But for the disGrace of this Bruce Almighty

It may be dangerous for an old man, a retired journalist like myself who is tethered on a dialysis machine three days a week totaling around a dozen hours, to have plenty of available time to conjure up such nonsense as the poetic effort that follows. Since I am also a facebook neophyte, I am offering this October writing that may be of interest to baseball followers, and those who viewed the 2003 movie Bruce Almighty that starred Jim Carrey, Jennifer Anniston, Morgan Fairchild and others.

*See below the names of Major League Baseball players listed on 2017 season rosters who are utilized in the following poem. You will note the verses carry an 11-11-7-7-11-11 rhythmic flow in somewhat Shakespearean fashion. Don’t miss the subtlety of the title and the content.

By Bernie Gilmer, October, 2017
(With apologies to Bill S. himself)

Looking for a Street where they could raise some Cain,
These mischievous youngsters out in the light rain.
Weaving right up a steep Hill,
With each one popping a Pill.
Two Brothers, one Walker a heavy Smoker,
Three were country Hicks, another a joker.

One suggested they buy some mighty Good-rum;
One Wheeler-dealer said he would get them some.
Instead, he bought a Gallo jug.
Bummer! Yelled the littlest thug,
And adding: Great Scott, man, must have been on Sale,
Should’a brought some White wine iced down in a pail.

As it moved toward toMorrow, chirping was heard,
Led by a Jay, a Martin, and a big Bird
Known as a strutting Peacock.
A Covey joined courthouse clock.
Also roaming was one lone County Sher(r)iff,
Who found the Hardy teens and got into a tiff.

One rascal ran and hid behind a large Bush,
One in a bed of Flowers trying to hush.
The cop from his holster he Drew,
While down the tracks came choo-Choo,
Giving an escape hatch for those from the Hood,
As if the curfew Bell wasn’t understood.

But leave it up to the long arm of the Law,
To patrol the town in a shiny rickShaw
Owned by the Danish Baker,
The tall German Shoemaker,
A stout Gray-haired Carpenter eager-beaver
And a Green-eyed Albu(r)querque Weaver.

Well, the determined ‘Barney Fife’ failed to budge,
Rounded up the lads for a fill-in court Judge.
Would he rule ‘Minor offense’?
Or Hand out something quite tense?
One ladies-man brat showed he’s a real Winker,
Another’s Story proved he was a stinker.

Would the man with the gavel grant some Leeway,
Or come down hard with a hefty Price to pay?
You don’t need to break Morse code,
Wade in on pie a-la-mode,
Find a Phillips screwdriver or Allen wrench.
Riddle will be solved by the man on the bench.

Over a Span of time, we all will get to hear
Whether the ruling protects those who wreak fear,
like football’s soft Brady Rule,
sends these rowdies back to school.
Oh, and it makes each appear like a Free-man,
With Morton salt in wounds of those in Free-lan(d).

Surely, this edict was made by a Dull mind,
Donning judicial robe as a sub-in kind.
Offering his sixPence worth,
Which May be his last henceforth.
Gee, while his ruling was viewed as unsightly,
Could be the disGrace of this Bruce Almighty?

*Players & their teams.

Al Alburquerque, P, Chicago White Sox
Brandon Allen, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
Cody Allen, P, Cleveland Indians
Greg Allen, OF, Cleveland Indians

Dylan Baker, P, Cleveland Indians
Jeff Baker, 1B, Miami Marlins
John Baker, C, Chicago Cubs
Scott Baker, P, Los Angeles Dodgers
Chad Bell, P, Detroit Tigers
Heath Bell, P, Washington Nationals
Josh Bell, IF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Josh Bell, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates
Trevor Bell, P, Cincinnati Reds
Greg Bird, 1B, New York Yankees
Michael Brady, OF, Oakland Athletics
Rex Brothers, P, Atlanta Braves
Jay Bruce, OF, Cleveland Indians
Aaron Bummer, P, Chicago White Sox
Matt Bush, P, Texas Rangers

Lorenzo Cain, OF, Kansas City Royals
Matt Cain, P, San Francisco Giants
Chris Carpenter, P, Boston Red Sox
David Carpenter, P, Atlanta Braves
David Carpenter, P, Tampa Bay Rays
Matt Carpenter, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Texas Rangers
Dylan Covey, P, Chicago White Sox

Tyler Danish, P, Chicago White Sox
Stephen Drew, IF, Washington Nationals
Ryan Dull, P, Oakland Athletics

