Saturday, January 29, 2011

The evening after my first session with Dr. Cooley, my hands felt better. The next day they were okay but toward evening they started to hurt again (8.5 out of 10). I went to Rob’s office in the morning and they drew seven vials of blood and I was hopeful that something could be figured out. The results came back on Wednesday and it seems like I have gout (unusual in both hands) since my uric acid level is 11 and it is supposed to be below 5. It also turns out that the blood pressure medication I was on contributes to gout so Rob put me on another medication and on Colchicine, which should help reduce the pain. I started it on Thursday and my hands were better on Friday, good enough to let me play at Gillie’s with Justin and Luke. We played quite well and got a lot of applause. I also went to see Jeff on Friday and he worked on my hands and that also seemed to help. We talked about alternative approaches and he suggested the Kripalu institute and I am going to get some info and see if such a place could help me. I certainly don’t like all the drugs I am on now and I would like to explore alternatives.
Today I rode the exercise bike and then after a couple of naps took a long hike but each step was difficult and when I returned I had to take another nap. Now, at Barnes and Noble, I am feeling better although I think my exercise for the day it over. My hands are okay, about 5 out of 10 on the pain scale, and I think a slight bit worse than yesterday.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I got up and practiced, rode the bike and did weights and yoga. My wrists were okay, and then I drove into town, picked up the wrist x-rays, and went to see Dr. Cooley. He examined me and then did some electric stimulation, some manual manipulation, and thought I would see progress in a couple of weeks. I then went to my office and started reading Emma and checking the writing samples. More practicing followed and then I talked to Jeff Armistad about an easement on my property. I don’t think I can go back on my promise to the trees so I am going to do the easement even if I lose a lot of money. I will just have to work a few more years. Jeff also mentioned that my condition might be Lyme’s disease, and I am going to ask Rob about that tomorrow. In the evening I met Cathy, Claire and Maddie, and we figured out a good computer for her and also a carrying bag, photo shop, and an extended warranty that covers accidents. The Best Buy Geek Squad will come to their house to set up the printer and install Photo Shop. I must say that after my session with Dr. Cooley, my hands are killing me and I felt somewhat sick. He did say that might happen. I have to stay positive.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My first week of teaching is over and everything is going well. My upper level classes are both 15, and my 202s are 35. I did a good thematic lecture in the James/Wharton class and I thought my 202 lecture was also pretty good.
I saw Jeff today and he worked on my wrists and that helped. He would like me to go straight to an acupuncturist but I am going to try Dr. Cooley, recommended by Justin Craig. He does a non-needle acupuncture with electric stimulus, and if that doesn’t work, I will try regular acupuncture.
I figured out my finances last evening and if I sell the hollow for 200K I will end up with 30 for myself, not a very promising figure. I am okay right now, especially if I stop travelling so much (I spend about 11K a year).
I spoke to Doug Sisson about selling the hollow and he referred me to Tom, the old office manager. Tom made it clear that they don’t want the hollow with any easements on it. That is a big problem but I am still waiting to hear from Carol to see if I can sell it on the regular market. I am hoping I can make a compromise with the Sissons but that seems unlikely.
I will be getting Claire her graduation present (a new laptop) on Friday, and I think it will be a good distraction for her, and it will be a big help when she goes to RU.
I e-mailed Rebecca and told her I don’t think I am a good candidate for a serious relationship (mainly my pantheism and my deteriorating physical condition). I would enjoy seeing her again but I don’t think it will go anywhere.
I had a nice walk with Rob and he thinks I should go for the cortisone shots right away, but I will try the other stuff first.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I had lunch with Rebecca on Saturday but I don’t think it went too well. I think she was turned off by my lack of belief in Jesus and perhaps my liberal views. She mentioned getting together again but I think she was just being polite. It was fun to meet her and go out with such a pretty and smart woman.
My dinner with Cathy Gallo was a lot more fun and we chatted for almost four hours. I have decided that I am going to buy Claire an early graduation present, a new laptop to help with her art.
