Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Drugs and Willpower

Drug induced confidence and sheer willpower made it possible to get to the pharmacy late morning, yesterday. The pharmacists arrive late on Sundays, so there was time for me to medicate and prepare myself for the 2-mile drive.

Along with the regular meds I knocked back a double painkillers and megadose of Tylenol to help get me there and back again. 

Waiting for the scripts to be filled (the pharmacist has been taking good care of me lately - I supposed seeing the list of medications I’m taking he knows I’m in a difficult struggle and does his best to get me in and out quickly) I sat with a glass of iced water offered by the pharmacist’s assistant. 

I felt the energy seeping from everywhere. My legs began to throb and felt as stumps, joints ached, I was sweating bullets after the walk from the car park to the pharmacy.  Why do they put the actual pharmacy in the very back end of the store? The counter seemed miles away and the walk took forever.  

The new prescriptions filled and paid for, I weaved back to the car trying not to look as if I’ve been on a Lost Weekend. Traffic was very heavy, thanks to the beautiful Autumn weather. so I had to concentrate on asshole drivers as I drove home.

I popped the first Levaquin (daily antibiotic - 1 a day for 10 days), the first much needed Ativan, followed by 2 heavy duty Tylenol then dropped onto the bed. Too tired to remove my clothes I managed to kick off my shoes and lie quietly waiting for the meds to kick in to offer some relief. I fell asleep in short order.

Temperature was 99.4 when I was able to wrestle myself out of bed to remove my clothes, so no visit to the hospital for the present. The joint pain had also subsided (except for the knees, still sore from the fall) making sitting up and walking easier.

Wolfed down a bowl of my wonderful chicken soup then a big glass of water.  I drank two more - one after the other - and slid under the covers once again. 

Read and slept as needed letting everything else wash over me.  Though I still had no appetite to speak of, I downed the last of the soup with an Ensure chaser, took the evening meds and hit the sheets once again.  This time for the duration. 

Today the bruising continues to heal. Still very weak, but so far no shortness of breath, chest pain, or dizziness.  I plan to make this day a duplicate of yesterday, with the exception of driving anywhere. I will read and sleep as I feel the need and forget about everything.  All else is out of my control, so why bother?

I face a meal of one of those frozen dinners, you know, the ones that will survive the next Ice Age, but I am plotting carefully, hoping to gather enough energy to make another soup.  A beef, vegetable with rice this time.  Again, because once prepped and bubbling there is no other work to do. It simply cooks itself.  I would love some fresh baked bread, too, but that’s too much to ask for at present.

Any regular reader knows how I love to cook my own food. I especially love doing recipes that remind me of my childhood in the south.  Most of those dishes are energy-sapping, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. Readers must also know how vulgar I feel eating something pre-cooked and frozen  It’s bad enough that I have to eat only canned or frozen fruits and vegetables. 

They will also know that I must really want to make it through this disease if I am willing to eat any of that stuff to survive.  I can only hope that eating that crap doesn’t do me in first.

And so it goes.


Just a Thought: Revenge

More later.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

14 Hours Saturday

 Slept OK Friday night, but achey at times, painful enough to wake me up. 

Spiked what is called a ‘neutropenic fever’ early Saturday and all energy drained from my body. Any idea of hitting the pharmacy for the scripts was blown away.  Every joint in my body ached with any movement. 

Took my temperature - it was 101.6 and way beyond the acceptable limit, especially after being so recently transfused. Friend Linda took me to the ER where I told the story of the disease, the fall, and events of the past week - three. more. times.  Tiring, that. Finally taken to an exam room and put on a gurney. Fever now 102.

Heart monitor attached, oxygen administered. Blood cultures were taken again as well an effort to reduce the fever.  No transfusion until the fever was down.
Taken by nurse Michael.
I struggled to will my body to respond to the big dose of tylenol to bring that temperature down. Fever finally abated to 99.2 when the blood was ordered. If the fever hadn’t broken, I was to be admitted to the hospital until it did.  

Blood had to be ‘imported’ from Wilmington because of the newly discovered antibodies involved due to the constant infusions. That took 5 hours. They got me rehydrated and left me alone to read or rest.  Sleep, of course, would not come. 

The suggestion was made to introduce more platelets, but I received them only last Monday, so the doctor rejected that idea. 

At this point it would appear that unless some miracle takes place in my body, I am living on borrowed time on the blood donations of others. Things will only get more complicated as my body begins to reject and finally refuse to be cooperative in keeping me alive. Borrowed time, as it were. Didn’t get in until 11 last night. Fourteen hours later.

I’ve had little to eat since Friday, but I’m not hungry. Only thirsty. Pumping my body full of fluids all day yesterday slaked my thirst temporarily. It’s back now.

Feeling slightly better this morning, though still weak and a bit achey. Temperature a bit elevated, but no headaches - yet. If I spike another high fever today, I will need to be admitted to the hospital.

Who knows, for how long. 

I hate writing about this, but it’s the only way I can express myself and explain what is happening in the most sane way possible.  I am not a medical professional; so much of the jargon is way over my head, but I get most of it in the abstract. The prognosis isn’t good.

I guess I ought to be concerned about the apartment, my things, and the car.  I am not. They’re only things, tools and the like. They don’t mean anything to me, really. They are nice to have, but that’s that. 

For the first time in my life I am not worried about paying bills, either. Anyone who knows me knows what a stickler I am about paying bills and my credit score.  Always have been.  Not anymore.

The universe has me in its embrace and I can do nothing but my best to try to heal and hope the body will respond.  If it’s too late and the old body can’t take any more, then so be it.

I will have to be in great pain, or discomfort before I submit my self to hospital care. If I go into the hospital the laptop will go with me. I fear I will be there for a few days, at least, maybe longer. If I fall that low - physically - I will likely give in to their demands. 

At present, I am not living life as meant to be. I live as a caged animal with little contact with the world; isolated from everything I love and need to remain sane and human. Just between you and me (promise you won’t breathe a word to anyone else) I just want this long nightmare to be over. However it may turn out.

Like that old saying: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

And so it goes.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Spiteful Caturday



A Step Back, Then Forward.

Written 9/26 - posted late.

I’m back where I was earlier this week.CBC was low, platelets held their own at double what they were Monday. Another unit of blood was ordered for today. 

