I’m doomed. I have a cold in this COVID chaos.

Cats! Cats! Everywhere!

By Scott Linscott

I’m doomed. Yesterday, after my afternoon meeting, I didn’t feel super-duper so I laid down “for a few minutes.” That was at around 1:45 PM. The dogs were very excited because they love afternoon naps on the bed.

“A few minutes” ended up being 4:15 PM. Dang. That was a good few minutes! It was around 150 minutes. That’s a significant difference. If you ask me for a few bucks I’ll most-likely have it on me. If you ask me for 150 bucks, I’ll have to check with Robin to see if we have it, and then I’ll need to go to an ATM.

So, I woke up with nose running, some sneezing and the usual dry cough that I get with every cold. “Dang it, I’ve already got COVID,” was my first thought. I figure, with Robin teaching school, that it’s only a matter of time before I join the ranks of COVIDIANS, but she’s only had students for a few days. I have no fever so I’m sure it’s just a cold.

The danger is that if I cough or sneeze outside my house, I will immediately be stoned by a panicked mob. My grave stone will hold a cool Haiku:

Scotty? Gone too soon.

Sneeze! Cough! Rocks fly through the air.

COVID? Just a cold.

– The Haiku Master

I never really understood the fuss about Haiku poetry in high school. I mean, they don’t even rhyme. Most of them feel like a jumble of random words. My friend and I made a mockery of them and I wrote this one that I remember:

Green wall standing high,
Monkey has no food.
Sit on a ball. Death.

My English teacher went nuts about it. I had to try to keep a straight face and read it to the class. And then she asked me to explain my thought process and the “passion” behind my piece. I couldn’t very well say, “I wanted to prove how stupid this stuff is,” so I said, “institutional-ism.” I don’t think that’s even a word but it brought another gushing wave of accolades. She asked if she could submit it to some student poetry thing somewhere.

My poem had deep meaning, apparently. Since I’m so good at Haiku writing, I figure my headstone should have one. That makes sense, right?

I was all excited about today’s events too. I have a new minion mask and another ghastly cat mask from the Morton kids. (They want to convert me into a cat lover. Yuck.) I was ready to fog up my lenses for a meeting with transplant survivor friends on my lawn. We were even going to eat muffins. Stupid cold!

After that I was looking forward to zipping around a golf course in a golf cart to put out hole sponsor signs for our Rotary Club golf tournament. I had to back away from that too. No one likes a cougher-sneezer in this pandemic world. I don’t blame them. Dang it. Driving golf carts is kind of fun.

I’ll keep taking my temperature with Robin’s cool, little, teacher kit to make sure it’s just a cold. Trust me, I’m trying to be pretty careful because that list of people who are at greatest risk is pretty much my health profile. I’m not over 60 yet so I do have that going for me and I don’t have diabetes. But “underlying health issues” could be the slogan on my business card.

We transplant recipients have to be careful anyway, but little things like epidemics and pandemics can make us a downright jittery. I am hoping that we are not bat-poop crazy enough to drink cleaning products and bleach though! I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed but I am smart enough to know that sipping bleach is a very, very bad idea. Washing hands and surfaces, wearing masks and distancing are sufficient.

So now my plan for the day is to finish Sunday’s message and then straighten out the church website since it gives people that scary warning about it not being secure. That’s just a scam to make us all pay more money to make even our simple websites “secure” even though we don’t collect any data on them. The data we collect, like offerings and newsletter subscription stuff is through links to secure websites.

My mom used to say, ‘they’ve got you coming and going.” I want to know the origin of that saying. I searched Google for a few minutes and came up with plenty of uses but not anything very far back in history suggesting where it might have come from. You’ll win a prize if you figure it out and let me know.

Have an awesome Thursday. If you hear someone cough or sneeze, hold your breath. It might just be a cold or allergies. Stoning people should only be a last resort.

#everydayisabonusday

Posted in Liver disease | 3 Comments

NOON: Beyond the Biopsy: The Massachusetts Panel 9/16

Join us live at 12 PM Eastern for this Global Liver institute panel discussion about non-invasive alternatives to biopsy. Http://www.facebook.com/GlobalLiver

Beyond the Biopsy is a GLI program dedicated to accelerating the acceptance and adoption of non-invasive diagnostics as an alternative to biopsy. This is part of a series of discussions featuring patients, experts, and policymakers on the changing role of non-invasive diagnostics and how they can be promoted as an alternative to biopsies.

Dr. Raymond Chung – Director of Hepatology and the Liver Center and
also Vice Chief of Gastroenterology and the Kevin and Polly Maroni
Research Scholar at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Also joining us from Massachusetts General Hospital is radiologist Dr.
Mukesh Harisinghani, Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School
and Director of Abdominal MRI and the Clinical Discovery Program at
MGH.

And, finally, completing our panel is liver transplant recipient and Lead
Pastor at FBC Westbrook – Scott Linscott.

Posted in Liver disease | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ve been dishing it out for years.

By Scott Linscott

I’m ready. I’ve been dishing it out for years, riding the success of Tom Brady, sending my football fan friends teasing memes and razzing text messages.

