Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A fine ending to a very nice trip

Tuesday proved another encouraging day. I slept terribly, finally getting up at 6:30 for breakfast and with a waffle in me and eggs, I got back to sleep and got up at 9:30, packed up my stuff and headed off for a walk in downtown Charlotte. However, I really had to struggle even to get to Discovery Place. So on a whim, I went in and the Ocean Futures was playing so I watched that and enjoyed it quite a bit. Very small scale stuff but wonderfully photographed. I walked up a few stairs and had to sit down. This was not going well so I went to the café, got a protein bar and a diet coke and after finishing them I was able to walk up to trade street and back. I then drove for over an hour and decided to try my luck at Cedarbrook, since the weather was so nice (just wearing t-shirt and a long sleeve shirt). However, my putting remained terrible and on the two par fives I shot a 10 and a 9, making a terrible decision on the second par five (the 10) and ending up with a 57 (I was hoping for a 56) and I would have gotten it on the last hole when my third shot from about 35 yards in the rough landed perfectly, not ten feet from the cup—and I watched it stop and hold on that very tricky green—but when I drove up and got out of my cart the ball had rolled all the way down, about 30 feet away and I three putted from there. Then I drove to my office, napped, then rode my bike down at the Armstrong center for 40 minutes before heading to O’Charley’s for a veggie dinner, lumosity and blogging. I sent my kayak friend a couple of funny emails and she responded in kind. I touched base with Gyorgyi, Cathy and Claire.

A bit of catchup

Friday seemed to be a very good day. I slept okay, got up and since it was too cold to go out and work or walk, I did my knee exercises, my stationary bike for 20 minutes, a good deal of piano and then it was time to nap. I got up around 10:30 and decided to take it easy and get ready to leave by 12 to meet Claire for lunch at Nagoya at 1. We had a fun lunch and since I was very free, I offered to drive her around to see some of the houses she had found online. We saw a nice house over in Fairlawn in a nice development but it was much too steep. The two in Cburg were decent looking but were much too close together. Then we drove way out on Mt. Tabor and found a decent house out there but the people were mean to Claire when she knocked and we just left. The last house on Mount Tabor was by far the nicest (and the most expensive) but though it had an acre of land, it was very close to a lot of other houses and right off Mt. Tabor and another road. I doubt Luke would like the property although the house was very, very nice. After dropping Claire off in Radford, I went to my office for a nap and then a walk around the building and I had a nice chat with Kim and she told me her adventures with Patty up at the Women’s March, much too crowded for someone of my solitary nature. I walked some more and then there was an Asian student working on her computer so I asked her if she needed any help since I was a professor. She was very happy for the help and I explained very carefully what neoconservatism is and some of the basic beliefs. She seemed really glad for the help. More walking and then off to Olive Garden for a late dinner and writing my blog. A very calm day by any standard and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I didn’t sleep too well, so at 7:30 I decided to pack and head to Charlotte to play some golf in the much warmer weather. It was a good plan, with light traffic and I drove to Statesville where I rode my bike in Lakeshore Park, small but adequate. My legs were swollen so I raised and rested them on the truck door for 10 minutes and that seemed to help. After that I stopped for a nap, then decided to stop and check out the Larkin Golf Club and had a lot of fun even though I shot a nine on a difficult par 5 and 4 putted a couple of times. I shot what I tried for, a 54, but I was so tired the last two holes. Now I drove to the Wingate and napped again, then did my leg exercises, chatted with Gyorgyi about mad man Trump and then showered and went out to P.F. Chang’s and had eggplant and broccoli and soup, leaving out the tempting shrimp dumplings. I have been raising my feet all day and that does seem to help. Sunday proved quite a good day also. I got up at 5 then had breakfast at six after doing my knee exercises, and then weights in the exercise room and then finally fell back to sleep and woke up at nearly 10. I decided to drive down to Congaree and when I got there I was pretty tired so I took a nap and then headed out on the boardway. There were at least a dozen dogs on leashes along the way and on a four foot wide boardwalk there is no way to keep the dogs away from the people passing by. This was ruining my walk so I called the visitor center, really gave it to them and told them that I was going to walk up the Sims trail and then walk back near the Learning Center (which obviously is used by the public at points) as I used to bike back. The ranger told me that someone might stop me and question me about why I was there, but that I wouldn’t be arrested and I told them I didn’t really care. That if you were going to arrest a sick, handicapped man with a cane for trying to avoid getting bitten by dogs, then go arrest me and see what a publicity nightmare you would create. No one appeared so I raised my legs for twenty minutes then went inside and furthered my complaints, and found out that that bully Tracy Stakely is still in charge (the moron who wouldn’t take down the misleading bicycle sign, which took my months to finally get taken out after having to write to his superiors). I think I will find out who his boss is and simply copy Stakely. I then finished my biking and on the way back I stopped to talk to a fellow cutting wood about fishing the big lake, but he said it had no fish since it had been totally flooded out but he called his boss and Clark offered to let me fish one of his private ponds tomorrow at 8:30. I was excited and I drove to Walmart to get a license and a pair of size 40 pants after I broke the buckle on my North Face pants. I had a chicken breast at Hush’s near the Comfort Inn and it was wonderful (prednisone speaking?) then I went for a nap, did my knee exercises, the did my blog which I will have to post later since my laptop, after getting updated, is not connecting to the internet. Monday was another positive day on my road to recovery. I slept horribly, probably worried about meeting Clay Chappell at 8:30 to fish one of his ponds. He was late but very cordial and put me on an acre or so pond, where I got two nice fish, one over two pounds. I then drove some and napped for over an hour then did my Target shopping, then went to play golf at Northwoods, where I hoped for a 54 and ended with a 53. My putting is very jittery and that’s the drugs, I think. Then I drove to the comfort inn at Tyvola (saving 25 dollars over the wingate) and took a long nap. I did my exercises and yoga and then went to wolfgang puck’s for a wonderful Caesar salad and mushroom pizza.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

