Monday, October 04, 2010
One of the BW's sisters was coming Thursday to spend the day and night, but called yesterday to say she had a problem with the car and wasn't coming. She called again late today and decided to come after all - with a rented car. Then her husband said "Why not stay two nights" and I think she will be here Thursday and Friday nights. My wife has three sisters, and they all change everything as a matter of course - so nothing is ever set in stone. They also talk a lot. It will be interesting to see how the visit goes.
I think we will see another one (she lives on the east side of Cleveland) while we visit the youngest daughter in Mishawaka later in the month. She has threatened to visit here five or six times this summer, but something always comes up. She now is talking about catching up with us in Mishawaka, and maybe going along to Milwaukee, but we haven't heard from her recently. I have no idea how it will turn out.
The weather is perfect here Ė I even went for a walk over to the Sweetbay supermarket, starting at 4:30 PM. Itís a 3 mile round trip, but all I bought was a package of Ballpark fat free hot dogs and a bunch of celery. On the way over I ran across another old guy walking in the opposite direction, and we agreed that this is as good as it gets for weather. He claimed it was prefect, and I claimed it was as nice as it gets. It was dry, a nice breeze was blowing, and it was 64 degrees at 7:30 this morning. I got home a few minutes after 5:30 and looked at the thermometer, and it was just 80 degrees. I remember spring days in the north when it felt that good.
I stayed on the west side and south side of the streets, and was in shade most of the way. When I got home I was a little damp in the armpits, but not in any discomfort. Itís rare to have a perfect day anywhere, but this one was close for me.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Yesterday I received the renewal notice for our auto insurance. It went up $223.66 per year to 1269.36. I had been lazy Ė you are supposed to shop for insurance periodically, but I had the lowest price, so why bother. Fortunately I had just received a flier from GMAC, and I knew from experience that insurance companies tend to increase their rates every year, so I called to check. It turns out that I bought insurance from GMAC for more coverage for $845.00 for two cars for a year. That is a savings of $434.36 over staying with GEICO, who had been several hundred dollars less than GMAC a couple of years ago.
I have rejected GMAC several times in the past, and been insured by them a couple of times too. I donít understand why it works this way, but it does pay to shop for insurance every year or so. The last time I used an internet search site, and GEICO soundly beat GMAC, who had raised their rates for a few years. Last year I just renewed, but this year I shopped, just a little. It paid off. The one problem with using the internet site was that the agents who werenít low didnít want to give up, but I did save a lot of money.
Saturday, October 02, 2010
We came back from a Kiwanis District 12 ďsocialĒ a little while ago. It was what I recall as something the BW and I used to do when we were relatively young. There was lots of booze, lots of food, lots of people, and no entertainment. The idea was for all the officers of all the clubs in the district to get to know each other, along with the significant others. It was at the home of the guy (OíConnor) who is the Lieutenant Governor for District 12 for 2011. I donít think anyone else has done that, but he has big ideas.
I was pretty good for a while Ė no booze, but I did have a couple of glasses of wine. Then I switched to iced tea, and finally to water. Unfortunately, the snacks were everywhere and I had part of a sub, deviled egg halves, chips and dip, crackers and cheese, nuts, cake, etc. You get the idea. It was a fairly complete blowout, but I was able to drive home safely because we were there for two hours. I was sober, but not necessary as light as before.
Tomorrow will be better.
Friday, October 01, 2010
I was in a hurry yesterday and apparently left the impression that I had a lot of recent health problems. In point of fact, they started back in 1999, with a bad right knee that I got to be painless again in a few months through a combination of a supplement and losing about 70 pounds. That weight loss was interrupted in 2001 when I started passing a lot of blood. I had a recent fistula repair, and the initial thought was that it was just an infection that would quickly be cleared up. I did have a test to see if I had bladder cancer, which I passed, but eventually it turned out that there was a cancer on my right kidney almost as big as the kidney. For 10 days I waited to find out if I was a short-timer because if it had metastasized, only two percent of the patients are alive after two years. I was surprised at how calm I felt while I waited. The good news is that you donít have to worry about radiation or chemotherapy, and the bad news is that neither does any good. The really good news was that they took out the right kidney and the cancer was totally contained and the cells were well differentiated. I have been good with that for more than nine years now.
