Friday, September 27, 2013

Study Finds Gulf Deep-Sea Ecosystem Recovery Will Take Decades

A Little Note Here: Whenever I was in a public place or restaurant in New Orleans where TVs were in evidence, I noted at times the sound of "boo's" or "raspberries" you know, "The Bronx Cheer."  It was noted, but nothing registered in the conscious mind.  Until, that is, Sunday while having lunch with the sister and family, with the Saints game on in the background.  I couldn't mistake it this time.  The response occurred when a propaganda ad produced by BP touting all they've done for the Gulf was shown.  In essence, no one is being taken in my the BP BS.  It's too close to home and family.  They know it's nothing more than lies as usual.

Now, there is this:
WASHINGTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) - The muddy deep-sea ecosystem around the massive 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill could take decades to recover from the effects of the disaster, researchers reported on Tuesday.
The oil spill from BP Plc's Macondo well had its most severe impact on the ecosystem in an area about nine square miles (24 square km) around the wellhead, the report in the online scientific journal PLoS One said.
Moderate effects were seen at 57 square miles (148 square km). The sea bottom's rich biodiversity was greatly reduced by the oil plume, which was up to 200 yards (183 meters) thick and 1.2 miles (1.9 km) wide, it said.
"Given deep-sea conditions, it is possible that recovery of deep-sea soft-bottom habitat and the associated communities in the vicinity of the DWH blowout will take decades or longer," the report concluded.
The April 20, 2010 disaster aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and ruptured the Macondo well, triggering the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
The research was carried out for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Paul Montagna, an ecosystems professor at Texas A&M University, said on NOAA's website that normally pollution was found within 300 to 600 yards (meters) of an offshore well.
In the Macondo case, it was found nearly two miles (3.2 km) from the well, he said.
Jeff Baguley, an expert on tiny marine and freshwater invertebrates from the University of Nevada, said on the NOAA website that the samples showed that the dominant group in affected areas had become nematode worms.
The research team included members from University of Nevada-Reno, Texas A&M, NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and representatives from BP.
So, the fat lady isn't even warming up to sing and won't be for a while.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In-between Two Tuesdays...

...There was this ill-fated holiday.  Well, not what was expected, in any case.

In a nutshell:

All plans for dinners and large group get-togethers were cancelled.  All plans for visits to the new World War II museum, the Aquarium and Zoo cancelled, too as well as the much planned old cemetery photo excursion.  Did get to have breakfast with my dance teacher & her daughter which was lovely, an early lunch with the sister and her grandkids, and three other lunches alone at nearby restaurants where the walk to and from didn't exhaust me.  A Pimm's Cup and Roast Beef Po-boy at The Napoleon House (still the same after all these years). a shrimp po-boy at the Pontalba Cafe, then Red Beans & Rice with Andouille sausage, and Oysters Bienville (with the sister) at Felixs'.  I had a seafood platter delivered from another fave place that was too far to walk which turned out to be the best (and only true) dinner of the trip.  I think I wrote about this earlier.  Kept the ice bucket filled for drinking water or tea, and ice packs for the multiple fevers that showed their undying love for my body all week.

The Saints played on Sunday afternoon - and won.  I didn't know what that meant until half way through lunch the sister suggested I'd better get back to the room before all Hell broke loose. The fans (gay & straight) take over the Quarter after a winning game and the crowds are absolutely nuts. One of the housekeepers at the hotel described it best, "it looks like someone stirred up a giant ant hill." The images on the news fit that description exactly. Never seen anything like it and happy to watch on TV rather than streets.

Tuesday, 1 am: I awoke with a headache and fever of 101. The usual routine followed and I eventually dragged myself out of bed, showered and dressed for the shuttle. At 3:30 am (on the dot) the airport shuttle picked me up, already hot and drizzling as he put my bag in the van. We made three more stops at various hotels to pick up others catching early flights.  Shuttles usually make 10 stops before heading to the airport, but we were the only 4 onboard.  Therefore we arrived at 4:15 am rather than a half hour later. Self-checked my bag, got my boarding pass and woke up the TSA staff, being the only person in their usually long, snaking line. Made my way to the gate while searching for a place to snag a breakfast snack and coffee.  Nothing open until 5 or 6 am. Frequent flyers were recognizable by their paper bags and boxes containing piping hot coffee and breakfast foods from outside venues.

Hunted down a scrambled egg/bacon/biscuit sandwich (all fresh stuff, no rubbish) and a great cup of coffee and settled in to wait for boarding - another hour away. The headache was long gone but I remained feverish. Took two more Tylenol on the flight that seemed to help. Linda was waiting and had brought along a sidekick, Debbie (also a host at DL) for company and we had a nice ride back to the beach. They kept asking about details of the trip and I felt bad because there was little to relate. Lots of dead air in between small talk followed.  And that was the week that was.  Quite the exciting time, huh?

Arrived home and began feeling very tired; I'd been up and moving for 11 hours, after all. Unpacked and stored luggage, made a salad (not eaten), had a yogurt, lots of water and began to get chills again. Got into bed to warm up, found the fever was back (at 101.9), tried to read, but fell asleep around 2:30 pm. Woke soaking wet at midnight, changed everything and went back to bed until 5 this morning.  No pain, just weakness.  All things considered, it felt great to sleep in my own bed, surrounded by my own stuff in my own little place. Nice to be home, really.

Called to report to the Oncologist before the office visit tomorrow.  He is in surgery all day, they have my report. He ought to be up to speed in the morning when I see him for another set of labs and consultation.

Got out to do the things I slept through yesterday:  picked up the held mail at the P.O., made a short stop for a few groceries, then back home to make a substantial lunch.  Having eaten mostly grocery-store prepared sandwiches and salads for a week, I was ready for something of my own. Made a pot of tea for iced tea, prepared and ate my sandwich and felt better as I sat down to type this post. 

A few images will be forthcoming of scenes, but none of people, especially not myself. 

Note: The shot above is the courtyard of The Coffee Pot Restaurant as I waited for my friends to arrive. The covered part is in front with the high-walled, open-sky part in the rear.  Great place.

And so it goes. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Someone Is Watching Out For Me.

