Sunday, July 02, 2006

Florida Creatures in our Backyard

The large green lizard was in the grass a few feet from our patio door this morning. The geese are in our backyard daily. Last weekend, I was sitting on the patio with my back turned to the door watching TV through the sliding glass door. I saw the reflection of the geese as they walked up the hill from the lake and to the patio door. The lead goose led them all the way to the door and started pecking at the door. They really like me to play with them. One goose in particular likes denim and one of his favorite things to do is come up to me in the backyard and pull on the hem of my jeans with his peak. He'll just started pulling and squawk loudly when I shake him off and come over for more. It's as though he's playing with me. None of the geese have ever attacked me or played rough. The unusal lizards seemed to have appeared after hurricane Frances and then more varieties arrived last fall after Hurricane Wilma. They are pretty, can run fast and like to hang out in the backyard or come up near the patio and look us over good. We like wildlife and animals and enjoy their presence. In the darkness of the morning, it's not unusual to see an armadillo or racoon in the backyard. One morning last week there were two racoons and sometimes I've observed a racoon and cat have a spat and one or the other usually get chased up the tree. It's been seven or eight years since we've had an alligator in the lake...I can do without those but it sure brought some excitement to the neighborhood. Well, time to get ready and get to church. Signing off, Gordon

Hurricane Shutters In!

This morning's ipod playlist: St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Choir, Goffstown,N.H. At 7:15 yesterday morning, the hurricane installation company arrived. We FINALLY have hurricane shutters. This week I've had my good days and my bad days. The Aricept can really do a number on how I feel which is often a feeling of being worn out,exhausted and not enough energy to do much of anything. I designed a couple of tee shirts this week and made some buttons. Work was exhausting this week. Besides being hectice, it's stressful writing everything down I need to remember, losing what I wrote the reminder's down on and trying to keep track of everything. And if I could just leave for work without having to come back to get something I've left behind, that would be great. Yeah, yeah...I know about the importance of keeping things in the same place so I won't lose them. Problem is, between the time I pick the item up and go out the door, I've put it back down again. Now, where did I put those keys? I know I put my beepr on, but what did I do with it? Maddening. Signing off for now. Gordon

Monday, June 26, 2006

My Trip To the Alzheimer's Research Center Today

Today's Ipod Music: Blackwood Brothers: Until Then, Gaithers: Live from Toronto Sir Elton John: Candle in the Wind Well today was the long awaited day to visit the research center in Delray. It was a great visit. The doctor re-confirmed my early onset Alzheimers Disease diagnosis. He was direct when describing the prognosis of the disease: no cure, progressive, gradual, no medication yet available to stop it, just things to try to slow it down. The vaccine trial: I was informed that Phase One study is full; not accepting further subjects even though I meet the criteria. However, if all goes well with Phase One,Phase Two will begin in 10 months and I am a good candidate. Other trials: Three good studies are starting in September including Phase 3 (I think that's what the doctor said) of a French Drug companies trials. Anyway, the bottom line in that I will be in a drug study starting in September and quite possible the vaccine trial next Spring. I feel good and remain upbeat and positive. I enjoyed church yesterday and enjoyed watching our Netflix selection, "In Cold Blood" last night on the heels of "Capote" a few nights before. Knowing what I know now about time frames of the research, I feel free to make the plans I want to make which hopefully includes a trip to Washington, DC to see the installation of our new lady Presiding Bishop in November and I still want to get back over to England. Speaking of lady bishops, making buttons, T-shirts and other stuff for our Episcopalia Cafe Press site has been a lot of fun. I've been making buttons on our machine at home at well. It's my opinion that working with templates and designing things is every bit as therapeutic as doing the cross word puzzles. If anybody hasn't visited Episcopalia, check it out: And that's all I have to report today. I love you all! Regards, Gordon

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

21 June, 2006 The Episcopal Church General Conference is Over

General Conference of The Episcopal Church (TEC), formerly commonly known as Episcopal Church (ECUSA) has finally ended and weary clergy, deputies and convention goers wind their way home grumpily to get to bed and get some much needed rest. They're grumpy only because they're tired. I want to express my appreciation to the great leaders of Integrity and those involved in social justice and helping to support TEC on it's path to being embracing, loving and respecting all Episcopalian Christians, not just the ones like them. Five attempts were made to post pictures of my hero's in The Episcopal Church: The Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton, The Rev. Susan Russell, Our Beloved Bishop Gene Robinson and Louie Crew. But alas, Blogspot is so overwhelmed the pictures never would upload. Much was accomplished during this convention. The legislation to be tackled was the one our Presiding Bishop called a Joint Session for this morning. It was designed to appease the Anglican Communion and with a purpose to of keeping TEC from getting thrown out of the Anglican Communion by promising not to consecrate any gay or lesbian bishops. But....this is funny....they ended with some cow pucky as follows: "Resolved, that this Convention therefore call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion." I'm not sure if this piece of baloney is saying alcoholics, divorced folks, left handed people or those outrageously straight religious conservative types with a girlfriend on both coasts and a hooker in Chicago are eligible or not eligible for consecration as a bishop. Or maybe they are only referring to those clergy under investigation in the Jack Abramoff trial. Reading it one has to scratch his head to decide which sins the Anglican Communion find especially repulsive. Due to the fact that so many American clergy present a challenge to the wider church due to a challenging manner of life it could mean anything. But it looks like gay folk are off the hook for now. Praise Jesus! Everybody's excited about our Presiding Bishop Elect. She's A Girl! Seriously, I am happy to have a lady Presiding Bishop. I wonder if the men of the Anglican Communion will be nice. I doubt it. They're already judging her, throwing temper tantrums and acting like a bunch of bigots. The proper thing to do would be give Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori a chance; to talk to her and get to know her before passing judgment. The conservative male clergy of TEC and those in the Anglican Communion are being extremely harsh and prejudicial. Their blogs are totally disgusting, full of sarcasm and unchristian comments(I refer my readers to StandFirm,Titusonline, Virtueonline). Please remember these men in your prayers. I think they have serious penile size and vagina issues. Signing off for now, Gordon

