Lightning Facts Learned First Hand

 

 

Lightning Facts

Lightning is pretty in the sky at night

It flitters and flashes from the heavens on high

A power from God only an atheist could deny

The beauty is awesome, the power, a fright

Like the fingers of God stretched across our domain

The thunder adjoins like the clapping of God’s hands

When the lightning strikes close

It will scare the hell out of a mortal man

Do not seek shelter from the flashing beauty

Underneath of a tree with limbs spread wide

If you feel the hairs of your back stand high

Fall on your face and pray that you will not be fried

Please take it from me, your brother and friend

If one of God’s fingers touches you the pain is for life

If you are blessed to survive the fright, barbecued inside

You’ll never again stand in the open, enjoying the site

Thunder, The Memories, The Light

 

4:30 In the morning listening to the rain outside

Quiet massaging thunder rumbling to distill the night

Do we consider the thunder as the fury of God, or His love

O’ listen to the somber drum roll fading off into the night

Thunder the voice of an Angel singing, or a warning of light

The flash of light it changes your life from that time

A near miss, a near that didn’t, you tend to remember the time

Is it a wondrous thing that you got lit up and yet survived

In the rumbles deep and low you wonder why you’re alive

Did the Lord steer the light so we could see our own darkness inside

To The Scepter Above do we humbly and meekly bow even now

Is it guilt, shame, or pride, do we hear the Devil laughing at us now

Our final tally sheet, did we end up doing more good than harm

Something as simple as choking on one’s own spit we can die

None knows if once again we will hear the thunder roar then light

Thunder the last thing we hear tonight, or is it forever goodbye?

(LIGHTNING FACTS) These Are Just Some Of The Many Facts That Doctors At The Veterans Administration Hospitals Ignore And Deny!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘LIGHTNING INJURY RESEARCH PROGRAM’, NOAA, AND MD./PROFESSOR MARY ANN COOPER, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO)

Medical Aspects of Lightning

 

How Big A Problem Is This? Statistics

Lightning has been the second largest storm killer in the U.S. for the last 40 years, exceeded only by floods. A lightning strike can result in a cardiac arrest (heart stopping) at the time of the injury, although some victims may appear to have a delayed death a few days later if they are resuscitated but have suffered irreversible brain damage.

According to Storm Data, a National Weather Service publication, the U.S. averages 73 reported lightning fatalities per year. Due to under reporting, the figures are more realistically about 100 deaths per year. Only about 10% of people who are struck by lightning are killed, leaving 90% with various degrees of disability.

ODDS OF BECOMING A LIGHTNING VICTIM
U.S. 2000 Census population 280,000,000
Odds of being struck by lightning in a given year
(reported deaths + injuries)
1/700,000
Odds of being struck by lightning in a given year
(estimated total deaths + injuries)
1/240,000
Odds of being struck in your lifetime (Est. 80 years) 1/3000
Odds you will be affected by someone being struck
(Ten people affected for every one struck)
1/300

Who Gets Injured

While about one-third of all injuries occur during work, workers compensation companies are often reluctant to acknowledge the injury or pay related medical expenses. About another third of injuries occur during recreational or sports activities. The last third occurs in diverse situation, including injuries to those inside buildings.

How Do Lightning Injuries Affect People?

While any death is a blow to a family, eventually the family readjusts and goes on. However, for those who have a relative who suffers significant disability from lightning, life changes forever and the dreams of that family and the survivor may be markedly altered. The family income may be tremendously decreased if the survivor was one of the breadwinners, or the spouse or another family member may have to quit work to care for the survivor if the disability is great enough.

While about one-third of all injuries occur during work, workers compensation companies are often reluctant to acknowledge the injury or pay their medical expenses. About another third of injuries occur during recreational or sports activities. The last third occurs in diverse situation, including injuries to those inside buildings.  Many injuries in each of these groups can be prevented with proper education, well conceived lightning protection systems that protect the people as well as the equipment being used or �shelters� where the survivor may seek safety, and lightning safety plans for coaches, parents, and referees at sporting events. While lightning safety and injury prevention is an individual responsibility and decision for adults, adults are ALWAYS responsible for the children in their care, particularly if it is an outdoor sports activity such as soccer, t-ball, camping, etc.

Unlike high voltage electrical injuries where massive internal tissue damage may occur, lightning seldom causes substantial burns. In fact, most of the burns are caused by other objects (rainwater, sweat, metal coins and necklaces, etc) being heated up and causing the burn rather than caused by the lightning itself.

Lightning tends to be a nervous system injury and may affect any or all parts of the nervous system: the brain, the autonomic nervous system, and the peripheral nervous system.  When the brain is affected, the person often has difficulty with short-term memory, coding new information and accessing old information, multitasking, distractibility, irritability and personality change. A great quote sums it up perfectly:

“Patients have difficulty in all areas that require them to analyze more items of information than they can handle simultaneously. They present (appear) as slow because it takes longer for smaller than normal chunks of information to be processed. They present as distractible because they do not have the spare capacity to monitor irrelevant stimuli at the same time as they are attending to the relevant stimulus. They present as forgetful because while they are concentrating on point A, they do not have the processing space to think about point B simultaneously. They present as inattentive because when the amount of information that they are given exceeds their capacities, they cannot take it all in.”