So, yesterday, at the start of the bulk of another NFL season, I prepared myself for an avalanche of payback because Brady is but a memory here in New England.

All the Chicken Littles signaled the end of the Brady era, declaring that our day of reckoning had come. I prepared to eat crow or seagull or whatever bird dishes my friends served up. I deserved it.

But, here I am, waking up to NFL scores that are pretty much the same as usual. Let’s see … Cowboys lost. Check. Tampa Bay, with TB 12 got crushed and Gronk was invisible showing that Tamba Bay may likely continue as the Tampa Bay we all know, except they have a GOAT on the field now. Oops.

And the Patriots? They won. Same old, same old. Yeah, they had lowly Miami and TB12 had the mighty Saints. But still … if the Steelers lose tonight, all will be golden.

In non-football world …

I missed getting a first day of school picture of my girl today because I was still asleep! What??? I know, it’s weird but I seem to sleeping like normal people sleep.

Are these “smart” watches accurate in measuring deep sleep? If they are, that could explain why I feel like a post-marathon-running sloth every afternoon. 1.11 hour of “deep sleep?” That’s not good, right?

Now I have a dilemma. Do I take a picture of her tomorrow morning and fake it? Or, will she let me take a picture of her if she survives today’s masked and distanced chaos? Stay tuned…

It was an awesome weekend. Our church has been meeting outside, in the beauty of the park, since the start of July. It really has me charged up and feeling like we are connecting more, meeting needs and having more of an impact. Today I will deliver another tent from one in our congregation’s attic to another recently unhoused person who has found himself now sleeping on the ground. outside.

We’ve also transformed our food closet, which COVID prevented from opening, into a mobile food pantry. It’s cool. Sunday mornings we have bags of groceries for the unhomed living near the park who have been joining us for service. Then people take bags to deliver to people who they know are in need. I love that!

Have a great week. If you had memes and texts ready to fire my way to razz me about the Patriots without Brady, just hang on to them until Monday. I doubt you’ll get to use them but you can still hope.

#everydayisabonusday

Posted in Liver disease | Leave a comment

It’s 46 degrees and there’s “a beaver on da roof.”

“Grampa, there’s a beaver on da roof.”

By Scott Linscott

It’s 46 degrees, 6:50 AM and, apparently, there’s a beaver on my roof.

While I am putting our pellet stove through its first test of the season, Ethan is telling me an elaborate story.

A beaver, not just any old beaver but, a rock-climbing beaver, made his way to the top of our roof. This beaver must be of the “petram scandere-fiber” species and be a bit confused because my roof is not made of rock.

Anyway, according to the story teller, this buck-toothed fella became trapped. A neighborhood cat went to investigate but also got stuck.

So, now we have a confused beaver and a confused cat stuck on our roof.

Ethan says that a rock climber with a special “trouble phone” will come to rescue the beaver.

“He rescues the fierce animals first because they are da best,” according to Ethan. A beaver is not fierce so he has to wait a bit.

The guy with the special phone is rescuing a bear stuck in his cave that is blocked by a boulder with a big T-Rex on it and they are, “um, um, um… very strong!”

Apparently this animal rescuer has something that has “two grapple hooks.” One will move the T-Rex and the other will move the boulder and the bear will go free.

I asked if the T-Rex was going to be chill with some dude using a grappling hook on him. The storyteller had no interest in this sidebar and refused to give more detail of the bear rescue.

“Then he will come to our house for da beaver,” he went on, ignoring my questions.

According to Ethan, the rock-climbing, animal rescuer also has a “special gun that shoots ladders” that he will use to rescue the beaver. He will use yet another gun that shoots treats to get the cat to come down.

It’s going to be a much more eventful day around here than I thought with this rock-climbing, beaver-saving adventure in the works.

Our tenants are under contract on some land in Gorham. Their builder is telling them to expect occupancy in January. Most with experience in having houses built advise adding 30-60 days to that estimate but hopefully their builder is one of those on-time types. I’m in no big hurry to be left in an empty house but I won’t root against them.

The animal rescue guy is like the cable guy … Ethan has no idea when he’ll be here. We just have to hang around and wait.

I hope you have a great Saturday planned. Our ton of wood pellets arrives in 9 days so we will need to start organizing our garage for the delivery. Maybe that will begin today.

#everydayisabonusday

Posted in Liver disease | Tagged , | 3 Comments

My pumpkin spice is lacking something

Something is off.

By Scott Linscott

Some people have big stuff happening that worries them. My biggest concern today is that my pumpkin spice coffee is lacking something. I can’t decide if it’s not “pumpkinny” enough or not spicy enough.

I bought 5 pounds of these grounds so I am pretty committed. I figure that since I am wild about this coffee roasting company’s chocolate-raspberry that I would be equally as wild about the pumpkin spice. Nope. Not wild.

Did I really buy 10 pounds, two giant 5-pound bags, of coffee grounds like I am some sort of trendy coffee shop or breakfast restaurant? Yes. Yes, I did. I bought 5 pounds of chocolate raspberry and 5 pounds of pumpkin spice to get free shipping.