First trip since the hospital

I didn’t sleep too well, so at 7:30 I decided to pack and head to Charlotte to play some golf in the much warmer weather. It was a good plan, with light traffic and I drove to Statesville where I rode my bike in Lakeshore Park, small but adequate. My legs were swollen so I raised and rested them on the truck door for 10 minutes and that seemed to help. After that I stopped for a nap, then decided to stop and check out the Larkin Golf Club and had a lot of fun even though I shot a nine on a difficult par 5 and 4 putted a couple of times. I shot what I tried for, a 54, but I was so tired the last two holes. Now I drove to the Wingate and napped again, then did my leg exercises, chatted with Gyorgyi about mad man Trump and then showered and went out to P.F. Chang’s and had eggplant and broccoli and soup, leaving out the tempting shrimp dumplings. I have been raising my feet all day and that does seem to help.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Some slow, slow chainsaw work but a lot accomplished

Thursday has turned out to be another good day. I slept pretty well, getting to bed around 2, and got up around 5:30, and I did my knee exercises, which I hadn’t done on Wednesday and I could really tell I had missed a day. I did some dishes, listened to some news about that idiot Donald Trump, then went back for a nap. When I awoke I knew it was chainsaw time, so I very slowly got all my equipment together and got on my chain saw clothes and headed off to my first stop where I had a 30 foot log just off the road hanging on the stump that eric cut. I wanted to relieve a bit of the pressure and cut some of the log farther from the road. It was slow work and a little dangerous as I got higher up, but I was able to cut away a good portion of it and cut it up into sections I can roll off into the ravine when I get a chance. I had to take several breaks because I was quickly out of breath, but I was glad that job number one was finished. The second job was the two dead trees hanging over the road to the orchard and that job was even more work. I had hope to work till 12:30 but it was simply much too hard and there at least another hour of cutting to be done, then clearing the road. My Stihl electric is great but of course limited and I have to put the other blade on because I think the first one is dulled with all the cuts I made today. When I backed up and turned around in the pasture, I was pretty tired and hungry so when I got home I microwaved an Amy’s Pad Thai and then took a nap. I didn’t sleep that long and when I got up I painted the fixed spots in the bathroom, but it quickly became apparent that the 8 ounce, supposedly matched sample was much too dark. Fortunately, I noticed that I had a quart of old white semi-gloss in the cabinet so I tried that out later and it was a much better match. I actually thought of mixing a little bit of the darker paint to even match the wall better, but such subtlety of effort is not my general mode. I was watching Tiger’s return and at one point he was even but he ended up 4 over which really isn’t too bad for such an incredible layoff. After a very needed shower, I headed into town around 4 and rode my bike on the Huckleberry for 40 minutes, stopping a little early because I didn’t want to hurt my butt. After my ride I dropped off my check to Rob and he hoped we could walk this weekend. That would be fun for both of us I think. I still have to pick up my meds and some more chain saw oil but it’s just after 7 so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

