Sunday, April 12, 2015

I Am 60 Today!

I have a hard time believing I am 60 years old today! I do not know where the time has gone and how I reached this age!

Before I talk about my age, I want to tell you about my new pacemaker. I told you I would keep you informed as to when the date will be. I will be getting number four on Friday, April 17th at noon. Chances are I will check in, have them insert my new pacemaker and go home that afternoon. 

I did something I had never done before and that was to put a two-sentence status post up on my Facebook page. I simply wrote, "I just found out I will be getting my new pacemaker April 17th! That makes number four." 

For me, the response was overwhelming! I know other people get much larger numbers for posts on a regular basis, but that was incredible. I received more than 100 Likes and more than 50 Comments! That is the second-highest number I have received for any post on my Facebook page except when I posted a Profile picture from last summer when I gave the keynote speech for the University of Minnesota's Physical Therapy's Commencement Ceremony. I had 163 Likes!

The Comments and Likes came from people I have known my entire life and six of the eight towns I lived in before I was 14! I also received notes from all three colleges I attended. They also came from people I knew from giving a speech or met in an unusual way. As if anything is usual for me!

Now, it is back to the point of this post. I want to show you my first birthday cake and see what you think:

I was already using my left hand at an early age! Scroll ahead thirteen years to my 14th birthday, and notice how I am using my left hand as well to light my birthday candles.

Click on the images to make them larger:

It was only two more birthdays after that I stopped celebrating my birthday. Let me explain why. When I first got hurt September 3, 1971 my goal was to be walking by basketball season. When that goal obviously did not arrive, I set a new goal of walking by my 17th birthday. Obviously, that did not happen either. It was then I decided my birthday was just a reminder that I was still not able to walk. That did not seem like a reason to celebrate.

That is until this year! I have been getting a number of reminders from unlikely sources reminding me that 60 years is a long time and deserves a celebration. First of all, I have had reminders at my acupuncture receptionist, the receptionist at my wound clinic a week ago, a social worker, one of my personal care attendants and two women from my past lives who are both my age.

On April 8th, Karen (Smalley) Bixby who lived in the women's dorm next to my dormitory the second year I was in Berkeley called me and wanted to be the first to wish me a happy 60th birthday. Karen and I have been lifelong friends and she is smiling right now as she keeps track of me through my blog posts and I am writing about her!

She called to remind me my birthday was April 12th and I would be 60 years old! Since Karen's birthday was April 9th, a full three days before mine I asked her to tell me what it was going to be like since she is so much older than me. We have discussions on our cell phones every once in a while, although they are not frequent enough, but we had a great thirty-minute conversation before she had to go. I am sure we will have another talk soon.

About an hour later I was chatting with a new Facebook friend who I played baseball with her brothers when we lived for a brief time in Sibley, Iowa.  Mind you, we were only in the seventh and early part of eighth-grade when Susan (Streit) Wheeler moved to town with her family. I had never talked to her when they lived in town because of my fear of girls at that stage of my life. I am over that fear now. I believe I was afraid girls would bite me if I spoke to one back then. Little did I know if one did, I might actually like it!

Susan and I had a forty-five minute conversation that only had to be cut short because she had to be someplace. I am certain we will have another conversation again soon. It was like we had been lifelong friends and in reality had never spoken before. I find myself in conversations like that all the time.

I have no problem meeting people now and finding things to talk about. Often times I will end up finding something in common from one of our past lives. That also happened to me several times last week while I was either in the hallway or in speaking to a therapist or physician. I love stories like that.

If you did not know it already, you might think I am a bit of an extrovert!

I am not sure what I'm supposed to feel like now that I am 60? I have had people tell me I  do not feel old to them because I do not act old. What is the definition of old? When does a person become old, or is it just a feeling? There are many questions I have about the aging process and the attitude one takes as he or she ages. I know people who are younger than me and feel much older to me. Do you know people like that? 

Is it about being positive, realistic or negative?  Can healthy relationships be built at any stage in life? Can they be built between people with drastic age differences? I could go on but this is already a long post. I will save more of my questions for another post.

Now, I believe it is time to watch the Masters Golf Tournament for a while. Does that make me old?