Spiked a mean fever of 102.3 yesterday afternoon, so I nixed the dinner party. Nothing seemed to bring the temp down. Nausea and dizziness put me back into bed.

I stumbled downstairs beforehand to fill the ice bucket; getting back up to the room without falling, or otherwise hurting myself turned into quite the chore.  But, never mind,  I made it, filled a large cup with ice and water and climbed into bed.

Fast-forward to this morning as phone calls began coming in. Turns out a number of people became ill and had to leave before dining, they had not felt well all day. I was sad to hear that the evening was a fiasco, but glad I wasn't in that mix; getting and giving long overdue hugs and kisses. Who knows what could have happened?  Glad I stayed in my tiny room and slept 9 hours.

Having lunch with the sister & grand kids today. So far temperature is in normal range. Maybe I'll have a bit of good luck today.

More later.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

it's a B. F. D. !

And no, it doesn't mean what you think it does  This has been such a fucking joyous trip, I cannot put it into words.  Well, I could, but I'd probably get booted off Blogger.  It means: Boring. Feverish. Disappointment.  Also tired of looking at the inside of this tiny room. I don't usually care about a small room, it's normally only used for sleeping.  Not this time.

Remember  hurricane Manuel, who wreaked havoc in Mexico the last few days? Now all the leftover rains have been drowning east Texas, and will be stopping off here for another day or two. Torrential rains have already led to flash flooding in town and surrounding parishes.

Ventured out in it this morning hoping to find a single seat to have breakfast. Wherever I went lines of people were already waiting.  The average wait (even for one) was 45 minutes, and knew I couldn't wait that long - especially standing in the rain.  Yes, I had an umbrella, but it was no match for the wind blown rains.

I gave up and went to the market for a sandwich. Hey, at least it knocked out the headache. I arrived at the room wet and cold.  A short bout of chills followed, so shed the clothes and slid under the covers to warm up.

Ate the sandwich and drank copious amounts of water. Took my temperature a half hour later. It was 101.3F,  and I'm not happy.  The ice pack cometh.

If it doesn't drop soon, I won't be attending the dinner this evening. Can't take the chance of getting an infection by being in a huge crowd, in an enormous fine dining restaurant. I've  taken too many chances already this week. It is what it is.

Ain't life grand, huh?

And so it goes.

Friday, September 20, 2013

In The Belly Of Burlesque and Baroque

Since my arrival Tuesday more time has been spent in bed in the room than anywhere else. Sad to say, being plagued by annoying, even low grade fevers does not make for a good time.

I have ventured out at least once daily to peruse a few shops and visit a few old haunts for lunch or dinner.  By far the best roast beef po-boy  (old style -sliced, not shredded- ) goes to the Napoleon House, using the exact recipe for beef and seasoned gravy that I remember from years ago. More on that another time. (can't insert the photo, so if you're a FB friend, check it out there.)

Found a few cool shirts I would like to try on and maybe bring home, but I didn't have the energy then. I'll give it another shot today.  I also must find a hat. Bactrim doesn't like sun, and the sun here, when it's out is unforgiving, and brutal. So far relaxing in a courtyard hasn't been an option, if you get my drift.

Devoured a delicious seafood platter last evening. Shrimp, oysters,  alligator, catfish, hush puppies, homemade Cajun slaw, garlic aioli, and local tartar sauce,  I was three steps closer to heaven.

This morning is a toss up between beignets at  Cafe du Monde, or full Southern breakfast at the best lil'ol dive in the Quarter, Clover Grill.  It's been open 24/7 since before I was born, and a place we used to meet after a night at the bars.  We'll, it IS on Bourbon St., after all. It's one place that has certainly seen everything this town has to offer.

Fever is down to 99.6 this morning and it's time to shower, shave, and try getting this show on the road.

Spoke with the sister yesterday. She no longer has a car, is on a walker, and preparing for another hospitalization. Seeing her may not be an option since she moved to another town east of NOLA. No way to get there by public transportation, so we'll see what happens.

The whole group shindig is set for tomorrow afternoon/evening. Meeting three friends for breakfast at the Coffee Pot in the morning.  Too confusing to explain at present.

Oh, and for whatever reason, I've lost another 2pounds. No idea what that's about.

Please forgive the errors, this post is being composed on the iPad, and it's the first  attempt for this old guy.

And so it goes.
Note:Monsoon rains followed by bright clear skies every day. New Orleans in September.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Heading to the Country of Beignets & Crawfish

Yes, for better or worse I'm heading to the airport for the flight to NOLA. Continue to spike moderate fevers - up to 100.9 F - and activities have been curtailed, but as I said earlier, it's paid for and if an emergency arrises I'll deal with it as I can.

Travel light so less strain on the back and body in general.  Key is to stay away from large groups of people, and crowds.

I am oddly ambivalent about this trip.  Usually I'd be over the top excited about all the possibilities, but not this time.  Maybe it's due to the health related events of the past month, but no rush of enthusiasm to get where I am going.

I foresee lots of rest, especially if I spike a high fever, and fewer to-do's on my gay agenda. Still, I will see friends at least a few times and eat good food when hungry.  Sense of taste has yet to return in full, so there's that disappointment, too.

The good news is I am rested and better than I was a week ago.  The only bad news is that I've lost 3 weeks pay.  It is what it is.

Posting will be light, if at all. Be kind to one another, stay away from Navy Yards,  and don't plan a cruise on the Costa Concordia.

And so it goes.

Monday, September 16, 2013

In the Past 48 Hours...

 I learned that a computer might steal my job - if my health doesn't do me in, first.

I learned that there are hundreds of people still missing in Colorado due to the ongoing rains and flooding. And so it goes.

I learned that butterflies drink the tears of turtles for their salt.

 I learned that a new born baby elephant rejected by its mother (who attempted to kill him) wept for hours until finally bonding with his rescuer and zookeeper.

I learned that owners of fast food restaurants CAN have a heart and do the right thing by offering a $15. hour starting wage. No, not the big guys.

I learned that the tentacles of Monsanto's GM products extends into every major food group and beyond.  In products you thought were safe.

I learned that the US and Russia have reached a deal.  Russia will destroy Syria's Chemical weapons, you know, the ones Russia sold them in the first place.  Nice gig, that.