Tyler Flowers, C, Atlanta Braves
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
Mike Freeman, IF, Chicago Cubs
Sam Freeman, P, Atlanta Braves
Kyle Freeland, P, Colorado Rockies

Joey Gallo, IF, Texas Rangers
Dillon Gee, P, Minnesota Twins
Domingo German, P, New York Yankees
Niko Goodrum, OF, Minnesota Twins
Matt Grace, P, Washington Nationals
Jon Gray, P, Colorado Rockies
Sonny Gray, P, New York Yankees
Chad Green, P, New York Yankees
Grant Green, IF, Washington Nationals

Brad Hand, P, San Diego Padres
Donovan Hand, P, Cincinnati Reds
J.J. Hardy, IF, Baltimore Orioles
Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees
Brandon Hicks, IF, San Francisco, Giants
John Hicks, C, Detroit Tigers
Aaron Hill, OF, San Francisco Giants
Koyie Hill, C, Philidelphia Phillies
Rich Hill, P, Los Angeles Dodgers
Shawn Hill, P, Toronto Blue Jays
Taylor Hill, P, Washington Nationals
Destin Hood, OF, Miami Marlins

Jon Jay, OF, Chicago Cubs
Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees

Derek Law, P, San Francisco Giants
C.C. Lee, P, Cleveland Indians
Chris Lee, P, Baltimore Orioles
Dae-Ho Lee, 1B, Seattle Mariners
Zach Lee, San Diego Padres

Chris Martin, P, New York Yankees
Cody Martin, P, Seattle Mariners
Ethan Martin, P, Philadelphia Phillies
J.D. Martin, P, Chicago White Sox
Kyle Martin, P, Boston Red Sox
Leonys Martin, OF, Chicago Cubs
Rafael Martin, P, Washington Nationals
Russell Martin, C, Toronto Blue Jays
Jacob May, OF, Chicago White Sox
Trevor May, P, Minnesota Twins
Mike Minor, P, Kansas City Royals
Brandon Morrow, P, Los Angeles Dodgers
Michael Morse, 1B, San Francisco Giants
Charlie Morton, P, Houston Astros

Seung Hwan Oh, P, St. Louis Cardinals

Brad Peacock, P, Houston Astros
Hunter Pence, OF, San Francisco Giants
Brandon Phillips, IF, Los Angeles Angels
Brett Phillips, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Zach Phillips, P, Pittsburgh Pirates
Tyler Pill, P, New York Mets
Bryan Price, Cleveland Indians
David Price, Boston Red Sox

J.T. Riddle, IF, Miami Marlins

Chris Sale, P, Boston Red Sox
Luke Scott, DH, Tampa Bay Rays
Robby Scott, P, Boston Red Sox
Bryan Shaw, P, Cleveland Indians
Travis Shaw, IF, Milwaukee Brewers
Tanner Sherriff, P, St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Shoemaker, P, Los Angeles, Angels
Josh Smoker, P, New York Mets
Denard Span, OF, San Francisco Giants
Trevor Story, IF, Colorado Rockies
Huston Street, P, Los Angeles Angels

Tyler Wade, IF, New York Yankees
Christian Walker, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
Neil Walker, IF, Milwaukee Brewers
Taijujan Walker, P, Arizona Diamondbacks

Jered Weaver, P, San Diego Padres
Luke Weaver, P, St. Louis Cardinals
Jason Wheeler, P, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ryan Wheeler, IF, Los Angeles Angels
Zack Wheeler, P, New York Mets
Alex White, P, Houston Astros
Tyler White, P, Houston Astros
Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Chris Young, OF, Boston Red Sox
Chris Young, P, Kansas City Royals
Delman Young, OF, Baltimore Orioles
Delwyn Young, OF, Chicago White Sox
Eric Young, OF, Los Angeles Angels

NOTE: All 30 Major League Baseball teams are included (by 64 last names representing 115 players) somewhere in the poem.

SAMPLINGS FROM DIALING IN ON DI-AL-Y-SIS

The 16-chapters of the quality 174-page paperback titled Dialing in on DI-AL-Y-SIS, researched and written by retired journalist and end stage renal patient Bernie Gilmer, are designed to provide an account of his first seven months on dialysis and the decade-plus of events leading up to his present fate.

To help develop a flavor for the substance of the book, the following excerpts follow in previewing the entertaining, revealing, and informative contents.