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Monday, April 6, 2015

The BIG 10 Is Down!

All season long, the pundits, prognosticators and analysts put the Big 10 down as not being one of the Elite 5 Conferences in the country. They claimed they could not compete with the Southern and Eastern conferences. They were not deep enough and could not hold their own in the Big Dance.

It does not matter to me who wins the National Championship tonight. Duke is favored once again by most of the so-called experts. The main reason is Duke beat Wisconsin earlier this year by ten points. Granted, that did happen. However, I contend it was two different teams and Wisconsin was playing without its second best player, Sam Dekker. He has averaged over 20 points per game in the tournament and I believe his regular season average is about 18 points. You take that kind of production out of any lineup and chances are you are not going to win.

When a single conference puts two of the four teams in the Final Four, it is my contention that conference deserves to be considered one of the best in the nation, if not the best.

If Frank (The Tank) Kaminsky can beat the Sports Illustrated cover jinx and get his team to the championship game, I believe he deserves all the accolades that have been bestowed upon him and deserves to be named The Player Of The Year!

My latest Sports Illustrated had Kentucky on the cover. They could not overcome the jinx! Kentucky is indeed a great collection of NBA talent and their top six players average in double figures. That almost never happens! The thing with Kentucky is they will lose a good part of those freshmen to the NBA with the one and done rule we now see in college basketball.

The only reason I would like to see Duke win tonight is because freshmen, Tyus Jones is playing exceptionally well and has gone from winning the Minnesota state championship while leading Apple Valley just one year ago to the possibility of doing the same with Duke.

I am especially excited for young Mr. Jones because he played for Zach Goring, whom I have known since he was a young boy growing up in Apple Valley. Zach is even part of a story I tell in my book about the Dairy Queen girl. I have known Zach's father Darrell for a long time and there is another one of those small world stories behind our relationship!

Either way, I am excited to watch the championship game tonight. It will just be sad because I will have to go through a rapid withdrawal of watching another season of college basketball.

It is a good thing baseball started yesterday or I might have to undergo some sort of sports withdrawal treatment. I cannot get excited about watching most NBA games because they're all alike and do not seem to mean much until they get into the playoffs. Then I start watching the multimillionaires battle it out one-on-one to find out who can play the longest and have the fewest amount of injuries.

I have to go as the big game is about to start. May the best team win!

I look forward to your comments.



Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pacemaker Number Four Is Imminent

Last Thursday I had my acupuncture appointment at 1 PM with my pacemaker check at 2 PM, so I was feeling pretty good, nice and relaxed, when the technician put the little wand over my shoulder and on top of my pacemaker. She turned the machine on and the last two checks I have had of my pacemaker from three months ago and six months ago showed the battery had about a 30% life expectancy yet. Both of those technicians told me I would probably have to get a new pacemaker sometime towards the end of 2015.

I was completely shocked when the needle came up to only 10% and was red indicating my battery has deteriorated dramatically in the last three months! It needs to be replaced in the next month.

In late 1996, I was diagnosed with a lower heart block and needed my first pacemaker. That pacemaker lasted about five years. In early 2002, number two had to be replaced and had lasted about six years. That is the one I have my attendant holding in the picture.

Then, in 2008, when this picture was taken, they inserted my third pacemaker. They told me it should last about ten years. Seven years is a long ways short of ten years, but what am I going to do?

Click on the image to make it larger: 

I have a Medtronic pacemaker with Guidant cables. The technician told me it would be an in and out same-day replacement unless the cables need to be replaced. If they do, then I will need to stay overnight one night. The cables concern me because they are the original cables from 1996. I am guessing they will have to be replaced.  I do not know how long those cables are good for.

For you longtime readers of this blog, you know I have often contended I do not know what the next thing will be coming down the line; I know it will be something and this is it! I hope the next thing waits a little while!

I know some of my posts are not fun and relaxing. I am just keeping it real. It is issues like this that keep me going. If you read my book, you know the doctors told my family in the fall of 1971 my life expectancy was nine years! At 43+ years I am still here and with another new pacemaker it should keep me going a while longer.