I learned that the House Republicans is going to vote (yet again!) to repeal Obamacare.  This will be vote #42, btw.  (Why not just let it fail? if they are so sure it will, then reap the benefits of the good old "I Told You So.") In truth, they fear it will succeed and they'll look even more childish than they do wasting taxpayer dollars voting 42 times to repeal the damned thing.

I learned that BIC (pens) has come out with a pen "just for women" available in bright women's colors.  (What the hell does that mean?) I wonder if they include instructions as to just how to use their product and how they might differ from the Men's pens women have had to use all these years.

I learned that someone with way too much time on their hands has taken fictional characters and given them the Myers-Briggs treatment.  These are fictional characters, people! Their personality types come from the author's imagination.  What am I missing here?? Anything???

I learned that there will be an attempt to right the cruise ship Costa Concordia, resting on its side in a tiny Italian harbor since January 2012. Two bodies have yet to be found and the ship's Captain remains in custody awaiting trial for being a coward - being one of the first off the vessel as it capsized. Ah, the Italians. 

I learned how to make ice cream in only a few minutes.

I learned that the Monsanto Protection Act has been extended by the House. And still no labeling required.  Rich get rich and the others consume GM foods, and like it!

I learned there is something called "BaconLube" for sale on the Net. I can imagine two folks have great sex, stopping everything, and getting up to make breakfast.  Distracting, no?

I learned that thanks for Mr. Snowden, the NSA has cornered the market on anti-diarrhea liquids and pills. That old adage "it's an ill bird that fouls its own nest." has the NSA doing that on such a massive scale that the extent of the fouling is just beginning to dawn on the rest of the world.

I learned that a low-life "Emergency Manager in Detroit took it upon himself to cause a citywide power outage.  Yes, he did it intentionally.  He said he did it to "send a message."  What that message might have been, isn't clear at present.

Think I'm bored, huh!  Temp so far is 98.6 F.

And so it goes.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Groundhog Day as Water Tunnel

Just think about that for a second. Surfing through an endless water tunnel day after day and never reaching the end which is always in sight.  Frustrating.

For three days my temperature has fluctuated from 98.9 to 101.0, then yesterday 99.6 to 100.1, and so far today from a low of 97.0 (don't ask) to a high of 100.1 a few hours ago.  See the pattern?  I do, but I can't figure out the trigger causing the flare ups.

Feeling little stronger three days on, not as weak when the fever spikes unless above 102, but still draining and annoying, since I can't pinpoint what could be the cause. The usual routine seems to work for a while;  Icepack, 2 Tylenol, lots of water and stay under the covers til I feel like the fever has run its course.

Calls to the Dr's offices have gone unanswered, not surprisingly being the weekend and all that. Still, there are real live humans staffing those phones and I'd hope someone would get back to me.  So far, no go.

I've spent the feel-good times tracking down the TSA rules and guidelines for air travel and found out I've done everything wrong. I don't know why food stuffs are not allowed in checked baggage. Liquids I can understand. I planned on packing a bag of nuts and a box of Melba Toast.  Not allowed.

I began rearranging things in both the bag to be checked and the carry-on. The plan had been to put all toiletries in the Dopp Kit and put it in the checked bag.  Not allowed in checked bags. No Dopp kits.  Just clear zippered storage bags (I'm surprised they don't specify the acceptable sizes. ) Of course, this makes the carry-on heavier than I'd prefer, but there's nothing to do about it. Besides, I won't have to carry it far in any case.

Yes, if I don't literally fall to pieces within the next 2 days, I am going on this trip.  Everything is already paid for, so unless I find out something terrible about my test results, I am going. And with the doctor's office record of returning phone calls, I don't see that happening. I'm not half as weak (when the fever hits) as I was just three days ago.  So, that's a good thing.


Called the credit card companies giving them a heads-up about the trip, so they don't freak out and call every time I use a card.  I've always done that and the CS reps seem quite grateful when I do.

Made a photocopy of all cards and identification in my wallet.  One copy for me, one for the luggage, and one for the carry-on.

Tomorrow I will get some cash to take along.  It's odd to type that since I hardly ever have cash in my pockets. Using a credit card for everything has great advantages over using my own money. However, I know there will be incidentals, gratuities, and some mom & pop restaurants in New Orleans take only cash (it's how they keep their prices down and I'm all for that.) a little pocket money will be a very good thing.

Linda is taking me to the airport so I don't have to drive, especially if a fever is involved. She returns today from her holiday in Ireland visiting her family. And either she or Eddie will pick me up when I return next week. I have a set of keys to the apartment in case Linda needs to get in for some reason.

The countdown begins...

And so it goes.

Accentuating the Positive.

The Crooner and The Divine One. Thanks to Mr Johnny Mercer:

Terrible video, but the song is great.

More later.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I'm Done!

I've been checking my temperature every 2 hours.  Roller coaster ride from 99.8, to 98,9 then shooting up to 101.4 this afternoon,  so perhaps the antibiotics haven't kicked yet.  Took Tylenol, grabbed an icepack and went to bed. The usual drill. Last time I checked I was down to 99.0 again.

I was hoping  for a good day of rest without discomfort, but that ain't happening.  I'm disappointed, after all these are some powerful drugs and my prescriptions are for one year. Instructions read: "Finish all this medication unless otherwise directed by prescriber." No one from the doctor's office has returned my calls from yesterday, so I'm on my own with nothing new to report. 

My boss called and told me to rest instead of trying to work the weekend. Of course, when I don't work, I don't get paid either. I've now lost about 3-weeks pay, which will be hell to make up at this time of year.  It is what it is. 

You know, I'm really and truly tired of writing about this crap, so if I can't find something interesting to write about I am not going to write anything.  I'm sure people are as bored with this medical gibberish as I am, or more. 

The trip may be canceled if things don't settle soon.  I can't see spending most of the time in bed with an icepack and Tylenol taking the antibiotics twice daily.  That isn't my idea of fun.

So, have a good weekend all, and I'll see you when the ride is over and I am stable (don't say it!) with no more aches, headaches or fevers.

And so it goes.

Need a Vay-Kay Caturday

Yes, I know that feeling very well.

