Total Pageviews

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Today is…

Today is…
Today is December 28.
Today was my accident.
Today was Wednesday.
Today is no different.
Today is no easier.
Today changed lives.
Today sometimes I forget.
Today is no harder.
Today is the same.
Today gets remembered.
Today made me stronger.
Today is just a day.
Today bothers some.
Today is a reminder.
Today I went hunting.
Today doesn't bother me.
Today I will never be the same.
Today will make me better.
Today will open eyes.
Today was 23 years ago.
Today will never be the same.
Today doesn't have to be sad.
Today my life was saved.
Today I am thankful.
Today I am still here.
Today can help others.
Today is December 28…

Nothing happens unless the day is seized. Don't look back on what you should have done. Trials in life are just that. If you get that second chance, grab it…

Thanks for reading, Clint

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

ND Game & Fish license drawing process

I have to commend the North Dakota game and fish for a lot of things they do. Their dedication to the youth in the state is unmatched. From Hunter safety through the different youth seasons, the opportunities for youth in the state are endless. Upland game and waterfowl populations are at an all-time level. Big game have been affected by things no one could've predicted. But still the opportunities are plenty to fill a tag.

But one thing that needs to be addressed is the length of time it takes for drawing results for big game. In 2015 the game and fish tried to get everything electronic to speed up the process. In the last couple years the process has actually dragged out longer. One excuse is that there are still some who apply using paper applications. But this excuse doesn't hold any water seeing that other states also have the combination of paper and electronic applications and they get through the process much quicker.

When the game and fish is asked why the process takes too long, they of course say there are many factors. One factor they say is it takes a long time to process the gratis tags. This should have no bearing on the process at all. Other states have gratis tag systems like ours and it does not add any time to the drawing at all. If the state is auditing applicants who are applying for gratis, that shouldn't affect applicants in a whole different category. Or just make the gratis due date earlier.

Another argument is that is the game and fish needs to do their aerial surveys in order to find out how many animals are available to hunt. It is through the surveys that they determine how many licenses are available in each unit. The surveys are done in January and February because the snow covered ground makes it easier to spot game. So from beginning of survey through hunters actually receiving their tags, or knowing they are going to receive a tag, the process takes months. In other states this process takes weeks even sometimes just hours.

You might be thinking why we need the drawing results sooner. It is not because we as hunters are impatient, it is that we need to plan. Many people need months in advance to take vacation with their jobs. Getting lottery results in late July or August is not enough time for some people to plan and get time off from their jobs for the hunting season in November. A lot of time and money goes into every season for hunters. We all know waiting for the results is part of the process no matter if you are hunting your home state or applying in states throughout the US. It would be nice to know if you had a North Dakota tag so you can plan on hunting trips.

All we are asking for as hunters and sportsmen is that the process be sped up. There is no reason why with technology these days that the results need to drag out as long as they do. The quicker the results get posted the sooner sportsmen can plan, scout, get vacation, make arrangements and do their best to have a successful hunt. Like I said before, the game and fish does a lot of things great but the licensing division is one thing that needs an overhaul.

Examples from this year's drawing times:
  • North Dakota deer rifle applications were due June 7. The results came on July 31. - 54 days waiting for results. Seasons started November 10.
  • South Dakota West River deer applications were due July 19 at 8 AM and results were July 26. - 7 days waiting for results. Season started November 11.
  • South Dakota pronghorn applications were due at 8 AM August 16. Results were posted at 11 AM August 16. - 3 hours waiting for results. Season started September 30.
  • Montana big game - nonresident deer application deadline March 15, results were April 17. - 33 days waiting for results. Season started October 21.
  • North Dakota pronghorn applications were available July 18, 2017, results were August 21. - 34 days waiting for results. The season opened September 1.
  • Minnesota Bear Hunt Lottery - Applications available late March. The deadline was May 5. If you have been chosen to receive a 2017 quota bear license, you will receive a postcard as your notice in the mail by mid-June 2017. The season started September 1.
Thanks for reading, Clint

I have to give credit where credit is due. The North Dakota Game & Fish released the 2018 deer application results almost a month earlier this year than previous years. Good work.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Getting something for nothing

I truly appreciate all of the donations. But I can't get over feeling totally guilt ridden. I don't deserve this generosity. This is no one's problem but my own. It sucks getting handouts. I don't want to sound like I am ungrateful because I am truly grateful. Beyond words grateful. But it tears me apart being on this side of the dollar. I don't know how anyone can take something for nothing. People congratulate me and tell me how much they like the pickup. They should be congratulating themselves. They are the ones who deserve praise. I wish I didn't feel like this. I wish I could just be accepting of everything that has been donated. But I don't think I will ever get over how much everyone supports me.

