Near Death Experience

October 21, 2010

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The Last Time I Remember Being Dressed in “All White”

I woke up…I knew the moment my feet reached the floor that I was sick. I mostly felt weak and dehydrated. I went to the bathroom..my legs not quite wanting to perform the task. I was grateful to be quickly back to the side of my bed. Another day in bed…being sick…ugh. But…I could not lift my leg high enough to get back in. Now, my bed is higher than normal and I long ago gave away the step stool. But, I saw no way to make it up and back into my bed. Couch…distance to walk…but I could lie down.

I phoned my doctor, trying to convince his nurse to just let me go to the hospital and get an IV. I felt very dehydrated…knew something was wrong but didn’t know how to describe it other than “I just don’t feel well”. After hours of arguing on the phone with two of my daughters and the doctor…I told them I was going to get an IV…I didn’t care what they thought any longer. My daughter did offer to make the 20 min. drive to pick me up. The hospital was only 5 minutes away.

When we arrived at the hospital they immediately put me in an ER bed. While they were setting up the IV … they decided to move me to a private room to have the IV so I wouldn’t have people looking on. I remember being taken to the room…I remember them inserting the IV. I don’t remember anything else…until I was being carried by a strong young man onto a small transport jet.

I cannot really describe how I felt. I had gone septic and all my organs had failed. Once I was belted in and all IVs in place…I could barely make out the man desperately trying to keep me alive. The left side of my chest and left arm…started to hurt…and increased in pain til I wanted to scream…but I didn’t. He gave me two morphine shots that did not take one bit of the pain away.

I remember him talking about dying. I closed my eyes because I could feel myself slipping away. I was surprised to still feel so much of the pain. I knew I was dying…but as I moved to where I was bid to go…the pain quickly eased and was gone.

I stood and looked around. I was surrounded by the most intense…beautiful blackness I had ever seen. It was like every inch of the blackness was reflective of billions of stars. I have never seen anything so beautiful. My body felt different. All burdens…physically and emotionally were gone…it was a true freedom. I looked to my feet..I had on a long while gown which had layers of fabric that flowed with the movement of the surrounding space. It was not a breeze…but movement of knowledge..voices…moving thru you and all around you.

I looked ahead and there stood a man dressed in white. I don’t know who it was. I only wished I knew why. Was he there to prevent me from following …or staying to long in this environment. I contemplated for a short time as to who he could be. I can’t help but wonder if it was my father. I should have stepped closer…but I really didn’t know that I should.

I closed my eyes…I could feel myself being brought back….I could hear the crew’s panic and all that they were doing for me. The pain became so great that I passed out and went into that time..where time does not exist…and in a blink of an eye…you wake up days later.

I awoke to find all my children standing around my bed. I thought I must be dying if they are all here…but the doctors I guess didn’t know a miracle was going to happen that day. I survived…and had an inspirational view of a near death experience. I wasn’t beckoned to move forward and away from this life. My body had completely failed..every organ was shut down. I looked like the Stay-Puff-Marshmallow Guy..my body was overfilled with fluids during organ failure. It would take weeks to shed all the water…it took almost 4 weeks in intensive care to recover…all of which I didn’t think I would ever regain my health.

But I did…I have two more weeks of cancer treatment left…then I am done. I have surgeries…but I will put them off for awhile so I can rest and get over all of 2010.

Having left my body…I now see and feel the difference. The burdens of this world were far from me…I only marveled at what I felt and saw. A miracle…that I survived…one of many miracles that have occurred during my life. I am forever grateful to a Heavenly Father that allows a Guardian Angel to watch over me.

Hide & Seek

September 1, 2010

Little Me
“Little Me”

2010 started out with many wonderful possibilities. I found a new city to live in with a new apartment meant just for me. In January I was returning from spending five weeks visiting family for the Christmas holidays. Sigh, so much fun but I was returning home with the worst case of the flu that I had ever had. The kind where all illnesses hit you in some kind of random order with my lungs being hit hard as the last new symptom. No, I didn’t get a flu shot. Bad me….

Too sick to unpack or do anything else but lay in bed, I finally made it over to the doctor. The doctor confirmed I needed antibiotics to get past the lung infection. The worst part of the visit was I had a lump in my breast. It showed up just prior to the holidays. The doctor examined me and said to make an appointment for a mammogram in a few weeks when I was better from the lung infection.