May it all come to pass in a few more days.  Meanwhile, I am thinking healing, happy thoughts and tentatively packing the bag, little by little, as I feel up to the task.

More later.

Hot Stuff Baby, This Evening

Thank You, Donna Summer.

Remember the previous post titled "Every Day in Every Way I'm Getting Better and Better"?  Well, it appears I jumped the shark on that one.  At one time or another I've been spiking low grade fevers every day this week, except of course, when I was in the Dr's office Thursday morning when it was a steady 98.9, believe  it or not.

By the time I headed to bed I had spiked a doozy of 102.4 and felt horrible. It was way too late to call the Dr's office and I was unable to drive, in any case. I just battened down the hatches, got another icepack, took 2 Tylenol and waited to sweat it out.

By Friday morning I felt better though still a little warm and slightly out of sorts. Took a shower, shaved, made a coffee, and had (don't laugh!) Cheerios with banana & blueberries, and headed out.

Made a stop at the post office to drop off a "Hold Mail" order. Mark, the customer service person looked at me funny and asked if I was ok, that I didn't look so good.  Well, how rude.  No, seriously, I've known Mark over 20 years and he wouldn't say such things if he wasn't concerned.

I hit the men's room when I get to work and took a good look at myself.  Dear Christ on a cracker! Eyes were glassy, skin pale and a face so gaunt it could have been someone else.

Went about my duties as kitchen and wait staff arrived. After all was settled and I had a break I realized I was very hot, indeed (and not the way you think, Hrumpf!) I checked my temperature to find it was 101.6 (as you see above - click to embiggen) not good, and I can't figure out why.

During lunch time, I called the Dr's office from the restaurant and explained the situation.  About 15 minutes later His nurse returned the call advising me to go home and stay away from crowds. Found the boss in the office, showed him the thermometer, told him I was going home and if the fever increased, I'd be going to the doctor's office.  I already told the nurse that I would NOT consider the ER unless my temp is 103'  Doctor's assistant warned me to stay home and do not work this weekend.   Two new scripts were called in - one is Bactrim and the other is Zovirax. Bactrim = 2 tabs every 2 days, and Zovirax = twice daily.  Expensive stuff too.  Picked them up on the way home.  I remember Bactrim from the old days when I worked with PWAs, (people with AIDS) so the Dr's afraid of bacterial and viral infections. Oh well, maybe this will be of some help.  If not, I hope someone can drive me to the hospital, if that's the only option. 

Note: I've been corrected in my usage of "low grade fever" and I humbly apologize for the error.  A low grade fever is one between 99' F and 100.4' F.  Higher fevers are called "Pyrexia" and can be 100.5 F to 105.8 F.  I hope I never get to that stage.

Funny thing, I still have an appetite and prepped some soup and a few chicken wings, not spicy ones.  I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid. A salad wedge added the crunch.  Even though I didn't eat it all, I put it in the fridge for later.

I love living independently. but at times like this it would be nice if someone was nearby to offer assistance. 

Don't know what's going to happen about the trip. I can't see enjoying myself while carrying around a fever even a low grade one.  Take one day at a time.  Right? Well, in this case I am taking it hour by hour.

Took 2 more Tylenol and am about to take a luke warm shower before getting into bed

We'll see. 

And so it goes.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Urine Study Reveals Over 3,000 Compounds

With all the poking, prodding,  blood-letting, and oceans of urine taken from me in the past 2 weeks, I
found this article interesting. I mean, who'd thunk it?

And yes, I really, really and truly need a holiday.

Looking for an encyclopedia of pee? Scientists have laid out the entire chemical composition of human urine, revealing that more than 3,000 compounds are found in the fluid, and have published it all in an online database.
In the study, which took seven years to complete, the researchers found that at least 3,079 compounds can be detected in urine. Seventy-two of these compounds are made by bacteria, while 1,453 come from the body itself. Another 2,282 come from diet, drugs, cosmetics or environmental exposure (some compounds belong to more than one group).
"Urine is an incredibly complex biofluid. We had no idea there could be so many different compounds going into our toilets," said study researcher David Wishart, professor of biology and computing science at the University of Alberta. [Pee Rainbow: From Red to Indigo, What Urine Colors Mean]
The complete list of all metabolites that can be detected in human urine using current technologies has been placed into an online public database called the Urine Metabolome Database.The word metabolome refers to the complete collection of metabolites, which are the products of metabolism and include hormones, vitamins and other molecules.
A favorite among fluids"Urine has long been a 'favored' biofluid among metabolomics researchers," because it is sterile and can be obtained easily in large volumes, the scientists wrote in their study published Wednesday (Sept. 4) in the journal PLOS ONE.
However, the chemical complexity of urine has made it a difficult substance to fully understand, the researchers said. As a biological waste material, urine typically contains metabolic breakdown products from a wide range of foods, drinks, drugs, environmental contaminants, waste metabolites of the body and bacterial by-products.
Compared to other body fluids such as saliva or cerebrospinal fluid, urine contains about five to 10 times more compounds, and shows a larger chemical diversity, the researchers found. The compounds found in human urine fall into 230 different chemical classes.
"Given that there are only 356 chemical classes in the entire human metabolome, this certainly demonstrates the enormous chemical diversity found in urine," the researchers said.
The researchers also found that more than 480 compounds in urine were not previously reported to be in blood, contrary to the long-standing idea that the collection of chemicals in urine is a subset of compounds found in the blood.
Be sure to click on the link above [Pee Rainbow] for another fascinating glimpse into the world of Urine.  The rest of this story (with more links) is HERE

More later, if I'm able.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fever All Through The Night.

Thank you, Peggy Lee.

Before hitting the sack this morning (I swear it's been at least a dozen years since I've seen a clock strike 12:00 am, unless I was rudely awakened for some reason) I loaded up with an icepack, took a couple of Tylenol, and 2 Flexeril, the muscle relaxant. The fever was in full swing at 100.3 which may not sound like much but when your immune system has been ravaged it's a significant number. The throbbing head and watery eyes were the first to let up, but the fever lasted until around 4 am when I woke and realized I was swimming in bed.