The other day I got $100 cash sent to me randomly through the mail. What am I supposed to do with that? I know most will say go and have fun with it. But how can you possibly do that knowing that money was probably hard earned and given to you with no questions asked. I know you don't expect anything in return or expect money donated to be earmarked toward something when given randomly but when you are on the receiving end it is different, at least for me. I don't know what to do with this money. I'm pretty sure they don't want me blowing it in the jars or buying rounds at the bar. I guess it will go towards gas for the pickup. I don't know why but it gives me an uneasy feeling.

Thanks for reading, Clint 

Monday, December 11, 2017

It's too late for me…

A lot of people ask me, "I bet you can't wait for a cure." Of course I would like a cure for paralysis. But it is too late for me. I do not want a cure for myself. That might sound a little not right. But it is the truth. My body now is kind of like a trophy with a lot of battle scars that is unfixable.

Like a lot of things about paralysis it is hard to explain. If tomorrow there was some miraculous cure that could repair spinal cord injuries and I took it that would be a day I would be in a lot of pain. I wouldn't even want to imagine the amount of pain I would be in physically and mentally. But even if there was a miraculous cure it wouldn't help because of the bullet in my spinal column. That is another story.

After years of not being able to feel, a paralyzed body starts to break down and deform. The joints, the cartilage and stuff are pretty much shot after five or 10 years. All of the cushioning between the bones has deteriorated. So as you could imagine the pain would be unbearable.

Along with that there is also the muscle atrophy. When you do not use muscles they become almost dead. I used to have spasms in my legs, the spasms kept some muscle tone in my legs but I haven't had spasms in my legs for many years. My leg muscles are pretty much dead. That may be a hard pill for some to swallow but that is the reality. I wouldn't want to even imagine the feeling of being able to feel and not being able to move an appendage. That would suck.

The amount of surgeries that it would take for all of my joints and muscles to get back to somewhat of a normal function would be unbelievable. I don't think I could bear that many surgeries.

So for the above reasons I do not want a cure for myself. But of course I want a cure for people it could help. I myself am beyond repair. I am pretty much just spare parts now pieced together. Kind of like an old junker car that somehow keeps on running.

I have hope for others of course but it is too late for quads like myself. The sooner people realize that the sooner they can focus on living your life as a quad.

For more information about issues after spinal cord injury follow the links below.

Thanks for reading, Clint

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hunting New Territory

Here is an excerpt from a blog I wrote for SAFESHOOT. A new hunting product on the market designed to lessen the chance of shooting accidents.

"It seems that the non-hunting public believes that the premises of hunting are to use a weapon and fulfill some inner need to kill. Not to say that we take pulling the trigger lightly. But most hunts are about the relationships made, experiences gained and the memories lived…"

To read the rest of the blog click here: SAFESHOOT Blog

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Clintism #17: If you're not thankful, you're doing it wrong...

Thankful for my friends.
Thankful for yesterday.
Thankful for my family.
Thankful for you in my life.
Thankful for not giving up.
Thankful for your support.
Thankful for the future.
Thankful for being your friend.
Thankful for every breath.
Thankful for the memories.
Thankful for your friendship.
Thankful for a chance.
Thankful for that hug.
Thankful for your compassion.
Thankful for what I can do.
Thankful for your help.
Thankful for the past.
Thankful for what I am going to do.
Thankful for you.
Thankful for tomorrow.
Thankful for us.
Thankful for being able to be thankful.

Thanks for reading, Clint.

Monday, November 13, 2017

2017 Bow Buck

Well today was the first day that I was able to get out hunting with my crossbow this year because of medical reasons. I haven't even shot any practice rounds with my bow at all. I have had my trail cameras set up since June just in case I would be able to get out. But with my limited time in the chair, things just didn't line up right until this weekend. Usually by this time in the season I have been out 20 times or so. This year has sucked.

 About a week ago a local landowner got a hold of me and told me that he has had around eight different bucks and dozens of does continuously on a specific piece of his land. He told me if I wanted to hunt, he wouldn't think it would take very long for me to get a shot. Three days ago the landowner Steve and my buddy Don rearranged some round bales to make a little blind for me.

