I want to thank everyone for their kind words and thoughts. Polly and I appreciate your support.
Five doctors, a CT scan, a MRI, colonoscopy,endoscopy, and countless blood tests later, two doctors — the surgeon and the gastroenterologist — believe she has ulcerative colitis and the hospitalist believes she has Crohn’s disease. It was interesting to hear each side argue their diagnosis. Biopsies, which are outstanding, will provide a definitive diagnosis. Either way, the initial treatment is the same.
Polly also has a liver/bile duct issue which remains unresolved. We should know more on that issue tomorrow. It may have been exacerbated by the widespread inflammation in her bowel.
As things stand tonight, Polly should be released on Sunday. When she was admitted on Tuesday, I feared she was dying; and left untreated she would have died. Thankfully, the ER doctor quickly narrowed down Polly’s symptoms and determined she needed to be admitted. Her other doctors have provided first-rate care, and, at times, comic relief. The change in Polly’s condition over the past thirty-six hours has been remarkable thanks to modern drugs, especially steroids and antibiotics. I’m grateful we live in a day when such things exist.
My wife, Polly, was hospitalized at Community Hospital and Wellness Center in Bryan, Ohio yesterday due to problems with her bowels. A CT scan revealed several serious problems, and her bloodwork shows problems with liver function. Currently, they are trying to hydrate her and battle the bacterial infection in her bowel. On Friday, the surgeon plans to do an endoscopy and a colonoscopy. As of today, he says her symptoms remain a mystery, and he hopes these tests will give him a better picture of exactly what is going on.
I am having my own problems pain-wise, but the focus is on Polly for now. Polly has worked for 20 years at Sauder Woodworking. She will miss her first day ever this week once her vacation days (4) are used up. Polly will be in the hospital at least until Monday, and longer if surgery is required.
I’ve said all that to say, I may not get much writing done over the next few days. I hope you’ll understand.
I love Christmas. I even say “Merry Christmas.” I thoroughly enjoy the holiday season, and I might even listen to a few religious Christmas songs. At the Gerencser home, Christmas is all about family, good food, booze, gift-giving, lights, and a Lionel train circling our fresh-cut Fraser fir-tree. Tomorrow is our family Christmas. Our children, their spouses/girlfriends, and our twelve grandchildren will all be here if the fates allow.
Surprisingly, Christmas means more to me now and is more enjoyable than it ever was as a Christian. No dutiful sermonette before gifts are open; no boring reading from the Gospel of Luke; no verbose prayers reminding everyone that Jesus is the real reason for the Season. While some in attendance still believe in Jesus, others do not. What we all agree on, however, is the importance of family and of love. Oh, we don’t always like each other, and we can fuss with the best of them, but we never forget how blessed we are to have each other.
I plan to take a break from writing until January 2. Polly and I continue to battle health problems, so we hope over the next two weeks unwind a bit, visit Polly’s parents (her mom has been given six months to live and her dad is slowly fading into the background of life), and maybe take a couple of day trips IF the damn Sun ever deigns to shine again in rural northwest Ohio. It’s winter in Ohio, and one thing seems constant: cold, dreary, gray days.
I hope you and yours have a blessed holiday season.
I have been dealing with some serious health problems over the past five weeks — primarily a bacterial respiratory infection and issues stemming from that infection. I am currently using a nebulizer/albuterol and my doctor prescribed a more potent antibiotic, hoping that it will help my immune system fight off the infection. As of today, November 20, 2018, things remain the same. I am home bound for the foreseeable future. I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled for Monday. I will try to do a bit of writing as I am able. If this is the “end” for me, I want to go out writing. (I know, I know, gallows humor.)
Thank you for your understanding and support. I appreciate the thoughtful, kind words I have received from many of you. So far, no one has taken my sickness as a “sign” that God is fixing to send me to Hell — so that’s good, right? I will do my best to keep you informed as to how things are going for me.
If you are sitting (or standing) on a guest post, this would be a good week to send it my way. Thank you to those of you who have submitted guest posts. Your help is appreciated.