But, I’m not a café. If I were a restaurant, would I have a goofy Golden Retriever chewing on my foot as I write this? Probably not.

Anyway, I’m not sure what I will do. I might just forge ahead with this “okay” coffee. But, part of me thinks that life is too short for “just okay” coffee.

I asked Pompom and Bailey their opinions. They are totally apathetic.

I asked my granddaughter, Emma. She was too busy informing me that I don’t have hair except on my face which, according to her, is the color of white, milkweed goo. (Ew) She just shrugged about the coffee question.

Is the pumpkin spice coffee I love flavored by sugary syrup? If it is, that is not okay. My fat, COVID bum, and the rest of me too, tipped 230 on the scale Sunday morning. 230 is my alarm number. It used to be 220 but, well, you know… So, sugary syrup is OUT!

I ate myself to 330 in one stretch of my life and then went through a liver transplant largely because of it. I will not do that again! Nope, nosiree-Bob!

I’m at 225 this morning so I’ve dropped from DEFCON 5 back to DEFCON 4 on the fat-bum scale. Nana’s Best Treat Shop has slowed production since she is now back to school for the first time since March. That was brutal with warm cookies, brownies, dipped waffle cones and new flavors of homemade ice cream coming every week.

In other news, it’s Friday. Some people love Friday and hate Mondays. I love Friday but I can’t really say I love it more than any other day. All my days look a lot alike except for Sunday when I am allowed out of the house for church in the park. That is definitely my weekly highlight.

The rumor is that this week’s Church in the Park will include coffee. Will it be good coffee or “church coffee?” We use K-cups when we meet at the building and that offers good coffee varieties. We have coffee-shop carafes for Sundays in the park. I could offer some of these pumpkin spice grounds and see if it’s just me or if others say “meh” too.

Have a great weekend. Come on over to Riverbank Park on Sunday morning for some music, message and people viewing at 9:45 ish for coffee and then the rest.

#everydayisabonusday

Posted in Liver disease | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

When method drowns out message.

Yes, “Jesus loves you,” but how does he feel about vandalism?

By Scott Linscott

Method can overpower message. The cliché of “actions speak louder than words” is more than cliché. It is truth.

I noticed the message in this photo painted on a fence post as I walked along admiring the gorgeous scenic views on Portland, Maine’s Eastern Promenade Trail. “Jesus loves you” graffiti was scribbled four or five inches above a paper product sticker, both littering the landscape.

I thought, “Yes, Jesus loves me but I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t advise vandalism to spread his message.”

I wonder how many other people have walked by thinking the same thing and shaking their heads?

Method matters. It matters a lot. It matters in Jesus circles, in political circles, in marketing circles and in every area where getting a message out is an important part of the plan.

When we claim to be all “Jesus is love” one minute and then switch to spitting venom the next, the message is obliterated. When we say, “Jesus is truth” and then spread conspiracy theories and misinformation, our credibility is shot. When we rightly say that our Bible teaches that we need not fear, but then, live continually panicked and fearful, we demonstrate that we don’t believe it ourselves.

Is it any wonder the world is confused when they look at us?

I know that I am confused when I compare our book, the Bible, to what the press calls the beliefs of “evangelical Christians.”

Method often overpowers message. When people march peacefully in the streets to call for an end to violence and injustice their message is damaged when the much-smaller, angry, after-crowd shows up intent on violence and destruction. It is the after-crowd’s fires, angry shouting and destruction that gets the headlines and the video playing on loop all day, every day.

We “evangelical Christians” know what that’s like, right? How many times did we have to see that hateful church picketing soldiers’ funerals while a reporter described them as a “conservative Christian group?” The Christian reputation meter traveled steadily downward as people who looked nothing like Jesus pretended to be his spokespeople.

Faith without action is dead, according to James. Justice without Jesus, the Jesus of scripture, is just us. If your gospel is good news for you but not the people you disagree with, it is not the true gospel of Jesus.

I’d like to suggest something radical, if I may. I’d like to suggest that we who consider ourselves “Christian” submit ourselves to two processes, before we act, in an attempt to make sure that our methods do not obscure or nullify the message of new life and Hope in Christ:

  1. Might we first pick up the book we say that we treasure and use it to study the person of Jesus Christ? What I mean is, rather than search for trite answers and bumper sticker “moral to the story” slogans, we study the character, personality and passions of our Christ to know his heart and character. Might we read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to discover what author Gayle D. Erwin called, “The Jesus Style.”
  2. Might we then, confident that we have a better-educated sense of the personality and motives of the one we call “Lord,” take the WWJD bracelet cliché of the 1990’s and make it more than cliché? Might we allow it to shape our methods and flavor our interpersonal interactions?

“Our motto will be, ‘What would Jesus do?’ Our aim will be to act just as He would if He was in our places, regardless of immediate results. In other words, we propose to follow Jesus’ steps as closely and as literally as we believe He taught His disciples to do.”

