The Doldrums…and Hell.

There’s nothing quite like sitting at home…

…suffering pain and bad moods, because someone else couldn’t put their phone down…and ran into the vehicle I was sitting in as a passenger way back in April of this year…causing an accident that hurt 7 people.

I’ve got severe back pain, neck stiffness, numbness on the right side of my body that comes and goes, and various other physical and mental ailments…all while pondering the meaning of life in various mental states…and there is no end in sight.


the doldrums...

The summer doldrums…trapped on a windless sea….

What my life feels like right now….

This off work detail, on workers comp, fighting to get coverage for every malady borne of this event, and not being able to work, not having any income, not knowing if I’ll be able to return to work, and still not knowing, after 106 days, EXACTLY what is wrong with me…is utterly mind numbing.

My lower back feels like my middle back did way back in 1993, when my family and I got rear ended in Bucksville, Alabama, while waiting to turn into a gas station. My wife had her hip destroyed, and is now in a wheelchair…I suffered three compression fractures in the vertebrae between my shoulder blades, and my children were injured as well.

Oh, yes…a year later I was hit in ANOTHER rear end collision at the same exact intersection, and while the hospital diagnosed at the time that I had severe whiplash, my x-rays of 6/4/18 show that I actually had a another compression fracture in my neck at c-3. So i’ve been living with a broken neck ever since. It’s a wonder I’m still alive.

Ever had a broken back?

The pain from the fractures caused my back to tighten up like a 2×12 and was utterly disabling. I was off work for four months just recovering from that.

But, the difference between then and now is, back then, I knew within 24 hours what was wrong.

Now, why won’t they tell me?

What is wrong?

Lumbar MRI

Today, after nearly 4 months, four doctors visits, and one MRI, which I do NOT know the result of yet, my lower back is very stiff, muscles constantly tight, and in an inordinate amount of pain.

Do I feel down in the dumps, unable to start on any path right now, since I’ve no idea when and where my injury is going to become a worse problem, or get repaired?  Yes.

Do I feel that the extra time on my hands, spent laying on an ice pack or heating pad is making things any better, when that’s all I am feel capable of? Pretty much.

Do I think my time on this planet gets shorter and shorter with each passing day, with no idea what tomorrow brings from the medical profession?  Yes…every second of every hour of every day.

Tick Tock…Tick Tock…Tick Tock… I am worried.

And then last night,

My aunt shared this touching story on her Facebook page. Aunt Mary Lou is the only surviving member of my family in my dad’s generation. She is dad’s sister, and I lost my dad 18 years ago.

It touched me in a way that brought tears to my eyes. Please give it a view and let me know what you think.

Time…the most precious thing we all have…

Tick Tock…Tick Tock..Tick Tock….

I’ll get better…soon enough. But this share below helped bring back my perspective to the right place. I hope you enjoy it.


The telephone rang. It was a call from his mother. He answered it and his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.”

Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

“Jack, did you hear me?”

“Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” Jack said.

“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence’ as he put it,” Mom told him.

“I loved that old house he lived in,” Jack said.

“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said.

“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important. Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time. Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered.

Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture…Jack stopped suddenly…

“What’swrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.

“The box is gone,” he said.

“What box?” Mom asked.

“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell me was ‘the thing I value most,'” Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said.

“I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,” the note read.

Early the next day Jack went to the post office and retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.

“Mr. Harold Belser” it read.

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope.

Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.

“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filled his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved: “Jack, Thanks for your time! — Harold Belser.”

“The thing he valued most was my time!”

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days.*

“Why?” Janet, his assistant asked.

“I need some time to spend with the people I love and say I care for,” he said. “Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!”

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.”

Think about this. You may not realize it, but it’s 100 percent true.

1. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

2. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don’t like you.

3. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

4. You mean the world to someone.

5. If not for you, someone may not be living.

6. You are special and unique.

7. Have trust sooner or later you will get what you wish for or something better.

8. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it.

9. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a hard look: you most likely turned your back on the world and the people who love and care for you.

10. Someone that you don’t even know exists loves you.

11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

12. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know and you’ll both be happy.

13. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.

Share this letter with all the people you care about. In doing so, you will certainly brighten someone’s day and might change their perspective on life…for the better.

To everyone who read this just now….

*”Thanks for your time.”*

Now, about that hell in the subject lne above.

My neck, back, and right arm and leg are burning, most of the time. No meds to take away the pain. The other driver’s fault. Here’s the proof…

This is how people end up with broken backs, and crippled.

Notice the complete lack of brakes applied, no rubber screech marks on the pavement behind the front wheels of the silver Chrysler Pacifica, that hit us at 35 miles an hour, while we were dead stopped at a red light.



My Hell now is this limbo that this driver has put me in.

Nowhere to work, no ability to get a new job, no unemployment, no relief of discomfort, and probably years before my lawyer is able to get anything from the personal injury suit I already started against this individual.

Writing and coding are all I can do…with my finger tips. Everything else hurts.

Dark places right now, my friends…


The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 24th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural southern Wyoming, just below the continental divide (long story, that...). Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, many social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

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