Anyway... been gone a few weeks. Was in Tennessee with my Uncle Charles, who had massive, seriously serious abdominal surgery on April 2nd, wherein they cut a big tumor out of his stomach and then took out about 8 inches of what intestines he has left. He was in the hospital for 16 days before they let him come home. Then he was home for a week and then the day before I was due to come home, he had a little set-back and I had to take him back to the hospital, where they kept him for three more days. He got home on a Monday and I left him to come home that Thursday evening. I did enjoy getting to know him better as an adult. I had not spent much time with him since I was in my late teens. Other than seeing him at family reunions and other family functions. And I didn't spend much time around him even then. Its a long story but here's the short of it:
"In 1981 he was working as a longshoreman in the port of Houston. He was nearly killed when a load shifted and a ton of steel pipes fell on him. He was in the hospital for over 8 months while the doctors tried to reconstruct his insides and save enough intestines and stomach so he could survive without being hooked up to a machine. They managed it but he had to wear a colostomy ever since. He lost the ability to sire children; had permanent nerve damage in his right leg which is now atrophying after all these years. He did manage to keep it supple for 27 years. A miracle, actually. Anyway, he got lots of money after that and he had a lot of mental anguish and he began drinking heavily and doing drugs heavily and people started hanging around him cause he was always willing to pay for the party and he liked people who would be "yes men" to him. I didn't like most of them (even some family members) whom I thought were just using him. But I never have been much of a druggie and a boozer. I grew out of that when I had my son, but I never liked it much even before that. Anyway... I chose not to be around that kind of stuff. I didn't agree with his lifestyle and I didn't want his money and I wasn't about to be a "yes" person to him or let him boss me around and be rude to me. Now... he's used up all his money, he's pretty much in the poor house, he has to depend on the VA for his health care and this year he had a bout of Mersa (that horrible staph infection that has been killing people all over the world in hospitals) and it got into the colostomy wound area and they had to cut that out and remove the ostomy from the left side of his abdomen and re-situate it on the right. Then his insides didn't want to work after the surgery... he's had a terrible time. I truly feel for him. Sure, you can say he pretty much brought all this hardship on himself, as far as the money thing goes and all, but the original accident was not his fault and he's still my uncle and I still love him even tho I don't always agree with him. So... that's the shortest version of that story as I could do."
So anyway, I stayed with him cause I thought it was the right thing to do. I still do. But I was tired as heck when I got back home. I was home Friday and then we got up Saturday morning and drove to Rockingham, NC to see the ARCA race. The motel I had a reservation at was horrible. The bathroom was moldy; the beds were saggy, and there were two guys out on the balcony in front of our room drinking beer and yelling at the cars as they drove by. Scary. And gross. So I called the Holiday Inn Express which we had seen on our way in to town and asked if they had a room available, which they did. So I got a refund from the Regal Inn and we went over to the Holiday Inn. Very nice room, clean, didn't have any funny odors; the carpet was nice and didn't stick to your bare feet; the continental breakfast the next morning was quite nice as well. The race at Rockingham was fantastic. I enjoyed it absolutely. I saw my man Tony Stewart. Actually was able to touch him on the shoulder and he smiled at me! What a blast! I'm still on cloud nine over that.
The weekend was just beautiful. Bright, sunny, breezy, beautiful. I got a colossal sun burn. My face and neck are just about the color of a perfectly ripe tomato. I look like a freak, pretty much. But it was worth all the agony I'm going thru now. I touched Smoke! He's beautiful, too. Much handsomer than any picture I've ever seen of him. Maybe later I'll explain about the pictures I didn't get and the fat man who jumped up in front of me just when I was snapping the picture of Tony and so on and so forth. So I didn't get a good close-up pic of him. I touched him, and that's way better than any old picture, to my way of thinking.
Anyway... that's about all I can do for tonight. I'm still kind of tired out. Haven't quite recovered from my double trip, yet. Not sorry I went either place, tho.