Friday, January 22, 2016

1 3/4 thumbs up

I haven't posted much on here lately for a couple of reasons.
There has been a quite a bit going on, and also I chopped off the end of my left thumb.
While chopping off the end of my thumb is embarrassing, in the end it will be of no major importance.
I had started working on next winter's firewood. There was this rather spindly Maple in the area where I have been working. Eventually I want the area to be an open meadow. I have purchased a bunch of wildflower mix and want to seed it with wildflowers. So I cut down this maple, When I was breaking it down for firewood, I came across a piece that had this incredible beautiful grain.
I thought it was much too pretty to run through the fireplace, so I set it aside to make into something.
The pieces aren't real big, so it would have to be something small, like a jewelry box
I was slicing a piece down into 1/4" slabs to dry, when one piece got stuck in the saw. I reached over with my left hand to free it, and got my thumb a little too close.
O shit!
Much blood.
I grabbed a paper towel and put compression on the wound. I didn't want to look at it, but did long enough to tuck things together and get them compressed. Carol was in town taking the dog to the Vet, so I was on my own.
I scratched out a very shaky not to tell her I was on my way to the ER, got in the truck and drove into Port Angeles (about 15 miles)
I called home and left a message. It seemed to be taking forever to get me admitted, and I was in a lot of pain, but eventually I get admitted, and they gave me a couple of shots of Lidocaine to numb up my thumb. Man was that a relief.
The Doc stitched together the chunks and they loaded me up with antibiotics and sent me home.
It has been healing very well, although it will take a quite a while for it to heal up completely. It has now been 10 days, and no signs of infection or anything.
I am still in a moderate amount of pain, but it is manageable. Not being able to do much of anything s, however, driving me nuts.
I put the Westphalia in the shop because the defroster fan motor was making noised like a garbage disposal. I looked into repairing it myself, but it is a bitch of a job. I had called around to get an estimate for the repair before we moved and the quote was over a thousand dollars. You have to tear the whole dash apart, and then the motor is in a box, which is spot welded together.
When driving into Port Angeles, we noticed a place on the right hand side of the road that had a bunch of Westies out in the parking lot, so I dropped in to get an estimate. They quoted my about $750, so I left the van there and they gave me a ride home. I hope to get it back today. I had them repair a couple of other things while they were at it, but the bill should end up under a grand.
I think when I get it back, I will see about betting the Z in for some repair work. I sure miss driving that car around..
For right now, I am spending a lot of time on the couch reading, since I can't do much. Maybe I'll dig out the card table and put together a jigsaw puzzle.
That's about as much excitement as I want right now.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Counrty Christmas

This was our first Christmas in our new home out in the country.
On one hand we missed out on the Warren Family Christmas Eve Party, so I missed out on the opportunity to explain to my sibs why they are wrong about everything, not that they would listen anyway.
On the other hand three of our four children and one grand kid were here for a couple of days, and a good time was had by all.
The good thing about having a captive audience is that they pretty much have to listen to you.
My daughter Rose was MIA again. No phone call. nothing no card. Oh well, it is her choice to live the life she does and there really isn't anything I can do about it.
Mrs A and I's Christmas present to each other was a telephoto zoom lens for our Nikon camera.
The other day, we were out and about and went up the road towards the mountains. When we came back down thee was a herd of about 20 elk at the power lines right around the corner from the house. We went on home and grabbed the camera and went back to take some pictures, but even at full zoom, the elk are barely visible. There have been several other picture opportunities that haven't come out because the lens on the camera didn't "zoom" enough.
So we bought ourselves a 70-300 mm zoon lens for the camera. I also bought a camera backpack and a UV filter. Now we will be better prepared when the next opportunity presents itself.
There were three bull elk contesting for leadership and breeding rights. They were magnificent animals. A real sense of presence about them. When we got back from fetching the camera, we got out of the car and Mrs A took a couple of pictures, but they can't convey the essence of the Elk. I doubt this will be the last time we see the herd, so we are prepared for next time.
I have started on next winter's wood. There was a 2' diameter maple in a clearing out by where I have my stuff set up for splitting wood, so I dropped it and started cutting it into rounds, preparatory to splitting it into firewood. That is some hard wood. I had to stop and sharpen the chainsaw twice in the short time I was out there. The second tie, I decided to call it a day. Plenty of time to cart it out of the wood and split it.
The reason the maple was cut down was a part of my long term plan.
The area where it was growing is fairly open, and I want to turn it into a meadow with wildflowers, so the first step is to fall the trees, then grub out the bushes and ferns and level it out so I can seed it with wildflowers. A lot of work but it will be worth it when it is done. No hurry.
All in all it was a very nice Christmas.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Deferred Pleasure