I charged the batteries up this morning and after five hours got them up to 1220. There isn’t going to be much sun for the next week so I thought it was a good idea to get them charged before I start teaching. My fingers were a little stiff at first but as I practiced they loosened up and my second session was fine. I also rode the bike and took a long hike up to the hay barn and then up to the top of the pasture. I haven’t done that in a long time and I felt good to be able to do it. It wasn’t cold enough to freeze the ice trays so I had to scrape up some icy snow in the morning to stock the refrigerator.
I am ready to go back to work and I think this semester is going to be a good one. I have poems out and the Kaatskill Life article is done and I have written a few new poems.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My wrists hurt in the morning but after taking the new medicine, they felt better. I was pretty down, but I had to go to my lunch date with Rebecca and that added nervousness to my unhappy condition. Fortunately, I had a long talk with Kelly and she was very supportive and made me feel a lot better. When Rebecca came into the Metro restaurant, I felt more relaxed and I was very taken with her. She has a doctorate, is very pretty and very smart. Our politics are very different but I am no longer such a big fan of Obama’s and I am truly not sure what the government should do right now. We talked for over an hour and she said she would like to get together again, which made me feel quite good. While I was out in the hollow later, she called and left a nice message talking about getting together again. I called her back and left a message that next Saturday would work.
My next strain was playing with my wrists bothering me, but the Tylenol and the half Vallium worked quite well and I played pretty well and my mistakes weren’t major and we even did “Sunday Kind of Love.” A potentially bad day turned into a very positive one. Who can beat that?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I went to see Dr. Gardner yesterday and after an examination and x-rays, his verdict was moderate arthritis in both my wrists. He switched my medication and said that I could try cortisone shots in the wrists but that might help for just a few days or it could help for years. I am glad to know what I have and I hope that my condition will stabilize and perhaps even get better (especially when the warm weather returns). I ordered a couple of good wrist braces and I hope those will help.
Today I finished the guiding piece, did my weights and yoga, rode the bike and then headed to my office because it was 22 degrees out in the morning. Winter is getting to me, but I just have to be tough. I did a lot at my office, including getting my syllabi ready, mailing the photos for the Neversink piece, talking to Nick Lyons, and now I am ready for Tuesday, the first day of classes.
In the early evening I took a long walk with Rob, and then I went to rehearsal at Justin’s and that was troubling. I couldn’t play “Bessie’s Blues,” our first piece, at our normal speed, although it was fine when we slowed down. Fortunately, the other songs gave me no problem but I wonder how much longer I can perform. That thought is definitely disturbing, and I have some trepidation about performing tomorrow at Gillie’s.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On Sunday, after a long walk, I was able to put up Rob’s tie rack, and then Rob cooked dinner but I ended up leaving early when Noah wasn’t feeling well.
Monday morning was difficult. My hands were in a lot of pain and I couldn’t really practice. I drove down to the pasture and called Rob and he said I could take the naproxen again, and thankfully that helped a great deal. I made an appointment to see Dr. Gardner about me situation on Wednesday and I hope he can figure out the problem. I drove to my office and got a lot done there, finishing up the poetry submissions and mailing them out, taking care of a number of things in my office, including setting up a lunch date with Rebecca, who e-mailed me after not responding for two weeks. I then went for a long walk around campus with the snow just beginning to fall. I drove home and cooked dinner, then practiced and watched the National Championship game, which was a thriller, during which I did some yoga and weights.
Tuesday found my hands better, and after working on my Catskill life article, I practiced and then rode the bike. I had to start the generator and I decided to check the batteries when they got into the 90s and the batteries were very low, almost off the tester, way down in the red section. I think the only way to get an accurate idea is by how much juice is coming in. The batteries read 100% and the juice coming in was still high teens and I think that has to get down to mid single figures before the batteries are really close to full. I went for a long walk all the way to the hay barn and that was a good accomplishment.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I spent last night in the hollow watching two very good football games as the Seahawks upset New Orleans and the Jets won a close one with a great ending. I did more practicing and yoga and weights. My hands are okay but I read the information about Celebrex and it sounds awful. I really need to see a specialist and I definitely don’t want to be stuck on any powerful meds long term.
