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A Quick Thought On Memorial Day

This is a repost of last year’s Memorial Day post. I don’t think I could say it any better.

While it’s never wrong to thank a veteran for his or her service, that is not what today is for. Save that for Veteran’s Day. Today we remember the ones who never got to take off the uniform, those that never came home, the ones that paid that ultimate sacrifice. So we do not “celebrate” Memorial Day, we respect what it stands for. Now granted I will have my cookout and drink several adult beverages, after all, it is an extra day off of work. But in the back of my mind, and hopefully yours too, we will remember our brothers and sisters of all branches of the military and hope that their sacrifice wasn’t in vain. As an Army retiree and the proud father of a soldier, today weighs heavily on me and my family, I am so very grateful for those that served before me and after me. So lift a glass of whatever beverage you choose, and thank those we can only remember, those who fell on the battlefields the world over. And pray that the wars will end, and peace will reign. Amen.

Peace,
B

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Retired Army

Happy Birthday Mom!

Me dear ol’ mum would have turned 99 today!

Not exactly sure of the date for this picture, but my best guess is mid to late 1960’s.

Mom always told us she was born in a little town called Fork in South Carolina. Fork has now been swallowed by Marion, and mom said it disappeared long before it could have been annexed by another city. Her birth certificate is a bit hard to read, but it seems to say County of Dillion, Township either Hillsland or Millsland. It also gives her middle name spelled May and not Mae as she told us.

Good luck with the handwriting!
Geneva Mae Campbell, 1 May 1912 – 23 November 2001

So in appreciation of her birthday, here is a song she absolutely hated!

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Crazy Busy Birthday Week

Well, it’s not all that busy. We are still doing our voluntary self-isolation, and all these folks have long passed on.

I’ve posted about this grouping of birthdays before, however, I left one out.  It wasn’t until I made a “Family Birthday” calendar (using Google Calendar) that this terrible omission was discovered.  I had not added my paternal great grandfather to this group.  Here are they chronologically, by birth year:

All these folks are on my paternal (father’s) side.  Starting with Great Granddad (not to be confused with Old Granddad which is a whole different thing…)

Samuel W. Campbell, 26 March 1861 – 8 February 1924.  This is the 159th anniversary of his birth.  I have no idea what the “W” stands for.  I have not been able to find much documentation of this gentleman.  I do have two obituaries and his death certificate for him but that’s all.  Worst of all is no pictures.  My grandmother (just down this list) had pictures of her dad, and of Herbert, and even lots of my dad as a child, but none that I can say is Samuel. 

But I do have his death certificate which gave me his parent’s names.

Then we have his son, my Grandfather.

Herbert J. Campbell, 31 March 1884 – 5 February 1919.  So, 136th anniversary. As with his father, I have no idea what the middle initial “J” is for.  My best guess is James, as that was his grandfathers name. That would be close to a traditional Scottish naming convention.  Had Samuel followed that tradition then James would have been his given name, not his middle name. I can find other Herbert’s across several branches of this line, so maybe he was named for an uncle or such.

Guess he played trombone. I would imagine that Nanny told me who the little girl was, but I don’t remember.

Next, we have Herbert’s wife, my Grandmother (or Nanny as I knew her)

Josephine Melinda (nee Bodle) Campbell, 27 March 1885 – 21 July 1975.  Happy 135th Nanny!  I have posted about Nanny several times. As she lived with us for most of my childhood, she was very instrumental in my upbringing. 

Nanny in front of the “Friends Union” (a Quaker meetinghouse) in State College, PA. She ran the kitchen there. I just love the hat and corsage.

Finally, dear old dad.

Donald Sherwood Campbell, 28 March 1912 – 19 February 1985. Wow!  108th for pops! If you look up “character” in the dictionary, my dad’s picture will be there. He is the main reason, along with my brother, that I have a warped sense of humor. And I’m proud to say that I have passed that on to my two sons! Hey – a legacy is a legacy. Even if it’s silly.

Sadly, no place or date for this photo of dad.

I can only imagine how this week was celebrated during the short time (1912 – 1919) when all four of these people could be together.

Peace,
B

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Self-Isolation Blues

Well, that’s not entirely true.  While we are staying home as much as possible, we do have a family to feed. So that means trips to the grocery store every few days.  I would prefer not to have to go as often as we are, but the lack of goods on the shelves, and the fact that we are not hoarders, requires multiple trips.  Our local grocer has absolutely no paper goods for the last week.  No paper towels, napkins, nor toilet paper.  I know this is, sadly, becoming very common.  The meat counter has been rather empty as well. But we will survive.

