Friday, April 30, 2010

Dinosaurs! And Other Unemployment Adventures

The lovely Lindsay, over at "Dinosaurs! And Other Unemployment Adventures," just gave me this award.

Lindsay's blog is both interesting and funny. In fact, you just might want to take a little side trip there right now (I insist).  Follow this link to see a stellar example of "travel journalism" at it's finest.  The name of the blog entry is... 

Of course awards usually don't come without a price. This one is no different. I'll satisfy the requirements as soon as I can.  Did you check out that link yet?  I know some of you already read this fine blog. Those of you who don't...why the heck haven't you clicked the link yet?

Japan 12

another lucky subject


Capillary Thyroid Carcinoma – Part 3 of 4 - Post Surgery

I’m still a bit out of it, when they wheel me in to my room. Once I’m settled, most of my family comes in. My doctor left instructions that I could be medicated (as in morphine) every two hours. Even if I didn’t need it, I asked for it every time it was available. I admit it wasn’t because I needed it that bad, but it just felt so good to be that “fuzzy.”  Like that great feeling when you can't stay awake while watching TV late at night.

A little later in the day my surgeon came by and told me that the biopsy revealed that my thyroid was in fact malignant. The cancer was called “Capillary Thyroid Carcinoma.” He also added that he was trying to schedule the surgery to take the other half out. As bad luck would have it, there were no operating rooms available that day, or the next. He said I would remain in the hospital that night, as well as the next (Tuesday). My insurance wouldn’t pay for Wednesday night, so I had to check out Wednesday morning and check back in on Thursday. I would have liked to spend Wednesday night there as well, but I didn’t want to pay for it out of m own pocket.

One of the semi-fuzzy memories I had the day of the first surgery, was sending my family home, because I didn’t want to watch “dancing with the stars” on the TV in my room. I don’t know exactly why I did it. Maybe I thought it was going to step on my "buzz."

I learned at thing or two during my first stay and used it this time. Before my second surgery, the surgeon asked me if the morphine allotted to me during my first stay was sufficient. I told him that I could have used more. Much to my surprise he decreased the amount of time between doses. Who am I to question the wisdom of modern medicine?

The increased medication had an impact on me. During my first stay, if I had to go to the bathroom, I just rolled my IV apparatus into the room with me and did my business. During my second stay, I was so lazy (by lazy, I mean fuzzy) that I used the urinal at my bedside most of the time. Now don’t get yourself in an uproar. I haven’t “used” any pain killers since I was discharged (even though they were given to me). You think I’m an addict or something? I’m not! Besides, I’m saving them for later…

Part 4 tomorrow

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Japan Color 01

I promised that I'd start posting some color photos as well as black and white...

Hostess at Kyoto Tea Ceremony

Japanese Hottie nice enough to pose for me

Golden Pagoda, Kyoto.
Hard pic on a very rainy day

Capillary Thyroid Carcinoma – Part 2 of 4 - Surgery

My endocrinologist referred me to a head and neck surgeon to set up my surgery. The differences between the office of the "regular" endocrinologist and the surgeon, lets me know right away who is making the real money. This place is far beyond posh…

My wife and I were waiting in the exam room when the doctor walked in. I swear, he looked like he just graduated from high school. He looked at my file, poked and prodded me a bit, and told me he’d like to get my thyroid out as soon as possible. I cut a deal with him to only take the half out that contained the tumors. I didn’t want to take medication for the rest of my life, if I didn't have to. You can live without your thyroid, but you can’t live without what it produces.

He agreed to take out only half, but warned me if the full biopsy revealed a malignancy, he’d have to go back in the next day and take the rest of it out. I was good with that and scheduled the surgery for a few weeks later.
We arrived at the hospital at 6:00 AM.
Would somebody please tell me why you always have to report to the hospital so darn early? Obviously, they don’t only operate in the morning.  Oh well, It's not that big a deal, because pre-op is the part I love.

Most of us know the routine; clothes off, gown on, and I.V. in. The anesthesiologist stops by and then your surgeon stops by. Then comes the best moment of the entire hospital experience! It’s the “I don’t care no more” shot. Seriously, at that point, I just don’t care anymore. Then, to make things even better, if that’s possible, they put a heated blanket on you.

I remember being wheeled into the operating room and everybody saying hello. The anesthesiologist is sitting behind my head and tells me to count from 100 to 1. I remember saying “wul ashagaht", before a small furry animal nested in my brain.

The next thing I know, I’m struggling to wake up in the recovery room. That is the worst moment of the entire hospital experience. Best to worst and cut something out-of-you in between. I’m pretty much awake when they take me to my room...

