Bad News!!

I am sure that this will be some bad news for some; well the bad news for some is that just because it has been a while since my last posting, I am not dead. Thing are going good for me and I don’t want to complain all the time. I will however catch you up on the past few weeks.

In October we had the great privilege of attending an event for all people involved in transplants from donors & family to recipients & families, this was in Charleston SC and it was wonderful because Claire, Abigail & Justin were all there with me. We had the opportunity to talk with other family members and even meet people from the upcountry that I had only heard about. The booths that were set up provided fun for both the young and the old. Then there was the food, and we all know that a fat boy from Possum Kingdom is going to find the food. They served us a lowcountry boil in a wooden serving trough and I think that made it taste even better. The day grew to an end much sooner than I wanted, because that was going to cause a separation of my family. Claire and Abigail loaded up and were heading back to Possum Kingdom, Justin Loaded up and headed back to Rock Hill and I headed to the Donate Life booth, to gather items that were left over so I could carry them to my next stop. My next direction was up the east coast from Charleston, Myrtle Beach. I loaded up my supplies and headed up the coast to my next destination, which was the Crown Reef motel at Myrtle Beach and to meet up with my dear friend, Bum (aka Curt Bumgarner). This was a meeting that I was looking forward to. The 11th NC / SC IAAI this conference was something I had missed the past two years and was not sure about this year, but God worked it all out.

How did I get there? Well it all started with a conversation with Chief Ken Taylor and I were talking about the need for more intense investigations being conducted from the fire department side in Greenville County. I spoke of the great training that was available at the annual conference, so he suggested that Curt and I go. I thought this was an awesome idea, to have the opportunity to go to the conference and to spend a week with my awesome friend, Bum. Let me tell you just a little bit about Bum and how far we go back. He was hired as the 26th person at South Greenville Fire Department and I was the 27th, so you can tell we have been close a long time, such as taking one of the first field classes of the trio of the interior fire fighting classes, to going to the SCCJA for two weeks to take our basic arson training. I knew just from the beginning this was going to be a great week at the beach. OK so we arrived at the beach and wow the people that I think so much of and had not seen for a couple of years, I knew my week could not go bad. We then went to an invitation only lowcountry boil for the staff and instructors of the conference. I was so honored to be among such a room full of professional and to be greeted with such open arms. To think this was just the beginning of the week. We then retired for the evening and arrived back at the conference center at 0630hrs on Monday morning to set up the booth for Donate Life SC and to set information on each row of the tables.

The greetings I received from everyone from North and South Carolina was outstanding. I was then asked to set at the head table to pray during the opening ceremony as well as speak.

I was able to thank God in front of my piers for all that he had done for me and I was as well able to thank each chapter for all that they had done for me and my family. I was also able to tell them about the need for organ & tissue donation. They did give me a time limit so I tried to keep it brief. This was an awesome start of the week and training had not even started yet. The week went on and the classes were great. I got to talk to people one on one and train with the best of the best, not just in North & South Carolina but the nation. We even got the flash back of our school days because we went on a field trip on a school bus. On Wednesday night we had the banquet and again more good eating. I was ask to sit at the front, but I did not think nothing was up, I sure was wrong. They are up there giving talks and then giving out awards and I was just proud to be there. SC President Jeff Allen was giving out SC awards and then he started talking about a special award that award being a Life Membership, then he ask me to come up front. I was overwhelmed and as I arrived up front I looked out at all of those people standing up, clapping and I knew they were clapping for me, but I knew how unworthy I was for that caliber of people to stand up and clap for me. Jeff then asks me to speak if I wanted to.

You know me I am not going to give up that chance, but you know I was so surprised that I don’t remember what I said, other than as I was wiping tears away I told them that it was OK for a fat boy to cry. Why does God bless me so much? I hope I can live up to the expectations God has for me and maybe one day I could be half as good as those who stood up and clapped for me. Thank You God, the SC IAAI board and members, my family, my donor’s family and all the ones at the conference. This was again another proud moment for a country boy and my new liver.

I was able to hand out a lot of information during the week; we had over 300 at the conference. I was able to talk to very good friends about all my liver troubles and about some of their liver troubles. I was able to provide information both to SC & NC member as well as President Tom Fee IAAI The web sites are,
SC Donate Life SC http://www.donatelifesc.org/
NC Donate Life NC http://www.donatelifenc.org/
Carolina Donor Services http://www.carolinadonorservices.org/
Life Share Of The Carolinas http://www.lifesharecarolinas.org/
The week progressed on and the great instructors continued the task of trying to make us smarter. My time with all the NC & SC members was growing to a close and as well as the time with my great friend Bum, Friday came and as all good weeks this one ended with a test. Test is which a curse word to a dumb country boy but by the end of the grading I had survived the test and received my certificate. We all then went our separate ways and traveled home, but before I left the beach I had to stop for that most important item, the souvenir for Abigail, so with gifts in tow I was homeward bound. I was looking so forward to seeing Claire & Abigail, Justin was still away trying to get smarter. Many Thanks to Ricky Seel of Columbia for the photographs.

