when the phone rings…

Rain, rain, rain. This photo was taken Sunday. The water is definitely up with all of the ran we’ve received this week. Unfortunately, along the Cumberland River, Nashville seems to be taking the brunt of it.

The National Weather Service has a really neat Hydrograph, along with some other neat facts about the Cumberland in Clarksville.

Ingram Marine Group is a barge company that operates all over the Mississippi and in the Easter waterways, such as Illinois and Ohio. Anyway, they have a really neat Boat Position feature on their site. I’d love to take a tour of a tug boat or even ride on one, for a day. I’m sure it’s hard work, but it looks so peaceful out there on the water.

Kinfolk Saturdays: Swimming in Wild Waters from Kinfolk (kinfolk.com) on Vimeo.

I love Kinfolk videos.

along the river…

fog light river night

This was a treat. On a whim last night we went down to the riverwalk. It was pretty quiet. So we headed down the way further to the marina. I wasn’t sure what we would see since it was pretty dark out. We were on a second story deck overlooking the river and noticed an erratic fishing boat. It looked as if someone had dropped some nets in at least three different locations. The small fishing boat may have been snagged in it. And coming from around the bend was this light. I know it isn’t the best of photos but I think you can get a feel for it. Anyway, it was pretty neat watching the tug with about 6 barges maneuver around the next bend before it goes under the railroad bridge.

fort donelson lizard

Today, we headed West to Fort Donelson. This lizard, or skink maybe, was at the back gate to the Fort Donelson National Cemetery. We aren’t so into Confederate history, but Zach loves old cannons and I love the water.

cumberland river from fort donelson

This picture is from the Lower River Battery. I think there were about 8 cannons, but this was the view. (Be sure to read the “Did you know?” section at the bottom of that page.)

Moving through Chicago from geoff tompkinson on Vimeo.

death implies life…

sunset land between the lakes bridge

This is a picture from the Land Between the Lakes. I’m not an overly outdoorsy person, but I love the water. It was a spur of the moment drive, so we just stayed for the sunset and got lost looking for a bathroom, which we found in one of the campgrounds. Hopefully, we can go back soon.

cumberland hunter tug overflowing river

That tug is the Cumberland Hunter, operated by Hunter Marine. They have a neat feature on their website, Boat Positions, where you can see where their tugs are.

Also, as you can see, the Cumberland River is up. The water had come over a viewing deck at the downtown McGregor Park Riverwalk.

Last, but not least, Lisa Bonchek Adams continues to share her story of living with metastatic cancer. I don’t know her, but she is so brave and kind to share her journey with everyone. She is a personal inspiration. Reading her blog has allowed me to have insight into my father’s struggle with metastatic cancer. I wish I would have found her blog much sooner, I think my dad might have found some comfort in it.

Kinfolk Story: Honey Harvest from Kinfolk (kinfolk.com) on Vimeo.

In Memorian…

We’ve been packing. We’ll pick the moving truck up in a few days and say goodbye to Fayetteville and Fort Bragg. But today is Memorial Day. A day we remember service members that gave their lives in service to our country. So, tonight we took a break from packing to go visit the Field of Honor one last time.

honor field at dusk fayetteville

There was a man and a woman in camping chairs sitting beside a tile on the walkway to the Airborne and Special Operations Museum. There were two red candles burning and beside one of the candles was an open beer. I didn’t take a picture because it was getting pretty dark and I didn’t want to intrude on something that seemed so very personal.

Something else stuck out. Directly in front of the door to the museum there is a cluster of Memorial Pavers, and taped to one of them was a single red rose. My heart breaks for his family.

CW3 Christopher Allgaier ASOM Tile

In memory of CW3 Christopher M. Allgaier and all of the service members that died serving our country.

now is the time…

porta potty row

We’re gearing up to move! We have about one month left here and we’ll be on to the new south. I’m pretty excited, mostly because I’ll be very close to home. My finals start this coming week and when I’m done with that I have about a million to do lists to make and complete. Anyone want to help pack and load a moving truck?

passing the buck…

Today, Joe Klein over at Time made a few people angry. He wrote an article ridiculing the Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki’s lack of public visibility and the problems with the claims backlog. I watched over the Twitterverse as people argued the relevance of the article. Everyone is missing the mark. Veterans and their families don’t really care how many television interviews Secretary Shinseki does. Veterans and their families want the services they fought for and earned. The backlog is just the tip of the iceberg. The fact that the VA is having such a difficult time processing claims is a sign of much bigger problems. Clearly, the VA is lacking the management and infrastructure to support the heavy load. If it is that difficult to get in the door at the VA why would it be any different inside the door?

My dad went to the emergency department at the Jesse Brown VAMC in early October 2011. After several tests and scans a physician informed him he had cancer. The ED gave him discharge notes that included information regarding a biopsy appointment and primary care appointment being made. Normally, the VA makes an appointment and sends a letter in the mail or makes a phone call to the patient with the appointment information. Several weeks went by and my dad heard nothing. He contacted the office of his primary care physician and they had no record of an appointment. At that time an appointment was made for the middle of November 2011 with primary care. When he finally met with his primary care physician it was then that an appointment for a biopsy was made. He had a biopsy near the end of November 2011. He received the results by telephone, later in December. Several oncology related appointments were set up with approximately 4 to 5 different oncologists, between Jesse Brown and UIC. Around January 2012 my dad was informed that he had Stage II cancer, and they were not certain of its origin. At this time a decision was made to resect bone and tissue from his thoracic cage and cavity. He would have this surgery at the end of March 2012 at Hines VAMC.

Between October 2011 and March 2012 no medical intervention took place to mitigate the cancer in my dad’s body. It would be another several months before the Jesse Brown VAMC would begin to administer chemotherapy via a port in his upper chest. He went to chemo appointments every few weeks. He developed a magnesium deficiency which would hinder his ability to receive chemo. So many of his chemo appointments were postponed till after he received supplemental intravenous magnesium. The magnesium IV could sometimes take hours. During the time period that he was receiving chemotherapy, it was by appointment, set by the VA facility. On most occasions he would show up to his 9:00 a.m. appointment and not be called back till after lunch. Several other occasions he would show up for his appointment and was told they didn’t have any chemo and they would have to reschedule.

Perhaps, if he had access to a higher echelon of care his Stage II cancer wouldn’t have become Stage IV metastatic carcinoma. And at the very least he may have lived longer than 4 days past his 65th birthday and had a better quality of life for his last few months on this earth.

Veterans and their families that are suffering due to VA shortcomings want acknowledgement that their suffering is indeed real. They want to be heard and validated. They want someone to take responsibility. I am one of them. My dad is dead because of the poor organization and management of the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. Unfortunately this is par for the course. Someone on twitter today asked for names of people that are detractors of Shinseki. My name is Allie Carnes and you can add my name to the list of people that think Sec. Shinseki should no longer be in charge of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

If anyone from the VA or Congress is reading this and thinks that I am wrong ask yourself if you would want to wait 8 months for chemotherapy knowing you had cancer.