Sunday, March 30, 2014

TMI: LET ME SEE YOUR TRUE COLORS


1. What is your favorite color?
Royal Purple. Not violet.

2. What color are your eyes?
Dark Brown

3. What color is your hair?
None.

4. What color is your bedroom?
Cream, off-white

5. Which color do you look best in?
Don’t know.  I’ve been told it’s Blue

6. Is there a color you never wear?
No.  My mood chooses the colour for the day or occasion.

7. How did you pick the color of your car?
I didn’t. It was purchased used.  Dark Blue.

8. Are your eyes ever green with envy?
Many years ago when I was young and stupid.

9. Do you have a signature color?
Purple (see #1)

10. How much do you love Cyndi Lauper!
Lots.  She is under rated.  She gets better with age and experience. That voice is simply outrageous.  She’s a true gift.

BONUS
Gray hair is sexy here_______, there_________ but never ________.
here: when clean, 
There: well groomed, 
But never: dirty. 

And so it goes.
*

Saturday, March 29, 2014

An Unexpected Day.

Don’t remember falling asleep last night. I know I didn’t have supper.  Wasn’t hungry, just very tired after the long day.

Woke up at 1:30 AM to find the night stand lamp still on. Most unusual. I’ve
always had a hard time sleeping with lights on. Probably one reason I’ve never been able to nap all these years. Obviously, that wasn’t the case last night.

Got up for a glass of fresh, cold water and noticed how very light my body felt. Not light-headed, but light as in the opposite of heavy or sluggish.  ‘The new blood’, I thought as I crawled back into bed, turned onto my side and went back to sleep. 

The timer went off at 4 AM for the days first meds and I was bright-eyed, happy, and ready for the new day. Brushed my teeth and thought of a big breakfast.  Just what I wanted - after one very large coffee. 

As the coffee brewed I drew my card of the day - which turned out to be “The Fool” and had a new understanding of what was going on. Something was shifting - inside and out - and I felt, well, free of care, and being in the present. An odd and rare sensation.

A text arrived from sidekick Debbie asking if I’d like to visit an Amish farm market store in a small town about 30 miles away. There are a few things she wants to order to have on hand for Easter weekend.

Sure, I’m game. There are a few Amish delicacies that I wouldn’t mind enjoying myself.  I reminded her that rain storms were due to increase throughout the day and her response was that it made no difference - at least it wasn’t snow! - and that the shoppers at the market would be fewer making for a more relaxed, Saturday shopping experience. She would call to set up a pickup time after walking the dog on the beach.  Her beautiful dog loves the beach, especially in the rain.  Go fig.

Coffee and breakfast were history, cleaned up the stove and washed pans and dishes. About to take a shower when another text came through.  This one from Frankie, a co-worker at DL who keeps in touch via text now and then, telling me that he’s going to walk to work today in “shorts and flip flops because it’s a warm and very wet day.”  He also noted that the forecast for his upcoming 2 days off calls for sunny skies, and temps in the 70s.  Days like that mean that you will most likely find Frankie on the beach.  Hands down.  

I laughed and replied that he should enjoy the stroll in the rain, but not spend too much time staring up at the sky or he may drown. He responded with a big text HUG!

Following a shower and after making the bed, another text from Deb arrived with a pickup time.  Have never been to this small town, and it’s been 10 years, or more, since I’ve visited a real Amish Market.  We’re both excited.

Not sure if the market vendors accept credit cards, I made a quick dash to the ATM for a bit of Fast Cash, JIC. It’s rainy and foggy but a perfect spring day. Fresh air and mild temperatures.  I know now why Frankie sent that text.  He wasn’t kidding. It is a delightfully perfect wet day.

Miss Deb is on her way.  I’ve got a large empty backpack, I’m ready to roll.  

Nice drive and the sprawling market wasn’t hard to find. The rain storms had not increased as predicted (well, am I surprised!) but there was ample parking -  and walking in, the place smelled like heaven. So many “like home” smells that one didn’t know where to turn first. Great fun!

Fresh sausages and other meats; hams and sausages slow baking in ovens making mouths water.  (I love ham, but no longer enjoy it since I don’t handle huge amounts of salt anymore.) Fresh goose, duck, chicken, pork, venison, and even rabbit.  Domestic or wild; whole or cut up. 

And all those cheeses. O.M.G!!! Most, if not all, family made and fresh, fresh, fresh!! I had to keep reminding myself that I am only one person anymore and if I purchased too much it would eventually be thrown away.  One person cannot eat that much of the fabulous in a short time.  That is just the truth. 

So, orders were placed for hams and other meats to be available for pickup the week prior to Easter. I placed an order for 2 wild rabbits (portion cut) for the same time, as well as some knock-yer-socks-off Cinnamon buns to share with the cancer center staff at Easter.

I purchased a chunk of Souse (or Hog’s Head Cheese, as we call it in the south), the last chunk they had, and ordered another full pound for the Easter pickup. Stop with the gagging.  I love the stuff.  It beats chips and other fattening junk when you need a quick fix.

A family was holding court with a sort of indoor yard sale near the entrance to help defray the medical expenses of a young woman afflicted with a rare bone marrow disease.  Well, how could I NOT buy something there??? Debbie found a few homemade, decorated planters and an old herb-hanger. I found a couple of very sharp paring knives and an old 3 cup Bodum French Press coffee maker.  I had these in various sizes in my previous life and it struck me that now would be a good time to have another one. I brew one large cup daily and the Bodum press ritual makes a strong, rich cup of coffee, just as you like it. Note: In Bodum terms a cup is measured as a 4 oz. job, ready for hot milk and some kind of sweetener. None of this pre-measured, k-cup bullshit rubbish. The Bodum, looking as good as new, has been washed, dried, and is on my gay agenda for tomorrow morning, if there was any doubt.

Backpack stuffed with our goodies, we stopped for a sausage and sauerkraut sandwich and a hot, soft pretzel before heading to the car.  The storms still had not materialized, the air was warmer and the fog was thicker.  The drive back to the beach was quiet and relaxed with few other cars on the back roads. 

We sorted out the backpack treasures when we arrived at my place and I was made to circle the pickup date for our next trip on my kitchen wall calendar.  As if either of us would forget to make that trip.  I don’t think so. 

Snug and pretty much all in, changed into sweats and tee-shirt, prepping wings with an artichoke salad for supper (yes, finger food) and enjoying the afterglow of the day. 

I am ready for a glass of wine leftover from yesterday as I catch up on my blog reading.

BTW: 

I love the new desk, although there are minor setbacks. The old chair from my “previous life” is too low for the desk and it’s height is no longer adjustable. Also, I now need an old fashioned mousepad. The desk surface is clear glass and causes problems with the optical mouse. Everything old is new again. 

And the new Inkkas shoes will make their first public appearance tomorrow
when they adorn my happy feet at Dos Locos in the afternoon.  Just to note, these are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn that were not specifically made for my ugly,  deformed, dancer’s feet.  As all INKKAS shoes are handmade, it still amazes me that they could be this comfy without the individual measuring and fitting, but they do fit very well, indeed. A smart purchase with more on the way.  There was a 20% off coupon enclosed with the new shoes.  They know a good thing, don’t they? I do, too.