You know, thinking of my breast in pancake form between two very cold plates just never has any appeal. I was pleasantly surprised that they have improved the machine. I was also put through five more tests. A biopsy was one of them.

CANCER. Yes there was the word just hanging in the air. I really didn’t react. Which surprised me. I wasn’t upset…by the way I cry over everything and I didn’t cry. My family has. It has been the hardest on them.

My doctor works out of the Huntsman Cancer Hospital in Salt Lake City. She met with me and family members laying out the plan for my treatment. Somewhere along the way she mentioned the “kitchen sink”.

You can read many different places on the net about cancer, it’s treatments and it’s side effects. So I won’t dribble on about how numerous and miserable they are. The reason for even bringing this up was to help you understand why I have been gone so much.

After the first week of chemo treatment I was hospitalized. I couldn’t drink or eat. My immunity had bottomed out. I was basically “bubble girl” for over a week held in quarantine.

I was required to move in with my mother because the doctors didn’t think it was safe to be alone.

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers and kind words. I know I have been gone for long periods of time…usually tied to complications, hospitalizations and surgery. I did become septic and had a near death experience. I will blog another time about that experience.

cherluvya
Cheryl Gunter

Snow, Kids and a dog named Jake

May 17, 2010

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Spring, by calendar has arrived. The weather in the high desert experiences all four full seasons of the year. The spring is usually speckled here and there with a single day cold of winter snow…with the magic of spring to wipe away the momentary memory of “unassembled snowmen”.

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This year the high desert has had so many snow storms it is hard to even remember when the ground wasn’t covered by snow. Two snow storms this week alone.

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As beautiful as the snow is to look at, there is something special that happens when you mix certain things together. Today the mix was family, Jayden and Fox from California who had never “played in the snow”;  and Austin, Maddy, Emily who live in the high desert and are regular play friends to the snow.

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You might also notice that Jayden and Fox and properly outfitted as you would expect a child to be to play in the snow. This was the first time I noticed the girls were out for a sunny day’s romp in the backyard. Minus coats and anything resembling something warm, they were out have a blast with their cousins.

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Of course we can’t forget the final player in our “unassembled snowmen” play date….JAKE. Jake adds half of the fun. I’m not sure why dogs like to eat snow but Jake outdid himself today.

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As I snapped pictures I kept seeing Jake with a face full of snow. The snowman went up fast and was actually much taller than I thought he would end up being. The kids quickly decorated the snowman with buttons, smile, nose and eyes. Jake would run up and take a big bite out of the side of newly created snow person.

The pictures tell the tell. Jake began eating the buttons…I guess whomever decided to make things “easy” should have donated something other than cookies.

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Jake looks like he is kissing the snowman but he is just trying to nab the “bacon” smile.

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The ending to this play date….I was informed that it was a snow-woman. How could I have missed the snowman had boobs.

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Snow…kids and of course Jake. It was great fun.

FILLMORE/BEAVER – When Travelling on Interstate 15 through Utah

April 7, 2010

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I love the idea of unique things you see and find while traveling. I live in one of those unique places that make it on the map so to speak.

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I also love giving you a bit of a history lesson with some of the blogs. I swear it is always interesting. Well, at least short.

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A look at the History of Fillmore Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia

Fillmore was Utah’s first territorial capital and was named for U.S. President Millard Fillmore in recognition of his courage in appointing Brigham Young Utah’s first territorial governor. On 28 October territorial lawmakers selected a spot located on the hunting grounds of the Pahvant Indians, 150 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Because of Indian problems, a fort was constructed in 1853-54 of stone and adobe, and all local people were located within its walls for safety. On 26 October 1853 a team of U.S. Army topographical engineers headed by Lieutenant John W. Gunnison was massacred by Pahvant Utes not far from Fillmore. Seven were killed.
The first settlers were principally American, but later an influx of English, Scots, Welsh, and Scandinavians arrived in the area. Today, Fillmore is a community of 1,956 people.
By Patricia Lyn Scott

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Details of Beaver, where I live, will come in other future blogs. Today I want to share with you’re a blog from MySpace by Lattie Odell entitled “Seduced by a Flashing Beaver”…I have included that which applies to Beaver. Enjoy.

