All posts by Colin

And the rain falls…

It’s storming here on the mountain. Big gushing, sorrowful downpours.

Dad’s condition has worsened. His chest x-rays show worsening of the bacterial pneumonia, and he has not really been conscious since Tuesday morning. The staff are keeping him sedated still, to try to let him regain some strength, but they’ve also added morphine to the mix, to help with any pain he’s feeling.

Kevin came to the hospital today, as did a parade of mom and dad’s friends, many of whom I haven’t seen in a long time. Kevin even went into ICU to visit dad, which is a brave, bold step for him.

Mom and the doctors agreed this morning that if there was no change for the better in 24 hours, they would remove him from the machines keeping him alive. That was dad’s wish, and mom is respecting it. And I agree.

It’s just plain gut-wrenching, though, to see dad lying in bed, with little movement or recognition, and knowing the brilliant, wise man trapped inside that failing body. There are so many things I would like to talk about one more time, but that time has come and gone.

At least I know he’s going home to the Lord, and I’ll meet him there one day.

It’s Raining

A couple of days planned off for the Perseids has turned into another marathon driving trip to Chattanooga yesterday, and today raining with good news and bad news.


I talked with Mom over the weekend and Dad was admitted to the hospital to try to get some food in him. His chemo treatment hadn’t upset his stomach, but it had made his throat so sore he couldn’t swallow. He suggested admisssion, to try treating his throat and getting some nourishment in him. He had dropped down to 116 pounds.

Mom called Monday morning, and told me to get in the car and head toward Chattanooga. Dad had developed double pneumonia, and things looked grave. Needless to say, Darla and I were headed toward Chattanooga within an hour.

We’ve now visited Dad twice (today), and I cannot remember having seen someone so frail. He is in ICU, is breathing with a ventilator, and has every tube conceivable hooked into him. This morning, he recognized that Darla and I were there, and even squeezed my hand. Mom and I both think he was trying to talk to us, but with the tubes down his throat and nose, it was impossible for him to say anything. During this afternoon’s visit, he was sedated, as he is struggling against the respirator, and needs to let it carry the load for a while.

It does look grim. The doctors are saying if he gets out the hospital instead of when. They are talking about rethinking his cancer treatments if he gets out. They are telling mom that his passing from pneumonia would be much easier than from cancer. His oncologist says that dad’s a fighter, though, and that if anyone can beat this, he can.

Dad’s future

One of the things that has been weighing heavy on me since our last visit was dad’s salvation. Once this severe setback happened, I couldn’t help but sob at my weakness — I didn’t talk to dad a couple of weeks ago when we were here about trusting in Jesus, and I thought that my chance had now passed, for dad’s in no shape to understand much of anything right now.

God works in mysterious ways though.

This evening, the Mountain Preacher called to see how dad was doing. Now the Preacher had been down to see dad earlier in the afternoon, apparently just missing us. I gave him the update I had, and before I got off the phone, Darla asked to speak to him. She asked him if he knew anything about mom and dad’s beliefs. The Preacher said that they were Methodist — I didn’t know that! — and that a few days ago, he had had the chance to talk with dad while mom was out of the room. He asked dad if he had a “talking relationship” with the Lord, and dad said yes!!!! The Preacher told Darla that dad said he didn’t want to go now, but if it was his time, he was ready. The Preacher told Darla that he felt comfortable with dad’s future. I cried for half an hour after hearing this news, and it still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. I think that there was one reason for that call, and that was that the Preacher had been sent to put our minds and hearts at ease.

A tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and a huge lesson has been learned. I won’t make the same mistake to wait with mom. Who knows — maybe she is already saved?! Becky and I prayed over dinner tonight, and mom asked to grab my hand and be included…..


We had already scheduled having Molly spayed today, and Emma next week. As we rushed out of town yesterday, we dropped them both at the vet, and had both of them done today. We also had Molly x-rayed because of some problems we suspected with her elbows. While the spayings went well, Molly’s x-rays were bad — she has moderate to severe hip displaysia. The likely option will be surgery, and we’ll know more about that next week after a consultation with a specialist. This is heartbreaking to us, but the good news is that we found it early, and the surgery will make her complete and whole, without pain, and living a good, healthy life.

Now, as for the gentlemen that sold Molly to us, we will pursue some vigorous contact with him, and try to figure out what to do. There will be a page dedicated to this. Look to the side for its appearance soon. I will be publishing the details of our purchase, Molly’s heritage, paperwork and e-mail trail, and will continue to update it through this ordeal. Am I expecting trouble? Not really. I’m expecting indifference, as that has been shown to us already as we’ve asked for Molly’s paperwork from Russia so we could get her registered with AKC in order to compete in draft and agility. Our repeated requests for her papers have met silence, despite the opportunity for the seller to make another $150 as his “fee” for acquiring the papers. My guess is, though, with this hip problem in her history, that she will not be competing in either draft or agility. However, we have a wonderful, beautiful, wise dog, and we will soon be able to add “healthy” to the list. As for her story, and the continued saga, stay tuned, and look to the sidebar for Molly’s page.

Technical Difficulties

Sorry for the downtime since last Wednesday or so.

Apparently, there were some odd power outages, which left the router “confused”, which kept everything else “off the air”.

Good news is that I’m back, and all is working better now!

Further news on dad. He was accepted into the study, started his megadoses of Celebrex, and will start chemo this week. His outlook is sooooo much better now that there’s some treatment at hand. We’re hoping and praying for the best.

I did talk to mom briefly, and left a couple of tracts for her and dad to read. Someone at the hospital handed them to me as she and I were walking past earlier in the week. Appropriate the thing that might save them spiritually also came from the hospital!

