Then I turned 43, things started going wrong. I was throwing up blood but it wasn’t red. It was brown granules so at the time I did not know it was blood. This was a bleeding ulcer. I had my gall bladder removed years ago so I knew it wasn’t that.  I didn’t realize at that time is that I should have noticed my bowel movements had changed to black.  My spouse and daughter rushed me to the hospital.  It was there that they removed the blood that was still sitting in my stomach and I started having to worry about my stomach.All these stops in the hospital were taking their toll on my work schedule. Spending the weekend hospital is a terrible way to get your job done. Sure I was in the hospital my wife, kids and in-laws worked my route. Some days my wife had to both run my route and then go to her job. At this time I delivered snack cakes. I was lucky that my stores were very accepting of my condition. There were many days that I was late delivery or did not deliver at all. I was still hoping I’d have years left to work.

Unknown to me at the time, all the blood that was sitting in my digestive system would cause ammonia to overload in my brain.  My damaged liver could not clean my system fast enough.  While the medication that the doctor had prescribed to help with this would pull the ammonia out of my body, sometimes it just wasn’t enough, fast enough.  This sometimes meant calls to 911 and emergency room visits.  It always lead to my family having to try to deal with a large man who was not connected to the world they were in.  This sometimes caused me to talk to people who were not there.  Other times it would cause me to lose my words.  My brain would then substitute a totally different word.  I knew I was saying the right thing and would get upset that my family was not listening to me.  The most scary times for my family were when I would physically react to what I was seeing.

I often felt like I would spend a week in the hospital just to spend a week out of the hospital.  This continued for what seemed to be eternity.  It actually only lasted for a year.  A VERY LONG YEAR.

Probably the worst thing about going to the hospital is their standard operating procedure.  The first thing they do is hep lock so they have access to run an IV.  The next thing would be to take a vast variety of blood from two different locations.  Most of the time this would leave me bruised.  There wasn’t enough time for the bruises to heal before I was back in the hospital and they were drawing more blood.  So after about the third month, it looked like I was beaten daily.  I am sure they only had good intentions but it hurt.  This is a good reason do to everything possible to stay out of the hospital.