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Episcopal Church U.S.A. Elects New Presiding Bishop

The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori I'm proud of my church and quite happy and proud to have a woman Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. Bright, talented, loving and caring. Those are the words I've read to describe her. I'm praying hard that our church will stay united. But if the conservatives walk, they walk. Yes, it will hurt, but then again the Episcopal Church will never be a huge denomination where thousands gather in a church on Sunday mornings. I'd rather belong to a smaller denomination where we're not required to check our brains in at the door! In Christ, Gordon

Impressions of Alzheimer's Conference West Palm Beach FL, June 8 & 9, 2006

Malcolm Leissring, Ph.D Lead Alzheimer's Researcher Scripps Florida This Morning's IPOD Playlist: Music from Grace Cathedral, San Francisco and Westminster Abbey, London I went away from the first day of the conference feeling nervous and unsettled. I began to get choked up and cry listening to the panel of caregivers and patients on the stage. There were six families. For privacy reasons I want to change the name of the gentleman and his family who my heart. I'll call him Lawrence. When the moderator of the panel introduced Lawrence and his family she included in Lawrence's autobiographical information that Lawrence was born in 1951. Hmm, I thought to myself. Lawrence is the first person I've met in the four months since being diagnosed with this disease who is the same age as me: 54. Lawrence's wife and two teenage sons were on the stage with Lawrence. His wife told the crowd of 500-600 people that Lawrence's memory had become worse in the past year since the last conference. His son's spoke of their love for their dad and their sadness that Lawrence's memory continues to fade and that he will not be able to rejoice with them in their graduations, their marriages or the births of their children. They take their dad to the beach and enjoy doing things with them. They taught their friends that their dad is important to them and in spite of his illness, he is their dad and a part of the package of friendship. Lawrence cried on and off during the panel discussion and shared how much he loves his family. Lawrence no longer can drive and he shared with me afterward that the medications were ineffective. We shook hands and he introduced me to his wife. When I got in my car I was shaking and cried for 10 minutes. I cried for Lawrence, his family and all the human suffering this terrible disease has caused. And I cried because the path that the disease has taken in Lawrence is similar to mine. I wondered if I would still be driving and going to work everyday a year from now. Will I be in a nursing home? Will I remember Larry? My brothers? My pastor? My friends? Will I remember my travels to England? Will I remember anything I accomplished in this life? Will I remember the hours I spent on street corners or walking the halls of congress trying to help make this world a better place for working families, the poor, the disenfranchised, for union members, for gay and lesbian American Citizens? Will I remember any of these things? I took some deep breaths. I prayed and took deeper breaths. Jesus is with me, I said to myself. I kept reminding myself over and over what I told myself when I looked at the PET Scan results that day in February and knew what the neurologist was going to tell me: Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease. What I told myself is that this disease is a spiritual journey. I have things to do and a life to live and I'm going to keep on being positive and enjoy my walk with Jesus and learn all I can from this experience. During Friday's session, I took the Hurricane Preparedness/Special Needs course in the breakaway session. Another class I took was Creating a Legacy, learning how to record my values and beliefs of life to leave when I'm gone. But the greatest part of the conference was the Alzheimer's Research Update with Dr. Malcolm Leissring, lead Alzheimer's scientist for Scripps Research Institute Florida. The presentation of the robot system shows the high tech capabilities of research which wasn't available just a few years ago. Dr. Malcolm also explained how the new experimental Alzheimer's vaccine works on the plaques around the cells in the brain. Hopefully this will be a successful study. By the way, I am being considered for this study and my app't with the the doctor is in a week or two. You can learn more about Dr. Leissring and his research at I met a real neat lady. Her name is Patty. She sat next to me during Dr. Leissring's presentation. Her dad passed away in January. Please see Patty's web site which has some pictures of her dad and beautiful family. It is also a way to contribute directly to Alzheimer's Research Scripps Florida: Meanwhile, I'm going to keep on going to work every day, working my crosswords and downloading my pictures and music to my Ipod. In fact, I read last night that Bishop Robinson's message at the Integrity Eucharist at the Episcopal Church General Convention. Love ya, Gordon

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hurricane Season, IPOD and Other Thoughts