Better News…

A full day spent with the oncologist and his staff, and Dad ended up with better news than the radiologist had last week.

Dad is applying for a clinical study (looks like he’ll get in easily) which pairs high doses of Celebrex with a chemotherapy drug, to enhance the performance of the drug against the tumor in his lung. The combination has been sometimes shown to prevent the mass from growing larger, and sometimes to make it shrink.

He would start this study today. After seeing that his tumor has doubled in size in three months (still 3-4 cms across), I am thrilled that the onocologist is going after this treatment agressively.

So, instead of doing nothing and waiting for the inevitable, Dad has been offered a path where he can do something about his cancer, and perhaps increase his odds for survival.

Needless to say, this is better news.

Ramblings… and Seriousness

Too long since I last wrote.

Good news: I have registered a domain name — — which should be alive this week. That oughta make it easier to get to, easier to remember, and make my IP changes transparent. Bookmarking is now a real possibility!

Bad news: I am on Suck Creek Mountain. Usually, that would be good news, but this trip has dark forebodings associated with it.

Roaul and Dad are both quite ill.

How ill? Well, Mom believes Roaul only has a few months of life left to him. He has been getting progressively sicker, and my understanding is that his liver is gone, and his kidneys and esophagus are now involved. Merilyn says it’s not cancer, but it sure sounds like it. His mind is slipping as he goes through this, and that is painful to bear. Another brilliant mind that seems to be darkening far, far too early — just like Larry Buhrman.

[Sidenote: Larry missed out on all the web revolution, dot-bombs and other fantastic things that have happened since he succumbed to cancer in ’84 or ’85. I can’t imagine what amazing things he would’ve done, and I might’ve learned, during that time. He’s the reason I’m in the computer field. Around 1977, he set me up with a Lear Siegler ADM3A terminal and an acoustic coupler he and Dad built, and showed me how to get UTC’s HP-2000 to teach me BASIC. I’m sure there’s not too many folks who remember Larry now, twenty years down the road, but I do.]

The hardest pain to bear though, is the latest prognosis on Dad’s fight with cancer. Dad has lived through throat cancer several years ago, and last year’s serious bout with lung cancer and a quintuple bypass surgery. Now, though, the lung cancer is back, and with a vengance. I am told that surgery is not an option, he’s had all the radiation therapy he can have, and that chemo would just make him sick and miserable.

I found out about this from Mom this past Tuesday, and cried in Darla’s arms most of the night. Wednesday found me with more strength, and I started making plans to come down here to visit, and to bring Sio to see Grandpa while he was still feeling well.

Every one of us seems to have this “matter of fact” attitude about it — talking of wills and burial, items to take from the house, future plans for things to go to Kevio or me — and it just seems wrong to be talking like this. After all, Dad doesn’t look sick, right? So there mustn’t be anything wrong….

Unfortunately, though, there is something quiet and creeping wrong with him, and no amount of my wailing can do anything about it. Perhaps each of us has gone through our own bit of wailing and screaming, and each come to terms with this abbreviated time we have with Dad.

As for me, I’m gonna learn all I can from the smartest person I know while he’s still walking this planet, and try my best to do whatever he needs whenever he needs it.

My biggest chore is to ask after his salvation. I have no idea if he or Mom are Christians or not. You’d think I would know something as vital as that, but I don’t. Almost twenty years of me putting my fate in Jesus’ hands have had me wondering and feeling…. shy, perhaps, about asking after this with them. Somehow, though, during this trip, I’ve got to talk with Dad about this. I don’t know if I’ll get another chance to talk with him about this. Darla and I had a good cry about this on the back porch last night…….

Sabre Rattling, Part Deux

Ok, so this morning, it’s Israel and the Palistinians, and another suicide bombing. Rodney King appears to me to be nothing more than a con-man, but he got it right: “Can’t we all just get along?”

This is the conflict, IMHO, that will get the US in trouble, as this is an ancient conflict, and there is no “winning” side. I think that no matter what we do, this is the conflict that could bring the fun to a town near you. Let’s just say I’m inclined to stay home for the 4th of July this year, given all the warnings that something “bad” might happen on Independence Day.

I can’t imagine what might be next, and I’m not sure I want to.

Sabre Rattling

Lately, I watch the news several times daily with trepidation, wondering if the fools in Pakistan and India have pushed the button, and launched a nuclear assault upon one another. It’s entirely selfish, but I am comforted that when the next nuclear action is taken on the globe, I am not likely to be near its epicenter. With China and Russia trying to broker peace in the region, the liklihood of this escalating into an ideological war between the nuclear superpowers is remote. That doesn’t diminish the impact if these yahoos arm wrestling over Kashmir decide to play the long-lasting version of hot potato.

It’s odd to me to think that there’s a whole generation out there that’s never lived under the shadow of a nuclear wasteland being descending on them from the other side of the planet. I remember when Ronald Reagan was elected, and believing that I would never live to see my high school graduation. I was convinced that his whole purpose in the cosmos was to annihilate the Soviet Union, which, of course, would mean our own annihilation. Movies like The Day After chilled me, and I remember watching intently, wondering if that was my fate. Books like Alas, Babylon and On the Beach brought it even closer, and made me wonder further about my future self, and what kind of hell I would be living through.

So how close to midnight is your nuclear clock?

Coming Home!

We came home today. But, we left enough time to visit the Hard Rock in downtown Indianapolis — another new one for us!

Nice building!

I wanted to catch a picture of the big guitar, but somebody was playing with it.

The front entrance is nice….

Great words to live by!

Ten hours after we left West Viriginia, exhausted, we were home and sleeping!