Trials Are God's Mercies

We each have periods in our lives where we wonder, "Where are you God?" But, it is during these times that, if we seek Him, we ...