Today, Sunday November 12 was going to be at first day of the season for me. I was pumped. As time got closer to 2:30 PM, when Don was going to pick me up, I was shaking with anticipation. You don't know how much you miss something until it is taken away. Of course in my excitement I forgot to bring a couple things. I forgot my camouflage burlap which I wrap around myself for cover. I also forgot to bring along my decocking arrow. I really thought not having the camouflage burlap was going to screw me over. I asked Don if there was anything in the pickup and he brought out a red and black plaid blanket. Better than nothing I guess. Then I told Don that I forgot my decocking arrow. He said, "Well hopefully we won't need it." My thoughts exactly.

I got set up right at 3 PM knowing that the deer started moving around 4 PM. That gave me an hour for the woods to settle down. My buddy Don was sitting in a deer tower about 50 yards away. At 4 PM the first doe made an appearance. She came from the West and was headed my way but she soon realized something was up and must've winded me because she broke North and never appeared again. With me sitting in between the round bales, I really couldn't see what was going on three sides of me. Around 5 PM a small doe came from the East and stood right in front of me. All of a sudden she bolted and I soon realized why. A little 3 x 3 buck was dogging her. I grunted at him but he would not stop in the right spot. He had more important things on his mind.
There is no reason why this should have happened. I could feel the wind in the back of my head all evening, the wound vac was making noise every 5 minutes, couldn't reach grunt call so I had to mouth it and I forgot my camouflage burlap. To say I was ill-prepared would be an understatement. Can't explain it. Sometimes you just have to be thankful.

At 5:20 PM, it was starting to get dark and low light. I decided to make a couple grunts to see if there was anything around. After I made two soft grunts, a doe stuck her head around the bales and looked right at me. She was at least 15 feet away. But she knew something was up. Maybe it was my plaid blanket. Could've been the wind also. It was swirling the whole night. But as soon as that doe left, a 4 x 4 buck followed her. I grunted at him and this time this buck stopped in the right spot. He looked like he was going to run again so I grunted again. He was at 25 yards and I squeezed the trigger on my crossbow. The next thing I knew, he was tipped over and didn't go anywhere.

I texted Don and he made his way over to me. When he got over he said, "Did you see that big guy?" I told him I only saw the two little bucks. He said Mr. Big was just to the east of me and went south before he came in my shooting area. Don also said he was watching the buck in front of me and all of a sudden it just tipped over. He said that was something to see. Not realizing I was going to shoot that one.

Got a hold of Steve the landowner and he was there within fifteen minutes. We took some pictures, reminisced about what happened, gutted the buck and brought him to the locker.
This year has been a struggle for many reasons. Not being able to hunt is one of the biggest struggles for me. I am very glad and fortunate to have great friends who will do anything for me. This hunt today couldn't have gone any better. I usually like to drag out my hunting season three or four months. But being able to get it done quickly this year means a lot. I just didn't have the time this year. Already looking forward to next year. Thanks Steve and Don.

Thanks for reading, Clint.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Choices I've made and consequences I'll gladly pay.

I can't believe some the stuff I've been able to do. Physically that is. I have done some neat stuff without any repercussions or negative effects on my body. I have spent way too many hours in my chair. Way too many. I have only had three setbacks in 23 years. This is extraordinary for all the stuff and things I have been able to accomplish and experience.

Here's one little example. I can't believe I'm going to tell the story but here it goes.

This was one heck of a bachelor party. The future groom to be, Otto and the rest of the boys were shooting trap at Horace throughout the afternoon and I was going to meet them at O'Kelly's. From there we would get on a party bus and head to the infamous stripper club in Shelly, Minnesota. I believe I got to O'Kelly's around 6 PM. The bus was departing around 7 PM. The pre-party was entertaining because there was karaoke. I sang two songs, dropped the mic and got on the bus. Clint style.

There were probably around 20 guys on the bus. Along with a lot of booze, BS and good times. I believe we stopped twice on the way up to our destination. I think the first stop was in Georgetown. I don't think that bartender will ever be the same. Just picture a horde of 20 thirsty individuals pouncing on some poor unexpecting bartender who didn't even see it coming. Frazzled she was. We stopped at another bar along the way, don't remember which one. I didn't get out. Sometimes even I know when to say when. I wanted to pace myself for the destination.

As we pulled into the gentlemen's club parking lot, the place is dead. Not many vehicles at all. That is a good thing. No crowd. So as we are pushed through the cattle chute, getting checked for IDs and paraphernalia, the mob is giddy with anticipation.

