Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21st, 2011 A Week of Change

I hope to see some changes this week. The plan has been tweaked. I will now receive the full brain radiation instead of the "Steriotactic" focused tumor killer rays, at least at first. Despite the rumor, or misunderstanding, the Steriotactic radiation is not off the table nor have I been "removed" as a candidate for it. I didn't know this was an election. Everything is still on the table. The last radiation treatment is scheduled for December 6th when I'll get a CT Scan and/or MRI to see the results. Then, it is on to chemo and the Mack Truck crash every two or three weeks.

The change, I'm told, is that my steroid medication will be reduced and I will slowly be weaned off of it. It is much too powerful to continue. So, I get the impression that it will be cut by 1/4th or 1/2 about mid-week and gradually reduced over the next few weeks. This will apparently cause mood swings along with short-term memory loss. Apparently, the short-term memory loss is somewhat permanent, which sort of defies the definition of short-term memory. By definition, it means temporary. But, my equilibrium should return to an even keel. So, I may be walking around in the backyard in a circle, yelling at someone for drinking my coffee that I have in my hand!

I will continue Lasik until the end of my supply, another two weeks or so, to get the water under control.

The short term memory problem suggests I need to make a few lists:
1. Medicine schedule, with some means to adjust it as time passes.
2. Log ins and user id's to various things. I'm sure none of these are in long-term memory.
3. WayMar plan:
    a. Move the home base to Indiana. (I don't recall that Indiana has a registration requirement at all).
    b. De-register it in California; Secretary of State.
    c. File last club tax return to Franchise Tax Board (next year).
    d. Have Dan pack up the file and take it home with him.
    e. Remove myself as an officer.
4. Don't leave the toaster plugged in.
5. Don't go upstairs to talk on the phone when there's a pot on the stove.

We've been eating our version of "quick" chili, five cans of Stags Steakhouse Chili, four cans of stewed tomatoes, one pound of the leanest browned ground beef, heated until hot. It looks like we're in for a treat perhaps tomorrow night; Manhattan Clam Chowder. Sounds good to me.

Today's buzz treatment lasted a few minutes longer, I think. I walked in at 10:10am, they strapped me down on my back with my head in a plastic holder and a tight fitting formed face mask that all snaps to an X-Ray table. It keeps my head perfectly still. They pull the machine over my head. A buzzing sound starts and blue lights appear behind my closed eyes. It lasts a minute or so, goes off, waits, and starts again for another minute or so. They unstrap me and I get up and leave. Zapped. There is no noticeable before or after effect.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 17th, 2011 Day After The Verdict

Yesterday's Oncology visit brought us the verdict and the plan. I have stage four lung cancer that has traveled to the brain, and to my adrenal glands. All other organs, bones, lymph nodes, etc., are free and clear and I am otherwise healthy.

I have four tumors on my brain, the largest is a quarter sized tumor in the Cerebellum area causing the equilibrium imbalance. Two other dime-sized tumors and one BB sized are in various other places. These are the focus of the first part of the attack. I expect to get a call today from Radiation Therapy for immediately starting daily radiation treatments to target and kill these tumors. The targeted treatment will be followed by full brain radiation treatment. Total treatment to last two to three weeks. It is expected to succeed. I can expect temporary memory loss. This treatment will also allow me to stop taking the super-steroid drug I'm on.

After that, I will receive chemo treatments for the two lung tumors and the two adrenal gland tumors. These treatments may not be so successful. Remission is not expected. I got the impression that some level of holding can be attained for a period of time, perhaps years. The chemo will be administered once every three weeks to allow some recovery time between treatments. After that, I'll be monitored.

Comic relief comes with another pill, Lasix, to get rid of all of this water, about ten gallons (15 extra pounds). "You'll go a lot," he said. Well, yes, a day later and I can already see that. The problem is that "a lot" is a lot of trips and I would have preferred fewer trips. So, we're going to have a logistics problem of getting from A to B, quickly, when going to these treatments. I'm very likely to get very ornery if there's "Wal-Mart" stop or a "Macey's" stop along the way. This may get interesting!