Keeping with the feelings of the past few days I was tired, chilled, weak and breathless when I arrived this morning Spiked a high fever of 102’ so while I waited for the cross matching they gave me 2 tylenol and covered me with warm blankets back in the Infusion Center.

The consensus is that most of the blood received earlier has been dispersed into the system in the form of the huge bruises (which have spread wildly); little getting to the heart, hence the extra unit today. When I arrived my pulse was 133 and I was panting heavily.  No, there wasn’t a good looking (read Hunky) gentleman anywhere in the vicinity. 

Felt terrible most of the morning until about half way through the new blood when my breathing calmed, chest relaxed, and chills subsided. Fever finally came down to 99.3 (my normal these days), pulse dropped to 103, and I was fairly clear-headed when I left for home.

I have a new prescription (just what I need, another one!) for a drug similar to Ativan, which I will fill tomorrow when I feel stronger.  Being a narcotic it must be hand-delivered and signed for at pick up. Too weak to stop this afternoon and do all that walking.

Haven’t been sleeping well all week, either. Maybe I will tonight with the new blood and extra Benadryl.  I can only hope. 

I hope the weekend is one of healing and restful sleep.

And so it goes.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Update: No Bounce. No Boost.

I am disappointed. I’m not feeling much of a boost to my energy level, even after the platelets and blood earlier this week. Still short of breath upon exertion, and tend to get sleepy at any time of the day.  Then I can’t sleep at night. So, I read. 

Don’t feel like doing much of anything else.  Nothing that would take me from the apartment, that is.

There soon will be no water under the bridge… I’m drinking even more than I am used to and can’t seem to get enough to quench my thirst.

The Nexus is charging for later this afternoon/evening reading.  So, I decided to make a pot of soup. Chicken Noodle it is. Made the stock yesterday and just brought it back to a simmer. Tastes OK, for what it is. Didn’t have noodles so pasta will have to do. Chopped tomatoes and onions, along with the chicken will round it out. 

The best part is it requires little attention. I don’t have the energy to stand around the kitchen stirring a big pot of soup all day. I hope I remembered the recipe and it’s at least as good as the one I enjoyed the other day at the Center. 

Had two meals yesterday - a sandwich and a frozen entree (God I hate those things!) plus an Ensure, so I can’t be weak from lack of food or water.

Don’t know why my body isn’t bouncing back as it usually does (or did) but I’ll find out more tomorrow when I head back to the center for new Labs and a CBC.

When the Center called today to check on me, I explained the situation.  They told me to continue drinking all the water I craved and to arrive for my appointment an hour earlier.  That must mean something is up.

The bruising on my arms and legs is spreading and is now sore to the touch. Swelling has not receded as I thought it would. Don’t know what that’s all about either.  Low Platelets?  Dunno, but will find out in the morning.

Taking it one hour at a time. It is what it is. I’ll deal with whatever comes up as it happens.

And so it goes.


Throwback Thursday

Weekend at Bear Mountain State Park, New York - 1976. 

Weekend on Bear Mountain in the Fall. Beautiful place. All other pics were of my Ex and have been thrown away. There is only this one of me.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hemoglobin and Homemade Jewish Penicillin

Taking one look at me the doctor was amazed that I’d broken nothing in the fall. Still swollen and badly bruised in places I can’t imagine would hit the floor in such a fall, unless I happen to bounce once or twice. Now, there’s an image for you.

Hemoglobin still lower than it ought to be, so I received another unit of blood this afternoon. I thought this might be the case, so I prepared in advance. Nexus was fully charged and helped make the 3.5 hours go that much faster. I seem to be on an Historical novel kick at present that are engaging, fairly well written, with special attention to even minor historic bits.

One of the volunteers made home cooked chicken noodle soup, you know, Jewish Penicillin, and brought it in to go with the lunch sandwiches prepared for the patients.  I love the soup, but the packaged stuff is so full of salt and preservatives that I almost never eat it, except in emergencies.  I had a huge mug of the stuff and it was perfect. 

I feel better this evening. Hoping to sleep better tonight, as well. I should feel the positive impact of extra platelets and blood by tomorrow. I have no where to go and no errands to run, so I’ll stick close to home and maybe do some laundry.

And since it’s beginning of Autumn I may just make a big pot of soup myself.  I should have the energy to make that happen.

Right now I am exhausted. Completely wrung out and ready to sleep into the new day feeling like new again.  May it be so.

And so it goes.

I was Floored, Literally

Before anything else I must say that I made the best smothered pork chops Saturday evening.  The Sazerac certainly did its part in making them so.  There were parts of the recipe that I’d forgotten and the cocktail helped my memory enormously. Yes, I could only eat one, but that means there are 2 more delicious meals to look forward to in the week ahead. 

It was a lazy, typical Autumn Sunday here. Foggy, misty, gray skies and little breeze to speak of. After a brief walk on the boardwalk I was short of breath and very damp, indeed. No, I didn’t take a slicker. Came home, took a shower, shaved, and made breakfast. 

For some reason I was anxious all day. Too much time alone, I guess.  I was also tired and went back to bed to read and fell asleep again. I didn’t feel right when I woke up. Not at all refreshed.

Poured at glass of iced water The first clue something was amiss was I couldn’t keep the water down. Nothing came up but the water.  Strange. 

Feeling kind of weak and dizzy, I thought it a good idea to put solid food in my stomach; have a few of those frozen entree things but nothing stirred my appetite.  I closed the freezer with the promise that I’d be back again later hoping my appetite would kick in and something would eventually strike my fancy.

I turned to leave the kitchen and miscalculating distances, crashed my right shoulder into the door frame.  This threw me off balance sending me into a sprawling pratfall onto the living room floor - flat on my face. I hit hard.

While lying there becoming intimately acquainted with my lovely pecan flooring, gathering my jumbled thoughts I assessed the body for any damage. Breathing was difficult, I was stunned and dizzy. When I realized everything moved and there was no pain, I got up slowly and made my way to the bed where I laid myself on top of the covers, still fully clothed.

Breathing heavily and shaky I tried to remember what had happened. It suddenly dawned on my frazzled brain that I had reached the lowest level of platelets and hemoglobin that my body could tolerate. Then I fell asleep.

