Blood Clots vrs Bleeding to Death?

I said, “Nice laugh” to the nurse as I tried to chuckle with her but wasn't feeling all that great and couldn’t get my legs wide enough apart just to feel some air after those many days in the hospital!

I was finally released to go to the long term care facility which turned out to be more like a nightmare to me. It was a horrible recovery and I was clearly told: NO WEIGHT on either leg or foot for FOUR months! No airplanes as I was a huge risk for throwing a clot and they didn’t dare give me thinners due to my history of bleeding! I had a 90% chance of internal bleeding if they put me on blood thinners and only 60% chance of throwing clots if they didn’t. Nice odds I thought!

Balls the size of melons and Pitch Black to boot!

After arriving to the hospital I was cut apart and had 7 bolts and stainless steel plate across my pelvis to pull me back together and hold me firm again. Of course I now have a matching scar to match mom where she had her two c- sections.

When I was awakening from the surgery they asked the same questions they always ask and I gave the same wrong answers I always give until we were all tired and I was awake again. The next few days were awful! My Balls were so big and so black that every nurse in the huge hospital had heard about the freak show up in room 419 and had to come and take a peek…

It was so bad that finally a very old seasoned nurse came on shift and confessed that I had become famous in the hospital and then as she gently lifted my gown almost fell over laughing as she gasped in disbelief! She said, “They told me you were huge but didn’t tell me you were pitch black!!!!”

gpa in hospital

"The Mother Ship"...

We arrived with me semi aware of what was going on and by now in a lot of pain. Of course they called for a pelvis specialist which there is only one of in Utah Valley. Surprise he was in on vacation in Hawaii! Nice I thought, right when I need him. They somehow managed to Catheter me which I was later told I made a lot of complaint about, and then did a procedure to stop the internal bleeding and finally loaded me up in another ambulance and sent me off to the huge new hospital in Salt Lake City they refer to as “The Mother Ship”.

ambulance ride to Murry Hospital

My Pelvis is What???

Fortunately the horse didn’t step on me nor kick me to make it worse. I hit the dirt and rolled and when they got to me I was unable to get on my feet? I paused for a few seconds and asked for help getting up but was unable to put any weight on my legs at all.

Somehow I managed to get across the street to Tims lawn with a lot of help and denied to rest a while and try and get my strength back. With help of both of them supporting my weight we managed to get me across and lay on the lawn for about an hour while the professional horse trainer proceeded to saddle and bridal the horse and soon saw that this was a very spirited horse that needed a lot of work to be any good at all and would test you every time you mounted him. NOT GOOD!

Obviously Tim sent him back and didn’t buy him. Finally the attention came back tome and without much convincing I agreed to let them haul me to the Hospital to check me out. No I wasn’t going to let them call an ambulance which they first suggested. Waste of money and I didn’t need an ambulance!

We arrived and soon got a Dr and x Rays which clearly showed the bad news! My Pelvis had bed split in half and was separated about 3 “ apart and my bladder had been torn loose and I was bleeding internally…

With that information they doped me up and loaded me in an ambulance and hauled me off to Utah Valley Hospital where the specialist there could “fix” me, or so they thought….

A Beautiful Buckskin Gelding that had a very calm demeanour or so I thought...

Every serious Collector dreams about going to the most famous of all Gas/Oil shows that is held annually in the early Fall in Des Moines Iowa. Since we are usually still in Hawaii at that exact time we can never make it. As luck would have it, I pulled off another very stupid move last Summer while visiting our eldest son and checking out a new horse he was looking at buying. It was a beautiful 10 year old Buckskin Gelding that had a very calm demeanor. While we were waiting for his appointment of a professional horse trainer to arrive I decided that since I had owned a lot of horses for many years we ought to just try the guy out ourselves.