The weekend was a night mare for the victims, families and friends of the house fire at the beach; it was also a big task for my dear friends who had the weight on their shoulders to figure out what snuffed the life away from those seven young men and women. The firefighters who fought the fire did so, bravely and with pride, to yet suffer the sadness that no matter how hard they tried the loss of life had happened. May God bless all who are involved in this tragic loss.

The weekend at home was great, but then on Sunday night we received some very sadden news, our pastor was leaving. Rev. Frank Dooley would be moving on in reverence to God’s will. Our church members and community will miss Brother Frank more than he will ever know. We all know that it’s not our will but God’s will, God Bless You Brother Frank. I wish I could tell you the words I feel for you, you have been a pastor, friend, brother to me and my family, from Mama’s death to my sickness. We Love You Brother Frank.

Monday came about and I got to go to my visit to see the vampires. The blood work came back and as usual some things were elevated but nothing real bad, my uric acid was the one of concern right now and my liver doctor in Charleston wanted to wait until this Monday and test it again before treating, I guess that way I get stuck an extra time, ha ha.
My fluid levels are still going up, on Monday I drained 1100ml, so if your keeping score the numbers go from 325ml in the start to 1100ml now and still no buyers for the liquid gold. I went into town during the week and seen some good ole friends that were truly a blessing for me to see. Some I haven’t seen in a while and some I just lost contact with but it sure was an awesome experience for me to reunite with them. Some explain how much they enjoyed reading my blog and that made me feel bad since I have not update in a while, so now you all get to read a lot. I remained around the house the rest of the week moaning and groaning, but they tell me the aches and pains will go away once my troubles are fixed with this fluid. We will see!! The weekend began with a blast for me I went to Greenville on Saturday for some training through Donate Life SC. It was called TSI, Transplant Speakers International. The training was to teach the ones of us who are shy and don’t like to talk in front of people how to get up and tell our story, which the ones of you that know me the more the merry for me. The next part of the training was to teach us how to tell our story with the power statement, body and ending all in five minutes. I laughed to myself and thought I would still be telling my name by the end of that short time but I guessed the training worked because I told my story in 4:59 ½ minutes, and I got a good rating on that, I sure felt like I had a hole lot more to say but my time was up. Sunday was a lazy day as I just went to church and lay around until church time again. Claire, Abigail, Samson, Rebel & the chickens went for a walk in the woods and the dogs played in the branch. They returned just before dark and then Abigail wanted me to go down there, I put her off until Monday night.

Monday I went to the Anderson County Arson Unit and gathered the last things I still had over there in their way, I think after two days maybe when they look around the office they won’t see my junk in their way. I was also able to congratulate a very good friend of mine into the position of arson investigator in the Anderson County Arson Unit, my friend Brother Ken Blakely.

On Thursday I went to see Dr. Kopp in Anderson and he made some adjustment and told me to hang on for the word from Dr. Sahn in Charleston, every one tells me how much he knows. Well then today while I was writing in the blog, I got a phone call from Charleston; it was Dr. Sahn himself calling to tell me what he wanted to do next. He stated that he thought I had a leak from my transplant and that he wanted to have some glowing medicine put in my belly, not my stomach, and see if it glowed, I mean flowed up to my chest. He said if my chest then wound up with the medicine, he meant glowing, that they would then put some other kind of medicine, some other glowing stuff, in my foot and as it worked it’s way to my chest that could possible tell them where my leak is, I still think a good dose of stop leak should do the trick, guess they don’t have a medical grade of that yet. Once they find the leak then they will decide how to fix it, I am not sure if they will solder it or weld it. I am confused about one part of this test, I know the old saying about a way to a man’s heart is through he stomach, but I have never heard of the way to a man’s chest is through his foot, oh well what do I know. Well now you are caught up to Friday afternoon, November 9, 2007.

This Sunday November 11, 2007 is Donor Sabbath.

I will be speaking at Fair View Street Baptist Church Sunday morning at 1030hrs., please come and join us for worship, fellowship and a whole lot of praising God.

God Bless You,

Lightning

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