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Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day is Pissing Me Off

It is the holiday, you know.  Memorial Day.  The unofficial start to summertime.  But it's raining here today -- 100% chance of it.  I've pulled the BBQ grill in underneath the roofline to dry out before we grill corn on the cob and veggie burgers later on.  But the rain is the least of my worries today.  Unexpectedly so.  

Why is it that I make a far better nurse than I do a patient?  When I'm the one playing nurse, I can get the job done -- promptly, efficiently, with clarity and speed.  When I'm the patient facing invasive tests, I'm the one worrying.  Lying awake at nights.  Thinking about it 90% of the day.  Processing, planning, organizing.  And I don't like it.  It's making me anxious and irritated. 

In spite of the fact that we had hoped my Carotid Artery Dissection would heal over the seven months that I've been on Warfarin/Coumadin blood thinners, it has not.  The left side shows some positive change.  The right side shows no change at all.  In addition, there are slight pseudoaneurysms on both sides.  And those must be dealt with.  They are little slight bulbous areas on the carotid artery that have the potential to turn into an aneurysm if left unchecked.  The only good news from my visit with the Neurosurgeon last Friday was that he recommended I end my time with the blood thinners.  Which is excellent news considering that they are nothing but low doses of rat poison.  That is true, you know.  Rat poison.  So now I'm free to go back to eating spinach, kale and all of the other vitamin K products that I choose to. 

This all started last October with my neurologist diagnosing me with Horner's Syndrome.  Continued on with three more CT scans, a weekend in the hospital, and continued over the next seven months with routine INR blood level checks to be sure that my blood was thin enough to prevent clotting.  Everything has been fine, my original Horner's Syndrome symptoms have all but completely disappeared.  And that is why my latest fantastic news from the Neurosurgeon was more than I wanted to hear.  And why I've been able to do nothing but think about it nonstop all weekend long. 

I'll be having a Dynamic Cerebral Angiogram within a few weeks.  That will apparently provide amazing 3D images of the insides of my carotids and the dissections and pseudoaneurysms.  The pseudos must be filled in to reduce the risk of filling up, or clotting, with unwanted blood clots.  Which is why I'm sort of anticipating the follow-up surgery after the angiogram.  They actually fill up the pseudos with teeny-tiny little platinum coils.  It's called Endovascular Coiling.  And they do it the same way as the angiogram -- a small incision in the femoral artery in the groin and threading a catheter, scope, and camera all of the way up into the neck.  Amazing stuff.  I'm thankful that I live in the day and age that I do.  If they don't opt for the coiling procedure, they also have an option to clip it -- like a potato chip bag clip.  Or a stent in the artery to reduce the amount of blood from entering the bulbous area.  Honestly, it's all very routine.  Procedure is a day stay.  The follow-up surgery is a one-night stay, apparently. 

But when it's being done on ME ....... on MY carotid arteries ...... it makes one anxious.  The men in my family don't live as long as the women do.  I've already outlived many of them.  And that's unsettling.  Like I said, I'm a far better nurse than patient.  Oh, one more bit of good news -- the Cardiovascular Surgeon said that there shouldn't be any problem with me going back to the gym -- with reasonable accommodation, of course.  And that is good news.  Perhaps I should go there now.  They say that exercise helps reduce stress. 

Thursday, May 09, 2013

May Madness

Holy smokes people.  It's been busy busy busy.  You'll recall the debacle of getting bids for painting and what an ordeal that was.  We wanted to lighten up our entire condominium and have it repainted.  We've been here nearly five years and occasionally the grey of Portland winters need some lighter colors to relieve it.  Neither of us are given to Seasonal Affective Disorder -- neither the rain nor grey really bother us.  But the new paint is completely amazing.  So pretty.  Lighter.  With a couple of accent walls which really spruce it up.   We absolutely have to give a shout out to Pacific Coat Painting of Portland, Oregon.  They were so far above what I could have imagined.  Professional, on time, polite, cleaned up after themselves, did what they promised at the time they promised it, and the painting job is perfect. We lived at a hotel over by the airport where we got a fantastic airline rate for two nights.  It's a place that we've driven by for 15 years now -- so it was sort of weird to be spending the night there.  Today will be spent cleaning, returning everything in the entire condo to its perfect spot.  It is only 850 square feet but may as well be Downton Abbey as much stuff as we have. 

