I’m feeling a lot like someone has kicked me hard in the gut. Repeatedly. And they haven’t stopped. Six months ago, I took my dear friend Rick to the hospital so they could give him an IV diuretic to reduce the fluid pooling in his lower legs. Fluid build-up is one of the warning signs of advanced heart failure, and we didn’t want to take any chances.

It’s now six months and one LVAD (heart pump) surgery later, and Rick is still fighting an uphill battle to regain his general health. At the moment, he’s back in OHSU, after taking another fall at the Rehab Center. His legs are weakened, his digestive system has gone wacko, and the doctors are considering placing a feeding “peg” directly into his stomach to give him the nutrition he can’t seem to get from what he’s able to eat.

In the past six months, Rick’s been “home” exactly 40 days. Just 40 of 180. He’s weary, but still fighting. Once a Marine, always a Marine, and his will to live is strong. Unfortunately, his body is not.

I’ve ranted on Facebook, I’ve whined to my minister, and I’ve shouted at the ocean. Now I’m going outside the box to implore the whole faceless Internet community. If you pray, please pray for my friend Rick. If you don’t pray, then hold healing thoughts for him. He’s one of the truly good guys.