I'm taking pity on you all and trying to keep these short. The next entry will pick it up from there.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Capillary Thyroid Carcinoma – Part 1 of 4 - Diagnosis

What I’m about to post now and over the next several days is known to only a few people. I kept it a secret because I recently retired and didn’t want to become the subject of one of those “poor bastard” stories, if things went south…

About 7 years ago my step daughter and I were in a car accident while I was driving her to school. As a result, I ended up with two herniated discs in my neck.  I went to physical therapy for a while, and stopped when I reached maximum improvement. That was their term, not mine.

Fast forward, six years…

Early last year, my neck muscles seemed to morph into re-bar, so I started PT again. They sent me for an MRI, to see if there was further deterioration of the discs. When the results came back I was told that there were a couple of spots on, or in my thyroid gland, and referred me to my GP.  They suggested that I go right away.

My GP looked at the MRI and said there was something there that wasn’t supposed to be. He sent me for some blood work and an ultrasound. The tests revealed that I had 2 tumors in my thyroid gland.

My family doctor then referred me to an endocrinologist. He tells me not to sweat it; nodules (tumors) are very common in the thyroid. He will have to biopsy them, but the odds are very small that they are malignant.

He took eight needle biopsies and sent me home. I don’t want to skip the part about how it felt. He said it wouldn’t hurt at all, only pressure. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the guy, but what he told me was pure bullshit wasn’t exactly true.

A week later, I went back for the results. When the Doctor came into the examination room, he sat down, shook his head, and started talking. 

“What I have to say isn’t exactly bad news, its gray.”
“Gray? What the heck does that mean?” 
“Gray means that all eight biopsies came back inconclusive.”
“Okay, now what?”
“You need your thyroid removed.”
“I thought you said the biopsies were inconclusive?"
“They were, but we don’t want to take a chance, the tumors could be malignant.”
“So it’s not really gray news after all, is it? It’s bad news!”
“They probably aren’t, but if they are, we want to get your thyroid out right away.”
“How is this not bad news?”
“Even if it is malignant, if you have to get cancer, thyroid cancer is the one you want. The odds are very much against it being malignant. Once they take it out, a full biopsy will be performed.”
“That really makes me feel a lot better," I lied.

He must have noticed my sarcasm, because he left me with the following information.
"On the scale of complicated surgeries, if brain surgery is a 10, and removing a cyst from your butt is a 1, thyroid removal is only about a 6 or 7."

Part 2 coming soon...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Japan 7

click to enlarge for best viewing

Monday, April 26, 2010

Patrick Tillett Monday Minute 4-26-2010

It's all happening at Ian's place. Check it out... 
Monday Minute

1 - What drugs have you done in your life?
I respectfully refuse to answer that question, on grounds that it would most certainly incriminate me.

2 - A/S/L?
No thanks! Why? Do I look deaf to you?

3 - Do you pick your nose?
Out of a crowd? Not usually.

4 - What's your favorite childhood cartoon
Felix the cat!

5 - List the URL, of what you believe to be the best blog post you've ever done

Wisdom Teeth But No Wisdom

I was having a couple of problems. Rather, one problem compounded by another.  I had two sore wisdom teeth and not enough money to get them taken care of.

A “friend” told me about a guy he knew of, who didn’t charge much for dental work. He was a retired Navy dentist. He wasn’t sure if he still had a license, or if he ever really had one, but he was supposed to do good work. I had to see somebody soon, so I took the guy’s phone number.

I called him to make an appointment and was surprised when he answered the phone himself. He said he could see me later that same day. The address was on Linden Avenue, in downtown Long Beach. “Just walk right in when you get here,” he said. I don’t remember the street address today, but the office number was 37.

I found the address; it was a third floor walk up. The number 37 was stenciled on an otherwise unmarked door, in a lonely hallway lit by a couple of bare light bulbs.

There was no receptionist or dental assistant to greet me. The small dusty waiting room contained only a single wooden chair and another door that apparently led to a back room. I didn’t sit down.

The inside door was opened by a smiling older man. With a single elegant wave of his hand, I was invited in and directed to a dental chair. After we talked for a few moments about my pain, he said he would pull my wisdom teeth for 50 dollars cash, in advance.

The whiskey and cigarettes on his breath and faded bloodstains on his clean white lab coat didn’t exactly fill me with confidence. But my throbbing teeth told me to go through with it and quickly.

He gave me some nasty tasting liquid to drink and several injections that numbed my entire head. Then he pulled all four of my wisdom teeth, one by one. When it was over, he said he couldn’t write me a prescription and gave me a handful of pills to take for pain. “If they don’t help, alcohol will give them a boost,” he said. I took two of them and walked out the door.

