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Apologies and Excuses

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I know I had promised that I was done with the health updates, but some of my long time  readers have been concerned that I haven’t been posting much.  I think I am doing OK, but I never know.  My labs came in online for my visit with the Cardiac PA this afternoon, and it took about half an hour of googling to come up with three incurable maladies. 

I think I’ll just leave the test interpretations with the physicians. I really suck at it. But they do explain the sleepiness and fatigue. We’ll see if they can’t work their sorcery on the maladies. I can always hope.

I am quite chipper for the condition I am in.  It feels good to drive and shop.  I never thought I would see the day when I was happy to be in a grocery store.  Moving around in there was another of those minor victories.

I was told that I am not a good candidate for cardiac rehab, so it is on with the home health PT.  I will check later to see if I am up to pulmonary rehab.  It is much the same as cardio rehab, but less intense.

The diabetes is under control, but I am still fighting wild swings.  I discovered that I didn’t have a diabetes specialist on my list.  The doctor who treated me in the hospital doesn’t have a practice, so I need to get that taken care of.  I think I need an adjustment to the meds I am taking.

The fog really hasn’t cleared much out of my mind, though.  Writing is still a Herculean task, even an update like this.  So, I am reduced to repackaging memes I read and posting them on facebook.  Those will have to suffice for coffee posts for the time.  Still, the writers itch is annoying the hell out of me, so who knows.  I plan to start small, mostly coffee posts.  Essays are a favorite of mine because they seldom require research.  And opine I shall.

I am waiting on the arrival of Kimberly, my trim, petite, and perky physical therapist.  I keep telling her how miserable I am feeling, and she pouts, says she is sorry to hear that, then tries to kill me.  Fortunately, she is only strengthening me enough to ward off her evil intentions.

Perhaps my next post will be a coffee post, but I am not promising anything.

Out of the Cocoon

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Up with the sun this Tuesday morning.  Enough with morbidity.  Yeah, some days life is tough, then you die.  But for this sleepy morning, coffee and cake with Snookums sums up the reality.  For this day, life is good. 

I apologize for my last post.  Things were grim that day.  But I am unable to keep that level of the blues for long.  Life happens, and you deal with it as it arrives.  My predictor doesn’t work that well anyway, and I have discovered that the mere act of living day to day is all that is needed from me.

New hearing aids this afternoon.  I hope they work out well.  I miss so much in conversations that I have moved myself onto the internet and printed word.  Everyone wants to talk to me, but no one wants to write.  That sucks because I can’t hear them.  The new aids work directly with the phone, so maybe I can discuss stuff with people and know what they said.

Still trying to work out all the mysteries of diet and insulin, and I have made some stupid mistakes.  But I think I am finally getting the hang of it.  I think the next move will be to begin “carb counting”, where you total your carbs and adjust your insulin for that.  I think that will end that afternoon crash where my blood sugar gets dangerously low.

I am enjoying running errands again.  I had lost so much interest through the long recovery spell.

I so much want to return to writing again.  Fiction takes a bit of mental acuity, and it just hasn’t been there for me the last few years.  But everything in small steps.  Small glimpses into a new genre for me are pushing me toward the studio, but they still float out beyond mere words.

I am excited.  Maybe this is the last update post and I can finally break free of this cocoon I have put myself into.

Resolution

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… then one morning I woke and knew that the skirmishes were over.  I was joined in a battle to death.  The lawn became unimportant.  The dust bunnies in the kitchen weren’t going away.  The carpet wasn’t going to get cleaned.  The shed is not going to be emptied.  The tools aren’t going to get sorted.

The day is fast approaching when I will not be able to protect my wife, and I will leave her to the care of others just at the time she needed me most.  It is a bitter pill to swallow.

Yet I have each day, and each day adds to each day.  I must concentrate on those things that are good and necessary before the darkness arrives. 

But all that is left is the struggle.

Shabbat morning schmooze …

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Shabbat morning.  The morning of the seventh day of Passover. The morning counting the seventh day of Omer. Forty-three days to go …

Rose with the sun this morning instead of the ticktock machine.  Coffee.  Meditation.  Insulin injection. Mango. Egg and sausage muffin. Mandarin orange.

Then coffee cake and coffee with Snookums after she puts dishes away from the dishwasher, feeds the dogs and feral cats.

The days come, the days go. Lots of change in the micro, no change in the macro.

And some day I will enter the final Shabbat …

Good morning!

Spring in Central Texas!

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The bluebonnets have arrived! Spring is here ….

We can’t get back to the Garden

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We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion-year-old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden

~ Joni Mitchell-Woodstock

A friend of mine confessed to a crisis of faith today, and that sent me back to the time that man rejected God and died.  We can only guess what the nature of that death was, since we would have to be walking in the Garden of Eden with God to even understand what that life was about.  We do know from Genesis that Adam died that day, yet Adam continued to live another 930 years.  The paradox is only solved if Adam had a different life than the one had before his disobedience.