To the Universe: A humble request:  More days like this one, please.  It would make me happy and I’d be most grateful for the adventures.

And so it goes.

*

Caturday Walk on The Wild Side


Can't be too careful.

And so it goes.
*

Friday, March 28, 2014

Come Together...Right now…Over me.

Good day all round. A fat, viable vein was located quickly this morning, so the transfusion time went smoothly.  No problems with any of my vitals.  All good.

Linda called early and asked if the desk assembly could happen ASAP.  Why Yes, of course.  Well, Miss Linda done brang her own power tools (I had my own at ready - Lesbian in training, you know) and took herself some time to study them Chinese instructions for putting together the glass and metal monster. 

Then all Hell broke loose. Razor knife flashing, foam packaging flying, and plastic bags containing various and sundry parts bouncing around between two rooms. Not one, but two! Where ever the light was better. Parts were separated into groups for each section (they were well labeled - glad I checked all those reviews before ordering this desk) and the attack began.

My Job: assist by holding various parts in place as she drilled or screwed; opened parts packages containing the smallest bolt and nut combos either of us had ever seen (God bless China!); I was in charge of the corkscrew and wine, and made sure the Cabernet was at a proper flow rate;  took great care to make sure Linda’s wine glass was never half empty. 

In one and a half hours, the new desk took shape, and was in its new place. I was thrilled.  Linda liked it too. It does keep the area light and airy. Glass and metal.  Yes, a bitch to keep clean, but I’ll take the trade-off of light over dark.

I helped take the beaucoup packing materials to her car (she will take them to the dump, bless her!) then we came upstairs to finish off the Cabernet. A good one neither of us had experienced before, suggested by the wine merchant at the store. 

After a quick hug she took off to run other errands, (this is her day off, by the way) I busied myself with glass cleaner and paper towels (there are 4 large glass surfaces) before placing peripherals on the shelves.  

I began to tire and about ready to hang up the cleaning supplies when I heard footsteps on the stairs and a *clunk* as a package was delivered outside the door.

Brought in the package, opened it, and found these. An order placed weeks ago and delivered at just the right time. Oh yes.  I need this boost. They will be worn to the restaurant this weekend, for sure. They fit well and are extremely comfortable. I initially thought they may be too outrageous, but with black jeans and solid colour shirt, they are just fine.  I love them.

New blood, a new desk, new Inkkas.  Happy surprises. My day is ending on a happy, high note. These don’t happen too often anymore. 

I am more than ready for bed after the day’s  excitement. May tomorrow bring nothing but more of the same.

And so it goes.

*

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Blast From The Past - Long Thought Lost

As I get ready for the assembly of the new desk I have gone rummaging through a plastic tube filled with smaller boxes and bags containing old office stuff, newspaper clippings, and letters to editors; not to mention odds and ends like these from my previous life, a few memorables from my activist and volunteer days. 

These are a few items discovered in an old #10 envelope box. Thought I’d scan and post them before they hit the trash with so many other memories this week. 




Memories of good people and events, and some very sad times. When I find this stuff I have to pinch myself and ask “Was that really me? Was I really there? When did I stop doing so much, and why?”

Boggles the mind to this day.

And so it goes.

*

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Safe and Dry. And Medical Intervention, of Sorts

With anatomically correct, bikini-clad birthday cake. 
Right on time!  Friend Linda arrived when she promised and the box containing the desk was scooted inside a less than 2 minutes.  (Image at right taken at surprise birthday party in 12/13, the cake was a huge hit, and delicious - click to embiggen)

We talked for a while about the best plan to get the thing assembled when it would be convenient for both of us. Not a problem for me, other than Labs and Transfusions. For her, it’s another story.

She’s off on Thursday and Friday, so I suggested Saturday after the lunch shift at DL.  She countered with a possibility of mid-morning Friday or Saturday evening.  I said I didn’t want to intrude into her precious personal time off, but she dismissed that with a wave and casual expletive.

I mentioned that historically, Fridays are my transfusion days and could mean only a couple of hours (1 unit) or a full day (2 units).  She decided that I should let her know the outcome of Labs on Thursday and we can take it from there. 

The numbness in my fingers and hands has gotten progressively worse over the past few months. The digits happened to be pale green while she was here and she noticed. Pointing to my shriveled, anemic hands... “Good God, Wayne.  What the fuck is that?” My lay attempt to explain was cut off by, “What do you take for it?” Well, pretty much nothing.  Just warm them by stuffing them into any warm nook and cranny on the body surface I can find.

Her eyes suddenly lit up and a smile passed her lips as her gaze settled on the bottle of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey she gave me for Christmas over a year ago. (It was sitting on a shelf keeping the lonely Bombay Sapphire company.)  “Well,” she said, “ try just a wee half-shot of that and I promise you’ll get relief.” With that she made for the door - she was going to open the restaurant last evening - gave me a hug and, as she walked down the stairs called over her shoulder, “I’m not joking about the Jameson’s. For God’s sake, just try it once. What’s to lose? You’ll never know otherwise.” 

What DO I have to lose?  Nothing but the numbness and pain. So, I grabbed the shot glass, and fumbling with numb fingers filled it half way up, and knocked it back.  It was warm, felt really good going down and in a few minutes the numbness had turned to tingling and then feeling as circulation returned to both hands. 

I am not sure the staff at the Cancer Center would approve, but if the symptoms are present in the morning, as they usually are when I have to get into a cold car at 7 AM and drive to the labs, another half-shot is definitely on my gay agenda.  Approval be damned! I wonder if they would even notice.  

Anyway, I tried to order a chair for the new desk, but the 2 models I chose were not in stock on line. If I am well enough following the Labs tomorrow I will make a stop to check stock at the store. If so, I may just make the purchase, so Linda can put it all together at the same time.  Bless her heart.

Though we got more snow than forecast, the sun is out and it’s melting quickly.  It may all be gone by tomorrow, but the temperatures are likely to remain in the 20s throughout the day. Oh, well.  Trade off. Trade off.

And so it goes.

*

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shipping, Shopping & New Snow


No, wait.  That’s not right.  Look at the calendar! It’s almost April.  Wait.  Is this an early April Fools joke?

I had to “make groceries” as they say in New Orleans, this morning and depending on who you talked to, we could get one inch, or 6 before the impending storm ends this evening. All I know is the grocery shelves were being ravaged and it was only 7:30 this morning. Such panic seemed ridiculous. 

And then there’s the matter of the new desk which was delivered sometime last evening (I must have been asleep because I heard nothing, and it’s a large, heavy box, to be sure) and needs to be brought in from the elements before rain/snow gets too heavy and does damage to the packaging. 

At least the box was brought up the stairs to the porch, so there is some limited protection, but I’ve sent a text to Linda telling her of the arrival and asking that she stop by when she has a break to bring the box indoors.  The desk can always be assembled some other time, but I don’t want to risk unnecessary damage from the weather. 

Of course, there remains the issue of a new desk chair, the shopping for which had to be aborted last weekend due to circumstances beyond my control. Retail options are limited.  Around here, everything pretty much boils down to Staples or Wal*Mart - and I do not shop at Wal*Mart.