My spirits are high and I feel fine. Looking forward to the morning and diners with friends and good company and cheer whenever it comes.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15th, 2011 Symptom Update

I can see that it's time for a symptom update, especially to get rid of those terms that are no longer true; "dizzy" and "seasick." Those two terms applied the last week of October when everything seemed to hit the fan, the inability to eat, upset stomach, and wobbly walk that finally led me to the doctor. So, please don't tell people I'm "dizzy" or having "dizzy spells."

What is happening is an "un-centered" feeling where I have to move my feet to center my stance or walk or I roll on my heel or ball of my feet to gain balance. I appears to be slightly progressing. I use my cane all through the house now. My feet are swollen (my softest socks hurt), too - water I suspect. I've cut salt intake to zilch, too. Going up the stairs is a problem and I now have to step one step at a time, with the cane, instead of a step-after-step climb because it is such an effort to do the latter. Damn, this came on fast! I'm going to bring up the swelling and climbing effort at the meeting tomorrow to see what they say. Perhaps a medicine adjustment is needed or something else is going on.

I'm still in good spirits, in spite of the attempted smothering. Maybe there's a pill for that too.

Looking forward to tomorrow and the next step. I'll be fine...


Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11th, 2011 Update

The Oncology appointment has been moved to Wednesday, November 16th at 10:20am. The pathology hasn't had time to cook...


November 11th, 2011

The PET is over and I'm set for a good diner tonight with friends and a quiet weekend. The PET went fine, except for a small inconvenience. I didn't get as comfortable as I would have wished. Once on that table, and they put a small pillow over my brow to hold my head still, they ask me to raise my arms and place them on the pillow edges, then they placed a strap across my arms to help hold them. Well, it didn't exactly hold them in place. I had to keep them from slipping off the edge of the pillow - for about an hour. I caught myself tensing up a number of times during the time, so I couldn't really relax. But, that one is over.

But, I did have that juicy hamburger afterwards, and half of Chris'. I then proceeded to eat the leftover Chicken Alfredo the rest of the day. Goodness! If I'm not careful, I'm going to get fat. A fat Dave. Imagine that?

Bird update:
The Hummingbirds were out yesterday, the one, a female I think, wanting a drink from the feeder and the male rushing in to keep her away. I noticed that the sparrows get out of the way when the Hummers play, scattering in all directions. I also noticed that when the Hummers shoot through the apple tree, leaves fly in all directions. I'm getting the impression that they are not all that careful flying at full speed.

The other day before it rained, I caught out of the corner of my eye a larger bird plunge into one of the bowl pines, then caught sight of him jumping from limb to limb. He was a Red-Tailed Hawk, a fairly large bird. The doves scattered when he lit. He left in a minute or so, empty handed. The next day about noon when it was raining, I saw him dive in again, but didn't see where he went, and the doves scattered as before. Not seeing him move, I turned my back to our backyard. Later, after the sun came out and dried things off a little, I noticed downy dove feathers being blown about on the patio and a small pile of dove feathers on the lawn. He had scored a hit, apparently, and killed a dove in our backyard. He must have carried the dove off to his nest. Or, maybe it was a she.

Next appointment: Monday, 8:50am, with Oncology. The diagnostic results... and a plan.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10th, 2011 The PET Scan

Up at 3:47. It's a little more reasonable time. But, it meant that if I'm going to have one cup of coffee before my 10:45 PET Scan and do that six hour fasting period, I'd better get hot. I had one cup, without sugar, or anything with the suffix "trose" or "dose" in it, straight black, and the deed was done.

It's turning out that, in spite of a previous post that I said I was regimented to a particular blend of coffee, we may like this unauthorized blend (how fine it was ground) we bought. Well, "I" didn't buy it. I'm just using "we" to suggest that I'm probably part of the problem, here.

But, the question now is: Just what blend did we buy? Apparently, that's not known. It is definitely a finer grind, very close to the consistency of powder. That could mean some Espresso blend, a much higher notch on the grinder. So, if we're going to buy the same blend again, we now go into trial and error mode. Hell, that could take all year!

I see the Odorous Ants are back. A little line leads to our sink this morning. Now, I can use sugar on them in my special mix of Ant Killer: Two cups of hot water, ten teaspoons of pure sugar and one teaspoon of Borax. Dab a napkin in it, and sit it on the trail. They'll disappear soon and be gone for a good long time. I don't think their Queen likes the stuff her workers bring her. Makes her sick, or die.