In February of 2005 I had a flat tire in the middle of the night along I75, and my pulse rate got high and my chest hurt a little. I almost skipped it, but on one of my regular visits to my internist I mentioned that my wife had given me some nitro-glycerin pills in case it happened again, and asked him if they were OK for me. He got me to take a stress test. At that time I was riding my Airdyne for an hour at more than 400 calories/hour and covering 18 miles or more every day, with no ill effects. There have been thousands of research studies on reversing heart disease, and the requirements for good results are clearly documented. I was doing everything right but I went along with the doctor, and there was ďa little somethingĒ when I got to 90 percent of my maximum heart rate. I fought the idea of a catherization, had second opinions, went back to my internist and asked if he would do it if he were in my shoes, etc., but finally went along with the idea that the arteries were probably half to three quarters closed. It turned out that they were 90 percent closed in two, and completely closed in one.
When I woke up in the recovery room, a cardiac surgeon came to see me and gave me the hard sell that I was walking on a banana peel standing on a cliff, and finally said that he would allow me to go home since I was asymptomatic. Normally he wouldnít let anyone leave the hospital in my condition. By the time he got done, I finally agreed to come back two days later for the operation. I didnít get the stents because the arteries were too closed to get a stent in, and I wasnít thinking clearly at the time.
After the surgery, I started having arrhythmias, and finally a panel of doctors came up with the idea that I needed a pacemaker. Some strange cardiologist showed up and told me that the panel recommended a pacemaker ďSo you can go home and recover in comfort.Ē My nurse and roommate both swore that the pacemaker was a nothing Ė not enough of a problem to even notice. Over that period of a day, I agreed, and got the pacemaker. I thought it was a temp0rary curtch that I would get rid of later, but I wasn't thinking clearly and didn't ask the right questions. Only later did I find out that you canít get rid of it, and can never have a MRI, even if you do because of the leads. I also learned later that it doesnít stop the arrhythmias, but it does keep the heart going if the medicine I got caused the heart to stop. So Iím stuck with a pacemaker.
Other than going bald and arthritis, I donít have any other problems, and I get along just fine. I have had the wire that holds my sternum together in there for five and a half years and for the first five and a quarter it didnít bother me. It also doesnít hurt most of the time, and the fact that itís there explains why the bump is larger sometimes than others. I donít know if it will continue to bother me or not, but I can always go back to Dr. Dworkin, or one of his partners, and beg to have it filed down, or cut down, whatever they do. I healed up a long time ago.
For a while I had been thinking that the lump sounded a lot like bone cancer. One of my high school buddies died from that recently, and several friends of mine have gone that way. Itís not quick, so you have time to get your affairs in order, but one guy had multiple myeloma, which made his bones weak. He found out he had a problem when he swung a golf club and broke his rib. Normally the only symptom is pain, but in his case the symptoms were a bunch of broken bones.
So over all Iím fantastically lucky, at least for now. I donít owe anyone anything, we have a house and a couple of cars and some savings, and I can go out and walk four miles in the morning without any bad effects. Iím not running them, but Iím still moving.
I cut the grass today, starting at 10 AM. The weather has been wonderful the last few days Ė cool and dry and very pleasant. I even drove around with all the windows open on the car, and enjoyed it. I feel like the LG TV set Ė lifeís good!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
I got the results of the CAT scan today - and I'm glad that it turned out this way. The painful lump is a free end of the wire used to hold my sternum back together after the bypass operation. I have one totally blocked coronary artery, which no one worried about, and two bypassed arteries that were 90 per cent blocked. I got along fine up to 90 per cent of maximum heart rate, but then they saw "something." I think I would have been fine if I had never bother to take the test in the first place, but one thing led to another until I was pretty beat up. So now I have one kidney, a pacemaker, and a stray wire that stabs me at night if I sleep wrong, and is starting to stab me in the daytime if I take a deep breath.
I think I'll go over tomorrow and ask for a copy of the CAT scan while it's still fresh, because my internist says I should go back to the original surgeon if it bothers me too much, and I don't feel like any more stray tests.
For a while I thought this might be news that I shouldn't plan on another 20 years, but I'm still in the running. Our trip north is still on, too.
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