Off came the linens and mattress cover and though I was weak and wobbly, changed everything before getting back under the covers.  It felt great to be pain and fever free and I quickly fell fast asleep again to wake up feeling refreshed at around 10:30 am. Glad I had the day off.

After breakfast, I went downstairs and ran 3 loads of bed linens, not because I felt that great, but this is my last day off before I leave for New Orleans and I wasn't going to leave that damp stuff lying around the apartment.  

Oddly enough, the 6 trips up and down the stairs didn't become a problem. Maybe because there was an hour between each trip, but I didn't get winded or sweaty - and it is very steamy here today. Last I checked it was 93' F!  So the  laundry's all done, folded and put away.  I just hope I don't have to change the bed again.

Note: I should never have allowed Jeeves to take September off.  Just when I need him most. Ah, he's probably basking in the sun and sipping cocktails on Cabo.  

Received a call from the Oncologist's office asking for a status update, I told all.  She wrote it all down, including the time of day, any activities, and duration of each incident. She then stressed the importance of bringing along all medications, supplements and OC stuff I take daily. Should be fun.  Not!

I'm indulging myself with a small steak, baked potato (half) and brussel sprouts for supper this afternoon/evening. That'll be more than I usually put down anymore. And, I may even indulge further with a glass of wine. It's been over 2 weeks so I'll probably be quite ready for bed shortly thereafter. 

I've been reading a book on the history of Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses as well as a mini-guide to the iPod - I still don't know how to get the most out of it.  However, I doubt the Kindle will be open again today. 

Ron, the dear, over at Retired in Delaware has published a post about our current medical soap operas, which you may want to check out for yourself. I get too dizzy trying to follow along. He also sent via email, a number of pictures from our Kalmar Nyckel voyage of discovery and as I downloaded and viewed them I could not believe the weight I'd lost even as of 8/20. My jeans look like I'm wearing gunny sacks. I can't believe Them pitchers ain't pretty, so I ain't posting them - at least for now.

At this moment there is nothing more to share, except my love for you guys for your continuing words of support during this bizarre time in my life. Thank you all for the visits, comments, and well wishes.

And so it goes.

Of Telephones, Tylenol, and Travel

Hit with another fever this evening. Don't know what caused it, I've been pretty careful. had only two errands to run this morning that required no lifting, or carrying anything heavier than a few oranges, a bottle of Mexican Coke (with real sugar), and a head of cabbage. 

Still felt weak as I ran the errands but everything else seemed OK. Then about an hour ago, the eyes began to burn and tear and the head began to pound. So, the ice bag cometh, as did the painkiller and Tylenol.  An hour later I began to sweat and knew the fever was breaking. I was soaked, experiencing chills (yes, again) so changed everything once again and crawled under the covers until the chills subsided. I can see another 2 loads of bed linens in my future tomorrow.  feel a little better now. 

The only other item I carried was a new cordless phone system for the land line.  The previous one died of a power surge during hurricane Sandy.  I had just purchased that one, and Staple's was generous enough to take it back and give me another one - a similar model with digital answering capabilities.  

That one bought the farm last week while I was in the middle of a conversation with the dr.'s office. I plugged in the "wired" phone for the time being and let it go until I felt better.  I bought one today though there are no longer units with the answering devices for under $100, and I'm not about to spend that on a cordless phone regardless of the bells and whistles (which I would never use, or learn to use anyway), so I went with another V-Tech (image above left) with 2 handsets, which being on sale, cost less than a similar unit with only 1 handset that wasn't on sale. Are you following all this? I'm not sure I am.

Just as I was prepping a light supper the phone rang (another nice segue, no?), it was the guest rep from the Inn on St. Peter in NOLA touching base to make sure everything was still a go and if there were any special items I might need for the stay.  Needless to say I was thrilled by the call and the open friendliness of this total stranger.  Then I thought, 'it  IS a New Orleans hotel, after all, and we are known world-wide for our generosity and hospitality.  So, why was I surprised?  Well, it's been a long time since I've experienced New Orleans grace and charm.

She confirmed all reservation details and made a note give a heads-up to the shuttle driver regarding my very early departure time on the 24th. The flight departs at 6:40 am. 

Can't believe the trip is only 1 week away. Hard to believe, really.

I know I should not be up and about at this hour.  Couldn't sleep earlier. All of a sudden I feel out of sorts,  chills coming on again, as is the headache. I don't know what I did to bring this on. I drank one iced tea and half the Mediterranean's water supply all day. Got to nip this in the bud. Oh well, back to bed.  I hope tomorrow is better.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

1100 Diagnosed with WTC-Related Cancer. Why, Thank You and FUCK YOU!!!

I'd like to say a few words here, if you don't mind.  FUCK YOU, RUDOLPH GIULIANI (Mayor of 9/11),  FUCK YOU CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN (Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (from 2001 to 2003 in THE CABINET OF GEORGE W. BUSH.) Well, aren't we totally fucking surprised?  Not. 
And a gigantic FUCK YOU TO GEORGE W. BUSH (initiating the coverup in the first place. "No toxins in the air!"  Indeed.  They should die in a fire.  Now this from Yahoo News:

More than 1,000 people who have lived or worked near ground zero, including first responders, have been diagnosed with a cancer related to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, health officials say.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1,140 people have been certified with a WTC-related cancer. And that number is expected to grow, the Daily News reports.
"There are more cases out there, because we just know of the people in our government-funded medical programs, not those who have been treated by their private doctors,”  Dr. Jim Melius, chairman of the WTC Responder Medical Program, told the newspaper. “Because of the carcinogens in the air at ground zero, people who were exposed are vulnerable. And with cancer, there is a delay.”
Tina Engel, an oncology nurse at North Shore Hospital’s WTC clinic in Queens, told the paper she identified 12 new cases in the last two months and has another 25 patients whose diagnostic test results are pending.
“The good news is that with new federal funding, I get what I need when I need it for our patients," Engel said. "Their biopsies and scans are turned around in a week. Cancer trumps everything.”
As many as 65,000 people, including first responders, became sick from 9/11 exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A Mount Sinai Medical Center study cited by the Daily News found a 15 percent higher cancer rate among first responders than among people who were not exposed to the toxic air.
Marty Cervellion, a 63-year-old city engineer who spent more than two months at ground zero following the attacks, developed gastroesophageal cancer in 2011.
“It was always in the back of everyone’s mind we were in jeopardy given the contamination down there, but the entire world was calling on you," he told the Daily News. "It felt so good to serve, there was no wanting to escape."
Anyone with half a brain (George W. Bush excluded) knew there was no way the air was free of toxic chemicals at the site.  It was only a matter of time before the truth would surface.  Not that the three above care much. Only the Mayor of 9/11 may show his face, but I doubt it. The other two are far away from the spotlight.  And that's as it should be.  Wonder if the media will pick up on this and hunt them down.  Especially Whitman who emphatically denied the rumors of toxins at the site or anywhere in the area.  They ought to be in prison.

And so it goes.

Every Day in Every Way, Im Getting Better and Better

The pre-school reopened yesterday (bless their little hearts!) as the young working parents made a lot of noise to impress the little darlings in a futile attempt to convince them their first day would be like a day at Disney World.  The kids weren't buying any of it. These folks arrived in BMWs, Mercedes, Audi's, Volvo's (all SUVs or wagons, mind you) and now I understand why both parents need to work.  Of course, since these families belong to the church that sponsors the school, they pay no tuition.  Nothing! It was through this maelstrom; double-parked vehicles and screeching tots that I had to zig-zag to continue my walk. 

That said, the walk yesterday morning was a hell of a lot easier than the walk home the night before. Another crisp and clear Autumn morning and as my gait remained a bit slow, I wasn't out of breath when I got to work. 

The guy I'm training to cover while I'm away was waiting for me.  He has a key and so I allowed him to show me what he remembered about getting the place open. He did very well - only missed a couple of things, one of them really important.  So I made a point of insisting he come back and do it again for me on Thursday.

That will work out well, (a nice segue, huh!) since I see the Oncologist at 7:45 am that morning and there's a possibility I will need to be transfused again.  Each unit of blood takes about 1.5 hours to be absorbed, (download?) so if I need 2 units that's 3 hours and I will make it in time to open the doors.  Yes, cutting it close, but I warned the locos guys that I would let them know if the transfusion was going to happen.

Treated myself to a Angus burger (not on the staff menu) plain, with a little mustard and A-1 sauce. Sense of taste has yet to return in full, but it went down well and I felt better afterwards, though shaky.

I was on the wobbly/weak side all day, began to feel feverish and headachy around 3 pm, but made it to the end of my shift. The walk home was not pleasant with the head throbbing, eyes burning, I walked as slow and gingerly as I could.  The really hard part was climbing the stairs to the apartment.  But, I dood'it.  I did the icepack thingy again which seemed to help. 

I am off today and tomorrow with only 2 errands that must be run. I should be back by lunch time. Other than that, I am staying home and resting. I don't feel like cooking - nothing sounds appetizing without a sense of taste - so I'll just choose something simple to prepare for supper tonight.

Summer has returned for an encore performance this week with temps (and humidity) steadily rising into the 90s by Friday. Doesn't matter, my focus is on getting better before next Tuesday at 10 am.  Just get that bird into the sky and bring her down safely in crawfish country, that's all I ask.

And so it goes.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Van Gogh Found and Unveiled

Came upon this as I perused the Grey Lady this evening. I love stories like this one and I also love the painting.
AMSTERDAM — For roughly a century, the painting “Sunset at Montmajour” was considered a fake. It was stored in an attic and then held in a private collection, unknown to the public and dismissed by art historians. But on Monday, the Van Gogh Museumdeclared the work a genuine product of the master, calling it a major discovery.
“Sunset at Montmajour,” painted in Arles in 1888, “is a work from the most important period of his life, when he created his substantial masterpieces, like ‘Sunflowers,’ ‘The Yellow House’ and ‘The Bedroom,’ ” said the museum’s director, Axel RĂ¼ger, in an interview. The painting depicts dusk in the hilly, forested landscape of Montmajour, in Provence, with wheat fields and the ruins of a Benedictine abbey in the distance.
 The area around Montmajour was a subject that van Gogh revisited often during his time in Arles. “One or two early van Goghs do sometimes come out of the woodwork now and again, but from the mature period, it’s very rare,” said James Roundell, an art dealer and the director of modern pictures for the Dickinson galleries in London and New York, which deals in Impressionist and modern art.
Mr. Roundell said it would be hard to predict precisely how much “Sunset at Montmajour” would fetch on the market, but expected it would be “in the tens of millions and quite a few of them.” He added, “It’s not the iconic status of something like the ‘Sunflowers,’ or the ‘Portrait of Dr. Gachet,’ ” which sold at auction for $82.5 million in 1990.
Read the rest HERE.

And so it goes.

Not There Yet - Random Thoughts

The day started out OK, shared a little Face-time with Ron before heading out.  The walk went well, albeit slow due to the continued weakness in my legs. I made it. It was a great beach day, so we weren't busy.  Fine with me. I did OK for most of the day, though I fatigue came upon me around 2:30 pm and a low grade fever hit me an hour later, so I was sent home.  The boss was happily surprised that I lasted almost the entire day. 

Took the walk home really slow as my eyes began to water and burn.  By the time I arrived at the apartment the eyes were on fire. Threw some ice in a zip bag, wrapped it in a towel, placed it over my eyes and relaxed (as much as possible) in bed. Half hour later the burning was gone, but the fever lingered. I took a couple of Tylenol and went back to bed.

Finally got out of bed to have a bite to eat at 6 PM, turned on the living room lights and took a look around the apartment for the first time in weeks.  No, really. Sick and struggling to keep awake and vertical takes all one's energy and I've had no time, or reason, to look around.

Found the Travel Pro lying on the sofa with main compartment gaping wide open ready to receive holiday attire. Shirts and slacks ironed, hung and ready for packing, the shorts and ultra-light cargo pants/shorts will go in before the others. Socks and undergarments are already packed and the Dopp Kit and daypack will go in just before the shirts and slacks. 

