Pocket Taser Stun Gun: A Great Gift for the Wife.

This is by no means original with me. I could never be so forthright about such an experiment! But, it still makes me laugh so much that I just had to share it! Enjoy!

Pocket Taser Stun Gun: A Great Gift for the Wife.

Last weekend I saw something at Larry’s Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 22nd anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Toni. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized taser. The effects of the taser were suppose to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety….

WAY TOO COOL!

Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two triple-a batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing!

I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I’d get the blue arch of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs. Awesome!!!

Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Toni what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.

Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn’t be all that bad with only two triple-a batteries, right?

There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?

So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, taser in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.
All the while I’m looking at this little device measuring about 5″ long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-a batteries) thinking to myself, “no possible way!”

What happened next is almost beyond description, but I’ll do my best…..I’m sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, “don’t do it master,” reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn’t hurt all that bad…. I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh and pushed the button.

I’m pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, and then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, my private parts nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. The cat was standing over me making meowing sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, undoubtedly thinking to herself, “Do it again, do it again!”

Note: If you ever feel compelled to “mug” yourself with a taser, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap yourself. You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three second burst would be considered conservative.

A minute or so later (I can’t be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape:
• My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace.
• The recliner was upside down and about 8 feet or so from where it originally was.
• My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching.
• My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs.
• I had no control over the drooling.
• Apparently I had crapped in my shorts, but was too numb to know for sure, and my sense of smell was gone.
• I saw a faint smoke cloud above my head, which I believe came from my hair.

I’m still looking for my private parts! I’m offering a significant reward for their safe return.

Still in shock,

Tommy

More on CRPS and its Challenges…

A very kind person responded to my “What on Earth is CRPS?” blog to discuss the words addiction, dependence, and tolerance. To continue this discussion, I decided to just turn it to a blog itself. I trust she does not mind my quoting her to begin this blog. I think it very informative!

Thank you for sharing, and getting the word out about this syndrome. I wanted to discuss three words. The words are addiction, dependence, and tolerance. Individuals become addicted to narcotics, when they are using the medication to get a sensation, or high. However, as long as your body needs the medicine to control the chronic pain, you will not become addicted to the medication. Tolerance occurs, when you need a higher dosage of medication, to maintain the same level of relief. Over time, some individuals have to have their medication increased, but this does not happen with all patients. Finally, dependence occurs, when one is dependent upon medication to help to control the pain. That is the antithesis of addiction. When someone becomes addicted to medication, they are using it when they do not need to use it. When you are dependent upon medication, you do not become addicted to the medication, because the medication is working to control your pain. For example, if I was taking medication for chronic pain, I would be dependent on the medication, to control my pain. However, if the pain left today, I could flush the medication down the toilet, because I would no longer need it. I would not become addicted.

Thanks so much for your kind words and explanation. Having worked all of my adult life in the medical field (most of it in or relating to surgery), I still am not an expert! As humans, we all can suffer from addiction, tolerance and dependence. I can only speak from personal experience and a shallow medical understanding.

I have developed an addiction to the pain medications I am taking and had to break the craving because of the chemical dependence developed by using a narcotic. I know of individuals who have a narcotic addiction – and are in very responsible positions. Their problem narcotic: heroin. Yet, they now only use enough heroin to keep the addiction at bay without going for the high. They developed a chemical tolerance to and dependence on the drug but are not willing to pay the price necessary to break the addiction. Yet, most can never take the substance again once they have broken the chemical dependence. Alcoholics Anonymous tell us that once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic; so they encourage those who use their program for quitting a bad addiction to never pick it up again. I personally do not know if it is a mental tool or is a proven chemical response/reaction from which they suffer if they ever use the substance again. There is some pretty deep chemistry involved with it. I understand that once those who abused the substance start “using” again, they usually lose control and fall into the same troubles as before.

To say there is a disagreement between you and I would be very inaccurate, however. The broad base of our common language allows so much to be covered with terminology. From a psychological standpoint I must totally support your discussion. From a chemistry standpoint, I search for better understanding. My questioning comes from having witnessed a chronic pain patient going over the deep end. He could not legally acquire enough medication to relieve or lighten his pain due to tolerance. As if the chronic pain was not enough of a problem, he had to add to it some jail time! I do not want to follow that road nor do I wish to be in the position to try to explain why from a personal experience!