He didn’t have his saddle or bridle handy but we were in a small 1 acre plot of land and he had a halter on the horse so I didn’t think much about it and convinced him to get on the horse while I led them around the pasture. When the were done the horse just stood quietly beside us in a very friendly manner until I could resist no longer. Of course I am old and fat and a lot less spry than I was 30 years ago when I sold my last horse but I hadn’t lost my eye for a good horse and proceeded to climb the fence next to the horse so I could get my old overweight carcass up on him. It seemed like a pretty nice fit as he was tall and slender with high withers which I sat behind. My son reversed the procedure and he led the horse across the pasture with me on it this time. The new horse was calm and perfectly calm as we walked across the grass so I told him to hand me the single rope halter and walk back to be in the shade under the trees with my his mom. So he did. Within minutes he found a totally different critter under my old body and this guy decided to test me out as he began to crow hop and side buck which sent me bouncing right up on those tall withers where he quickly proceeded to bounce me until I could feel my own Balls gettin crushed with my weight and the banging of the withers under me!

Not good at all and I could quickly see I was in serious trouble as I felt my internal parts begin tearing apart inside me. I began yelling for my son Tim to help but before he could get to me I was in such pain and trouble I decided to take my chances and just roll off the horse and take my chances with the ground, which I did!

The horse that gpa jumped off

The Bathroom Is Occupied...

We continued on to Laramie and got a room in a dilapidated old motel form the 40’s that was a total rip off but did have a very nice new memory foam mattress on the bed. One inch air gaps under the door, old curtains and no elevator. We of course were upstairs, still used keys not cars on the doors, hard to find parking for the truck and trailer and after all that the price was $80 a night.

We whined and left the next am and headed for home. Stopped in beautiful Rock Springs for lunch at Cafe Rio ( my stomach was back on track and I could eat)I had drunk a lot of Diet Coke and needed a bathroom but it was in use and I couldn't wait so headed for the parking lot to sneak like my grandson Porter by the trailer. Unfortunately I was too much in the open and while trying to hide managed to pee all over myself, but I got relief.

Going back into Cafe Rio with wet pants wasn’t fooling anyone who bothered to look but I was in a cowboy country so who cared anyway? We ate and it was good and headed home for an uneventful remaining trip. Home looked very very welcoming and beautiful as we drove in the driveway and watched and listened as the loose concrete bumped and clumped as we traveled over it with our heavy load, but we were home at last!

Lost glasses and Good Friends...

I was to meet Jon Anderson who had a couple of signs I had bought and also had to meet the guy coming from Hannibal who had the missing SOC sign I had bought months before. I met Jon at 8am and we loaded up his signs and I headed back to the hotel to await the arrival of Mark who had the SOC.

He finally arrived and we easily loaded it up after a quick trip to Harbor Freight to buy some more clams and to Home Depot for a couple of 2x4’s.

I am always amazed at how complicated Siri can make a simple trip become. She doesn’t use the right off ramps and winds us all over town just making a simple trip to the store? Amazing!

We finally got everything loaded and left for Omaha to go to Gas Pump Heaven to see Andy and Diane before heading home. Of course they were out of Red Indian globes, which is what I wanted, but we got a very nice visit with two wonderful friends before heading off for Laramie.

With the big load we were now getting about 8 mile to the gallon but still able to travel at 75-80 MPH down the road. WE stopped at Round top where we had spent the night the year before on the side of the road in a blizzard that closed I-80 and mom lost her glasses. I was determined to find them as I knew exactly where we had parked!

Unfortunately is was dark but I had a flash light and we searched and searched but think that the mower had likely thrown them far into the weeds during the year. It was a long shot at best but worth a try and I had not forgotten the event at all. Time didn’t diminish the intensity of the event even after a year!

gas pump heaven

Who is the "real" Picker?

Turns out when I got to the ”Pickers” house he only had one of the signs as the other one had never been delivered to him as promised, YIKES! Months of planning and promises and it wasn't going together! I made my panic texts to the guy from Hannibal Missouri who was suppose to have dropped it off at the Dixie meet so it would be there for me but someone had dropped the ball and it didn't happen.