Full Story at: Seduced by a flashing beaver AND… {THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY!}

http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=49137282&blogId=513487108

To those of you familiar with this drive down I-15 from Salt Lake City, you will know that the 300 mile trip is divided into segments of small towns that are set almost perfectly 50 miles apart. Provo, Nephi, Fillmore, Beaver, Cedar City, and finally St. George. I have always divided the drive into these six 50 mile segments, which mentally made the trip seem much shorter. This time however, as I drove in solitude, everything seemed different.

Not far outside of Nephi the weather began to turn sour. The clouds darkened, flashes of lightening began reflecting off my windshield, followed by a heavy rain. My attention soon turned from the beauty of the drive to paying attention to road signs and staying in my own lane. In good weather I was almost certain that I could make this drive with my eyes closed. But this torrential rain made driving with your eyes closed seem almost preferable.

Soon I spotted an old familiar sign, the “Fillmore, Beaver” turn off. Suddenly something struck me funny. Why had I not noticed that before? “Fillmore, Beaver!” Who in the Hell besides the State of Utah would put up a road sign that says “Fillmore Beaver” and not think a thing about it?

I was still chuckling to myself several miles later when I saw a flashing, neon light in the distance. Even before I could make out what the sign said I knew it to be the Welcome to Beaver sign sponsored by the Rotary and Lions Clubs of Beaver, Utah. That sign, featuring a large beaver bordered by a neon light, had been there since I was a child. What had always struck me as strange was that the neon light had been shorted and blinking in the same spot for just as long. This time however, for the very first time, the sign spoke to me.

“Oh, my God,” I thought “A flashing beaver on the side of the road!” This had to be an omen.

The rain began to subside a bit, and I couldn’t keep myself from thinking about the irony of the two signs I had just passed. Never before had I felt a desire to turn off the freeway and visit the small central Utah town of Beaver. Then again never before had I traveled this road alone, it was time for a change. I took the next exit and soon found myself heading smack dab into Beaver. Even that thought made me chuckle.

Each side of the street heading into town was lined with very neat, small, brick houses, each with immaculate yards and brightly colored flowers. Parked in front of one of the houses was a white utility truck, several men dressed in greed coveralls were busy filling the bed of the truck with tree branches. As I passed them by my eyes caught the words “BEAVER TRIMMERS” printed in big bold letters on the driver’s side door.

No freaking way!!!

What was going on here? Was this really as funny as it seemed, or was I just being overcome by a severe epidemic of silliness? I came to the conclusion that the latter must be true. Just then I looked up in time to see a sign posted by a local real estate agency and development firm. The sign declared:

“City life have you feeling Claustrophobic? Try Beaver! Still as wide open as ever!”

This was too much! I knew it couldn’t be just a bad spell of silliness, especially when another sign in front of an approaching fruit stand advertised “Beaver Cherries $4.99″ Sounded like a Hell of a deal to me, so I stopped.

Trying to gain my composure I walked through the aisles of fresh fruit. I had to fight myself to keep from popping one of the “Beaver Cherries” as I passed, but I knew doing so would throw me back into uncontrolled fits of laughter. As I headed back to my car to continue my journey, I passed a homely; zit faced young man sitting in a lawn chair who thrust a small Dixie cup in my direction.

“Sir, would you like a sample of our new Beaver Juice?” the boy asked in a high pitched, nasally voice.

That was the last straw! I could not leave “Wide open Beaver” with its “Beaver Cherries” and “Beaver Juice” fast enough. In fact it seems, I may have been just a bit too anxious to leave. Just before making it to the Freeway on-ramp I glanced into my rearview mirror only to be greeted by red and blue flashing lights.

“Oh Christ, not the BEAVER POLICE!”

After several minutes a Barney Fife looking fellow in horn rimmed, mirror glasses leaned his head in my window.

“Good afternoon sir,” Barney said in the same nasally voice as his son back at the fruit stand. “May I ask if you have any business in Beaver today?”

“Just visiting,” I answered

“So you are unfamiliar with Beaver?”

“More than I care to admit,” I said staring at my steering wheel and biting my lip to maintain my composure.

“Do you have any idea why I pulled you over today sir?” Barney asked.

“For pulling out too quick?” I asked, unable to resist the wise crack.