I’ve bookmarked, and printed, a couple of options at the Staples website, but there’s no way to tell if they must be ordered and delivered through the site, delivered to the store for pickup, or purchased and picked up at the store.  It’s all very vague.  And don’t even attempt to “chat” with a tech associate unless you really lonely, or need a good laugh.

Yes, a retailer touting their tech savvy, hosts a shitty, convoluted, un-friendly website…and they wonder why they’re losing money and customers. 

I would order from the site and have the purchase delivered, but there’s a good chance they’d just drop it off at the bottom of the stairs, which would not do for me at all. 

The snow has just begun to fall - it’s coming down rather hard - and I just received a text from Linda that she will be here within the hour. All will be well very soon.

And so it goes.

*

Monday, March 24, 2014

Processed Foods & Probiotics

After what happened to me yesterday, I've decided to give this a real hard look.  Bare with me. And, please, chime in if you have something to add to the conversation.


OK, since becoming Neutropenic, eating raw fruits and veggies is no longer allowed, so I suppose I do ingest more processed foods than in the past. Including canned, frozen, and nasty prepackaged stuff that I dread when the ingredients are difficult to pronounce.

But, I try to keep that crap to a minimum; no commercial breads or loose bakery items, no bottled drinks that aren't 100% real juice, no pre-packaged rice or pasta, and still cook what I can from all allowed raw ingredients. 

And I don't indulge in most sweets. Yes, the occasional bowl of ice cream or chunk of dark chocolate, and because of my low energy of late, quick, frozen one dish meals that are easy to prepare and at least fill me up. Usually more food than I can eat at one sitting, so the remainder gets tossed.

A friend sent a video touting probiotics as the over-all system cleanser, to rid the old body of the toxins absorbed from all that nasty, chemically modified, processed crap that we sometimes aren't even aware we're forcing into our guts.

I was wondering if beginning a regimen of probiotics - along with my regular supplements and prescription meds would help boost my immune system. I haven't looked too deeply into this yet, but thought it was worth a shot.  

Question is, could it do any harm to my already compromised immune system?  Of course, I wouldn't want to do that. I've noted a few reputable companies offering probiotic supplements, including the company I've been dealing with for 3 decades. 

Just thought I'd throw this out there and see if anyone has information or first hand knowledge to share before I take the plunge. I mean, if no harm is done, what is there to lose? 

I know there is no silver bullet, but I’d like to ward off episodes like yesterday’s ugliness and embarrassing trip to the ER if possible.  I mean, can you blame me?

And so it goes.
*

It Can Happen Anytime, Anywhere.

My Sunday turned disastrous when least expected. I began to crash and burn while on the hunt for an office chair. 

To be concise I had been meticulous about my new med schedule - at 4 AM, then again at 12 noon - and all seemed to be well on that score, until I suddenly found  myself short of breath, nauseous and suffering chills, big time.  What was going on?  Dunno, really, but it wasn't good.  

Having been followed around the store by salespeople since my arrival, I found myself alone all of a sudden, lightheaded, and a little on the green side.  I commandeered one of the chairs I’d been checking out for purchase, and sat down trying to regain my composure. Someone brought me a glass of cold water, but it didn’t help. Nothing did.

Not wanting to create a scene by calling 911, waiting until I thought I could manage it, I made my way quietly out the door, to the car, and drove to the ER. By the time I arrived I was experiencing cold sweats and the chills had become worse. 

They got me comfortable, started a saline IV, followed by an injection of Benadryl. It was some kind of reaction to one of the drugs - but which one?  All roads pointed to the new kid on the block, the Danazol, but no one wanted to make that determination.  

A call was placed to my doctor and I don’t know what happened as a result of that. There was no followup. I suppose I’ll find out today at some point.

Meanwhile, they kept me warm and comfortable. I dozed off here and there and by evening I was stronger, more steady - all other symptoms had vanished. 

The question became whether to send me home, or keep me over night. It was getting dark and they were leaning toward keeping me, since there was no one to pick me up and take me home.  I just wanted to be in my own space, in my own bed - regardless of what happened. 

I won. So there!  

It was quite a funny sight to be pushed all the way to my car in a wheelchair, then to get up, into the car, and drive away.  Priorities and the good old CYA at work. 

Hit the sheets right away, covered up to my neck and drifted into an uneasy sleep. The chills returned, but only briefly.  No dreams, just dark and silence. Woke twice to pee, have a drink of water, and then went right back under again. 

Having no food intake since lunch yesterday, I’m weak, the stomach uneasy. A hot tea with honey and a bowl of cereal helped in that department. I am going back to bed again…waiting to hear from the doctor, or at least his office.  It will be a few more hours before that happens.  Meanwhile…

I am so disappointed.  Just when things were going along so well for me, here.  A downward spiral is not far away and can bite my ass at any time. I’ll remember that from now on. 

This is all working on my last gay nerves.

And so it goes.

*

Sunday, March 23, 2014

That Tedious Apple Update

All of you long time MAC users out there would know this far better than I. As described in the earlier post, a message box appeared in the upper right of my screen last evening informing me that a massive update of Maverick OS X needed to be downloaded and installed.  No option to wait til some other time, or simply a “not now” was unacceptable.  

The download began. Period! The files were huge. It took over 11 hours just to download all file to the hard drive.  Although I didn’t need to, I had full use of the computer during those long hours as the system ticked off the gigs being streamed into my computer. 

However, when that finally ended and the installation process began, I lost all control of the computer as it was elsewhere occupied with the task at hand.  That, I assume, of rebuilding the entire OS from scratch. At least that's my take on the situation. There was no place or time for my puny endeavors at the keyboard. Blank screen and unresponsive keyboard were the order of the rest of the morning

This detailed install took another 2 hours keeping me abreast of what was going on without relinquishing control of the device or keyboard.  

Beyond the additional 2 hours of dead time, the system then began to sort out files and perform a number of reboot sequences, the likes of which I have not seen since my old Microsoft Windows days, and which I thought were over when I switched to the MAC.  Clearly, something happened and Apple needed to address the issue without user interference.  Which it certainly did, like it or not.

Just a quick few minutes with the update following the final reboot, and I notice that many things (including personal preferences) have been altered, lost, or put heaven-knows-where.  

The update boasts a whole new Safari experience, which I haven’t ventured into, since my last experience with the browser ended in bitter shutdown - by me! I’ve used Chrome with great results since then and not sure I want to risk a return engagement with Safari at this time. 

Well, on the up side, this massive update was free. Had it been MS Windows we’d likely have had to cough up big bucks to get everything fixed, up and running again.  Well, whatever.  I just want to find out where in Hell my personal files are now.  Jeez!!!

Hey!  This just appeared in the upper right of the screen.  I guess I ought to check it out, huh?



But not now.  Right now I am off to check out office chairs to go with the new desk. Not much online, so I’ll see what Staples has on sale, if anything. Then on the way home, I’ll swing by Dos Locos and see what they need me to help with  this week.

And so it goes.