I'm glad I talked to Dan about the PET. He gave me a few good ideas. First, I need a scan from the top of my head to my thighs or so, because I have brain masses they need to see. Good idea. Apparently a typical scan doesn't start at the top, but about the eyes.

Next is the no sugars. Those little devil masses love sugar, apparently, and they soak it up. So, if I starve them for six or more hours, that radioactive-sugar-solution they put in my veins gravitates to them and lights them up so the scanner can see them better. Makes sense to me.

The PET itself will last 45 minutes to one hour during which I need to lay still. I can manage that. I just have to make sure that I don't have a bony elbow laying on cold metal or something that annoys me. So, I'm going to get as comfortable as possible and fall asleep. After the PET, I'm going to eat a juicy hamburger.

Tomorrow night Mo and Geo are paying us a visit and we're going to have steamed Tiger Prawns, soup and salad, a butter-garlic-lemon dip and perhaps a baked potato. Simple meal with plenty of companionship. What more is there?

I have to say that I've received so much encouragement and uplifting comments, that I'm beginning to think that it is those things that cures the soul. If you want depression medication, let friends give you a big dose of that. It's what we humans love most. I've even carried the thought to the point where I'm positive that I personally know two powerful Angels on Earth and, what's more, I can pose an undeniable argument that proves it. Ha! We were using the wrong definition of them, looking in all of the wrong places and using the wrong detection tools. You can't find them by trying to look directly at them, because like any invisible celestial body, you won't see them with the naked eye. Instead, look for the effect of their power, like we look for the gravitational pull of an invisible planet on a star. They're there. Thanks a bunch, friends.

I'll let you think about that for a day or two...


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 8th, 2011 The Biopsy

Well! That went very well! I had no idea, really.

After I finished that last blog, I awoke Chris at 5am, made her coffee and took a short nap while she got ready and by 7am we were on our way. She in a hurry, me wanting to take our time. I'm a nervous wreck when anyone else drives.  We arrived in under thirty minutes. It usually takes me forty-five.

By 8:30am I was dozing off in the OR bed, waiting, while they began a drip of some kind in my veins. Putting those IV needles in my veins were the only pin-pricks I felt the whole time. At around 9:45, Dr. Jung briefed me on what was going to happen. They planned to go in with a needle through my back to get a bite of the top-most mass, high up in the right lung. The risk? Possible lung deflation, partially, about 40% chance, or total deflation, 5% to 10%. My cobwebs worried me at that point. I signed the form.

They wheeled me into the CAT Scan/Surgery room around 10am and rolled me onto my stomach on the CAT Scan table.
"Safety check," someone said, and they read off a list.
"Charles," someone said to me. "What's you're understanding of what we're going to do?"
"You're going to take a biopsy from one of the two masses in my right lung..."
"The largest," Dr. Jung said.
" that case," I continued, "you're going to take it from the top-most mass. I'm going to assist you by breathing and holding my breath so you can get a stable scan and hold the mass stable while you extract the biopsy. No general anesthetics are involved, just a sedative like solution to calm me. You're using a local anesthetic at the puncture site."
"Perfect," Dr. Jung said, "We're ready..."

I remember breathing, exhaling and holding for two test CAT runs and one real scan. He marked my back with a marker, just under my scapula. The last thing I saw was vitals: BP 112/73, pulse 54. I dozed off. I woke up about fifteen minutes later and it was over. I felt nothing.

Abdullah, from Fiji, wheeled me back to recovery and I dozed on and off until about 12pm. He then wheeled me for a lung X-ray to check for air leaks; there were none. I impatiently waited another hour and a half, to 1:30pm, for discharge. I finally signed all the warnings, dos and don'ts, and other regimen and rules I was supposed to follow and told them I was going to get a really nice big juicy hamburger in about fifteen minutes. They suggested soup. Awk!

We went to a Vietnamese restaurant across the street and I ate a large bowl of Won Ton soup with Egg Noddles with a touch of Vietnamese chili sauce to spice it up.

I don't usually drink coffee during the day, but we made a pot when we got home and I ate two pieces of M's best Baklava, dunked and ate three Biscotti (w/fruit and nuts) cookies and drank two cups of Chris' special unauthorized grind coffee. Best stuff I've had all day. Damn! I'm really not much for regimen and rules.