God uses the term “Father” to help us understand his nature, but when we read the account of the Garden in Genesis, Adam walks with God in the Garden.  Man does not walk in the Garden with God today even if some of us do call him Father.  The gates to the Garden are shut by two mighty Cherubim, implying that the Garden is a place that man will not enter again, despite Joni’s lyrics.  At the end of the ages, God destroys the heavens and the earth, and creates a new one.  All we know about that place is that there is no death, no violence, and probably no marriages.  Until that time, wars, violence, and death are still with us, but with some limits during the Millennial Age.

God didn’t create the war in the Ukraine.  Man did.  It is not God’s world.  We still live in man’s creation, albeit with the Breath of God restored in some of us.  I don’t have the knowledge to explain that mystery.  Those who have the Breath of God know it at a subconscious level, and those who don’t have the Breath of God cannot possibly know what it is, and should be treated respectfully for that ignorance, because man cannot give it.

We are indeed sojourners, strangers in a strange land.  And it is an ugly land, bereft of the presence of God.  We must walk by a different light than others.

… and I still can’t walk on water!

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It’s a quarter ‘til midnight, and I can’t sleep.  Yet nothing is particularly troubling me tonight.  Cars rumble by on their way home from town, and the soft thud of military ordinance drifts in from Fort Hood as the troops prepare for war.  The thermostat is set back at night, so I have a small space heater for my feet and a large heating pad on my new $59 executive chair.  The old $49 executive chair came apart like the shay in Oliver Wendell Holmes poem One-Hoss Shay, though it didn’t last a hundred years like the shay did.

I made up some bologna and cheese sandwiches earlier this week, and I am enjoying a half one along with a small glass of lemonade.  I had to give up milk.  It seems the high-powered antibiotics not only killed off the good gut bacteria, but also made me lactose intolerant.  I have unsuccessfully searched for non-sweetened drinks, but other than some exotic teas, there just isn’t much out there.

I seldom write at night.  I don’t like the tangents I go off on when I do.  But tonight, the TV doesn’t interest me, and I don’t want to read. So here I sit in the gloom trying to find tidbits to talk about, and ways to make the tidbits interesting.  I think I am going to fail that one.

Usually when this sort of urge to write falls on me, it is because I am wrestling with something or arguing with God.  I am vexed with my weakness and unfinished chores keep piling up.  I need to get propane for my weed burner and burn off a lot of deadwood collected in two burn piles.  I need to clean up Bucephalus, my aging Dodge mommy van that has sat for two and a half years until my eyes got fixed.  Maybe that is it … it is my winter of discontent.  All I can seem to talk about is me.  I don’t even have interest in the political and social trainwreck that is going on around me.  GenZ’s are clamoring for more government.  Churches are a mess of competing theologies.  And I still can’t walk on water … so I can’t help them out of the morass.

Bits and pieces of an old short story I wrote some years back have returned to my mind, and I want to rewrite it.  Don’t know why.  SciFi and Fantasy shorts are dead venues.  There are no Robert Heinleins, Harlan Ellisons, Arthur C. Clarkes, Frank Herberts, Isaac Asimovs or Ray Bradburys today. All that is left of their legacy is rewrites by screen writers.  But like the old crank that I am, I crank on.

I am starting to take a little pride in my appearance again, though I never had a lot to begin with.  And I am straightening up the studio.  Each day I get a little bit stronger, and all that elevates me.  It would be cool to be able to attend shul/church/assembly again, but I am not so sure Snookums is up to that now.  We’ll see.

So with that, I think I’ll return to bed.  But I can legitimately say Good Morning!

God Loves Veterinarians, Glitterati and Doctors …

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The winter rains have finally come to the middle of Texas.  Of course, this was the day I was planning to do something about the yard.  Darn, darn, darn.  Or something.  But drizzly days are good for hot chocolate and musing, so muse I shall.

(R) Annie (L) Jenna

Jenna, my white 70 lb something-or-the other, is sleeping in the studio closet by my computer.  I leave the door open because that is a favorite place for her when she is feeling insecure because of the weather, fireworks, or pre-aura seizures.  Today it is the seizures, so I need to be extra vigilant with her.  She is what is known as a “runner” when she has seizures and appreciates someone grabbing her by the collar so that she can just thrash around rather than running into things and trying to climb corners.  But, unlike the other white dog I had, she gets over them quickly, waking up to greet the family and checking out the back yard.  The other white dog, Roscoe, was a dalmatian-mongrel who went into ictus right away and took a long-time reawaking.

Canine epilepsy is more of a curse for white dogs than it is for colored dogs.  With Roscoe, it was a time when vets knew next to nothing about canine epilepsy, and the seizures were gawd awful to watch.  You want to comfort the dog, but nothing seems to work.  I can’t count the times I slept with Roscoe on the cold kitchen floor while he slowly recovered.  I didn’t know it at the time, but dogs are marginally aware of their surroundings, and take comfort in knowing their owner is close by.  Both Jenna and Rosco would come running to me when they were on the verge of seizing, somehow holding off until I could grab them by the collar and talk to them the whole time.