*

Slicing, Dicing, Yodeling, & Apple Downloads


Well, here it is 2 am on a Sunday morning and I am wide awake.  And it's not by personal choice, trust me. And just why might that be, you ask? I'll tell you, why…

My next door neighbor is a bit loose in the head and keeps very strange, sometimes exceedingly noisy hours that even he would be hard-pressed to explain. Some days I'm awakened by loud whooping & thunderous applause. Probably brought on by some TV show that (thankfully) I am unable to hear through the walls. Or, maybe he wears headphones!  Sometimes there is loud banging as in large wood planks striking against the floors and walls. I wonder what he may be building. But, then again…never mind.

This morning it was a sing-along to some twangy, shit-kicker music that was only slightly audible.  His voice however, carried long, loud, and clear. For a half-hour I tried unsuccessfully to ignore the ruckus, which first entered my consciousness at 1:15 AM, but finally gave it up when the yodeling began. No, I am not kidding. 

Brushed my teeth, made a coffee, nibbled on a fresh cara-cara orange, and promptly sliced open a finger while trying to put file folders in order in the file cabinet. No, I wasn't being clumsy, only careless. 

I wasn't aware the metal had such sharp edges in places.  Now I am. Bled like a stuck pig for a while, but it's all under control now. Of course it would be on the left hand, and it would be the middle finger that is sporting a bandage twice the width of the finger itself. 

Translation: Little will be accomplished this day requiring the use of two hands. 

Also.  Today will be another first:  At 4 AM I will begin the new drug replacement for vile Prednisone. Danazol needs to be taken on a rigid time schedule, every 8 hours, (rather than 3 - times daily) so I've chosen the one most convenient for me.  That will be 4 AM, 12 noon, and 8 PM. Unlike the Prednisone, there are no set requirements for the drug to be taken with a meal, though I always try to ingest something beforehand, JIC.

I'm thinking about the sister - her upcoming open heart surgery is set around the time of her birthday - I've decided to send her birthday wishes early to be sure they get to her without delay. Her birthday is in mid-April, but I thought sending it now would be in everyone's best interest. 

Of course, having sliced a finger (I am a lefty, BTW) I will enclose a type-written note with the Hallmark Greetings with the proper explanation, which will probably cause more than a few chuckles on her part.  I'll drop it in the post sometime today, though there is no mail pick-up here on Sundays.  Still, if it goes out tomorrow it ought to be in her box by wednesday. Plenty of time to spare before her surgery date.

I plan to follow up with a call by week's end, just to touch base and offer whatever cheer I can muster. Yes, I try to be a good brother.

On a more curious note, I received a notice from Apple last evening that there is
a major upgrade for Maverick, and, of course being Apple, the only option was to download the update.  None of this "ask me later" shit.  Do it now, or we'll do it anyway. I began the download last evening and, imagine my surprise, it's STILL not finished yet.  I left the MAC on all night and set the timer for a couple of hours.  Ha!  It is to laugh. That's a good 7 hours and the download/install is only two-thirds done. That must be one hell of an update. Try a whole new OS, why don't ya!

So, there it is.  My life is controlled by kitchen timers and drug protocols, and little else, I'm afraid. If I think I can manage without further harm to my body, I will attempt to prepare bacon and eggs in a little while. 

More later…maybe…if I don't do myself in.  Or, kill the yodeling SOB next door before sunrise. Please, please. It is so tempting.

And so it goes.

*

Saturday, March 22, 2014

New Tarot, New Desk, & Old Dragons.

Oh My!  The new Tarot deck arrived today. And it is magnificent! A nicely packaged kit and a deck I am anxious to learn - without benefit of the study guide. Well, it's not like I have a shortage of time on my hands,  now is it??? Quality of that time and the ability to concentrate are a whole 'nother story. 

The tax refunds have been deposited and I have decided to treat myself to a
personal luxury before the money goes to anything else. A new computer desk with stacked storage and of simple design. Spent the morning searching furniture, office, and computer accessory sites, including Overstock, Staples, and Amazon.  Narrowed the field to three options considering the floor space available, work space needed, and in the price range I gave myself.  I wanted something utilitarian, as well as light and airy.  No heavy, dark wood.  Life can be dark and heavy enough. Something of glass and metal with lots of room, shelf space, and storage options.

I found the right piece at Amazon, and with Amazon Prime shipping is free. The desk will require assembly, and will be delivered on Tuesday. Linda (the wee Irish Lass and GM at DL) has offered to assemble it for me. Since the delivery folks are not likely to bring the package up the stairs and into the apartment, Linda will pop over from the restaurant to help me bring it up in case of bad weather. I am excited about this purchase. I haven't had a real desk/workstation since my last house back in 2006. Yes, I think I deserve this one, big time! The desk looks small, but isn't. The two units measure 60" wide and the desk measures 24" deep.  Plenty of room for my work needs. In my space, the units will be reversed. The storage shelves will be on the right, next to the outside wall, but...never mind.

My supper this evening will be a recipe posted by Peter (the dear) at TIPPIN' THE SCALES. It required a bit of tweaking, since I'm only one person and a few ingredients didn't jibe with the cooking instructions, but no matter. It's going to be wonderful. Only missing one ingredient, the fresh bell pepper.  (Since I'm not allowed to eat raw veggies anymore, I had to purchase one for this dish.)  All else is on hand.  I'm in the mood for a rich stir-fry and this recipe certainly fills that bill.  

I finished reading Herman Hesse's Siddhartha last night. The story still grabs me in all the appropriate places in my life.  It was a quicker read than I remembered it, but this being a new translation may have made the difference.  Still, powerful and worth the read.

I happen to be on the email list of something called "Book Bub" which offers daily specials on ebooks for Kindle, Apple and others at really low prices. Sometimes, even free. I've made many purchases from the site - all downloaded directly to the Kindle, or, nowadays, the Nexus 7 - in a few minutes. 

Most of the books are new or newer releases, but sometimes they offer older gems, again for free or deeply discounted. Many are available as ebooks for the first time and when I find one read previously in book form and would like to read it again, I download it to the reader, or store it in the Cloud (I love typing that!) for enjoying at a later date. 

You may want to check them out. Google Book Bub and sign up if you're interested. You never know what treasures will be included in the mailings. 

Among the offerings this weekend was one such golden oldie trilogy. (Yes, these are "limited time only" sales) It's Anne McCaffrey's "The Dragonriders of Pern" - includes all three books in the original series and all for under two-bucks! How fast can you say "download" class? She wrote more in the series as time went by, but the original trilogy is about 40 years old.  I am looking forward to reading them again. Here's a screen-grab from the email. (click to embiggen)


While I was out picking just the right bell pepper, I picked up a larger pot for the little European Cypress tree. It must like its home, because it has grown, not so much UP as OUT, it's pot-bound, and it's only been living here for 3 months.  So, before I begin making the stir-fry, I will get the transplanting out of the way. I don't want the little darling to go and die on me. 


I don't know where this excess energy is coming from, but I welcome it anytime, anywhere. Feeling like death warmed over isn't great. I'll take this for as long as it lasts. 

And so it goes.
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Its a Meditation Caturday



I've just re-read Siddhartha, 40 years on.  So, it all comes together here.

More later.
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Friends, Fish & Chips, & Flowering Plants.