If you are not aware of my voice recognition software, Dragon Dictate, the microphone in front of me is how I operate all of my posts. That is why sometimes I can go on for long periods of time because all I have to do is talk and the words appear on the page. For those of you that know me well, you know I like to talk!

I will keep you informed about how this next pacemaker installation goes and probably have something to say about it in another post.

By the way, I have this pacemaker in the picture attached to my briefcase with a little rawhide strap and use it as a teaching tool when I give presentations. I wonder what the next pacemaker will look like?

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Erin go Bragh!

Ireland forever is the translation of Erin go Bragh. It is often said on March 17th, "There are two types of people. The people that are Irish, and the people that wish they were."

I am curious about just who was Saint Patrick? So, guess what I did? That is correct! I did a little research on something called the Internet. I found some interesting facts about the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. I found all kinds of information on that changed my view of who and why we celebrate on March 17th every year.

Check out this link and watch a short video on the life of the most beloved Saint in Irish history. As it turned out, he was not Irish at all. The story we have all heard about him driving the snakes out of Ireland was not true. Imagine that? Something on the Internet has taught us something we always took as fact and proved us wrong!

I have always contended one of my goals is to learn at least one new thing every day. There is one fact I learned and it is barely noon! I have the rest of the day to learn more new stuff! I wonder what it will be?

Check out this video on and see a brief summary of Patrick's life. He was born in England to a wealthy family and at an early age his family moved to Ireland.

Check out this video and see for yourself:

--> I find the video and subsequent article very enlightening in light of how Patrick started his life in England and at age sixteen Irish pirates kidnapped him. You know, the pagan Celtic kind!

I found a sign that has hung by my door so I can read it every day on my way out of my house and now my apartment. They say the time to buy an antique is when you find it. This is not my sign, but it is just like mine:

Click on the image to make it larger:

My sign reads in small letters on the lower left, Boston Sign Co. The lower right reads, September 11, 1916. 

I do not know if my sign is an original or if it is a reproduction. It does not matter to me because the sentiment is the same. Many of my ancestors came from Ireland in the 1840s because of the potato famine and to escape religious persecution. When they arrived in ship after ship being dirty and considered the scum of the earth by places like Boston and New York, everyone looked down on them. 

It was many generations before other ethnic groups and racial groups were placed below the Irish on the social scale in places like Boston. I keep that sign to remind me where I came from.

I find it ironic in 1946 the Basketball Association of America, which later became the NBA, named its Boston franchise the Celtics! They changed the name from a hard C to a soft C and Boston has embraced its Celtics ever since. The Celtics are now embraced by Boston Celtics fans the world over and seventy-five years ago they were considered to be not even worthy to apply for a job. We all know change takes time, and this is a classic example of how Boston has taken time to look upon an entire class of people.

I have not even begun to research the beginning of green beer! I will let someone else do that. With that I wish you all a happy and safe celebration of St. Patrick's Day!

As always, I look forward to your comments.


Michael Arlin Patrick

P.S. Yes, there is a little Irish in my name. There is also German, English, and supposedly a tad bit of French, so I am basically a European Mutt! Yet, I have never considered myself a European American. I will not get into the whole hyphenated American issue as that is material for another post.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March Madness Has Begun!

It is here in full force folks! The annual rite of spring for college basketball fans is well on its way to the battle for 65 teams to get into the Journey to the Tourney! Some teams have already punched their tickets to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 4 and 6, 2015.

Some of the field has automatic bids by way of winning their conference tournaments. Most of them are the mid-major conferences with the big conferences holding their tournaments this weekend.

If you had not heard, Minnesota had to play Rutgers last night in the first round and won to play the last game tonight against Ohio State. FYI: Ohio State beat Minnesota earlier this year in overtime by two points. I hope the outcome is different tonight!

All of the prognosticators have their number one and number two seeds set for who will make it into The Big Dance. There are always upsets in every tournament and this year promises to be the same. It will just be a matter of which and when which big dawgs fall.

I am anxious to watch tonight's game to see if the Gophers can advance to play another day. The only way Minnesota is going to The NCAA Tournament is if they were to win five straight days! That is not going to happen. My guess is they will go to the NIT again this year. I have no problem with that because that means another game or two we would get to go to The Barn and watch them play again. However, I am not thinking that way right now.