And this is what I woke up to at 3:30 Monday morning.

Guess Who??
Taken  Monday morning at the Cancer Center. My glasses saved my head from hitting the floor, but I have these exquisite deep purple (my fave color) raccoon eyes, and large, swollen bruises on both legs and arms. (I can't wait until they begin to turn that lovely shade of Chartreuse.) This is what low platelets can do to you.

As long as I lay quietly in bed I was fine, but as soon as I had to exert myself - even go to the bathroom - I couldn’t get enough oxygen to keep me up right. 

My regular appointment for Labs was Tuesday, but I knew I wouldn’t make it that far ahead. I called the Center and they told me to come in right away. Gathered all the energy I could muster and made my way to the car. The outside air was cool and brisk so my shortness of breath was brief.

Plopped into a wheel chair, wheeled into Triage, port accessed, blood drawn, then wheeled into one of the bedrooms in the Infusion center to await results. What a surprise when they came: platelets=12, hemoglobin=5.3…we now know my limit and I know the signs to look for.  But, Oy!  at what a price!!!

Just to be safe, they did at CT scan of my head. I was told a tiny brain, gray matter of some kind, was detected, but no internal bleeding. Again, the glasses saved my head.

I received, replacement fluids, platelets, and 2 units of whole blood and was able to walk unassisted to my car 11 hours later.

Still weak and short of breath I was glad of my appointment with the doctor this morning.  At least it didn’t take 15 minutes to put on and tie shoes as it did a day ago. I’m in much better shape today.  Sore and swollen, but better. 

I'll know more later.

And so it goes.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Just a Thought: Taliban


The quote attributed to Reagan was in fact, true: "These Gentlemen are the moral equivalent of the founding fathers."   It's just wasn't made about the Taliban.

Sorry for the misinformation.  Thanks to Buckeyein Richmond for setting me straight. When I checked this out I didn't go deep enough and for that I am sorry. Close, but no cigar.

Here is the best explanation I could find to bring it all together. from Business Insider:

As the public debates some of the more controversial ways the US deals with foreign policy and safety, it's prudent to remember some of the less than fruitful foreign policy items where America invested its time and money. 
This photograph is from 1983, when Reagan and the CIA were dancing around the idea of arming Mujahadin fighters in order to fight back against Soviet incursion in Afghanistan. The result was a well-armed, well-trained group of jihadis who resisted (some say defeated) the onslaught of superior Soviet weaponry. 
Once the Soviets retreated, the U.S. lost interest and pulled the funding. Osama bin Laden took interest, and filled the vacuum, later fathering the Taliban. 
The rest, as they say, is history. 
Often erroneously paired with this photo is a Reagan quote, "These gentlemen are the moral equivalent of the founding fathers." 
Reagan was in fact referring to Nicaraguan fighters and another initiative to arm them, this time against the U.S.'s own treaties. 
We all know how that worked out as well.
Whomever Ronnie was referring to were certainly not at all like the founding fathers of these United States.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Debbie Reynolds to receive lifetime SAG award

Don’t know how I missed this news from the BBC, Singin’ in the Rain being my favorite musical of all time with An American in Paris coming in a close second. When I was 6 years old the reason for my love of the movie was certainly not Debbie.  No, it was Gene Kelly’s Ass!  Pure and simple. Yes, I most definitely was born this way!  But that’s a story for another time.
From BBC News:
Veteran screen star Debbie Reynolds is to be given a lifetime achievement award by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the organisation has announced. The 82-year-old, whose credits include Singin' In The Rain and TV sitcom Will and Grace, will receive her accolade at the SAG awards ceremony on 25 January. 
Reynolds, mother of Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, has also headlined a show at her own casino in Las Vegas. The award is the highest honour bestowed by the actors guild. It is given out each year to an individual who represents "the highest ideals of the acting profession". 
SAG president Ken Howard called Reynolds, who has been in showbusiness for 66 years, "a tremendously talented performer with a diverse body of screen and stage work". "Her generous spirit and unforgettable performances have entertained audiences across the globe, moving us all from laughter to tears and back again," he added.
Reynolds kick-started her career at the age of 16 by winning the Miss Burbank competition, where she was spotted by film studio executives.She had apparently entered the contest with the hope of winning a blouse and a scarf. 
The performer went on to appear in more than 50 movies, making her official screen debut in 1950. She was nominated for an Oscar for her lead role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, while her other notable roles included The Tender Trap and, later in her career, as Liberace's mother in Behind The Candelabra (2013). 
Reynolds also established a collection of Hollywood memorabilia containing hundreds of items, which was displayed at her Las Vegas hotel before being sold off to private collectors three years ago. 
Anticipating retirement in 1979, she also opened a facility in Hollywood where performers could rehearse in comfort, which has been used by Cher, Michael Jackson and Johnny Depp. But the performer continued working, stating in a 2011 interview that she intends to keep going until she "kicks it". 
Other figures who have received SAG's lifetime achievement honour over the years include Rita Moreno, who collected the award earlier this year, Shirley Temple, Elizabeth Taylor and James Cagney.

I am puzzled by something omitted from this story and that is, there is no mention of her Broadway musical “Irene” opening in 1973 where she had a three year run before the show went to London in 1976. An old friend was in that show and in the photo below. It is the original cast of Irene reunited for some reason. Friend Dennis is in the back row, second from the left. He's artistic director of his own theater company now. (As you can see, we share the same hairdo nowadays, too.)  I am so proud of him I could burst.

I've mentioned this before;  Dennis and I were born a few hours apart on the same day, same year, and until our mid-teens lived 10 houses away from one another in the same cul-de-sac, in New Orleans. 

And so it goes.

Attack of Vacuum-sealed Vintage Fashions

 (There's a movie title in there somewhere.)
The vacuum-released sweaters kept expanding overnight until I thought I was surrounded by Tribbles. Lest I be smothered by old fashion statements, I began unfolding them, laying them flat wherever I found a clear, flat spot to let them continue to air - - and continue to grow. And they have...FREE AT LAST!!!

To be honest, I don’t remember any of these. The box may have been sealed when (in my previous life) we were moving into the new townhouse back in 1997. Crew necks never go out of style, but where in Hell did the Boat necks come from? The cardigans are kind of iffy, and the turtlenecks are colorful, indeed. There is no odor that I can detect. 