Early on, survivors may complain of intense headaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, nausea, vomiting and other �post-concussion� types of symptoms.  Survivors may also experience difficulty sleeping, sometimes sleeping excessively acutely after the injury but changing during the next few weeks to inability to sleep more than two or three hours at a time. A few may develop persistent seizure-like activity several weeks to months after the injury.  Unfortunately, standard EEG�s do not always pick up injury in the areas that lightning most often affects leading to a diagnosis of �pseudo-seizures�.

Personality Changes / Self-Isolation

Many may suffer personality changes because of frontal lobe damage and become quite irritable and easy to anger. The person who �wakes up� after the injury often does not have the ability to express what is wrong with them, may not recognize much of it or deny it, becomes embarrassed when they cannot carry on a conversation, work at their previous job, or do the same activities that they used to handle. As a result, many self-isolate, withdrawing from church, friends, family and other activities. Friends, family and co-workers who see the same external person, may not understand why the survivor is so different. Friends soon stop coming by or asking them to participate in activities. Families who are not committed to each other break up.

Obviously, depression becomes a big problem for people who have changed so much and lost so much.  Suicide is something that almost all severely injured people have thought about at one time or another.  Occasionally, those who do not have access to medical care or who do not understand what is happening may self-medicate with alcohol and other drugs, particularly those who have previously sought solace with these compounds.  It is very important that the family and friends of the survivor maintain supportive contact even though it requires an adjustment in their relationship with the survivor.  An injury such as this is an injury to the family, not just to the person hit.

Fatigue

Survivors often complain of easy fatigability, becoming exhausted after only a few hours of work. This may be because every task that they used to automatically do without thinking now requires intense concentration to accomplish. Many return to work but find that they cannot multitask and do all of the activities that are required at their job.

Medical Testing

There are two kinds of medical tests:

  • Anatomic ones that take a simple picture (x-ray) or measurement (blood count)
  • Functional ones that show how something is working (PET, neuro-psychological testing, intelligence testing)

Sometimes function can be ascribed to the anatomic tests but often it cannot so that it is often fallacious on the basis of a normal static picture to ascribe normal function.  The mental changes that the lightning survivor has are functional (how the brain works) changes, not anatomic ones so that anatomic tests such as the CT scan and MRI are usually normal. More functional scans such as PET and SPECT may show changes but are hard to obtain due to their relative infrequency in medical centers. To use an analogy:  if an electric shock were sent through a computer, the outside case would probably look okay (similar to a photo or x-rays of the person), the computer boards on the inside would probably look okay and not be fused nor melted (CT, MRI for the person), but when you boot up the computer it would have difficulty accessing files, making calculations, printing, etc. similar to a person with brain injury who has short-term memory problems, difficulty accessing and coding information, difficulty organizing output,

A functional test of how a person�s brain is working that is seldom thought of by most non-neurologists is called neuropsychological testing.  These tests are administered by a qualified neuropsychologist familiar with the literature in this area, not by a psychiatrist, and consist of a 6-8 hour battery of pen and paper tests including memory, IQ, organizational ability, and other �how the parts of the brain are working� kinds of tests.  Survivors of lightning and electrical injury usually have a characteristic pattern of deficits.  This type of testing is expensive and not necessary for most but can sometimes be helpful when litigation is involved and there is a doubt about the cause of a person�s injury.

Delayed Problems

Another common, often delayed problem for some survivors is pain, also a difficult problem to quantify and manage and one that does not always present initially in the full-blown pattern that it may have later. The pain may not only present as the chronic intense headaches mentioned above but may be in the back (perhaps from compression and disc injury from the intense muscle contractions which may throw a person several yards at the time of the injury), or in an extremity. Many may have nerve entrapment syndromes. A small number may eventually develop classic RSD. (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Sympathetically Mediated Pain Syndrome, causalgia)

Sometimes the functional tests that are ordered are testing the wrong thing an electromyogram (EMG) measures only the largest nerve fibers, the motor fibers, which are seldom affected by lightning injury.  Smaller pain-carrying nerve fibers are not tested by EMG so that a �normal EMG� means little when ordered for someone with pain.  Likewise, the standard EEG does primarily surface readings of the brain and misses seizure activity in several deeper regions.  EEG�s may not pick up only 50% of temporal lobe seizures (some personality, organizing ability) and miss 120% of hypothalamic seizures.4

Lack of libido and impotence are often reported. Other common and not so common complaints involve the digestive system, the endocrine (hormonal) system, and the immune system, some of which are currently being studied. It is not clear if these are directly due to lightning injury, to medication side effects, or to other incidental causes unrelated to lightning.

Help Exists – Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors, International, Support Group

An organization that has been of tremendous help to survivors, their families, their physicians and other professionals is Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors, International (LSESSI), a support group formed in 1989 by a gentleman who was injured in 1969 who became tired of no one recognizing or knowing what to do for those with lightning injury. LSESSI has printed materials, offers tremendous support, networks survivors with others in their area, and provides an annual meeting where survivors come together for support as well as for lectures from professionals who work with lightning and electrical survivors and their families. LSESSI can be reached at 912-346-4708, [email protected], http://www.lightning-strike.org/index.html, or at P.O. Box 1156, Jacksonville, North Carolina 28541-1156.

Four Factors Necessary for Recovery

The four most important factors in overcoming disability from lightning injury (or from any illness or major injury for that matter) are:

  1. A supportive family/friends network.
  2. The person or family becoming their own best advocate and learning as much as they can about their disability.
  3. A physician (regardless of specialty) who is willing to listen, read, learn and work with the survivor and their family.
  4. A sense of humor.