This last year has been one of many changes, Retirement, selling the house I had lived in for the last twenty-five years, buying a house in Sequim and moving.
All positive things, but stressful nonetheless.
Much to my dismay, I recently found out that my favorite author, Ivan Doig had moved on to the big Ranch in the sky. I have enjoyed his writing for many years, and have always happily anticipated his next release. He had a way with words that resonated in me like few other authors ever had. Not to mention that the site of most of his tales occured in Montana which was just a hop skip and jump from my own Northern Idaho. I forst discovered his writing with "English Creek" and in my mind this coming-of-age story could have almost been my story in places. Jick could have almost been me, in attitude and action.
Mr. Doig published one last book before his passing "Last bus to Wisdom". It sits on the kitchen counter waiting for me to pick it up and get started. I have been deferring my pleasure for now, because no matter how much I will enjoy his way with the English Language, it is the last.
When it is done, the trip is over.
No more.
The final fling.
Starting it means the approach of the end of a wonderful journey through his world.
I have another book I am finshing before I start this one, because I want to give t my undivided attention.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A little Strange for Thanksgiving

The tradition has always been that one year we have Thanksgiving with the Warren side of the family, the other year with whoever, usually the in-laws.
This was supposed to be the Warren family Thanksgiving, but for the first time in sixty eight years it didn't happen.
I sold my house in Skyway, and moved out in the country to Sequim. Sequim is a small town on the Olympic Peninsula. It has the lowest average rainfall of any town west of the Cascades, as it is in the "rain shadow" of the Olympic Mountains. That comes to about 16 inches of rain a year s opposed to about 54 in the Seattle area. We love it here, but it is about a four hour trip for people coming from Renton. No one expressed any desire to come all the way out here to eat turkey.
My little brother Bill sold his place in Issaquah and bought a condo along the Puyallup River , which is really not big enough to hold the whole clan, which would be about 25 people. The only other one with really enough room is my brother Larry, but it would not be fair to expect him and his lovely wife Velma to host every year. My sister Patty is holding Christmas eve at her house, so she couldn't be expected to host both Holidays.
So there was no family Thanksgiving for the whole clan. We had a quiet small gathering with Mrs A and I, our daughter Lisa, her dude Kieth, her son Kayden. It was a nice laid back day with lots of good food and visiting. But I missed all my siblings and my mom and the noise and confusion.
I guess this marks the end of one tradition, and who knows where things go from here Vinnie is in the Army and in Texas for the next year, Nathan shares custody of Elliot, so a four hour trip out here is rather difficult to work in.
I have much to be thankful for this year. I retired from Boeing after 35 years, a challenging and honorable career. Sold my home of many years and bought my 3 1/2 acres of woods with a nice manufactured home on it, and walked in debt free. Carol and I have a wonderful laid back life, where we have everything we need.
So Happy Thanksgiving everyone, hope this finds you in fine fettle.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Next steps

When I retired and moved out here, I had some specific plans about my health. Less than a year go I was put on insulin for my diabetes. The reason behind this was that my creatinine levels were pretty steadily moving up (Bad), and the standard medicine for diabetes is metformin, which is a little hard on the kidneys. So I ended up on insulin as a result of a diagnosis of bad kidneys.
Then I recently had a major problem with a kidney stone the size of a grape, which was completely blocking all drainage from my left kidney. It was blasted with ultrasound and I pissed it all out. When my blood tests were done after the procedure, my cratinine level were about half what they were before. This makes sense since I now had two functioning kidneys.
This leads me to believe that my original diagnosis of stage four kidney disease is a bad diagnosis. What was happening was the stone was blocking the kidney from draining.
If I am not in stage four of kidney disease, then I probably can go back to taking metformin and get off of insulin. I suggested that to the doctor on Friday, and he said that it was probably all true. We are going to wait until I see the urologist in December to make sure of my kidney status before making changes. This has lots of implications to my diet, and medication.
For instance, I was instructed to never take NSAIDS which includes most OTC pain relievers. I have been pretty much stuck taking Percocet for my arthritis because of this. Perhaps this means I can take something else for my chronic pain.
As a result of the kidney diagnosis, they did a bunch of tests on my urine, Those test results are ll in question now. What was rue oh the blood tests is probably true oh the urine tests,  So I have retaken all the tests and I will learn the results on December 11th. So for now, I just know I am in much better shape than the doctors tried to convince me I was in.
Several time when all this stuff a year ago came down when the doc asked me how I was feeling, I told him I was doing great except for all the doctors telling me how sick I was. Little did I know how true that was.
So for now I have to be patient and see what develops. I know that the medication I am taking works, I just would prefer not to use an injectable.
So far the plan I made for coming out here is working well, just not by the path I had anticipated. By getting in better shape by working around here and controlling my diet to get off of insulin will probably happen, but better than I had anticipated.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mo Betta