After it was all done, I'm still perplexed about all of the fasting fuss. I could have eaten a horse and not had one iota effect on the procedure.

Well, there was one little thing. Dr. Jung said that I seemed to have had an over abundance of gas in surgery. I'm glad there were no sparks in that room; it would have exploded.

Back on the pill. Pam is on her way. Maybe we'll reheat the pizza... I'm still hungry.


November 8th, 2011 Random Thoughts

Up way too early with nothing to do from 2:00 AM until biopsy time except think about important stuff.

I don't delegate important stuff. I wash my own clothes, fold my own jeans, grind my own coffee, pour my own milk, among a few...
1. I like my boot-cut jeans folded fore and aft, not flat with the folds to the side. If my jeans are flopping in the wind on the side when I walk, I'll put them back in the wash and start again clean or not.
2. If you come to my house for a cup of coffee, you'll drink my coffee "Drip Ground" fine. When I go to your house, I'll drink your coffee anyway you like it, and I will never complain.
3. I don't understand the question: "Now, what is the setting am I supposed to grind the coffee on?" Surely, we've established that by now!
4. I wash my own clothes. I see too many people jam the wash tub full with soap and clothes to use less water. Did you know that the most unique cleaning solution in the world is water? It will clean anything given the quantity and time to do it. So, I like more water in the tub than sticky soap and I set the dial to the full time allowed. It's all in the water.
5. Some people think that because I love milk that I love my glass filled to the brim. I don't! I love milk "ice cold," as cold as I can get it. So, if you fill a glass to the brim, the milk gets warmer faster than it will if I can drink it faster when there's less of it to drink. Whoala!
6. My brother likes ice cold milk too, but it is my impression that he allows others to wield too much power. I think he let's others control the temperature of his refrigerator and he compensates by using ice in his milk. I wouldn't have a frig that can't be controlled and I wouldn't allow anyone else to control it. It's 34-36 degrees, or it's out'a here... or maybe you are.

I'm a stickler for regimen and rules when it suits me, depending entirely on whose regimen it is. For example, if you tell me that I can't eat or drink anything but water after a given time, say for a medical procedure, blah, blah, blah, I'll likely use a clock that is slightly off... and squeeze in one cup of coffee early. Oh. Would you look at that clock? Now, I'll obediently drink water.

I'm sorry you caught me a little too ripe. It's all a matter of timing. You caught me at the end of my day before my next shower. Next time, perhaps we can meet a little earlier after my last one.

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that woman are the ultimate power in the universe. Old Socrates is credited with starting all of the hoopla with a claim to "Know Thyself." Ha! But, he was told to do that by the Oracle of Delphi. They were women. So, who in hell told them?!! Bwhahahaha!

Have to get ready to go... Talk later.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011 - God Talk

Awoke too early, 2:40am, after the clocks turned back. I was trying to gradually adjust my pill-time around that six hour fasting period I've got to go through for the Nov 10th PET Scan and the time change set it all back to the beginning. Darn. If my math is right, I'm back to taking it every six hours on a 10am/pm - 4am/pm schedule instead of the 11am/pm - 5am/pm schedule I was working toward. Did I mess that up? Is a simple math problem messing with my mind?

MRI went well, as expected, just noisy. I fell asleep in it anyway. I've slept in noisier places, like next to screaming turbine engines. No biggie. I just can't hear some frequencies anymore.

"The Times, They Are A Changing"... Bob Dylan. "I Ain't gonna' work on Maggie's Farm no mo..." Bob Dylan. Man, are you right! The talk is about Occupy. I agree with Pat Thurston, KGO Radio Host, this morning. It isn't just a movement. It's a REVOLUTION! Good! And, "The Right" is on the wrong side of it. Good! And those wavering on the fence, get on board; you're being left behind. This thing is steamrolling over The Right and you.

Oh, I'm hearing all the complaints and accusations; hurting innocent businesses, associated with all sorts, Communists, Nazis, KKK, you name it, "No Job low lifes!", "Dope smokers," "Hoodlums," and on and on. Perhaps some are, but that doesn't seem to be the focus, main purpose or intent. These people want justice, so whatever you say about it will not matter. I pray that Occupy will have its way.

