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Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
My complete profile...
Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich
His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole
[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos
Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead
There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
| Cycling to work..
| For those of you who do not know already, I began commuting to work this spring via a new mountain bike.
As I have mentioned in other posts throughout the history of this blog, in April I had my first appointment with a new doctor.
To be sure the doctor wasn't new to my family, she has been my wife's doctor for ten or fifteen years - and has been the doctor for each of our three children.
The "new" really is applied to my relationship with this doctor.
She practices out of a small building with a group of other professionals - dentists, lawyers, etc. You know the set it, you seem them in strip malls all over North America. To be certain, I was previously a patient of another doctor in that office, and it was likely for this reason that my wife's doctor refused me as a patient.
You see, I sort of had a falling out with this other doctor over the way he handled a debilitating malady that suddenly struck me some eight years ago. I felt that I was not receiving the care I needed, and I moved on to another doctor. In doing so I had to have all my files forwarded and perhaps this was why when I left that new doctor my wife's doctor was a little gun-shy about taking me on. I suppose shopping for the best doctor makes a patient look like an ingrate, or worse.
Anyway, I suppose I ought to give some reason for my leaving my first doctor.
Prior to the birth of our first child, I was saved, but seriously backslidden - I mean very backslidden. My wife wasn't saved, and our marriage was a joke. We were both faithful to one another - but we had become room-mates. By this time we had silently given ourselves over to the notion that it wasn't going to get any better, so my wife decided that we ought to start a family (perhaps that would fix things?).
Now my wife was working with special needs kids (I think it is politically correct to call them retarded again - I am not sure, but whatever the correct nomenclature happens to be - my wife worked with these kids). Not the high functioning variety, but the severely low functioning - kids with severe autism or cerebral palsy etc. Many of the kids had more than one condition and label. It is the sort of work that only certain people can really do, and my wife was one of them. I think that is how she managed to stay married to me - she was used to loving and getting nothing in return.
I mention my wife's job because in this job she met like minded people all the time, and it was one of these people I supposed that suggested the best way to see what kind of father I would make would be to get a pet (such as a cat) and see how attentive I was to the thing. So my wife went one day (unbeknownst to me) to the animal shelter and found the biggest, fattest, cat on death row she could find, and brought it home.
When we were growing up, my mother was a decided "dog" person, having grown up on the farm her entirely childhood was blanketed in sweet and fond memories of the family dog. My father however was abused as a child, and having grown up in poverty, used to tie rats tails together then hang them over a clothes line and watch them fight to death. I mention this so that this part of my history makes some sense.
My dad was the sort of person who would do good things just for show - that is, if my mother wanted a dog, my father would go and get her a dog - even though he hated it. He wanted to seem like a good and loving fellow. The moment the dog broke a cardinal rule however, my father would put the thing down - personally.
Now, I will paint of picture of my father that might disturb some readers, so if you are easily disturbed, you might want to skip ahead. My dad has since come to the Lord, and the description I am about to paint does not do justice to the man he has become - nevertheless I will paint it because it is true.
There really wasn't a list of cardinal rules - if the dog did something that inconvenienced my father in any way - that was tantamount to a death sentence. My father had spent much time on the killing floor of a local slaughterhouse that is, he was the "axe" man - he personally slaughtered perhaps thousands of animals. I suppose one deals with this by distancing one self from the life that one is taking, and so it was quite easy for my father to personally put down many of our family pets.
The earliest memory I have of this was when I was very young. My grandparents lived on a farm 80 miles from our city, and we would travel out there for the weekends. It was the Christmas weekend, and the snow was falling in those large, sticky-silent, bunches of flakes. Our dog, I don't remember his name, but he was a black and white short haired dog with floppy ears, had chewed one of my mother's slippers - which meant that my dad was going to have to buy my mom new slippers -which apparently was an offense worth killing a dog over. To be fair, I think my dad was angry at my mother for "allowing" her slippers to be chewed in the first place - but his solution was always the same.