A small group of old NOLA friends have planned an evening of fine, elegant dining on my last night, but unless someone has a sport jacket to fit me, I won't be attending. Or, they'll chose another venue. I don't mind dressing up, but even Galatoire's doesn't require jackets unless you want to be seated on the main floor. If there is no one close to my body type, I might suggest "Remoulade" a semi-casual restaurant owned and operated by Arnaud's, which has a great menu and extensive oyster bar.  We shall see.

Meanwhile, I slept OK, except for massive sweats overnight when the fever finally broke. Changed bed linens and tee-shirts and went back to bed. Feel a little stronger this morning so , not to overdo it, I've had a coffee, breakfast and will have a yogurt before leaving for work.

Taking stock of camera accessories for the trip, I realized that the Canon DSLR (gifted to me) didn't arrive with an extra battery or the AC wall charger. So I went shopping on Amazon just now and found what I needed at half the price listed at the Canon site.  The best part is that there are no wires, the battery slides into the charger which then plugs directly into the wall outlet. Small and compact.  

While on the subject (and on the hunt anyway) I remembered the excursion on the Kalmar Nyckel revealed the limitations posed by the original lens (18 to 55 mm) I searched for a better, more extensive zoom lens. Many were either too heavy and bulky, or way beyond anything I would spend.  Years ago I used to lug around  a huge camera bag stuffed with various lenses for all kinds of situations.  I am no longer so inclined; needs have changed. Found the exact lens I was looking for(again, at Amazon) in a Tamron 18 to 200 mm lens with a $20.00 rebate.  Same wide angle as the original lens, but with a zoom range to 200 mm which is comfortable and still hand-holdable in most cases. It's compact design looks comfortable since it is around the same size as the original lens, with only a slightly larger (about 4 mm) barrel diameter.  The many reviews rated the lens at a 4 or 5 out of 5, and offered other information that novice users of DSLRs can share.  Yes, I ordered both of the above.  They will be delivered tomorrow. (I love Amazon Prime.)  

The restaurant is closed for Lunch Tuesday and Wednesday, now that the season is over. At this time that is very good news to me,  I get 2 days of rest.

Still no word from the sister.  I tried calling her again, but no answer. Maybe she's decided she'd rather not get together after all. Wouldn't surprise me in the least.  No more letters, but I try to get her by phone throughout the week. 

Time to take this act on the road. I'll be training someone to handle my duties while I'm away. This guy should have no problem with the basics. 

Hope today ends better than yesterday

And so it goes.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

This Isn't That Hard

And they are pet peeves of mine.  I cringe especially when the wrong word is used in a sentence by a teacher or professional of any kind.  It really isn't that hard, people.  Just laziness, I guess.

And so it goes.

Photos From Hell and Back.

Wanted to post these so I could delete them forever from the hard drive and camera.  I have enough to remind me of last weekend's four-day excursion through and ultimately out of oblivion.

I arrived Friday morning in very bad shape. Two days of intense testing, medications, transfusions and great care helped me make it through. Sunday was the first chance to get the camera in hand. It was the worst day on the healing side of the 4-day process. The surprise high fever (of 102.4) was a setback, but ultimately a good thing, even if it meant staying another night.

The first time I was up and able to move about on my own without holding on to something. Yes, that is the "magic fingers" bed mentioned in earlier posts.

The beautiful flower basket had the nursing staff oohing.  The were from the guys at Dos Locos, of course.  Yes, those are carnations, one of my faves, and they actually had their own real scent. Everyone stuck their noses in for a good whiff, too.

Just a few vials of someone else's blood coursing through my veins. These samples were taken after the 5 transfusions and I was still not feeling well. 

Monday was a better, if confusing day. I was stronger and felt better, the BP had almost stabilized, and there were rumors that I would be going home by afternoon.  Note the "possible discharge" and the drug script at the bottom.  Yes, they were still on the lookout for occult blood at this late stage.  Talk about ultra-careful!

Yes, this was the view from my window.  That's Delaware Bay behind the city of Lewes, and the Atlantic beyond.  Unfortunately, the bed was on the other side of the room, so I didn't get to enjoy this view until I was up and moving on my own - on my last day.  

I have to say that this last visit gave me a whole new opinion about this hospital.  My previous stay seven years ago was anything but pleasant, comfortable, or handled professionally. The nurses and technicians have always been top-notch, but the support personnel and many of the physicians were very uncooperative and stubborn.  Today, I would have no qualms about recommending the Beebe Medical Center to anyone.

Well, that's over.  Now I wait for the results of the bone marrow biopsy, but after my return from New Orleans.

More later.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Back Pain, Planning Ahead, & Caring Friends

Awoke unusually early today (4:15 am) with extreme back pain. I did my Quasimodo slide to the pain killers, swallowed one and slid back into bed. Took an hour for the pain to subside, though it's still making its presence known with any movement, it is bearable.

Brewed a coffee and cranked up the laptop to check email.  As usual,  tossing around the idea of investing in the Mac Mini.  The confining nature of the laptop keyboard is hard on my hands and I am just tired of the smaller screen, crappy speakers and everything else.  The great advantage of the Mac Mini is that the tiny CPU is the only necessary purchase. My wireless keyboard & mouse and monitor are compatible. I will think about the purchase while on holiday, ask a few friends (Mac folks, all) their opinions and make a decision when I get back. 

While having breakfast the phone rang.  It was another call from the Oncologist's office checking on my status. She asked about my appetite and offered that the first of the biopsy results will be in when I visit the doctor next Thursday, but the bulk will be another 2 weeks.  Probably the week after I return from New Orleans; around the 26th.

Received a phone call from Sasha asking if I needed anything, saying he could drop off before going to the restaurant this afternoon.  Assured him that all was well. Then a text message arrived from Linda (our GM) in Ireland visiting family, asking how I was doing and promising to bring home some Irish Sausages and a bottle of "Paddy's" Irish Whiskey. She said, she'll be in touch in a couple of days.  Very thoughtful, indeed. I am a very popular fellow today. 

Picked up a few Cara-Cara Oranges and Fresh Bananas that were on sale, filled up the car and took a drive down Coastal Highway hoping to get some pictures of wind surfers and small sailboats on the bay.  I  was deterred by the greed of the state park service who are still charging a fee to visit the bay AFTER Labor Day.  Unheard of until this year.  No matter where I pulled in to get a nice view there was the old man in his booth counting his money and hungry for more. After driving south for about 8 miles I realized it was useless to keep going, so I turned around and came back to town.