Counting down the days when I'll be Prednisone-free and I appear to be suffering adverse withdrawal effects. Today it was a full-blown anxiety attack at 1:30 am.   Didn't know  what hit me until I was smack in the middle of the damned thing.  I mean, I've never had one before and had to Google the symptoms, believe it or not. They ain't something pretty, trust me. But,  I got through it - even if I couldn't go back to sleep. 

My sleep hours are fucked up these days, anyway, and I am just taking it in stride until I am totally clean of the damned stuff. Seriously, I've asked that Prednisone be flagged in my pharmacy profile as a drug that causes "adverse side effects" and that's putting it mildly. They've also flagged it in my computer profile at the hospital and cancer center.  I never want that stuff to pass my lips again.  Not ever!

A happy surprise: Friend, Jeffrey, sent a text this morning asking if I felt up to having lunch somewhere today. I got the text as I was about half way through the morning transfusion, and as I was receiving only one unit today, I sent back a big "YES!" We swapped food and restaurant preferences before choosing a little British Fish & Chips shop here in town. Neither had been there in about a year - probably longer for me. Everything is fresh and served in copious amounts by the owner, herself.  

It's called "Go Fish" and their menu includes lots of other British pub food like Bangers & Mash, Bubble & Squeak, and side dishes like mushy peas, beer battered sausages, cheddar mashed potatoes, and pickled onions.  They also make authentic British Chips (fries) that are all by themselves worth the trip.

It is a tiny place, seats only about 40 - Max, and the place is always busy, but that's because the food is always good. Alison, the owner, works the floor with only one helper and still the pace is smooth, relaxed and never rushed.  The clientele is a laid-back mixed crowd, and mostly adults. If you're not in a rush, they won't rush you.  And that's not to be said for many other dining spots at lunch time, especially the bigger chains outside of town. 

Jeffrey and I met at about 12:30 and Alison seated us immediately, asked if we had a time constraint, and when we said, NO, she brought us a Guinness then left us alone to chat and make our selections. 

We talked about Dos Locos, Jeffrey's attempts to purchase a new home, and his upcoming holiday to Bulgaria next month. I was glad he had lots to talk about, because I certainly didn't.   My life consisting of hospital, Cancer Center, Pharmacy, and grocery store wouldn't be riveting; would barely fill up a ten-minute conversation, even if he asked questions.  Which he did, bless his heart. 

We enjoyed our leisurely meal - I had classic fish & chips while Jeffrey had the special Tilapia Sandwich of the day. The restaurant is only a few steps from the boardwalk and ocean.  The sun was bright, it was warm, we were full, and thought of taking a brief walk by the sea. The wind was strong, however, so Jeffrey decided against that option. Must admit, I was relieved, too.

We finished our conversation sitting in the sunlight on a beach bench, shared a hug and went on our way. It was a great afternoon to be out and in good company, after a great meal and we promised not to wait so long before we do it again.  At least once more before the Summer Season begins. 

When I got back to the apartment there was a wrapped gift of a live potted plant waiting for me in the middle of my stairs. It's a lovely Orchid (something I've never been able to grow successfully) from my neighbors down the street who live in western PA, but have their summer place here.  Very thoughtful of them, to be sure. I will try my best not to kill the thing. But, no promises.  No matter how I follow care instructions, they always seem to wither and keel over in a month or two. Still, a thoughtful gift and a cheerful addition to my dull, monochromatic life.

I got online to find an important message from the Locosguys, asking that I try to stop in over the weekend to give a few pointers to my replacement as the restaurant gears up for spring break and the onslaught of the pre-season homeowners who begin coming down in April to get their beach places ready for the summer.  Like my generous neighbors down the street. 

The restaurant starts getting slammed even on weekdays from mid-March with all bets off by Easter Week, and they want the new guy to be comfortable with the increased traffic and not freak out.  I told them I'd make every effort to show my face for a few hours to help out. With the new infused blood flowing in my veins, I should be able to make this happen.  At least I hope I can. 

Probably due to the 1:30 AM anxiety attack (from which I never fully recovered), coupled with the rich, delicious lunch, I am ready for a nap.  Yes.  Me!  Never thought I'd see the day when I would want crawl under the covers for a mid-afternoon snooze, but there it is.

Whatever.  There will be only a very light supper tonight, if anything, so it's cool. Besides, I need some real rest, not more time in bed, if you get my drift. That can be far from restful.

I am disappointed to have missed last weekend's Bloggerpalooza, but it couldn't have been otherwise. I was a physical and emotional train wreck for days before and after the affair. I did share a chat with a couple of those in attendance, but there was simply no way I was up to actually moving my body out of this place to visit with them for even a few minutes. Driving or even walking were out of the question and this place isn't ready for prime time visitations. 

 I have seen a few pictures posted at the sites of various bloggers who were able to attend, and it looked like a good time. I wanted to see Anne Marie's knit handy work, get a hug from Dr. Spo, and meet Slugmama.  Of course, seeing everyone from last year would have been icing on the cake. Sadly though, not in the cards for me this year. Maybe next year, if there is one, and if I am still fogging the mirror, so to say. 

On a somewhat different note: I don't understand Ron's (Retired in Delaware) need to pretend to be an expert on all things related to Rehoboth Beach in general, the dining experience in particular.  He clearly is not.  Still, he has his bully pulpit and there are those who will believe what he has to say, not knowing better, and that is sad. I also wonder at his constant negativity, a real desire to put the town down (with long, repetitive tirades of untruths that pepper his posts from time to time), especially since he partakes of so little of what it has to offer.  

But unfortunately, for whatever reason, that's just Ron's way. Being a gossip means one can play fast and loose with the truth and reality. That being said, major props to Ron for all his work and organizational skills at pulling these events together.

Ending on the up-beat; I received a phone call just now from the merchandising manager at the local Rite Aid pharmacy (where my new prescription plan is honored) telling me that they will be stocking a Quinine tablet called "Leg Cramps with Quinine" which is an OTC product to alleviate cramping in legs, arms, hands, etc., in many cases due to side effects of various medications.  Earlier this week I asked that they carry it, because it has only been available at online retailers anymore. (Thanks to blogger & FB buddy, Diane for pointing me in the right direction) When the large corporate retailers replaced our old mom & pop operations they discontinued shelf space for many homeopathic options.  Probably not profitable enough. I was told the item should be in stock when the next sale flyer begins - which is next Sunday.  Now that makes me feel good.

Nap time!!!

And so it goes.

*

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Health, History and a Solved Mystery

I feel like I'm treading on eggshells here. This is day two without pain, vertigo, or shortness of breath. Granted, I ain't pushing the envelope here, either. My butt was sore from lying in bed so much (now you know I am feeling better!) so I tried to make myself useful today. Sorting medical bills wasn't the greatest of challenges, but it was a beginning. 

I felt well enough to actually do something fun for a change.  I baked a loaf of bread from an old recipe given to me many years ago.  It turned out well, even better than I remember it. So now, since I can't do any hand-kneading with the arthritic hands, I'll just keep the bread machine in the cabinet for these little delights.

It's a beer, bacon, and green onion loaf; perfect with an evening meal or as a mid-day lunch, toasted and topped with pulled chicken or pork. I enjoyed a buttered slice with my supper tonight of beef tips, gravy and egg noodles. Delicious.