On that Christmas eve we piled into our car, the dog in the back seat with us kids. We pulled over somewhere in the night, the snow falling down so silent and beautiful, and my mom and dad were having a fight about something. Dad opened the car door and let the dog out, then went to the trunk to take out the claw hammer.
I don't need to paint the whole picture - but when my dad came back the whole car was in tears.
My father personally killed perhaps four of five of our dogs.
Now, I know, I know - you are thinking, what a cold and selfish person! Bingo. That was my dad. Two of my sisters became prostitutes, one was a stripper (though today they have overcome these things), and most of us were drug addicts in our adult years - I will have to give you my testimony some day, it is enough to say that I had a rough childhood.
But the point for this story is that I didn't grow up with cats - since my dad hated them even more than he hated dogs.
So when my wife brought the cat home I wasn't all that "loving" towards it. I didn't hate it or anything, but I had no interest in it either. At least for the first couple of days. After that she and I were great pals.
I don't know why it is, but cats like me - I mean they REALLY like me. They come and jump on my shoulders and caress my ears etc. We named the cat in French "minute" (pronounced "Min -new") but my wife insisted on calling her "kitty" such that after a year or so the cat was answering to kitty rather than to minute. The cat used to sleep on my head at night, and I didn't mind one bit. In fact, when I got home I used to play with her as soon as I got in the door - I was the only one who could. I could scratch her belly and she would love it, if anyone else came close to her she would scratch their eyes out.
I suppose I passed the test because my wife and I talked about trying to have a child after that, and so within a couple of months we were pregnant.
Now I hadn't really noticed it, but I was actually morbidly allergic to this cat. I say I hadn't noticed it because allergies show up in three different ways - the sneezy/runny nose/watery eyes kind of thing, the rash or swelling, or the chest congestion. The way the cat affected me, was in my lungs - that is, I had a histamine reaction in my lungs causing my bronchioles to shrink and my chest to feel heavy all the time.
When my wife announced her pregnancy, I became the cat litter cleaner guy. There is a parasite found in cat feces that causes a disease known as toxoplasmosis - a disease that could harm a developing fetus if it is passed on from the mother to the fetus. Nuff said - I was cleaning the cat litter from then on. But if my allergy was affecting me prior to my cat litter cleaning duties - it made a quantum leap immediately following.
Around this time, my wife purchased the cheapest "humidifier" money could buy. Our wood frame home was dry in the winter, and my wife has always been prone to chapped lips etc. So she began to run this thing at night. It didn't actually humidify the air but being a "cool mist" humidifier, it just spit water into the air. Picture someone holding a windex spray bottle (filled with water of course) and pumping it till it was dry, then filling it again and pumping it till it was dry.
I went to bed one night, and my wife brought "the spitter" as I had come to call it (I hated the miserable thing) into the bedroom with us. I woke at perhaps five in the morning, unable to breath. I was coughing the worst sort of coughs imaginable, and was certain that something was terribly wrong. The walls were literally dripping - nothing in our room was dry, it was worse than sleeping outside and waking up slick with dew.
I went to a walk in clinic, and the doctor there diagnosed me with double pneumonia. He gave me "much" penicillin and told me to come back in two weeks. Two weeks later I was worse than I was before. I crawled into his office and he examined me again a little perplexed. He decided to try something - he gave me a rescue inhaler - the kind used by asthmatics - and asked me to try it and see if things improved. I gave it a puff - and like magic, I could breath again a little more freely.
He diagnosed me with adult onset asthma, and prescribed two inhalers - one that was sort of a long term thing, and the other a rescue inhaler.
You might be saying - what does this have to do with cyling? My apologies. I am on a tangent, I will tie up the loose ends soon.
Well, that little rescue puffer kept me alive after that - I used it ten times a day. I didn't want to, the warnings were pretty severe - the one side effect that really troubled me was that apparently, over time, it reduces the elasticity of your lungs - that sounded ... Unpleasant.
So our first born child came, and I determined to change my life - I began teaching at a college at night - and took up a martial art. Surely my son would be able to look up to his dad - the professor with the black belt - and not be ashamed (I had some issues in my own relationship with my dad - perhaps I was over compensating?)
In the first couple of months that my child was born, I began a new career, and the pay was very good. It would have been a time of great joy and blessing, except that I was, as I said, unrepentantly backslidden in my faith - so far gone that I wasn't even sure I was saved. My son's arrival was not the healing balm that would save my marriage, and as much as I wanted to be a good father, I was as selfish as a man could be - the dark shadow of my own upbringing was already forming ruts in our lives - we could already see the way it was going to be, and it was not the sort of thing that brought my wife any joy.
So it was that one day we went out for supper, my wife and I, and two of my role playing friends (I was an avid role player). We were at "Boston Pizza" when it happened.
The incident!I was eating, as I recall, a baked tortellini in white sauce. Did I mention that I was 200 lbs and only five foot eight? I had been having chest pains (because of my undiagnosed allergy) for some time and my chest always felt heavy. I associated the heaviness and lack of energy with my weight - that is, I knew I wasn't in shape, and I knew I had put on more weight than a man my size ought to have on - so I assumed that the heaviness in my chest, the shortness of breath all the time etc., was a weight related thing. I began to feel guilty every time I ate a ridiculously high calorie, high fat meal - which was pretty much every day - I was somewhat worried that my diet was not good for my health - but not worried enough to do anything about it.
So as I chomped down on a yummy cheese laden tortellini, I noticed that something was wrong with my state of consciousness. My heart was thumping like a machine gun, and I had the most frighteningly unpleasant sensation - like brain nausea. We all know what it feels like to drive fast over hills so that as you plummet down the next hill your belly is full of butterflies - that sickening "wrongness" that makes you wonder if you will throw up or not. Well, I was feeling that same sort of "wrongness" in my head - not the "I am going to throw up" sort of feeling, but the bizarre "something is really wrong with how I am momentarily perceiving reality" feeling.
It lasted only a minute, and the other diners with me hadn't noticed how my face became blank and confused as the conversation going on around me plummeted out of interest - replaced by an intense internal focus - what was going on with me.
I think women experience that inward focus during childbirth - I really do. The intenseness of it - being unable to escape the reality of a moment - for a woman it is the pain that cannot be ignored or talked through or shared - it is so entirely personal it consumes you utterly, and while you are experiencing it, there is no other reality. As I sat there in mid-chew, everything else in life had no meaning - I was a bug nailed to this moment by some insurmountable pin driven through my psyche - and nothing in all the world was important except what I was experiencing - it was as if I were dying and knew it.
So when it was over I said something like, "...That was weird...!"
I wasn't sure what had happened, but I was certain it had something to do with the food I was eating - perhaps my body had finally had enough cheese? Clearly I was not about to eat fatty foods for a while. I drove everyone home, and by the next day I had forgotten about it.
Two days later however I was on my coffee break at work, and it happened again - WHAM. I was walking to a store, and suddenly I was in full freak out mode. If felt like my brain was being painlessly turned inside out. It lasted only for a minute or so, but this time I couldn't shake it off as some weird, never to be repeated phenomenon.
I mentioned it to my wife, and she suggested I go get checked out. I refused of course.
The next day I went for lunch with a friend from work - and as we were eating - KABLAM - again, worse this time than the other two. I tried to explain to my friend that I didn't know what was going on, but it was the most unsettling sensation imaginable. It lasted only a few moments, and when it was done I was gripping the table like a madman and sweating profusely. My friend suggested that I might want to get checked out. I laughed it off - but was shaken.
The following day, I remember this well, I was with the same friend again for lunch - we went to burger king - I was having a whopper with cheese combo. And as we were talking Niagara falls began to descend upon me. I was experiencing the intellectual equivalent of a black hole imploding on itself. Only this time it didn't last a minute - but went on, and on. My friend managed to get me to a walk in clinic, where I gripped the counter like a wide eyed stallion, and barked to the receptionist with more fervor and volume than is generally allotted anyone on the "sane" side of the fence - "GET ME A DOCTOR NOW. I AM DYING!"
At first the receptionists were non-plussed. Apparently people come and die right before their eyes on a daily basis. The other denizens of the doctor's office however were not so accepting of my apparent breach in sanity.
I mean we all do it. You sit on the bus or stand at the paperstand or what have you and the crazy person begins to ramble - and you want to get out of there as soon as you can. You make it look like you had always planned to suddenly exit the area, but you exit nonetheless. People are not comfortable around raving lunatics - that is just the society we live in.
So here I am, I can't even keep my head up, my heart is pounding like a jungle drum against my rib cage, and I am sweating like a beast, and my "patience factor" is through the floor. I get to that place that women get to in child birth - where the whole world can come in and watch them give birth and they couldn't care less - the pain is all that matters and everything else in all of reality is inconsequential. So it was for me - but I wasn't feeling pain, I was in panic - sheer fear, and in that fear I found great boldness - I was far more afraid of expiring right there and then than I was afraid of upsetting the social culture of the doctor's office.
In what can only be described as a shrieking cackle, I demanded that I see a doctor immediately, or ELSE!
Now, I am sure I just looked like your typical downtown drug fiend experiencing mid-trip freak-out, but there must have been something pitiful about me, because they shuffled me off away from the waiting room (I was having a bit of a negative effect in there), onto a chair outside one of the examination rooms.
There I sat with my head in my hands waiting to die. I had already resigned myself to my fate. I was so backslidden that I didn't even turn to God, I was too afraid. I had heard the gospel and believed, but I had never studied the bible, hadn't come from a Christian home, and more or less expected that I had, through my return to a life of sin, caused God to forsake me. I won't get into that now - but suffice to say I waited there maybe ten long minutes before a doctor saw me.
In the mean time the receptionist came and asked for my health card. That is quite a picture. Me with my head between my knees waiting to die - then digging into my wallet and pulling out my health card for the receptionist, then hanging my head once again waiting to die.
By the time the doctor saw me the "attack" had passed.
I went in shivering - literally shaking in fear. The doctor asked me a few questions, and promptly decided that I was having a panic attack.
I was sober the moment it registered in my ear.
To me, that meant that the doctor was saying that I was making it up - that this was just in my head. Fear was suddenly replaced with righteous indignation - panic attack? What quack school did you graduate from?? Panic attack? Thanks for nothing.
He wrote me a prescription for a tranquilizer, and I took it home and showed my wife. How dare he? His suggestion was that stress was causing me to have these attacks - but there was no stress in my life - sure there was a new job, new baby, a marriage about to break up, but stress? Hardly.
I refused treatment, and the attacks continued. Eventually I had to leave my job, and for about eight months I more or less laid around each day waiting to die. I decided to give up on walk in clinics and found a doctor at my wife's clinic (you see the tie in now eh?) - He was a General Practitioner, but had minored in endochrinology - human internal medicine - surely this guy would be able to help me figure out what was wrong.
At first he listened to my explanation of the events, and in good faith sent me off to specialists - all the tests came back negative, and in a short order, he had decided that it was all in my head. He got me an appointment with a psychiatrist, and in the mean time told me to come in every two weeks. Invariably I would drag myself down to his office, collapse in the waiting room for two hours, drag myself to his examination room, flop there for half an hour waiting - at which point he would come in and say, "anything new?" - No. "okay, see you in two weeks." It was the most humiliating and degrading thing.
In the meantime, I had a friend who was in school becoming a doctor. I asked him for his advice and he referred me to a professor of ethics who worked out of the teaching office for GPs. You went and saw an intern GP, and they asked you a bunch of questions, the GP then came in and together they checked to see if the GP was right. You got to see two doctors for the price of one, and unlike a regular office, this wasn't pay-per-visit, these guys were on salary from the hospital, so you weren't in and out in five minutes - you got good quality time with the doctor.