Stopped at the Post Office to pick up Passport Renewal forms (mine expires in October) and a Hold Mail Request for while I'm in NOLA.  Not that I receive tons of important mail, but the box here is rather small - about 12" long and 7" high - and pretty useless when it rains.  But, never mind.

It is a beautiful Autumn day here. Thought about taking a walk around town this afternoon, but with the back pain I am not sure that would be a good idea. Especially since my first day back to work is tomorrow; I don't want to do anything that might screw that up. 

And so it goes.

Family Visit Caturday

Yeah, we've all had one in our lives, haven't we?

More later.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Bone Marrow Biopsy: An Interesting Learning Experience.

The mounds of paperwork, medical mishugas, tests,; it was overwhelming and took longer than it ought to have, because of the damned legalese documents one must sign or initial before treatment will resume.  Some of the questions are silly and archaic;  "Do you have or have you ever had:  Diarrhea?  I mean, is there anyone on the planet who hasn't at least once in their life had that experience?  And they don't ask, when or why.  Just silly, because one has to provide explanations for these answers at the next office visit. Just another waste of time.

Glad I arrived early to get most of that out of the way.  Kim, the doctor's nurse/assistant was called and I was ushered into the comfortable examination/procedure room. She took my BP twice (once from each arm) then explained what was going to happen, what to expect. I asked questions (yes, you know me!) and received direct answers from Kim and, when he arrived, the doctor.  They wanted to put me at ease, keep me calm and comfortable, and assured that there would be no pain, only pressure.  Well, finally my upper pelvis was sanitized and prepped, the area marked and the Lidocaine injections begun.  They sent me to the roof, more than a pinch, I'd say.  Following the numbness Kim and I chatted about local eateries as the doctor made the small incision and the biopsy went off without a hitch. The rest is history.

NOTE: I am sure the image above (the tools of the trade) is horrifying to some, but let me assure you that not all instruments are used in every procedure. They offer a variety of options to the doctor so he can perform the task as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Anyway, Doctor told me I have very strong bones.  A good omen? As mentioned, pain only from the first Lidocaine injections, the last three I felt nothing. Since I've lost so much weight the bone of choice was very near the skin surface so the dr. had no trouble choosing his entry point and doing his thing. Yes, there is a little pressure as he probed and removed the marrow, but no discomfort. He retrieved enough for the slides and vials he needed, sterilized the area again, and used his hand to put pressure on the incision point to stop any bleeding.  Ultimately there was none.

Since I had him captive anyway, I asked about the NOLA trip and told him I planned to go, eat, and drink (at least a little) for 7 days and asked if he would do another BC before the trip.  He smiled and said he was glad to hear I was going away - to eat plenty of good food and get rest.  He suggested that he do a BC blood workup on my next visit on 9/12 and if it proved lower than it ought to be, he would supply the needed blood units to bring it back up to hold me for the week. I felt calm and reassured by his words.

Aside from the crowded airplane, he warned against large crowds with my compromised immune system, which could still cause problems if not careful.  Fever and infection are the worst fears he expressed, especially since there are still few hospitals functioning at full capacity in New Orleans. Two of the biggest and best are uptown and would be my best bets in case of emergency. I will learn more from my friends when I arrive.

When I left his office I felt a relief and calm pretty foreign to me. On the way home I realized I was starving and decided to stop for a small sub sandwich at Cassapullo's deli.  Now, even their "baby" sub - though only 6" long - is stuffed so full of meat, cheese, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles that the thing weighs about a pound when all is said and done.  I figured I'd never eat the whole sandwich but wanted to splurge.

After filing away all the biopsy paperwork along with that of last weekend's hospital stay, I sat down with the monster sandwich, tall iced tea and as Eva Cassidy sang in the background I began to munch and savor the sandwich.  Sense of taste hasn't totally returned but it was enough to give me the thrill I was seeking.  In the end  the whole sandwich was gone I and didn't feel stuffed, only pleasantly satisfied. 

Got out of the street drag and into bed to read for a while, waiting for the Lidocaine to wear off and determine how much soreness I would have to endure for the next 48 hours.  Nothing happened. No pain or soreness was forthcoming.  No stiffness in the back or hip. Surprised and shocked, but a very happy camper to be sure. There isn't even any sensitivity  at the point of entry.  Amazing, really.

I'll take the blessings where ever they come from. This morning I got a call from the doctor's office checking in to find out how I was feeling and if there were any negative effects from the procedure. She was very happy when I told her there were none. 

OK, as an aside: It's that time again.  I have to go out tomorrow and fill up the car - for the first time since May. With the accumulated gas points I will save .50 cents per gallon while enjoying an early morning drive out to the bay and stop for a few photos on the way.

Looking forward (with some trepidation) to returning to the restaurant on Sunday. A good test to determine how far I have improved and healed. 

And so it goes.

To The Rich Old White Men Ready to Attack Yet Another Country..

Support another new war?

If so, then your privileged children and grandchildren should be forced to serve in it!

PS:  John Kerry, you ought to hang your head in shame. You lie and grandpa walnuts shows he cares by playing fake poker during vital hearings.  Or is it already a done deal?

More later.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bone Marrow Biopsy at 11:30 am Today!

The bone marrow biopsy appointment is set for today at 11:30 am. (They moved it up due to frantic rescheduling, which is fine by me.)  I'm ready to get it over with and get prepared for work
on Sunday.

I've been asked if I am afraid, or scared.  Well, of what? Any pain or soreness?  After last weekend I don't think that's an issue. Of the possible diagnosis of cancer? I've admitted the possibility, but No.  I haven't allowed myself to drift that far down stream. Presently, I want to maintain the stability I am enjoying and keep the healing process going.

I've become acutely aware of my body's responses to every day activities. So far, I've noted little change in the energy level, an increase in appetite, a low tolerance for sodium in any form. (That may be due to the new blood or the antibiotics in my system.) I seem to have more strength in my arms, but not legs. 

Now for a quick shower, then off to the Dr's office. 

Wish me luck.

More later.

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