Charles M. Sheldon, “In His Steps,” 1897

How would that impact our methods online? How would it impact our tone? How would it affect our interactions? Our attitudes? Our opinions?

The Jesus of the Bible that we say we adhere to reacted most strongly to those who misrepresented his Father and his Kingdom. It is that same Bible that says we are to be “ambassadors” of Christ, reflecting him.

I think we must ask ourselves, “are my actions, my methods, reflecting my Christ?” If they are not, we need to make changes.

...let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 
1 John 3:18
Posted in Liver disease | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“Hey, Scott, are you okay? You’ve disappeared.”

By Scott Linscott
The question came from a friend who noticed that my former Facebook fascination faded recently. (Nice alliteration, huh?) “You okay? You’ve disappeared.”

This is a game-changer!

My lack of selfies has left her concerned. My posts have decreased to one a day or less and those are these blog things so they kinda don’t count.

It’s true. Facebook and I have decided to see other people and I have retreated to my top-secret lab where I am working on a game-changing invention.

What invention? In my patent application I have called it “Woof! Pants.”

Sounds like something to do with dogs, right? But, trust me, it has nothing to do with dogs.

I am working on an invention that will make pants combust at the very instant anyone posts a lie or forwards lies.

“Liar, liar, pants on fire,” is the song that gave me the idea. I think there would be less lying if people’s pants burst into flames with every lie.

Oh, wait, I probably offended someone. Lies are not lies now but are something called “misinformation.” That’s so much less offensive.

I don’t think my mother would have bought into that. “Mom, I didn’t lie. I gave you misinformation.” She’d reach for her paddle immediately if I tried that.

Anyway, my invention would ultimately either wipe out humanity in an apocalyptic fire, or, it would end the social media love for libel and lying.

“Scott, are you suggesting torching me if I repost or share something that is misinformation?”

“You mean a lie? Yeah, that’s exactly the idea. It’s spontaneous combustion – WOOF! PANTS ON FIRE!'”

“But what if I didn’t know it was a lie … er … I mean, misinformation.”

“WOOF! Not “woof” like a dog, but “woof” like a charcoal grill doused with a whole bottle of lighter fluid.”

“I probably wouldn’t share anything until I checked it. That’s crazy talk.”

“No, actually, that’s exactly the idea. People would be a lot more careful.”

So, say, you share:

  • Migraine cure found: cream of tartar. “WOOF!”
  • Mail-in ballots are different than absentee ballots. “WOOF!”
  • CS Lewis wrote this big thing about politics in Screwtape Letters. “WOOF!”

I could go on and on. Woof, woof, woof.

I’m stalled at the moment trying to make one addition. I’m trying to think of a modification that will maybe shock or stun someone who switches the burden of proof onto disproving things. I mean, basically, they say anything that cannot or has not been disproved is therefore true and factual.

The rationale goes like this:

“Well, you can’t disprove that there is a hidden society of weather gnomes hiding in the Himalayan Mountains controlling the world’s weather and making it worse!”

Proof requires demonstration to establish fact. Consider the following claims. Which can easily be proven? Which could I say, “well, you can’t prove it didn’t happen. I know what I saw?”

  1. A pterodactyl landed on my lawn this morning. I know it was a pterodactyl because it urinated and the p was silent.
  2. My dog, PomPom, urinated on my lawn this morning. I could not hear it, so the p is silent again meaning I should call her “om-om.”

What do you think? Well, both questions deserve more exploration before just forwarding this breaking news to all our social media pals.

I’m really stuck on this part of my invention. The “liar, liar, pants on fire” concept is fairly straightforward but I know no catchy rhyme for the prover stunner/shocker part. That might have to wait for phase two of my invention.

I may be back to Facebook if I get this up and running. I can’t promise it will be ready for mass distribution by November 1.

Honestly, right now it’s just in concept form all up here in my head. I was planning to go on Shark Tank to get funding but I have no answers to these questions:

1) Will government fund this? (No, it would mean WOOF for Washington.)

2) Will “evangelical Christians” buy it? (Oh, geez, that would bring “fresh fire” for sure.)

3) How about Wall Street? (Um, no, definitely not.)

4) The media, then? (Bahaha! That’s hilarious!)

5) Facebook? (And lose all the income from click-bait and viral misinformation??? That’s a big no!)

I guess my invention is doomed. Dang it! I really thought I was onto something.

Anyway, I’m not on Facebook much anymore beyond these blog babblings and pics for family and friends who love us and want to see the kids.

Don’t worry, I’m fine. I’m feeling better actually. I’m trying to focus more on those old manuscripts I like to read.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14 New Living Translation
Posted in Liver disease | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I probably ruined my grandkids today.

Thomas the Train to the rescue!

By Scott Linscott

It was Cousin Sleepover weekend and I was rockin’ it. I was the hero for setting up the movie on the lawn. And, even though I confess having fled from the 190 decibels of noise on at least two occasions, I was doing well.

Granted, my risk was small because Nana was here. She is used to lawless, toddler mobs. She has secret skills that she uses on them. As long as Nana is around, I’m safe with the whole crew.

