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I Ain’t Dying — Yet: Recent Hospitalization for Bowel Problems

health news

I was in the hospital over the weekend. I will write more about this experience later this week. Thanks to high-dose steroids, many of my symptoms have improved. The current working theory is that I have colitis — inflammation of the colon. I could also be having complications from my August 2020 gallbladder removal. A definitive diagnosis — hopefully — will be found after I have a colonoscopy and endoscopy. These procedures can’t happen until the bowel inflammation has calmed down. I see the surgeon on Wednesday.

I mentioned this information on Facebook on Sunday. If you are not Facebook friends with me and would like to be, please send me a Friend Request. If you are a Republican, Trump supporter, Evangelical, or cat-hater, you might find my Facebook posts irritating. I treat Facebook like a corner pub where I hang out with like-minded friends. I don’t get into fights/debates over politics, religion, or sports. Just friendly, passionate, opinionated banter — the next round is on you!

My writing will be somewhat sketchy over the short term. I might have high energy days where I am the prodigious blogger of old, and then there will be days, often multiple days in a row, where I am unable to get out of bed or off the couch. I do hope you will understand. My goal, healthwise, is to get my bowel problems under control, returning to my “normal” chronic health and chronic pain problems. Victory, right?

My editor, Carolyn, is handling many of the contact form emails I receive. I appreciate her doing so.

Thanks for reading!


Bruce, What Can I Do to Help?

helping bruce

Yesterday, I wrote a post titled, Depression: It’s the Little Things. In this post, I detailed my present physical and psychological struggles. I mentioned a few of the things aggravate my depression. Sgl asked:

Is there a corresponding list of little things that make you feel better? Particularly ones that we, your reading audience, can do?

What a thoughtful question. Let me see if I can give this question the answer it deserves.

As any depressive will tell you, battling depression is a lonely journey, one in which, for the most part, you are on your own. The same can be said for chronic illness and chronic pain. People want to say and do something — anything — to help their suffering family member or friend. However, people who want to help often make matters worse. It’s far better to say few words, and just let the person know you are there for them, if need be. Unfortunately, well-wishers wrongly think depressives just need positive mental reinforcement — think good thoughts, and all will be well. I know, for me personally, when I see clap-happy seals coming my way, I want to hide. I am, by nature, a pessimist and a realist. I usually accept things as they are, so I don’t need to hear “happy” words to make me feel better. That said, I don’t have a problem with observant people saying, “what can I do to help?”

It helps to understand the mental make-up of depressives and chronic illness/pain sufferers. I tend to be a self-sufficient, pull-myself-up-by-my own-bootstraps kind of person. If I want help, I will ask for it — but I will rarely, if ever ask. This puts my wife, children, and friends in a difficult spot. They typically stand on the sidelines watching me suffer. They know I NEED help, but knowing that if I wanted help, I’d ask for it, they typically say nothing. There are times when I am silently begging for their help, but too proud to ask. Yes, this is a flaw in my character, I suppose, but this is who I am. I am genuinely unsure as to how people close to me should respond to my needs. They know I likely won’t break down and ask, so there has to be a way to meet my needs while at the same time not destroying what little self-worth I have. I do know that the only thing worse than how things are for me presently, is for me to feel “helpless.” I don’t do “helpless” well, but, of late, I am learning that I can no longer be self-sufficient Bruce. Not if I want to get out of bed, that is.

I am at a place in life where I do need help — often lots of it. My “to-do list” is so long, that I am thinking that it might be better for me to just light a match to the list. While doing so would be cathartic, the things that need to be done would remain undone. From website issues to home remodeling/repairs to yard work to countless other projects, my to-do list gets longer every day. I have on more than a few occasions called my to-do list a tyrant.