The first time I saw the doctor we had a two hour conversation about my health history, my family health history, and significantly, what I thought might be wrong. The doctor wanted to make sure that I understood that he didn't want to leave me grasping at straws on this. One thing I noticed, my chest thing hadn't gone away, and he suggested it might be an allergy, so he arranged for an allergy test.
When I did go to the allergy test, it turns out I was miserably allergic to my cat, and to dust mites. This is why I wasn't getting any better with the breathing thing. I had suspected it for months now, and knowing this made it much easier.
Our house was all carpets, so we sold it, bought a new house with all hard wood floors, and put the cat out at a friends place in the farm.
Within two weeks I didn't need the puffer anymore - and within a month I stopped wheezing altogether. In fact, in about two months I was fully recovered.
It turns out that one of the side effects of the rescue puffer (it is a corticosteroid) is "anxiety attacks" - which explained much.
The psychiatrist saw me when I was already on the rebound. At that time we hadn't pieced it all together yet - so all I knew was that I was getting better. He said he had no idea what I had had in the past - but whatever it was, the aftermath was that I had become depressed (apparently dying slowly for months on end makes you depressed!) and he prescribed a six month stint of prozak.
Now, back to my wife's doctor - my medical records must tell quite a story - words like "gibbering" and "maniacal" no doubt colouring it here and there - I suppose I had the unspoken but obvious "don't touch this with a ten foot stick" stigma attached to my name, such that my wife's doctor was quite reluctant to take me on. It was years before she finally did, and even then I had to make an appointment 14 months in advance.
So here I was in April of this year. Since my "near death" escapade I had come back to the Lord for real - I had been reading the bible daily for years, and I was alive spiritually - a brand new man. My marriage had done an about face, and I had three wonderful children who loved me and of whom I thought the world. None of which my wife failed to mention to her doctor - which is likely how I was eventually allowed to become her patient.
I was at this point however, once again overweight - she weighed me in at 205, and told me to lose weight or else.
So, since I had been planning on buying a bike anyway (here is the bike tie in), I talked to my wife about it, and using some of our savings I purchased an entry level mountain bike. I put 1427 kilometers on it between May 10 and July 14 (the day it was stolen).
The day it was stolen, I realized that I hadn't even written down the serial number. I phoned my insurance people and they said the deductible would be about the same as the bike - so I didn't even bother reporting it stolen - I just went out and bought another one. (after phoning my wife of course).
Since then I have put another 1500 km on the new bike. I hope to get to 3204 kilometers before the season is done - that is 2000 miles for all you 'mericans.
Much of my weight loss this summer (about 37 lbs) can be traced to riding 20 miles each day - but most of the weight lost actually came from changing my diet.
So this summer I lost 37 lbs, got a bike stolen, bought a new bike, was hit by a van on the new bike (and survived more or less unscathed), and had my bike speedometer stolen. All in all - it was a great summer.
posted by Daniel @
I wasn't sure where you were going with all the twists and turns, but it was a good read.
I'm a cat person too. I love cats, and cats love me. But, like you, I'm really alergic to them.
Anyway, growing up my family always had cats and a house filled with dust mites, and I always had asthma and difficulty playing certain sports, etc. I didn't go anywhere without my inhailer (which I also hated, even if mine just caused odd breath).
During college I moved into a place with pet restrictions. I have not had a pet since then, and my asthma and all other alergies I thought I had have disappeared (probably because my immune system has time to recoup now). I really miss my cats, but it's so nice to be able to go on a jog or play soccer. I can't believe how much of an effect a simple alergy can have on people.
I also can't believe you've ridden so many far in one summer! I should look into getting a bike again myself.
Wow...quite a story and one I identify with quite well...good and bad! I think cats are often drawn to those of us allergic to them...
Your descriptions though, sound a lot like I have felt when I have reacted to something I ate too....none of my food allergies are life threatening, except cilantro and maybe lettuce, neither of which I ever plan to eat again...not worth what happens!! But when you have food allergies that are at the lower levels, they can be more difficult to diganose. I used to think that the blood tests for food allergy were hokey...but actually in our family they turned out to be the more accurate over the skin testing kind! Glad you feel better anyway now!