Brent Walters, host of KGO's God Talk, was next. He is a Professor of Antiquities at San Jose University of California in the Greco-Roman-Judeo-Christian era. He's a joy. Today's three hours was on translations of the New Testament. It is so interesting and those who call in are too, some extremely well educated in the same time period and discipline from all over the world. A summary:

1. The "Written Word" is nearly useless in conveying understanding. You really need "Oral Teaching" to get the best understanding. So, toss the Bible on the shelf and go find a good oral teacher, preferably a person who spends a career studying antiquities, like Walters. You probably won't find too many preachers doing that.
2. The only useful purpose the King Jame's Bible serves is as a study of English Literature in the days of King James. It isn't good for anything else.

I had to laugh. Everyone knows about the "Left Behind" series of books, by Tim LaHaye, right? It turned into a giant, money making niche enterprise for the Christian Right. There are all kinds of stuff sold around the series. In the series, the "Taken" are those chosen and taken to Heaven, and the "Left Behind" are those who didn't cut the mustard and are left behind to suffer the trials and tribulations on a wicked Earth.

Bwahahahaha! Do you want to know what these terms, "Taken," and "Left Behind" meant on the steps of those Synagogues when those Rabbis discussed the coming of the Messiah in the time of Jesus? The term "Taken" meant taken to jail. The term "Left Behind" meant set free.

I have to confess to a great expectation of impish pleasure. I just can't wait to see the shocked look on the "taken's" faces when they are led off to jail! I know. I'm a rascal.

It will be okay...


Friday, November 4, 2011

November 4th, 2011

Re: The comment problem: I see that Google is working on the comment issue, focusing on the Microsoft IE browser. Google suggests that, in the meantime, I change some settings to make it easier. Well, I'll try, but to be honest, I've forgotten so many of my previous programming skills that cryptic web page instructions have become a mystery to me. I'll give it a shot as soon as I can.

Up at 3:57 again, time for The Pill. It's odd that I'm waking up on time without an alarm clock. Tried to go back to bed, but that's out. Got up and stayed up.

New appointments/To-Dos: (Had to retrogress to old technology; a common hand-written calendar. Can't keep track with on a computer! Although, I may use Windows Calendar just so I have a pop-up reminder four or five hours before the appointment. Got to have a damn button to click!)
- Tues. Nov 8, 8:00AM - Biopsy with Interventional Radiology (did I already mention this one?)
- Thur. Nov 10, 10:45 - Nuclear Med PET Scan, 2 hr procedure, fasting 6 hrs before - sked pill around the fasting period
- Fri. Nov 11, call to check that biopsy and PET results are in Oncology
- Mon, Nov 14, 8:50AM - Oncology, go over biopsy and PET (if possible). Plan the attack. May expect Thoracic Surgery. Shit! No telling what they'll see in there; probably a haunted house of stringy cobwebs of abuse.

The calendar is filling up. Steam is picking up...

Looked in the mirror this morning. So, it's YOU who are coming: Marsh Mellow Man. Not a caveman at all. At least I don't see any sign of overhanging, heavy brows yet! Look at you! Well, I can see wrinkles are disappearing and a slight puffiness. And, look at that! Laugh wrinkles! They're back! Well, we'll see how long this sticks, or whether it continues on into a moon face; another disguise. Chris said, "I want one of those pills!" Ha! She wants her wrinkles to disappear too. Well, let's think a while on that one! I love my Chris exactly like she is! No tinkering! Funny thing about women. I thought long ago that those young, beautiful women I knew in my youth would get old and unattractive. I'll be damned if they're not just as beautiful as they always were! Anyone know how that works, exactly?

Also checked my peripheral vision: is it still there? I don't want that creeping glaucoma-driven darkening circle to sneak around, slowly closing off my scope of sight. Got to read that book first! I'm increasing the frequency of eye exams to three months instead of six. Note to self: Gotta make one for January. And, what is with that zigzag line in my left eye vision from that cataract? That's an annoying little bastard that comes and goes!

