Category Archives: Aging

What In The World Happened To You?

Some of you know what has been going on with some of my health challenges and some of you may have missed part of the story”, so I thought I would try to clear things up and let you know “the rest of the story as one of my favorites Paul Harvey would say.

The first part of the story, I do not remember and I will have to tell you based on what I have been told by those that were standing by. I want to thank everyone for your prayers, love, support, encouragement, patience and understanding. It has been and continues to be a learning journey and has grown and is growing me in so many different ways. 

On Monday May 30th after suffering with a three day headache, I discovered that I had sinus infection that was making my ability to swallow difficult and my talking sound funny because of a swollen tongue. I of course started my home remedies, because even though I am not a doctor, I could play one on TV. On Wednesday evening, I preached, recorded and uploaded my Wednesday evening message and it sounded like I had a button or piece of candy in my mouth the whole time, I promise I didn’t, so on Friday, I decided after everyone’s coaxing to do a virtual visit with the Doctor. The Doctor prescribed Mucinex D and a nasal spray, which I started late Friday evening. Friday was a pretty normal day, other than sore throat, drainage and swelled tongue. I went to bed Friday evening just wanting to feel normal again.

This next part, I don’t remember, so I am going from Joy’s telling of the story. On Saturday morning June 4, 2022, I woke up, came into the living room and ask Joy what was going on? I told her that something was not right, that something was off. She got worried and started asking me all kinds of questions to see if I knew who I was, where I was, what our Granddaughters name was and when I couldn’t answer that, she got on the phone with my sister and My Brother In Law told her to call 911. During this time I was wide awake, talking, shaking hands and supposedly just trying to get my bearings. I am thankful for my Brother In Law Bill Cantrell showing up Johnny on the spot and Joy’s Mom Nancy Jo being here for Joy and the girls. There is a lot more to the story, and I was there, but I wasn’t there, so I’m not going into all of that, except to say: Praise the Lord, I did not say or do anything too embarrassing.

The rescue squad showed up and rushed me to the hospital with stroke like symptoms, where they did a CT Scan upon my arrival. Our good friend Julia Ellison Nicols made sure that I was well taken care of and was my Guardian Angel. The Doctors felt like my short term memory loss was due to the extremely high blood pressure and started me on a drip of medicine to try to start bringing it down and continued a barrage of tests, poking and sampling whatever they could get from me.

I can remember bits and pieces of the Emergency Room. I recognized Dr. Lutz from previous meetings when visiting parishioners, but it all just seems like a dream and I thank the Lord for that, because I have never been afraid to die, but I have never wanted it to hurt.

In the afternoon/evening they moved me into ICU and for the first time that I can remember, Joy and I talked and she filled me in on what all had happened, what was going on and what the plan of operation was. She informed me that I would not be able to preach the next day and that she had already sent messages and taken care of all of that and so I laid there and we talked and I slept and we talked and I slept They eventually brought me supper and I was trying to come up with a plan to get someone to break me out of there and take us to the Peddler, my treat. I told Joy to go home and get some good rest in a good bed. I actually rested pretty decent, although I am not a back sleeper and I was all wired up.

Sunday morning June 5, 2022 found me still in ICU, trying my best to come up with an escape plan. They were monitoring my blood pressure levels and decided to get rid of my drip and try me with a pill and see if they would stay stable, this was the key to my getting into a regular room and going home. I honestly was in pretty good spirits the whole time and kept thinking about how grateful I was that things were not much worse. Supposedly the meds that I took for the sinus infection cause my blood pressure to jump into the danger zone and I honestly was very blessed that things were not a whole lot worse. On the agenda for this day would be more test, particularly a MRI of my head, throat and chest. You will be pleased to know that I do have a brain and a heart.

Sunday afternoon they moved me to a regular room and we waited for results of the MRI. The MRI revealed that I had a small stroke on the back left side of my brain. It also revealed that totally unrelated, I had an aneurysm on the right side of my brain, but not that they were overly worried about. They also noticed that the arteries going up my neck were a little twisted, which they called Fibromuscular Displaysia, but they should be okay, because it did not seem to impact the flow of things. My heart looked good, other than some thickening of the heart wall, which was probably a result of the high blood pressure.

All I could think about was holding my Granddaughter Addi Jo, walking around our yard in Cheddar, seeing our family/friends and getting back to my Pastor/Preacher work and ministry, especially with my dear Eureka Baptist Church.