“That is correct sir” Barney proclaimed while pulling off his sunglasses in an effort to show the seriousness of what he was saying. “While you may have been within the posted speed limit, that speed limit applies to conditions permitting. With today’s rain fall you can see that the roads are quite wet.”

“Yes sir,” I said trying to be as polite as possible.

“While I’m not going to cite you this time,” Barney said “I will leave you with this warning,”

“Okay,” I nodded, receptive to any advice Officer Barney offered that would keep me from getting a ticket.

“After many years of patrolling this road it has been my experience that Beaver can become quite slippery when wet.”

“Thank you very much, I’ll try to keep that in mind.” I said fighting back the fits of laughter that swelled within me, as Barney walked back to his patrol car.

I finally made my escape from Beaver and continued on to St. George, where my very impatient daughter awaited me.

“Dad, where on earth have you been?” she asked waiting to hear what creative excuse her old man could pull out of his hat this time.

“You’re not going to believe this hon,” I said putting my arm around her waist. “But I stopped for a little Beaver on the way.”

“DAD!!!”

I wonder what my wife will think tomorrow as I give that flashing beaver a wink and a smile as we pass on by… Without stopping!!!

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Someone didn’t like the publicity that the sign was getting. The sign was taken down. The sign I have taken is coming the other direction of the Interstate. It is as if you were going to pass through Beaver from Las Vegas Nevada.

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The above truly says it all. I had fun learning about it and sharing with you today. Yes, on Twitter I get many questions regarding “my” beaver. I love my comeback with Fillmore. Tends to take away from the original rude question. But it is all in fun. Fillmore Beaver is nothing BUT endless fun in the high desert of Utah.

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The Firmage Theater – Beaver Utah

March 12, 2010

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I love living in Beaver Utah. It has a population of approximately 2,500 and is located 200 miles south of Salt Lake City. There are no street lights and only a few stop signs. At any given time when I am out on the streets, there might be three to four cars sharing all roads within site. Driving a very short distance of five minutes puts me out into the beauty of the “high desert”. Beaver is the home town of Butch Cassidy.

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Today I want to take you on a quick tour of pure nostalgia I have discovered…the Main Street Theater formerly known as the “The Firmage” which was built in 1926. I had not been to a movie since Christmas while visiting family in Oklahoma. We were lucky enough to get into and see Avatar (which will be featured in a future blog). Family came to visit last weekend, Chris and his wife Kristin (expecting their first baby in May). Several years ago, Chris and I were weekend companions to whatever was the newest release. Living in Burbank California, the theater held 16 different screens…giving a rather large selection of movies to choose from each week. It was fun to be going to a movie together again…even if his wife was along.

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I found that in July of 2002, the Firmage was closed and put up for sale. The theater has a state-of-the-art platter system, 300 seats and 7,000 square feet of commercial space (two shops, one of either side of the theater). The asking price was $125,000. Scott and Jennifer Fotheringham have lovingly restored the theater.

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Jennifer Fotheringham serves popcorn to her niece Emmi Northington. Her son Bo at left, is next to one of the oldest theater popcorn poppers in the world, a vintage Manely, one of only 18 working models in the world. (Al Hartmann/The Salt Lake Tribune)

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I did not know any of the above details. I thought I would be entering an older style “cheap” theater. I should have seen by the details contained in the “ticket window” that EVERYTHING would be such a delight inside. Almost all of the hardware on the doors is original, most containing holes to fit skeleton type keys.

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Just inside the outer doors you are greeted by the main lobby with porthole doors (that I have only seen in photographs). Everything looks as though you have just stepped into the 1930’s. The carpet, the wood moldings on the wall, the couch..picture frames. So much for the eye to see.

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There were two display cases that contained artifacts from the history of the theater.

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Pictures of stars from the past hung at eye level on both sides as you moved down the lobby toward the concession stand.

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I asked Chris to get me a Diet Coke and I headed off to the Ladies room. The moment the door opened I could see that every detail of the past had been restored. I kept walking around the room…just looking. If you have been in a modern day theater restroom, it is anything but beautiful. This was magnificent. I kept thinking my iPhone camera would not be able to do justice to this place. Indoor lighting is difficult at best..but I so wanted to preserve this moment in my life.