a little pain in my hands, but a very good day

Another good day on my road to recovery. It is Wednesday night and I am in O’Charley’s having pie and coffee and doing emails, my blog and my lumosity training. I had a tough night sleeping, and really didn’t drift off till after 4, and my hands felt cramped and I had to hold them straight out just to lessen the pain. I did eventually take an acetaminophen and I think that helped. I got up and was still groggy so I took my meds and did a few things and went back to bed. When I got up, I decided that since I had gotten so much done in the past few days that I would take the day off and just head out and play golf and ride my bike for the first time since I got out of the hospital. My play was pretty off, although I made some good shots and though I had a couple of 4 putts, I still ended up with a 50, which was fine. I played very slowly in the bright sunlight and when the wind slowed around 12:30, I felt very good indeed. My bike ride was also very rewarding. I rode from Merrimac toward Tech at first and then back up to the railroad bridge for 50 minutes. I rode very slow and was winded but it was quite an accomplishment for me. I rode back home and talked with Kelly and that was nice to catch up with her and update her on my condition. I told her I would go back and finish the first two seasons of Homeland but only for her. I asked her how Lucia was handling the Trump stuff and she said that as an 8 year old, her responses are that articulate yet but she is troubled by that idiot. I left a message with Gabes and he left a return message from Julian and from him that cheered me up. I have the time and the money to do a New York trip if the weather was decent, but my sleeping patterns and my need for long naps would seem to dictate waiting at least a month until I am better adjusted to the prednisone. I know it would be fun to take Julian for an adventure but I am not sure if I could be safe with him. I took a look at the new apartments on Merrimac but they don’t have any one bedrooms on the first floor so that won’t work. I did get a message from Jonathan at Hethwood that some of the Cooper Croft one bedroom, one den apartments are on the ground floor. I think I will take a look at one. I got the matching touchup paint for my bathroom job, and after the last spackled spot dries I will paint it. Got a message from Rob not to take the extra 100 mg of allopurinol since he thinks the hand pain is from the lupus not the gout. I am also going to drop off a nice donation for his charity walk.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

maybe I can get off Cellcept

Microsoft is screwing up again. Amazing. It lost my Monday entry but I am pretty sure I posted it so I guess each blog will have a different name. I am going to return my Tiles after talking with the idiots at Tile, one of the most incompetent organizations I have ever dealt with. And I have to package and get the tiles to a shipping place. Today, Tuesday was a very good day and the big news was that when I talked to Rob, he said that he thought there was a good chance I could get off Cellcept at some point, which would be wonderful. I emailed my kayak friend about that possibility but I know this is another busy week for her so she may not respond until later of tomorrow. During the day I decided to do some work outside, so I drove to the far gate and replaced the old lock with a brand new one, and then I decided to fix the third gate where my turnbuckle / cable setup broke a while ago and the gate has to be lifted to open it completely. If I had purchased a new thicker cable, bigger cable clips, and a new larger turnbuckle, then the job would have gone much, much easier. But I decided to see what I had up at the cabin and in my house and I did have some smaller cable clips so I thought I could improvise, and it got ugly. I had a lot of trouble working with the tiny nuts (losing 3 of them but I brought my box of nuts so I had plenty). I pulled the post back by attaching it to my truck and backing up and that worked okay. I also put some wood under the end of the gate to raise it a bit and that helped. I eventually got 5 cable clips attached and after I pounded the stake in with the sledge, I got the cable pretty tight and the job was done. It works very well but I am not sure how long it will last. The overall job took me over 2 hours but I was pretty satisfied and I did get to use some of the stuff I bought a long time ago. I went back and napped, then got up and took a long hike to the orchard, then napped again and did my exercises, my weights and my stationary bike for 40 minutes but no piano and no yoga before heading out for dinner at Greens. I also cleaned and oiled the TV cabinet, the top of which was amazingly dusty but the whole thing looks great. I talked with Gyorgyi and we are planning to get together soon. Trump is very unbalanced I think and I am not sure he is going to last as president. I looked into the Hethwood apartments a little more and I think I could afford a one bedroom with a den at Copper Croft or Stroubles, their two better places. I was just doing it for fun since my recovery is going well and I am hoping that I can stay in the hollow for a long time.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Good Day, Lousy Football