Every day, I have a window of time in which to get things done. Sometimes, that window is a few hours, and on rare occasions, I might have a six- to eight-hour window. All praise be to Loki! One pervasive problem that has afflicted me for decades is that I love to work, so once I start, I don’t want to stop. Several weeks, ago, Polly left for work at 5:00 PM, just as I was sitting down to work in the office, to do some writing, pay the bills, and reorganize stuff to align with my OCPD view of the world. Nine hours later, I was still working away. Man, did I get shit done, right? When Polly came home from work, she was upset that I had spent so much time “working.” My feet looked as if I were eight months pregnant, and I hadn’t taken my pain meds. Busyness is a great pain reliever — until you stop, anyway. Polly said nothing, having seen his movie many times before. The next day, I couldn’t even get out of bed, and it took two days before I could sit in the office and work again. Did I learn my lesson? Hell no. This is just how I am, and try as I might, be it working in the office, the garage, or the yard, I tend to push myself too far. Carolyn, my friend and my editor, will remind me when I say am going to do this or that, that I need to take it easy, to pace myself. She truly has my best interest at heart. I usually tell her, “I’ll try,” complete with a few smiley emojis, and she’ll respond, “no you won’t.” You see, she knows me, as do Polly and my children. After I stopped blogging for the nth time years ago, Michael Mock — another person who knows me quite well — told me that I was just one of those people who crash and burn and then rise again from the ashes. He, of course, was right. That this blog will celebrate its sixth anniversary in December is amazing — and unexpected.

I really haven’t answered Sgl’s question, have I? I am not sure I can. I taught my children to pay attention to the needs and circumstances of others. I was never much for praying over helping people in need. Go out to the church parking lot, look at the cars, and see which one needs new tires. Don’t pray, just act on the information you have. In other words, buy the needy family a new set of tires. I proudly watched my children (and Polly) put this into practice over the years, helping countless neighbors and workmates. I believe that what goes around comes around. Pay attention to others. Need is everywhere you look.

For my family, they can see my needs. I know I have pushed them to the sidelines, too proud ask for and accept their help. I am asking them to ignore the old curmudgeon and help anyway. Ask to see the to-do list or walk through our home and make a list of things you think you can help me (us) with. I promise, I won’t say no.

For my digital friends, the faithful readers of this blog, the challenge is different. If I don’t tell you what I need, you won’t know. You have no way of peering into my home and seeing what needs I might have. Sometimes, loving, kind readers make donations or commit to monthly Patreon support. Money is always appreciated. Since March 2020 – fuck you Coronavirus — one-time donations have dropped 90% and I have lost a couple of Patreon supporters. While any financial support provided by readers is greatly appreciated, I’m content with whatever the donations are month to month. I know I am never going to become rich and famous from this blog, but donations do help pay site expenses and provide a small stream of personal monthly income. That said, I am never going to beg for money.

I still haven’t answered Sgl’s question, have I? Damn, Bruce, quit circling the runway and land the plane. Okay, okay, I hear ya.

Most of all, I would ask that you continue to read my writing and comment if you are so inclined. For those of you who have the patience and skill to interact with Evangelical commenters, I would appreciate you answering zealots when they come knocking. I can be a bit short-tempered these days with some Evangelical commenters, knowing I probably cut off discussions that others might find helpful. I am more than happy to let others handle Evangelical commenters (unless they are directly asking me a question). Some of you are already helping with this, and I hope you will continue to wield the sword of reason, skepticism, and intellectual inquiry.

I could use some help on the backside of this site: approving comments, deleting comments, fixing broken links, to name a few. Broken links are a big problem. I currently have over 800 broken links. I “intend” to fix them, but alas the more I “intend” the longer the broken link list becomes.

I still want to start podcasting, whether separate content or audio versions of my writing. Last year, I bought all the necessary equipment to record podcasts. What I need help with is the visual design and formatting. I want to put the podcasts on video sites such as YouTube and audio sites such as Spotify, Apple, etc. I plan on purchasing monthly podcasting hosting service.