Today's CD: NONE! I've finally got an IPOD and listened to a variety of gospel, jazz and blues this morning. Hurricane Season Well today begins Hurricane Season. Two weeks ago we were blessed to be actually graced with the presence of a hurricane shutter company which took the measurements. They claim that they will be installed by June 15th. Hurricane Season always creates a sense of anxiety within me. This is not unusual amongst Floridians and others who live in Hurricane Alley. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the folks of New Orleans, Mississippi and the entire gulf coast who suffered so terribly during Hurricane Katrina. Let's pray that the levy in New Orleans holds! IPOD Past attempts to figure out how to actually get music from my computer to an MP 3 Player ended in failure and I couldn't hear on them. Then about a month ago, a manager at Best Buy came to my rescue when the salesman got frustrated with me. Manager Juan had me try a variety of different IPOD's with various headphones. He assured me that the IPOD software (ITunes)is easy to use. So I purchased the IPOD Photo unit and fell in love with it. In fact, I had the software installed and music transferred onto it when Larry wasn't even home. He was impressed. Then I loaded pictures onto it. It's easy! And the sound is great. Then I went to the IPOD website and got the In Motion speaker base unit. This allowed me to take my IPOD with me on my Memorial Day weekend trip to Fort Lauderdale and put my IPOD in the base and have my music in my room, or eject the IPOD and use my headphones at the pool. I LOVE MY IPOD! GUESTS Cynthia and hubby Michael came from Kerrville, TX to visit Cynthia's brother John over in Clearwater. So they came to visit us in West Palm Beach and we went to dinner on the water, spent hours talking and catching up on things from 20 years ago. We took them to Palm Beach and wandered down Worth Ave and Cynthia took pictures of the geese and extremely large and colorful lizards who claim our backyard as their own. We had a great time. Health Issues I still do cross word puzzles daily, but I think figuring out new things like my IPOD is also effective at keeping my brain sharp. The GI side effects have come back. For awhile I thought it went away. Then it was every two weeks or so and now it's every few days. But I will not stop taking the Aricept and for a very good reason. At the end of June I go to see a doctor who is only one of five in the U.S. granted permission to use the new Alzheimer's vaccine in a trail study. Being on Alzheimer's medication for four months is a requirement so I don't want my medication to mess it up. I'll let the doctor decide if it needs to be changed to another med or just the dose adjusted when I go for the appointment. A friend Bruce who lives in the Texas Hill Country stresses to me the importance of living in the "here and now" and enjoying each day which I am doing. I enjoyed myself in Fort Lauderdale and enjoy my friends from church and my co-workers. I laugh, enjoy life and don't spend time worrying about the future. There is one possible exception and that's the fact that I won't go back to beloved England until the GI problems resolve. There is no way I could handle airline travel right now so I hope that the problem resolves soon so I can hop on my favorite airline, British Airways and get to my favorite city in the whole world: London. Sometimes I actually miss England so bad I get weepy then have to remember that England's been around for many years and it will be ready and waiting for me when I feel good enough to enjoy it. And that's all for now. Hopefully, I won't wait so long to post next time. Regards, Gordon

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Easter Week

This morning's CD: Zen Garden Picture: Altar Window, St. Mark's Episcopal Church Easter Sunday consisted of rising early, grabbing a Krispy Kreme (I totally forgot to pick up the hot cross buns in Publix), jumping in the shower and being out the door by 8AM to get to church. The Christmas and Easter folk think it's not cool to show up in church more than twice a year. We had to leave early to get a parking space and seats. After church we had a great day with a large gathering of friends. I didn't get to bed until midnight and barely made it to work on time Monday morning. That is unusual for me. I'm always a half an hour early. I was dragging all day at work Monday and went to bed early. But heck, it was worth being tired because we had a great Easter celebration. It's been an okay week so far. Signing off for now. Gordon Don't let your worries get the best of you; remember, Moses started out as a basket case.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Taxes Done! Easter Weekend of Fun

This morning's CD: The Church Triumphant. The Choir of Coventry cathedral, England. Pictures: Rev. Jeannie Martz, Priest-in-Charge & St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Palm Beach Gardens, FL Well, my taxes are done! What a relief! Another accomplishment is the installation of the XM Satellite radio for my car a co-worker gave me at Christmastime. We spent yesterday during lunch finally getting it in the car and it works great. I now have access to Air America and the BBC. This morning I'm going to get my car washed and maybe eat a couple more Krispy Creams! I've had a great week and continue to feel well. I do my crossword puzzles daily and write things down of importance. I haven't had to refer to it. I hope everybody has a great Easter or Passover weekend. Gordon It's easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Week in Review & Family Visit

This Morning's CD: The Music of Charles Dickens Picture: Brothers Don and Ted,standing, yours truly seated. Well, things have gotten MUCH better for me in the past week. Last Friday, 3/31, Super CVS Pharmacist, Freddy, played telephone jockey between the neurologist's office and the world's worst insurance company, also known as Blue Cross/Blue Shield and my medication was approved. CVS had given me 3 freebies so no harm was done. In addition, the side effects have resolved and I've felt great this week. It just took some time for my body to get adjusted. This is week #7 on Aricept. My two brothers, Don from Maryland and wife Sarah and Ted and wife Relinda from Punta Gorda spent the evening with us and the Dukes came over. We had a great time, chatting about old times and sharing a lot of laughs and memories and went out to eat at Bohemian Gardens. I went to bed at midnight. That's late for me! Between working and sleeping, we've been designing and punching out buttons for folks and sometimes explaining at least in one case that "unfortunately no, it's not possible to get them made and delivered to you in an hour!" We have performed miracles like that a time or two but it's been on a weekend we weren't tied up which isn't very often. Anyway, we like making our buttons and we've never had an unhappy customer. That's all for now. Gordon

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Hurricane Repair: Andy, Robert and the Geese

This Morning's CD: Mahalia Jackson's Greatest Gospel Boxed Set Collectors Edition We didn't get to church this morning. You see, the patio's been leaking ever since Hurricane Frances. Then when Hurricane Wilma came the sliding glass door was shaking so hard I moved to the other side of the living room. Hurricane Wilma was our first daytime hurricane landfall since we've been in Florida which made it even more scary. Anyway, the patio shook so hard some of the bolts fell out but it didn't blow away. Our favorite neighbors moved a few miles away last fall. Andy, 16 now has developed the great craftsmanship learned from his dad, Robert. Andy came this morning and repaired the patio, sealed it good, cleaned out the gutters, blew out the drain and trimmed the oak tree over the patio roof. Robert came to help and even repaired some of the facia over the roof which halfway blew out during Frances or Wilma. Andy's little brother Jean Pierre didn't get to come and probably would have had a good time. The geese were waiting for Andy to come down the ladder and immediately started chasing him and we all had a good laugh. We miss Robert, Jackie, Andy and Jean Pierre, but their new house is beautiful and Robert does what he does best with a new the sludge hammer, tore it up real good and probably has the prettiest house in Palm Beach County. Now I need to sign off as I have family coming tomorrow and we need to tidy the house. Gordon

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Peter, Paul and Mary: Who is Going to Carry It On?

