I recently received a short, very to the point, e-mail lately. My reader asked: "Why no Old West history lately? Why no posts, not articles, nothing new? I love your posts, what's happened?"
Well, to answer her email. Whenever I've run into a little writer's block over the last few years, I've been able to pull up a draft and finish it for you. Some posts being easier to finish than others, I've been able to do that pretty often over the years.
As for my political editorials, my opinion posts on today's political environment, current events, are a lot easier to put out simply because of the time involved to do them. I take an issue and rant about it. While over the years, you've made it clear that that's not what you really come here for, I have to admit that my political rants have served to be a stress reliever for me. I'm sure my wife can usually figure out that I've finished a political post by the way I've stopped cussing out Democrats.
As I said, I know that's not what you come here for. Yes, I do know that. In fact, I know that so well that I try not to offend my Old West history fans by actually keeping my political post off of my blog's Facebook page. It's true. Since I like that people are as interested in American history, specifically Old West history, I really try not to chase folks away by posting things other than that on my blog's Facebook page. The last thing that I want to do is make someone disinterested in visiting my blog's Facebook page over my political rants.
Besides, contrary to what I thought for the longest time, I'm finding out that American history, our love of the Old West, is not confined to only Conservatives. Yes, as surprising as it has been to me to learn, there are some folks on the other side of my political persuasion that enjoy learning about American history.
Why does that shock me so much? It does because I find that a lot of people on the Left are closed minded when it comes to studying history. I've found Conservative to be open minded to looking at the whole story of what took place and not only what fit some sort of agenda.
For example, when I wrote about how the Black Hills were not the centuries old lands of the Sioux Indians, and how they in fact conquered the Cheyenne for those lands, and how the Cheyenne conquered the Kiowa for those lands, and so on, I had self-proclaimed anti-American Leftist demanding that I take that information off the Internet. Some of those people called me all sorts of names, including "racist" of course. In contrast, on the other hand, in regards to the same article, I still have people writing me to say how they did not know about the change of hands regarding those lands. The Last Tribe to get the Black Hills
When I looked into the how and why regarding the establishment of the Ku Klux Klan, my research led me into finding out about the actual legacy of racism and segregation of the Democrat Party. I had no idea that they have always been who they are, and I was absolutely surprised to find out that their racist and anti-equal rights policies extended to both blacks and women. And no, it did not stop in the 1800s, or the early 1920s, or the 1960s when the Democrats in Congress fought against the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but extended well into the 1980s when the Democrats shot down the Equal Rights Amendment for women.
After I posted that four part series, some Democrats were crazed and as angry as can be. Some wrote to threaten me and my family. While I saw it as fascinating history, they saw it as a hit piece on the Democrat Party. Democrat Party Legacy of Racism & Segregation: Part One
Of course, my most popular article has been what I wrote in 2011 about the 9-11 Cross and what I've learned about Muslims since 9-11. As I state in that article, I knew little to nothing about Muslims prior to 9-11. Fact is, Muslims, who they are, what they want, their hate for others, hate for Christians and Jews, their want of Sharia Law, and their desire for world conquest, was nothing that I gave much thought. Frankly, other than Muslims at constant war with Jews, I didn't know much about who they are today. I certainly had no idea that they are as backwards as they are. The 9/11 Cross
As for my Old West history posts, my problems with my putting them out as often has to do with time and research. Because of what they are, they take a lot more research to get them right. And frankly, since I have a tendency to veer off course during an article, I like to make sure that the information that I think is relevant to a good story is accurate as well.
So now, as my reader asked, "Why no Old West history lately? Why no posts, not articles, nothing new? I love your posts, what's happened?"
Well, there has been a number of things happening these days. Let me explain in no real order of the things that have been taking place to slow down my writing my blog. Besides finishing my first book which will be out in a couple of weeks, life has really gotten in the way of both my research and writing my blog.
I've made mention of some of my health problems, but never really precisely what's going on. So let me just say that I'm having problems since my family has a genetic predisposition to Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). CHF is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of your heart muscles. While CHF is simply referred to most often as "heart failure," CHF specifically refers to the stage in which fluid builds up around the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently. It is a chronic condition in which the heart doesn't pump blood as well as it should.
It's signs and symptoms may include: 1) Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness, 2) Fatigue and weakness, 3) Very rapid weight gain from fluid retention, 4) Swelling in your legs, ankles and feet, 5) Rapid or irregular heartbeat, 6) Increased need to urinate at night, 7) Swelling of your abdomen, 8) Shortness of breath (dyspnea) when you exert yourself or when you lie down, 9) Sudden, severe shortness of breath, 10) Chest pain if your heart failure is caused by a heart attack, and 11) Reduced ability to exercise. Additional signs and symptoms that I haven't yet to experience are 1) Persistent cough or wheezing, and a 2) Lack of appetite and nausea.
What I'm having real problems with right now is how fatigue and weakness these days makes everything a chore. The rapid weight gain from fluid retention is what's responsible for swelling in my legs, ankles and feet. Along with a rapid or irregular heartbeat at times means that I'm having a reduced ability to exercise and a difficulty concentrating. My wife will tell you that I'm also having problems with decreased alertness long before these days.
