Saturday, October 13, 2018

On Hiatus

I've been receiving inquiries from readers of this blog who are wondering where I went, as the last entry on this forum was way back on July 8th. I usually make it a habit to post something every month, and since so many people are writing and calling asking what happened to me, I felt I'd answer that question here once rather than try to tell the story dozens of individual times.

The simple explanation why I'm AWOL: I'm just too tired to write. Here's why:

Back in August the unthinkable happened. My lovely bride Connie tripped and fell down in the hallway. Forward, right on her knees. It was a real struggle to help her get up and into her wheelchair, but together we eventually succeeded in getting her up off the floor. Since Connie is already seriously disabled, any kind of fall is cause for concern, and this time it was clear she was in real trouble. Like Samuel L. Jackson's character, Mr. Glass, Connie's bones are pretty fragile. She already had to have both hips and a shoulder replaced. When we got her to the hospital, X-rays showed she had fractured both her knees at the tibial plateau.

Yeah, I didn't know what that meant either. Turns out it's not good news.

For those of you with little interest in hearing about other people's infirmities, you can skip this next part.

You Can Skip This Next Part
As it happens, the tibial plateau is the place where the shinbone meets the knee bone,
and it's one of the body's critical load-bearing areas.
Yikes. This can't be good.
The problem is, if you want that fracture to heal, the last thing you want to do is put any more load-bearing weight on it. But the unfortunate reality is this: there's just no way to avoid continuing to put load-bearing weight on one knee or the other, fracture or no fracture.

Connie normally gets around with either a walker or a wheelchair. Well, now the walker is out, but it still requires a fair amount of standing to get her from the bed onto the wheelchair. That places her weight directly onto the fractures for a few moments every time we do that maneuver, which involves some turning and a little twisting that can't be avoided. The best I can do is grab her under her arms and lift in hopes of taking some of the pressure off her knees. But that doesn't help much, and it's still extremely agonizing for Connie to go through this time after time. Then I have to take her in the wheelchair to the bathroom, at which time I have to help lift her onto the toilet several times during the day and night.

Connie takes a boatload of medications, including pain pills, but she also has a pain pump embedded under the skin of her belly. This pump injects minute amounts of Fentanyl, along with a numbing agent, directly into her spine via a tube that has also been embedded under her flesh. This pump is refilled monthly by injection at the local pain clinic. But in order for this medication to have any effect, she can't be lying down in bed when it's operated. She has to be sitting up in a straight-back chair. That means lifting Connie into the wheelchair and then into another chair every time that bolus is due, which is every hour and a half, except for a six or seven hour period beginning after midnight.  This is when we are permitted a few hours of blessed sleep -until Connie has to go to the bathroom.

Connie clearly has it worse than me. All I lose is sleep. Connie loses sleep AND she's miserable. I'm up during the night when she needs me, so the sleep deprivation is real enough for both of us. The kicker for me is that sometimes after I've gotten Connie to the bathroom (and also gone myself) my asthma requires attention, so it's twenty more minutes sitting up with the nebulizer machine. If you know anything about this misty medicine, it gives you an adrenaline boost so although your body is exhausted, it won't let you fall asleep easily. The only reason I'm not dead yet is because our daughter Amy comes by most evenings and looks after her mother for a few hours so I can rest. So though my sleep is often disturbed in the night, I can sometimes get six hours total. That's enough to keep me alive, but not enough to make me smart.

And that's where this blog comes in. I haven't been writing any pieces here because I'm simply too mentally exhausted to be up to the task.

Man, Am I Ever Tired
You wouldn't know it, but sometimes this blog requires a fair amount of research in order to make certain my facts are correct before I post something. It also helps to have all cognitive functions firing.  I had intended in my next entry to discuss the anomalies in the various versions of Joseph Smith's First Vision, but in order to do that, I've got to review materials I haven't read in years, and my tiny dinosaur brain is just not up to absorbing, sorting through, and reporting on all that information. So I think it may be a couple more months before I attack that project.

But I'll give you a spoiler ahead of time if you like. When some folks read the early account Joseph Smith wrote by his own hand in 1832, then compare it with the one that was placed in our scriptures years later, they have mistakenly concluded that the prophet himself embellished his story the second time. What I intend to show is that the version most of us are familiar with was very likely not written by Joseph Smith, but was ghost-written before being sent on to the Chicago Democrat for publication. Unfortunately, that ghosted version ended up in our scriptures decades after Joseph's death (and obviously without his approval), while the accurate version was locked up in the vault of the First Presidency for decades in order to keep its existence a secret.

I'll go into greater detail when I get around to writing that piece, giving what I consider obvious clues that Joseph was not the author of what we think of as the "official" version, along with suggestions as to who might have written it. But all that is for another day.