I’m sure the contents were cleaned before being packed and sucked down to the thickness of a paperback book, but I’ll either throw them in the dryer with a fabric sheet, or take them to the cleaners, just to be safe.  Then they’re off to the thrift store just in time for the cold weather. And from what I’m reading lately, there will be much need for these this year.

Stopped at the deli for a sandwich - it’s been months since I’ve had one - a real, honest to goodness deli sandwich - and it was delicious. TV was on in the
background. I noticed that it wasn’t tuned to FOX, thank the goddess.

CNN Television news played on the wall and it was all so confusing; something about concentration camps, boxcars full of Xristian Xrazies being transported to Auschwitz, ‘er Detroit, or some equally dreadful place. 
They did a 12 minute segment on sales of the Apple iPhone 6 - as the lede - while the Scotland vote received short shrift and less than 5 minutes. And not one word about the Russian planes buzzing the air space of other countries.  Well, I guess they know more about what we’re interested in than we do…

Child beater Adrian Peterson said he’s not a bad parent…well of course he did.  Maybe I’ll share one of my own “bad parent” stories with you sometime. It’s not for today and it’s not pretty.

Senatorette Lindsey Graham (I do declare!) is having an attack of the vapors because something called ISIS is going to come here and kill us ALL as we sleep.  While the kids on the other side of the street, calling themselves the NOTNOT say otherwise. But does any of that amount to “Breaking News”?  I suppose it's "breaking news" if you're hearing it for the first time, but...I recall having read these stories a couple of days ago - in the real media. Oh, I guess I forgot about the spoon-feeding thing we do here with our newscasts toward the dumbing down of America.

I may have mentioned this before but it bears repeating: the talking heads of the news organizations in TV land are in serious need of the proper makeup for HD broadcasts. They all look like Tammy Faye Bakker, or better yet, were made up by an undertaker.  When the viewer can see the rocks of caked mascara or the flakes of pancake on the chin, you know you’ve got trouble. I’m just sayin’. 

All in all, I have to say that I am happy to be reminded of a few of the reasons I choose not have television service in my home.  It’s overwhelmingly filled with ‘the stoopid’ and little else.

I’m going to prepare curried pork chops smothered in onions and red cabbage for supper tonight. I’ll probably eat only one, but these are even better as leftovers.  

I am also going to indulge in another Sazerac cocktail before the cooking begins - sipping throughout the cooking process.  Sounds good to me.

And so it goes.


Edvard Munch's Caturday

Sometimes I feel this way, too.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday: NYC

Westside Highway El and Hudson River - 1979-80 (Click any image to embiggen.)

This decorative art deco designed wall was actually the right side of an entrance ramp from West Street up to the elevated section of the old West Side Highway, just south of the  Village. These were narrow roadways. Vehicles entered from the left in the photo and were northbound as they entered the highway above. This is where my Raleigh and I would usually enter the otherwise closed roadway, ride north and get off at 57th Street. Or, ride back if I was only out for an afternoon ride.

The remains of the Christopher Street Pier. A great place for villagers to get some sun, cruise, and have lunch by the river. One may have been asked to share a sandwich with someone already there. No strings. The Hudson didn’t stink so much anymore in those days. Thanks to Pete Seeger and his Clearwater Project. The pier was torn down a short time later. Note: This seemed the perfect shot with that beautiful schooner heading up river just about dead center amidst destruction.

Don’t remember the name of this pier, but it mirrors the previous state of the Christopher St. Pier and most piers south of it.  It too, came tumbling down within a few months. As did all the others in the years that followed.

And yes, another picture on the EL with the grand view of the Hudson and the New Jersey docks.  Behind me, on my right, those green buildings were (if memory serves) the docks for the Hoboken Ferries that ran from Manhattan to Hoboken. They were run by the Port of Authority or PATH. I don’t think they were in operation at the time.

I loved my life back then, village life, great friends, good job - and tending bar part-time at a village bar - enjoying everything Gotham had to offer. I lived there at just the right time (for me) to take it all in. 

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Punishment


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Free Day

For the first time in recent memory I actually slept in until 11 am today.  Unheard-of for me. Had made a couple of lists of possible things to do and places to visit, but ultimately, following a brief time on the beach as people enjoyed lunch on the benches by the ocean, I returned to the apartment, read a few blogs, ran a load of laundry, and found yet another box of sweaters in the deepest recesses of the closet. (Maybe if I keep going back I'll eventually be welcomed to Narnia.) These were vacuum-sealed many years a go, so I don’t know what to expect. 

I’ll break the seal and let them expand overnight. I have no idea what to expect or what sweaters these might be. Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about a new book to read. Finished the London Blitz Diary last night.  Quite good, that. Yes, I know we were subjected to quite severe rationing in this country, but at least we weren’t bombed daily or nightly for over a year.  I don’t know how they remained calm, let alone sane, when at any moment your home could be brought down upon your head.

There are a few other books waiting in the wings: the 2nd. in The Magicians trilogy, a diary of a road trip through India, another historic novel of the year leading to the Civil War 1860-61, and a bio of Nikola Tesla. 

I don’t know which I will begin this evening, but it will likely be one of these. Unless they fail to turn me on, then it’s time for an online search. I am always tempted to re-read something from my past to see if it holds up.  Usually it does, but I’m hoping to discover new writers who give me characters I can identify with and writing that holds my attention.

The body is sore from neck to thighs, but feeling rested, and the quiet is good for me today. It looks like the pre-school has moved out, so that’s another plus. No squealing kiddies to annoy the neighbors, or myself.  A very good thing, if it remains true.

I think I’ll indulge myself this evening with a Sazerac cocktail before supper. I can’t remember the last time I had one - maybe it was on the NOLA trip a year ago this week. That ought to make a difference in my soreness and level of pain.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Texting

I'd love to see this happen, just once.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

And Then There Are Days Like This...

I always like to plan my day, especially if it is packed with events, meetings,
appointments, etc.  Learned my lesson years ago about scheduling too close together - not leaving enough breathing time for possible delays, so with any luck, I am always either early or on time for whatever is next on the gay agenda.

