Saturday, April 23, 2011

3229 I'm yelling at Dr. House.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

“Time is like a sausage skin. It has no set length of its own.
How long or short it is depends on what it’s filled with.”
-- Silk --


The writers for House were lazy for the December 28, 2004, "Fidelity" episode.

House just said that for a glioma causing the woman's seizures to NOT show up on a scan, "it must be smaller than a grain of sand."

Bull poopy. The scans are slices. There's space between the slices. Jay's first scan after his first seizure showed a glowing white spot with sharp edges, only 1 cm wide, and the doctors were amazed that the scan caught it at all, because if the scan slices had been to either side of it, it wouldn't have shown up at all. One centimeter is much larger than a grain of sand.

Then seconds later, House said that it couldn't be Lyme Disease, because Lyme "always shows up with a rash, and her husband wouldn't have missed that." Um, not everyone gets the rash, many people don't, and even if you do sometimes it's very mild and could be hidden in a fold of skin, and it also depends on what strain of Lyme you get, and even if there was a bulls eye rash, sometimes the symptoms of a problem don't show up for ages, and the rash could have been forgotten....

Bad writers! You just tried to make it easy on yourselves!

3228 Probably not raccoons

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Swedish proverb: God gives every bird his worm, but He does not throw it into the nest.


It's 7:45 PM, and still no action on the baby front. They've had three ultrasounds, and swear they don't know whether it's a boy or girl. Also no printouts. When asked if they have any favorite names, they say no, they figure they have plenty of time to wait for the baby to name itself.

I think they just don't want any "help" or opinions. That's ok with me.


Remember when my neighbor George said there were raccoons living in the car buried in my back bank? Well, I'm not so sure that they're really raccoons.

George calls the daffodils in his front yard "tulips". He calls the day lilies in the back "daffodils". He started ripping out a vine climbing one of my trees, describing it as "an ugly weed". It's wisteria. He has caribou horns over his shed door, that he described as "moose". He calls painted turtles "snapping turtles". I think George is a 70+ city boy.

So heaven only knows what's living in the vehicle. Could be groundhogs (a.k.a. woodchucks or marmots), or opossums, but I'm beginning to doubt that it's raccoons. That's fine with me. Raccoons are smart and can be fun to watch, but they're smart enough to be destructive, too. I prefer that they stay in wilder areas.

3227 Due Date

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The fly that doesn’t want to be swatted is most secure when it lands on the fly-swatter.
-- G. C. Lichtenberg --


Today is Daughter's due date, but there doesn't seem to be anything happening other than that Baby has dropped and is head-down. On the other hand, I suspect she'll do the same thing I did when I was expecting her - keep quiet and delay going until the last minute. That way there's a lot less "helpful intervention".

They want me to drive them to the hospital with Fred, the van, because of the dropped floor and large open space in the body, so she can lie down. I've cleared out all the empty boxes in there that were to go back to the old house for reuse, swept the floor, covered the floor with a blanket, and laid out a folding foam "spare bed" in there. I put the EZPass (for automatic toll payment) in Fred, filled his gas tank, and made sure the GPS was plugged in. And I packed a little bag with my knitting, a book, a camera, toiletries, and so on for myself, just in case.

I'm not too happy about the fact that she (and probably Hercules) won't be belted in, but I guess that's the least of their worries. I do have belts that lock into slots in the floor for tying down a wheelchair, that could be criss-crossed over her, but I can guarantee she won't want them.

So, we wait.

Friday, April 22, 2011

3226 Blood

Friday, April 22, 2011

That which one man receives without working for,
another man works for without receiving.
-- Kenneth W. Sollitt --


When I was in the hospital, they took blood several times a day, and I had the stupid IV in constantly.

I don't do well with holes poked in me.