Because of heavy traffic, it took me quite a while to drive the 10 miles across town to my house. I drove right past my front door and went to the local bar. With my jaws throbbing and my lips and tongue still totally numb, I ordered something that sounded fairly close to Budweiser.

I tossed a couple more pills in my mouth, picked up my bottle of beer, and split my upper lip wide open trying to take a drink…

Japan 11

for best viewing and to see entire picture click to enlarge

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Human Wheelbarrow

This is just crazy! And to think I used to complain about my job!

Hey, Grab a Shovel

Hey, grab a shovel...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Building Codes?

Some hi-tech building methods being used here. I'm not going in that place, now matter what it is.

Backyard Sunsets 5

click to enlarge for optimum viewing

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Difference Between Men and Women

Japan 9

click to enlarge for best viewing
more industrial busywork

meticulously trimmed tree

what the heck is that thing?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sunsets 3

enlarge these to see the details of the hill top

Black Hawk

If you've been around for a while, you may recall that my sixth year on this earth, was not a very good one. I covered much of that in an earlier post.  My mom made me change schools three times in first grade and my dad walked out of my life. There were several other things that happened that year as well. One of them follows.
Saturday morning was usually the high point of my week. I loved it for two reasons; cartoons and the fact that my mom usually spent little or no time at home on the weekends. One fateful Saturday morning, while waiting for "Felix the Cat" to come on, my brother Mike and I were looking at comic books.

When it was time for me to watch "Felix", I left my brother to his comics. He was reading his favorite one, it was called "Blackhawk."

Blackhawk was a comic book about a group of hero's called "the Blackhawks." These guys spent most of their time fighting nazis, villians, and criminals.  Whenever the Blackhawks attacked whomever it was that needed attacking, they let out a shrieking battle cry of, "Hawkaaaah!"

I'm sitting in the ugly and stained green chair in the living room, enjoying my Felix cartoon, when I hear my brother running out of our bedroom. He's screaming "Hawkaaah" at the top of his lungs, like he's going into battle.

Well, it wasn't much of a friggin battle. He ran up behind me and cranked me right on top of the head, with a croquet mallet. Hospital, x-rays, stitches, and a fractured skull.  Needless to say, my brother and I weren't very close.  We still aren't now...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Japan 8

click to enlarge for best viewing

Sunsets 2

Dana Point

Missle Launch

Cereal Bowl and one pelican - Pismo Beach

Mona Lisa Gonzales

Do you remember your first feeling of embarrassment?
I’m not talking about when you were the only kid in your class who forgot to bring a signed paper back to school, or you gave the wrong answer when called upon in class. I’m talking about major embarrassment! Red in the face, want to become invisible, want to die, embarrassment.

I remember...

When I was 5 years old we lived in a little town in Southern California, called Pico Rivera. There was a little girl who lived next door that I really liked (my first crush). She was as cute as could be and very nice. Her name was Mona Lisa Gonzales. Our families became fairly close and hung out together.

One weekend night we were at their house until very late. She and I were playing in her room and we fell asleep on her bed. It was so late that my parents left me there for the night, rather than waking me. I remember having a dream about camping with my grandma. We were fishing in a fast running creek.  The sound of the rushing water made me want to go to the bathroom, so I walked back into the woods a little bit and started to pee.

All of a sudden I woke up!
Nooooooo! To my terror, I was really going!  I quickly felt under me and of course the pee had soaked through my pants and got her bed wet. I wasn’t a bed wetter! I was totally mortified. I truly wanted to disappear into nothingness.

I got out of bed and snuck out of their house. We had an extra key hidden by our front door and I used it to let myself in. I changed clothes and tried to go back to sleep. I couldn’t because I was petrified over what was going to happen. When my mom asked me why I came home, I told her I had a nightmare and came home just before she woke up.

I have to hand it to Mona Lisa’s family; they didn’t say a word to my mom or dad about it. Mona Lisa was still very nice to me, but I was always reminded of what happened whenever I saw her, so I tried to make sure that I didn’t…

Monday, April 19, 2010

Water War Snippet

Water War

These are pics from the last annual water war on our street. It's a double cul-de-sac and one end attacks the other. We live near one of the ends. Yes, that's an open fire hydrant in the fifth pic. Somebody built a diverter so the water flow can be aimed. It's about 30 minutes of water insanity!

if you are one of the few who subscribed to both blogs I'm sorry, but I gotta get them all imported here!

Cat For Sale

I hadn't seen this before, sorry if you have

not my pics