Just in case you missed this post, the reason we are self-isolating is we did go on a cruise about 10 days ago.  It was just a short three day to the Bahamas and back. The ship is set for 4000 guests. I doubt there were 1400 people aboard. My high school had more people. Hell, my graduating class was almost 1000 people!

Our view upon boarding the ship, The Mariner Of The Seas.

We almost didn’t get far on the cruise. They were discussing making the ship dock in Miami and everyone would have had to get off. In the end they let all the ships that left that day go anyway.  They did announce that we would be the last cruise for a month. The major cruise lines all canceled scheduled cruises until about 15 April.

The main reason we took the cruise was to take the girls to another country. It was their spring break, which made it a great time to go. But then this virus hit.  We did take a gamble, but it seems to be fine. I have been taking everyone’s temperature twice a day since we returned. No fevers, no (unusual) coughing or sneezing. I also have not heard of any of the ship’s crew testing positive either.  But I did call and postpone all doctor appointments and such.

The cruise itself was very nice. The girls made friends with other kids. They did not want to do any of the kid’s activities that were offered. They had much more fun just hanging at the pools and snacking just about all day.  I have to say they were very cognizant of washing their hands and using the hand sanitizer stations. I don’t think they passed a hand sanitizer without using it. I was very happy.

Virus? What virus?

Here’s a video that may actually be relevant for once!

Peace,
B

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What Is He Thinking?

Here I am just two months or so removed from a wonderful ten-day ICU stay (you can read about that here) and what are we doing? Taking Son-The-Younger and his two girls on a short cruise!  Just what the hell am I thinking??? COVID-19 is running rampant across the globe and I’m just waltzing right in.  Plus, we now have a confirmed case of the virus locally.

It may seem that the virus is targeting cruise ships. But I think it’s more of a “captive audience” type of thing. Let’s face it, you have thousands of folks miles from land all stuck together like sardines. It’s a petri dish blissfully floating out on the water.

Now, this is a short three-day cruise. Just out to the Bahamas and back. Nothing spectacular. Since it is a short cruise I don’t think it will attract the “jet set” travelers. I just don’t see anyone that’s been in any of the hot zones around the world joining us on this little adventure. My main concern is the crew. This will be Wifey and my fifth cruise (the first for the kids) and we love the international flavor of the crews. But that does pose a greater risk of having someone that has been in a hot zone being on board.

We must trust that the cruise line (Royal Caribbean in this case) will live up to their promises of greater sanitation for most areas on the ship, more hand sanitation stations, and better screening of crew and passengers prior to boarding. They have also stated that the fees for medical screening/care of anyone complaining of most “flu like” symptoms will be waived for the duration of the trip. They appear to have an expanded quarantine area ready, just in case.

Naturally the CDC has called for the elderly and those with compromised respiratory systems (and I fit at least one of those categories, maybe both depending on who you ask), to avoid travel “especially cruises”.  Yeah… right.  I never was one to listen to authority. There is a chance that I could be denied boarding. If I have a fever (which I haven’t since that hospital stay), or if my constant coughing is deemed to be a problem. 

We are leaving on that most auspicious of days, Friday the 13th! So what could go wrong? It is spring break for the girls as well.

They say the virus can be killed with a greater than 60% alcohol solution. I’m sure one of the bars on board will have something that’s 120 proof or higher. Plus, we can use this as a warm-up for “Amateur Drinking Day #2” St. Patrick’s Day.

So, watch this space. Wifey may be handling a post soon while I’m in quarantine, or worse. I’m confident that all will turn out well and I will have pictures to post next week. Now please excuse me, as I must prepare for this trip. By which I mean the single malt is calling my name!

Here is today’s almost related video.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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I’m A Hallmark Movie Widower

In all honesty, I’m not just a Hallmark Movie widower, I’m a TV widower. I just do not care for much TV. Sure, I watch some cooking shows (food is very important in this house), and the occasional NCIS episode. I also enjoy a few shows on Discovery, Animal Planet, and the National Geographic channels. Even the new HBO show Avenue 5 has my interest. For two main reasons, Hugh Laurie, and it’s only 30 minutes per episode. The Army taught me you can put up with damn near anything for 30 minutes. Case in point I had an Army dentist try to do a root canal on a long dead tooth. I was in the chair for over 4 hours while she drilled and poked and tugged to no avail. And quite a bit of that time the novocaine was not exactly effective. So, it can be done.

But as far as your usual sitcoms and other reality shows (thinking Below Deck here), I just cannot tolerate them. So I either have to go to another room, or put in earplugs. I have issues reading with the TV going. Music doesn’t bother me, but the spoken dialog interrupts whatever I’m reading.