In the meantime, I've had a squirm, or itch, I guess you'd call it.  Well, I can't even say that I was actively looking or squirming.  These things just happen this way in my life.  If you've been reading the Spirit of Saint Lewis for a while, then you'll recall my need for an intervention.  Or perhaps just a meeting.  I'm a Car-Aholic.  This week brought us our third (yes, I said third....don't judge...) Kia Sportage.  We had a horrible one in the year 2000.  And a cute little brown one in -- oh, I can't remember -- and now we have a 2013 Kia Sportage EX AWD.  The fanciest car I've ever had.  Loaded.  Loaded.  Loaded.  My butt was getting cold while I was driving it the other day.  LoverBoy had turned on my seat cooler!  (And did I mention that even the glove box is air conditioned???)  Who would have ever thought.  I can't tell you how many cars I've owned in my life.  But it's a lot.  I love them.  I love the new, the latest and greatest technology.  In fact, I told the salesperson that I could probably sell cars for a living.  (And quite frankly, I knew a lot more about the Sportage than he did....ha!). 

And if all of that isn't enough, my eyes have been wandering.  Yes, in that way.  The fruit in my pocket just isn't giving me the latest and greatest.  My Apple iPhone, that is.  I like it.  It's okay, nothing wrong with it.  But compared to the cutting-edge features and screen of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One......humm.  I like new.  I like the latest.  I like toys and technology.  And all of that gets me into trouble as evidenced by my confessions in paragraph two, above.  I've been at the Samsung Experience Shop at Best Buy (did you know there was such a shop??) looking and looking.  I've been to the AT&T store asking questions.  Doing my research.  It's sort of all hinging on whatever Apple may, or may not, do with the next version of iPhone.  My biggest concern is the syncing and connectivity with my iPad and Macbook.  We'll just have to see.  But I don't want any of you to be surprised when.........

Plans are underway for Portland Pride next month and our fifth year at Bear Week in Provincetown in July.  I wonder if this will be the year that the entire storage locker of camping gear that we have will get put to good use -- or if this will be yet another year of wishing that we'd gone camping but didn't.  Who knows. 

Friday, May 03, 2013

The Painter and His Madness

Good morning my lads and lasses. You'll recall last week's mess with regard to receiving estimates for the painting of our condominium -- and Michael Knight and Performance Plus Painting of Gresham, Oregon's failure to provide the written estimate he promised to.  I had emailed three times asking for the estimate.  And finally wrote to him asking if his lack of an estimate was in any way with regard to our being ummm, shall we say, homosexual.  Still heard nothing ...... until yesterday.  At the outset, may I just say how pleased I am that we did not select Michael Knight and his esteemed Performance Plus Painting in Gresham, Oregon.  It feels a bit like one of the daytime soap operas that I have never been a fan of.  And without further adieu ..........
"I completely understand your frustration for my lack of follow through. I am so very sorry in every way. I meant no disrespect and had every intention to provide you with a detailed estimate. I was looking forward to the possibility of working with you to bring your project to completion. The fact that you and your partner are gay was in no way a problem for me. I enjoyed our brief interaction and thought you guys were great.
It has been very difficult for me lately. Especially to talk about what happened to me and why I haven't made myself available to anyone but a few family members. I wanted to keep this private. But, I feel I owe you an explanation for my lack of communication. It seems you were greatly affected by my actions or rather no actions and Im sorry for that. I have had some difficult times with a women who I am in love with. I am also trying to make it through a divorce after 23 years of marriage. The women Im in love with has had some severe insecurities and trust issues with me over my dealings with my wife. Someone told my girlfriend that I had met my wife for cocktails last November at a place where I only go to with my girlfriend. My girlfriend ended up getting very drunk and went into a rage over what she was told. I was at home asleep in my apartment lying in bed. My girlfriend came in and while I was sleeping attacked and assulted me first by hitting me with a metal chair across my neck, shoulder and back. Then jumped on top of me pulling my hair out and punching me in the face several times then bit through my cheek.  It all happened so fast I was barely awake. I thought I had been shot or stabbed from the impact of the chair. She took off running out of the apartment. I tried to follow her and made it out the door and down the stairs before passing out. I came to and then called police. I ended up going by ambulance to the hospital where I was treated and released after about 4 hours. My sister picked me up and took me home to my apartment where I barracaded myself in for several days. It has been a very emotional and traumatic experience. I didn't want to see anyone or talk to anyone. I was left with bloody teeth marks and bruises on my face and a severely injured shoulder and back. I couldn't move or lift my arm and my body felt like I got hit by a truck. I have been on pain medicine and have been a mess both physically and emotionally. Their is more to this incident as you might have guessed but hoefully this explanation of why I never responed to your emails will help you to understand that it was nothing you had done or that you are gay. Please except my sincere apology. Thank you."