I turned the heat on. The thermostat automatically set to 70, but I notched it down to 67. No need for 70 just yet. But, 62 is a bit chilly, so on it is! It rained last night, too. The first in a month, and likely the onset of winter rains from now until March or April or so. So, I'll turn the sprinklers off soon. Back to a reasonable water bill. Wonder if Monica is doing that too? I'll bet she is. Now there's a pair if there ever was one, M and G! Such good people that I've been so lucky to know.

They are honest to God intellectuals, both M and G. G seems to have the astonishing capability of remembering every damn thing he reads, and he reads everything as far as I can tell. In fact, his problem is that he can't read fast enough. I sympathize. And, M has a life-time of experience in analyzing human behavior, human motivation and the devious ways and paths in the mind yet with apt credit to good thinking. Man, can they do battle in a discussion! Most of the time way over my head! I've got to think about what they say and comeback later to finish a conversation, long after the relevance has already passed. It's almost meaningless by then! Way too late! But, it is invigorating. It tickles me when they go head to head with each other. I see a hint of stubborn chin from both when they do that. I'm not uncomfortable anymore, either, when they do their self battle. "There you go again, G," she'll say. "Changing the subject in the middle of our conversation! Awk! It never ends..." Ha-ha-ha. Hilarious! But, she's got a point, even though I sometimes agree with G - silently of course - protecting my own ass of course. I'll save my politicizing and philosophizing to farther below so M won't have to suffer through it. You're welcome, M! (Actually, as I return to finish this blog, I may have to save the pontificating for another blog. Don't have time to write it tonight to get this one out there.)

I see that Adam and Chris have found a way to dig the brownies out of that dish I forgot to butter before baking them. Ha! That was a chore, I'll bet. I baked two dishes, one with and one without pecans. I love the pecans, and they prefer them without. I notice, though, that most of the ones with pecans are gone! So much for that claim! Adam isn't working today. He doesn't work when it rains. He said he was thinking of going fishing, but he went back to bed. I'll swear, he can catch fish in a mud puddle. I started him on that route. So glad I did. I remember the day when all three boys, Damon, Adam and Marcus were at Kennedy Meadows and caught their first trout. Their eyes were as big as silver dollars! Grins from ear to ear, laughing with their mother and I. And, we cooked the trout right there at camp, a whole stringer full. Good eatin'!

Decided to stay home and cook a sliced Spam and Egg sandwich for Chris and I, with a little mayonnaise and Greek Feta cheese. An ice cold glass of milk topped it off!

Chris said she's "Freezing!" Now that's a kicker. She's usually complaining of being hot and I have to insist she go outside to cool off because I refuse to turn the heat down. If this keeps up, we may be able to spend winter in a normal temperature controlled environment!

It'll be fine...


Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 3rd, 2011 Small Update

Appointment set for lung biopsy, Tuesday, November 8, 8:00 AM, second floor surgery, Walnut Creek Kaiser. Don't eat or drink anything after midnight. Expect to spend six to eight hours. Need a ride.

Here we go...


P.S. Some people are telling me that comments are difficult to make on this blog. It seems to be a Google blogger problem. Just keep pushing that damn comment button until it accepts your comment. It'll come around, I think.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 2nd, 2011

Up and down all night long, nearly on the hour. 3:57am, time for the pill. Finally got up around 6:30 and made coffee. Adam is already leaving, too quick to take a cup with him.

Hummer is out and flying. Man, that little bird can fly! He zooms to the top of that pine tree in no time. He has a buddy he flies with sometimes, another male I think. They do aerial acrobatics that are hard to believe; shooting straight up, one chasing the other, then a power dive straight down and leveling out above the yard and over the fence they go, streaking away. I saw a Jay one day go from the apricot to that other tree 60 feet away, and those two Hummingbirds passed him like he was standing still. It startled the Jay. Reminded me of the Roadrunner-Wylie Coyote cartoons where the Roadrunner passes so fast that Wylie twirls in mid air and falls flat on his face. Ha!

What do you want, Jay? Why aren't you squawking for bread crumbs? You're looking at me, head cocked to the side. There's your buddy. Oh, he's brighter. He's the male and your the female. I'll check the bird baths for water today.

Chris is going to water the tomato plants today. I don't trust myself to climb the hill. It's all I need to have an instant of off-balance, catch myself only to make it worse and fall off that damn thing. Finally grew tomatoes and had more from six plants than I imagined. Still coming too. Makes me think of Pudge and Phyllis. Wonder how he's doing and how she's managing. Fine, I suspect. Strong people. So glad we made contact again.