 

Prevention

Far more important than treating survivors is preventing lightning injury.

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week

Prevention is the KEY.

 

REFERENCES

 

  1. Holle RL, Lopez RE, Curran EB: Distributions of Lightning-Caused Casualties and Damages Since 1959 in the United States, 11 Conference on Applied Climatology, American Meteorological Society, January 1999
  2. Cooper MA: Lightning Injuries: Prognostic Signs for Death, Ann Emerg Med 9:134, 1980
  3. Lopez RE, Holle RL, Heitkamp TA, Boyson M, Cherington M, Langford K: The Underreporting of Lightning Lnjuries and Deaths in Colorado. Bull Amer Meteor Soc, 74:2171-78, 1993.
  4. Cooper MA, Andrews CJ, Holle RL, Lopez RE: Lightning Injuries, Ch 3, Auerbach P (Ed):  Wilderness Medicine, 4th Edition, CV Mosby, 2001.
  5. Cherington Paper
  6. Life After Shock I, Life After Shock II, collections of stories of lightning and electric shock survivors and how it has changed their lives, Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors, Intntl, Morris Publishing, Nebraska,1996/2000.
  7. Heitkamp, Holle, Lopez
  8. Holle, R.L., R.E. L�pez, and C. Zimmermann, 1999: Updated Recommendations for Lightning Safety-1998.  Bull Amer Meteor Soc, 80:2035-2041
  9. Cherington M, Cooper MA: eds, Seminars in Neurology, Vols 3&4, 1995, two issues on electrical and lightning injuries
  10. Primeau M, Engelstetter G, Bares K: Behavioral Consequences of Lightning and Electrical Injury, Sem Neurol, 15(3):279-285, 1995.
  11. Pliskin NH, Capelli-Schelpfeffer M, Law RT, Malina AC et al: Neuropsychological Symptom Presentation after Electrical Injury, J Trauma 44(4):709-15, 1998
  12. Heilbronner RL, Pliskin NH:Psychological issues in the neurorehabilitation of electrical injuries, NeuroRehabilitation 13:127-32, 1999.
  13. Groenwald D:Cumulative and Persisting Effects of Concussion on Attention and Cognition, 154 (sorry, no further info on this reference is available to us)

Lightning Kills 322 Reindeer In Norway

(This article is courtesy of the Oslo Norway News Paper)

Lightning kills 322 wild reindeer

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An inspector for Norway’s wildlife and environmental protection  agencyStatens naturoppsyn (SNO) encountered an animal tragedy while out making his rounds on a mountain plateau just before the weekend. At least 200 wild reindeer were found dead in a radius of just 50 to 60 meters.

Knut Nylend told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Sunday that the wild reindeer, which move in large, tight flocks and are a protected species in Norway, most probably were killed by lightning bolts that struck the Hardangervidda plateau Friday afternoon.

“There were quite hard weather conditions with thunder and lightning in the afternoon,” Nylend told NRK. “The flock must have been hit by lightning.”

The dead animals were found, some of them lying on top of each other, between Møsvatn and Kalhovd in Telemark County.

Staff from SNO and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) were working at the site on Sunday, counting the animals and taking biological samples from them.  They determined 322 reindeer were killed, all in a concentrated area where “they certainly were standing tightly together,” Nylend said. “They often do so.”

He said it was still unclear what would be done with all the cadavers, saying that was a matter for the state food safety agency Mattilsynet to decide. There are an estimated 10,000 wild reindeer roaming Hardangervidda.

Marijuana Is Not A Gateway Drug Up: It Is A Step Down Drug Though

 

The first time that I ever tried smoking Marijuana (Pot) was in the High School parking lot the year I turned 17, that was 1973. As I learned through the years the Pot I tried was Norther Illinois Homegrown and was basically worthless as far as getting a buzz (high) from it. Back then you could buy a five-finger bag for $15 but I thought it to be a waste of 15 hard-earned dollars. I am now 60 years old so I have been around Marijuana for 43 years now so yes, I do have some opinions that I would like to share with you about what I think and believe about this God-given plant. The next time I tried Pot I was 23 years old and living in Houston Texas. I have never really been a drinker of alcohol nor a user of hard drugs and I have never once stuck or been stuck with a needle with street drugs in it, I have never had such a desire to do so. The far right (wrong) media has been talking trash about Pot at least since about 1988 saying it is a ‘gateway drug” that gets people to go into doing “hard” drugs like Crack, Pills and Heroine. Folks, my life’s experiences have shown me that Pot being a “gateway drug” is a bunch of lies (BS).

 

Folks, I have known people who have smoked Pot their whole adult lives who have never gone onto harder drugs and that includes alcohol. I have known people in several professions who liked to smoke Pot in the evenings when they got home from work to help relax from the stress of their day and who would smoke it on the weekends for the relaxation of it. These people I speak of are my age and older who are now retired from their jobs. These people were/are inner twined into the fabric of our economy. They bought and paid off homes, cars, boats, and raised families. None of these people who I know ever did anything to get into trouble with the law, they weren’t/aren’t robbers, murderers or violent people. Many millions of people believe that this is a God-given plant that is given to the people for many health benefits and believe that no man, no government has any right to refuse it to the people. This past week President Obama said that Marijuana will stay in the class one category of drugs because it has no medical value and this is what the DEA also spouts as truth. I know that these are educated people but if they believe this they would have to be both ignorant and stupid. The only reason that these people would say something so stupid is if big money is involved, and you know it is. So, is it stupidity, ignorance or just plain crooked. Personally I have to go with the big money, thus the crooked concept.