** FOREWARD (by Dr. Charlotte Templin, Emeritus, University of Indianapolis): Maintaining a sense of humor is one thing that gets our sometimes “discombobulated” (to use his word) retired journalist through the difficult challenges that seem to pop up with all-too-frequent regularity. He tells us that his book project was therapeutic, and it can be said that the healing he experienced is an offering to the reader.

** INTRODUCTION (by author): What has happened, though, to what is supposed to be those Golden Years? I do have the usual obligatory recliner (and an upstairs rocking chair) and a television remote, but original plans and hopes for retirement did not include seven hospital admissions, a couple of outpatient procedures, a pair of emergency room visits, and at least a half-dozen instances of simply passing out while stone cold sober.

** Chapter 1 (WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED DIALYSIS?): As this poor ol’ retired (mostly tired) journalist has discovered through his nearly decade-long-and-counting confrontation with kidney disease, this thing called DIALYSIS has brought on a plethora of very personal considerations, discussions, meditations, and ultimate decisions – both on the health/mental side and on the financial end.

** Chapter 2 (ALARMING START ON LATE-IN-LIFE CRUISE): First off, during the electrocardiogram segment – which positioned the bare-chested insurance applicant flat on his back on the dining room table – the family cat suddenly darted across his upper torso and interrupted the readings that the caught-off-guard nurse was recording on her portable equipment. She seemed a little perturbed that the EKG routine had to be restarted.

** Chapter 3 (THIRSTS PROMPT FREQUENT FLUSHES): Eventually, the doctor did return to his now traumatized patient, and he seemed somewhat distraught, too. He led with a question: “Mr. Gilmer, do you think it would be at all possible for you to drive yourself down to the St. Francis Hospital in Beech Grove? The hospital here doesn’t have an available room – they are all full (man, talk about no room at the inn).”

** Chapter 4 (CRUISING ON FROM PORT TO PORT): While the journey on the kidney disease trail had been advancing in what might be characterized as rather smooth sailing for a few years, the waters were about to become quite choppy.

** Chapter 5 (ARRIVING AT PORT ‘ON DI-AL-Y-SIS’): The 90-minute flight home the next day found the fatigued husband barely able to deplane at Indianapolis International Airport. After struggling to navigate the exit chute into the terminal, he plopped down in an empty chair and waved over his wife, Maureen. “Go get me a wheel chair. This is as far as I can go; I can’t make it to the pick-up area.” That is where son Evin was waiting curbside to drive the weary travelers to their condo.

** Chapter 6 (UNWANTED DIALYSIS BEGINS): In a lighter moment during one of the early treatments, this poor ol’ retired (mostly tired) journalist reverted to his usual sarcastic and cynical newspaper nature in dubbing the DIALYSIS machine “Count Dracula.”

** Chapter 7 (GUESS WHAT NEW MONTH BLEW IN?): Unfortunately, an episode regarding the taking of Phoslo – known personally by many emergency room doctors – would produce tales not to be told at the dinner table.

** Chapter 8 (WHILING AWAY TIME DURING TREATMENT): So now, more than a half a century after the Oxford saga, there he was, this ol’ retired (mostly tired) journalist, situated in a heated chair at the Premier Dialysis facility looking around the room, doing his best imitation of adapting to “the art of lobby sitting.”

** Chapter 9 (MANTRAS AND LIFESTYLE TRANSITION): That doesn’t mean he was in tune with what was going on. Like many, he was in denial on the first day he would go on dialysis. He did vow to cooperate with all factions involved – doctors at the hospital and ultimately at the DIALYSIS center, the nurses, the technicians, and staff personnel. The only pity party he threw for himself came on the night before his first DIALYSIS session. He stayed awake most of the night trying to figure out a way for this upcoming happening not to happen.

** Chapter 10 (TREATMENT INFO HAS FAMILIAR RING): What became most interesting for this now-avid researcher was learning just how the DIALYSIS treatment process works in removing excess fluid and extracting toxins from the bloodstream. The more he dove into the treatment topic, the more surprised he became that he could relate to and comprehend the hemodialysis process. In previous experiences while working in other industries, he had been exposed to processes that had worked in very similar ways.

** Chapter 11 (DID KID ILLNESS TRIGGER THIS DISEASE?): After being assigned to DIALYSIS in February of 2017, and while researching end stage renal disease, a one-sentence tidbit in a rather obscure Internet account jumped out like it was shot out of the proverbial cannon. Boom! And there it was: “Long-term complications as a result of SCARLET FEVER include KIDNEY DISEASE, rheumatic heart disease, and arthritis.” Sherlock Holmes could not have been more observant.