Got another email from Mike. Man, those are a joy! Little tete-a-tete tests and jokes, bodacious sometimes, derisively political sometimes, but ever full of wit and impish intent. Ha! As always, Mike isn't fooling anyone, however much he tries! His heart is as big as ever! My challenge is to keep up, and I'm thankful for emails from other friends that I can share with him just to show him "I get some too!" His email today was typical. It showed a series of beautiful female golfers in various poses around the golf course. The heading was "I was just wondering..." Then the series of pictures. And before the last picture, "I know some of you are serious committed golfers, so I thought you could help with this one," an even more exaggerated busty and butty pose of a golfer with her club stretched behind her back. "Is that, or is it not, a graphite shaft?" Ha-ha-ha! Love you, Mike!

Now, Brenda has become a sophisticated and gracious lady, hasn't she? Still with that touch of country that'll get in your face if you task her. And, successful. I'm so proud of her. And, her husband Paul seems a good man. Wish I knew him better.

In fact, I can't think of a single classmate that I'd give up or want to do without. I'm honored to know them.

"Are your lab tests in?" Chris asks, impatient.
"What do they say?"
"I haven't looked." She looks at me, hand shading her eyes and a worried look.
"Why not? I'd rather not worry about it."
I laugh. "Well, if the results are in, it's a little late to worry! Hell, I wouldn't know a Hemoglobin from a Hob Goblin. What's the difference if I don't know what I'm looking at?"
But, we come inside and I log on to the Kaiser system and we read the results; that number is in range, this one is too, then that, and that... all are okay. Heart rate 66 and BP 112/64. Just about perfect!
"What was that?" she asks.
"That note?"
"What note?"
"The one I just saw before you clicked? What was it?"
"I don't know," she says. "Click back..." and I do. She reads the note to "... check with your doctor for better interpretation..."
Finally, we click all the way out of the browser back to Kaiser's email that tells me that the results are available. She reads it all, every line. I set up a notepad doc to give her the login and password so she can read it anytime she wants... so she won't worry.
"Did you call Kaiser for your appointment?" she asks.
"No. I will tomorrow if I don't hear today." She looks at me with that worried look again. Well, it's only been two days since the last scan. Sheesh. I'll give them another day. Chris will not give up, so I'll be happy rather than right. I'll give up.

Pam is coming over later and I'll fix us a hamburger. She's one who could break my heart if something were to happen to her. And, it wouldn't heal. I didn't give her enough toughness, I think. But, she's grown into a good woman. Love her so much.

I think my dilemma over what book to read next has been decided for me. Two weeks ago I was wondering whether to read "To Big to Fail" or "All Things Shining." I already know what the first is all about; the banks, the crash and I can see it playing out as the Occupiers march on the Port of Oakland at this very moment, and a general strike in Oakland, teachers on strike, businesses closing for the day and the banks backing down. "Bring down the banks!" they yell. Well, they won't be brought completely down, but a few notches would be just fine with me.  The marchers are fed up with how the country is being run. And, at least in Oakland, they're got a list of complaints. Let it spread!

So, All Things Shining it is and reading the western classics to find meaning in a secular age. Just what will it have to say? Should be interesting. It seems appropriate to my mood, more answers coming to hand magically.

As I leave my last book, Examined Lives, the notes refer to St. Augustine's quotes, probably not in proper order here: "a perversity of will...", "My God, I was caught up to you." "...a desire for that of which I had the aroma...", "...looked back on the religion implanted in us..." He read again Paul's letters. See Augustine, Confessions, VII and VIII, and Contra Academicos, 2,2,5. Cool.

It'll be okay.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 1st, 2011


Woke up a few minutes after 4 to take that darn pill. Went back to bed, but realized that I didn't hear a noise from Adam's room that told me he was awake. I think he said he had to be at work at 5. Got up, knocked on his door. 5:30, he said. Oh. Stayed up.

No word today on any more appointments. Expect to hear a date/time for the biopsy tomorrow, though.