I stopped and got the one sign but Rusty Carpenter just left it on the front porch as he had to go to a daughters ball game and couldn’t meet me. Sad as he’s a famous guy in the hobby and I wanted to meet him. He had a big Sinclair sign I wanted to buy but had other people waiting along the route and couldn’t be late. We got the sign and headed for the next stop in Orrick, Mo.

Orric is in the middle of nowhere on dirt/gravel roads to pick up a rare COOP sign pole I had found on eBay months before. I had saved a special place on the trailer rack to load it as I knew it might be tricky getting it loaded. We finally met the seller and he had a little tractor and we got it loaded right on the gravel road with no problems whew, and headed off to Counsil Bluffs Iowa.

IMG_5566.JPG

Just a couple of Gypsies...

We finally got done and headed out for Branson. We booked a very nice hotel just out of the center of town that was on a huge sprawling property with beautiful grounds and a wonderful spa which I immediately jumped in to so I could get relaxed before an evening show to see SIX, (the Knudsen Brothers). They were great! We unhooked our trailer in the parking lot, but not before getting quizzed by the Security Officer who was concerned that we were gypsies looking to haul anything off of value.

I confess that as hard as I try to make things look good on the trailer, the wrapping of cardboard and blankets does make for a visual of gypsies by about anyone that sees us go past. We stayed the night and all day Saturday and managed to get a couple more shows in as well as seeing Serena Williams get beaten in the US Open by a new and wonderful Japanese player.

I had looked up Church locations in Branson and found the two local wards. We spent 1 1/2 hours trying to find the building and finally did when the meeting was part over. We were lucky enough to get to see the children Primary Program. We have never seen anything like it! Every kid had their chest puffed out and head up and sang out like a superstar waiting to be discovered! Amazing what it’s like to see kids who aspire to be in the entertainment business from their youth!

Very different than what we see at home. Ben Dutton’s sister was the violinist for the kids along with a primary kid. When it was over we went back to the hotel and loaded up the trailer, changed clothes and headed for Kansas City where I was to pick up two signs at a “Pickers” house.

Just a couple of gypsies
six Knudsen brothers

My Good Friend Chuck

My good friend Chuck Dudley in Joplin had a conflict with my timing and he had to be at the Dixie swap meet that was on the same week end so he had made arrangements with his step father to help me load the signs I had bought from him. These were not just sings alone. They were all pole signs and big 18’ long heavy and hard to load signs.

My trailer is designed to haul this kind of sign but they are always tricky to load. Especially by people who don’t have experience in loading. We left the motel and managed to find our way to Chucks place but went down the wrong driveway, of course, and found ourselves in a tricky part of the yard but soon figured out how to get to a better spot to load.

It was hot and humid but fortunately overcast from the impending hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas. I managed to find the hidden keys to the tractor and eventually George showed up to “help” me load up.

I’ve never met anyone like George before. He was 10 years my junior and looked pretty old. He has the thickest southern accent I have ever heard and has an incessant need to talk. He is a singer at his church and all he can do is talk and sing. He has a gym for every sign and any and every subject. He has more never ending stories than Uncle Remus and none of it fit with my schedule of getting loaded and getting off to Branson so mom could get a show in before the day was over. I have five big pole signs to load and needed a lot less praises and a lot more lifting and loading. I also had a couple of other signs that friends had dropped off and stored at Chucks for me to pick up as well as some long awaited skins for a rare gas pump that Chuck had found a guy to make for us. I was thrilled to get those skins as our local guys wanted $1000 plus to make a set and these were only $320. It took over four hours to finally get it all loaded up and strapped down as George watched, stood and sang to check my patience level. I survived but it wasn’t easy.

George (Chuck Dudleys Step Father)

Not Going to make a Deal

We then went to see another collector named Sam, who also has a reputation but who asked me to take him a Carter sign to trade for something he had. I brought the sign with no real expectations as I knew it might get tricky. He had a beautiful place in Broken Arrow with about 50 signs on poles on a hill top. Very impressive and not even the best of their collection which is in Tulsa however, I could see he wasn’t going to make a deal so we visited and left for Joplin about two hours away for the night.