This morning's CD: Peter,Paul and Mary: "Carry it On" Last June, a trip to Disney fell on the same day Peter, Paul and Mary's boxed, five CD collector's set, "Carry it On" as well as their most recent CD, "In These Times" were to be released. I checked into the hotel, jumped back in my Cruiser and drove straight to Downtown Disney to the Virgin store. The clerk was a gem. She explained that yes, they had arrived but they are still in the back in boxes and they would be put out that day. I said I'd wait. She went to the back and retrieved them for me. You see, I HAD to have those. P,P&M have been a big influence on my life ever since I was like 11 or 12 years old. I had an album I got way back then for many years. I don't know what ever happened to it. I love their folk music, but most of all, I love them because of their ministry of social justice; to make the world a better place. Back in the early days, P,P&M just didn't show up at the anti war rallies to sing. They also organized many of these events and Peter and Paul would sometimes get their early to set up the bleachers when they didn't have enough volunteers to help out. P,P&M have been terrific supporters of working people and union members. The "In These Times" CD has a couple of great union songs on it stressing the importance of supporting your union and the working people of America. P,P&M helped fuel the passion to speak out and actively exercise my American citizenship when I see things happening in my country that I know aren't right. Last September, I was due to fly home from San Francisco with a stopover in Houston. Unfortunately, this was Friday, the same day Hurricane Rita was due to hit the Texas Gulf Coast and I knew that their would be no flights into Houston. But Larry and me were planning to attend the anti-war demonstration the next morning in West Palm Beach and NOTHING was going to keep me from getting home Friday night. So I did what Peter, Paul and Mary would do. I didn't like the idea of spending the extra money, I bought a one way ticket on a different airline, avoided the Texas Gulf Coast and got home Friday night and we went to the anti war rally. It thrilled our hearts to see Flagler Drive lined with demonstrators. But what happened to that passion of the 60's and 70's? I was appalled when I watched the immigration demonstrations on TV and saw the thousand of Mexican flags being flown in LA, Dallas, Chicago and all over America as our countries corporate CEO's sighed with relief that so many illegal aliens showed up to fly those Mexican flags? You might ask, why would they be relieved? It's because the illegal aliens provide them their multi-million dollar CEO salaries. Those illegal aliens provide cheap labor so those corporations can get rich. Corporate operatives are spreading the word that illegal aliens do work that American citizens won't do. This is a lie. In Palm Beach County, Florida, it's very difficult to land a trade job with a construction company. God forbid, they would have to pay the person a living wage and even provide health insurance. Paying $5 an hour for the illegals the labor pool picks up on the street corner is more profitable. This provides for the erosion of the middle class. To make matters worse, the American government, a big supporter of corporations,with pressure by lobbyists has seen fit to provide the legislation necessary to sell America to foreign countries. Remember, America is a capitalistic society. So to increase the profit, we outsource our jobs to foreign countries to provide even more cheap labor to manufacture goods purchased by Americans. This provides further erosion of the middle class. To provide further money to corporate whores, the unions have been under attack being weakened further and further causing further decline in middle class wages. Now China is telling Wal Mart how much they will pay for the cheap goods they manufacture so Americans can buy cheap stuff while Wal Mart employees can't afford the Wal Mart's health insurance due to the corporate greed. The larges employer in the state on Florida with the largest number of employees receiving state aid is Wal Mart. It's the American citizens who end up paying for the health care of the Wal Mart Employees, the union busted employees and the illegal aliens. As the wealthiest 1% of America gets the tax cuts, the middle class pays for the health care and social problems resulting from the corporate geed as China, Halliburton, Wal Mart and others laugh all the way to the bank. America has been sold. And as the Mexican flags wave over America, Americans are on the phone fighting with their insurance companies to cover the medications they need and pay for with their insurance plan. As the Mexican flags wave over America, adult children are trying to help figure out which Medicare Prescription Plan their elderly parents should sign up for. It's a gamble because part of the game is that the drugs on the plan you select aren't the same ones on the plan in 3 months. And as the Mexican flags wave of America, the Winchester Company has closed down and moved overseas. Daily, more and more American companies close, ending jobs for American citizens. As the Mexican flags wave over America, corportations steal working American pension plans, ruin thousnad of lives and corporate CEO's and lobbyists laugh all the way to the bank. And what do Americans do? We run to the polls and vote for the jerks who support this stuff. Yeah, I love Peter, Paul and Mary. Their message sunk in many years ago. Remember Mary in your prayers that her leukemia will stay in remission and their ministry continue. As for me and Larry too, we're not going to stop speaking out. America's been screwed and silence is destroying our country. Gordon "Down the road Route 25 They found this boy He was barely alive Jesus is on the wire so far away, higher and higher Jesus is on the wire They took him down Off the fence Cold as ice Almost dead They said that he That he slept with guys They said that he Deserved to die Jesus is on the wire So far away, higher and higher Jesus in on the wire." Peter,Paul and Mary "Jesus Is On The Wire" from their In These Times CD

Friday, March 31, 2006

I Hate Blue Cross Blue Shield!