** Chapter 12 (JOCKS NOT IMMUNE TO RENAL DISEASE): Sometimes though, fame can be fleeting. It only takes one injury, or maybe one illness for an athlete to take a tumble from the luxury loft to the lowly latrine. It just so happens that one such pro baseball franchise – the Kansas City Royals – which this poor ol’ retired (mostly tired) journalist has been following since the team’s inception in 1969, had a player who typifies one of those who literally, quite literally, can speak in characterizing the rise-and-fall of an athlete. That player would be Florida-born catcher Ed Hearn, who in 1986 reached the penthouse displaying a World Series ring to commemorate a New York Mets world championship.

** Chapter 13 (PICK ONE – ‘ALBATROSS’ OR ‘BLESSING’): When chronic kidney disease patients enter what often becomes the final chapter of their battle with renal illness, the gateway into the world of being on dialysis can create a physical and emotional crossroads. For some, the feeling is like an entire world of burdens has been dropped upon their shoulders. For others, though, they may accept DIALYSIS with a sigh of relief, sensing the upcoming treatments thankfully may extend their number of days on this earth.

** Chapter 14 (IS TO QUIT OR TO DENY DIALYSIS SUICIDE?): According to the NKF guide, when the choice is made to stop DIALYSIS, the patient will be considered in a failing state and will, therefore, be able to have hospice care. The patient, after having made the decision to stop the treatment, may have a change of mind and can return to being on dialysis.

** Chapter 15 (PERHAPS THERE IS HOPE AHEAD): For those currently on dialysis, and for those who will be introduced to the traditional DIALYSIS regimen in upcoming years, it appears that the pending journey will offer at least a speck of optimism, especially when it comes to research for new treatment devices and for enlightened findings.

** Chapter 16 (HANDS WAVE TOWARD ‘PATIENT’S FATE’): Had this poor ol’ patient been Gomer Pyle, the bumbling-but-popular U.S. Marines character of television series fame in the 1960s, the connection between Dr. Jain and the DIALYSIS facility surely would have evoked the following response: “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!”

** EPILOGUE (by author): Obviously, the full story of my plight with end stage renal disease has yet to play out. No one really knows when it will do so.

More information about the book is available by going online at www.diodialysis.com, or by calling the author at 317-410-4811 (Indianapolis).

PATIENT CHIT-CHAT TRIGGERS SEGMENT IN BOOK CHAPTER

While beginning to gather information back in February (2017) for my new book, titled Dialing in on DI-AL-Y-SIS, some of the favorite resources were fellow patients at the Premier Dialysis center on the Indianapolis (Indiana) south side.

The facility’s lobby provides a perfect setting for the exchange of dialogue among patients while awaiting open chairs for treatment sessions. It is a time when patients can get to know each other, with topics ranging from sports and general chit chat, along with a good amount of attention given to how the three-times-a-week treatment regimens are going.

                 CHARLES SANDY

More often than not, conversations become interrupted when one party or another is called into the 14-chair treatment room, where sessions begin with patients being hooked up to the dialysis machines to begin a process that will last anywhere from three and one-half hours to sometimes more than four full circuits of the big hand on the room’s wall clocks. When the lobby talk is broken up abruptly, the patient being summoned often receives a send-off chorus of “to be continued.” Sometimes a topic being discussed continues on by those still in the lobby. Sometimes it doesn’t. And likely it won’t be revisited on the next treatment day a couple of days later. Topics tend to come and go.

Those gathered in the lobby for the most part are senior citizens. There are several septuagenarians (like me, in their 70s) and a few octogenarians (in their 80s). And there will be occasional older patients yet, that I learned are known as nanogenarians (in their 90s). And then there is Isaac Garcia, a young man in his 40s, who has encountered kidney disease and dialysis way before his time.

By coincidence, the Monday-Wednesday-Friday conversationalists include three patients with Kansas ties — nanogenarian Charles Sandy and septuagenarians Charlene Niederhouse and myself — along with several other mostly Indiana folks. Sandy and I grew up in Central Kansas towns about 60 miles apart, Charles in McPherson and me farther west in Great Bend. One of the first people I visited with in the lobby was Steve Decker, a long-time Hoosier resident; we both started dialysis treatments on the same day — February 1 of 2017.

It’s always revealing when new acquaintances can substantiate that the world is indeed a small place. Charlene and her husband, Jim (recently nicknamed Dr. Jimbo) Niederhouse, both at one time lived in Wichita, just over 55 miles south of McPherson and about a 90-mile diagonal shot from Great Bend. Generally, Charlene and Mr. Sandy can be found in neighboring chairs during dialysis treatments.

