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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» Monday, April 30, 2018
You Can't Make This Stuff Up!
Go read the previous post. This will catch you up.

Now, remember where I said "James changed his shirt"? This was a plot point. "Foreshadowing. The mark of good literature. Look for it everywhere."

We were on mutually exclusive paths yesterday afternoon if in the same house. He was in the kitchen, I was washing towels and the bathmats, making the bed, etc. This means I really didn't see him face-to-face at any point, even when we were both getting dinner in the kitchen. He always had his back to me or was sideways.

It was on round two in Guy's Grocery Games. The four kids had all survived the first round and the second was "winner take all." They were supposed to make a "weekend treat." James came up and stood behind and to the left of me. I looked up.

The kids were forgotten. I screamed "What is that on your shirt? Is that blood?" There were seven or eight big splotches of blood on the upper right quadrant of his shirt. "Did you cut yourself?" Then it dawned on me. That was where his permacath was. James looked down bewilderedly. "No I didn't cut myself." came out just as I shrieked "Pull up your shirt!"

The big square gauze bandage over the incision for the permacath was still there, but the two dangly tubes that attach him to the dialysis machine were gone.

I will spare you the combination getting-ready-to-go-to-the-emergency-room routine and me hyperventilating for fifteen minutes trying to find the tubes. My initial theory (which is probably what happened, but in a different manner) was that he took his shirt off and it caught on the cheap paper tape they put on the gauze patch and around the gauze over the access tubes and pulled the tube out. But it wasn't in the hamper with the shirt. I sat on the floor and even did a frenzied search of the laundry basket. Then I checked all the places James had been since he changed and could not find the stupid tube. If it fell out of his not-tucked-in shirt it should be on the floor somewhere. By then I was dressed and ready to leave when a light bulb went off. I checked Tucker's box. Sure enough, the little kleptomaniac had found the tube and taken the "treasure" to his lair to chew on. I grabbed it in case we needed it and off to Wellstar Cobb we went.

The admissions nurse took one look at the battered tube and gauze, and my face, and told James to sit down. He was feeling fine. He hadn't noticed the tube pull out, the shirt had absorbed the blood and there was none on him, and he was feeling normal. The blood on his shirt had been dry, so it had probably happened much earlier. He'd cooked, cleaned, and eaten and hadn't noticed. All we can think is that it came loose when he changed shirts, then when he got into the kitchen and started moving around—maybe when he reached up to the cupboard to put the plastic containers away—the tube fell out of the fresh shirt. Tucker spied it, since he always hangs around James when he cooks, and spirited it away. I tell you, you can't make these things up.

I calmed down at the emergency room, they took blood from James (again, everyone was very nice), and we sat waiting. His tests came back still good for what has been going on, creatitine at 3.1, GFR at 21 (you get dialysis when you get to single digits in GFR). The doctor came back saying he had called Kaiser and told them there was no immediate need for dialysis right away because his numbers were good enough, and that they actually didn't do permacaths there anyway. The wound was dry, with no sign of infection, and they covered it up again.

However, while we were there, they took care of another potential problem. (Warning: this may be TMI.) James had produced 600ml urine over Saturday night. Urine had just gotten clear after being bloody because of a new catheter insertion. It had turned brownish first and was now a cloudy yellow. However, since morning he had only produced about 100ml more. If it was still blocked up like that in the morning we were going to go to Urgent Care. Since we were in the emergency room, they took care of that for us; the nurse flushed the foley catheter with some saline. At first it didn't seem to do any good, then James stood up. Whatever was blocking it—a small clot, sediment, etc.—released, and then it was Katy-bar-the-door, about a liter and a half in an hour. (In 12 hours his output was 2 1/2 liters.)

The doctor came back. Kaiser said as long as the wound was clean, dry, and not infected, James could go home. Kaiser would call us in the morning about what to do.

So we stagger home about 2 a.m. hungry and tired. James shared some chicken salad and crackers with me, then I completed the routine we would have done at 10:30 p.m.: I washed his hair at the sink, I showered, I helped him bathe, we got the night bag connected (having had to empty the smaller bag—32 ounces—twice since we got home), and got to bed about 3:30.