Of course when the doors open everyone goes straight towards the bar. Need to calm your nerves evidently. After getting my Morgan I made a direct path to the stage, right up front on sniffers row. It was entertaining my friends. The third dancer that came out was eyeballing me. Just when it was getting good, her song was over and she went back through the curtain. All of a sudden during the break she comes walking out and gives me the come hither look. I didn't want to disappoint so I let her grab my hand and bring me back to den of sin.

After twenty minutes or so of stuff and things, she said time was up. I told her I had a favor to ask of her. I gave her a $20 bill and asked if she would ride on my chair while I paraded through the club. She was willing and I was happy in the facial region. So she hops on my chair, naked as a bluebird and I throw it into fifth gear and bust through the curtains and do a couple hot laps. The look on people's faces was priceless. I thought a couple of the older gentlemen were going to stroke out. It was great fun until the bouncers told me I had to quit. Jerks. I sadly obliged and brought her back to her room.

Sidebar: She had a tattoo of two Derringers that was in a very private place. It was neat. Let's just say if she was in a police lineup, I would be able to pick her out in 1.8 seconds. Good grief.

The ride back was kind of a blur. I think we left the club around midnight. We didn't stop anywhere on the way home. Thank goodness. I remember driving through the residential streets in Moorhead wondering what we were doing. I asked my friend Trey who was sitting in back with me, "Where are we going? I just want to go to bed." He said, "Me too buddy, me too." Eventually we made our way back to O'Kelly's right at closing time. I was able to get in the doors because I know people. I wanted to hide out because I didn't want anyone else camping out in my room. It's good to know people.

Wedding #10 of 12. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. To clarify I wasn't really a bridesmaid, I was an usher for this special occasion. 
Anyway this is just one of the average examples of what been able to do. Looking back I don't know how I have been able to do so many things while being in a chair. The experts say I'm only supposed to be in the chair around a maximum of six hours a day. And throughout those six hours a day I am supposed to tilt back for ten minutes every hour. So that infamous day I was in my chair for about nine hours and I only tilted back once, giggity.

I haven't followed doctors’ orders at all really over these 23 years. And I'm glad I haven't followed their orders. Otherwise this story would not have happened, endless hours of hunting would not have happened, road trip to Vegas would not have happened and countless other stories would not have happened.

Sometimes you need to live your own life my friends and to hell with the consequences. This year I am paying the consequences but it has been well worth it…

Thanks for reading, Clint. Congratulations Ashley and Otto.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Gamy flavor?

I sometimes hear people complaining about how wild game tastes "gamy." It always makes me wonder how this can be. How can some things taste so great to many, taste gamy to so many others?

There are a couple reasons why this may be. The first reason is how people take care of their game after the shot. I don't know how many times I have seen people drive around all day after shooting something in the morning and finally take care of their meat in the evening. If you had a half a beef in the back of your pickup with hide on or a chicken with full carcass do you think that would taste good after 12 hours? I myself don't like my meat pre-tenderized from bouncing around in the back of a pickup seasoned with dust from the countryside. But that's just me.

I have heard people say that they have never had a good meal when it comes to pronghorn. This blows my mind. I have never had a bad meal. This is probably because every piece of pronghorn meat I have eaten has been taking care of. If you think it always tastes like sage, you are doing it wrong.

If you have one of these racks that attaches to your bumper, please do not carry your game carcass on it. These things are designed for luggage. Not a piece of meat that you intend to put in your mouth. Every piece of dust from the vehicle is going to collect on this rack and make your meat taste like the dirt and grit that is penetrating it. And wrapping it in a blue tarp doesn't help. But it looks cool…

If you want your game to taste good you need to take care of it. If you can't get it home right away and in the freezer, take it to a meat locker if you can. The best way to preserve your game is to cool down the meat as soon as possible. This isn't always easy or possible but there are ways to make it work. Bring along coolers with ice and some water to wash off the meat after it is deboned. It doesn't even need to be deboned or quartered. Just cool it. Bring along plastic bags and not colored plastic garbage bags. Sometimes the colored plastic can wear off onto the meat and give it an off taste. Cheesecloth bags don't suck.

The gutless method of taking care of big game is great at preserving meat and getting the best possible flavor you can get. Do yourself a favor and Google this method. You won't regret it. First couple times may take longer than your usual gutting method but you will catch on quick.