As Jackson Browne sings;

“It’s like a song playing right in my ear
I can’t sing
But I can’t help listening”

For A Dancer © Swallow Turn Music, Wb Music Corp

The fact that Wifey likes these shows doesn’t bother me. She can watch whatever pleases her. She doesn’t watch when I have one of my few sports on. She’ll read or play a game on her tablet. Besides, I usually fall asleep within 30 – 45 minutes anyway. TV basically bores me.

But these Hallmark movies are so very strange. They’re pretty much the same story just with different actors. Lately it’s been the Hallmark Mystery Movies that have taken over the TV. At least they don’t all have Candance Cameron Burke staring like the majority of their Christmas movies seem to. Some people are just too damn cheery.

And what’s up with Christmas movies on in July?? Talk about your holiday creep! I rant and rave about anything Christmas that comes out before Halloween as it is. But July?? Give me a break.

So, what do you watch, or avoid? Oh – Wifey is in the living room watching some cop show while I’m typing this. I would be in our bedroom relaxing, but the granddaughters are currently in our bed playing a game on Wifey’s laptop.

Here’s today’s vaguely related video. It talks about a TV show, and besides it’s my favorite Dire Straits song. Now excuse me, I need another beer.

Peace,
B

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Fun With Photos

Yes, I know just yesterday I said I was done with genealogy, I did say I would continue to post family stories. But, then one of the sites I use often added a new feature. Colorize any black and white photo. Normally I am not a fan of colorizing black and white photography or films. But I had to go play around with it just the same.

So I took some old photos from both my family and Wifey’s family and ran them through the process. Some worked better than others, not surprised there.

I will display them with the original on the left, and the “new colorized” version on the right. I’ll start with Wifey’s family, since I was taught ladies go first.

Now, for my family.

And for the last photo I give you my father doing his Clark Gable impersonation. The colors really look good in this one!

As I said, generally I am not a fan of colorizing black and whites, but this last one really came out nice.

These were done with the free tool at My Heritage (Click here). I don’t know if you need an account with My Heritage to use the tool, but it’s free to create an account.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Another Anniversary

Last Thursday we celebrated not only Wifey and mine’s 38th wedding anniversary, we also celebrated Samuel & Eleanor Campbell’s (my great grand parents) 137th anniversary. Today we celebrate Samuel & Eleanor’s son.

Herbert J. Campbell & Josephine Melinda Bodle were married 20 January 1909, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This is the grand father I was happy not to follow in his footsteps, and “Nanny”, my grandmother who raised me as much as my parents did. Today marks 111 years.

Wedding register. The happy couple are listed on line 15.
Herbert’s WW1 draft registration dated 12 September 1918. It shows Josie as his wife and has the same address as his death certificate the next February.

Sadly, I have no pictures of them together.

Peace,
B

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76 Half Years Ago

At noon on Saturday, 16 January 1982, we said our “I do’s”. Given that damn near everybody said we wouldn’t last 6 months, here’s to 76 half-years babe! (That’s 38 years folks, it’s early, I’ll do the math).

Also happy 137th anniversary to my paternal great grand parents, Samuel W. Campbell and Eleanor Adaline Taylor. Also married on 16 January, just in 1883. Sadly, I have no pictures (yet) of the couple.

So here’s your favorite song.. Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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I Got Better

This is the long awaited follow up to A Very Delayed Post. While not required reading for this post, it’s a much more upbeat article, so I suggest you read it.

As I mentioned in the Delayed Post, the health issues started early on the morning of Saturday, 28 January. I woke up about 0300 that day with fever and chills. Being 500 miles from home, and in the middle of the Campbell Christmas Vacation, I elected to self treat. I started the Tylenol and lots of water, which will usually get me through most minor colds and such. But I have never had a virus like this.

By the time we returned home on New Year’s Eve, I was down right miserable. I had next to no appetite, no energy (which was good as I had no desire to do anything other than crawl into bed), a racking cough, and was still plagued with fever and chills.

I sat in a tepid shower for almost 45 minutes in an attempt to break what ever bug that was beating me down so badly. Needless to say, it didn’t help. On New Year’s Day I told Wifey to take me to an Urgent Care. She (being the smart one in this relationship), ignored my request and took me straight to the ER. While skipping Urgent Care and going straight to the ER probably didn’t change the outcome any, it at least skipped a stop and got me the care I desperately needed just that much quicker. Plus one less co-pay!