DaVita called at 8:30 with an earlier seat for James, but we didn't hear it. Then Kaiser called about ten of nine. That we heard. Then followed this series of phone calls between us and Kaiser and us and DaVita. The summary: basically James' doctors were arguing over him. The nephrologist at Kaiser (Dr. K) wants to stop the dialysis because his numbers are better (the last creatitine that DaVita got was 2.65) showing his kidneys are kind of "in remission" and Dr. K would like to see if they'll stay there for a while. The nephrologist at DaVita (Dr. B) says "well, those are nicer numbers, but he should still have dialysis." Kaiser didn't order dialysis until he was steadily in the high 4's. So first the nurse from Kaiser scheduled James to get the permacath reinserted at 3 p.m. Then she texted back that Dr. K cancelled that. DaVita got irritated because Dr. B wanted the permacath in. We're sitting here saying, well, whatever is best, but if he doesn't need the dialysis right now could we put off the permacath? In face, I'm wondering if we can't work out a compromise. Maybe Kaiser can order blood tests once or twice a week. If his creatitine and CFR stay low, no dialysis (or even less dialysis). Meanwhile, the fistula surgery proceeds as scheduled so he's all ready for permanent dialysis. This sounds sensible to me, but I've had five hours sleep.

James finally got them to call each other, and they came to an amicable agreement. No permacath at least for today. Discontinue dialysis for the moment. And, yeah, he has to go for a blood test at Kaiser today. I am annoyed I know that foley blockage is going to skew the creatitine test; it already has gone back up to 3.1. So after lunch we will pop into the car and go over to Kaiser for him to get a turn with the vampire squad.

I need a nap. And maybe a sanity clause.

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» Sunday, April 29, 2018
Festivals, Friends, and Food Hunts

We had a normal weekend. I mean normal as it would have been several months ago. It's very strange and very wonderful.

Saturday morning we got up, had breakfast and went to the spring Jonquil Festival in downtown Smyrna. By the time we got there parking behind the library was already full, so we had to park behind City Hall. This means we had to run the gauntlet of the food vendors. This was a real test of self-control: they had elephant ears, which I know as doughboys. James longed for red beans and rice or jambalaya. We passed them all by and instead enjoyed the other vendors. We did taste and buy some Wisconsin cheese: smoky gouda, bourbon gouda, dill havarti (mine), and a siracha [sp?] gouda. Looked at the Button Girl's booth, jewelry, cute kid things, hand-made pens, carpenter bee traps, scarves, hand-made furniture, bird houses made of old license plates, sports dog collars and leashes, stained glass that reminded me of the windows of Ste. Anne's in Fall River, and other crafty delights. It was warm, but not hot, the sky clear and blue.

We stayed about 90 minutes, which was all our skin could stand, after perusing the books for sale by the Smyrna library, and then went to Costco. Got what we needed (toilet paper, American cheese), but I was ticked because the date on their skim milk was May 1! I just got the one gallon.

From there we came home to have lunch and chill out until it was time to go to Jake Skidmore's birthday dinner. This turned out to be, as the cliché says, a comedy of errors. I had checked e-mail about three o'clock, and then we got dressed, then headed over to Cumberland Mall (dinner was supposed to be at Maggiano's) about four. Now, earlier I had talked to Lin Butler about our extra Instant Pot. (I'm not sure I've mentioned that here or not. When I ordered an Instant Pot on Prime Day, Amazon sent me two. I made sure they didn't charge me twice, then contacted them to see how to send it back. They said they didn't want it back. They even sent me an e-mail to that effect. They said it was mine to give away, sell, donate, whatever. I figured that at 8 quarts it could cook a large amount of food in a short time and it might be nice for a shelter or a soup kitchen. Lin knows someone who works at a soup kitchen.) I texted Lin to tell her I was going to bring it with us and we could transfer it there. So we got to the mall, parked in the garage, made our way to the front of the mall and Maggiano's, and nobody was there. So I texted Lin and she texted back "Didn't you get my text about the change of location? Maggiano's couldn't take a group larger than ten. We are at Pasta Bella." So tramp, tramp, tramp back across the mall, into the garage, on to Pasta Bella, with the diversion of an accident on the East-West Connector. Meanwhile, I checked my phone. Oh, there was the text! Why didn't the phone notify me? Well, because for some strange reason only James' texts were being notified to me. Since I didn't set the phone to do this, I can only assume some update did it for me. Thanks a lot. 😡

We had a great time at Pasta Bella, came home with leftovers, and I discovered that Charles had sent an e-mail notifying us of the change of venue. However, our mail server didn't deliver it on time. Thanks a lot again. 😡 And Lin now has the Instant Pot to hand over to the soup kitchen. May it feed everyone well!