I have to admit, sometimes wild game does have a "gamy" taste to it even if you take all of the necessary steps. But that is what makes it good, natural. I myself prefer a filet of northern over a filet of walleye any day. Northern to me has more flavor and to some northern tastes "fishy." That fishy flavor is just that, flavor to me. I prefer pheasant, duck and goose way over any piece of chicken.

I am a slut for wild game.
I know I am preaching to the choir for most of you but a wise man once told me, "Take care of your meat!"

Thanks for reading, Clint 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

More hospital stories again

So this one time at Sanford Inn and Suites I got my kidney stones removed, a bunch of times. I really don't know how many surgeries I have had for stones either in my kidneys or bladder. It's got to be pushing double digits. I have had them blasted a couple times. The last four times they have used the ureter stent procedure known as percutaneous lithotripsy surgery. That's when they stick a tube through your ribs and in to the kidney. They pull the kidney stones out through the tube and the tube stays in for a couple weeks.

This time I had the tube placement surgery on October 24 and the stone removal surgeries the next day. This time they did the right side. In August it was the left side. Two years ago they did the same thing on both sides and the bladder. Having stones is one of the perks of being a quad. It is the result of not moving around. Everything settles and collects at the bottom of the kidneys and forms the stones of pleasure.

I have been having so many surgeries the last 10 or so years that I am beginning to become recognized. I even get recognized when I am getting pushed down the hall with a hairnet on. I don't even recognize myself after a couple days in the hospital. Nurses, doctors, dietitians, office staff and transfer people know me by first name. That probably isn't a good thing. But at least I know they care enough to remember my name.

When I was getting prepped for the stent placement, I was in the imaging operating room. At least that's what I think they call it. Anyway of course one of the nurses goes, "Do you know so-and-so from Enderlin?" She went on to explain that her best friend is dating a guy from Enderlin. Pretty soon there were four of us reminiscing stories. But then the anesthesiologist came in and ruined the party. It was sleepy time.

My board is always entertaining. My TV was an 1983 Zenith. You'd think they could afford flat screens with good cable.
During the second day while I was in the hospital, the charge nurse came into my room. She just came in to visit. Then she says, "Do you remember when you were here a couple years ago when that CNA tipped over in your room?" I actually didn't remember until she reminded me of it. During kidney stone surgery two years ago a CNA was helping a nurse in my room doing something and all of a sudden her eyes rolled back up in her head and she tipped over. Pretty soon there were four or five doctors in my room and a crash cart. She turned out to be okay. But that made for an interesting day. Throughout the rest of the day nurses would be popping in asking me what happened. Anyway the charge nurse said, "We were sure glad that if it had to happen it happened in your room, nothing seems to faze you." I guess I will take that as a compliment I told her. She said some people would've freaked out. It seems like there's never a dull moment when I am involved. Geesh.

I pretty much have the menu memorized from doing time in Sanford. I know what sucks least. I usually go for the chicken breast, scalloped potatoes and fruit plate. I figure that stuff is pretty hard to screw up. But hospital food is always so bland. It doesn't even matter how much salt you put on it. I even think that their salt is bland. But thankfully this time my niece brought me a sixpack and a pound from Taco John's. That didn't suck. It's amazing how much flavor food has when you get out of the hospital or have something brought in from the outside. Hospital food has no flavor. It's crazy when I get home and have a hot meal that is not lukewarm, with flavor.

I am always nervous on the supposedly discharge day. Something usually goes wrong. But this time everything went smooth. I was out of there by 1:30 PM on the third day as scheduled. Usually the doctor doesn't get the papers filled out in time. Or if the discharge papers are filled out, it happens during shift change and that is always a cluster. This time the nurse practitioner of urology came in the morning and told me she will get everything lined up for me to go if everything turns out okay during the x-rays to see if they got all the stones. She rocks. She said, "It’s always good to see you but I wish I didn't have to see you all the time when you are in the hospital." I told her that goes both ways…

Kidney stones suck. Plain and simple. But they are part of being me. They have become somewhat chronic with me. I really don't look forward to doing this every two years. Next step is to try and change my diet to lessen the chance of growing stones in the future. I read over what they wanted me to eat and not eat. It's going to suck. But if it helps not getting more kidney stones I guess I will oblige.

Things are reading, Clint

Sunday, October 22, 2017

2017 Continued…

Not much has changed since this post on May 14, 2017. Click here for a refresher. 

My site that got infected in February has still not healed completely. It has gotten a lot smaller but it will not come to the surface, it does not want to close for some reason. Slow healing is one of the perks of being a quad. In the meantime I am still on bed rest except for one or two days a week. During those days I can get up for 2 1/2 hours. During those 2 1/2 hours I need to tilt back in my chair every hour for ten minutes. I try to make the most of my time being in the chair and doing it Clint style. But I have behaved for the most part.