The ER nurse was our friend. She took one look at me and my basic vital signs and skipped past the basic triage area and right into a treatment room. The only stop was to have an EKG done. Once again I was in A-Fib with RVR (Atrial Fibrillation with a Rapid Ventricular Response). This is not a new thing for me, but this time I had absolutely no symptoms! I could not tell that my heart rate was 188, and I had no chest pain. All I knew was that I couldn’t breathe.

The usual IVs were started, swabs taken to see if I had any of the flu strains, or other contagious processes going on. I do remember another nurse telling me I was positive for Influenza Virus, and she gave me Tamiflu. This was roughly 1630 (4:30 PM). I had already been in the ER for about 8 hours by this time. I remember friends and family coming into the ER room, in full gowns, masks, and gloves. All the time I was thinking this is just a bad cold folks. Admit me, give me antibiotics for a couple of days and everything will be alright. Wow was I wrong.

Sometime in the afternoon of the 1st, I suddenly could not breathe. I was in acute respiratory distress. My lungs felt as big as the room, yet I couldn’t get any air in. As a long time COPD/Chronic Asthma patient, I was trying every breathing technique I could think of. I’m sure I didn’t remember all those tips, I was going into full panic mode. But nothing was helping.

It was vitally clear to my amazing medical team that the A-Fib was a secondary issue now. If I couldn’t get air in, it didn’t matter if my heart was in a normal rhythm or not.

I guess it was around this same time that my test results starting coming in. Not only was that Flu virus attacking me, I also had a bacterial streptococcus infection. Both of these combined to not only basically take out my left lung with a pneumonia, I was going septic. My blood was so infected that my body was starting to shut down. The real last thing I remember the ER doctor telling me was “You’re a lot sicker than you think you are.” Needless to say that scared me.

I’m not sure who brought up that I should be intubated. But that person saved my life. I do remember giving my permission for the procedure. Whomever I was speaking to at this point in time asked if I understood what they were suggesting. Being a retired Army Medic (a paramedic in the civilian world), I understood exactly what the procedure entailed. I willingly let them sedate me, put the tube down my throat, and hook me to a ventilator. While I understood that having a machine breathe for me would neither speed up nor lengthen the healing process, I knew taking my now full panic mode brain out the equation would only be a good thing. When I mentioned that to whoever it was, they smiled and said, “OK! Let’s do this.”

As all the equipment was being brought into the room, two things went through my head, and this will tell you just how separated my brain was becoming from reality.

First, that my paternal grandfather, Herbert J. Campbell died of exactly what I was going through; Pneumonia, secondary to the flu. He passed away February 1919. Almost 100 years before me sitting in the ER with the same crap coursing through my body. Second, I was looking at all the cool tech they were bringing in, and was slightly upset that I wouldn’t get to see this cool tech in action. And as much of a history buff, and wanna-be genealogist as am I, following in my grandfather’s footsteps was, surprisingly, not real high on my bucket list.

It was late on the afternoon of the 4th that the decision to extubate me was made. I’m unsure who was consulted, if anyone other than the medical team. They have brought me just up enough to ask me questions (wifey said I was trying to talk to her in “morse code” at times) or not. In any case the tube was coming out.

As mentally frightening as everything up to now had been, this was physically frightening. The first real conscious thought I had was waking up and choking due to the tube still being down my throat.

They had to wait for all the meds to wear off and to make sure my lungs would start on their own before removing the tube. So I’m now fully awake trying to breathe on my own, with a tube in my windpipe. I had a suction tube in one hand while trying to pull gently on the tube to make room to suction my mouth and throat. I was gagging and didn’t want to aspirate anything and cause another pneumonia. Of course the med team was right there and took the tube out before anything bad happened.

I may not have been turned into a newt, but I did get better.

The next 6 days are very boring. I never left the ICU, not because I needed the extra care or attention, there were just no available beds. The only beds available in the entire hospital were in the ICU. I didn’t mind it at all. I had great care. Everyone from the housekeepers emptying the trash and mopping floor every day, to the patient care techs would took care of all my basic needs before I was even allowed out my bed, to the totally amazing respiratory techs, to the lab folks (but was it really necessary to do the blood draws at 0530??), to finally the nurses. The last few days of my stay, when I should have been on a regular medical floor, I would have Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists come in to not only do their jobs, but sit and just talk, and some stayed a little longer to listen the music I had playing on my tablet every day.

Friends, I have never been so scared in my life.

My main concern now, other than just getting back to full strength, is learning to live as a Warfarin patient. I have to watch how much Vitamin K is in my diet. It’s not that I can’t have these foods, I just have to find a balance between meds and food. Nothing new for me.

I do hope this hasn’t bored you. It’s a bit therapeutic for me to put it all down. I’m sure my dates and times are off, days blend together in events like this.

Peace,
B

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