Joanne Carson, second wife of 'Tonight Show' host Johnny Carson, dead at 84  - New York Daily News
Joanne and Johnny Carson

I was frantic with Roscoe, and it was an era of several competing web search engines.  Yahoo! was leading the pack then, and I began a search on treating dogs for epilepsy.  My vet was of little help on this, though it wasn’t because he was negligent. There just wasn’t much information out there.  But I discovered a small group of people who also had dogs with epilepsy, and they put me in touch with Joanne Carson, one of Johnny Carson’s exes.   She was an MD and had an epileptic dog and thought to treat it like she would for one of her own patients.  She sent me reams of data to share with my vet, and my vet dutifully read everything.

The treatment for human epilepsy wasn’t much better for humans then than it was for dogs, but she developed a procedure that I am convinced led to Roscoe living a long and productive life.  It involved staying with the dog and comforting it as best you can, and Valium® administered rectally with a syringe and a cat catheter.  Messy business and more Valium® went on the floor than inside the dog, but it helped with Roscoe.  I don’t think Jenna’s seizures have been as severe as Roscoe’s though a dog-rescue colleague who is also a CBD distributer (thank you Sanchia!) convinced me that CBD oil does in fact help with her seizures and can be administered before and after.

Joanne gave me her personal Hollywood phone number and told me to call her at any time of the day when Roscoe seized.  She was as good as her word, and I called late in the evening.  She walked me through the ordeal, and kept me together, and stayed with me until Roscoe finally relaxed and started breathing normally as he slept.  She was my angel that evening.

In these tumultuous days of mine as I stare down Thanatos’s and his scary scythe, these moments when strangers rode to my rescue appear out of the fog of memory, greet me, and disappear back into the fog. I will be a miserable fool if I don’t remember that humans can and do rise above the mean circumstances and help their fellow man.  I am grateful for this gift of like and hope to be as kind and thoughtful as these two women were for me.

And with this soggy post, a soggy good morning!

Meeting Thanatos Head-On

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This has been a long week of sober assessments and reflections for me.  I am not in any acute danger of dying at this point, but my life has been put on a shortened leash.  Oddly, I am glad the uproar is over, and I can begin preparations for this stage of life.  I really don’t want to sound morbid, and while this recent spate of setbacks has sobered me a great deal, it is as much a stage of life that needs to be met head on as all the other challenges I faced or ran from in life.  I will come down extremely hard on the medical practitioner who tries to “protect” me from bad news.  I can tell positive thinking from fact, and I resent being treated as a child.  If my chances are slim to none, I want to know.  I refuse to let Thanatos blindside me.  I will look him in the eye as he swings his scythe.

But it isn’t with heroics that I’ll meet this challenge.  I will meet it by rising out of my bed each morning, walking into the kitchen, getting those first sips of coffee in me, taking my vitals, eating something simple such as toast or cereal and then taking my meds.  Snooks and I sit quietly with each other for a fleeting moment, and we talk. We have never been chatty with each other.  Sometimes it is soft morning talk and sometimes it is laced with true feeling. I do not wish to leave her unprepared, but I have so many loose ends to tie up.  I am thinking of issuing instructions to my medical people that it is time for palliative care and not therapeutic care.  If something will enable to live at comfort, breathe easier or maintain my strength, that is fine.  But if it is merely to extend my life beyond its time, it needs go away.

Mz Muse

So, my morning coffee posts will be more of the end-of-life chronicles rather than kicking politicians and journalists to the curb though I am sure that I’ll squeeze them in somewhere.  They are in the words of the military, a target rich environment.  I am going to drag Mz Muse out of retirement once again to talk about this.  Sometimes I need an acerbic wit as a foil to my melodrama.  Mz Muse hates melodrama and poorly executed hyperbole.  But I think it will also be our last goodbye.  Three novels sit in obscure file folders on my PC, and now I know they will never be opened again.  So I no longer need someone to build a fire under my butt to write.  Who knows?  Perhaps I’ll even say something nice to her, though I am sure she will wait for the punchline.  It will be a bittersweet goodbye.  I will in fact miss her. We had a long run.

So the winters day flits by.  Piles of construction debris and material await moving to the burn pile or put on sleepers.  The fence will not be repaired, one set of steps wont be getting fixed.  I want to mow before the spring greenery starts to grow so that the Bermudagrass has a better chance of growing … I can still ride a mower.  Yeah.  I am not going to lay down and die either.

And more health updates

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Well, the indignities of old age keep piling up.  And I thought that I was making so much progress.  Hopefully these bitchy little posts will run their course, and I can look at something besides my own navel.  I am so tired of my griping.  My bladder is a mess, much like a balloon that as lost all elasticity, so I wear a catheter for the rest of my life.  I have been diagnosed with severe COPD and emphysema, so my physical therapy is not going to yield the results I hoped for.  I am fighting a holding action now.

The one bright ray of sunshine is that the latest heart stents I had installed ended over five decades of discomfort.  Funny how you can carry so much pain and not realize it until it stops.  I still have an upcoming pulmonary consult at the end of the month, and a sleep study the month after.  At some point all this must stop, but fight has noy been beat out of me yet.

Soon, I’ll be back to remarking on the ever-expanding circles of stupid that has engulfed the nation.  It is strange how we laughed at these fools before.  I sure am not laughing now.  I am thinking there is no cure for it. Even so, come Melech Y’shua.  It is time.