I and my siblings have a problem. It's a little bit different for each of us, and to a different degree for each, but we three girls and two boys all have it. We bruise very easily. When we were small, the doctors thought it was a clotting problem, some type of hemophilia.**

For me, it manifested itself as nose bleeds. My nose bled constantly. Literally constantly. Getting hit by the father didn't help, but even when there was no hitting it bled. Sometimes heavily, but mostly it just seeped blood, which would dry and clot as it seeped. I'd wake every morning with obstructing clots and huge dried scabs in my nose, and I'd have to clean them out just to breathe.

By the time I started high school I had a hole clear through the septum. In high school we lived on the base and I was addicted to APCs, and that certainly didn't help.

Cleaning out my nose every morning for the past 55 years, and flaring them to breathe when I couldn't clean them, might explain why my nostrils are so large.

Until my daughter was born when I was thirty-one, my menstrual periods were what is now known to be hemorrhagic. Ten days minimum with tea-cup sized clots. I don't know why her birth changed that - I'd had three miscarriages and a stillbirth prior with no effect. Maybe a full term delivery "cauterized" the uterus?

It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I got a more reasonable answer. I have fragile capillaries. They break and leak at the slightest provocation. The nose is loaded with fine capillaries, and that's why it bled. I constantly have mysterious bruises on my thighs and hips, which is one reason why my legs from the ankle up never see the light of day. When I was in my twenties and thirties, I'd often get huge bruises behind my knees, just from crossing my legs or sitting in a too-high or too-deep chair that put pressure behind my knees.

In my late twenties I discovered another problem. When someone pokes a hole in a vein, like to draw blood or put in an IV, sometimes, but not always, my veins go into spasm. When they do, it burns literally like fire until the IV or whatever is removed. The worst part is that the phlebotomist doesn't believe me that it hurts that bad. One time I woke up after surgery with an IV that had been put in while I was "out", and I woke to my right arm being held in a fire. I cried and cried, begged and begged, but they wouldn't remove it. Imagine a white-hot branding iron being held to your skin for two hours. That's really what it felt like.

When the vein goes into spasm, you can't draw blood. Not enough, anyway. And often when it spasms and rolls, the poke goes all the way through the vein. The only place that consistently works for drawing blood is the back of my hand, with a pediatric butterfly. And I get very annoyed with nurses who don't believe me, and have to stick my arm painfully three or four times before they give up and listen to me. The bruises from those abortive sticks wrap all the way around my arm and are spectacular, but they don't appear until two or three days later, so the perpetrator rarely gets to see them.

There's another almost-but-not-quite amusing side effect. When doctors look in my nose, they assume I'd been using cocaine. Cocaine use will erode the septum, exactly as mine is eroded. A few have asked, but most don't - I just notice an immediate change in attitude when they look in my nose. I have to bring it up and explain that I have never touched cocaine, it's fragile capillaries, and I think some don't believe me.

So. Now the urologist wants more blood.

Sigh. Why does everyone assume it's so easy? Not a big deal? I'd rather have a baby out in the fields.


**It's weird that doctors decided that for my brothers it was a mild form of hemophilia - without, by the way, doing any testing - but said it was impossible for us girls to have hemophilia, because only boys get it. Well, they were wrong on all counts. Of course it isn't hemophilia that we have. But even if it was, girls can have it! There are many clotting factors, and a few are not sex linked, and a lack of any one of them can cause the problem. Secondly, even if it is the classic sex-linked form, factors VIII and/or IX, girls can still have it if the mother is a carrier, and the father is too! It's rare, but rare doesn't mean impossible. And it's only rare because in the past hemophiliac males didn't generally live long enough to become fathers. It's becoming more common.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

3225 Local urologist visit

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The past belongs to those who control the present.
-- George Orwell --


Good news: He says we can probably blast the stone to break it up, and the stent can be removed in his office with local anesthesia.

Middlin' news: He wants another urine culture, CT scan, blood panel, and abdominal x-ray, then I'll see him again in two weeks. (Two weeks?)

Middlin' to bad news: It might be a few weeks, perhaps three or four, before I get the stent out.

Horrendous news: No sex until the stent is out!