We had a nice long sleep, had Sunday breakfast, and proceeded on Sunday errands, a.k.a. Kroger and Publix. Kroger was kind of a bust because they no longer have the thin-sliced low-sodium Swiss cheese he likes (they discontinued it) and the milk—since we couldn't get it at Costco—was $2.79/gallon. For that little a difference we could have gotten it at Publix. Whatever. Then we took the perishables home and I put them up while James loaded the power chair. We went to Trader Joe's for chicken sausage and his favorite tea, got dark chocolate peanut butter cups for a dessert, then bundled that all up in an insulated bag and went to the Barnes & Noble at Town Center for a little bit of fun. He came home with six magazines, and I used their coupon for three books, including one I'd been wanting to read for a while, about the demonization of pit bulls.

James changed his clothes when we got home about 3:30, preparatory to cooking up some ground turkey for him to use in breakfasts this week. I washed the towels as well as the master bathroom rugs, then sat down to watch some horse jumping on the NBC sports channel. James also put up the plastic storage containers and, because it was by then nearly suppertime, made some gravy to go on the rotisserie chicken we got at Costco and had lunched on yesterday afternoon, warmed up the chicken and a veggie, and we had supper. At seven I turned on America's Funniest Home Videos for a good chuckle, and then switched to Guy's Grocery Games, which featured children tonight. Since we'd missed Masterchef Junior because of some ridiculous football draft—why can't that stay on the sports channels?—this was a good replacement.

Next on the schedule was Call the Midwife...

And we interrupt this program for the next post. Hold on, this one gets crazy. Again. Yes. [facepalm]

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» Friday, April 27, 2018
Trying for Normalcy
It's been a long time since I've done one of these entries. I didn't imagine I'd be posting them every day, as most of them would just be a list of chores I got through. I was hoping, however, to feature items of discovery: photography experiments, perhaps, or watercolor adventures. But, you know the saying: Life is what happens when you're making other plans. Since March 9, I've been learning other skills, like practical nursing and half-baked hairdressing.

But I'm still going to tally up some of my successes. I've waited a long time to get some of these done; they're piddling to everyone else but have made me majorly happy.
  • I've attacked most of the "garage monster." Miscellaneous trash is gone as are empty boxes. The fertilizer hopper and the bicycle rack for my car and the dustpan and brush are hung on the wall. You can now get to the tools and, if James parks the truck far enough back, you can walk around the front of it. I pulled my bicycle out of the corner and now have it next to my car and can take it out for a ride now and then. Only the shelves with the tools need to be rearranged.
  • The "light bulb shelf" in the hall closet is navigable and all the nightlight bulbs no longer fall out when I get something. Next I need to clean the items from the floor. I have a cleaning appliance in there that I never use. It needs to be donated.
  • My dental cleaning is finished.
  • Finished cleaning overly salted food from downstairs "pantry" and have ready for Alice to take to her church's food pantry.
  • Found a home for the extra InstantPot.
  • Have taken several boxes of stuff to Goodwill. Have another one started.
  • Donated the books and DVDs McKay's didn't take to the library. Have started another box of books for McKay's.
  • Finally installed LED bulbs in the overhead lights in the spare room and craft room.
  • Cleaned on top of washer and dryer; rearranged food storage on them. Oatmeal and tea to the left, applesauce and Reynolds Wrap to the right.
  • Cleaned out the drawers in the master bathroom. All first aid items now in one drawer.
  • Installed brighter bulbs in the dining room. Next time we have a game night we'll be able to see better.
  • Hand-painted a card and sent it to a friend who has been sick.
  • Moved my safe deposit box to a closer SunTrust bank.
  • Applied to get four missing savings bonds.
So once again I'm making progress in my journal/52-week planner. I started that project to make certain I didn't degenerate into a couch potato during retirement. Talk about "had I but known." I don't mind doing the alternative stuff, but I really resent the fact that it had to be to the detriment of James' health!

There's more medical things afoot for the future, including stuff that won't be pleasant. I wish we could take care of these matters in another way. I wish I could do something more so James wouldn't have to always be in the crosshairs. He's tried so hard to improve his food and health choices, but then other things have gone haywire.

Only one thing to do: keep moving.

"It doesn't matter whether you feel useful or not when you're moving from one disaster to another. The trick, I guess, is to just keep moving."
Fr. Mulcahy, M*A*S*H

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The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...'s sunny and the trees are bright green, now fully leafed out. The wind tosses them today like hula dancers swaying back and forth.

I am thinking...
...that this is much preferable to the Friday of two weeks ago when James was getting fluid removed from his left lung via a needle.

I am thankful...
...that James is not getting fluid removed from his left lung via a needle today.