If you are interested in fulfilling these technical needs, please email me via the Contact form. I am not lacking skill-wise in being able to do these things. What I have is a time problem. I want focus my time on writing. Any help on the technical, non-writing side of things allows me to devote more time to my writing.

Carolyn has volunteered to help answering some of the emails I receive. I need to make a form design change to make this happen. Carolyn continues to edit my prose, all for the princely sum of $0.00. And readers will be pleased to know, that my book project is finally in its early stages. There’s a bit of pragmatism pushing the book project. I am not well physically, and I could die before I finish my book, so it is in my best interest to “git ‘er done.”

Your email, comments, and texts are always appreciated. I am interested in your lives too, so please stay in touch with me. If you would like to exchange texts with me, please send me your cellphone number via the Contact form. Sometimes, just hearing from someone: a text, an email, a photo, a funny joke, can push my mind into a better place. Don’t underestimate the power of a stupid cat meme.

Your love, kindness, and support are greatly appreciated.


Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

A Note From Bruce

note from bruce

I have received a number of emails and messages of late from people wondering if I am okay. They have noticed my writing volume has reduced, and this is usually a sign that something’s up in my life. 

Polly had major abdominal surgery on June 30. This surgery, five hours in length, reconnected her bowel to her rectum. You may remember that in January 2019, Polly landed in the hospital with ulcerative colitis. In August of that year, she had to have emergency surgery to fix a fistula that developed between her colon and bladder. This left her with a colostomy bag. The latest surgery reconnected her plumbing. To put it bluntly, she’s back to shitting normally now.

Polly is doing well, and after six weeks off of work, she will return to her job on August 11.

I am scheduled to have surgery on August 10. Yes, boys and girls, it never seems to end at our house. I will have my gallbladder removed. I have had a gallbladder problem for years, but the pain would wax and wane. A few months ago, the pain moved in and decided to stay. Just what I needed, more pain, right? My primary care doctor warned me that I had reached a point where I had to have my gallbladder removed. Not doing so could cause serious, life-threatening problems. So, surgery it is.

Late last year, I had to have a large cyst in my chest aspirated (drained). Three months later, I had the have the cyst aspirated again. And . . . you guessed it, my third breast cyst has returned. Getting someone to drain the cyst has proved problematic. Thanks, COVID-19. (The last time it was aspirated, the radiologist removed 360cc – about 12 ounces — of fluid.) I have yet another ultrasound scheduled for this week. Hopefully, this will jump-start the process. The cyst is in a place where, as it grows, it pushes on a nerve bundle that affects the functionality of my right arm. This is not something I can ignore.  That is if I want to continue to use my right arm.

Finally, I am in the throws of a bout of depression — deep, dark depression. Driven by my health problems (and Polly’s), the non-stop bullshit emanating from the White House, and COVID-19, I am finding it increasingly difficult to stay on top of my to-do list, including writing for this blog. This, of course, as a Type A workaholic, only makes my depression worse. 

All of this shall pass, or I will. 🙂 Now you know the rest of the story. I appreciate your concerns. Better days lie ahead, just not today. I will continue to foist my writing on the world, but it may not be in the volume readers have become accustomed to. I hope you will understand.


Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Blog News: You Can Now Use Markdown with Comments

simplified blogging
Cartoon by John Atkinson

Want to add HTML links or graphics or format your comments? Now you can with markdown. Readers familiar with using markdown are jumping up and down with joy!  Don’t know what markdown is or how to use it? Please check out the following articles:

Some of you might find these pages overwhelming, I encourage you to dip your toe in the water by trying some of the basic markdown functions. I love the fact that I can now add graphics to my comments. Sometimes, a graphic speaks louder and more effectively than words — you know, like the shit emoji for certain Fundamentalist commenters. 🙂 Just remember, if you want to add a graphic, you have to have a link to where the graphic is located. I hope to have, in the future, localized icon/emoji graphics that commenters will be able to quickly and easily access.

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