You would think being laid up this long that the time would drag on. But for some reason it seems like it has gone fast. I imagine that is a good thing. But there are a couple reasons why I believe this has happened.

I can't thank home health enough for what they have done for me. Not only the medical stuff but just being there when I need them. Home health has been coming to the house at least once a week and up to three times a week depending on the orders they get from my providers. They have been with me through the whole process since February and will be with me until I am healed. I don't know where I would be without their help. Having to do all of this in the hospital or rehab facility would suck.

I started physical therapy at home in September after my left side kidney stone removal surgeries. They usually beat the hell out of me in surgery so the Sanford caseworker put in the referral for therapy. Also, being on this much bed rest is tough on your joints and muscles. Atrophy sucks.

Before all of this started in February, I did physical therapy for about a year and a half for pain that was in my neck and shoulders. Along with getting rid of the pain we worked on strengthening. If you have noticed I haven't used my head rest on my wheelchair in over a year and a half. But the bed rest these last eight months has reversed what we gained from the previous sessions. With the help that I have been getting from PT twice a week, the discomfort from being in bed so long has greatly diminished.

We are very lucky to have these types of services available to come directly to our homes in our area. I don't know what I would do without home health and physical therapy. They are truly lifesavers.
20 year class reunion. Just the cool kids.
But being laid up this long has also sucked. I have missed a lot of stuff. Two of the biggest things I have missed has been just being outside and everything that encompasses, plus going to baseball games. I haven't shot my crossbow or any guns this summer at all. I believe I only made it to one baseball game. Go Indies! I really miss not being out hunting. Bow season started this year September 1. I haven't been out once. I hope to get out during the peak rut in November. I also got out to the shooting range a couple times but would've liked to have gone more. That place doesn't suck. Cherish the small things, don't take them for granted.

A couple good things have happened while I have been dealing with this. I have gotten a lot of writing done, which is always good. I have shared most of them on my blog or on Facebook. About a quarter of the stuff I have written I don't think I will ever share. Another good thing that has happened is that I was offered a writing gig for a new hunting product coming on the market early this winter. I have been and will be writing blogs for Safeshoot. I am hoping this will turn into something bigger in the future. And of course the pickup happened. I will have a full blog on that within the month.

This is by far the longest I have ever been laid up for any reason. I guess my body just can't handle what I could do when I was younger. When I look back I can't believe some of the stuff I have been able to do being a quad. I don't know how I got through college being in the chair that long every day. I don't know how I got through some of my hunting and partying adventures being up in the chair hours on end. But I am glad I have been able to do what I have been able to do so far. This isn't the end but I guess I'm going to have to learn not to push it as much. Getting old sucks. But I guess it beats the alternative.

Again, I do not want any sympathy. That is not the reason why I wrote this. I wrote this just to show what it takes to be a quad and to live life. Everybody has problems, able-bodied or not. It just depends on your perception and attitude of life. Ulcers are just a part of life for a quad. Especially if you are out and about as much as I am. But that's the price we pay for trying to be normal. Hopefully the next time I write about 2017, I will be all healed up and on the road to becoming me again.

June 22 - urologist appointment, kidney stones are back
July 15 - mingle in Fingal, I partied. Thanks Paul and Dana.
August 21 - tube placement - nephrolithotomy
August 22 - kidney stone removal
September - started physical therapy again
September 16  - 20 year class reunion. Wasn't that a party…
October 6 - started wound vac again
October 13 - went for a rip in the pickup, Clint style
October 24 - tube placement - nephrolithotomy
October 25 - kidney stone removal
October 26 - hopefully go home
The Future - who knows…

Thanks for reading and thanks for the support, Clint.

Friday, October 20, 2017

More hospital stories

I have told some of you this story. During my last kidney stone removal surgeries on my left side I had a couple odd experiences. Evidently the anesthesiologist was a little generous with the gas those two days because I was out of it. Usually after surgery, that sucks that I know how it usually should go, anyway I am usually not affected by the anesthesia. While lying on the table in the operating room I was fraternizing or some would say flirting with the nurses. They are always so shocked that I am willing to talk and discuss pretty much anything while I'm waiting to go under the knife. Usually one of them will say, "Hey I think I remember you from last time or I remember you from somewhere." I think it makes me feel better or less nervous getting to know the people that are going to possibly help save my life. I think it also puts them at ease knowing that I am comfortable.