One of the regular commenters on this blog, Karen the Rock Whisperer, is currently hospitalized in California. Over the past month or so, she has had a plethora of health problems that have repeatedly landed her in the hospital. Sometimes, in the digital world, we forget that real flesh-and-blood people are attached to an online username. Even though I have never met Karen face to face, I consider her a friend. I wish her well as she battles the various afflictions that have laid her low. I can’t offer up prayers or even karmic good thoughts, but I can say, Karen, I hope you get better soon!
Let me leave you with several comments Karen made in 2015:
I was at least moderately depressed all my life, and finally getting treatment for that illness was my start on the road away from religion. The story: I was raised Catholic in the liberal West Coast church of the 1960s and 1970s. I attended Catholic schools through 12th grade, and was taught my religion by a bunch of wonderful nuns who were determined to raise up a student body of social justice warriors. They tended to slide over the parts of the theology that were disconcerting; the important things in life were to take joy in the gifts of God, be properly grateful for them, and put them to the uses he intended. In college I made friends with Evangelical Christians, and discovered there was a whole other Christian religion out there. They seemed to have a more evidence-based faith, one based on the bible and not the pronouncements of the church hierarchy. I explored that for a few years. Meanwhile I met and married a man who was raised in an Evangelical tradition but was not religious.
I got into serious trouble with the Evangelical message. I couldn’t get my mind around the notion that one could take the entire bible literally. And the constant emphasis on sin, and my worthlessness, fed my depression fiercely. We were attending church regularly, but my husband finally insisted we quit, because the sermon would leave me in tears of despair; not even God could love someone as worthless as I. So I stopped going to church, but the damage was done, and it ate and ate at me for several years. Finally, in my mid-thirties, I reached a point of not being able to function beyond doing simple household tasks (I had been a very successful engineer). The doctor put me on Prozac. The effect was amazing. I discovered I was not worthless. I discovered that my every action was not somehow based in sin. I was thinking somewhat clearly about myself for the first time!
The process of healing was very long, and to some extent continues to this day. But very early on, I started questioning everything I knew about what was really right and wrong, true and false, including religious beliefs. That led me on a long and winding path, but eventually I was able to chuck it all as lacking in evidence. And also, along the way, I had to re-learn that the purpose of life is to take joy in what I’m given, be grateful for it, and put it to good use in a way consistent with secular humanism and social justice.
So while my life doesn’t involve any deities, in the end the nuns got the last word.
I appreciate your writing. Though I gave up on Christianity many years ago, it is learning about experiences like yours that have really made me comfortable in my atheist/humanist skin. While I don’t rage against the faith, I also no longer tiptoe around family and friends who are Christians. I’m no longer shy about objecting when they advocate bad ideas under cover of faith. This has made me much happier, but also enabled me to spread what I think are important messages about how we humans treat one another — and occasionally, I can make the faith-bound think.
As a geologist, I don’t have much knowledge of biology. I have played a bit with invertebrate fossils, and the changes we see through time in those fossils have made evolution real to me in a way that no amount of reading and lectures and presentations possibly could. But I have to leave in-depth understanding of all the different lines of evidence to my colleagues in the biological sciences. And I’m quite happy with that, because I trust that they do science the same way I do and have properly put together the story that these lines of evidence tell.
And that’s the fundamental problem in debating with creationists: they don’t trust the process of science. They don’t participate in it (for the most part), at best pretending to play at it. They can’t honestly do it, because their faith requires fitting the evidence to the conclusion. Dealing with them is just tiresome. But the ones who annoy me the most are big on arguing “XYZ disproves [evolution/age of the universe/big bang/etc.], therefore Christ!” Um, no. even if they’re right about XYZ (and they never are), that doesn’t say a damn thing about what really is true. Disproving evolution would definitely win you the Nobel prize, but implies nothing about the truth of Christianity or any other faith.
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I want to take a few moments to thank those who have financially supported me during 2017. I appreciate each donation. Donations are used to pay for server, software, and general site costs. Any excess donations are used to take Polly out on the town.
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Another year has passed and God still hasn’t taken me out or stopped me from blogging. I am starting to think that maybe God doesn’t exist or perhaps he approves of my writing. Either way, I plan to continue writing in 2018, health-willing. I make no promises, but I do hope to have the strength necessary to continue critiquing Evangelical Christianity, along with exposing to the light of day stories about predator preachers through the Black Collar Crime Series. If there is a specific subject you would like me to cover, please let me know and I will see what I can do. Questions are always welcome, as are guest posts.