In the kitchen...'s actually kind of tidy, except for the plastic leftover containers that need to be put up. Dirty dishes are in the dishwasher, I've put the groceries I bought from Walmart earlier today away, and I even cleaned off three of the four shelves in the main compartment of the refrigerator. (The top shelf is cluttered with sauces and finishing sauces and jellies. It's not a job for today.)

I am wearing...
....a pale green duster with a strawberry print and red piping, and white socks. It's perfect for sitting on the sofa watching Rick Steves' Europe.
I am creating...
...this morning, for no reason but "because," I sat down at my drafting table and did a watercolor of a collie's head. Came out pretty bad, but it was creative input.

I am going... fall asleep if I don't watch out. I got woken up early by the lawn guys, who this morning turned out to be the lawn gals. Have no idea what happened to Alex and Francisco.

I am wondering...
...if something will work out for James. We are keeping a low profile in case it doesn't happen. He is proceeding further on the prostate problem. They are supposed to give him another bladder test, and then we will see if he can have what they call a TURP. You can look that up for yourself. Yes, it will be painful, but once he's done the foley can go away.

I am reading...
...C.S. Lewis and Narnia for Dummies, which I got for a buck. Pretty interesting. The end of the book also covers Lewis' other writing.

I am hoping...
...we can attend the Spring Jonquil Festival this weekend and also go to Jake Skidmore's birthday dinner. James deserves a little fun.

I am looking forward to...
...WHOlanta and the new essay book Children of Time: The Companions of Doctor Who!

I am learning...
...these days it seems to be practical nursing and minor hairdressing skills.

Around the house...
...Snowy is singing, they're showing Glastonbury on Rick Steves' Europe, Tucker is asleep, and we're all awaiting James home from Friday dialysis.

I am pondering...
...the road not taken. So far this year has really thrown us some surprises although we have been trying hard to be good.

A favorite quote for today...
"Good things can come from unexpected places."
What I hate is the bad things that keep coming from unexpected places, thankyouverymuch.

One of my favorite things...
...the English countryside, which is what I'm watching right now on another Rick Steves' special. I'm also loving Penelope Keith's Hidden Villages. God, it's so lovely!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Poetically: the Jonquil Festival. Prosaically: a trip to Costco for toilet paper.

A peek into my day...
How about a watercolor collie?

If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.



» 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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» Friday, April 20, 2018
Yet Another Appointment
If you thought we could come home from the hospital and rest until James had to go back to work, well, you were optimistic. In fact, we had an appointment with the vascular surgeon the very next day to arrange having James' fistula put in. Whether or not the Kennestone doctors were correct about James not needing dialysis for a while, they did agree he will need it, so we are just kept the previously-scheduled appointment. This went well; Dr. Austin used an ultrasound to examine James' left arm and says he has a big, perfect vein in his arm for the fistula. He had to contact James' cardiologist and then the date will be arranged. This is outpatient surgery and will be done with a local anathesia and a sedative. [The surgery is May 11—we asked for it after WHOlanta—and James will not have to be off Brilinta before the surgery; the doctor said the surgery will just take a half hour longer.]

We had to go out to Glenlake for this appointment and treated ourselves to Tin Drum on the way home.

Wednesday we had the one appointment I wasn't certain of why it was scheduled, with Dr. Thakour, the internest. Basically this was just a general followup. James did ask that we have the transitional nurse come to visit us in hopes that she might have some answers for us (like about the Foley catheter). He had some blood tests, we picked up some prescriptions (I practically hyperventilated when I had to pay for them), and then we got to come home just in time for him to leave for dialysis. He came home exhausted. We have to figure out what's causing that and see if we can do something.

Thursday we had to drive across town to finally get the power chair fixed. The technician was very young, and had it fixed in a trice. We also got him to adjust the springs so that the drive wheels of the chair now fit snugly into the grooves of the chair lift as Scott at Mobility Works says they need to.

On the way home we stopped at the Buford Highway Farmer's Market and discovered this is when they're not crowded. 😊 We picked up some frisee and some nice pork chops and more buckwheat noodles, but alas, they had no Ritter "Pfefferminz" bars. We always pick some up to have for special desserts. It looks as if they don't carry them anymore, and the only place I can get them is mail order from (guess where) Walmart. Amazingly, we drove home through 3:30 rush hour traffic and it wasn't all that bad.

In other news, Barbara Bush and Carl Kasell (from Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me) both passed away, and, for smiles, the 2018 Hallmark Keepsake Ornament catalog is available.

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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 kindness.

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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