This morning's CD: "Music of Light" Thomas Kincaide Picture: 31 December, 2005 Ringing in the New Year at Margo's House, Lake Worth, FL To my readers I want to apologize for no new postings in several days. I just haven't felt up to it. I've been extremely busy at work and under much pressure. I've been feeling really tired this week. Some of my readers have expressed an inability to post comments on the blog. I don't know what the problem is. The blue link to click to respond to a post with a comment SHOULD be active and I can't figure out what the problem is. I set up the blog to accept comments. The clerical people at Blue Cross Blue Shield continue in their assertion that it's acceptable to practice medicine without a license. When my neurologist increased my medication dosage and I went to pick it up at CVS last Tuesday, Eddie, my wonderful pharmacist broke the news that BC/BS put a "Authorization and Override Needed" on the prescription. So CVS and my neurologist's office have been bantering back and forth since then. It's been so crazy at work I haven't had the chance to call BC/BS myself or the insurance commissioner's office. I'm going to try to do this today and also call Senator Nelson's office to let them know what is going on. Senator Nelson is a great guy and is involved in the insurance company and Medicare fiasco. Meanwhile, I still want to make plans to go to the Texas Medical Center. When to do it is the problem. I have friends coming from Texas in May, the Episcopal General Conference in June, another friend coming from Texas in July. I can try to work around those dates or maybe go in April but St. Mark's Shrimp Boil and Corn Roast and my union picnic at the beach in Jupiter both happen toward the end of the month and we have plans for Easter with friends. I will get this together soon. Of course another consideration is hurricane season which heats up in July and August. There are pros and cons to being out of Florida during the peak of hurricane season. Anyway, that's all for today. Gordon

Monday, March 27, 2006

Friends and Weather

This Morning's CD: Night at the Theater: From London's West End favorite musicals. Yesterday morning was cold and crisp and in the high 40's when I got up. But as usual with Florida cold snaps, it was soon in the 70's. We didn't get to church today as this was the annual gay pride parade and festival. We met friends for breakfast and then on to the parade. Larry and me couldn't believe I ate everything for breakfast. For me, Aricept seems to be an appetite suppressant and haven't been able to eat a full meal. Not yesterday! The time in the park was great. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was fun listening to the music, visiting and taking a break just sitting on the sea wall and watching the boats on the intercoastal waterway. I felt really relaxed and we had a great time. I'm off work today and just hanging out on the patio and enjoying Florida weather. When the thought that hurricane season is 3 months away creeps into my mind, I try to push it away. I don't want to think about it now. On the other hand, the best way to relieve one's hurricane anxieties is to begin to take the action steps to prepare...but not today. Gordon

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Health Care (again!) and Other Musings

This Morning's CD: Andrea Bocelli, "Sacred Arias: Medicare: One of my friend's at work is pulling his hair out trying to help his mom through the Medicare maze. President Bush says it's a great plan for our nation's seniors. Senior drug company officials? Anyway, some folks say that our president is real, that he speaks to them. This is indeed good news because health care and the Medicare drug plan is a big deal to our seniors in Florida and I'm looking for somebody who can explain our president's explanation of the plan which he explained during a town meeting back in December. I don't understand it. Someone please explain what he means. Bush Explains Medicare Drug Bill -- Verbatim Quote Submitted on 2005-12-13 16:35:14 WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: "I don't really understand. How is the new plan going to fix the problem?" Verbatim response ~ PRESIDENT BUSH: " Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple th! at, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to that has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, supposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red." Other Stuff: Well, about the time I thought my body was adjusting to the Aricept and my GI problems ceased a few days ago I started on the row of the 10mg dose of Aricept. I did fine day #1 and day #2. On day #2 the Phizer Nurse calls and told me that it's good that the GI problems stopped and maybe I'm tolerating the 10mg okay. Day #3 on the 10mg the GI problems started all over again. It settled down yesterday morning and no problems in the past 24 hours. So we'll see what happens. I will not quit taking it due to the fact that there are negative consequences to stopping Aricept. That will be a last resort. I'm considering taking the bull by the horns and getting some 21st Century, cutting edge health care not available to me here. I think I want to go to Houston to the Texas Medical Center to have an opinion done by the Baylor Neurologists at the Neurosensory Center where I worked when I first moved to Houston in 1978. If I decide I want to do this it might turn into another fight with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, but maybe not. Tomorrow, friends are coming down from Port St. Lucie to meet Larry and me for breakfast and then go on to the Gay Pride Parade and Festival in Lake Worth. I hope my stomach cooperates.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

21 March, 2006 Tangles and Plaques: Taking a Break!

This morning's CD:"Chorus of Voices: Powerful Inspirational Choral Classics" Available on British Airways, the world's favorite airline. Picture Above: The Duke and Duchess of course! I took a break from Alzheimer's research over the weekend. For right now I know everything I want to know about tangles, plaques, neurons, dendrites and statistics. Saturday night we went out to eat and to a movie with the Duke and Duchess, our dear friends. The movie was "Mrs. Henderson Presents." It was excellent. But then EVERYTHING Dame Judy Dench has ever been in has been excellent." I was actually feeling under the weather with GI upset for about a week. I hope it's not a medication side effect. I've got my fingers crossed as it seems to be improved over the past 24 hours. But for right now I'm taking a temporary break from learning about medical stuff and thinking about fun things to do. I've been missing Texas and England lately. I'll get something going as far as a trip goes. Meanwhile, I still have to earn a living and better sign off for now and get ready for work. Gordon

Thursday, March 16, 2006

16 March, 2006 THE SEASON'S OF LIFE

This Morning's

CD: "In These Times"

Peter, Paul & Mary

Today work went well. No problems and I felt relaxed. Was thinking about the things I need to get done while my memory is still fairly good. I shared yesterday about the legal, financial and all of those things that need to be done. But today's thoughts were more on a personal, heart level. Things like finding old pictures, getting out the album my sister sent me with old family photos and deciding what ones are really important to preserve and get to CVS for resizing and placement on CD roms.