 

I am a service connected disabled Veteran from active duty Army service. I was only in for seven months because in the second month I was struck by lightning during a training exercise. The VA has in the past loaded me up with pain killers which do almost nothing for the nerve pain so I had them stop them about 14-15 months ago as I have no desire to walk around like a Zombie. The only thing that I have found that helps is if/when I can find some good quality Pot. The Pot does not cure the issues but then again, neither do the pills. The Pot works like a block on the nerve pain, the pain is still there but it does not let the pain signals go from (A to B) SO IT STOPS THE PAIN SIGNAL FROM GOING TO THE BRAIN. About two weeks ago the Senators and Congressmen who were on the committee over seeing the budget for the VA at the last-minute took the provision to okay medical Marijuana out of the VA funding bill. These disgusting people should all be fired this November!

 

In my life I have seen many cases where people who used to smoke Pot but had to quit because of laws about pre employment and random drug test at their employers, if I remember correctly this kicked into high gear in about 1988. If you are old enough to remember this is about when our Federal Government started their so call ‘war on drugs’. This ignorance, the way they have gone about things have cost many thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars that could have gone into the economy instead. For many people when they had to quit smoking Pot because it stays traceable in your system for about 30 days they then started drinking or just drinking more than they ever had. Also for many people who still wanted a ‘high’ when they had to quit smoking Pot turned to things like Cocaine, Crack, Heroine, and Pills because these things only stay in a person’s system about three days. So in essence, the Government has increased drug usage with their ‘war on drugs’. Check the stats, in states where Marijuana is now legal drug overdoses have gone down, Pill usage has gone down because people would rather have the mellow high that Pot gives and a fact is, no one has ever died from an overdose of Marijuana. If states would all legalize real Marijuana this new product called K-2 would disappear. It seems like every week we are hearing of people having to go to the hospital because of the chemical effects of this synthetic version of Pot. Just yesterday it was on the news that 10 people in Austin Texas were sent to the hospital because of it.

 

There is only one thing that comes to mind for the reason that Marijuana is not legalized and that is there is very big money flowing into D.C. politicians to keep it illegal. Remember what I said about the VA? If Marijuana became legal and the VA was able to dispense it the drug companies would lose billions of dollars each year because there would be no need or reason to take their chemicals. This would also save the VA and the tax payers billions of dollars each year, this is money that could be going into the economy instead of CEO’s pockets. The U.S. ‘war on drugs’ has in fact created drug traffickers and cartels. This ignorance has created revenue for street gangs here in the States. How many lives has been taken by these gangs from South America and Mexico to Los Angeles to Chicago to New York to small towns all over the U.S.? Marijuana being illegal has helped fuel other much more dangerous drugs and gang warfare on our city streets! How many police have lost their lives in this war? I don’t know that answer but even one Officer losing their life over the bought and paid for politicians and their hypocrisy is just plain evil. There is also the reality that many policing agencies go after the people with small amounts of Pot for the purpose of stealing people’s personal property like their homes, cars, land and bank accounts. It is safer and more profitable to go after these people who are much more mellow type of folks. The exception would be when the police are trying to arrest some of the Pot dealers, some times some of these folks will have guns or big dogs to worry about. There is also the concept of the Prison Industry which cost the public billions of dollars to arrest, convict and house/jail Pot smokers each year. Some States cry about over crowded prisons and want to have more jails and prisons built. The remedy to this problem is simple, free the people you have in the prisons who are there for simple possession of Pot. This would free up many cells in which to put the violent offenders! Also there is the problem of our Court system being so backed up with people charged with simple possession that it takes ridiculous amounts of time to adjudicate the cases of the violent criminals that our local jails are over-flowing. One last thought, the U.S. has more people in Prisons than any nation on Earth, more than Iran, Russia, China or even North Korea. The remedy to all these ill’s is simple, make Marijuana legal, every thing about this issue is a win win for our Country and our people.

My Own Personal VA Horror Story Of Their Fraud, Incompetence, Apathy And Lies

THIS IS PART ONE OF A TWO PART ARTICLE. BECAUSE OF IT’S LENGTH I WILL FINISH THE SHORTER OF THE TWO PARTS TOMORROW AND POST IT THEN. PLEASE, I BEG YOU, IF YOU GIVE A DAMN ABOUT AMERICAS SERVICE CONNECTED DISABLED VETERANS PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION. I PROMISE YOU, THIS IS A 100% TRUE ARTICLE!

 

Along with that title I should include massive malpractice and attempted murder. I know that what I just said is a bit harsh as is the title yet when something you speak is the truth it is not slander or harsh, it’s just the truth. I know that this may well be my longest article ever but if you wish to hear some truth about how bad I have been treated by the VA system, please lend me your ear. I do not think for one moment that I have been singled out for their persecution, I am just one of millions that they are guilty of trying to kill off whether that be through the above listed actions, or even possibly intent. I know that is a tough statement but after talking with at least 200 different disabled Veterans and their wives from all over the country and hearing their own horror stories it makes one wonder a little bit if the VA is trying to kill off as many of the older Vets as possible to help save the system money so that they can afford all the new disabled younger folks coming into the system everyday.