I got a call from the Urologist last night.
Things are better then I had thought. Having just gone through several trips to the emergency room, a hospital stay and a week of pissing gravel, I came out this end of the journey better than I went in.
Mt creatinine is way back down. I guess it helps when BOTH kidneys are working properly.
About a year ago My doctor at the time became concerned that my creatinine was creeping steadily upward, so he sent me to the Nephrologist (kidney doctor) and after an extensive series of tests he determined that I was going into stage four kidney disease.
About that time I retired, then I had to find an interim doc. We sold the house and moved to Sequim.
It has taken some time to get established with a new doc here, and it all came to a head when I had a large stone lodge in my left kidney. It was completely blocking off the drain for my left kidney.
Doctor Benson did a CAT scan and found the stone, brought me back in to pulverize the stone and is now doing follow-up. A blood draw and test was done last Friday, and the results came in yesterday.
The results were great. My creatinine levels were WAY down. They whole stage four kidney disease diagnosis was wrong. Yes I have kidney disease as a result of my diabetes, but not severe. The upshot is that I am a long ways from dialysis or kidney transplant. When my ceatinine was up over four, I was looking at eventual kidney failure. Now that is a remote possibility rather than an inevitability.
So all the anxiety and worry I have gone through about kidney failure were caused by a misdiagnosis. I was not undergoing kidney deterioration, I had a stone the size of a grape.
I am now undergoing some tests to determine why I am forming stones. Believe me, whatever the doctor recommends to avoide another megastone, I will do it.
Yesterday was 24 hour piss test. Pee in a jug for 24 hours. Mrs A has a bit of a problem with having a jug-o-pee in the fridge. She has trouble accepting the fact that urine is sterile, so it won't hurt you. Not that I am recommending keeping a jug-o-pee in the fridge, but it is not all that ookey.
I have to drop off the jug-o-pee at the lab this morning. Feels a little strange walking around with a jug-o-pee.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Pissin' Gravel

Literally. Or the closely related topic, Pissin' blood.
Right now I am doing both.
A week ago I all of the sudden developed severe back pains on my lower left side. As A person who has passed multiple kidney stones, I was pretty sure I knew what was going on. Except this was worse and didn't move at all.
So I went in to the walk-in clinic in Sequim. Their diagnosis was kidney infection, they gave me some antibiotics and sent me home. By Saturday, I was in no better shape, so I went back to the clinic, and they referred me to the Hospital in Sequim. After giving me some anti-nausea and pain medication they sent me to radiology for a CAT scan.
I had a stone the size of a grape that was completely blocking my left kidney. They did an operation to install a stent and kept me overnight for observation.
It was not a good night. There were a couple of psychotic patients, one on either side of me. The one lady was mean as a snake, attacking everyone who came near her verbally and some times physically. The other was an older gentleman in with pneumonia, He had no idea where he was or what was going on. But he yelled pretty much all night.
I asked the doctor if I was missing something.. Did they check my into the Psych ward for a reason? She laughed and said no, that this was the normal ward, they just happened to have a couple of disturbed people in at the moment. The one had been a patient for four months. The problem is that new laws forbid them from releasing the patient until they have some place to put them. Because the Federal Government has defunded the treatment of mentally ill people, no one takes them. Since this particular patient had a history of violence towards staff, no one would take her.
On a different tack on the same subject, take a look at his from a detached perspective. I have no skin in this game, just am making an observation. First the Reagan Administration defunds treatment of the mentally ill, dumping thousands of disturbed people out into the general population. Then gun violence and mass killing by mentally ill people rise sharply. Could it be that these things are interrelated? So if you want to trace the origins of the wave of mass killings, you can thank the Republicans. Better to blame them than blame the guns, which is a cop-out, We always had guns around, and you know what? Not a single one of them jumped down off of the rack and killed someone.This country desperately needs a system for dealing with the mentally ill. The problem with this is that if we effectively screen and treat the mentally ill, where are we going to get our politicians?
At any rate, after holding me overnight they sent me home, with an appointment to come back on Wednesday when the stone breaking machine was in town. Pretty neat. They bombard the stone with high frequency sound waves and it shatters the stone into little bitty pieces. Then over the next week or so, you piss out the pulverized stone pieces. You also piss blood, because pulverizing the stone is a lot like taking multiple kidney punches.
I have not been able to do much of anything for the past week, so I am going stir crazy. I have work to do but am supposed to take it easy until the Doc gives me permission.
I hope that today I can get out and repair the chipper.