It was nine degrees this morning so I had little interest in going outside. I did bring the ice trays in and now the refrigerator is full of ice. It gets down in the high forties when it is full of ice and nothing has spoiled so far.
The sun was out so I didn’t have to start up the generator and when I left it was 86% charged which will be fine until tomorrow at least. It is supposed to be snowy the next three days so no doubt I will have to use the generator soon enough.
On the way out I ran into Mike Young and he told me it was four degrees out his place and he had broken part of the transmission on his tractor. I paid him double for the work he did while I was gone at Thanksgiving and Christmas, since I know money is very tight with him.
I am heading over to Rob’s to see the Philly game and cheer for Mike Vick. I hope he isn’t still injured and I hope the game is exciting.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I picked up the curtains on Wednesday and then installed them on Thursday morning after a nice hike. All the curtains fit very well and putting in the Velcro patches was not too hard. I also moved the wires to the back brake light so they wouldn’t be so much in the way. I kept working on my two poems and both of them are almost finished. I have most of the cover letters done for the poems I am going to send out and I have chosen the three I want. I actually have a half dozen that aren’t too bad.
My meeting at Literacy Volunteers didn’t go well. The women there believe that homework shouldn’t be required and even said that no progress is okay with them. Not with me. I gave them the books back and left, although I wrote a letter complaining about the two of them to the national headquarters. I am not sure they really know what they are doing.
Today I did my writing, practicing and biking and then went for a slow walk out to the pasture. The road was slippery from an inch of snow so I didn’t head up to the orchard, which is steeper and more slippery. I filled up the refrigerator with some snow and the temperature went down a few degrees.
I had thought the snow was finished but it started to come down rather heavily and I decided to run into Christiansburg to get the new medicine for my hands and some supplies. There was almost no snow in C’burg so I got my supplies and stopped for a cup of coffee at Barnes and Noble. Then it will be back to the hollow.

Monday, January 3, 2011

This morning was too cold to go outside (21 degrees) so I did some writing (on my two poems) and then practiced for over 50 minutes, did my yoga, and then rode the exercise bike. It was supposed to get up to 41 but at 2 it was still 32 so I decided to take my hike anyway. It wasn’t too bad but the road was frozen in most spots. I warmed up by the time I got to the orchard and sat in the chair under the gazebo. The bright sun warmed me and the view was compelling, although I noticed some new logging up on Paris Mountain.
The solar system picked up some sun, from 10 till 2 roughly, but not enough to offset the daily usage. The next few days should be sunny so I shouldn’t have to use the generator for a while since the batteries are pretty charged from the last generator usage.
I switched the Huxley to Alice Munro and I think the students will respond better to her.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Two days ago I got the Velcro patches on for the camper top, although I will have to wait for the curtains (due Tuesday) to do the back ones. I put everything back in the truck and it looks very organized. I will have plenty of room to sleep in the back. I went for a long hike with Rob and then I went out for dessert and to watch some football. After that I went home and stayed up to welcome in the new year.
I did some more work on the syllabi yesterday morning and now I just need to know the final exam schedule to finish up. I did some minor chores outside and I only have a couple of little things to do. I have plenty of time since there isn’t supposed to be bad weather until the 8th at the earliest. I talked to Kelly and Gloria and drove in to Radford to give Maddie and Claire their gifts. I had a nice time there chatting with Lou and Cathy and the girls and stayed almost two hours. I had a salad at Applebee’s and watched the TCU game. Then I went off to perform at the rather empty India Garden at 7:30. I played quite well even though it seemed very loud. The manager thought it was fine. After that Rob and I took a long walk and I was very tired driving home.
This morning I went for a hike to the orchard and found that a big bear (I saw his track) had broken off one of the corner poles on the orchard solar fence. I will have to fix it tomorrow or the next day. I checked the propane level and I should be fine until at least early April. I also rearranged some files in the guest room and did a good practice session even though I won’t be playing Friday since Justin is off. I worked a little on my new poem and rode the exercise bike for twenty minutes. Then I went into town to Champs so I could watch three of the relevant NFL games.