As mentioned in the past, I'm a Tarot devotee, introduced to the cards in my teens before getting more involved in my late 20's. I have 3 personal decks that I consult regularly - one being the slightly over-sized Crowley - Thoth deck  - and the favorite being the Paladin Aquarian Deck designed and issued in 1970. It's a beautiful deck and I get great joy in examining the images on each card. 
And, as most Tarot geeks, I also point to the great old standard, the Rider - Waite deck that offers much detail, sometimes more than necessary, that always has a sobering, grounding effect, at least on me.

OK, so where am I going with this?  Well, I'll tell you. 

Back when I was in film school at NYU, I met a Frenchman who worked on a few student films with me, loved that I was from New Orleans, and proud that some of my family hailed from his region of France,  Alsace Lorraine. We became friendly, meeting for greasy burgers and pints of dark draft beer at the Dugout on Bleecker Street at least once a week.

Now this was the 1970s and the Tarot was experiencing a resurgence in popularity in the US, especially at university. Jacques was a long-time reader and loved to talk about the old European customs for readings and the different decks that were used in various regions and countries. 

The cards of his deck of choice, battered and frayed at the edges as they were, contained no writing, numbering, or labels.  The cards were elongated and the images were taken from Icons mostly from western European countries, I guessed, fused into the most beautiful deck I had ever seen.  Of course, I couldn't imagine cards without identifying markings, but Jacques was an old hand at Tarot from a very early age.  He even took the larger size of the cards in stride. They were about the width of a regular deck, but about 6 or 7 inches tall.  Didn't bother him.  He used the tools he was given. 

Anyway, when finished his time at NYU and before returning to France, I asked if he would send me a deck like his.  He wasn't sure he could find one, but promised that he would, if he did. Well, he didn't. Seems there was no change in Tarot popularity in Europe as in the US, and over the years, we lost touch.  

However, I never forgot those cards the images, and how he interpreted them.  Though I've searched and searched until the Google almost screamed with pain, I was never able to find the deck. There was no formal name  - after all these years - to apply to a search, so it was a blind, only occasional foray into the Tarot unknown that ultimately turned up this. Yes, Today!
click to embiggen
It has a name.  The Golden Tarot, or the Sforza/Visconti Tarot, from the 15th century and it's almost as I remember it.  Is that strange, or what?  This deck comes as a kit, complete with a reading spread cloth and history book of the deck.

It made me wonder about Jacques: is he still living? - did he have a good life? - did he pursue film work in France? Funny how life seems to throw things at you when you least expect them, but feel the need for them most. Yes, the deck has been ordered and ought to be in my hot little hands in about a week.  I can hardly wait.

I wonder what it will feel like and what I ought to expect, if anything.  Well, I will certainly expect to remember Jacques, The Dugout, and late night readings over burgers and beer steins, that's for sure.

And so it goes.

*

Dream the Impossible Dream

Mitch Leigh, composer of Man of La Mancha has passed away. One cannot
imagine the speed with which the show and his score took the theatre world by storm in 1965.  Ultimately, I saw the show thrice at the ANTA, then once more when it moved to a Broadway house with new cast. I don't remember which one.

I am grateful to still remember times when it was OK to take chances on an un-tried, unique staging of a new play or musical, and grateful too, for the ear-worms Mitch Leigh's music has haunted me with over the years.
From the AP:
NEW YORK (AP) — Mitch Leigh, a successful advertising jingle writer whose debut attempt at writing music for a Broadway show became the instant, celebrated hit "Man of La Mancha" and earned him a Tony Award, has died. He was 86.
Leigh died Sunday in New York of pneumonia and complications from a stroke, said his assistant, Lisa Maldonado. A memorial was held Monday afternoon in Manhattan and Broadway marquees will dim in his honor for one minute at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday.
Leigh followed up his early theatrical success by producing and directing for the Broadway stage, including a 1985 production of "The King and I" with Yul Brynner in which he earned a best director Tony nomination, but never reached the dizzying heights he did with "Man of the Mancha" in 1965.
"Mitch Leigh was a multi-faceted talent whether he was composing, directing, or producing for Broadway or Madison Avenue," said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League.
He also produced "The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm" in 1999, supplied the music for "Ain't Broadway Grand" in 1993, produced "Chu Chem," billed as the first Chinese-Jewish musical in 1989, and backed a 1983 revival of "Mame" with Angela Lansbury. 
Ah, the memories.  For my (19th) birthday in the summer of 1965,  friend, Robert surprised me with tickets to a new experimental off-broadway show titled "Man of La Mancha" being staged in an equally experimental acoustically designed theatre in the west village called the ANTA Washington Square.  The ANTA was built under the ground for the sound experiment and I think, became the prototype for either the State Theatre or Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center - I don't remember which one. Anyway, the NYU Library now sits atop of where the ANTA theatre once lived.

I was thrilled, too, because I would be seeing one of my favorite Broadway actors for the first time live on stage.  Richard Kiley! I fell in love with his voice when he starred a few years earlier in "No Strings" by Richard Rodgers.  He co-starred with Diahann Carroll in what became the first inter-racial musical about love and commitment, or lack thereof.  The show was moderate hit, and did win awards - Carroll won a Tony. And the lovely score features a few Rodgers tunes that I find myself humming or singing to this day.

And so it goes.
*

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Winter's Tale - A Snowy Peace

At last. A quiet, restful night without pain, stress, or tension of body or mind. Woke up in the same position I fell asleep, so I was tired, indeed. Had a coffee in hand watching the snow continue to fall as the dawn broke today, giving that touch of gold luminosity to the blue/gray aura of the landscape. Magic.

Looks like we got what was forecast of this storm, and then some. Nothing and no one stirring outside. No birds singing or complaining. Everything still, laden with heavy snow. Beautiful, really.
Calm.  Peace. Deep, healthy breathing. All is well this day. I know the day is young and anything can happen, but positive thinking is my best friend and hope.  There it is.

I've never been a big fan of St. Patrick's Day. Never understood the connection between the religious fervor and the humiliation of public puking.  Just another excuse to get wasted, I believe. But, that's just me. Why do adults need an excuse, after all?

While not a fan of the hoopla, I do like Irish music and, of course the beauty of the country, culture, and people. I am also a really big fan of corned beef and cabbage at this time of year.  The squeaky crunch of crisp, steamed cabbage, with potatoes, onions, carrots, and leeks along with thick slices of tender corned beef makes my mouth water as I smell it cooking in the kitchen right now. 

Since I cook for one, I hunt for a small brisket - about 2.5 pounds, so I get 2, possibly 3 meals out of it.  Just enough to hold me for another year. Besides, it always tastes better as leftovers, at least to my mind. It takes a good 6 to 8 hours to do the recipe justice, so having started early, my supper will be early, too.  You see, there is a method to some of my madness. 

Hooray!  Just received an email confirmation from the accountant telling me that I will receive a nice refund for 2013. It will be direct-deposited in a few weeks. Not that I can plan to use it for a getaway holiday with my present physical health situation, but I can use some of it to pay down a few medical bills hanging over my head, and still squirrel some away JIC my health improves in the future and I can be away from the transfusion center more than 7 days at a stretch. 