Obviously, since I'm only half awake these days, I'm not perusing heavy academic materials. What I'm doing instead is going through fribble I bought many years ago but never got around to reading. For instance, yesterday I decided to catch up with what's happened to Superman's girlfriend Lois Lane since last I checked in on her back in 1968. Did you know Clark Kent married Lois Lane and admitted to her he's secretly Superman? I had no idea.

You think I'm kidding.


Miraculous Update: 
I stepped away from this post after writing the above words a couple of weeks ago, and I'm happy to report since then that Connie's most recent X-rays show both tibia are actually healing! This is completely unexpected, because we were both resigned to the very real possibility that from here on out our lives were very likely going to remain in this limbo with no hope of improvement. We can only attribute this good news to the prayers of many of our friends, because if you were here and a part of this, you would know there was no way those bones were ever going to get the chance to heal.  So we praise God, Comfrey, and CBD oils that were provided by generous friends, and look forward to the day when Connie can hobble to the bathroom again all by herself.

We're nowhere close to being out of the woods yet, of course, because Connie's intense pain remains and it doesn't feel to her like there's been any improvement. But assuming both X-rays are reliable, things are moving back to whatever it was that we used to consider "normal" around here.

Stuff You Might Find Interesting:
I may as well fill out this page by sharing a few things I liked from some people I know and admire.

The blog, Seeking Further Light And Knowledge is always informative, and the most recent post is a discussion centered around how the LDS Church today is now frequently enforcing the commandments of men in the name of Jesus Christ.

In light of the controversy surrounding Sam Young, who was recently excommunicated for nothing more than asking the leadership of the Church to stop conducting damaging "worthiness interviews" with minors, Steven Retz over at Seeking YHWH explains what it really means for a bishop to be a judge in Israel and how bishops in this church routinely disregard their assigned role in favor of something they were never authorized by God to do. Even Brigham Young understood that bishops had no role in hearing confessions from the members.

For an even more detailed exegesis on the heresy of bishops seeing themselves as empowered to hear confessions, see also "The Law Governing Confession" at LDS Anarchy.

The podcasts over at Radio Free Mormon continue to be both informative and entertaining. His latest is a dissection of Elder Quentin Cook's 'Face to Face' wherein he promised to be honest and forthcoming about Church history, and then turned out to be anything but. I hesitate to recommend one RFM podcast over another, since they are all incredibly eye-opening, but I would not want you to miss the one where he proves, using Church leader's own words during just one weekend of General Conference, that they all know they no longer have any priesthood power, and they as much as admit to it, as you'll see. You'll find this in podcast 37, General Conference Death March.

I began listening to Denver Snuffer's multi-part series on the temple, and it's amazing what obvious things I hadn't realized were revealed in scripture until this great gospel scholar pointed them out. For instance, did you know that when God rent the veil of the temple following Jesus' crucifixion, he did not do it out of anger?  There was a reason for that action, and it's obvious when you understand what the scriptures say. Connie's ahead of me in listening to this series, but she tells me that by about part four Denver discusses the corruptions of the temple ceremony introduced by Brigham Young. I'm looking forward to learning about that. The Temple podcasts and several more can be found by clicking here.

My precocious grandson, Nate, eight years old, is devouring Connor Boyack's series of Books featuring the Tuttle Twins. This is an excellent introduction to your children on the principles of liberty. Connor has adapted some of the classic treatises on free market economics and made those concepts accessible to children. Your children need to read these books in order inoculate them against the propaganda that will be forced on them as they get older. Extra Bonus: these books are illustrated by another good friend, the inimitable Elijah Stanfield!

Another friend who I discovered is also a writer of children's books is my old pal Mike Agrelius. Mike and I haven't seen each other since we were both single and doing stand-up comedy in the late 1970's. Now that we've reconnected, I can tell that Mike is still the funny one. You can find his latest book by clicking here. You can even watch a lady read it to you out loud if you want; just click on the video you'll find on that page.

Where Did All These Idiots Come From?
In light of current events, this might be a good time to recommend a post I wrote six years ago entitled "What Is The Law Of The Land?" I don't know how long it will be before I can get around to writing that piece about the first vision controversy; it could be I'll need to gear up until winter when hopefully I'm less enervated and ready to go forward. But I will tell you this: I'm sorely tempted to write a piece in support of due process, because it's clear from some of the things I'm reading on Facebook that a lot of people don't understand the need for it.

We'll see. I may need to take some time, because if you've been following some of the opinions I have posted on my Facebook page these past couple weeks, you've noticed that some of the comments show the respondents lack -what's a nice way of putting this?- any capacity whatsoever for rational thought. All this sleep deprivation I've endured has left me decidedly cranky and impatient when dealing with numbskulls, so rather than respond as I should with Christlike patience, I have, of late, been more apt to lash out to these imbeciles with insults about their low IQs.

So I may have to give myself enough time to cool off about this and choose my words carefully because let's face it, some of these people are really dumb.