Broken Arrow Hillside

How long does it take to count 20 Pills?

Upon getting to the pharmacy we found that we only had the RX for the nausea and not the one for pain? I had the pharmacy call the hospital in Amarillo to see what had happened but of course no one knew anything and the Dr I saw was now off and wouldn’t be back until 9pm.

Nice I thought! I tried everything I could think of but it is very tricky with class 2 pain pills so no luck! Finally after another couple of hours driving I noticed a small piece of paper in the center console of the truck and check it out. Oops again… It was the lost prescription that mom had put there and forgot. We stopped again and got it filled just in case! It took forever to fill but we had no choice except to wait. Finally I lost my patience and went up to the counter and asked how long does it take to count out 20 pills? She checked and the prescription had been waiting but no one called our name. Par!

Just In Case...

A couple of other guys dropped off signs with Scott for me as well so it was very convenient and saved a lot of time and driving. Once loaded up I go back on the phone with Chris Deprez who lives in Dallas and tried again to talk him in to selling me his 5 foot SSP Red Indian Sign Ive been after for about two years now. I could just see it at Lakeside Storage up on a pole for all to appreciate. Unfortunately he didn’t answer the phone so we had to just drive right on past and head for our next pick up spot in Tulsa. I had hoped to see another collector while in town but the one wasn't there that I really wanted to see. I did pick up the signs I had bought a month or so ago from Joe Phillips who got them to Tulsa for me to pick up since he lives a couple of hours away the wrong way for us. While traveling I stopped to get the prescriptions filled that the Doctor gave me in the hospital. Just in case…

Traveling with the Runs...

Mom spent the hot morning inside as she wasn't feeling well and had stomach problems causing the run’s all morning which doesn’t make for easy traveling. Scott is a friend from way back and I have bought lots of signs from him before. I had several other collectors drop signs off at his place over the past months of waiting for me to pick them up. I had one friend haul signs from Ohio, Illinois, South Carolina, Dallas and somewhere else I can’t remember but all dropped off at Scott’s place awaiting my arrival. I never actually met Gene, that is the guy who transported all the signs for Lakeside Storage for me, but he is a very nice guy and is always on the road and made my life a lot easier. I paid him for his troubles and he was happy and we all came out good.

Just Another Sign or Two...

We headed for Lubbock to see my collector friend Rusty Cook that has a huge and incredible collection of signs on poles as well as a huge Events Center (Cooks Garage) and auto restoration shop etc etc. He’s a very creative and ambitious guy as well as a very nice guy. They serve delicious food at his place but since I couldn’t eat I had to pass on the food this time. We then headed off to a little town called Cisco which is down by Fr Worth where I had bought a sign off of Facebook a while back. We loaded that up and headed to Waxahachie where the big load awaited us.

We stayed the night in Waxahachie and began loading at about 8:30 am the next morning. Fortunately Scott Green has helpers that made the job of loading the 30 plus signs pretty easy for me. All I had to do was show them which signs went where. I put all the big 6 foot round signs in the truck rack and the ovals on the trailer in a special rack I had designed for this trip to carry the big load I had bought. Yes I bought another sign or two from Scott while I was there, but I also rejected an Amoco I had bought as it was smaller than I had thought it was.

Diet Pepsi it is!

Lots of Diet Pepsi and nothing else for days on end. I was also prescribed some pills for nausea and for pain. We were released from the hospital at 6am after they gave me another dose of pain meds and made me promise not to drive. I didn’t bother to tell them that mom couldn’t drive the truck and trailer so I just quietly drove back to the hotel where we both went to bed.

When I woke up I went to meet my first sign collector to pick up the two signs I had waiting for me that I had purchased when I was in Hawaii several months earlier on Facebook. While there I found a couple of more signs he had and bought them too.