I would love to see them put on another good show like they did last night. They are very capable of beating Ohio State if they play as well as they did last night. The only problem last night was Andre Hollins had no points. That is the first time he has been shut out since his freshman year in 2012! He has been very sporadic this senior year and hopefully he will have a good game tonight to go along with Joey King and Mo Walker who had excellent games last night!

Deandre Mathieu also needs to step up as a senior and play well. They are an experienced team now and have shown in their upset when at Michigan State they are capable of playing with most teams.

It will be an exciting weekend for college basketball fans. I hope your team does well. As always, Selection Sunday will determine who will be going dancing in April!

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tim Conway And Harvey Korman (Redo)

I am going to do something today I have never done, and that is repost one of my first and favorite posts from October 2007. I have my reasons for doing this so please let me explain. 

First of all, the 1960s was an era of the variety show. Laugh-In, The Dean Martin Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Sonny and Cher, The Andy Williams Show, The Red Skelton Show to name just a few were watched by millions on the only three stations available ABC, CBS and NBC.

I should also list the granddaddy of them all which introduced us to the Beatles and countless other acts that went on to great success in the entertainment business because Ed Sullivan gave them a start on his weekly variety show.

For those of you younger than the Baby Boomer age bracket, you may not remember a time before cable, hundreds of channels and remote controls! I am reposting this skit because I showed it to my 41-year-old attendant the other day and she had never heard of the names in my post nor any of the shows I mentioned.

Another reason I want to post this skit again is because I think it is just plain funny!  It is a classic example of two grown men making you laugh out loud without saying a thing! It is so funny in the beginning as Harvey Korman tries to stay in character and not laugh at the bungling of his dentist, Tim Conway.

The last reason I am posting this is I have more subscribers today than I did in 2007 and I would like to introduce them to a time gone by.

This type of television would never make it today and illustrates how much is shown on hundreds of channels of violence, sex, illicit drug use, language and adult oriented behavior during prime time when children have access to thousands of murders, rapes and other violent acts before they are eighteen, it is a wonder they are able to understand the difference between right and wrong when they are raised in front of a television. I guess we can include video games in that genre as well.

Click on this URL to see my post and watch a short video of The Dentist's skit:

I will end this post with a Test Pattern the way every network ended its viewing day every night:

Do you remember this?

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Friday, February 27, 2015

Minnesota 96 — Michigan State 90!

WOW! What a game! I have written about my affinity for my alma mater's Men's Basketball Team on occasion on this blog before, most notably when they won the NIT tournament last winter. That was a fun five-game run to a national championship in the second best tournament in the annual rite of college basketball's March Madness.

Now, I want to post my last post of February with the Gopher's big overtime win over #25 ranked Michigan State last night in the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan. It was an extremely thrilling game when the Gophers looked like they were not going to win the game as they had a substantial deficit with only seconds to play in regulation.

With two three-pointers in the last 12 seconds, Carlos Morris had a chance to win the game with a free throw and could not convert to win the game 79-78. I do not understand how these young men can shoot three-pointers under pressure and cannot make free throws under equally pressurized situations!

Actually, I do understand and believe the three point shot should go the way of the dinosaur, but that is never going to happen because it makes game endings very exciting. There is a basketball axiom, "You live by the three and you die by the three." It is very true and everybody forgets how to shoot free throws because they are practicing their three-point shooting.

The Gophers have had a rough season losing six games by two possessions or less, so by beating Michigan State who is 19-9 this season, in the upper class of the Big Ten, coming off a four-game winning streak and playing at home against a statistically poorer team they thought Minnesota should be an easy twentieth win and fifteenth twenty-win season for coach Tom Izzo in his 20th season as the head coach in East Lansing.

Neither team shot free throws very well, as was evidence in the overtime when both teams missed crucial free throws and the missed free throw at the end of the game by young Mr. Morris.

I always have to remind myself when I watch college basketball games these student/athletes are only 18 to 22 years old. What ultimately won the game was their senior leadership shown by Andre Hollins and Mo Walker.