Hey!  It's something to look forward to, ain't it? And I really, truly need something to look forward to anymore.

Probably spend the better part of the day learning my way around the Nexus, downloading apps, and resting quietly - waiting for that corned beef to be ready...

And so it goes.
*

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Will It End?

It's been a Hellish night. Startled awake with cramping so bad in hands and legs that at one point both feet curled inward, as in pigeon-toed, and knees contracted involuntarily up to the chest.  All with excruciating muscle pain. Came out of nowhere. Having no idea what else to do, I sat up and forced my legs back down to a sitting position until I was able to put weight on them, stand (though tentatively) and move about the room. 

Fingers on left hand contracted into convulsive knot; there was no way to grasp or hold on to anything. I was able to let warm water from the bathroom tap run over it, which soothed the cramps and eventually relaxed the tightened muscles.

After a while, when the pain eased off and hands were working again, I took a couple of Flexeril and sat up in bed to calm down and ease the tension.  Took the better part of an hour for the drug to kick in, but things appear to be better now.

At this point I don't ever want to hear that "God only gives us what we can handle" bullshit. That God sounds too much like Dick Cheney, and I don't believe in him, either. 

Sore and achy yesterday, the ability to breath easier coupled with decreased vertigo offered a respite gladly accepted and cherished every hour of the day. I needed the break.  I was hoping that would continue today, but my being is now wracked by these other (out of the blue) side effects I ain't so sure that will happen. 

Awake since the seizures began at about 1:30am, I am afraid to return to bed; afraid to lie flat out for fear that may trigger another episode - which I don't believe I could handle right now. 

Sitting a few, standing a few, and walking a bit is pretty much all I can accomplish, so I've busied myself with sorting out laundry and catching up on a few blogs I've neglected over the past few days. Anything to keep my mind otherwise occupied.

As soon as I feel up to the challenge, a nice hot shower and face scraping are next up on the gay agenda. Patience is key, here. I suppose.

Note:  I just received a "storm warning" from National Weather Service. They're issuing a winter storm warning for the area, forecasting 6 to 9 inches of snow/sleet beginning tonight.  WTF!  I had no idea.  Where did that come from? 

More later.

*

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This…


Actually, no.  No, she didn't say that.  She didn't even hint at anything close. She couldn't possibly have foreseen the kind of FUBAR these 2 days would turn out to be. 

Without consulting me, my appointments were rescheduled. No one bothered to inform me.

Blood drawn on Thursday, but, aside from that, other appointments were being put off til Friday.  However, when the CBC result numbers were in the basement, they quickly rearranged things and got the doctor to see me.  Meanwhile I was so weak and short of breath, they forced me into a wheel chair to be pushed from lab to lab. Embarrassing! 

I gave the doctor's nurse a copy of the list (see my previous post) of the side-effects I'm not coping with very well. The prednisone is doing weird stuff physically and emotionally, to my vision, memory, speech patterns, and temperament. I seem to have developed a short fuse and am quick to anger over really stupid things. 

I tear up, or go directly into a all-out crying jag at the slightest emotional twinge.  Anything, absolutely anything  can trigger this and I don't know why, or have control over it.

The doctor listened and was sympathetic. He's taking me off the Prednisone - reducing dosage to 30 mg. over the next 5 days, then 20 mg for another 5, etc. Then I will begin Danazol, supposedly a more friendly (?) steroid for a few weeks to see how my body (and mind) respond - before beginning the Vidaza Chemo.  

Seems the only positive results of the Prednisone was the increased Neutrophil count, bringing them up to normal levels. I am still not sure it was worth all this pain and anguish. Wearing the medical mask was annoying, but not debilitating. I mean, if I had my druthers...

The doctor had a front row seat to a very unpleasant scene when I got an attack of Prednisone-induced tremors during our interview. Don't think he'd ever seen an episode like that up close and personal. He actually looked scared. Anyway…

In the best of all possible worlds, the Vidaza would have been started this week, but now is put off for another 6 weeks to determine my response to the Danazol.

He ordered the new prescriptions as I was wheeled into the Infusion Center to begin receiving the 2 units (another 8-hour day) of new blood. I made up a sign, thanks to the desk nurse, that said: 

"BEWARE! 
PREDNISONE AT WORK.
THIS PATIENT IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR 
PHYSICAL OR EMOTIONAL OUTBURSTS.  
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED." 

I held it against my chest as I was wheeled into the room as patients and the staff screamed with laughter.  I needed that.  I think they did, too. They say 'trouble hates nothing more than a smile'.

A good vein was found quickly this time (in my left arm) the port opened, the saline drip started, then first unit of blood (vital signs were low) -  pumped me full of Benadryl as quickly as possible. 

Without the use of my left arm I couldn't hold or read from the Nexus.  That may have been the plan all along. These folks are diabolically gifted.  Instead, I plugged the headphones into the iPhone and listened to music. Enya sang into my head.

As the new blood began to flow, the Benadryl kicked in, and I drifted off into an uneasy sleep (short of breath, shaky) for over an hour. I woke up feeling rested, relaxed, and better able to breathe. When lunch arrived I was starving - and thirsty. 

The second unit arrived, was ported, though vital signs remained low.  No Lasix necessary this time round. Great! I could go back to sleep without being disturbed by a full bladder.  My nurse woke me holding a couple of pills.  Seems I had spiked a fever over 101' and it had to come down.  Took the pills with 2 big glasses of water, then went back to sleep under heated blankets provided by a volunteer. The combination of good care, new blood, and restful sleep was clearly what I needed.  

I was able to leave the building under my own power and take new prescriptions to the pharmacy. Two were called in, but narcotics must be presented in person. The pharmacist let me wait while all were filled (so no need to drive back over the holiday weekend) then I drove home free of the usual dizziness or anxiety - what a great feeling.

Slept through the night for the first time in a while. Feel more like myself today. That the dreaded Prednisone is reduced by 10mg today is good news and a step in the right direction.  First of five days at 30 mg of Prednisone. Maybe I'll be more like my old self again soon. 

Latch on to anything positive that comes your way.  Yeah, that's really what my mama said.

And so it goes.

*

Practical Caturday


Knows what he wants.

More later.
*

Friday, March 14, 2014

Prednisone: Some Answers

Having received conflicting information about the type and extent of side-effects of Prednisone, I decided to do some serious hunting around. Turns out there is a lot of conflicting information on the Web, as well. 

Eventually, I found this site: MedlinePlus - The U.S. Library of Medicine of the NIH (National Institutes of Health) which seems to cover just about all of the important ones.  Many could also be caused by other medications, IF one was taking them as well. It's good to check out how Prednisone interacts with other prescribed medications, and herbal supplements. Yes, they can cause problems, too.

**My current symptoms highlighted in red.**

What side effects can this medication cause?Prednisone may cause these side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

headache
dizziness
difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
inappropriate happiness
extreme changes in mood
changes in personality
acne
bulging eyes
thin, fragile skin
red or purple blotches or lines under the skin
slowed healing of cuts and bruises
increased hair growth
changes in the way fat is spread around the body
extreme tiredness
weak muscles
irregular or absent menstrual periods
decreased sexual desire
heartburn
increased sweating

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

vision problems: eye pain, redness, or tearing
sore throat, fever, chills, cough, or other signs of infection
seizures
depression
loss of contact with reality
confusion
muscle twitching or tightening
shaking of the hands that you cannot control
numbness, burning, or tingling in the face, arms, legs, feet, or hands
upset stomach
vomiting
lightheadedness
irregular heartbeat
sudden weight gain
shortness of breath, especially during the night
dry, hacking cough
swelling or pain in the stomach
swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
difficulty breathing or swallowing
rash
hives
itching
Had enough?  