One thing I do know – the suffering with or without medication is horrendous for me. Thank God he provided me with such a wonderful lady to spend my life. Kind, understanding, helpful…I cannot say enough praise for her. The old folks used the term “Help-meet” and I think it fits very appropriately. God provides me strength to live and sometimes that strength is leaning on the one God provided for my companionship: my spouse. She has been my sweetheart since high school and I want no other! Ultimately, you see, it is God upon whom I lean.

A coach will say that a win is a win. Some of my “wins” in dealing with this pain are not so pretty, but they are wins, thank God! Some people are born to a life in multi-million dollar homes while others get the dirt floor and thatch roof. Still their character can be the same and both be gracious in their life and living! My part in life is to bear the pain for the moment while others have no clue as to what suffering really is. I am one of those supposedly crazy people who believe that God can still actually and instantaneously heal from physical, emotional and spiritual maladies. From that knowledge, I want God to heal me, but if he can receive glory from my sufferinig, I want him to receive it! At least I am not suffering in a prison in China for sharing the Gospel as many have. God can make the best of any situation, so he can make the best of mine. I need to go deeper in explaining this line of reasoning, but we will save that for another day! Watch for it!

Oh, I almost forgot to tell others that you can read all Paulette had to say in the comment on the “What on Earth is CRPS?” blog. Paulette is a blogger and I would encourage you to check it out! It is at http://pbus1.wordpress.com/ and makes my humble mutterings look even smaller… I just gotta follow her blog now. It is a “wowser.”

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Last year on this day my mother celebrated her last birthday with most of her family around her. Unfortunately, there were many forced smiles contrasted by the tremendous amount of love present. At about 2:20 a.m. during the night, she drew her last breath on earth.

One of my older brothers, Harold, was sitting next to her, afraid to leave her side because he knew her time was very close. His fears became reality. Something inside of him collapsed as the realization that she was gone for good came over him. Turning to Dad, whom he had tried to get to bed, he attempted to explain that Mother had gone to her heavenly home. Although I can only relate this story as Harold told it, I am certain that tears streamed down his cheeks – not many because he is disciplined enough to control himself – but his heart had developed a large hole in it that only his Mother filled.

My mother’s point-of-view was very different from the morose which filled the room. She had just left her now worn out body to enter the presence of the One who strengthened her, who sustained her in her own dark hours, and whom she had committed her life to as a little girl. When she found out about how her sin separated her from God, she turned to him asking his forgiveness and for him to be Lord of her heart and life. From that point on, she genuinely served the Lord. She was not perfect, just forgiven. I understand that as a child, she still needed the correcting hand of her parents from time to time. However she would not ever turn her back on God. And this is the One who opened his arms to receive her. She had told her doctor that she knew she was on her death bed, but was resting in God’s arms. Indeed, this was the happiest day of her life as she entered into eternal life. Her joy was extreme as she finally got to see the face of the One who bore her sin so she would not have to suffer its final consequence – eternal separation from God.

 Mother’s funeral was an unusual funeral. In a time of mourning, there was still a celebration of the life of a woman whom God used since childhood. Her family was large, and to be honest the church was packed with people who were related to her. Most had a connection through being family, but the others were those whom she had taught Sunday School lessons, had welcomed in her home for counsel and prayer, the many with whom she had shared her table, and some who genuinely knew life because of her intervention. As a counselor and friend, Mother took many secrets to her grave, because if it was shared in confidence, no one but God ever heard about it.

When I received the news that Mother left for her heavenly reward, I was relived that she had finished with the struggle to fill her lungs with air which were so limited by the fluid backed up into them due to an inefficient, tired, scarred heart. Yes, my grief was real and still is with me. But, I cannot refuse to let go of one who attains such a marvelous change of scenery in a heaven never tainted with the results of sin. I know it is rare when it is not said of a passed loved one that they are in a better place. We often say that to simply comfort ourselves. For Mom, it would be an understatement almost because her joy is now complete as her voice unites with the heavenly host – the one made of human voices of those redeemed by Christ to sing “Glory to God in the highest.” I am certain performance is never a compulsion for Mother. More likely, they cannot keep her quiet from singing praise to her Savior.