Hopefully Microsoft Word will work today. I had another very good day, and I slept pretty well last night after falling off after 2. I woke up at around 7 and did some exercises, a load of wash, then a refresh wash, then I organized my travel, misc., retirement and social security/medicare folders. I had quite a bit of extra stuff in them. I then went to nap and when I got up the rain had stopped so I decided to walk to the orchard and did, taking breaks on my new log seats and finding out that my Visa bill is much lower than I thought it would be so that will help me pay for the Amtrak trip to Salt Lake City. I walked down to the level area and then all the way back and while I was sitting there John O’Brien returned my phone call and we had a very good conversation for almost an hour. He was very funny at points and it was really good to connect with him. I will call him in a few months and reconnect. I got back after the Atlanta game had started, taped it, took a short nap and then did my stationary bike, slightly heavier weights, yoga, and cleaning out my vitamin and pill cabinet, I watched football, cleaned up and headed into town for dinner and the second half of the second game. I had one of the best steaks I have ever had at Bull and Bones (a fillet with Rosemary/Garlic butter) that was wonderful, with the smokehouse beans I really enjoy.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

first golf in over a month

Saturday proved another good day to recovery. I went to bed by 2 and slept till 6:30, then forced myself to go on a long morning hike. I decided to start the lawnmower and I got it going with a lot of starter fluid. I drove it up to the house and thought about cutting the one dangerous limb by the tractor barn but my long, extendable trimming saw wouldn’t have been long enough to do it. I drove back down and decided to set up a couple of more log pieces to sit on and that should give me a nice resting place (I also want to put some small flat concrete blocks under them and maybe trim them a bit when I bring out my electric chain saw. I walked back to the house with the battery fully charged and then ate a bit and took a shorter nap so I could go play golf (Dr. Trivedi okayed golf yesterday; if fact she said except for heavy weightlifting, I can go back to all my exercises). I was excited and I really thought I would be awful (I hoped for a 58 from the forward tees) but the back nine was open and I started with 2 pars and a bogey, not a bad start at all. It took me a very poor chip from 20 yards off the green and then 4 putts to get a 7 on the 13th, but then I was pretty consistent, 6, 5, 6 and then on the 9th (I usually play it instead of the 18th, which it is harder than), I hit two wonderful shots, my third was ten yards off the green and I was definitely looking at a 6 at worse, but instead of trying a long uphill putt I chipped right off the left of the green and ended with an 8 on a downhill green that was amazingly slow. I picked up some glass cleaner finally and then had two slices of pizza from Amelia’s, then drove home for a nap and my knee exercises and 30 minutes of biking before headed to Macados to get a Margie’s Cashew chicken salad and watch Duke / Miami, with Duke now 5 ahead after being 10 behind and looking awful. I emailed a couple times with my kayak friend and I think my first email to her was one of the funniest things I have ever written. She is worried about me staying on Cellcept too long because it is a very risky drug and I wrote her that I would talk to Trivedi when I am back to normal about the drug and that I would even go down to Duke to consult with an expert down there. It’s so good to have her advice and support.