“I need to run to the store to get some bread. Ethan is in his room upset because his bandaid came off and the other three are playing. I’ll be right back,” Robin said.

“Um, wait, what?” I said with fear in my eyes. I need more information like what does “upset” mean? And what are they “playing?”

When I went in I could hear “upset” very clearly. It was probably an 8 on the 1-10 upset scale. I tried to settle him but he was having none of it. That’s when I ruined my grandchildren.

It was easy. It’s my “go to.” I turned on Thomas the Train on Netflix. Within 3 minutes I had 4 entranced, little, zombies sitting in the corner of our sectional.

I live with educators. “Screen time” is a precarious equation. If a child crosses that undefined threshold of too much screen time they are forever destroyed.

  1. Perform worse on tests
  2. Obesity
  3. Sleep problems
  4. More violent

I don’t get it. Thomas the Train is good at solving problems. He’s as big as a train but I don’t consider him obese. He seems chipper all the time so it appears he sleeps well. And as far as violence goes? Thomas is less violent than a Golden Retriever puppy!

Nana came home just as the episode ended. She is letting me stay and I don’t even have to sleep on the couch. So, I guess the damage is either reversible or not permanent.

What’s a Grampa to do? It was either ice cream just before lunch or Thomas. I was desperate.

Posted in Liver disease | 1 Comment

Someone call the zoo!

By Scott Linscott

There’s been an escape! Call the zoo! Someone left the door to the monkey cage open.

I’m pretty sure these are howler monkeys because they are LOUD.

Yes, I am wearing hearing protection.

I think they came here because they heard someone say “Nana” and they thought they said “banana.”

These little monkeys are calling me “Grampa” and laughing at my headphone ear protection. They like to rush me all at once and beat on my belly. It must be a strange jungle ritual of worship for the alpha male in the troop.

I asked them who they are and why they are in my house. I told them that all my children grew up and moved away but they claim they are related to me somehow. I asked the oldest one, “are you my little boy’s little boy?” He thought that sounded silly.

The smallest male in the troop appears to be called “Ethan.” He is telling me that this chaos is something called a “cousin sweep over.” However, I see no brooms or any sign of “sweeping.”

The youngest female wants to climb to the highest point on my chair where I normally sit in quiet reflection while drinking my morning coffee. She tells me she is called “CoCo Loco” but the others appear to call her “Coco-zilla.”

The one they call Nana instructed to me to set up a movie on the lawn last night. I complied. No one messes with the one called Nana. This attracted other yellow-haired monkeys to our lawn. Winnie the Pooh kept them transfixed for 75 minutes.

Nana tells me this troop of monkeys is mine. I am apparently the patriarch of this troop. Another is due to arrive in February.

9 years ago I made no plans for a future because my survival depended on my getting a liver transplant. As my MELD score increased and I spent more and more time being managed in the hospital, I gave up hope for my future here on Earth and started focusing on moving to Heaven. Others told me “God is not finished with you here yet. You have more to do.” I just nodded and smiled.

Life can and does turn around even when we can’t see it coming. When we sit in total darkness, our friends tell us that dim light in the distance is “the end of the tunnel.” We don’t share their optimism because we are certain that, if we even see any light at all, it’s a train. I was at that point.

If you’re at that point, sitting in hopeless darkness, I want you to sit up for a second and look at me. Listen closely.

I was where you are. After being taken off the transplant list, too sick to survive, everything changed. It’s a long story … but the short story is that today, 8 years after having my transplant, I have a full and very blessed life.

Keep fighting. Hang on. I know how dark it is. Keep praying. Keep doing what the docs tell you to do. That phone will ring eventually and your second chance at life will begin.

Every day, even my toughest day, is a bonus day now. I couldn’t have even imagined being where I am now, when I was back there in the dark.

It turns out that this troop of monkeys is indeed my troop. This “cousin sweep over” is one of many to come.

Today, I plan for the future. I never thought I would be able to do that again. But, my friends were right. God, had more for me to do right here on Earth.

I’m glad he did.

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten …

Joel 2:25
Posted in Liver disease | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My wife brung me a IQ measurer

I got an A on the IQ reader!

By Scott Linscott

Yup. They got all kinds of fancy-shmancy new things for schoolin’ nowadays. My wife is a teacher so I get to see the newest stuff.

She brung this thingy home. You point it at your head and then pull the trigger. It beeps and, boom, there you have it! Your IQ is right there telling how smart you are. (Usually it’s a bad idea to point something at your head and pull the trigger.)

At first I didn’t know what it meant. My score was “9L6.” I just figured I needed one of them teaching degrees from a college to understand it. My wife has one of those. She’s wicked smart.

But then, when I set it down it said “97.6.” Woah! That means I got an A on my IQ. That’s pretty darn close to 100!

Them teachers got all kinds of gadgets now. Even the kindergardeners get themselves those Eyepads to bring home with them. They say they are for online learning over the Interwebs. The interwebs must make your eyes hurt so you need to have them eyepads.