This is my second go-round with this lethal little drug and it is mystifying that such an inexpensive little pill can wreak such havoc on the body and mind. 

So far, any positive results of taking this drug over these last 4 weeks have been minimal at best. 

I hate to miss attending the Bloggerpalooza going on here this weekend, but I think it best that I not be involved. 

And so it goes.
*

Thursday, March 13, 2014

News: Night Sweats Are Us

Bad night ended abruptly when I woke up soaking wet from night sweats.
  A new first in the ongoing health saga that is daily life.  Not feeling strong enough to change bed linens, I changed into dry clothes instead, wrapped in a blanket and slept on the rug on the floor.  Sorry, but it was the best I could do.

Slept another hour, then was up before dawn wondering what the hell happened. Sat on the dry side of the bed sipping a hot green tea, mustering up the energy to change the sheets. 

When that was finally accomplished I was short of breath and just wanted to take a hot shower and go back to bed.  Uh-uh. No rest for the weary.  Labs and appointments at the Center are on the Gay agenda this morning and it's taken all I have in me to get ready for the adventures. 

It's turned cold and wintery again overnight  with morning temp below freezing and winds of 25 mph. and I dread having to go out in it. 

I need oxygen. Putting one foot in front of the other until I can't do it anymore. There's no more to say.

And so it goes.

*

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Record-keeping, Comparisons, & New Tablet


It's just about lunch time and I am already bone tired. Since my wake-up times seem to be getting earlier and earlier, and I have great quantities of energy at that time, I accomplish much while it's still dark outside.

Had a coffee and light breakfast before taking the  morning meds. While running a load of laundry (Damn! those stairs are killers.) I made new file folders for the myriad medical entities I owe money to and will have to pay off - eventually.  Prepped food for supper and returned it to the refrigerator for later, JIC I run out of steam and can't stand up long enough to do both prep and cook.  Yes, it's come to that. And no, I will not dwell.

Went through all old files in the cabinet and shredded those 6 or more years old.  No need to have them around. The shredder was one of the best investments I've ever made. (Shred into bags, put bags into recycle bin downstairs.) Balanced the checkbook, paid a few bills online that were coming due in a few days.

Logging in for email I found the electronic gift card from Staples, covering the cost of the dead Kindle Fire.  That was quick. Turns out, they refunded the entire purchase price even though the newer tablets are more advanced and cost less than 2 years ago. I am not complaining. I'll take it.

There was also a nice surprise statement from a credit card containing the new cash-back balance available. Since I use cards for everything (never cash, if I can help it) it's amazing how quickly the percentage points grow over time.  Plus, I'd rather use their money over the month, not mine.

Taking the advice of the 2 geeks at the restaurant, I did more serious comparison shopping between the Samsung Tab 3 and the Google/Nexus 7 ver. 2.  It's piece of cake to "compare products" online nowadays. Saved and printed relevant pages, highlighted options important to my needs, and had another coffee while making the decision. 

Staples Odyssey: The Unprofessional Edition 

Read recent news reports about the financial problems facing Staples, I can totally understand why.  First, their website is convoluted, many items are not in categories one would expect them to be, and while they offer a "find store" option, what pops up is the address and phone number.  One cannot navigate to that specific store to check stock on items. The site always brings you back to a store in a large metropolitan area, which for me is Philadelphia, or Baltimore.

I wanted to check for sale prices and availability at the local Rehoboth Beach, DE store, but couldn't do it.  And the purchase must be made in store, not online. Why?  Because the certificate is only valid for in-store purchases. Bar code must be scanned at the time of the transaction. I didn't want to waste time driving to the store if the item wasn't in stock. 

That may sound trite, even lazy, but with vertigo and shortness of breath, I prefer to stay off the roads as much as possible. I don't want to be the cause of an accident and run the risk of hurting someone. 

I called the local store several times, getting bumped or put on hold every time.  I know they're tech staff isn't busy at 7:30 am, please!!! When I finally got through to the "tech" desk (yes, well) the nimrod had no idea what I was asking for. He finally wrote down verbatim what I was looking for, put me on hold (again) for at least 10 minutes before returning to tell me he "thought" there were 5 of the items in stock, but wasn't sure.

I asked that he check with someone who could be sure as I was facing a difficult drive and wanted to confirm that I would leave the store with the item in hand. He sounded quite annoyed as I was put on hold again.  This time a woman got on the line and asked for the information - all over again. Meanwhile the sun is moving high in the sky and traffic will begin to get heavy.

When she returned to give me the good news, she had a changed attitude when she realized that this was going to be a nice chunk-of-change sale for her store.   She even offered to put the item aside for me (like they were going to sell 5 of these things on a wednesday morning, uh-huh) and asked if she could collect any other things on my list so they would be all together waiting for me when I arrived.  Sweet!

I gave her my list of needs and told her I'd be there to pickup within an hour.  She almost made me laugh when she informed me that she couldn't hold an unpaid-for item for more than that. WTF did she think I was spending all this time on a prank?  

To make a long story short, I chose the Nexus 7 tablet and picked it up with a new portable box (for the medical files) and a few odds and ends that needed replacing.  I could have been in and out of the store in a half hour, but they had to located a manager with keys to the electronic storage (she was outside the store smoking when I arrived) who had turned off her communication headset for some personal quiet. BTW, not the same woman who helped organize my purchase.

When I found this out I blew my top at her.  The only person with keys is unreachable,  takes a half-hour smoke break at 10 am!!! Turns out she is also the district manager for DE, and the peninsula. When she got pissy with me I made it clear in my best big-boy voice that she was clearly in a position beyond her talents, abilities, and attitude toward customer service. 

Believe it or not, as she retrieved the item from the secure storage area and placed it with the other items under my name, she got into my face and - - - stuck her tongue out at me in front of staff and other customers, then walked away. Surprised and a little stunned by this action of a 50+ year-old (professional?) woman, I laughed loud and hard.  I then followed to get the name off her employee badge (which she tried to hide from view). A complaint will be lodged at some point this day. 

Anyway…I have the new Nexus 7, which is a tad taller, though lighter than the Kindle Fire, but still fits well in the hand. So, that's over and done. I am pretty spent  now, and will enjoy the rest of the day relaxing, learning how to use it. That ought to take up most of my time. I'll finish the file sorting later, or tomorrow - whenever I feel up to it. Nothing is a rush anymore.

More importantly, I have my reading material to help me through the weekend medical mishugas, and that's all that matters. 

Just received a reminder call from the Cancer Center letting me know that I have Labs and a follow-up appointment with the doctor tomorrow morning, and if it's anything like past weeks, I'll need transfusions on Friday morning, as well. 

Oh, happy days! 


And so it goes.
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