Thursday, November 27, 2008


COPD sucks! Don't kid yourself, smoking and enjoying that cigarette is nothing but a misconception. Unbeknown to you at the time, it will leave you with a deadly surprise, that’s if you smoke long enough.

Imagine being drafted into the military, fully knowing that you are going to be involved in battles, a war perhaps at some point.
When you come down with COPD, you are drafted for life and every minute of each day will become your battle.

You start your day with your inhalers and pills, all lined up like little soldiers on parade; then you ride into battle and knock them all down, each time knowing, that the next day and every day they will be there once again. You will do this on a daily basis for the rest of your life.

Entering the world of COPD, every single moment is a battle for your life. Once in, there is no other way out, there are no cures and the best you can do is look to slow down the progress of your COPD. You struggle for every breath you take, and even the very quality of that breath has varying levels. If you are an air retainer which a lot of people become; then that means you really cannot get a good deep breath so you end up gasping and reaching for your next breath, almost before you have finished exhaling the previous one.
By now if you’re smart, you have done something to try and handle this disease.

There are things available that will help you combat and handle your situation somewhat. Take a rehab course, for there are many places out there that put them on. A rehab course will educate you about COPD and teach you to know and how to better handle your particular situation; how to breath better and exercise thus slowing down the progress of the disease, and thereby prolonging your life.

Lately I have pictured COPD as a raft out in the middle of the ocean. The raft is only big enough to accommodate a certain number of people and already the raft is very full. Surrounding the raft are thousands of other people with COPD; all clutching to the sides of the raft trying their best to cling to life and their breathing, for the raft helps keep them afloat. The raft at this point can be their desire to live, their willingness to work and exercise, eat right, work hard to do all the right things. Slowing down the progress of COPD after all, is all that you can hope for.

There are those out there unfortunately, who have been hanging onto the sides of the raft for what seems like an interminable age. Sadly, eventually they will become too weak and distraught, losing the ability to even draw a breath and to keep a grip of the raft. Slowly they will lose the fire and willingness to hang on any longer, releasing their hold on the raft and slip away, only to make room for another eager desperate person trying so hard to grab hold.

COPD will command your attention for every minute of your waking day, for it has to if you hope to survive. Your COPD will become the biggest focal point in your life, overriding all else. It’s hard to imagine a life like that, but believe me there are millions around the world in such a predicament.

So what does your cigarette taste like now my friend? Do you still need a personal experience with COPD in order to get the message, or maybe you want to test the raft waters?


Friday, November 14, 2008

In A Box of Black Wood

It’s funny how things happen sometimes. I think everyone at one time or another just sits there in a quiet moment and reminisces. That’s the time when it seems the flood gates open and a whole box of memories run rampant all over the living room floor like the memory alphabet gone mad!

I had a day like that not too long ago; the truth is, I get many nights like that, it must be an age thing, or maybe just reviewing inventory of my life.

Sometimes I sit here looking over my files and thinking where did all these thousands of words came from, not only that, but also under what circumstances did these words make their escape. It’s a writers thing I guess.

Recently I was having one of those such moments and “The City of Poets” came to mind. The city was a forum where many people like myself would go and post their poetic creations. The forum was put together and run by Roy York, a southern gentleman, better known online as “Knight-owl or Sgt. Pop”, we quickly became online friends. It was a great place to be and you met lots of good people. Roy is an excellent writer in his own right with some beautiful creations to his credit. I saved a piece that he wrote that I want to share with you, I think it is a brilliant poem. So without further ado and Sgt. Pops permission, I give you his poem.

In A Box of Black Wood

Opening the book, he searched for the final paragraph he read the last time he had this problem. It was only two nights ago, not time enough to catch up with the sleep necessary to make each day bearable. Somehow he managed to keep going though.

The tasks of the day were minimal, amounting to not much more than picking up around the house, which was always picked up anyhow.
No one there to make a mess; the dishes were not used,
save for his plate, a coffee cup and an occasional glass, like now.

Not remembering the last passage in his book, he slipped it into it's slot, placing it just so to match the neat soldierly line of its neighbors.
Walking to the porch, he surveyed his part of the world, spying William across the road, and Perry next door, hard at their labours.

Suddenly, with the fury of a terrier pup in hot pursuit of the neighbor cat, a small bundle of energy burst through the thick, green hedgerow bearing down on him with a look of joy and determination in it's eyes.
He was shocked when he thought; "How fast that boy seems to grow!"

In the boy's arms was a tiny ball of fur; his little friend, a small kitten. Their advance was swift, but the attack on the steps was a slow one.
His joints were stiff and painful and his heart was weak. But he came to love and to cuddle; then sleep came to an old man and his grandson.

The boy was seven; he was seventy-seven.
Though he still had his sleepless nights, so had the child his painful days.
Each, when he could, made the others' life full in so many ways.
He survived twelve more years.

On a cloudy, windy day in May, Cat and I laid the old gentleman to rest in a box of black wood.

We were alone. I wondered,
"When my turn comes, will I have someone, or will I be alone?
What do I do now?
Will there be a grandson to build my box of black wood?"

Roy York, Sr
© October 20, 2002


Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Soldiers Homecoming

In these uncertain days in a world of wars, most assuredly the thoughts must cross the minds of those leaving for the countries of war. Will they be the one who may not return?

This poem is dedicated to all the combat forces of today.

A Soldiers Homecoming

Time is fast approaching when, I shall soon be home
Has it really been so long that I’ve been gone?
Your memory is like sweet music, to my mind when I lay prone,
But your smell and tender touch, is what I long for while I’m gone.

How long is long, in life my friend, with years still yet to come
For this parting in my memories, I will keep,
As I treasure all the moments, when once more I am home
For in that magic moment, for you I know, I’ll weep.

All the hours that I have lost, won’t really mean a thing
For this country is the thing that I’ve missed most,
All the pain, my longing, will be but a moments sting,
For has it really been that long, since I was there on your coast.

The time is fast approaching when, I shall soon be home
And my wanderings, will be a thing soon, of the past,
All else will be forgotten, as I no longer roam
All else, except the hunger for the country, I might have lost.

Eric Valentine Sept. 18/94 ©