You know what we had when I was a kid? We had chalk and blackboards and if I was good enough and didn’t cause Miss Saddleback no trouble, I might get picked to go outside and bang those chalk erasers together and make a big, white cloud of dust. The goody-goody kids have chalk-lung now because they got to do it so much.

One time, when I got to go out, I learnt that if you banged them on the brick wall, you could spell your whole name. I also learnt that if you did that you never got picked again until you got a new teacher.

We also had little white jars of paste for craft time. It was delicious. Miss Saddleback told me I wasn’t ‘sposed to eat it but I didn’t listen. I figured if they didn’t want you to eat it they wouldn’t have put that little, orange spoon in there attached to the cover.

When I was in kindergarden we only went for half a day and even had blue mats so we could take a rest. Today, they got them poor kids going all day, reading, taking tests and meeting something called “standards.” I don’t think we had any standards. If we did mine was probably “stop eating paste” and “stop pulling Mary-Jo’s ponytail.”

We definitely didn’t get no EyePads unless we got poked in the eye. I wore an eye patch for my lazy eye when I was a kid. I don’t think it worked. I think my lazy eye just spread to the rest of me. Now, I’m just altogether lazy.

In first grade, my teacher was Mrs. Walls. She had hair like a porcupine and was very funny. I’m pretty sure if she had one of these IQ measurers she would be at least a 98. She was a great teacher, but she stunk at kickball and tetherball and every type of game that had a ball.

I tried the IQ measurer on everybody in my house. It’s weird but we all got A grades. Mine was lowest though. That’s okay. I’m proud of my overachievers all getting 98 point something. Smarties!

They just announced that they are delaying starting school for another week because of The COVID messing everything up. That means my teacher wife is going to probably be a painter wife and get to paint her classroom. She and Darlene have wanted a decent paint job for years.

Have a great weekend. It’s Labor Day Weekend so that means lots of babies will be delivered. Come on by and I will tell you what your IQ is if this thingy works from 6 feet away.

Posted in Liver disease | Leave a comment

I’m a weakling, wuss-baby, delicate snowflake.

My granddaughter’s mask is not a good fit.

It’s me. I admit it. I’m the reason so many Americans have their undies in a twist. It’s my fault. Eight years ago I was given a second chance at life with the gift of a liver transplant and now I am delicate and fragile.

There are a lot of nice people out there who actually want me and the nine-year-olds with Leukemia to have a little bit of freedom. They willingly don uncomfortable, ugly, hot, inconvenient masks to try to stop a virus that most-likely wouldn’t do them too much harm even if they did get it. Sure, there are those 10,000 or so totally healthy people who caught it and croaked within the last six months, even with all the lock-downs, sanitizing, and over-reaching government stuff, but, let’s be realistic here, that’s only like 200 people per state. Right? Psshaw! That’s nothing.

I saw a guy post that he is more worried he’ll die from a shark attack than COVID. I’m no math whiz but 10 people a year, give or take one or two, die from shark attacks GLOBALLY, so that’s about the same odds, right? After all, sharks have got to be more of a risk because they have “Shark Week” on cable. They don’t have “COVID Week.” I just can’t argue with logic

But, regardless of all the arguments, I truly do appreciate all of you who have chosen to try to watch out for me and Great Grampy. I am glad that the caring hearts have won out so far to try to keep nature from having its way with us weaklings. You guys rock and we wuss-babies love you.

I apologize for my sarcasm. I kinda think this COVID thing is real and would prefer that everyone take it seriously. I don’t mean that we should live in fear. I mean we should give it the respect of at least being cautious while we go about living our lives.

I believe that my God, in his providential love, will grant us the knowledge to develop a safe and effective vaccine as he has done in the past. I pray it comes soon. I pray that politicians do not push to cut corners for their own gain but, instead, allow scientists the time and freedom to do things safely.

I don’t like masks either. I don’t like that I have only been inside 5 different buildings since March. I don’t like social distancing at all.

On the other hand, I like being alive and as healthy as I can be. I guess I can put up with all these inconveniences while we wait.

But, when a vaccine is made available? It will take all my self-control to keep me from pushing and cutting to get to the front of that line!

Romans 12:12

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Posted in Liver disease | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Laughing at ourselves

By Scott Linscott

I can laugh at myself.

I like typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings that make me laugh.

For example, the girl on Twitter who tweeted, “I love the smell of my boyfriend’s colon.”

Now, I’m the last person to have the right to throw stones, but I am pretty sure she meant to say “cologne” not “colon.”

Churches have these little sheets of paper they call “bulletins.” They are basically programs or mini-newsletters with announcements. I love reading their bloopers.

“The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.”

“The peace-making meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.”

Life is always funny even though people are less willing to laugh at themselves nowadays. That makes it tougher for people like me who see humor in almost everything. I have to laugh on the inside quite a lot now.

Autocorrect is making us all look stupid. Why does it insist on changing “its” to “it’s” and “love” to “live?” When we don’t catch the mistakes our Grammar-Nazi friends get all over us. I pat them on the head and try to comfort them with a gentle, “there, their, they’re … everything is going to be okay.”