Friday, January 20, 2017

good visit to Dr. Trivedi

Today, Friday was a pretty good day. I didn’t get to bed until after 2 but I slept until 7 and did my exercises and then some household stuff and then went back to bed until almost 12 and then had to hustle a bit to get my stationary biking done for 30 minutes and get dressed. No walk this morning but it wasn’t too pleasant in the morning and I was pretty tired. I drove in, recycled and got rid of the garbage, then went to visit Dr. Trivedi and she spent an hour and 20 minutes questioning me and all my numbers are getting better (kidney 1.69) and no major concerns. I was pretty happy with all the good news. I also got to give my gift cards to the renal biopsy people, to the surgical care staff and to Trivedi’s office, then I was still able to meet Claire and have dinner at Nagoya and then an almost hour walk with her (I was short of breath going up the hill) on campus. I then got to my office and took a hour and ten minute nap and then talked to Rob, who was very optimistic, and am doing my blog and hopefully my lumosity training. I did have a pleasant and helpful conversation with Craig and that felt very good. Today I also left a message for John about my health situation and I hope to chat with him at some point.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

another good hike

Well, the fellow who contacted me is really looking for sub-dividable property so there is really no interest. I did explain to him all the pluses and minuses about the hollow and I told him to keep me in mind. He has his own acreage out on 42 and I wish him well with it. I did a good hike this morning (three times back up to the orchard) and then I did some work around the house before taking a nap. I fixed the broken screen door and checked the battery water then equalized the batteries. I did my knee exercises, my stationary bike for 40 minutes, my yoga but no practicing (maybe tonight). I didn’t get to sleep until after 4, even with the sleeping pill. My kayak friend responded tonight and I sent her back what I think is a pretty funny email. Maddie is done with her first week so that’s good news. We exchanged a couple of texts so that was fun. I go see Dr. Pant tomorrow at three and that shouldn’t be too stressful and then I am going to meet Claire Hall at Next Door Bakery at 4. She has been so helpful to me with my knee surgery and with my present health concerns. Her marriage seems to be going very well and she is enjoying teaching at Tech. Gyorgyi seems to be finally over her cold but she has a very tough semester ahead of her. Hope to see her for dinner soon. Tech is really taking advantage of her.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

interest in the hollow perhaps

It is Wednesday night and after a really nice dinner of blackened fresh salmon at Red Lobster, I have returned to O’Charley’s for dessert and lumosity and blogging. I did get to sleep by 2:30 last night but I got up at 6 and couldn’t get back to sleep so I drove down to the pasture to get some Amtrak info so I may go see Dave on my Yellowstone trip in September. I can afford it and it would be really fun to spend some time in person and Dave. We have become very close and that is a big comfort to me. I got home and did some exercises then finally got back to bed, took a nap and got up around 11. I had my big cup of coffee and then went for a very good hike, going back up the last 110 yards three times, which felt very good for my breathing. I sat there for at least 45 minutes and just enjoyed the sun and did some calling and internet stuff. When I got back home I lay down but couldn’t sleep so I rested for awhile and did my stationary biking for 40 minutes, light weights and yoga and did about half my practicing then took a long nap. I cleaned a little around the house and in a couple of months, the house should be in decent shape. Maddie and I had fun texting back and forth and it sounds like her last semester is off to a good start. I also got an email from a fellow who appears to have some interest in seeing the hollow. I sent him my phone number and we are supposed to talk tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

some good news, some less good

I have to fill in some gaps but I will do that soon. It is Tuesday Night and I have had a pretty good day so far. I got to sleep last night around 2:30, having forgotten to take my sleeping pill earlier. I woke about 7 and got my stationary biking in for 35 minutes then did some more cleaning around the house, drove down to the pasture and got the slightly good news that my kidney numbers and my blood level are slightly improved, responded to Craig’s request that he doesn’t want anything to do with Tracy’s response to me, and then I drove back and eventually went back to bed around 11:00 and slept really hard till 1:00 and took 45 minutes to get fully out of bed and to my wonderful cup of Starbucks coffee. After the coffee I dressed and walked down to the orchard. That was a bit of a struggle but I got up there, and the aerobics helped, and the rain held off. I checked my finances a little and made a couple of phone calls and then headed back. I tried to nap but I just rested and then then headed in to see have dinner at the Cinebowl and then see La La Land, a simply lovely movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. My kayak friend checked in and I wrote her a funny response. She is kind to check on me since she is so busy.