I did a lot of reminiscing about growing up in Cleveland. How I hated the cold! My mom had the idea that it was healthy for kids to be outside....Winter included. My excitement of snow always wore off pretty quick and was happy to exit the snow fort and get back in the house. It's funny because I don't mind the cold so much when I've been to England or up north during the winter as an adult. I guess it's because I know it's temporary so I just dress accordingly, have a great time no matter what the weather and enjoy the warmth of Florida all the more when I get back home. And that's how I try to look at my Alzheimer's diagnosis. I still enjoy my life, enjoy my co-workers and folks at church, enjoy doing things with Larry and getting to Tom's Barbecue as often as possible. Going through old pictures and reflecting on the great experiences I've had in life. The Alzheimer's Disease is only an outward season. But inside is the warm season of a fun life worth living to the fullest.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

15 March, 2006 One Day At A Time--Again!

This morning's CD: "Hymns Through the Centuries Vol II" Washington National Cathedral Picture: Rose Window above balcony Washington National Cathedral This afternoon Larry and I went for our appointment with our Family Nurse Consultant at Alzheimer's Community Care. Her name is Jo Ellen and what a wonderful lady! We received tons of information and homework assignments regarding legal and financial arrangements; all of the important things I need to take care of before losing important cognizant functions. We also learned about a great wellness and memory program at Florida Atlantic University. Jo Ellen patiently answered a ton of questions, administer the MMSE (mini mental status exam) and although we we dealing with a very serious disease process, there were also smiles and humor during our time together. My MMSE was up a point! I'm also on a waiting list for a early onset AD group. During the converation, I became acutely aware that I was asking the same question in several different ways about something impossible for Jo Ellen or any expert in the field to answer: "How long will I be able to function at a high level, go to work everyday and live independently?" The fact is that Alzheimer's is a very complicated disease which progresses slowly, yet at different rates for different folks and manifests different symptomology from patient to patient. Nobody can answer the question because nobody knows the answer. Jo Ellen stressed the importance of taking one day at a time and living each day at its fullest. This is something I again realize that I have to reinforce daily. And with God's help and my wonderful support systems at work and church and my relationship with Larry, I'm going to do just that: keep reminding myself daily to relax, take one day at a time and savor each moment as it comes. Gordon

Saturday, March 11, 2006

11 March, 2006: Spirituality, Faith and Religion

Pictures: Shield of The Episcopal Church USA, Bishop Leo Frade,Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida Bishop V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, our denomination's first openly gay bishop. This morning's CD: Wynton Marsalis "Standard Time Vol. 3 The Resolution of Romance" I've been thinking a lot lately about my personal spirituality, beliefs and God. Everybody's spiritual journey is unique and deeply personal. My experiences with God have been deep and profound. Having been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease is not news any of us would be thrilled to receive. But to me, the concept of Jesus hold my hand and going with me on this journey brings comfort and peace not torment and despair. And in moments of uncertainty, anxious thoughts will creep into my head but it only takes a reminder of my knowledge of God being with me on this journey, a passage of scripture or a phrase from a hymn or prayer which quickly jolts me back to my belief in a loving God who cares about me and isn't leaving me to go through this adventure alone. Included in this faith journey is a wonderful family of support. A family of like believers whom I choose to congregate with, share my faith and communion with: The Episcopal Church. Having come into the Episcopal church from a non-liturgical background, people sometimes wonder how I got from there to here. I'll try to explain. In the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a part, I discovered an expression of spirituality shaped by certain elements of consciousness and the spirituality of scripture along with a five hundred year history of worship with the Book of Common Prayer. In my faith journey as an Anglican, I've found a tradition that encourages the cultivation of inner spiritual growth, a life inside of me that believes in a direct encounter and knowledge of God that is experienced in the heart, in my activities of daily living, in my work, rest and play. It's a experience of love and joy, of mystery and continual growth. Episcopalians love liturgy and I'm no exception. We are also independent thinkers and tend to be intuitive. This is no coincidence. When the Church of England broke with Rome and the English Reformation occured, elements of Celtic mysticism couldn't help but have an influence on early Anglicans. Some evangelicals have a problem with the word "mysticism. The truth be told, evangelicals believe in mysticism as well. It's the mystery of faith, the inability to explain every little detail of God while experiencing the infinite nearness of our creator and his love for us. Anglicans celebrate worship through our Book of Common Prayer. It's Scripture that is prayed, chanted, read, paraphrased and sung. Episcopalians are immersed in Scripture without stressing memorization or literal interpretations which have been fought over, written about endlessly and has caused more strive amongst Christians for centuries. Anglicans look at the Bible as a WHOLE, we tend to get involved in the complete story and history and thus formulates our fluid spiritual believe system. Communion, or Holy Eucharist is important to Anglicans. It's being in shared communion with one another and with God and that's why we take Communion routinely as a part of our worship experience. I hope my readers don't think I am suggesting that people of other denominations do not have deep experiences with God. Because I know that folks of all faiths do. My faith is important to ME and heightens my ability to hear and experience the voice of God and brings me great joy. Gordon