Autocorrect can be deadly, like in this example:

Wife: Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to dead husband! Happy Birthday to you!
Husband: Thanks. I assume you meant “dear”.

(Um, by the way, that period should be inside those quotation marks, dead husband.)

I normally catch most of my typos and autocorrect silliness after I hit the “publish” button. That allows me to then hit the “edit” button and then the “publish” button again. Such fun.

Why is it that we’re so sensitive now? Why does everything offend or make people mad? Why do we take ourselves so seriously?

My theory is that it all comes down to insecurity which triggers fear. That fear then sprouts into defensiveness and anger.

I run in lots of “evangelical Christian” circles. (I put that in quotes because the word “evangelical” has evolved into a weird thing that, in my opinion, has mostly lost its bearings.) It seems to me that a lot of my Christian friends look like they are packed into a giant blender worried that it is about to kick on and go straight to puree.

I don’t get that. The book I read, with the red letters, says a lot about fear. It has the same message, page after page, that those who trust in God do not have to live in fear because he has everything in his control and steps in wherever and whenever he wants in his timing. Granted, that is frustrating because we all think we know what God needs to do and when he should do it better than he does, but he promises that we can trust him and not fear through it all.

I’m pretty self-confident (some would say “cocky”) on the whole. I’m not scared of much, except, being a wimpier member of the male population, I’m scared of pain. I have to battle my fear of doctor’s offices and procedures but, otherwise, I do pretty well in life. I owe that to my Faith which has given me security.

Insecurity breeds fear and fear breeds a giant pile of ugliness including vicious attacks, dishonesty, irrational behavior, selfishness, etc…

If faith does not produce security, is it really faith? Yes, this world does feel like a giant blender at times but Jesus said, “take heart, I have overcome the world.”

Seriously, guys? I believe he meant it. Are we operating in faith or allowing fear to shape us?

But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, (insert your name), he who formed you, … : “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.

Is. 43:1



Posted in Liver disease | 4 Comments

I’m having heart portraits done today.

By Scott Linscott

I’m going in for a quick procedure today where they will take some pictures of my heart using sound waves. I hope it smiles at the tech.

My heart is usually pretty nice, I think. People tell me I have a good heart and a kind heart.

But last time they did this test, a few years back, they told me I have a “thick heart.” I knew I am thick-headed but that was the first time I heard I was thick-hearted. They said not to worry because it’s pretty common. So, of course, I worried.

Hopefully I can get my flu shot while I’m there. I always get a flu shot. Some people think the flu shot gives them the flu. I think they payed less attention than I did in science classes even though I don’t know how that could be possible.

I’d also like to get my standing blood lab orders drawn while I’m there. Transplant people know the CMP, INR, Tacro drill pretty well so we can check those AST and ALT numbers. My numbers have been about the only thing perfect in 2020 so I’m hoping that continues.

I’m kind of like a car you put in the garage. “Yeah, um, can you do an oil change, rotate the tires and, um, change the coolant while it’s here.” If I could, I’d go to a doctor mall and just take a day every year to get all my checkups done. Skin, bones, blood, heart, liver, prostate, lungs, colon … It would be a LONG and expensive day but it would be worth it to get it all done at once.

The docs always show me the pictures of procedures like I know what I’m looking at. I nod and say, “uh huh, yup, I see that” but I never have any idea. It’s like opening my good when the car stops working, “yup, that engine thing is still here.”

I am a way better photographer than all of those docs put together. I won’t be ordering a canvas of my heart portrait, I can guarantee that.

I set up my stuff for self-portraits yesterday. Taking my own pictures always feels weird but I needed an update since all my facial hair is now COVID white.

There I was with lighting set up, camera on a tripod, backdrop set up and remote in hand, taking pictures of myself.

I took some “happy me” photos and some “mad me” photos and some “Grampa me” photos. The mad me photos seem appropriate for today, since everyone seems mad about something. But, the mad me photos don’t look all that convincing.

Mad me? Convincing?

Grampa me is definitely more me. Of course, that’s not the official headshot for all the online stuff but it feels like the most realistic.

Maybe I should post my portrait of “heart me” after my appointment later today. Could I use that as my social media profile pic? Nah, that’s probably not a great idea.

Have a great Tuesday. Be kind to people even if they don’t deserve it. If you give them back the same crap they give you it will just put knots in your stomach. That’s why the Good Book says that thing in Luke – it’s best for you.

Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

Luke 6:31 NLT

							
Posted in Liver disease | 2 Comments

My girl is off to school. What will I do?

By Scott Linscott

Well, there she goes. My cute, little, 5’1″ wife (she’ll say 5’2”) just kissed me goodbye and walked off down the sidewalk, headed to school. The last time she did that it was mid-March.

I wonder if she left Shara instructions on how to take care of me. We always leave instructions for people who take care of Pompom.

I don’t see my daughter up here making scrambled eggs and fresh fruit for my breakfast. I’m afraid that means I’m on my own. I wonder if I remember how to feed myself?

It’s my day off. I try to do non-work type of stuff on my day off. What shall I do?