It is hard to grow up in a dysfunctional family...that was my plight too, even though my dad was a church pillar! It happens anywhere. When there is mental problems, that is just the way it is. But you know, one advantage coming from where we have....well, I certainly can weep with those that weep and rejoice with those that rejoice...and God has uses for that. And NOTHING in our lives is ever wasted in HIS economy...NOTHING! All can be put to use (Romans 8:28 still applies!!)...that is part of what encourages me about my growing up years. But even though my adult years have had plenty of hardship too...there is not enough wealth on the planet to ever convince me to relive my youth. And I am SO GLAD it is not even possible. Blessings on you for being so transparent..not an easy thing to do!
Dan - whenever I meet someone with asthma I tell my cat story, just in case they are suffering similarly!
Likewise, when I meet someone who has suffered from panic attacks, we sure have a hoot swapping "I'M DYING!!" stories!
I do like the twisty-turning "conversational" style of writing, if there is such a style. I usually just type it as I go and try and rather than reign in every tangent, sometimes I like to explore all the limbs just for fun - well, fun for me that is :)
Elizabeth - I remember always that God made the deaf and the dumb as well - and that he made them with tender care - not that he messed up and somehow "rejects" came out that shouldn't have been - but that God knit us all together in the womb. I couple this to the understanding of how God kept Abimelech from sinning with Abraham's wife Sarah. The only reason we are not as sinful as we could be is because God keeps us from being as sinful as we could be.
That gives me a perspective on my life - God made me, he made my parents, and whatever difficulties I have had I can blame God for, since he allowed as much sin in their life as was there. Knowing therefore that God has allowed this - and knowing that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose - I find it easy to forgive hurts and to empathize with others.
I will have to post about how the Lord delivered me out of hating my dad. It is quite a testimony!
Understood, Daniel. I too have been delivered from the hate for my abusive dad. I will look forward to whatever you choose to share here.
Interesting thing that just happened. I prayed not long ago that someway the Lord would provide a keyboard for us, as in the last move we left behind a piano and with the future in mind, we decided a keyboard would be best. I told no one of my prayer and shortly thereafter, my dad called and said he was worried over my high blood pressure (having had to bury my brother years ago, I think he may worry about outliving me too) and thought that if I had the keyboard, playing it might help me to lower the blood pressure some. SO...not the source I expected for the keyboard to come from, but I am most grateful. And my blood pressure has been doing better of late...it may be other factors that are affecting it...not sure, but I am very grateful for the capability to express myself musically once again. Not that I am an expert you understand.
I am a guitar player myself. I was in a blues band for a number of years before I walked with the Lord.
I still play from time to time.
The "cycling" link caught my eye. then I read the rest of the post.
My first observation is this: How can we as Christians believe in the awesome life-changing power of Christ and still promote Christian psychology? (Focus on the Family comes to mind) I love reading stories like this one.
My second observation is this: I will start tallying miles on my bike, too, though I do it just for fun...
Marcian - When my wife and I were at our worst, ready to throw in the towel we went to a couples group. I was regarded by the group as the loud mouth know-it-all, who in fact knew very little. After the couples group ended my wife put us both into couples counselling with a psychologist. We met for a few weeks, then the psychologist basically told my wife there was nothing that could be done for our marriage until they "fixed" what was wrong with me. So our couples counselling was set aside so that I could "get help".
I went faithfully, and did everything they told me, and I would come home and try and be nice, and it would last for about ten minutes, then it was all over till next week. Again and again week after week - nothing ever changed.
The day I began to read the bible and obey Christ however, my whole life changed in a heartbeat - not some little thing that failed as soon as I started it - but a massive, all encompassing sudden twist - I was a new man, and in eight months my wife came to Christ.
What Psychology so profoundly failed to do for all the months that I tried to make myself nice - God did in a moment.
As far as I am concerned, psychology is bunk - a man with discernment is far more useful to me than a doctorate in psychology.