What on earth is CRPS?

I belong to a loosely knit group of men who share with each other online at a website. Our common basis is that we are usually Christians and all suffer with a chronic illness. Today, I received notification of a new post about a person who had recently been diagnosed with CRPS. He wanted to know what it is and how it would be treated. His head was still spinning from what his doctor told him and wanted an answer. I tried to answer him while attempting to avoid my all too often self-pity party and to explain what it is and has been for me.  I have found out through experience that this is one of those “silent” diseases that not many know about or have heard about. I hope my answer to the question enlightens not only him, but I would like for you to get a peek into what CRPS is. Oh by the way, CRPS is the new moniker for RSD – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and by name is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Howdy, Richard.

I hate to hear of another with that diagnosis because for me it has been a 25 year battle. After a nerve in my upper arm being severed, it just went bonkers. The side the nerve provided “nerve action” for would burn and feel like I was the recipient of a wire brush treatment even though I am not too rusty. They diagnosed mine as RSD – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Although most sensations and motor functions are gone from the region served by the severed nerve, RSD/CRPS affects that part of the nervous system that operates without active control or sensation so it automatically does the little, routine stuff like open pores, control the size of blood vessels and such. As you may understand, nerves operate with an electrical charge racing back and forth through them to handle whatever that nerve is supposed to handle. My doctor said it was like a phone line. Now imagine a nerve gone wild with something like 60 cycle interference or your car radio just buzzing from a loose sparkplug wire and you have close to what RRSD/CRPS is. In my words, it is a nerve gone wild. And it involves the Sympathetic Nerve System which is the automatic control one I just described.

Funny thing about mine is that the real problem is not in the arm although it is where the intense pain resides. The problem is a bundle of nerves called a ganglion which is located inside the chest wall up about shoulder high but close to the spine. So removal of the ganglion would not only be extremely dangerous, it would not work because another would take its place. So, surgical treatment is usually out of the option and studies on those tried are not convincing that is the way to go. I personally opted out of this treat later in my therapy although one pain specialist offered it to me.

Next, I was started with stellate ganglion blocks which injected a local anesthetic to the problem ganglion. The injection is made in the lower front side of your neck with the pain doctor having to move your carotid artery and jugular vein out of the path of the needle by placing a finger on them and gently pulling then out of the way. He then inserts a special needle through the skin to a depth where it touches one of those little wings that stick out from the side of a vertebra, rolling the needle so it will be injecting out of its tip toward the chest. The procedure, though having a certain amount of high risk, is actually easy for the patient. I have had many done and the relief was great. The idea behind it is like resetting an electronic device – shut it down and it should come back on working correctly. This treatment often cures the problem when done in a series. However, it came to the point for me that they only began to work for the duration of the local anesthetic.

My next treatment was use of a TENS. Electrodes similar to what are used to monitor the heart are placed in the appropriate areas close to the affected nerve and a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator is attached. They have various settings that are tried within a parameter of what is known to work. For me, this worked great until I developed an intolerance to the electrodes (we tried so many) and could not longer use it. Luckily, my anesthesiologist at that time sent me to a pain treatment program out of Texas Tech University that was very cutting edge at the time. (It is amazing at what can come out of Lubbock!) They implanted an electrode along the nerve in my arm and hooked it to a unit similar to the ones used for pacemakers. That worked for me extremely well for several years, but for me it was not the cure. The pain slowly slipped out of control and drove me crazy!

For those who continue to have problems, on a rare occasion an electrode will be inserted into the spinal column (yes, next to the spinal cord) to try to help soothe the affected region with a gentle electrical stimulation that would compare vaguely to giving it a massage. It is a permanent implant, also. I have not had this treatment because I am a V.A. patient and they operate within limited funding. Also, various doctors use various means of treatment and that is not popular in another geographic area.

There are several other treatments from acupuncture and hypnotism to holistic medical approaches that are available if you seek those out. I have been told that hypnotism or acupuncture both should work for me. My doctors have not opted to try these for their reasons and I trust them. They would, I believe, pursue any course I asked them to try.