Then there are those days that da Debbil seems to laugh out loud and say, “oh, you think this will run smoothly, do you?” (followed by his evil laugh) and of course,  1 or more incidents, obstacles get thrown in my path and I get mortified and muddled.

Today was one of those days. Of course the medical establishment was heavily involved - and to blame - but (as usual) it could only be sorted out by ‘self’ with much running around from office to office, lab to lab.  My entire medical history is available to 4 thrilling CDs that I had to pick up, deliver, and sign for at various places at certain times of the day.  That’s what made me late. 

By the time it was all signed, sealed and delivered I was10 minutes late for the final chemo treatment and infusion of a single unit of blood ordered for this afternoon. Hurry up and Wait! I don’t like being late. Period. It’s annoying and rude to be so and I avoid it if at all possible. 

Of course, when I finally arrived at the Center, they discovered my vitals were all over the charts, nothing was normal. It took a good half hour for calm to be restored to my mind and body, and since I was spiking a moderate fever, that helped to slow me down. Tylenol was given to bring down the fever - they will not infuse if fever is beyond 100.5’, and I was at 100.8’  The blood was late in arriving, so that worked out well. 

The Center staff was having a similar day. Irate patients and emergencies made the place almost hostile. Eventually, they got my drip going before more Hell broke loose. Blood arrived, but so many staff were otherwise engaged in some emergency that it took another half hour to get back to me. Once they shot me with Benadryl, I was left to my own devices - in my own little relaxed world. 

Then the battery in the Nexus died, so there was no reading opportunity to take me through the next 2.5 hours. I could have sworn I charged it yesterday, but I guess not. Brain fog, again. 

The Chemo was given first.  It was noted that during this final cycle the drug has been burning my flesh from the inside out leaving a spot about 4” round with dry peeling skin and stinging like Hell. This had not happened previously. Thank the Goddess these are the last injections of the fourth and final cycle of this nasty treatment regime.

I don’t know if this treatment will ultimately prove worthwhile, or what comes next if it doesn’t, but I am just happy that it’s over.

I just got in at 6 pm., too tired to cook a proper meal, so it will be a frozen entree tonight. After supper I plan to finish the London Blitz Diary of 1941 (which is on the iPad, not the Nexus, or I could have finished it today) which has been alternately a scary and tedious ride.  I don’t know how these people remained sane for so long. But, that was the British throughout the war.

Anyway. Made it through the day.  It’s over. Home safe and sound. Barring some violent drug reaction overnight, tomorrow is a free day. If the weather is anything like today - high of 74’ F - I will be out and about early with no plans at all, so who knows what I might get myself into…

And so it goes.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

RandomThoughts at Random

After 5 days of Chemo shots with a minor crisis thrown in, it’s great to relax and allow the body to heal for a couple of days.  There are purple, red, and yellow goose-egg size lumps at the injection sites and they are hot (not hawt!) to the touch.  OK, now stop that!

Some commenters have asked for pictures of recent outings and I’m sorry, but some of the tribe hate their pictures taken, especially me darlin’ Irish lass, Linda, unless she gets really loaded. It’s a shame, really.  She’s quite a handsome woman with bright mischievous eyes and a great smile. In the old days I could match her bip for bip, but no more.  

Anyway, here are a few recent pics of the kilts and my festive sun shielding hat.  Yes, taken indoors, by remote.  Sorry about that.  I hate posing.  Have I said that before? (Click any image to embiggen)

The Utility Kilt with the Kilt pin from Calvin, but without belt and sporran..

The infamous wide brim hat and sporting my JMG tee shirt. On the back of the shirt it is written: 
They Wish We Were Invisible.
We're Not.  
Let's Dance.
I love the shirt.

The Black Watch Tartan Kilt, with sporran. No dress shirt or flashings. 
Just an old tee shirt that reads: 
In the beginning there was the word.
And the word was chocolate.
And it was good.

This is what's behind me in the photos. 


My diet lately has been less than thrilling and much less than my body requires to function and heal; usually one small, but full meal, a snack of cheese or fruit, and one or two Ensure to keep me going.  Not enough.

But it’s tiring to prepare, cook, eat, and clean up when your heart isn’t in it.  This morning, I made an effort to rectify that. Did some grocery shopping, loaded up on steak, pork loin, lamb, chicken, in various shapes and sizes - for single meals and stir-fry’s, as well as stews and hearty soups. If the energy just isn’t there for a steak, potato, vegetable dinner, there will be high protein soup or stew ready for the microwave.  

Eating out isn’t an option for many reasons, but I  enjoy food more in the company of others. (I’m Italian and French, what would you expect?) I dislike dining alone. Always have. I’d rather do takeout than sit alone at a table in a busy restaurant dining room. A table that could have seated 2 or 4 people comfortably. And dining at the bar is out.  Too many people in close proximity. 

While shopping I was recognized by a young man who remembered me from Labor Day HH at Stoney Lonen. He was one who asked questions about kilts and was considering a purchase. Turns out, his girlfriend went crazy when she heard and really thinks he would be super sexy in a kilt. I have to agree he’d look good in one, good legs and all that, but ‘supper sexy’  I guess is in the eye of the beholder.  

I’m a terrible judge of age, but I’d say he’s in his early 30s and in good shape. Anyway, he’s hot to trot. I gave him my email address and said I would send him any info he’s not been able to find for himself.  

Now would you believe that in my many searches for kilts, Utility, Sport, Tartans, etc., I discovered that the State of Delaware has its own tartan plaid. I thought it pretty cool and really striking colors, too. Made to order at Scotweb  and that means they’re very expensive. With all the options, around $300 or $400, when all is said and done. But from what I hear, it’s worth every penny.

It’s Bike week in Ocean City, MD, with the massive spillover invading RB.  No matter.  They’re all cool and professional people and not disruptive at all. Looking for good food, drink, music and other entertainments. No, not that. They are hooked on trivia and karaoke.  Don’t ask.  Town will be hopping again tonight.

I’m ready for supper and a trip to Happily Ever After for a short visit. Not ever after. It’s too soon for that.

And so it goes.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Movie Memories and Music

OK, this is going to be one of those “Brain Fog” posts, so do try to keep up, or at least hang on as long as you feel it’s worth it.