Still thinking of you... Have to stop that so I can function. Still dark outside, but crystal clear, stars shining. Another beautiful day. The man says those are ending; cooling and rain are expected. Winter is coming. Of the years? Perhaps. There is a growing wind blowing outside.

Chip and Chipette, the two squirrels in those bowl pines are refreshing their nest. The vines growing up those trees are rustling and they're cutting off those wide leaves to line the nest. They drop some - in our yard. Let 'em lay. I think of Dan raking his yard - it's a workout! I helped once and was huffing and puffing by the time we were finished. Did he use a blower? or a mulcher? I don't remember now. He's a good man! The best! How did that happen under the circumstances? Dad had a lot to do with that. There must be a Cindy influence there too; the woman making the man. It's a curious thing.

Saw the Hummingbirds this morning, but not since. They haven't gone South yet, though. They will soon I expect. Ooops, nearly forgot that pill; 10:30 pm, thirty minutes late. I take it with milk. Love ice cold milk.

Chris went to see Dentist Stan today while I waited until she returned to go get my flu shot. Stan's message was about the power of prayer. Funny. I knew he would say that. I'm convinced that I always get an extra hour in the chair when I see him just so we can talk. It never fails that we'll spend an hour talking and he'll say, "Well, Dave, I've got to get to work!" Then, I'll sit back and he'll do his job. We talk about everything. Everyone else, his assistant, his hygienist wife, the receptionist, come and go or stand around waiting and making comments on how much time is wasted "when Dave comes in." Ha! Stan and I laugh. We don't let them interrupt or spoil our fun, though. "The power of prayer," he says. I expect our next visit-talk will be about the concept of the mysterious physical-linked-to-metaphysical universe to somehow explain why and how prayer works. It's an odd thing.

Yet, Stan, pray for which; to go, or to stay? I'm conflicted about that. Oddly, I am calm about it, wanting each equally. To see you again, and to stay with them. How long has it been? Eighteen years? I think that's right. I don't know if the calmness will last. Will fear come? I think, for now, I will leave the decision up to another. Fate will decide. If anyone wants me to stay, let them do the praying. Chris has a problem letting things go, yet she will be fine. But, it won't be easy for her. I've been thinking of buying a new car for her, maybe a Lexus. She wants another Acura, though. They're both nice. But, she also says our current Acura has another 1 or 2 hundred thousand miles on it. Ha! But the paint will be gone! She doesn't waste an ounce or throw away anything. I sometimes believe that if I don't sneak things out to the trash bins, we'd be deluged with plastic bags, empty water bottle for refills, etc. Well, it isn't that bad, but I like even less clutter when I can get away with it. lol. Maybe the stocks will go up and I can surprise her with a new, or at least newer, Acura.

Delayed my flu shot. The Pill is too strong, lowers the immune system and the shot will do no good. Sheesh. Another thing that pill does! That's all I need, walking around with a low immune system, in and out of hospitals, the nastiest places in the world of germs. What's next?!!

Took a nap this afternoon and woke up around 6:30pm with a real need to go. I hate that feeling. Went in the bathroom, then couldn't go and stood there for a good ten minutes with ever growing alarm. I remember a story about dad having that problem once. He drove all the way to the Vincennes hospital from nearly Cynthiana to the ER. Wasn't there someplace closer?!! I can't imagine the pain he was in.

I had to force my mind to return to and to remember an old trick I learned in the Navy, over forty years ago, when I had finally, after too many sleepless nights, told our shipboard Corpsman, Doc, that I needed something to help me sleep. I thought I'd get a pill; he gave me a book: "Self Hypnosis." "What?" I said. "Read it," he said. I did, and I practiced and practiced. And, after many more sleepless nights I was finally able to talk myself into relaxing, clearing my mind of useless thoughts, to meditate better. I became a good sleeper. I can relax muscles at will when I recall those techniques. I need to remember that. It may help in the coming months. It worked. I finally, slowly gained control and relief.

Whew! The wind is really blowing. Those wind chimes Chris had me put up are finally making the twinkling sound. Those are not those noisy, bar things. They are a corning like glass chimes. They sound better. These are Santa Ana winds, coming from the Northeast. Fire weather. Dry weather. And, the news says there are fires blowing. Look at the flames blow! A neighborhood is being destroyed. There is always something. It will be okay.