My First Month So Far In Pensacola, July 2021
by David J. Stewart | July 2021
Job 19:25, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:”
Well, it has been very hectic since I left Guam and arrived in Pensacola. I am living out of a suitcase in a cheap hotel, praise the Lord! It's a nice place for $35 a night. It is perfect for me. I was blessed to find this place while by chance driving down the street, it is not advertised on the internet. I have been eating at some great restaurants. I need to watch my weight...lol. My favorites so far are WHATABURGER and the Shrimp Basket. I love their stuffed crabs! And last night I went to a new place called, El Paso Mexican Grill. Wow! Today is Saturday and I am fasting all day, so I don't gain weight. I drove about 27 minutes and went to Pensacola Beach on Tuesday and took these pictures to share with my web visitors...
It was HOT this past week! The temperature reached over 95 with a Heat Humidity Index of 115 degrees Fahrenheit. When I got there to Pensacola Beach, the first thing I remember was being bitten by a critter on my ankle. It felt like a red ant on Guam, but I asked the people at the drink stand and they said it was likely a Sand Flea! Ouch! So I bought a bottle of water and walked about 1/2 mile along the beach sand by the ocean water. There were several hundred people at the beach, enjoying themselves. When I started walking back, there was no place to buy water, nor any shade. I didn't realize how hot it was. Florida gets much hotter than Guam! Guam's temperature rarely ever breaks 90.
I walked up to a hotel, but the gate was locked, accessible by guests only. So I kept walking in the unbearable hot sun. I was really dehydrated and sweating in the hot sun, and my heart hurt with pain. I had never experienced that before. I really thought I was going to have a heat stroke, but I finally walked and made it back to the Hampton Inn. The kind black doorman gave me an ice-cold free bottle of water and I thanked him so much. He probably saved me from a heat stroke that day and I told him so! I learned an important lesson about Florida, which is that you need to be very careful when out in the sun, to make sure you stay hydrated and have a hat with you. I bought a cool hat at Wal-Mart that is specially made with vents to keep you cool. It has a chin string to hold it on in the wind. I paid $20 for the hat and really like it.
I love shopping at Wal-Mart! There's nothing like Wal-Mart on Guam. I can't believe how inexpensive things are here in Pensacola. I saw a 12 pack of Ramen Noodles for only $2.22. A can of Chef-Boy-R-Dee Ravioli is only 88 cents. 24 bottles of mineral water is only $2.50. Gas is only $3.25 per gallon. Did I say that I love WHATABURGER!!! I am trying to watch my calories, but I love their Peaches And Cream milkshakes! I ate a double-cheeseburger there yesterday, but I drank unsweetened tea to watch my calories. There are A LOT of fat people here in Pensacola!!! I am making the best of things, despite feeling like my life is upside down for now, and it is!
My Medical Situation
My new doctor cut my pain medications last Friday (July 23rd) by 75%, and my body went into shock. I had been taking 80 mg per day of Oxycontin for 11 years, and she cold-turkey stopped it all! She stopped my Gabapentin, Ambien and Oxycontin cold-turkey. Many websites warn about suddenly stopping these drugs, which can cause seizures or death. That was very irresponsible of the doctor and I told the clinic that I wasn't complaining, but none of this seems right or normal. This was the only medical clinic that would accept me (for various reasons), so I am very grateful to them. I am not an ingrate, so it is important to me that I show them my appreciation.
The clinic gave me a woman doctor, which is fine with me. But she replaced all my medications with only one drug, 4 pills of Percocet 10/325 per day. They said no other patient even gets that much pain drugs. She reduced my daily MME (morphine milligram equivalents) from 130 MME down to only 60 MME, which is not enough pain medication for me. Whereas before I was taking 40 mg of Oxycodone (20 mg of Oxycontin 4 times per day) at any given time, now I only have 10 mg (the 10 in Percocet 10/325), and my neck is really hurting bad. That's 75% less Oxycodone! As you can image I am not happy about that.
I have had a very difficult week. Without my prescription for Ambien to help me sleep (I took 10 mg each night for the past 10 years) I haven't been able to sleep. The doctor told me to go to Wal-Mart to get something. I did and bought Melatonin. They recommend taking 10 mg. I did and it didn't work. So I took 40 mg and it still didn't work. I didn't fall asleep until 5 am Wednesday morning. I only slept for 2 hours. Thursday I couldn't fall asleep until 2 am. I woke up every 45 minutes. So my body's chemistry is all out of whack right now! The clinic scheduled me to come back yesterday, Friday, one week after my first appointment, because I told them they did this to me.