Anyway while waiting for the mighty doctor to make his presence known so surgery could start, I was talking to the anesthesiologist. She was giving me the regular rigmarole out what is going to happen. It's old hat by now. But as soon as she said that I should start coming down from 10 I said, "Good, I could use a nap. I am fuck tired." Half of people in the room snorted. Then I was out like a light.

The next thing I knew I was getting pushed to my room. The weird part about that is that I usually wake up in the PACU. That is where they put you after surgery to make sure that anesthesia doesn't have a negative effect. I usually wake up right after surgery and have a conversation with the PACU nurse. This time I don't even remember talking to the doctor after surgery.

When I got to the room after the surgery, my PACU nurse actually brought me to my room because there was no transport people. Anyway, she was explaining how Clint is doing very well, we have had a great conversation and I wish you luck. With that, she was gone. I was looking around like I don't remember her and I don't remember this conversation we had. Evidently it was great. I wish I knew what we were talking about. That is kind of scary. Knowing me it could have been anything. The nurse in the room could tell I was looking a little confused. She asked me if I knew what the date was. I think I replied back September. She then asked me if I knew the date and year. I had no clue. I can't remember what I said but I remember the look on Kiara when I answered. Kiara was shocked by my answer. Evidently it wasn't right. Then the nurse said she is going to have to keep an eye on me. That was the first time I have ever experienced anything like that.

So the next day I am back in the OR and we are waiting for the doctor, again. During this waiting time I am mingling and reminiscing with some of the nurses I have seen before. Good times. It seems like every time one of the nurses knows someone from Enderlin or they know me and they proceed to tell an interesting story that happened. It usually starts out like, "Do you know so and so?" Or "Do you remember that time?" Anyway, the next thing I know the anesthesiologist wants me to count down again from 10. So instead of doing what she told me, I start whistling "Patience" by Guns N Roses. It's my go to tune. She just rolled her eyes.

Next thing I know I am in my room. This time I missed the total time I spent in the PACU. I don't remember talking to the doctor. And of course I had a different nurse this day. She asked a bunch of questions and I got about a third of them right. Then it was shift change. So I had to do it all over again and this time I got three quarters of the questions right. Good times. Not remembering stuff is not fun.

Sidebar: I have always wondered why they don’t pair you up with the same nurse if you are going to be on the same floor days in a row. Wouldn't it make life easier for both the patient and the nurse? You wouldn't have to explain yourself over and over again. Things would be more familiar for all parties involved. You would think there would be fewer mistakes. You would think there would be less of a hassle. You would think this would be done just because of common sense. But I digress.

My right side kidney stone surgeries are scheduled for next week. It seems something always happens when I am at the hospital. No matter why I am there. I wonder who I will meet this time. I wonder what will happen. I know one thing it will be entertaining.

Thanks for reading, Clint

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Suprapubic and stuff

I wish I knew then what I know now. That goes with everything about being a quadriplegic. They actually give you a handbook when you leave the hospital or rehab. This handbook is supposed to have everything you will need to be able to live your life. I can tell you right now the handbook is worthless. It is full of things that you would never do. It goes on and on about stuff that will never affect you. But when it comes to the most important stuff, there is maybe a sentence or two. Now the handbook I got came out in the early 90s. I imagine things have changed now with the shareable information that is easily collected these days. At least I hope the handbooks now have relevant information in them.

One of the top two questions every quadriplegic wants to know is how I am going to manage my everyday bathroom duties. Most people have no clue what this involves for a quad. But as a quad I can tell you your life pretty much revolves around how and when I am going to relieve myself.

I had a surgery about two and half years ago to place a suprapubic. A suprapubic is when a tube is placed in a stoma that is surgically opened below your belly button and then the tube goes directly into your bladder. This tube automatically relieves any urine into a bag, that is collected in the bladder. If I knew then what I know now, I would've had the surgery done when I was 15 years old. It has made life so much easier that it is hard to explain.

For some reason my urologist thought that doing straight cathing five or six times a day would be easier than trying to maintain a suprapubic catheter. This is the complete opposite, at least for me. First of all, being a quad you need to depend on someone else to do the straight cathing if you're injury is high enough and you cannot move your fingers. Having to depend on someone else to do anything is always more stressful and bothersome. Having to straight cath I had to be always concerned of where I was and who I was with, when I knew my bladder was full. It pretty much sucked for 20 years. I didn't know it sucked until I had the suprapubic placed and found out how much freedom that gave me. I no longer needed to be somewhere at a certain time to relieve myself. I no longer needed to have someone with me every four or five hours to help. The independence and freedom it gives me is immeasurable.