Death has taken away some very special people recently, including Sir Richard Attenborough. Now you may have thought I'd be thinking more of Joan Rivers, but no, my friends. It’s Sir Richard for me this time round.

A brilliant character actor, dramatic actor, great clown, and one of the finest directors the film world has ever seen.  I was reading an Obit penned by his naturalist brother, Sir David, who is a genius in his own right, and putting the 2 together made me think of (hang on here) the original Dr. Dolittle film which starred Rex Harrison as Doctor D., Samantha Eggar, Anthony Newley, and Sir
Richard who played a jovial chap with an extraordinary animal in his company.  The famous “Push-me-Pull-you” as seen above (you had to be there).

Anyway, Attenborough provided a brief and sparkling presence and as I remember, larger than life, even for such a far fetched concept.  You believed.

Apropos of nothing.  Leslie Bricusse (Anthony Newley’s writing partner of many years) wrote a very touching song for the film that suddenly gave me an ear-worm. It's a love song.  Here is a cover of that song by Linda Eder: 

Beautiful, no?  No ifs, ands, or buts, about it. Well, now here’s the song from the soundtrack of the film sung by the Doctor, Rex Harrison.  Guess who he’s singing to and for whom the song was originally written?  You’ll hear it at the very end of the song; the last phrase.

Beautiful, just beautiful. Dear Sophie. 

Isn’t it strange how our chemo-saturated, addled brains toss thoughts about like small boats in a swift moving stream? Just another trip through the Pointless Forest, sans Oblio & Arrow. How my choo-choo-train of thought brought me to this place is beyond me, but I’ve enjoyed the trip.  I hope you did, too.

And so it goes.

Neutrality Caturday

Kitteh has the right idea.


Friday, September 12, 2014

The iPhone 6 ‘Bigger Than Bigger’??!?

Um, What?

I just received an email from Apple suggesting that I pre-order the new iPhone 6 or 6+ at the regular price, of course.  So, I checked it out.

Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the whole idea of the cell technology was to think small, compact, fit-in-your-pocket convenience and versatility.  

So, why are the phones getting bigger and bigger. At 5.5 inches, the iPhone 6+ close to the size of a Kindle, less than an inch smaller than my Nexus 7 droid e-reader, which comes in at 6.3 inches.  Hardly a comfortable fit for shirt, jeans, or a suit pocket.

I don’t understand how this is a real selling point. Doesn’t matter how light the thing is, it’s still big and I would think quite cumbersome. People tend to slip their phones in the back pocket of their shorts or jeans and I can see where there may be more than a few cracked cases if one forgets this thing is there.  I've seen this happen after too many margaritas at the restaurant. So, I know of what I speak.

Maybe Apple will introduce a line of holsters (too large to call them cases) to attach to your belt or sling over the shoulder for that quick-draw answering a call, or text.   

I see there are wide angle and telephoto clip-on lenses for iPhone -  - so what’s next?  Pretend you’re Cecil B. DeMille shooting video in Cinemascope with an anamorphic add-on lens? How far is this going to go?

Just a rhetorical, really.  And people are waiting in all kinds of weather for this thing to go on sale.  It boggles the mind.  Truly, it does. 

I’m happy with my iPhone 4 because it does everything I need, plus more than I’ll ever use.  I like it best because it was a FREE upgrade through my carrier. I think I’ll stick with this smaller one until they discontinue support for it.

And so it goes.


Headline of the Day

Stop laughing...This is serious stuff!  From Talking Points Memo:

Palin Clan Reportedly Involved In Epic 'Dog Pile' Fistfight At Snowmobile Party

Click the headline to read the whole story. Of course, Caribou Barbie is saying she wasn't even there, but traveling.  Uh - huh!

And so it goes.


Just a Thought: Oysters

Closer to Heaven than you can even imagine.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Pacific Coast

It was the 1970s. Don't remember which trip or where I was. Just know it was one of the many scenic overlook stops on the coastal highway.

I think these were shot the same day at two different spots off the highway.

Not sure if we're still in California or Oregon at this point. No matter. I was made to pose for this one.  I hate posing. I do remember that weather was picture perfect for the entire trip. Spent most time outdoors, even meals at restaurants with outdoor seating.  It was a charmed holiday.

And so it goes.

And so it goes.

September 11, 2014

h/t: JMG


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chemo, Crisis, Happy Hour & The Cloud

Third day of the final 7 for this cycle of Chemo and it’s another whole new
misadventure. Rash has returned to the arms, hands and wrists are swollen to double their normal size, and skin is flaking off of my body - everywhere. Charming, no?

Mini-crisis yesterday when I spiked a fever before the Chemo injections.  Temperature had to be brought down before the OK was given to go ahead. Took about 1.5 hours.  Like, forever!
This meant that Happy Hour with Sasha was  postponed until today.  And it worked out well for us both. Since we were both out on the road and out of town, it was easy to text and coordinate times for the meet up and cocktails. We settled on FINS, one of the restaurants that also has a place in town, but same owners, staff, chefs, etc. Sasha was a few minutes late, having to pick up one of his sons at Day Care, and return him home.

We made up for lost time quickly. He had lots to talk about and I was happy to listen. Not much for me to share except for the daily adventures in medical care and that’s just way too repetitious. We caught up on everything possible, the summer season, customers who still ask for me, and his concern for my health, while knocking back HH drink specials, chowing down on fresh, hot & spicy boiled shrimp, oysters, and fish and chips. 

We stayed way beyond HH, but the barman charged us at the HH prices for our extra drinks.  Nice gesture. Although we didn’t know them by name, the bar staff knew us from the business, too and treated us very well.

One barman tagged me as gay and so when Sasha arrived assumed we were a couple.  After 2 drinks Sasha started playing along. This particular barman was not amused and began to ignore us until one of the other guys set him straight - so to speak. It was funny really, because Sasha gave me a big hug before we left the pub, then another one outside the front door.  He said, let’s fuck with his homophobic head, shall we? As we parted, he kissed me on both cheeks, then the mouth.  What can I say…he’s Russian!!!

He’s taking his lovely wife out to dinner for her birthday tonight to a favorite restaurant from when they were dating - before marriage and the boys. It’s to be a surprise and our little get together was a great way to throw her off any scent she may have had about his plans. 