Currently, I am disabled due to the intense pain and the accompanying mental problems that included being suicidal and hospitalized about four times. Thank the Lord that each time I recognized something was wrong and hustled myself to an emergency room. I was treated as fast as if I was having a heart attack! The last time around, God and I worked it out so that suicide is not a problem. Although sometimes I feel I would be better off dead, I do not want to be dead anymore. I am not afraid of death and as any devout Christian, I welcome the day when I join God in his presence. That is in God’s hands, however, and not mine. I draw Social Security disability (I wonder why it is called Security…but that is another day’s blog) and am unable to hold a job due to the intensity and unpredictability of the pain. Some days I will hardly notice it. However, barometric changes drive it wild so I know if a front is coming through. The pain is controlled with some meds prescribed by a psychologist and my personal doctor – some are for treatment of nerve associated problems, and one is a narcotic that I only use when forced to do so, and I also require antidepressants of a couple verities. My regimen includes 800 mg of ibuprofen twice daily and that medication really helps. These groups of pills keep the pain and me under control – and I cling fiercely to the hand of God. In spite of all of this, some days the pain becomes so great – even medicated – that I become very irritable. My wife compares me to a one-eyed water moccasin in skin shedding season. If it moves, I strike at it. (And she is the sweetest, loyalest lil’ ol’ country gal you could ever meet!)

I hope this does not scare you, but go into your treatment with a positive attitude. Trust God and believe it will work. After all, every single bit of healing on earth, whether it is something miraculous or a scratch healing, comes through the work of Jesus Christ. Without him, this world and our own persons could not exist. One of my college professors referred to Jesus Christ as the cosmic glue that holds it all together. Yes, I truly believe this – especially after working in surgery for over 30 years. Too many times I have seen prayer answered right there during a surgery. Trust the Lord and take him at his Word. My mother, a nurse, often shared in the Sunday school classes she taught, a scripture quote from the mouth of Jesus: “With God, all things are possible.”

Let me add an additional word about narcotics.  I have used many from the vicodin variety to a patch on my skin with very strong artificial morphine to a final stages (yes, of dying due to a horrid disease) type of a narcotic drug called methadone.  I hate narcotics. Not only am I scared of them because of their addictiveness, we all develop a tolerance to them which will come to a point of the narcotic being useless. Not only that, I hate the hangover affect! What I have done is to take the narcotics only on extremely rough days and not to take them regularly. And trust me; doctors can spot those who go from doctor trying to get more pain medications. At this point the patient has become addicted and is not willing to go through what it takes to break the addiction. Do not become one of those. I once worked with a doctor who would just send you back to your main doctor without a prescription and his office visit bill to pay! Just don’t go that route.

My goal for this has been to help others understand some about one of the “silent diseases.” If you know, you can probably do something about it. If you have a friend with it, be a real neighbor to that person. Some cannot get out and about very much. Others you will never know they have a problem. Really, how long does our society tolerate “I hurt” before it is ignored? I know I have been guilty of that. Sometimes my pain is so great I cannot see your pain. So give these who suffer this often disabling disease a lot of patience and back up your love with work. Just don’t be like the fellow who went out into the cold skipping a jacket while asking God to keep him warm…

May the Lord bless you and I pray that you have a wonderful day!

Howdy, folks!

I thought I would give blogging an opportunity since I really do need some intellectual work. I am one of those “handicapped” people and on S.S. disability – and as we would say it here, “I ain’t happy with it!” True, I really do have a disability and at the moment cannot work, but I hate that status! I am a man used to working and loved 10 hour to 12 hour work days! Why? I had the best job I ever had – easy, profitable, respectable, and in an environment I have been comfortably working since 1977 – a body repair shop. Really – a surgical suite.  I can no longer pursue that, so here I sit – like I said I do not like it. I hate the inactivity. Still I have hope.