We journey to a destination. But if we do not stop and look beside us or what lies beneath our feet…we will miss the more important part of our lives. This was all built at a time of elegance. People would dress up to go to theaters. The surroundings were always elegant..reflective of the pride in workmanship.

As we entered the theater I could hear the sound of the space heaters. I should have realized that the two large stacks of blankets were there for a reason. It was cool inside, the outside temperature was probably around 25*F. The screen was huge with thick heavy curtains on either side. It was too dark to obtain decent photos. The seats were new..they had cup holders. At the back of the theater there were couches which for ten dollars more you could rent for your family.

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The movie “The Lightening Thief” was a Chris Columbus fantasy film. Chris, Kristin and I all enjoyed the film. Not just for the fantasy contained in the film, but for the look back at a piece of history that has been saved for future generations. I have more family coming into town this weekend. This time I want to try some of the popcorn made by a machine out of the past.

The High Desert

December 13, 2009

One thing I love about my life is that I have a place to go when I need a break. For the moment I live in the lower Red Rock Desert, but the high desert is rural and beautiful.
The Night Sky in the High Desert
The drive to the high desert only takes an hour and a half, the same as my daily commute when I lived in Los Angeles. The mountains here are more barren, but have a different wonder about them. I awoke this morning to snow. Makes it feels like Christmas is already here. A soft white blanket covering everthing.

I can’t even tell you how many times I am asked “What is a high desert?” I guess I have always known myself about it and thought others did too. In the winter months it is cold and snows.
One View of the High Desert
The winds can be quite fierce at times. The elevation is what makes it unique in comparison to the lower desert where I live. Everyone here hunts. The deer and elk have carved out a living here in this barren land.

If you drive up into the hills there are areas that the deer like to come visit. These are areas where hunting isn’t allowed and it is safe to raise their little ones. We came upon a few deer with babies. I rolled down my window and just held out my hand.
Fawns are Curious
The babies who had been laying down stood up and approached me. You can tell by the picture how close they were. These pictures are all taken with my cell phone, no telephoto lens. I have only seen animals up close in a Zoo. These fawns were so innocent…their mothers laid quietly a distance away and just watched. I marveled that they didn’t sense any fear over us being there. I didn’t want the moment to pass. But all things must. I love being here. I feel the earth and its life so much more than when I lived in LA. Such a contrast in life force. A blessing that I will always be grateful for.

The snow doesn’t seem to bother the chickens who are running around in the backyard looking for treats (which is anything the kids didn’t eat that Shell threw out there for them). Almost all of the chickens have names. Fred is Emily’s pet.
Emily & her Pet Fred
Fred is a hen. When outside Fred follows you around like you are one of her sister chicks. Seems to prefer someone that might have food. Ha, I could pretend she just likes me.
Rooster with his Chicks

Recently when the snow was over a foot deep, the chickens (not being as smart as they could be) having forgotten what snow was…jumped out of the coop and into the deep fluffy stuff. Well five of them were buried up to their necks in snow. Shell finally realized those were heads peaking out from the snow and went to see. The chickens had given up, without much effort and decided they were going to die. There was Shell plucking them out of the snow, half-frozen. Fred the dog tried and actually pulled one out. He was so proud bringing the chicken to Shell (by the neck). Laid her at Shell’s feet, licking the chicken, trying to help her to feel better. Shell didn’t think the chicken would survive Jake’s rescue…but she did. They all did that day.
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There is only two inches out today and it looks like they are having fun. I am at the breakfast table, and I am looking at chickens in the snow.

Hello world!

November 8, 2009

At the beginning of any story lies a blank page.  This today is mine.  No one is here, just me.  In these moments of quite, my thoughts are drawn to matters of the heart.  That which I care about, that which I believe in and so much more.

What does alone mean?  Alone physically…no.  I am alone with my thoughts trying to find a balance between objectivity and emotions.  I would reach out for someone to guide me through this, but I would imagine that truth and inner strength comes with triumph over self.  For me, it is fought in my own heart.  It is only me that will ever see my truth, for my heart is only known to me.  I’ll battle it alone and if you are here, then you will watch the journey.  If my emotions tend to seep a little more than objectivity, know the battle is on.

This will not be a terribly serious blog, there are many ideas, stories, pictures and maybe just some things for fun that will find their way to these pages.  Today my content is simple.  It is, as I said before…just the beginning.

 


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