Thankfully, the female nurse gave me a steroid shot yesterday in the hip to help reduce my neck pain. So far it seems to be helping. I gladly accepted any relief they offered. I met with a man doctor yesterday who gave me a prescription for 1800 mg a day of Gabapentin and some new drug called Amitriptyline to help me sleep, which seemed to work well last night. The doctor yesterday said Amitriptyline is safer than Ambien. Ambien reacts with the pain drugs I am taking, which is why they don't want to give it to me. I kindly told the doctor yesterday that I will leave Florida if I cannot find adequate medical intervention to treat my neck pain. I cannot start a new life while in chronic neck pain all the time!!! He said that my doctor, the next time I meet with her, would likely allow me to switch back to Oxycontin, although a lesser amount than the 80 mg I had been previously taking. It is too early to tell, so I have to wait and see. I won't stay in Florida if I cannot get the Oxycontin pain meds I need. We'll see.
I would be so grateful if the clinic would prescribe to me 60 mg a day (20 mg times 3). 40 mg is not enough, but it is much better for me than 4 pills of Percocet 10/325. If she gives me 2 pills of 20 mg a day, that is twice the Oxycodone than I am getting now. I don't like Percocet because it contains Tylenol, which is very bad for the liver. 3 grams a day is considered unsafe, and I am presently taking 1.5 grams a day. I don't like Tylenol. Oxycontin has zero Tylenol. Also, Percocet dehydrates me too much, keeping me awake at night from thirst. I wake up with dry mouth in the night, which 20 mg of Oxycontin doesn't do. Since I survive in a world of chronic neck pain, and related bodily pain and burning nerves, it is VERY important to me that I am able to receive proper medical treatment. I need to give this a few months to see what happens, but if my neck pain continues to be horrible, and the state of Florida won't allow doctors to prescribe the pain medications that I need, then I will reluctantly leave and gladly move to another state.
I would likely move to Texas, perhaps the city of San Antonio (where singer George Strait lives) if I did relocate. San Antonio is the 7th biggest city in the United States. I've also considered El Paso, Amarillo, and other cities in Texas, but I think San Antonio sounds nice. But for now, Florida is my new home and I really want to give this my 100% effort to make it work. Pensacola is a relatively small city of about 50,000 people. I truly don't know what I am doing. I feel overwhelmed right now with everything. I learned from Pastor Jack Hyles to enjoy the moment. One of my favorite sermons that he preached is called: Learn To Enjoy Where You Are, While You're On Your Way To Where You Are Going.”
I don't know how long I will be here in Pensacola. I signed up for the YMCA my first day here in town. I LOVE their steamroom!!! It feels so good on my burning nerves and neck pain. That is one main reason I chose Pensacola. It's only $42 per month to be a member of the YMCA. It was Pastor Dwight L. Moody who established the YMCA (Young Man's Christian Association) in Chicago in the late 19th century to help aimless youth get off the streets and find purpose for their life. The YMCA has its origin in London in 1844, which was begun to give young men an alternative to life on the streets. The Levin YMCA where I go has a big King James Bible on display. It was open to the book of Psalms the other day, and Isaiah the week before. Praise God!
I like several things so far about living in Pensacola, and I dislike several things. Any time you move, you always gain something and lose something. I LOVE Little Caesar's pizza. K-mart has one on Guam. I bought the stuffed cheesy-crust pepperoni pizza the other day. Good stuff Menard! It was so good that the pizza ate me!!! I also love the Happy Chinese Restaurant a block away from me. They have awesome pork egg rolls. I really enjoy the 'Happy Delight' special from their menu, which has lots of fresh vegetables (whole mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, et cetera). I really like the classic white cartons that Chinese food should come in. Guam doesn't have anything like that. Guam restaurants use Styrofoam containers that leak all over the place if turned to the side. Guam has ZERO authentic Mexican food. Pensacola has some really great Mexican restaurants. So despite my chronic neck pain, I am eating well and enjoying myself. It is important that I eat good and get plenty of fresh air, drinking water and getting some sunshine.
I don't like the longer driving distances, but they're not too bad. People drive aggressively here. I don't like the shady element to various parts of Pensacola. There's kind of a white trash feel to parts of Pensacola. I've never seen so many people on the street corners begging for money. The irony is that I've never seen so many businesses hiring. WHATABURGER even closed down their dining rooms at at least two restaurants locations I went to because of a lack of staffing. They cannot hire enough people. MacDonald's, Waffle House, Paradise Fitness and Little Caesars are all hiring. Something is wrong with the American system when thousands of people are begging on street corners for money, while thousands of businesses cannot hire enough employees. What is wrong with our society?
It Is Too Early To Tell If I Will Stay In Pensacola
Right now I feel like a fish out of water. On Guam I had a relatively stable life, but no social life, which wasn't good. I went to bed at 8 to 9 pm every night. I woke up around 5 am. I was eating very healthy and losing weight. I lost 15 pounds this year alone. But now my body is out of whack because of the change in my medications. I haven't had a good night's sleep since I got here on July 2nd. The burning in my nerves has been exasperated by all this. I am surviving right now in a form of hell on earth. I cannot put into words what this burning feeling throughout my body does to adversely affect me. Both of my arms feel inflated with air all the time, and I get shaky. It is not fun. Getting out of the hotel helps me, especially when I am walking, soaking up the sun or enjoying the steamroom at the YMCA, which is where I am going after I upload this article. I don't regret leaving Guam, at all. I needed a change. As hectic as things are now for me, at least things are different, finally!