 

My story would have to begin when I went into the Army on 7-18-1983. I was sent to Boot Camp at Ft. Dix NJ. While on a training mission there on the post on 8-11-83 I was struck by lightning. Right from the start the company C/O started trying to cover things up and trying to blame others for the event. To me that is really stupid being this isn’t the Boy Scouts. They did know that a huge weather system was coming up the east coast because they had been telling us about it all day, yet still I don’t believe anyone is ‘responsible’, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, 6 PM. When I was totally cleared on medical I was discharged on 2-3-84 from Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland where I had been transferred for the purpose of learning a trade called Small Arms Repair. Ft. Dix just pushed the problem off to another group for them to deal with plus I learned that almost all of my medical records vanished. Within the first five years after I was discharged (because I couldn’t do the work) all record of me ever being in the Army somehow disappeared three different times. The only thing that saved me was the fact that I had several paper documents proving otherwise. I lived in the Dallas Ft. Worth Texas area so I started going to the Dallas VA Hospital starting in September of 84 and moved away from there on 7-1-97. Just recently (about six months ago) I was informed by the VA  here in Lexington Ky that the VA has no record of me visiting the Dallas VA until September of 1995. How convenient for them to lose all those records, just like the records from the Ft. Dix hospital have almost all disappeared. One of the interesting little facts that I haven’t told any of them yet is that in their new computer system (about 3 yrs old) they call “My Healthevet” they have record of several of my lab reports dating from January of 1991, from Dallas.

 

As I said earlier I was discharged in February of 84, by about July of 84 I was starting to have pain in the left side of my chest and real bad pain in my left shoulder. By September of 84 the shoulder pain had gotten so intense that I could not put my left hand up on the lawn mower handle to hold the lever to make the mower function. I did not have any medical insurance at my job so I went to the Dallas VA at least seven times starting with September of 84 up through the spring of 97 when I moved to Ocala Florida and started going to the VA in Gainesville Florida. All of these times that I went to the hospitals for help it was all I could do to walk in from the parking lot because of having so much pain in my chest, shoulder and neck where I was sweating very badly and very short of breath. Each time I had to stop two or three times because of these reasons. When I would finally get seen I used to have the ‘problem’ where my blood pressure tended to always stay at 110/70. The medical people would see that and say “well we know it’s not your heart” because by blood pressure was so good. Even though I had all the signs of having a heart attack I could never get them to “waste their time” to ever get an EKG. I always got told there was nothing wrong except maybe heartburn and they would dismiss me.

 

Being struck by lightning is not something I believe I had ever thought much about, until it happened. It is not something that I recommend for anyone to go through, to say the least, it hurts. I did not really know anything about the effects of being struck by it but if you will read this article you will learn things from my experience. Lightning to me is still a surprising thing in that it produces such energy that can kill a whole herd of cattle in a field or split a huge oak in half or set a house on fire, or hit a person in the head and they might still live. I have learned that lightning does not kill most of the people it hits but it does tend to mess most folks up for life. I also learned that most people (like with me) do not have exit wounds.

 

When this event happened I had just laid down on my mat to eat my supper. When I lay down I tend to lay on one side or the other, when I do this I also tend to put (in this case) my left foot/ankle upon the right one. The impact hit me right on my ankle bones then ran up the bone system which the Doctors at the hospital told me was rather normal for it to have done being I was laying down that way. I felt the electricity moving up my legs into my low back and it left red jagged burn marks along its path which is also normal for it to do. I quit feeling that sensation one it reached my low spine where it turned my coccyx (bottom of your spine) and flipped it around backwards. I learned later that this happened because the electricity hit it knocking it out-of-the-way and the electricity ran up my spine. While on the examining table in the emergency room I could not feel my legs except for the intense pain in both of my ankles. There was an area on both ankles about the size of a silver dollar where it felt like there was a vice being cranked down on the ankle bones. There was one Doctor who I remember was a Major whom the ER called in because he had had experience with lightning strike victims. There was also another Doctor there who was working with him whom had no such experience. The second Doctor touched my knees and made comment that my knees were hot, which I did not know because I could not feel them. So, I put my hands on my knees and found out that he was correct, they were quite hot. This Doctor also by accident touched the bottom of my right foot with all the fingers on one of his hands, when he did this my whole right leg flew up and my knee almost hit me in the face and then went straight back down. This happened even though I could not feel either of my feet, this was one of my early warning signs about nerve damage. Another big sign of the nerve damage was when the now three Doctors helped me up onto the side of the table so that I could step down onto the floor, they wanted to see if my legs would be able to hold me up. The result was that as soon as my feet hit the floor an intense pain as if it were a bullet went up through the bottoms of my feet, through my whole body and out the top of my head in no more than one second. I actually yelled out in pain as I hit the floor within that one second. Actually the yelp was after the pain had already gone through me as I now laid crumpled on the floor. I remember hearing the term C-6 for the first time at that moment. I didn’t know what this lady Doctor meant by that so she explained that the sensation was because there was nerve damage to the C-6 vertebrae which is in people’s neck. Ever since the lightning strike I have never been able to take the pain of doing something stupid like hopping out of the back of a trailer or off of a loading dock with out it hurting me a lot with the same result as at the hospital.

 

When I was transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland I spent most of my time there as a Colonel’s Orderly while I was doing rehab at clinics and occasionally going to their Post hospital to see this one idiotic lady Captain Doctor who she seemed to think that because she out ranked me that she could give me the order about the lightning of “it never happened”, as I said, idiotic. While I was at Aberdeen they tried to send me through a school called Small Arms Repair which is really no more than being a parts changer on small arms, rifles, shotguns, pistols and the like. When I took the entrance exams to get into the Army my scores were all up in the mid ninety’s which I was informed by the school CO was higher than any of the instructors, yet I could not pick it up, I could not remember things from one day to the next. The people in charge tended to think that I was failing on purpose but I wasn’t, I just couldn’t remember the material. I did fail out of that school and once my medical clearance came through I was handed my Honorable Discharge papers the next day. Up until last summer, about August of 2015, I could never figure out why I now had such a hard time learning new things to where I now have to write about anything new onto note pads to where I can go over and over it until I can pick it up. Last summer I was on-line just flipping through different web sites and I came across one that was from Neurology Today Magazine and I noticed a headline about a study on lightning strike survivors and spine damage. In this article I learned that a lightning strike generates apx one million volts of electricity. They said that when a large electrical shock goes up the spine that among the things it does is to zap a nerve that is at the tip-top of everyone’s spine. When this happens to a person the result is that the nerve sends something like a little beam to the left front part of the brain where short-term memory is located, and zaps it, thus screwing up a persons short-term memory abilities. I have come across several VA Doctors throughout the years who are adamant that among other things, that there is no such thing as back injuries and that there is no such thing as nerve damage. It has become my belief that many Doctors enter the military and or the VA for employment because they cannot be sued for malpractice so they also do not need to pay for that coverage. I still come across some VA Doctors to this day that believe that if a person’s blood pressure is okay that the person’s heart is okay, total ignorance!

 

If a person wants to find out about problems people who have been hit with lightning tend to have concerning their long term health they would find that my problems are not any different from what would be considered as normal. The first two things on the list are heart problems and spinal nerve problems. I am no one special in this regard yet I receive 40% Service Connected disability rating from the VA because of traumatic arthritic conditions to my knees at 20% and the other 20% because of hearing loss in both ears. Nothing for the ankles which was the point on impact, nor any of the other joints, nothing for nerve damage, nothing for the heart being destroyed. I did have one test done that I had been asking for years to be done called a Nerve Conductivity Test, when they did it they “on my legs” they said that they found no problems and this “test” results are what is in my records. The “test” was conducted by one guy (I say ‘guy’ because I have learned that many people who do these test aren’t actually Doctors and often aren’t even VA employees), this guy had me take off my pants, shoes and socks and to sit upon a table. He told me to turn my head to the right and not to look toward him as he did ‘the test’. When he told me he was done I was allowed to look back at him, what he had done was to take a stick pin like you use to put a calendar onto a wall and stuck each of my legs about 20 times all over both legs. What I saw was all of these little blood drops/spots and him holding that pin. I would bet almost anything that this is not a real Nerve Conductivity Test, it was just a guy acting like an a-hole. Also now concerning lack of morals, ethics or professionalism when it comes to heart issues. When I have spoken with civilian Doctors including heart Doctors and about my problems they have all said things along the lines of “well of course” lightning did this to your heart and spine. A few used the term “well duh”. I remember this term because three different times when I met Doctors at the VA who were new to me and they asked me about my problems I was having I told them about the lightning and they said “well duh” of course the lightning caused it. But, now the kicker, and my wife was present two of these times, then I told those Doctors that the lightning happened when I was on active duty and they at once changed their opinions and said that well ‘that’ the ‘lightning’ couldn’t have had anything to do with it. We all know that poop flows down hill so that the employees catch all the hell from above if they don’t tow the company mark but when even Doctors who take a ‘solemn oath’ to do no hurt act like this, their lack of morals and ethics are well on display.

 

Three previous times I have applied to the VA for an increase on my disability rating trying to get it on my heart, spine, and on my other joints like my hips and shoulders. All three times a guy would come into a room to do this ‘inspection” and as I an all of America has found out in this past two years of so, these people whom portray themselves as ‘Doctors’ weren’t. These people who have been doing these ‘inspections’ aren’t even VA employees, or Doctors, or even have medical training. These people are outside contractors hired by the VA to do these fraud evaluations. All three of these times when the person came into the room they had orders to only and I do mean only, to look at my knees, not the issues that the appointment was supposed to cover. When you tried to get them to look at some of the other issues every time they would get mad and made it plain that the only thing they were allowed to look at was my knees. One gentleman even went as far as to threaten me that if I didn’t quit complaining that they could just take my rating down to zero and make it where I couldn’t go to the VA anymore. You know what is even worse than this fraud, it’s when you find out that someone in the VA system then puts in your records that during the physical that nothing besides the knees were found to be wrong. The BS continues in this scam against the Service Connected Disabled Vets, now that they put this BS in your records all of the evidence that you had given to them to support your claims can no longer ever be looked at again.