Friday, March 10, 2006

3/10/06 Issue in Washington, DC: Health Care

This Morning's CD: Favorite Hymns From Westminster Abbey My co-worker and me had a successful trip meeting with our elected officials in DC. Among the worker rights issues we discussed is one I want to share with my readers: health care and the need for insurance reform. The burden on employee payroll deductions for our health insurance continues to grow and the burden on the employer continues to shrink. In addition, insurance companies are placing more restrictions on our coverage and one of the major changes to further the burden on the employee is our president's proposal to add a third category of Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance coverage. It's called MSA's, or Medical Saving Account. Now the medical savings accounts as we know them have been great. They have been used to help cover, glasses, hearing aids or other things not covered by insurance or medical care not covered by insurance. But the proposal for this new plan is that the employee will have a much lower contribution to pay toward their insurance coverage and the contribution will go into the MSA and that money used BEFORE their insurance kicks in. Therefore, say an employee wants to save money by reducing his insurance payroll deduction in December. In January the employee has a health care emergency and ends up in the hospital. If the employee signed up for $3,000 MSA, the medical bills amounting to $3,000 must be paid by the employee before BC/BS kicks in. Using the example above, remember, it's only January and the employee has only $50 in the MSA. "Too bad", the corporate insurance lobbyists say, "cough up the $3000 or die." If this plan is successful with BC/BS we will see more and more insurance companies implementing similar plans. If the Medicare prescription plan hasn't been bad enough on America's seniors and the disabled, this only adds more icing on the Bush administration's corporate whore's cake! Health Care IS a Moral Value! That's all for today. Gordon

Saturday, March 04, 2006

3/4/06 In Washington, DC 3/4/06 Thru 3/9/06

I am leaving for Washington, DC in a couple of hours. I will be meeting with our Florida senators and representatives working on behalf of the working people of America. I work to garner their support of legislation on issues important to those of us not in the top 1% tax cut percentile--like us folks who have to go to work everyday. My union sends me every year and I take this job on with fervor and with much thought and prayer because it's our elected officials who decides matters of importance to us. Did you know that in the state of Florida, the employer with the largest percentage of employees receiving state aid is Wal-Mart? The cost of their health care is so expensive that it's prohibitive so they are on Medicaid. This is shameful in the United States of America. Gordon

3/3/06 One Day At A Time

This Morning's CD: Secret Garden Today was a great day. I got up reminding myself to take one day at a time. Work went well. When I got home I was doing some research on Early Onset Alzheimer's research. I ran across a Feb. 16, 2006 NewsDay article which cited recent Columbia University research on the subject. The gist of the article was that educated people or folks with high IQ's develop Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease but it's not diagnosed until it's pretty far along due to their brain being able to compensate for the cognitive deficit. This wasn't what I wanted to hear. I had to call my doctor today about some lab work and while I had him on the phone I had asked him if he has ANY idea how long it would be before I totally lose all my marbles. Well, I didn't put it EXACTLY that way, but you know what I mean. He explained that nobody has been able to tell me that because nobody knows because everybody is different and the disease works different in different people. I didn't let the Columbia study upset me at all. I've read several different studies. And you know what? My doctor is right. None of the studies show the same thing. Some of them show NO difference in early onset symptomology and non-early onset as far as rate of decline goes. So it's a matter of enjoying each day, taking one day at a time and working my program: puzzles, brain exercises, keeping up my activities with friends, intellectual stimulation and positive thinking. Larry and me went to a lecture series tonight. The topic was Comparative Islamic Fundamentalism. We learned the history of Islam going back a couple of thousand years. Those are the kinds of things I'm going to keep engaging in to help keep my mind sharp. Well, I need to sign off for now. I will be in Washington, DC for a week. Gordon

Thursday, March 02, 2006

3/2/06 Frustrations, Stress & AD Resources

This Morning's CD: The Platters Greatest Hits Getting words mixed up or your mind going blank in the middle of a sentence can be embarrassing. It can cause a lot of stress in the work place. Today was a good day as far as speaking goes it was a trouble free day. But not all days are like that and I worry about it getting worse. I also worry about taking on another task my boss wants me to do which involves facilitating groups. Making a fool out of myself is not something I look forward to. Other than that it was an okay day. Another thing that happened today is I finished the crossword puzzle I started last Sunday. It took 5 days to do it, spending 30 minutes a day on it, but I got it done and didn't cheat either! It's a great brain exercise and I'm going to keep doing them. Knowing where to turn for information for patients,friends,family and care givers is important. Here are some great and informative sites I found on the web. But if you get confused looking at studies and get 15 different answers to your questions don't be surprised. Having early onset AD, I want to know about how long I can expect to function at the level I'm at now. The truth of the matter is that nobody knows. Different research studies have yielded different results and no two brains or individuals are alike. Everybody is different. Yes, it's maddening, but taking one day at a time is important. I try not to project into the future and also find diversionary activities effective. Anyway, here are I few resources I have found useful over the past week: Alzheimer's Foundation Hotline: 1-800-866-8484 Gordon

Uncle Doug 3/1/06

Today's CD: Favorite Hymns: Gaither Gospel Series I was tired much of the day. I've been on the Aricept for a week now. Maybe it's kicked in and causing drowsiness. I perked up at lunch with my co-workers as we discussed current events or whatever came to mind. I called my uncle at a nursing home in Ohio today. He has Alzheimer's. He's a WW II veteran and a great guy. He sounded perplexed and I wasn't really sure that he remembered me but he said he did. He appeared to get his relationships to his family members confused. But I'm glad I called him and told him I cared about him. At the end of the conversation he said, "I remember you, Gordie." Because he had spontaneously remembered my family given nickname, I realized that he indeed knew who he was talking to.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