I hope my greatest strength is one derived from my own personal weakness: a personal relationship with God. I am not unique in this. There are many of us. The fascination of this point is that I was in a position where it was impossible to approach God in any manner. My good acts only reflected something God crafted in each of us, but could not change my status with him. I was not even in a place or position to offer any gift or sacrifice to him. How could I? I was totally ignorant of him, his ways, even what it took to get in touch with him. Yeah, I know we should all be in touch with ourselves, but that left me realizing that I still was missing something. And I really could do nothing about it.

Here is the fascinating part of my relationship I now have with God: He looked me up! Funny thing (not as in comical funny) about it was that God is the only purely good being – without any wrong – that exists. And compared to his purity, to him I was in a world of poo covered with poo and worse. (Yes, I could get really graphical in my illustration but restrain in hopes of remaining readable.) To get to God was like being on opposite sides of an ocean without airliners or even boats much less a phone! So God made contact with me. That contact started when he came into my world to live and share his ways with not only me but with everyone. Then he bore the responsibility for all the mess I was born into and that same mess I continued to naturally follow: the meanness, strife, greif I possessed and freely shared with all. It is commonly called sin. It was not just what I did, but also the moral and mental state I was in. Yes, he took all of that upon himself, providing for all I needed to have a relationship with him. God did that for me! I did not deserve it, yet he did it for me. And you know what else? He did it for every person ever born upon this earth.

Then, after literally having to suffer a horrendous death in this process, he came to life again! This one immortal being who was purity itself, became 100% human, but came back to life because he was still 100% the only pure, living God. History calls God who became a man while still remaining God by the name Jesus Christ. And did you know that historically there is more evidence for the birth, life, death and coming physically back to life for Jesus Christ than there is for Caesar crossing the Tiber? There is relatively little record of Julius Caesar crossing the Tiber compared to the records of Jesus Christ from antiquity, current during that period in which they both were alive. Unfortunately, accepting the historical fact of Jesus Christ’s activity in this physical world does not constitute trusting in him for having physically and spiritually taking your own moral impurity and illness upon himself.

When Jesus Christ came back to life, he promised me that one day he would return life to my physical body and I would live where he lives literally for ever! Not only did he make it possible for me to live forever with him, but he could even apply a part of that to me now so that what was naturally in me that offended him no longer controlled my self and my life. To take place of the impuity in me, he placed his own purity in me. But again, I am not unique in this because the offer is for everyone. This is ‘kinda’ hard to believe, but at one time, nuclear energy was beyond the scope of human science. What Jesus Christ has done and will do is beyond science as much as nuclear energy was to the Native Americans of the Great Plains in the 15th century. Even further. However, many then would probably call much of what we consider commonplace as some sort of magic with deep spiritual implications due to their superstitions. Can’t explain it? There are many things that cannot be explained which are commonplace and still accepted without question.

You know, the sad thing is how few have taken God up on this wonderful, marvelous chance to have a real relationship with God. Otherwise, because purity cannot coexist with impurity, he must one day punish them since they did not accept what Jesus Christ has done for them. God is – until that one day – waiting for their invitation to apply Jesus Christ’s accomplishments to their own lives. And God loves us so much that he has approved of this, planned for this, and wants this; God wants a personal relationship with each individual including you, reader. None of us is above this basic need of getting to really know God as who he is – and it goes far beyond best friends forever!

Back to me – I too am concerned about you or I would not have gone to the effort I have in writing this. My own heart has reflected God’s relationship in that even professionally I worked to help people through some of their most trying times of their life – even though many do not know that I was a part of the team that helped physically repair them so they could function normally or even in some cases to live. I took that profession seriously. I now need to do something that helps other people even though I am handicapped beyond the ability to hold a job anymore. Yet, if I sit and stew where I am without trying some kind of “distillation,” I will only become rotten – a mean old man who easily lashes out in pain to all around me. I do not want to remain there. So perhaps a blog will help me to develop intellectually, give me something worthwhile to do.

Oh, about God’s purity that he applied to my life, I still live in the same world I was born into so I still have to deal with the poo around me we all do. How it works out is that now God gives me the ability to be like him so I can escape affects of the poo in my life. And when it does affect me, he has set up a way for me to handle it. I simply make it right to my fellow humanity after talking it over with God to make it right with him. Amazingly simple.

Hey – have a great day! Take God’s promise for yourself.

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