During their first lobby conversation, Decker and myself discovered we had been hanging out at some of the same places during our time. A multi-state service manager, Steve represented Modern Photo Offset Supply for 44 years throughout all of Indiana and Kentucky, along with Western Ohio, Southern Michigan, and Eastern Illinois. Along the way, he serviced lithographic  products at numerous newspapers, schools, prisons and an assortment of independent businesses. While I worked at newspapers in Shelbyville, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis in Indiana and Hamilton in Ohio for nearly two decades, the two of us never met up — not until that same first day while making our debut on dialysis.

Sandy, who grew up in a town with three oil refineries, found it interesting that my dad, Bernice (pronounced Bern-ess) Gilmer was a drilling superintendent for Shell Oil Company back in the late 1930s and early 1940s. As a big-time sports fan, I found it eye-popping when Charles began talking about the Globe Refinery in McPherson and its men’s basketball team that represented the United States at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Although not having made it into this world until five years later, I never grew up knowing the historical achievement recorded by the Globe Refinery team and its part in winning a gold medal at the Berlin competition.

Due to that early conversation with Charles Sandy, I included an account of his hometown’s feat, along with a picture of Charles, in Chapter 10 of Dialing in on DI-AL-Y-SIS.

There are many other stories that could be told from those who sit in that Premier Dialysis lobby three times a week. And particularly from those who join in the M-W-F chit-chat exchanges on a regular basis. There are more patients in the lobby than Charles Sandy, the Niederhouses, Steve Decker, Isaac Garcia and myself. There are some patients I know by their first names — Anna Mae, Barry, Bruce, David, Joan, Madonna, Martha, Oliver, patient Pete and his wife Peggy Sue from Mooresville, patient Ron from Edinburgh and his sisters from nearby there — and many others — the O’Charley’s cook, Mr. Flynn (sp), Ms. Lindsey (sp), Mr. Sundhu (sp), and Mr. Singh, for example — I recognize only by their faces.

There are even more that I don’t know very well or at all, but we are all (about 40 of us) there three days a week on a common mission — gathered together to receive dialysis treatment, an end stage renal disease process that is designed to prolong our lives. The group since Steve Decker and I began dialysis at Premier nearly 10 months ago has not remained constant — a few patients have opted to go elsewhere for treatment, at least one has been the recipient of a kidney transplant, and unfortunately the names of a couple others have been found in obituary pages.

 

 

EARLY SHIPMENT OF BOOK ON DIALYSIS AVAILABLE

Due to an early shipment, a new book by Indianapolis author and retired journalist Bernie Gilmer, titled Dialing in on DI-AL-Y-SIS, is available for public purchase sooner than expected.

The paperback release features the personal account of the author’s seven-month experience on dialysis that is backgrounded by a decade-long journey in reaching the final stage of kidney disease. The author since February 1 has been undergoing treatments three times a week at the Premier Dialysis center on the Indianapolis south side.

The 16-chapter, 174-page documentation also contains information on the growth of the multi-billion-dollar dialysis industry in the United States since its inception in the early 1940s. Passages also address topical issues such as: pertaining to whether patients who quit dialysis or refuse treatment are committing suicide, and whether those who are entering dialysis consider the new lifestyle as an albatross or as a blessing.

One chapter contains the prospects for hope for those on dialysis and for those with kidney transplants. Another chapter chronicles athletes who have received kidney implantations. And another chapter combines perhaps some humor with definite suffering during the author’s encounters with the side effect of one of his medications, accounts that should not be told at the dinner table.

Dr. Charlotte Templin, a retired English professor and former department head at the University of Indianapolis, provided the “Foreward” for this new book.

“Bernie Gilmer’s account of the journey through kidney disease to the threshold of dialysis and beyond that momentous point of embarkation,” according to Dr. Templin, “provides inspiration and entertainment as well as an abundance of valuable information on all things pertaining to kidneys. As such, the book will be very useful to the individual facing dialysis, patients’ families, and all those who want to know more about the kidney, that “large ugly mystery,” as Joseph Heller terms it in his comic novel Catch-22. Gilmer follows the familiar suggestion about what to do with lemons, and what he serves up is refreshing in spite of the seriousness of the subject.”

Initial book distribution is being handled by the DIO DI-AL-Y-SIS Company, owned and managed by the author. Promotion is being marketed online at www.diodialysis.com, and the book also is available on Amazon.com.