Emptying the leg bag or bed bag is no big deal. It is simple. It is way easier than having to do anything with straight cathing. As for me, being left alone is a big deal. I don't have to rely on someone always being there just in case. The suprapubic with a bag gives me that independence. I have experienced a lot of neat stuff over the last couple years because I have not been stuck waiting on someone else. I have even had friends empty my leg bag because I was experiencing AD. I was a little nervous at first but it was no big deal to them or me afterwards. It feels more natural.

Urinary tract infections are another big problem for quadriplegics. When I was using the straight cathing technique I was probably averaging around three or four UTIs a year. I was on an antibiotic pretty much year-round for 20 years. As soon as I switched to the suprapubic my system cleared of any bad bugs. I haven't had one UTI since switching to the suprapubic. The UTIs happened because when doing straight cathing, you are entering a foreign object into your body. You can't always get everything clean. Being UTI free does not suck.

The expense of suprapubic is way less also. Most insurance covers these cathing supplies no matter what program you use. But when using a suprapubic you only need to change it once a month. You can change the collection bag whenever you need to but the tubing that goes into the actual bladder is maintenance free for a month. The one thing I do is flush once a day, for ten minutes with a product called Renacidin. It is a type of cleanser that takes out the clogs and sediment that collects throughout the day in the tubing. The stoma also gets cleansed once a day. But that depends on the person and the stoma site. If you are doing straight cathing, that means you are using at least five catheters every day. If you are lucky your insurance will pay for that many catheters a day. If not that means you are going to be cleaning catheters and or buying them every month. Let me tell you, it adds up.

As a nurse friend stated, a suprapubic can help anyone with long-term urinary issues, anyone with muscular issues or bladder issues. Not only does this make life easier for a person with urinary issues, it makes life easier for their possible caretaker. Knowing that you are not tied to a strict schedule makes life more flexible for both the caretaker and client.

The difference in my quality of life before and after this surgery is crazy. Not having to worry about the extra supplies, need for privacy and the clean environment is worth way more than any negative I can think of when using a suprapubic. I wish I wouldn't have to listen to my urologist and did the surgery a long time ago. The best part about this surgery is that if it is elective, that means it is reversible if it does not work or help you. I am not trying to push anyone who is reading this one way or the other, I am just stating what has worked for me.

Thanks for reading, Clint

Monday, October 2, 2017

Last movement gained

I don't remember much about my time in rehab after my accident while I was still in the hospital. There just seems to be some flashes of things that happened. Most of the memories are not a good thing. But there are some good memories. I was in rehab for about 2 1/2 months, from the end of December through the beginning of March.

The good memories mostly have to deal with family and friends that were visiting. Nurse Nancy is another good memory. She was pretty much my personal nurse. When she was working she was with me. She was great. My physical therapist is also another great memory. She would lighten the mood every day. But for the life of me I cannot remember her name. But I do remember her smile and laugh. I was her first full-time patient after being hired at MeritCare. She was fresh out of UND.

I won't get into most of the bad memories. But the one that I will tell you about is about my last movement. While in rehab I went to PT and OT just about every day. The occupational therapist mostly worked with my hands. Sidebar, OT was on the same floor as my room. PT was in the basement. When going to PT, some of the transport people would let me run amok afterwards. Good times.

Back to the bad stuff, I remember this day like it was yesterday. I wasn't really fond of the OT lady. She was one of those fake type people. She was annoying. I am glad I don't remember her name. Anyway, one day while I was at therapy with her, she was working on my hands as usual. All of a sudden she said, "Did you feel that? You have some new movement. It looks like your radial deviation in your left hand is trying to fire." I remember her being so excited and that got me excited. She said, "This is just the beginning of your road to recovery." This happened sometime in February 1995. That was the last movement I regained after my accident. I know she was just being positive. I cannot blame her for that. But that defines false hope.

The radial deviation I regained isn't much. It's not even that noticeable but for some reason I find myself staring at my left wrist a lot. I don't know why I do. It doesn't necessarily bring up bad memories. It just is a reminder of what could've been. It is a reminder of possibilities lost.

So if you see me staring at my left wrist, watching my last movement I regained, that's what it is all about. 

Thanks for reading, Clint