If I can ever be of help, please let me know. You can contact me via the contact page. If you would like to text me, please let me know and I will gladly give you my text number.
I am always interested in having people write guest posts for this site. If you are interested in writing a guest post, please use the contact form to email me. You can choose any subject. If you are a Christian, you can even write a post telling me how wrong I am about God, Christianity, and the Bible.
Have a story to tell about your life as Christian and subsequent deconversion? Testimonies are always welcome. I have found that readers really appreciate and enjoy reading posts about the journey of others away from Evangelicalism. Perhaps you are someone who has left Evangelicalism, but still believes in the existence of a deity/energy/higher power. Your story is welcome too.
If you worried about grammar or spelling, don’t be. Carolyn, my ever-watchful editor, edits every guest post before it is published. If she can turn my writing into coherent prose, trust me, she can do the same for yours.
Anonymous posts are okay.
Several readers have emailed me in the past about writing guest posts. I am w-a-i-t-i-n-g. Seriously, if you have something you would like to say, I am more than happy to post it here. The ball is in your court.
I have been asked to consider producing podcasts of some of my posts. I’ve also had readers ask me if I would consider doing a Question and Answer Podcast. I am interested in doing so if there is sufficient interest. Please use the polls below to express your infinite wisdom and opinion. If you have extended comments you would like to leave, please leave use the comment section to do so. You can also send me a private e-mail via the contact form.
I have been sick with some sort of stomach flu since Sunday. I feel a bit better today, but it will likely be Thursday before I return to my regular writing schedule. I wanted to let readers know this just in case they took the lack of posts as a sign that Jesus had raptured me away or the judgment of God had finally fallen on my sinful, wretched soul.
I took a month off from writing, and now it is time for me to resume my regular writing schedule. Thank you for hanging around until I returned. My mind is filled with blog posts ready to come to life. Now, if I wasn’t so damned tired from my month-long vacation.
I have decided to take a month-long break from blogging. I plan to start writing again on August 1st; that is if Donald Trump hasn’t caused a nuclear war by then. If he has, it has been good knowing you. It’s been two and a half years since I have taken a break, so I am due. Physically and psychologically I am worn out. Throw in a recent car accident — Bambi’s Dad ran into the left front of our 2015 Ford Escape — a fall that broke my relatively new iPad Pro — which Apple will replace for a mere $600 — a mounting financial problem due to medical debt, and one of my sons inexplicably and stupidly walking out on his wife and four children, well, I am ready to go over the rainbow with Dorothy and Toto. Since my wife prefers that I remain among the living, I thought it best to take a break, not only from blogging, but also social media.
Polly and I have a short trip planned for July 14-17 — our thirty-ninth wedding anniversary. We plan to stay at the historic Boone Tavern Hotel in Berea, Kentucky. While there, we plan to travel nearby back roads looking for trouble and suitable photography subjects. On the 16th, we plan to visit the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, and on the 17th we have tickets for the Cincinnati Reds vs.Washington Nationals baseball game. Our youngest son and his girlfriend will be house-sitting for us, along with babysitting Bethany, our dog, and our cat.
I also plan to do some seriously needed work to my photography site, Defiance County Photo. I have been trying to get a photography business up and running, but so far the gods are working against me. I need to invest some time in doing some promotional work, along with expanding my portfolio. I also plan to morph into Santa Claus come November and December, hoping that between this and my photography business to make some much-needed cash. I just received the pattern for my Santa suit. Polly and my youngest daughter, both of whom are excellent seamstresses, have agreed to make the suit for me. I have the beard and the build, now all I need is the suit. I have some thoughts about merging the Santa gig and my photography business during the Christmas season, offering area residents personal access to the man from up North — and no I don’t mean Michigan.
I hope to come back from my sabbatical reinvigorated, ready to take on the Evangelical horde and the Trump administration. I do plan to re-post several posts every few days from 2015 and 2016 while I am gone. Hopefully, these posts will keep readers engaged until I return August 1st.