Sasha is not yet 30 and an incurable romantic. He loves his wife very much and it’s a joy to watch them when they’re together in public. Very low key, but very devoted to one another. 

Needless to say the bar food was more than enough for me - more than I’ve had at one sitting in a while, but it was so good to be with my friend, laughing, drinking, eating, and trading stories that I’ll sleep well tonight.

Now if only the itching and swelling would disappear life would be very good indeed.  

Bother!  I’ve supposedly downloaded the new (free) U2 album from iTunes, but I  can’t find it. I don’t know how to use the damned cloud and there is no button on the page to offer guidance. Another one of those “Apple is so simple, it’s right in front of your face, but you don’t see it” kind of things.

In all fairness to myself, I have never downloaded music from iTunes. Only copied my own music CDs into the program then shared with the phone and iPod.  And this content resides on the hard drive, not the cloud. No idea where to start looking. Sigh.

And so it goes.


Just a Thought: Last


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

'Internet Slowdown' is Coming

This goes down tomorrow. You are hereby warned.

Top websites partaking in September 10 day of action in support of net neutrality. From Common Dreams:
Calling attention to the widespread disruption that will occur if Internet 'fast lanes' become the norm for wealthy websites, grassroots groups have organized a widespread Internet Slowdown Day on Wednesday to voice their support for net neutrality. 
A number of the Internet's largest companies including Etsy, Kickstarter, Mozilla, reddit, Foursquare, Vimeo, and Wordpress have announced that they will also join in the September 10th action by displaying an alert with a symbolic "spinning wheel of death" loading symbol and pushing individuals to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission, Congress and the White House.
"As that wheel spins, the rules about how the Internet works are being redrawn," Amy Goodman wrote this week.
As Goodman explains, large Internet service providers, or ISPs— such as Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon— are "trying to change the rules that govern your online life," by creating a two-tiered Internet where certain content providers will pay to get preferred access on an Internet "fast lane."
Current FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is currently weighing a new classification for the Internet that could be a "huge boon" for big cable companies, according to protest organizers Fight for the Future. Those participating are calling on Wheeler and the federal government to protect Internet democracy and reclassify the web as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, which will mandate that ISPs deliver all content at equal speeds.
The FCC is expected to issue a final rule as soon as the end of the year.
Feel free to pass this on, or at least the above link to the original story at Common Dreams.

And so it goes.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Good Humor, Finding Chemo

 A drizzling rain met me as I made my way to the car for the trip to the Cancer Center for the first of seven Chemo injections this afternoon.  These seven are the fourth and final cycle for this drug and what happens after this is anybody’s guess.

It was raining just enough to make the roadways slippery to the unsuspecting, unaware driver and as I entered the coastal highway from the city a Rover on my left decided she had to be in front of this line of incoming traffic, so she gunned it and as the traffic light at the next intersection changed -idiot that she is - tried to stop. She couldn’t.

Maybe afraid of getting a ticket for running a light, or sheer panic, she slammed on her brakes and the rover did a triple pirouette (fortunately not turning over) and coming to a stop across 2 lanes and facing oncoming traffic.  There was, however, no applause.

I slowed down and stayed in the farthest right lane and got out of there as fast as the 4 cylinders could go. I was not going to wait around for the ending of this unnecessary madness. I will never understand why drivers do the stoopid things they do.

Without delay I arrived at the center and the Labs were done almost immediately. I took the pre-meds and waited for the lab results. Meanwhile the Chemo cocktail was being mixed and I got to relax as the pre-meds took hold.

The CBC wasn’t good, although the white count is good. Everything else is low.  I’m scheduled for one unit of whole blood tomorrow morning.  Why not 2, I asked. The doctor is concerned about the iron level already in my body and wants to maintain levels just where I am over the basic limits and keep me there until the Chemo does its thing…or not.

While awaiting the Chemo injections, a text from friend Sasha arrived with an invitation to cocktails at Happy Hour tomorrow or Wednesday afternoon. I immediately text back, ‘yes, either day.’  He’s been trying to take me out for HH for about a year, maybe more. Schedules, family, kids, sickness have always been in the way.  Maybe that will end this week.

We’ve not been able to have a one-on-one chat in a long time.  He needs it, I can tell.  I need it, too.  He needs to know what’s going on with me - the whole story.  I want to be the one to tell him. 

The Chemo syringes arrive and 2 of my favorite nurses are to administer the goods. The injections are administered simultaneously (and at the same time) on opposite sides of the body.  I always tease and say things like; “It’s like synchronized swimming, you know, think of Esther Williams.”  This always gets them going.  

Then as they count down and do the deed, I comment on whether they were in unison or not. If not, I jokingly admonish the one who was off time. There’s always the “I promise I’ll practice and do better next time” and we all know that next time, will be tomorrow. Yes, it’s a game and we laugh and it keeps us all a little closer to sanity for a few minutes.

There’s always a slight wave of nausea following the injections, so I rode that out, then drove home.

Good news is no immediate uglies to report.  Bad news is the damned rash has already made an appearance. The itching is becoming unbearable. So this is what that one-pound jar of the special cream is for, eh?  Lather everything and do it now.

I’m done. It’s going to be an interesting night. During each cycle something bizarre has ravaged my body and it’s been a different plague each time.  Let’s see what this cycle has in store for this tired old body now. 

Transfusion at 8 am, tomorrow.  Hopefully, Happy Hour with Sasha at 5 pm.  May it be so.

And so it goes.


Just a Thought: Nuts


Reading to Escape & Books Out of Nowhere.

I’ve been reading waaay too much lately.  If my appetite for food was half of what it has been for books, I'd be bed-bound today. Not giving myself breathing space between books or genres as plots, characters, incidents, etc, all mash up together in my head. 

Aside from the original Pern books, I’ve already read most of those written after the initial trilogy, also, too. Heatstroke: nature in an age of global warming, Storm Clouds Rolling In:
1860-1861 (civil war beginnings), The Last Man, Tomorrowland - the 1964-65 NY World’s Fair, The Kinshield Saga (another trilogy), Moon Shot (Updated, 2011) - NASA’s beginnings from Mercury to Apollo by Alan Shepard & Deke Slayton, and The Magicians (book 1 of another trilogy) by Lev Grossman.