Click on the image to make it larger:

Go Gophers! At 17-12 on the season and 6-10 in the Big Ten conference they need to do well in their last two conference games against Penn State and Wisconsin to get a better seed in the Big Ten Tournament in two weeks in order to get to twenty wins to think about even going back to the NIT. That will not be an easy task since Wisconsin is leading the Big Ten and among the elites in the nation. Although, Wisconsin has shown they can be beaten because Iowa beat them yesterday.

Many analysts believe the Big Ten Conference is the deepest and most competitive conference in the country because any one team has not stood out as a dominant force since they all keep beating up on each other. The Big Ten Tournament will be an interesting and exciting five days to watch the first part of March Madness!
I look forward to your comments.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

What Did You Do Yesterday?

Several years ago I told myself I know there is always going to be something else waiting in line I have to deal with. Yesterday was the latest in the series of events that define my life.

Longtime readers of this blog and personal friends know I get issues every once in a while I get to address that are related to my injury and follow-up events, which detract from my life.

The last couple of weeks I have known there was another infection brewing in my urinary tract and/or pressure sores that are almost healed. My visiting nurse took a urine specimen into the lab to have a urinalysis done. I also had a complete line of blood work done.

I did not know the urinalysis needed a urine culture as well. When the results came back, my infectious disease doctor wanted a urine culture as well. Wednesday, my visiting nurse took a urine culture into the lab to have the urine culture drawn.

The results came back positive, so I had to spend yesterday afternoon and early evening in the hospital getting a midline IV inserted into my right arm and get my first dosage of Gentamicin.  Here is my right arm for the next ten days:

Click on the image to make it larger:

I have a constant urinary tract infection because of a fifteen-inch conduit called an ileostomy a doctor put into me in 1984. My current urologist told me the conduits he put in now are about three inches long. Much of his business is repairing the work my first urologist did on me in 1980 and again in 1984.

The butcher who installed my first ileostomy told me in so many words it would have to be replaced every few years. All he was doing was covering his tracks because my current urologist who also removed my left kidney told me when he puts in an ileostomy is in there for good!

He also told me he was afraid to take out my current conduit because it was scarred in so badly he was afraid I would not make it off the table if he tried to do the surgery! I appreciate his honesty and candor with me. He is the kind of guy with the confidence and ability all surgeons should aspire to.

As a result of having this bacteria producing conduit, I am pretty much always taking one, two or even three antibiotics to keep the powerful bacteria from growing. It is only when the heavy hitting bacteria grows I need to take an IV antibiotic which destroys all of the bacteria in my system and affects my body flora that I need to get IV treatment. When it destroys all the bacteria in my system, it takes a while to get some of the good bacteria growing again.

Of course an issue like this always happens on a Friday. We managed to get everything set up and delivered this morning so my visiting nurse could infuse me with the antibiotic, which will last for the next eight days. It takes an hour to infuse so I am stuck in one position for that hour while a little inflatable bubble releases the antibiotic into my system. You can see the needle on the right end of the midline.

Here is the fully inflated bubble:

Once again, click on the image to make it larger:

When the weather is as cold as it is today and supposedly tonight is supposed to be the coldest night of the year so far, I do not mind staying in. It will be interesting to see how I manage to function when I leave to go to the last two Gopher basketball games! Although, after today's performance I am not sure if I really want to brave the cold and see two more games like today's game!

I look forward to your comments.



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Saint Valentine's Day

What we know today, as Valentine's Day did not always have such a celebratory aspect to it. According to the ancient Romans celebrated a day in the spring called Lupercalia, which was a raucous, ancient fertility festival.

It was not until centuries later the Christians decided to pick a day in mid February to Christianize the celebration. First of all, there was more than one Saint Valentine. There seems to be some confusion as to which Saint the celebration was named for. One of them was sentenced to death after he performed secret marriages when Emperor Claudius II declared it illegal to have his soldiers married because he believed young, single men performed as better soldiers.

That was in the year 269 when the Roman Emperor was having a hard time getting enough young men to fill his armies. He decided young, married men, especially those with children did not want to serve in his armies so he issued a decree not allowing men to be married to fill his armies in his quest to take over the world! Claudius II believed his soldiers would spend more time thinking about their families than their military responsibilities.

Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as Valentine's Day in 469. It was not until the 1300s it was associated with love and romance. It was at that time considered to be the beginning of when birds began their mating season.

Click on the image to make it larger: 

It was not until the 15th century greeting cards started appearing to show one's affection toward someone else. In the 17th century, the tradition had started in Great Britain and not long after that started to catch on in the United States. That was not until the 1840s mass-produced cards were printed.

Today, more than one billion holiday cards are sent in the United States. That is more than any other holiday except Christmas, far exceeding Mother's Day!  More than two hundred twenty million roses are produced for the holiday with 80% of those being red.

Altogether, Americans spend more than twenty billion dollars a year on Valentine's Day!  That is roughly one hundred thirty dollars per person per year. The most popular gifts are candy in the lead and flowers next; almost 20% of that money is spent on jewelry.

In a recent survey, as many as six million couples will get engaged on February 14!

There are many legends surrounding which Saint Valentine was the one the holiday is named after. One legend has Valentine being stuck in a prison where he was beaten and very few people ever got out of these horrible conditions. According to the legend, he fell in love with a young, blind maiden, presumably the warden's daughter. Using his medical knowledge, he cured her of her blindness and before his execution sent her a card signed, "From Your Valentine" hence beginning the practice of signing Valentine cards with those words.

On February 14, 269, Valentine was beheaded for his disobedience of the Emperor. The Catholic Church later canonized the priest.

It is not a very romantic story of how the holiday got its beginning and evolved over the years to where it is today, and who knows how much of it is true, but I got pieces of this post from a couple different sources. It is amazing what one can find on the Internet! As we all know, if it is on the Internet it has to be true!

Whatever your plans are for the day, if you are with your loved one, please enjoy your activities. If you are near or far from that special person, but not with them, keep them in mind and enjoy your day.

Who knows, today may be the beginning of your new healthy relationship? That box of candy or that bouquet of flowers may be just what she or he needs today.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Jon Stewart Is Quitting The Daily Show

In a very heartfelt statement at the end of last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart announced he was going to be leaving the show after seventeen years! I could not believe my ears or eyes as he held back the tears and talked of his affinity for the show, the people involved in putting on the show and bringing a well scripted and extremely well researched show that made fun of not only politics, but current events, history and other topics too numerous to mention.

It is a sad day today at Comedy Central after Stewart made his unscripted announcement. It is a sad day for me because I always look forward to his humorous look at the events of the day from a perspective I admire.

I like the way he puts a humorous twist on very serious subjects from all over the world. He has not decided when he will leave for good, but it will be sometime this year.

As always, click on the image to make it larger:

On occasion, I stay up to watch The Daily Show; but usually I watch it the next day while I eat breakfast. It is always a great way to start my day. I will miss that. I have sometimes gotten material for speeches from his commentary or information from his guests.

Whatever he does, you know it is well researched and well written. Whenever I talk or listen to a comedian they will tell you comedy is the most difficult form of entertainment to write and perform. He does it incredibly well with a staff of writers who put on an incredible show!

A few years ago he was named the most trusted man in America. Walter Cronkite used to be that person for those of you old enough to remember when he did the nightly news. I found it incredible when that survey came out and a comedian was the most trusted anchor on television!

I also record David Letterman and watch his brand of extraordinary comedy. It will be interesting to see how Stephen Colbert fills his shoes. His shtick was getting a little old for me the last couple years and it will be interesting to see how he changes to fill an hour-long show five nights a week.

I do not pretend to understand entertainment contracts and getting in and out of them and have no idea how or when John Oliver has his contract set up, but I think he will probably be the heir apparent to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. He did an excellent job for the several months Stewart was directing a movie. It is just my hunch, but I believe he would be a great successor to the show.

There is a whole generation today that believes Jay Leno was always the host of The Tonight Show. They have never even seen any episodes of Johnny Carson's show. Johnny Carson was the epitome of a late-night talk show host as was Jack Parr and Steve Allen before Johnny. He used to do a ninety-minute show and introduced us to many comedians including Jay Leno.

Whenever John Stewart leaves, he will leave with large shoes to fill.

I look forward to your comments.