  • Stinky dog, Pompom, needs a bath.
  • After about 2 years of saying, “I need a new computer,” Robin bought a new computer. That means I need to set it up. She could do it but she pretends she can’t so that I will feel needed.
  • I need to pull the yucky, rain-soaked, birdseed paste out of my feeders. I am Old Man Fookwire.
Those Darn Squirrels
Old Man Fookwire never gives up.
  • I need to switch over to Pumpkin Spice coffee grounds for tomorrow, Sept. 1. Labor Day is late this year so I can’t wait.
  • I normally catch up on all my shows that Robin hates on Mondays but none of them have been filming new episodes. No Naked and Afraid for me. Booooo.
  • I can sit around and wait to see what all the delivery drivers bring us today. That’s always fun.
  • I need to update my headshots. My facial hair is now COVID white and I’ve been told I look “distinguished.” (I think that’s the male form of “she has a great personality.”)

Life is good. I enjoy it. Even the tougher days are good being on the top side of the dirt.

We’ve been having church in the park and I love it. People hear the music and wander over to join us. I think I’ve met 15-20 new people this summer.

One of my pet peeves about churches is that they can be like secret societies meeting in buildings that no one can see into. Churches even took the public ordinance of baptism and hid it inside in little fiberglass tubs. I love being outside. I’d do it outside year-round if I could.

Have an awesome week. I dare you to be a missionary to outrage rather than a missionary of outrage

Posted in Liver disease | 1 Comment

I’m moving away from Facebook and GIGO.

I didn’t realize the survival skills I learned in the year before and year after my liver transplant would be needed again. Back then I went through a lot of discouragement and depression during so much isolation.

In the year before my transplant, it was my health that cut me off from humanity. I was too sick to join in on much of anything. After my transplant, most of the next year had me distanced to protect me from any illnesses others might be carrying. During that time, 8 & 9 years ago, Facebook was mostly pictures of families, recipes, and original posts. It helped me feel connected and was a mostly-positive input.

Now, we zip ahead 9 years and I feel as though I am repeating aspects of 2011-2012. The caution flags are back at full staff except now, the masks, sanitizers, and caution signs are for everyone, not only me. Today, Facebook has evolved into sparce original material and is mostly copy-and-pasted or forwarded posts, misinformation, and it is far less friendly. It’s also ad after ad after ad. For me, it is now a mostly-negative input.

From May, 2011 through April 2013 I experienced loneliness, loss-of-purpose and some pretty severe depression. I think depression is pretty common for those facing transplant or living with chronic illness but, for me at least, connecting online was a mostly positive interaction. I found my primary support groups through Facebook.

Now, again largely cut off from people going into six months, I am feeling some of the same feelings I felt back then. I am struggling with a loss of purpose to a degree even though I am still able to teach on Sunday morning. I enjoy teaching and speaking but am realizing how much I am missing all my coaching (Christians say “discipleship”) meetings. I sometimes wondered if local breakfast establishments would start charging me for office space!

During my transplant journey, my writing and online interaction sustained me to a degree. But, during this current time of separation, I have not been writing much and social media provides little positive input. I have been trying to use things like Zoom and Google Meet to bridge the gap with classes or live discussions online. At first, it worked pretty well but now everyone is tired of interacting with talking heads on computer screens. The result is that I’ve ended up being even more discouraged after planning meetings and classes that no one shows up for even though I can’t blame them at all.

What is the solution? I have decided to resume blogging while backing away from Facebook to see if I can get to a healthier place mentally. Though I have been writing almost daily posts on Facebook, using a mix of satire, humor and an occasional entry addressing a timely topic, I have decided that platform has become too unstable. I have decided it’s time for me to pull away from its constant barrage of outrage and misinformation.

I will link my WordPress blog to my Facebook account hoping to provide something positive, encouraging and hopeful but, I will not be posting much else beyond pictures for distant family.

What will my blog posts look like?

My blog will now be a little bit of everything. Sometimes it will relate to transplant and sometimes it will be the silliness and humor that Facebook followers have become used to but blog subscribers have not been subjected to. Sometimes my posts will teach, provide resources or provide more writing in the inspiration, motivational, and spiritual genres that Facebook users have not seen. It will be a smorgasbord of what is happening in my head.

If you are a Facebook regular, I invite you to subscribe so that you receive my blog entries by e-mail. That will also be the best route for others who have also decided to pull away from Facebook and spend less and less time there.

Of course, if I get tagged in things on Facebook pics or comments, I’ll still see them. I can’t dump Facebook altogether because so many still use it to communicate. My goal, however, is to spend far less time there so I will not be reading all the memes, forwards, mean-spirited attacks, slanderous assaults, and misinformation.

I’ve been noticing that garbage in is indeed resulting in garbage out in my own life. My garbage out is my increasingly-cruddy attitude, my lack of motivation, and a somewhat fatalist, cynical view. That is not like me at all.

Yes, YOLO (You Only Live Once). And, yes, GIGO (Garbage In: Garbage Out). If I only live once, I want to limit my garbage consumption.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. “

Philippians 4:8 NLT
Posted in Liver disease | 7 Comments