 

There is the issue of the Disability checks that the Service Connected Vets get, as I said I am rated at 40%. For the purpose of saving the VA money where in times past any ratings check would go to the spouse of the Vet once they had died as long as the surviving spouse didn’t remarry. Then it was changed to where the rating had to be at least 30%. Now it is at 60%, so the check we get each month once I die, they cut my wife off unless I get it increased. Yet reality is that they may well in the future raise the requirement rating again after I’m dead. The last day I was able to physically work at all was June 21st, 2013. I applied for social security disability and got my first check in five months and seven days, first try. These other three times I tried to get my rating increased I got turned down after about a year or so but because I was still able to do some work I did not contest them but this last time (4th) I filed in mid February of 2013 because I knew that I was not going to be able to continue working much longer. I had also seen a VA Neurosurgeon at the hospital in Johnson City Tn in October of 2012 who actually in writing agreed with the results of an MRI on my neck that I should be given an increase in ratings because it was obvious that the lightning had messed up my spine. This was turned in with a bunch of other documents that the people on the ratings board in Nashville Tn totally ignored and turned me down flat on all claims. I got this turn down notice in mid March of 2014. At that time because I was no longer able to do any work of any kind I went ahead and filed an appeal which I was told would take about two years at which time I would go in front of a Board of three Judges whom were not getting their checks from the VA like the others had been. In very late June of this year I got a phone call from a man who said he was with this fore mentioned Board who told me that on April 26th of this year that my case was basically put onto someones desk there and that I should be given a date ‘soon’ to where I could go in front of this three Judge panel, I still haven’t heard anything since. February of 2013, it is now August of 2016, that is three and a half years and still waiting. In March of 1999 in Ocala Florida at a civilian hospital I had a four-way by-pass operation, seven days later one of those arteries closed and I had yet another heart attack (I have had many) these civilian Doctors told me that if I really behaved myself and didn’t pull, push or lift anything that if I was lucky I might live another three or four years. Every day is borrowed time, only through God’s grace and some very good civilian Doctors in Georgia am I still breathing. How many Service Connected Disabled Veterans die each day on this waiting list trying to get an honest rating so that their wife and children won’t have to lose their homes or have the ability to stay off of food stamps? To me their actions (VA) are a moral sin that I have my doubts that God will forgive them for! How much blood are on these people hands?

 

Thunder The Memories And Light

 

4:30 In the morning listening to the rain outside

Quiet massaging thunder rumbling to distill the night

Do we consider the thunder as the fury of God or His love

O’ listen to the somber drum roll fading off into the night

Thunder the voice of an Angel singing, or a warning of light

The flash of light it changes your life from that time

A near miss, a near that didn’t, you tend to remember the time

Is it a wondrous thing that you got lit up and yet survived

In the rumbles deep and low you wonder why you’re alive

Did the Lord steer the light so we could see our own darkness inside

To The Scepter Above do we humbly and meekly bow even now

Is it guilt, shame or pride, do we hear the Devil laughing at us now

Our final tally sheet, did we end up doing more good than harm

Something as simple as choking on one’s own spit we die

None knows if once again we will hear the thunder role then light

Thunder the last thing we hear tonight, or is it forever goodbye?

Lightning Facts: (Besides The Fact That It Hurts)

Lightning Facts

 

Lightning is pretty in the sky at night

It flutters and flashes from the heavens on high

A power from God only an atheist could deny

The beauty is awesome, the power, a fright

 

Like the fingers of God stretched across our domain

The thunder adjoins like the clapping of God’s hands

When the lightning strikes close

It will scare the hell out of a mortal man

 

Do not seek shelter from the beauty

Underneath of a tree

If you feel the hairs of your back stand high

Fall on your face and pray that you will not soon be fried

 

Please take it from me, your brother and friend

If one of God’s fingers touches you

And you are blessed to survive the fright

You’ll never again stand in the open, enjoying the sight.

 

More Blessed Than Deserved: A Re-post From Super Bowl Sunday

 

It’s about 1410 Est on Supper Bowl Sunday. It has been a very boring day, have been on the computer since I got up bout nine. I have been aiming to put some other things into the blog other than just the poems I have been putting in. I still browsing poems I have written but I have been wanting to give some of my thoughts and presentations on life and the world we are all living in. So, I m not saying that I am special or smarter than anyone else, I am just going to put some thoughts out to you folks to see if you think or feel the same way about life and world issues. So, if you would, after you read my posts, comment, let me know what you think okay? I am not just trying to get folks to agree with me like some blinded herd of cattle, if you don’t agree with me on an issue, that’s cool, tell me why you either do or don’t. You know, a lot of time the most learning that one can obtain is when one disagrees within an orderly discussion.

Lately I have been occasionally thinking about my age (57). I have been thinking about different times in my life when I was at one of those “decision moments”. You know what I’m talking about, moments like I had in April of 1977. I was in the Air Force in Biloxi Mississippi when my wife up and left with my two young babies. She left to go back up to northern Illinois to move in with an x-best friend. Well it became one of those decision times, no, I wasn’t thinking about killing either of them, neither one was worth it. My decision was about whether to take  an Honorable Discharge and go back to Illinois to see if I could get my family back, or just stay in the Service and continue trying to continue my life without them. I chose the discharge and went back to northern Illinois pretty much knowing she wasn’t going to get back with me. But I guess in my head I had hoped we could get back together because I wanted my kids. But after I had gone back to Illinois I began to realize that I didn’t want my now ex-wife back. Right there, this was one of those life decision moments. I should have stood up right there and gone back into the Air Force. I could have been a more respectable ex-husband and dad than the process I chose of bouncing around the country. I had many jobs and knew many different ladies and friends but I should have been more stable and stayed in one place longer. I don’t know what I was running from most, my recent failures or was it because of being afraid of success.

The Lord has blessed me all of my life. I seldom if ever have been deserving of how kindly the Lord has treated me throughout these years I have been given. In my life I have always been blessed with someplace to lay my head and though I have never died from starvation (obviously), I have been blessed to know what hunger feels like.

