Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Race Inside Your Body


They call them the Golden Years so hitting the 70 mark or even the big 80 means just one daylong round of fun, right? On TV commercials you see these young looking senior citizens who spend their days on the golf course, riding bikes with their buddies or watching their grandchildren play games. No matter that to me every one of those activities sounds boring as hell. I'm not what would be called normal, if normal means enjoying things such as that. I'd much rather be working.
But there is one thing you can't get away from and that's the race going on inside your body to see what will cross the finish line ahead of the pack and kill you. The race begins when you are about 25, but you seldom think about it at that age even though it is already under way. I don't think about it even at 82 until something decides to make a dash for the lead and leaves me feeling miserable. Then all you can do is wait for it to slow down so something else can put on a burst of speed in hope of being first to the checkered flag.
Yesterday it was ulcerative colitis that decided to make me miserable but it was considerate enough to wait until most of the day's work was finished. It may have been on a schedule that limited it to 12 hours because that's exactly how long it lasted.
Now let me be clear about one thing: the less you know about ulcerative colitis the better. Just call it a bellyache although sometimes you can't even call it that. It can even be fun when you aren't in agony because this just infuriates the doctors.
That happened about six years ago when it put me in the hospital for four or five days. One doctor after another would look at extremely ugly and disgusting pictures of my inner workings and say, "How much pain are you in?"
"None, except I wish the nurses would quit sticking needles in my arms every hour."
"What do you mean, none? You have to be suffering."
"Sorry, but I'm not. What would you suggest I do to correct that situation?"
They'd just scowl at me, certain I was lying. Sometimes after leaving the room one or the other would stick his head back in the door and say, "You really are in pain, aren't you?"
I'd just grin and shake my head, providing a nurse wasn't sticking a needle in me at the time. That went on day and night, every hour on the hour until I had more blood in little tubes than in my veins. Finally Jackie decided enough was enough, placed a chair in front of the door and wouldn't let them in so I could get a decent night's sleep.
Every morning one of the doctors would come back, give me a nasty look and say, "How much pain are you in now?"
I hated to upset their entire belief in the things they had learned at medical school but I had to be truthful. "Not a bit. How about you?" Doctors have a limited sense of humor about things like that.
So in all the years I've had ulcerative colitis I've had two short and minor upsets. This despite the fact that after the first few months I've totally ignored the diet they put me on - no fresh fruits, no fresh vegetables, little if any meat, absolutely nothing that tastes good.
Like any good patient I did regret upsetting the doctors by not being in constant agony. That's just the way it is and I've done my very best to be obliging by tearing up their diet. I mean what more can a man do? Of course on those rare occasions when it does cause a problem I lie there thinking why oh why couldn't I have led the clean life? Why oh why do I always do exactly opposite of what the doctors say? That's when I hear a little voice whispering, "Because that's just the way you are so live with it. Or some day die with it."
I remind that little voice that despite having always done the wrong things I've already lived well past several "sell by" dates. That's something else the doctors can't understand. Someday I'll write about the time they wanted me to have brain surgery. Where do you suppose they get these crazy ideas?

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