I was feeling much better by then and loaded the four signs on the truck in my special sign rack and went back to the hotel to get mom and get back on the road. We had signs awaiting….

more signs awaiting DX Sign

What...5 Days of clear liquids????

The drive to Amarillo takes us thru Price, Greenriver, Moab and Monticello before turning off to go to Cortez and Shiprock. All very pretty driving even though most of it is two lane roads. Very hard to find anything decent to eat along that route so we ate ordinary Mexican food in Farmington where we found an easy place to park our big truck and trailer in the lot.

Finally we arrived in Amarillo at a pretty early hour and got a nice Motel room. Unfortunately I had been suffering from a dull stomach ache for the previous couple of days that I expected to subside with time but it didn’t subside at all. In fact it got so intense that a about 11pm I finally figured out this could be something very serious and needed to get some attention. We got up and headed to the ER which I have only done once before in my 78 years and that was when I had appendicitis about 30 years earlier. So we looked up the local hospitals in Amarillo and headed to the BSA ER where I got immediate attention but only got sent to a room and go no help for the pain which continued to increase with time.

Finally after and hour of waiting a Doctor finally came in and had the nurse add some morphine in the IV drip which soon gave some relief. Of course they took blood and urine and after an exam the Doctor pronounced the diagnosis of Pancreatitis….. WHAT?

Where did that come from? We made the assumption that it must have been a reaction to all of the health supplements that I am taking to prevent Alzheimer’s. Who knows? In any event the therapy was zero food for 5 days and only clear liquids!!!

The Cash is Missing???

For many months I have been preparing to make the long trip to Texas, Oklahoma, Joplin Missouri, Kansas City, Council Bluffs to pick up the signs that I had been buying all over the Country but that would be held by friends in those locations until I cold get there to load them up. Just like a little kid at Christmas I can’t sleep as I think about finally getting started on my trip. Finally Sept 4th came and I had planned on leaving at about 6am so we could make the trip to Amarillo that is about a 13 hour trip if all goes well.

As expected I awoke at 4 am in anticipation and we were ready and out the door by 5am. I had filled my little trusty fanny pack with cash just in case we found some unanticipated signs along the trip and remembered putting it on my little suitcase in the closet. As we drove up Spanish Fork Canyon I checked to see if I had the fanny pack with the cash and found that it was no where to be seen. I stopped and checked everywhere including digging through my suitcase! NO fanny pack! I wasn’t panicked as we had left early so we just returned home about 20 min away and went in and checked the closet where I had last seen it. NO fanny pack!I checked everywhere! I rechecked the truck, my suitcase and everything I could think of. Last of all I checked moms suitcase. THERE IT WAS! She had forgotten that she threw it in… OOPS We get a lot of those oops moments these days but were grateful to find it and we’re back on the road again laughing at each other for our old age disabilities.

A Hobby of Hope....

Some of you may be wondering who on earth is the obsessed person that has such a passion for Petroliana sign collecting? Well honestly I have wondered the same thing….and it is my dad. Sparky Sparks is his name, or at least what he goes by. He has a passion like no one I have ever know. He has GRIT and perseverance, he finds work fun and hobbies are only useful if they have a future purpose. We his 8 children wonder, “WHAT IS THE PURPOSE” of collecting sign after sign after sign, driving all around the country at 78 years old?

Our mom, Jeannie, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago hasn’t slowed this passion but instead just pushes the passion of hours on end spent together traveling, making memories and collecting signs. Does she love it like he does? No, but she loves him and his addiction to this “Hobby of Hope” I will call it. Hope in what?

Hope in a love of life, making memories, persevering, staying young, making connections, and cultivating new friendships along the way. A hope of, surviving hard things and doing it together as a couple who loves eachother and spends just about every moment together on the road or off.

This blog is written by me, his daughter, Tiffany, and by him sharing their adventures about his Hobby of Hope.