Sometimes in life you just go through the motions and you're too busy to take in the beauty and wonder life has to offer. When death comes to knock on your door may be too late to change this. It is a rare instance where you can reply to the knocker, "Go away! I am not ready!!!!" and he actually leaves.....
My story begins on August 30, 2010. I woke up after a good nights sleep which is a rarity for me. On my way to work with the window down and the cool morning air in my face, I thought to myself " I feel really good today!" What was I thinking. It was a Monday after all and it was forecast to be hot and very humid. My work day started normally at 7AM, but I wasn't feeling so good anymore. I am a Type II diabetic and thought maybe my sugar was off, then the pain came. I have been in the emergency room for Kidney Stones before and thought this was the same. I had problems on my right side in the past, but this was on my left. I found my boss and said I was going to see the nurse I wasn't feeling well and I thought I had a kidney stone. Fortunately for me I worked close to the nurses office and only had a short walk.
My condition was deterioration rapidly as the pain increased with each step. When I opened the door to the nurses office I noticed a look of concern on her face as I tried to keep calm. I could barely tell her I thought I had a kidney stone as the pain was stealing by breath. She asked if I could call my wife and ask her to pick me up to bring me to the hospital, which I did. The pain was beyond any experience I had with kidney stones. I could feel my skin was cold and clammy as the nurse asked me to lie down and wait. My response was to unbuckle my belt and loosen my pants as I hunched over refusing to succumb to the pain. She told me to call my wife and ask her to meet us at the hospital, she would be taking me. I barely remember telling her I was sorry I might get sick in her car before we pulled up to the hospital only a five minute drive away. My wife was pulling up as I hobbled in I was ushered in and was given immediate attention for the pain. At least I could breath now. I was heavily sedated to ease the pain as they did their tests. I had convinced myself it was just a bad kidney stone and I would be going home soon with some pills. The doctor came in and shook my hand and asked how I felt. The drugs made me feel good, but I felt like total crap. He told me he had good news and bad news. The good news is that I didn't have a kidney stone, but the bad news is that I was going to being heading upstairs. I had pancreatitis. In my drug induced haze I was like what did you say? I have no idea what that is.The world went fuzzy.....then nothing...
I must have passed out, maybe from the drugs or me being sick as hell. I opened my eyes and initially thought I had dies. I was surrounded by beautiful women wearing white and then I noticed my wife's voice telling me to keep my eyes in my head or something along those lines. She knows me well, I'm a sucker for a pretty face, I married her didn't I! My nurses were great, but my wife who is also in the health care profession insisted she would assist me in me taking showers :) I was touched by the amount of people who were pulling for me through visits and encouraging words.
My stay at the hospital was a blur of memories. I was on a narcotic drug from my pain called Dilaudid. It is often called medical heroin and I can tell you that Morphine is like an aspirin compared to this. The first several days I wasn't allowed to eat or even drink, not even water. Although I was juiced up on an IV, I was dying of thirst. I was finally able to be on a liquid diet after about 8 days and I was gradually improving. Being awake through all hours of the night and often alone with nothing but your thoughts can cause you to reflect on your life. The opportunities that have slipped by, the wrong things you have done as well as the good things, but also the things that you should be doing. Being in the hospital and undergoing countless tests to find the cause of my condition was frustrating. I underwent a procedure and was able to go home after my not so pleasant 12 day stay. It was the beginning of Salmon season and I would not be doing any fishing for a long time. I actually was able to get some fishing in when my father flew me out to California. We went fishing for trout in Lake Tahoe and the mountain lakes nearby. Seeing Yosemite was a story in itself, but one can never leave there without being inspired in some great way.
I wasn't able to work for several weeks afterwards. I was addicted to Dilaudid and was going through withdrawals and sleeping very little. I spent countless hours on my computer watching videos on YouTube, browsing the internet, and looking at old pictures. I was glad to have another lease on life and I had intended to make good on it. Among other things I had decided to write more, I had dabbled with some poetry and always had the desire to write a novel. My son was also getting to the age where I could take him fishing, so I intended on taking him out more, a LOT more. I only wish my wife and daughter shared some of my passion for fishing, but it isn't in them. I love them none the less for it and secretly I may not give up on the fishing with them, maybe if I could hand them a rod with a big powerful fish...
While watching fishing videos on YouTube I came across Fly Gal Ventures. Granted I was first interested because the woman in the video was pretty good looking, combined with her fishing made me want to watch more, which I did by watching all of her videos she had posted. Her name is April Vokey and something I noticed besides her looks and her ability to catch fish was that she truly loved what she was doing. You can see the joy on her face as she fights a fish or holds it before releasing it. She has a deep found respect for nature and is a conservationist as well. Because of her videos I have gone out and decided to give spey fishing a try.
Last fall was my best Salmon season ever, followed by my best for Steelies through this spring!!!
Thanks to Facebook I have gotten into contact with some old friends who are willing to show me the ropes about Spey casting. I have given it a try and found I need to work on it more, but this fall I will be going hard at steelies in the Grand and honing my skills. Besides Spey fishing I intend to head to the Upper Peninsula and catch some Pink Salmon.
I have been slowly working on my book (not fishing related) because work just gets in the way! My desire to write something has never lessened.....I have always been one who doesn't just focus on one thing so that's why this blogging can tie together some my (non personal) loves in life: fishing, writting and photography. I save my love of music for the car :)
I still am a sponge for information on the internet and am always trying to learn new things and new places to go fishing. That is when I came across a fishing blog where I found there was someone with similar interests in writing, fishing and photography. I have finally found an outlet for my creativity. Some times it can be frustrating, but so is anything new until you learn. Although I have only just begun I find it rewarding and i can honestly say even a bit happier for the whole experience.
I fully intent to write exciting and informative blogs, meet other like minded people, network with new friends and fish my ass off!
I would like to thank some people as well although some may not really know how they inspired me.
So thanks to my awesome wife Amy and the best kids a dad can ask for Brianna and Jared. I would like to thank my parents for helping me in more ways than I can express. My thanks to my fellow fisherman and friends who have taught me or inspired me along the way, I wouldn't be here without you!!! Terri Rowe, Bart Shumaker, Herb Theodore, Ryan Figger, Kevin Chambers, Pete Alfaro, Dustin Peck, Dean Heyboer, Jason Tucker, and April Vokey.