The good news so far is that there does not seem to be any permanent damage. I should not require any surgery, but I do have a slew of specialist that I now have to see, a few medications that I have to take and Joy thinking she has been promoted to General. (Haha)

On Monday June 6, 2022, I spent most of the day just waiting. We had to do an echo on my heart, just to make sure things were clear and my nurse assured me that no matter what time they gave me the clear that she could and would get me out of there within 20 minutes. Later in the late afternoon, we finally got the news that we could split and split we did.

God and everyone has been so good to us. The major thing I am learning is that I am not going to bounce back from this like I would anything else. I have good days, where I feel like I am back to normal and then challenging days where I feel like a very old man, who can’t do anything for himself. I believe this is just my body adapting, adjusting and getting used to a different way of living. I have prayed about it and I am trusting God to bring me back better than ever.

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” -Isaiah 41:13

Today as I was preaching, I felt more back to my normal self. I am still having some sinus challenges that is impacting my throat, tongue and speech, but I trust that in God’s time, God will take care of it, because I know without doubt that He is taking care of me!

My Earliest Childhood Memory!

I’ve been thinking for serveral days, trying to remember my earliest childhood memory. I remember when I was very young 1, 2 or 3 years old. I was riding a horse and every since then I have loved horses. I am not really sure if this is a memory of the actual event or a memory from a picture of the event, but I can still feel the excitement and fear that I felt sitting up on such a big animal.

I remember the church I grew up in and one man that would scare me to death when he would shout an “AMEN!” with his deep, loud voice. I remember sitting in church and rubbing the soft, cool fur on my Aunt Mag’s “Sunday Go To Church Coat”. I remember going back and standing right beside the preacher and shaking everyone’s hand as they left the Sunday morning service. I remember so many sweet people that taught me the stories of the Bible that would become the foundation for my life and living.

I also remember a lot of fun memories from K-5. I remember the playground and the giant sliding boards that would fry your legs and behind in the summer time. I remember the classroom centers and getting to pretend you were an adult. I remember the class next door had a hammock hanging in it and I thought that was the coolest thing ever.

I remember one of my good friends from 1st grade was an african american kid named Mark Coker and how some of the other kids made fun of him, because he would suck on his middle finger and pointer finger when he was nervous, which was pretty much all the time.

I remember when one of my school/church friends little brother Jeffery got cancer and lost all of his hair. Some of the other kids were bullying him and it hurt my heart so bad that I was ready to take them all on.

I remember Saturday trips to breakfast and yard sales with my Granny Earlene Davenport and hanging out at her flowershop during the week. I remember walking up the sidewalk to Jack Turner’s Barbershop and him pretending to give me a hair cut, just to make me feel like a big man. I remember Wilson’s Five & Dime Store and the neatest little toys and treasures we could find there.

I remember my Pa Albert Harvell and learning how to plant a garden, watch it grow and reap the benefits of hard work. I remember going in the house after snapping peas with my Grandma Sara Harvell and her teaching me how to make biscuits from scratch. One of my favorite memories from their house was the well house and the bucket you could run down and bring up with ice cold water. I especially remember my Pa’s “DIPPER” that hung above the sink, When ever he wanted a drink of water, he didn’t put it in a glass, insteead he ran it in the dipper and took a swig or two.

I have so many prescious memories. I could go on and on and on. That’s the funny thing about memories, once we take the time to start remembering, they come flooding back into our lives. And the beautiful thing is: As long as we are living, we still have the chance to keep making them and remembering them. Enjoy…

Aging With Grace!

I have often heard and sometime said myself in the last couple of years that getting older is not for sissies. Someone said that getting old is no fun, but I’m not so sure that I agree with that one, because getting old is better than the alternative, so it is best to learn how to make the best of it. I am at that age to where I am learning that what my Granny used to say is very true: “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!”

If we fail to exercise our bodies and stretch our muscles, then we will lose strength and flexxibility. If we don’t take the time to exercise our mind by reading and continually learning new things, then our attitudes will become limited, constricted and conflicted.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” -2 Corinthians 4:16

The life we live is the life we experience and it is built. up or torn down by the thoughts we think on a repetitive and continual basis. When we expand our thinking and focus it in positive ways, we increase our possibilities and grow our joy.

The key to aging is learning to age with grace. Everyone decides their own attitude about aging. It can be an attitude of sorrow, frustration and disappointment, which will lead to a challenged, rough and no fun process or we can age with an attitude of joy, eargerness and excitement, which will allow us to experience and share great blessings.

From the very moment we are born, we are getting older, so never stop learning, take advantage of opportunities to grow and always seek to be the biggest blessing you can be…