I'm looking forward to reading Outlander, but since it's almost 900 pages, think I'll wait until the weather changes and spending time outdoors will be even less frequent than now. There hasn't been much else to do being stuck at home, and all
that, but I had to come up for air. So, in an effort to free up brain space, and organize that already digested material, I set the eReader aside for a couple of days.

Then last evening I opened the iPad and discovered a book titled: World War II London Blitz Diary, Volume two, 1941. I have no idea where it came from - it’s not a Kindle title, I checked - or how long it’s been on the tablet. Although it sounded interesting and is something I would be curious about, especially British History and women’s history, I do not know how it  got on my iPad. I know I didn’t buy it.  Then I read the Overview:

Do you find yourself watching reality TV? Well, if you do, click off that set and head for the real thing. These diary entries, written 70 years ago by Ruby Thompson, who had to simultaneously put up with the Blitz bombing of London and a marriage that was as damaging to a woman's psyche as those Nazi bombs were to the city, will take you back to a time and put you in the middle of the history the way no boring textbook summary of the war could. What was it really like for the individuals who bore the fear, rationing, and destruction created by the Blitzkrieg against London? How were women stuck in bad marriages, held captive not only by convention, but by their own mindset that had been drilled into them from birth? Ruby's fierce intelligence, powers of observation, clear writing, and analysis of her miserable husband and unhappy marriage provide insight into both history and the psychological state of a woman stuck partly by her era and partly by her own sense of what was possible. A fascinating revelation for anyone interested in World history and women's history. 
Of course I don’t watch ‘reality TV’ or any other TV for that matter. But this peaked my curiosity. I read half of it last night before finally turning off the lights. I found it difficult to put down. Fascinating, deeply moving and embarrassingly personal at times.

The story behind how the diaries came to be published is a good tale in its own right.  This is book two of what I think is a trilogy - this woman was a prolific writer - candid and passionate.

I ran a few searches today and it turns out to be a Barnes & Noble NOOK title, which is probably why it’s on the iPad and not the Kindle reader. I wonder if it is possible for someone to send copies of NOOK books to other readers as it is from Kindle to Kindle.

Anyway, it’s a mystery, but I am the happy recipient of someone’s gift. As soon as I’ve finished the errands and chores for the day, it will be just the thing to take my mind off the fact that another round of Chemo begins this afternoon. Joy, anyway!

And so it goes.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sunrise, Summer’s Return, and Slow DSL.

Still fighting this upper respiratory infection and occasional elevated temperature, but after spending all of Thursday & Friday cooped up behind
closed doors, Neupogen shots and medicating as prescribed, I had to bust out.

Watching the sunrise always lifts me up and although it was still cloudy from the overnight storms, it made for a magnificent show off the east coast over the Atlantic. There were few people around, a few folks in slickers walking their dogs, some cyclists and a runner or two. The die-hards!

I sat in peace and enjoyed my iced coffee just happy to be out and among the living. I walked the entire length of the boardwalk (a mile) before heading back home.  It was getting hotter by the minute making it difficult to breathe. It began to sprinkle again, as another storm was on the way. 

As I arrived, Verizon trucks were parking up and down the street.  They’ve been doing lots of work in town, especially, improving and updating wiring in the old bungalows on streets like mine. Since I’ve been having speed issues with my DSL lately, I stopped a friendly looking chap and asked if their work could be causing interference with my upload and download speeds. 

The look on his face said it all, but he regurgitated the company line about speeds varying due to traffic, the plan you have and blah, blah, blah. He did affirm that my phone service had probably been disrupted over the last month or two(which would disrupt the DSL as well), and that I should call the business office to file a complaint;  there may be some compensation for my being inconvenienced. I thought I’d been promised this already, but have not seen proof on the monthly statements.

The fact that they’re working on a weekend was surprising, but the weather has been stormy and hot,  I assume they are on some sort of schedule to get the job finished.

The work being done here is wiring many older homes for the first time for high speed and television services. Many of the bungalows have been sold or changed hands within families and they want to have all the channels of the stoopid available here that they’re running away from at home.  Makes perfect sense.  Not!

There is a lot of infrastructure work to be done and Verizon’s man said they’d likely to be in the area into the next month or more. So, I can look forward to more disruptions in both phone and internet service for a while.  

We pay the highest prices for the poorest quality service in the western world and there’s no end in sight. And the whole idea of bundling all services into a single package with one company seems absolutely insane to me, especially after the Comcast fiasco of a few weeks ago when a few thousand customers lost all services for a few days.  This is 2014 and there is no reason for that to happen outside of a natural disaster. 

Lungs refreshed, filled with good salt air, I opened the windows again for a few hours to do the same for the apartment. Until the heat became too oppressive. Feeling energetic, I made a warm potato salad, one of friend Peter’s great recipes, and enjoyed it with my lunch.

The cough remains annoying and I am tired now.  A good kind of tired. For what it’s worth, I found out the world is still out there, as is the ocean, and I can rest easy this evening. 

And so it goes.

Forgetful Caturday

We all have those moments, don't we?

Friday, September 5, 2014

BP May Be Fined Up to $18 Billion for Spill in Gulf

Hot on the heels of the announced Halliburton settlement comes this, making me think that there is still more covered up.  From the New York Times:
NEW ORLEANS — In the four years since the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers and sent millions of barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has spent more than $28 billion on damage claims and cleanup costs, pleaded guilty to criminal charges and emerged a shrunken giant.
But through it all, the company has maintained that it was not chiefly responsible for the accident, and that its contractors in the operation, Halliburton and Transocean, should shoulder as much, if not more, of the blame.
On Thursday, a federal judge here for the first time bluntly rejected those arguments, finding that BP was indeed the primary culprit and that only it had acted with “conscious disregard of known risks.” He added that BP’s “conduct was reckless.”
By finding that BP was, in legal parlance, grossly negligent in the disaster, and not merely negligent, United States District Court Judge Carl J. Barbier opened the possibility of $18 billion in new civil penalties for BP, nearly quadruple the maximum Clean Water Act penalty for simple negligence and far more than the $3.5 billion the company has set aside.
The rest of the piece is HERE.

And so it goes.
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