2/28/06 Gordon's Journey Mission Statement and Today's Journal Entry

Today's CD: Luminesence/Salvation Army Regent Hall Band,Oxford Circle,London The purpose of my blog is to express through journaling, my thoughts and feelings as I deal with Alzheimer's disease and face the multiple issues that go with this diagnosis. It is an expression of my thoughts and feelings on that particular day and whatever challenging experience or issue faced and how I deal with it. Please share with a friend,spouse,family member,partner or health care worker dealing with Alzheimer's Disease. Feel free to share with health care workers working with Alzheimer's clients. Please note that this blog is non-partisan. However, it is impossible to separate health care issues from politics. I support candidates and legislation that cares about humanity, who promote policies consistent with how a civil society treats it's citizens. I believe that a civil society is a democracy which supports people of all racial, ethnic,sexual and economic status. Therefore when dealing with horrible diseases like AIDS, Spinal Cord injuries, Alzheimers, ALS, etc, I support candidates who support embryonic stem cell research and not destroying those precious cells. I support candidates who do not give tax cuts to the richest 1% of our population, but rather have an equitable tax system which gives everyone an equal tax break and provides enough federal revenue to provide health care to all Americans.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday 2/27/06 Worries and Frustrations

This morning's CD: Alleluia Sing/Coventry Cathedral I had a nice day at work; helped several clients and felt relaxed and peaceful most of the day. The only exception was when I took my afternoon break. I started having negative thoughts and worrying about what the future may bring. I asked myself,"will I have to go to an assisted living facility or nursing home at some point in the future?" and, "I wonder how long I'll be able to work? What do I do if I can't function at work and have to leave my job? How will I pay my bills until social security kicks in? Will medicare or medicaid help me?" And so it went. It's not like our current administration or elected officials in DC are serious about solving our insurance,health care and medicare problems. I have endured much frustration dealing with my insurance company. The medical benefits outlined in my benefits book are sometimes paid and sometimes not. The rules seem to change frequently not yearly as has always been the case in the past. Due to the moral deficit of our current administration, I think maybe our medical care is being skewed to favor the medical corporate lobbyists. Unfortunately, some good folks end up dead as a result for the contempt for human life by our current president and his administration. But a little later and after talking with a friend, I was through worrying about these things, finished my tasks at work and had a nice drive home. Gordon

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sunday, 2/26/06: Persistence

A friend from work, Keith, encourages me to practice persistence. It's easy to try something once or twice and give up. It's easy to get frustrated when we try to do something once or twice and fail. So my goal for today was to reflect on persistence and ways that applies to my own life. Yesterday morning I couldn't remember if I took my first morning pill or not. I had got up, walked into the kitchen, turned on the coffee maker and after that there was a time warp between the Coffee maker and going to the living room to decide which CD I wanted to listen to on my wireless headphones. I decided on "Hymns of Grace," a wonderful CD from Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco. At that point I wondered if I took my stomach medication. I had no recollection. So I counted the pills out which were in the bottle which was an easy task as it was a new bottle and yep, there were 30 in it which meant I hadn't taken it. It was off to CVS later in the day to pick up a weekly pill container with each day''s dosages clearly marked out by time. Now that seems easy enough and I was initially glad I got all the pills for the week in the right compartment. Not so fast, I thought about an hour later while watching TV. I KNEW something was wrong with the the way I put the pills in the box. Back to the kitchen I went and discovered that number 1, the first pill of the morning was put in with the rest of the pills for later in the morning and number 2, two of my medications didn't get put in at all! Persistence. I took a deep breath, refused to get frustrated and told Larry, "I really screwed this up," and promptly did it all over again and it was done right. I could have just given up or asked him to set the meds up for me. But that's giving up and it's persistence which keeps our brains working. It was great to be in church this morning and enjoy the fellowship and hugs from my church friends, commune with God and enjoy the music. No frustrating experiences this day and my pills are all set up for a week! More of my journey: I left Ohio and went to college in Bethany, Oklahoma where I received a BA degree in English and education. I also went to LPN school in El Reno, Oklahoma and then worked at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City from 1975-1978 on an inpatient psychiatric unit moved to Houston, TX in 1978 and worked at the Texas Medical Center in the nursing Dep't at Methodist Hospital and then back to work on inpatient psychiatry at St. Joseph's Hospital in downtown Houston, Harris County Psychiatric Center, the Texas Dep't of Criminal Justice and then the Houston VA Medical Center. In 1987 I was working out at the gym after getting off work one afternoon and met Larry. We've been together now for 18 years. In November of 1994 I transferred to the West Palm Beach VAMC via a short loan to the Miami VA due to construction delays at West Palm Beach. I like the weather in Florida, but hate hurricane season and like many Floridians, start to get nervous when hurricane season approaches. We still have damage to the house from Hurricanes Frances and Wilma which haven't been fixed yet. I've decided to try not to worry about this coming hurricane season, but take each day as it comes. Gordon

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Diagnosis: Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease: My First Entry: Saturday 2/25/06

It's been three days since I was diagnosed with early onset alzheimer's disease. It's been an emotional ride and has made me reflect on my life and the beginnings of my journey. My journey began when I was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1951. It took a long time for me to realize that my particular journey in life was going to include alzheimer's disease. I think I first became aware that something was wrong in 2000. That's when I first noticed having difficulty with reading. Reading had always been a big part of my life. Since childhood I never turned out the light to go to sleep without reading at least several pages. But in 2000 I began having difficulty remembering the paragraph I had just read. I would find my self constantly going back and re-reading trying to remember what the paragraph said. It got to the point where it was taking me a year to finish a book. During the past year or so, I'd find my brain going blank sometimes in the middle of a sentence or having difficulty with words. After mutilple tests over the course of several months, I was finally diagnosed three days ago with EOAD (Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease) which is the diagnosis given for those diagnosed under the age of 65. My neurologist prescribed Aricept during this visit. I still go about my daily life and work. Keeping a journal is something I think will be beneficial to me and I hope to others who find their way to my blog. I've never done one before and this shall be a part of my adventure. Gordon