‘Lenny’ is my constant companion the doctors call COPD/Asthma. Naming my constant health companion seems to make life easier for me in relating to my disease as it gives it a bit of a personality. Besides treating ‘Lenny’ as a companion, come good days or bad, is much better than always dealing with it as an enemy.
Ok, so now let’s talk about “‘Lenny’ and Me 4 Today”.
Those of us who travel our path of life having to get into an occasional battle with our health ailment, know that there will be times when we may just a either a small moment or possible (and dangerously) a long stretch of time when we just wonder if it’s all worth it, is it worth the fight when we know that eventually it will get worse.
When I feel the first inkling of that feeling of giving up or questioning what is worth the constant fighting of my COPD/Asthma – I think of either a promise I made my grandkids or I think of him, my friend in Oklahoma.
My promise to the grandkids is that I plan on being around for not only their graduations from high school and/or college, but also their beginning a family. That promise alone, if kept, at best can keep me going for another 20 years which is when my youngest grandkid will be in his second year of college.
What guarantees that I will not wallow in my pity for very long, is when I think of my friend in Oklahoma, as ‘Papa Lee’ is fighting ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and fighting like I’ve seen anybody fight a disease that eventually will be his demise.
I call him ‘Papa Lee’ not because he is older than me, though he is by just a couple years, but because he is my oldest son’s ex-father-in-law and the other grandpa to my grandson number two, Korbin.
‘Papa Lee’ is I believe on year number six or seven since the first symptoms of his ALS started to rear up its ugly head. He was diagnosed for sure just months after he had a stretch of life where both his mother and his wife past away within a few months of each other. It was news that for most of us would have sounded like an instant death sentence, but not for ‘Papa Lee’.
While I have not actually had much, if any, face-to-face time with ‘Papa Lee’ since his daughter and my son got their divorce – I always stayed in touch with him. One of the last things I would always tell my grandson when we would talk or see each other, would be to promise to give ‘Papa Lee’ a big hug and greetings from me and be sure and tell him that he was in ‘Papa Bills’ daily prayers and blessings.
This past weekend I told my constant health companion ‘Lenny’ that he must behave as I was taking a road trip to Oklahoma to take grandson number three to a birthday party for grandson number two, and since they were only 5 ½ months apart in age it was the right thing to do.
After having lunch with my ex-daughter-in-law, her new husband and the two grandsons, as the others were heading to a laser-tag place for the birthday party I was going to take some time and go see my friend ‘Papa Lee’ in person.
‘Papa Lee’ is now totally dependent on others and requires a respiratory contraption to keep him breathing. His head slumps a bit toward his right side and while he still has all feeling in his body, his working nerves and muscles do not work, so he half-sits, half-lays there greeting all who enter the room with his patented smile, glittery eyes of happiness and a raspy, airy ‘good to see you’.
We talked for maybe 20 minutes, talked about the grandkids, talked about our faith and talked about the inevitable end that finds us all – only with him and even myself, most likely a lot sooner than we want.
But ‘Papa Lee’ has such peace within himself and he expresses it so well that for moments you think he will live on forever and be there for many conversations yet to come. But then he smiles and says nope, my day will be coming and I don’t know when, but I do know I will make the best of each day, as best as I can.
‘Papa Lee’ knows I will take good care at being a top Grandpa to Korbin and I promised I would even look after his daughters as if they were my own.
But in the end, my visit was very humbling for myself and my companion ‘Lenny’, as we both witnessed true use of the four foundations to living – hope, faith, love and grace. If and when ‘Lenny’ becomes more of a constant battle and I, like ‘Papa Lee’, may be seeing the end of the tunnel or the final destination of my travels of life, then humbly I hope I can do it with the same constant moment-to-moment outflowing energy of hope, faith, love and grace that ‘Papa Lee’ displays each and every day.
As I walked away, I’ll be honest I could not fight back the human tears for I knew that it would be the last time I would most likely see my friend ‘Papa Lee’ and that made me very, very sad. But I also had tears of joy and praise as I could now say I saw someone who truly lived his life well above his disease, while throwing out constant rainbows of hope, faith, love and grace.
And that my friends, is where ‘Lenny’ (my COPD/Asthma) and me are at 4 today.
As always – if you or anyone you know have any symptoms involving lung and breathing functionality, and they linger over and over while disrupting a lifestyle – then please ask questions and get it checked out.
Remember – ‘a person without good breathing, is a person without a good life’, so let’s do what we can, to learn what we can, to improve what we can.
I bid to all – smiles, prayers, blessings and steady breathing – Mr. William.
(Copyright@2017, CrossDove Writer through wheezingaway.com – no part of this write may be used or copied without written permission.)
Follow all the adventures of “‘Lenny’ and Me 4 Today” at wheezingaway.com or on Facebook at COPD Travels.
NOTES: Sometimes we share what may seem like medical information, but we are only giving descriptions and highlights of various aspects of having COPD and/or asthma and no way do we ever want our information to be considered medical treatment type of information, always consult your physician for more, clearer and more medical founded information.