I have never been one to run from work. That is probably one of my biggest faults, I worked my body into an early grave. When for decades in your life you have worked a normal work week of 100 plus hours per week this will destroy the chemistry of ones body, and of their mind. A body and a mind, even if they are not doing hard physical labor cannot work twelve to twenty hours a day seven days a week forever. Even if you are fortunate enough to never sustain a serious injury when you work yourself about 360 days a year. This is depression, you think sometimes that you don’t deserve a real life. This is what I felt I deserved, nothing. Depression, I think I grew up with it because of how my dad always chose to behave. The next biggest kick in the teeth is when I lost my two babies. But she and I neither one was anything but ignorant teenagers when she got pregnant and we got married.

Parents aren’t the end all of how a person grows up though. I was blessed with a fantastic mom, but dad not so good. I guess I got strike one from him, 21 and divorced, both kids taken away, strike two. Then through ignorance not going back into the Air Force, strike three. I let myself strike out, I gave up on life at 21 I guess.

When people think of “what if”, we must always remember the other side of a change. If I/we were able to change our direction at any point in our life the good things we have experienced in our lives and the path that we did choose, would have never happened.

There is also another unknown issue to be considered. Two years into my second marriage in July of 83 I went into the Army. This marriage was one of those loveless marriages in that she had absolutely zero love for me. I had decided that being that I really had no real marriage and that I still felt guilty for not having completed my previous military agreement, this is why I went in the Army. I felt I should serve at least one four-year hitch, this was the patriotic side of my brain talking. I figured we would probably stay married, mostly just in name only. This would keep her on the military insurance and I figured I would make the house payment for her but I wasn’t planning on doing anything else to help her hate-filled ass.

She was a non-practicing Jehovah’s Witness so she did not believe in military service. She told me just before I left for boot camp at Ft. Dix, NJ she said that “God will get you for this.” I started boot camp 7-18-83. At eighteen hundred on 8-11-83 while on a bivouac I was struck by lightning. Maybe she was right or maybe God just has a sense of humor but that did hurt a lot. After I cleared medical I was discharged in February 1984. I have a 40% service connected disability but in reality it physically destroyed my physical life.

The (other side) of the decisions of which I spoke earlier is simple. I could say if I hadn’t gone back into the military I wouldn’t have been hit by the lightning and I would have had a healthy adult life. Or if I had stayed in the Air Force when I was younger I would not have been at Ft. Dix that evening. But now think, I would have been in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. If what happened to me had not happened only God knows the results. I could have found the wrong end of a Republican Guards little grey pill.

Life is filled with what ifs, you know, none of it really matters. And really, it’s not worth wasting grey matter on. We are where we are, the things we did or did not do either good or bad we all have our own personal history. We all will one day answer for all these things at our own allotted time at the Lord’s Judgement Seat.

Do you remember the title of this post, more blessed than deserved? I have tried to be a good person almost all of my life and I have never been one to try to hurt people on purpose. Yet it seems to me that there aren’t all that many sins that I have not committed at one time or another. By no means have I ever been perfect, yet look at how kind the Lord has been to me. I have been married three times. The first was for two years, this is where I was blessed with my blood children, one boy and one girl. The second marriage was for eighteen horrible years! She had a son who was eleven when I married his mom. He is almost 44 now and I have always called him my son to this day and he knows that I love him. I am still married to my third wife for a little over 14 years now. She had a six-year-old son when we wed. He is 21 now and living on his own here in the town his mom and I live in.

So, the Lord has blessed me with four kids and also seven grand kids. I have a woman in my life now who actually loves me and treats me great. In March of 99, I had open heart surgery, that is where I learned that the lightning had literally fried all of my innards. At this time, March 99, the heart doctors told me that if I really behaved and if I was lucky that I might live for another three or four years. Friends, if I am granted seeing next month, that will be fifteen years ago.

So, blessed more than I deserved, yes I think so. Though I have known many types of pain I have lived through them, just like we all have. You here now, have your thoughts fluttered into your past as you have been reading this post? Friends we are all still here in this puzzle that is our lives. Let’s try to make the best of the position in life that we are at. Let us all try to look toward the blue sky moments and to shed the hailstones.

Just remember we are blessed just by being alive at this very moment in time. If at some point in our lives, if we have been able to go back and change it to avoid a painful event you know you and I are only humans, we do not always know what is best. Who knows if changing a point in time in our past in our new reality we could have ended up being one of Jeffery Dahmer’s former ex-neighbors.

The Wild Horse

 

 

Wild horse entombed upon a caves back wall

What an honor for all who get to see you

Six thousand or so odd years ago

In cased within a man-made stall

Yet the fury of the steed shows proudly

The fire in your eyes and the frown of brow

Your chest and abs all tight with anticipation

Lightning flashing from your hooves of glory then and now

To be brought out into the yellow light

Now to be seen for the first time of clear sight

As well as to be given sight to first see

For whom is more thankful, the seer  or the seen

Once only graced to a French magnet

Now even us surfs your beauty we see

You in my dreams, bare back and bridled only

The stars together for the first time we see

I honor the hand which with thee did draw

I honor the fury which you contain within

Folklore from long ago well said

Wild horses, wild women, and strong whiskey

These the things which make a live fully lived

In my dreams we ride across the Mediterranean sand

Though you were just painted upon a cave’s back wall