How my life has changed because of this is pretty simply, I'm having a real problem with being tired all the time. I'm also gaining weight through fluid retention, and concentrating on things these days is getting tougher. Among other things, this makes it tough to write my blog or finish my book. Also, combine this with "writer's block" and my blog readership suffers.
What am I doing about this? Well, as for the CHF, I have a few medications that I'm taking, and believe it or not I'm trying to exercise more to reverse it's effects. The biggest catch 22 is my weight gain because I can't do as much these days -- mostly because I'm wiped out all the time. It's taking it's toll on my energy level.
While this is going on to make me feel exhausted, I still have my position at our local American Legion that I have to tend to. My horses and property needs my attention. I've also been busy with doing a lot of work around my place since my wife and I have been hard at work refinancing our home. Along with this, my wife has had medical problems as well.
On August 4th, I took her to Sutter-Amador Hospital in Jackson, about a half-hour from where I live here in California. She was diagnosed as having "possible" gallstone problems. Before leaving the emergency room, the treating physician told us to arrange a follow-up. The next day we called for a follow up appoint as we were instructed. The people at Sutter-Amador Hospital said that they could see her on August 29th. Yes, 25 days later. Image that.
Since my wife has medical coverage through me with the VA, we made an appointment with her doctor to see her on the 14th. So OK, it was still 10 days later -- but it was better than nothing. Besides, I decided that if she were in pain like the first time, then I'd rush her back to the ER at Sutter-Amador Hospital in Jackson again since it is the closest ER.
On August 14th, we went to her appointment at the VA Clinic in Modesto. We had to be there by 11 a.m., but a logging truck got in front of us and we ended up arriving 10 minutes late for her appointment. I figured the VA would refuse to see her since we were 10 minutes late, but I was surprised that they did. During her visit, the Chinese doctor who was attending to my wife seem to have a hard time understanding English and actually had to call a nurse in to help translate what was going on with my wife. Then they said that she needed to get to the VA Hospital in Palo Alto.
Because the people at the VA Clinic in Modesto said my wife needed to get to a VA emergency room, we drove the three hours to the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. We arrived at a little after 3 p.m., and by 5 p.m. the VA emergency room staff took her in to get an ultrasound exam. After that we waited. Even though they found gallstones, and suspected that one stone was in the duct leading to her large intestines and was responsible for creating the pain she was feeling, they refused to treat her.
Instead, the premier VA Hospital in Northern California, the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, decided to dump my wife's case to another hospital. Though she is supposedly covered by CHAMP VA because she's married to me, the VA there at Palo Alto refused to treat her and instead told me to take her to another hospital.
While what they did was a clear case of "patient dumping," they said they were sending her somewhere else because they didn't recognize her insurance. As far as they were concerned, she didn't have coverage and that weren't going to treat her no matter what condition she was in. Just so you know, in California, "patient dumping" is supposedly illegal. Patient dumping is the practice of hospitals and emergency services no treating patients who they see as unable to pay for treatment.
So at a little before 1 a.m., we left the VA Hospital in Palo Alto after being in their ER for almost 10 hours. Driving to the next hospital, my wife said to me, "If I were an Illegal Alien, they would have treated me and taken whatever insurance I have -- but I'm a citizen."
At about 3 a.m., we arrived at Stanford ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton -- a little over an hour away from the VA Palo Alto Hospital. The people at that hospital were 180 degrees different than the treatment at the VA in Modesto and Palo Alto emergency room. They immediately admitted my wife. While they had a bed for her, I refused to leave her and simply slept in a chair.
The next day, they ran tests, a number of doctors came in to talk about removing her gallbladder and that stone which may be in the duct leading to her intestines. By that afternoon, she went into surgery. Later on that day, after a few hour surgery, she returned to her room. She was out most of the day. Again that night, I refused to leave her and simply slept in a chair.
My wife was discharged on Friday afternoon after her surgeons came in to check on her. The people at Stanford ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton, California, are really top-notch folks. They are extremely professional, but also personable and caring. I want to take a minute here to thank Surgeons Dr. Andrew Lee who removed my wife's gallbladder and Dr. Christopher Enwisle who was the specialist to go in and get the stone blocking that duct to my wife's intestines. These two men are great surgeons and need to be complimented on their compassion and wonderful way with a patient like my wife who was very scared of what was taking place. They were certainly a comfort, truly Godsends.
Over the last week, she has been recuperating. And as for medical coverage for her, we are looking for coverage that will be honored. If we can help it, we will be relying a lot less on the VA for her coverage in the future. They simply don't care enough about family members of veterans.
As I told my wife after this was all said and done, I've been with the VA since 1995 and have had great care and lousy care in the past. While shoddy medial treatment for me is one thing, I don't want that for her.
So now, getting back to writing my blog and providing you with what I hope are interesting stories about the Old West. Now that things have settled down a lot and my first book will be out in a couple of weeks on Amazon, I'm hoping to get at least two stories out a week in the future. Yes, I'm hoping to have a new story posted for you at least twice a week. Writer's block or not, whether it's my questioning if Wyatt Earp really did kill Curly Bill, or whether it's about a group of Indians who were blamed for a massacre that they didn't commit, I need to finish those stories because I really believe that you will find them as interesting as I do.
Fact is, I have a lot of drafts of what I think are not widely known stories. It's just up to me to finish them and post them for you. I hope that I don't disappoint you.