As I was leaving, the receptionist was giving me the scripts for the tests, and advice on where to have the tests done, and she asked if I had any questions. I said yes, uh, can I have sex with the stent in? She seemed startled, said she didn't know, and said she'd ask the nurse. She whispered to the nurse, who looked startled, and said she didn't know, but she'd ask the doctor.

The nurse came back and said, "In answer to your question, no", and at that moment the doctor came out to give some stuff to the receptionist. He was standing next to me at the counter when the nurse said no. He didn't look at me when I turned to him, but he was grinning. I said to him, "No?! This thing has got to come out pretty darn quick, then!", and hit him on the arm with my Readers' Digest.

He cracked up.

(I'm just a wee tad insulted that the nurses looked startled at my question.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

3224 More conspiracy theory

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On abstract art: The subject is limited, and there's no emotional connection.


Wow! Companies are hiring! 60% of employers report that they plan to hire this year, and almost none plan layoffs. The economy is in danger of improving. (Much of this is due to a little-known initiative of the Obama administration last year which allows writeoff of capital equipment. Republicans were solidly against it, and now they're claiming credit for it. Oh, well. To be expected.)

However, now we have a panic. We can't allow the economy to improve while the beige man is in the White House! Oh, my, what to do? Hey, great idea! Whisper a few words to our friends and raise the price of oil! That'll do it! And with the disruption in the middle east and the growth in China, no one will ever blame it on us!

Snork snork....

(Think I'm blowing smoke? I'm not. I'm perfectly serious.)


I took many pounds of paper that I brought from the old house to the recycle center today. It felt good.

3223 CLASSmates, fellas, not classMATES!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In the United States, sex (and everything related to it) is an obsession; elsewhere, it's a fact.


I wouldn't mind finding some old high school or college classmates, so to further that end, I have a profile on, and through them have located a few old friends here and there.

I went to school in Benton for part of first grade through part of fifth grade, then to two schools in Canada, then back to Benton for eighth grade and part of ninth, then to the mountain for the rest of high school, then to college, then after some time teaching, to The Company.

So all those schools and The Company are listed as my "communities".

What really gets me is the huge number of guys who seem to think that is a dating site. There are guys (and it's always males) who were at one place or another so far before or after me that it's impossible that we ever met, let alone were friends, and yet they visit my profile over and over, and keep signing my Guestbook like they hope I'll visit their profile, and sometimes they even send me notes: "Hey! I think I remember you! Wanna get together some time?" Impossible, man. I was gone ten years before you even arrived.

It's very annoying. Flattering I guess, but annoying.

3222 Nibbled to death by minnows

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Love means seeing someone’s wounds and broken places and loving them not only in spite of them, but also because of them.


The old expression is "I'm being slowly nibbled to death by ducks." I laugh when I hear it, because it reminds me of our vacation on a narrowboat on the canals in England.

We would tie up at night along the tow path in the countryside, and then we'd be kept awake all night by loudly baa'ing sheep and a strange sound coming from the hull of the boat. It sounded like we were rubbing against rocks. I'd get up and go check that the bumpers were in place and that the lines were holding us tight to the canal side, and I'd poke with the push stick to make sure we weren't in a shallow spot, and I'd notice that the sound stopped when I was on deck, and started up again as soon as I went back to bed.

We quickly learned that we should tie up near cows, not sheep. Sheep are LOUD! And they baa all night as a safety thing. Cows sleep. It took a while, though, to find out that the scraping sound was ducks nibbling the algae on the side of the boat, and there was nothing we could do about that. (I'd have expected fish, not ducks, doing the nibbling, but fish sleep when it's dark, too. Ducks don't.)

So, anyway, minnows now.

I have so many big things to do. Like clean out the old house, finish painting here, move furniture down, and so on. Unfortunately, that's stuff that can be put off. I'm being held up by little things that have to be done RIGHT NOW! OR ELSE!

The Angel worked on my taxes over the weekend, and electronically filed them Sunday evening. Again, he filed them before I reviewed them. He does that every year, and every year I find something wrong and we have to file an amended form, and we have this "run it past me first even if that means we have to file for an extension" discussion. He sent me a copy by email. After they were filed.