Sitting through Sunday School and church is difficult for me. Lord willing I plan to attend Campus Church tomorrow, but I am not going to Sunday School. It is too much for me to sit still, with all that I am dealing with physically. Pray for me friends, I am hurting. I am restless, understandably. I feel like leaving Pensacola and I have only been here for one month. There's no parks to go walking. I have to drive at least 20 minutes to the Community Maritime Park. Niche.com says that there are many parks in Pensacola. They are wrong! The city does maintain several dozen parks, but they are far away places or tiny playground parks. I go to Wal-Mart to go walking...lol. So far I don't like it here in Pensacola, but time will tell. I have to give it more time. I don't want to make any hasty decisions. It may be that I am longing to be in the city of Heaven with my Savior, and I will feel restless no matter where I move. I really don't know. I don't regret leaving Guam. I had no life there. I couldn't find a girlfriend. I couldn't find a church that would accept me, or big enough to find a wife. And I couldn't afford to purchase a home there, which I lost after the divorce that I didn't want in 2006.
I feel overwhelmed right now with everything. My first goal is to get my body used to my new prescription of drugs. That is critically important. I must have a consistent chemistry in my body. I am going to email the Clearwaypain Solutions clinic manager when she returns on August 2nd, to kindly let her know that I don't want to take Percocet after my next doctor's visit, that I need Oxycontin. I am going to suggest that they assign me to the man doctor whom I met yesterday, who was very professional. I'm not going to insist though. I will stay with the woman doctor if they want, but my first visit with her was terrible. She needs to do much better! She rudely interrupted me while I was explaining my medical history. She was in a hurry to leave. She didn't explain anything. She cold-turkey took me off 75% of my medications, which caused me to suffer horribly all week. She was very unprofessional. If she refuses to put me on Oxycontin, I will insist on a different doctor. If they refuse, I'm leaving Florida. So that is my plan. Nothing else matters in my life if I am suffering without proper medical treatment for my neck pain. The Amitriptyline drug worked well last night to help me sleep, which I need. But the Percocet is keeping me awake from dry mouth, so that's not going to work for me. We'll see what happens. It is a big deal for me. I need a consistent sleep pattern and medications.
The second goal I have is to find a church where I feel at home, where I am welcomed, where I have the opportunity to meet a woman to marry. If I cannot find that, I won't stay. I was shocked yesterday when I read the Statement of Faith of a local church in Pensacola called the Echo Life Church. They've got the plan of salvation all wrong! I would never attend such a religious cult like that!!! I was hoping to find a church here with a Bus Ministry, but there are none. Campus Church is nice, but in my humble opinion they don't really have much in the way of ministries to get involved. I am so frustrated right now. Tennessee is a bad place for persons who need pain drugs. The state has declared WAR on pain drugs! If it weren't for that, I'd move to Temple Baptist Church in Knoxville. The church has a Bus Ministry and over 100 ministries to get involved. I love that! I also like the Tiftonia Baptist Church in Chattanooga, but don't know much about them. They started in the 1940's as a mission of the Highland Park Baptist Church where Dr. Lee Roberson (1909-2007) was the pastor for over 40 years. I am a drifter...lol. Hopefully one day I will find a place to fit in.
I have God's joy and peace in my soul. I am just tired and have no roots put down right now. God willing, I want to buy an affordable home, but I can't do that until I know for sure that I want to live in a city. So I have to stay in a place for awhile to see if I like it. Pensacola has everything I need, but so far I don't feel at home here. I don't like the way the city is laid out. The Google feature on my new mobile phone is invaluable, giving me verbal directions for wherever I need to go. I love that! I am not sure what I need in my life, but I am searching to settle. I want to get settled. I want a wife. I want a home. I want a cat. I want to keep serving God with my website ministry. One day at a time. The main thing is what God wants, not my will, but Thine. So I prayerfully need God to guide me (Philippians 2:13). Jesus is precious!
The Gift Of Eternal Life Is Wrapped In The Wonderful Package Of Jesus
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“Faith is the only righteous thing
that I can do!”
—Pastor Jack Hyles, a quote from the MP3 sermon titled: “God's Reversal Of Psalm 51”
1st Corinthians 16:24, “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”
Souls Are Dying!
How Permanent Is Your Salvation?
(an excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Hank Lindstrom, 1940-2008)
Mark 1:15, “...repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
of the child of God is that he loves everybody!”
(a quote from Pastor Jack Hyles' classic MP3 sermon, “FORGIVENESS”)
Mark 11:22, “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.”
Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness!