Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Saturday, April 21, 2018
Friends and Food

Certainly a better Saturday than last week's! If only I could sleep properly! Plus I had the most extraordinary reaction to closing my eyes last night: I was getting claustrophobic in my own head. I'm guessing exhaustion put a stop to that nonsense, because the next thing I knew it was some hours later and I was cold. Ridiculous because I'd been looking forward to sleeping because I'd changed the bed. Nothing better than sleeping in a freshly-changed bed.

We had Hair Day today; as James had missed the last due to being in the hospital, he was looking forward to a good shearing. He complained he was starting to look like someone from Duck Dynasty. Sheri made him look more like Mr. French from Family Affair, which is a great relief to him. We had a small crowd with a great meal: Alex cooked! He made chicken, pork, and beef brisket barbecue. The latter was particularly delicious, and I am a pork barbecue person. We watched bits of Wall-E, listened to Charles' tales of hiking in Tennessee and North Carolina, talked about the new Hallmark Christmas ornaments for 2018,  and ate yummy food.

(We also found that a friend of ours that we hadn't seen in many years, James Sutherland, died recently. We don't know any details, but the news is sobering.)

We left after two and went to Sprouts on Dallas Highway to pick up beef bits (Sprouts has the best) and potatoes (I am going to try to make dialyzed potatoes, which is the only kind James is now supposed to eat),  and I also ran into Petco to pick up more birdseed and coo to the budgies. We then backtracked to the Kroger closer to the Butlers' house because the idea of going to the Battle Ridge store or even the packed Smyrna store on a Saturday afternoon was abhorrent. This one is much easier to enter and exit, let alone to park at. We picked up milk, Miracle Whip, and mushrooms in short order, and also found Thai noodles.

We decompressed a bit at home and I worked on an art project, and then we had supper at Hibachi Grill, stopping to gas up the truck before coming home. It's going to rain tomorrow so we wanted to get everything stocked so James can make burritos.

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» Monday, April 16, 2018
And So to Home
Two very frustrating days have passed, after which we did get to come home.

I had not mentioned they had tried to send James to dialysis, but his blood pressure was too low (at least when they tried to do the dialysis) to do so. He was seriously ticked because "transportation" never showed up to take him back to the room and he was cooling his heels up in the dialysis clinic for over an hour. The nurse and a floor tech finally had to go up and get him. This was just an example of the tiny problems we had here during our stay.

Another example? On Sunday morning the room phone rang. It was Dr. Jackson from Kaiser, who was ringing James' room in a fruitless attempt to get in touch with someone at Wellstar to arrange for the followup care after James was released. He said he'd called several days and no one answered, and he was calling the room in the hopes that James' nurse was there. I paged the nurses' station and told them James' doctor was on the phone and wanted to talk to "Amy." I then chatted on the phone with the doctor for twenty minutes. No one ever showed up.

So Sunday dawned and doctors started parading in and out of the room. They all examined James—the cardiologist, the urologist, and the nephrologist—and said he could go home today! So he ate breakfast. And lunch. And supper. The nurse even came in to remove the catheter so he could go home (a notion we disabused her of, as much as James didn't want to go home with the damn thing). And when shift change came the new nurse says no, it's going to be tomorrow. I wanted to throw things. I did beat up a pillow when the room was empty.

Monday he did go home (during rush-hour traffic, natch), after two meals had been served, and I had a lousy lunch (some nitwit put cheese on my steak-and-cheese wrap, even though the written order said no cheese), although it wasn't as bad as last night's supper, which was chicken breast and roast potatoes, and the former made me so nauseated I couldn't finish it. The pulmonologist finally waltzed through and gave him an attaboy that she only told to me (his lungs sounded really good) and I guess that was our last hurdle because after the food they started talking about having talked to Kaiser (FINALLY),  they pulled the IVs and got James some bags for the catheter and all the junk and James finally got stuffed into Twilight and the three of us got to go home.

And because hospitals are where you get no rest at all, James fell completely asleep during the episode of Call the Midwife we missed last night because the hospital cable system gets no PBS stations at all. Lord knows he needed it.

All I hope is that we are taking care of this catheter okay. We asked for some instruction on keeping things clean before we went home and never got it. The discharge papers says he can shower with it, so I hope soap and water are good enough.

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» Saturday, April 14, 2018
Next Verse, Same as the One a Month Ago
We are presently having adventures of an unpleasant kind. Again.

We had a followup with James' cardiologist on Monday morning. After fighting our way through rush hour traffic, we had to wait for the doctor because he was stuck in rush-hour traffic (apparently traffic on GA400 was backed up to Cumming, which is forty bloody miles away). He checked James over, asked him to make an appointment for an ultrasound, and we were free to go home.

James came home from dialysis that afternoon complaining of pain when he breathed in deeply. Hum.

By Tuesday the pain was better. He worked all day, we watched Forged in Fire. About bedtime the pain had increased again, but not terribly, and by the time next morning rolled around, it had lessened again and migrated to his left shoulder. At no time did he have any other form of pain, including anything to indicate heart trouble. He worked Wednesday morning and went off to an early seat at dialysis.

Thursday it was still hurting. We had to fish or cut bait. At 10 a.m. we went up to Kaiser Urgent Care in Kennesaw. He wasn't in there ten minutes when they told us he was having another heart attack! He was summarily bundled into an ambulance and taken, sirens screaming, to Wellstar Kennestone which was the nearest hospital. Twilight and I kept up with the ambulance pretty well until we hit the freeway, where it was too crowded for me to feel safe running at 80; had it been midnight we could have kept up. But I eventually made it, and made it back through a rabbit warren of corridors, and we sat and waited.

At some point they determined he did not have a heart attack. WTF? But we didn't learn this until we were given a room around dinnertime. What we did learn is that he had fluid on his left lung. I repeat: WTF?

I'll spare you the piecemeal details. He had lots of tests. They said an option was to aspirate the fluid from his lungs with a needle. However, this was a little dangerous on the Brilinta. They said they might try a dialysis treatment on Friday to get the fluid off. I went home Thursday night, walked the dog, scratched the bird, took a shower and dropped into bed. Friday morning I reversed the procedure except for the shower, and arrived to discover he'd been taken down for a CT scan.

There was more fluid in his lung than yesterday. They took him down for the needle aspiration, Brilinta or no Brilinta, and removed 1.6 liters of fluid from his left lung. Seriously...WTF? Anyway, he passed with flying colors, no problem at all, and they told him there would be pain because the lung needed to reinflate. (The no fluid breathing hurt worse than the fluid breathing. Just saying.) substandard television and wait. At five the nephrologist breezed in. Your kidneys are swollen and you have a blockage down there. I think I've heard this song before. Yes, it was our old friend Mr. Prostate blocking Mr. Urethra causing Mr. Bladder to run in reverse. The Kidney Twins don't work in reverse. Catheter was suggested. James protested that he has been urinating. Ah, but not enough.

Urologist comes in during dinner, convinces us catheter is a Good Thing. Mr. Bladder promptly sighs in relief and dumps 2000 milliliters of fluid in the bag. Well.

Unfortunately after the first bag it starts coming out stained with blood. We're told this is irritation. Well...yeah...considering. I go home after Masterchef Junior, sleep badly, and spend from six a.m. to six forty-five crying. Happy Saturday.

Needless to say James is still not feeling too swift. It still hurts when he sneezes, coughs, or takes a deep breath (pulmonologist was just here and says she will get an x-ray to see if problem is detected, but his lungs sound much better), the catheter hurts and what's coming out looks like strawberry juice, and he's depressed. (Hell, I'm depressed and I'm not stuck in here and not hurting.) So when every single person waltzes in here to ask him how he is, what's he supposed to say? The dialysis supposedly was supposed to help the fluid accumulation. But if his prostate is still obstructing his urethra, isn't the prostate the problem? This is the second time this has happened in less than two months, and this suck-ass process of going to different hospitals has not helped. They have his medicine doses muddled (they still have him on the high dose of Coreg when the cardiologist put him on a lower dose on Monday and now his blood pressure's low—ya think?—the cardiologist just came through and said he'll go fix that if need be) and four walls are just four walls.

I still like Wellstar Cobb and Northside better than here. It is, however, still heads, shoulders, and giraffe necks above Piedmont.

And for those of you who are waiting for the cafeteria report (like you were), Wellstar Cobb still holds the best record, although I hear the restaurant attached, the Bistro, isn't bad. But the food is too expensive (I checked yesterday hiking in from the Blue Lot, which the nurse told me was closer than the Green Lot; she must use a tesseract, because I had a shorter hike at Piedmont), so I'll stick to the cafeteria. Their chicken noodle soup is at least decent; I had three bowls of it yesterday because my alternatives were spicy chicken wings, Chick-Fil-A sandwiches (fried; ugh), and a Swiss steak that was seven bloody dollars. At least it wasn't an oversalted slice of deli turkey and a roll for the same price.

tick...tick...tick...still waiting. Thankfully we discovered TNT is doing a marathon of Star Wars today or we'd be watching sucky Chip and Joanna on HGTV.

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» Sunday, April 08, 2018
Stand Down

It was a very quiet weekend. James had a slightly early seat on Friday, so we went out to Folks in Hiram so I could have something soft to eat. Yes, Ms. Procrastination waited so long to get her prescription toothpaste that she had to eke it out and has paid by having a toothache. Well dosed with Ambesol, I was able to eat chicken and dumplings, but the cole slaw hurt. We just came right home.

Tooth was still hurting during the night and I had frightful dreams of having surgery and of someone who forced me to take some kind of opioid I didn't want and I was all muddle-headed. But besides that we actually slept late, and it was nearly noon before we went out. We made a short trip to pick up a couple of things at Publix and some tooth care products at CVS. I applied the Orajel when I got home and it worked a treat for the rest of the afternoon. James went downstairs and worked on a rocket model and I tidied a little in the craft room and also worked on a drawing of a sheep.

For supper we went to Fried Tomato Buffet because all I wanted after last week's "riblets" were some decent barbecue ribs. It wasn't pleasant chewing, but it tasted good, and we had ice cream for dessert. I thought I would be very tired after going to bed so late, but I could not get to sleep until almost three. I've had trouble sleeping all this week and this is just another notch.

We decided to go into Buckhead today to the Barnes & Noble, and I was glad I grabbed the coupons on the way out because there was a new Ellie Rush mystery on the shelves. (Ellie is a Japanese American bicycle police officer in Los Angeles.) Alas, still no copies of "Best of British." We also dropped by the Container Store with a coupon, and looking for new versions of the flashers/reflectors James had on his power chair. We have small ones that flash, but these were rectangular and about two inches long; we had a red one and a white one (both apparently ripped off the chair when we got in the accident). They didn't have any and I don't see them in their online store. We got a new "clic-clac" container with the coupon and bought two more of the small flashers. (We also tried the Perimeter Mall-area store, but they weren't there, either. The clerk who tried to help us said they may just be a seasonal (read: Christmas) item.

Had our first Asian chicken salad supper of the season and watched Call the Midwife and Unforgotten. The latter is quite complicated and Trevor Eve plays a right bastard in it.

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» Sunday, April 01, 2018
I'd Tell You What We Did, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

James' dialysis kind of put a crimp on our weekend at Spycon. He got an earlier seat on Friday, but by the time we had dinner, it was too late to drive to Alpharetta, and he was too tired to do so anyway. Sorry to have missed the spy toys panel and Man from U.N.C.L.E. panel. Saturday morning we slept in and ate breakfast before arriving at the hotel, the beautiful and modern Marriott off Windward Parkway. It was quite swank, all in greys and beiges with minimalist modern furnishings that made me feel underdressed for the con!

We walked about getting a "lay of the land" and strolled through the dealer's room (I won't tell you how much someone wanted for a 1960s Man from U.N.C.L.E. lunchbox!) and peeked into the video room where they were just starting Search (which reminded me that I had never bought the series). We did see Lana Wood (sister of the late Natalie Wood who played Plenty O'Toole in a James Bond film) getting ready for her panel, but decided to go for lunch before seeing some panels. We ended up having lunch in the hotel restaurant—they had specials for Spycon attendees—with Louis Robinson, ending up talking about crazy politics/politicians and freedom of speech.

Next we went to a panel about forgotten James Bonds, especially Barry Nelson and David least Bond fanatics remember George Lazenby. Following was the panel that Louis was doing: comparing the spy novels of Ian Fleming to those of John LeCarre. Certainly James Bond and George Smiley are poles apart!

Sadly we had to leave before Louis' other panel about the ENIGMA machine and Bletchley Park as well as a panel about other spies in media, since we really wanted to go to Ken Spivey's birthday party. Alice and Ken came to visit James in the hospital and stayed most of the afternoon, so we wanted to return the favor.

Victoria Price
This was a nice get-together at Keegan's pub, with delicious homemade cupcakes for dessert, and we were well rested and well fortified for the next day's panels. We got there early because Vincent Price's daughter Victoria was doing a panel about her father at 10 a.m.. Well, this was outstanding! She apparently travels with her dog Allie and has no home but the road. She told wonderful stories about her father and his favorite films and how he loved to cook (experimenting with recipes until the family was sick of them) and her travels, and Allie, who was some type of poodle mix, hobnobbed with the audience, loving every bit of the attention.

The next panel "Ian Fleming's Mad, Mad World" had two men talking about the media references we see to James Bond all the time without thinking about it (in advertising, for instance). The one man hadn't heard about the bail bondsman on County Services Parkway, "Bond James Bond," and I was able to find it on Google Maps to show it to him. The other gentleman was talking about his collection of different editions of Bond novels, and I think we kind of highjacked whatever presentation he had because first I wondered if the novels had been changed for American audiences like they did with Harry Potter, substituting American English for British English (like "elevator" for "lift," etc.—and yes, in the early editions they did, which I'm sure ruined the flavor of the books) and then we started talking about how they had changed the titles of some of the books: Casino Royale, for instance, was originally entitled You Asked for It (what the hell does that even mean? how generic can you get, and Casino Royale sounds so much exotic) and Bond was called "Jimmy." How revolting!

Following this panel, we went back to the hotel restaurant for lunch, and then sat chatting with Clair and Daniel Kiernan, Bill Ritch, and the other ARTC folks until it was time for their performance. It was Easter Sunday, and some nice person had "hidden" (in a hotel with minimalist modern furniture like this, it was pretty hard to "hide" anything and I bagged about eight of them in a minute) Easter eggs in the space outside the meeting rooms, so we had some peanut butter eggs and hard candies as a treat.

ARTC did an entire "Crimson Hawk" adventure (our hero is, in real life, a multimillionaire nebbish), complete with funny "commercials," and then it was the end of the convention and the closing panel. We had a hard time getting here, but on the whole we enjoyed what we saw. We hope the next one will be a little less Bond-centric, and we hope Victoria Price can come back. She is truly [excuse the pun] priceless!

On the way out we had one last look at the two James Bond Lotus cars that were outside all weekend. One, a regular Lotus car, was the same model but not the exact car that Sean Connery drove; however, the aquatic version was the real deal. Someone else attending the convention had a vintage Jaguar that was parked outside, and we saw Lana Wood getting a ride in it on Saturday.

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