Yep, errors. A bunch of stock was listed as short term gains that should have been long term, because TDAmeritrade reported them as short term because they counted from the time the distribution account was opened by the executors of my late father-in-law's estate, but I actually owned the stock dating from the time of death, which was a year earlier. Stuff like that.

Anyway, I ended up owing a few thousand over the estimated tax payments I'd already made, and The Angel arranged for payment to be made by direct transfer, on Monday, from my checking account. Yeah, we've done that before, but back then I owed only a few hundred. ACK!

I spent early Monday scrabbling to make sure there was enough money in the account to cover the transfer. I have the new account here, and that's what he used. But that account has a debit card (I hate the very concept of debit cards, and resisted as long as I could because I KNOW what's bound to happen), and no matter how I try, I'm very bad at keeping track of when I use the debit thing, and for how much, so "balance" is a rather hopeful but nebulous concept.

It was going to be close. Very close. Uncomfortably close.

I also have several accounts back at the old upriver address: one checking and savings pair used for PayPal only so I have tight control over debits, one checking and savings for everyday, and one savings for business use.

I have online access to the old accounts. Browsing through them to figure out where to get some money to cover the taxes and for the rest of the month, I noticed that I'd been debited $2 every month since October on all the savings accounts for "Bad Address". Huh?

The morning was spent moving money around. Much of the afternoon was spent trying to figure out what was wrong with the address on those accounts. I had changed the address on what I thought was all my accounts in person with a teller back in early November, and I had later verified it online.

I'm getting the monthly statements for one of the accounts, which include checking, savings, and signature loan info all on one statement, at the new address. The monthly statements didn't show the Bad Address fee being charged on that savings account, even though it did show up online. How's that for weird?

I wandered around the website, and could find no other address stuff. I had done everything I was supposed to do, or could do, for changing the address. I called the bank. This is what the guy on the phone told me to write:
Dear Folks,

I have two checking and three savings accounts with you under the name [Me], SS# nnn-nn-nnnn (Phone aaa-xxx-xxxx).

I recently moved from [old address], to [new address].

I have online access to my accounts, and all of them show up in the list on the online summary page. I changed the address in person in the [old location] office, and then I went online to the "Self Service" tab, then to "Personal Options", to "Personal Information", to "Change Address", and verified that the address was correct.

THE PROBLEM: The address change apparently did not take effect for ALL my accounts. I have been receiving the hardcopy statements for [account#] checking and savings at the new address, but not for the other accounts. Worse, I have been assessed a monthly $2 fee on the ALL savings accounts for "Bad Address". See especially savings account [other account number] for an example.

I spoke to B[....] in the call center, and he spoke to W[....], who agrees that it definitely wasn't my fault, I did what I was supposed to do, so the fees should be refunded, but that I needed to write an email (or letter, or whatever).

Please ensure that the address is changed on all accounts under my name, and refund the fees.

I appreciate your attention to this matter.

This is what I got back:
I have refunded your accounts for the charges and I will send you copies. I will also be sending you a form to have notarized. Please print this e-mail and take it to a notary with your signature on it. I will be sending you the form for the notary to sign. I will send it in today's mail with a postage paid envelope so you can return the paperwork to me.
Thank you,
[Her first name]
Branch Manager

There were no attachments.

Ok. I went online and checked, and the fees have been refunded. But why do I have to print "this email", sign it, and "take it to a notary with your signature on it"? (She's snail-mailing the real forms. And why do they have to be notarized anyway?) And does she really not know that you have to sign in front of the notary? Or is it just unfortunate wording? Also, the branch manager when I'd last been there was a very intelligent, business-like, impressively tall and handsome black guy. What happened to him? Why is this fool with poor communication skills now in charge?

There's been some stupid thing like this every! single! day! for the past three weeks, that keeps me from getting the real work done. Minnows. Not even the size of ducks.

I'm being nibbled to death.