Monday, January 16, 2017

two decent days

This has been a pretty good two days although I can't get my Microsoft Work to work so I am doing my blog directly on Blogspot. Sunday was a good day, and I stayed in the hollow the whole day, practicing piano, light weights, yoga, cleaning the house and working a bit on the truck, taking a hike to the orchard (with a few stops to get my breath back) and watching both of the exciting football games. I wish Dallas would have won but Green Bay was fun to watch. Monday has also turned out to e a good day, my sleeping still way, way off but I did eventually get up in time to make it to lunch with Claire Hall and that turned out to be quite a nice lunch and walk. I went to my office to quickly get the sick leave form to Rosemary, chat with Laura and Amy, file some things and then still make it for blood work at 3:30. Dr. Pant called and he was just checking in but it was nice to hear from him and I thanked him profusely for getting me back quickly and into treatment. That probably is going to have a significant impact on my recovery. After bloodwork and an apple juice from Valerie, I went to have an early salad and sandwich at Panera, but since I couldn't get Microsoft Word to work, I decided to call East Coasters to see about the new bike parts, and when Matt offered to fix the rack, I headed over and got that done. I then thought a nice almond croissant and a cup of coffee would be nice so I headed over to Our Daily Bread and wrote my blog directly on Blogger. I got a very angry email from Tracy, after a kind one yesterday, calling me a "lying fucking prick" and I am not exactly sure why she is so angry with me. I talked with Craig earlier and explained things accurately and said I would enjoy playing golf with him at some point (nothing wrong with a very sick person wanting to go back to play golf when they can) and then Linda contacted Tracy and Tracy must have really misunderstood my situation. It is getting much too hard to live out in the hollow by myself and I am not sure how my treatment will go, and I would like Tracy to get her 20% when I sell the hollow. I guess she will never forgive me and I shouldn't have taken her kind words to heart. Oh well, my friends are being good to me and that has been very helpful.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Back Home, and Doing Okay

On Friday I was released from the hospital even though my creatine numbers had gone up a little (from 2.6 to 2.71), all four doctors though that I was plateauing and that I could be released. My blood is still 5 pints low and my protein leakage is still high, but they expect those to start to charge within a few more weeks. The two biggest threats I have are from infections and stress, and I will do my best to avoid infected people (I have purchased a box of the masks) and not teaching and not overdoing anything right now should keep my stress down. I will probably go to my office occasionally (I would think almost always after 5 when few people should be around), and I have offered to share my office if needed. I started on a lot of strong drugs today Saturday (particularly 60 mg of prednisone and 4 pills per day of Cellcept) so I was very tired (I slept all night and then napped 7 hours during the day) but I did a little exercise (which the doctors said was fine) and I am feeling okay now. Rob says the prednisone will start keeping me up at night but he did prescribe a sleeping pill if needed. I will have more blood work on Monday and I see Dr. Trivedi on Friday so I should have some info on Tuesday and on Friday. I will have to be on drugs for at least six months and maybe much longer (I am also on 2 antibiotics) but Rob thinks I will be feeling much better in 6 weeks and Dr. Trivedi in 2 to 3 months, if I have no setbacks. I must say that getting out of the hospital yesterday was the best I have felt in 7 weeks, and I felt pretty positive about things, a good and tearful day. I did some exercising today, including almost 30 minutes of biking, a walk to my white pine, almost all my knee exercises, my yoga and I did some cleaning up in the house and in the truck. I drove into town about 5:30 and got some masks and then went to Macados for dinner, lumosity training and my blog. I feel okay and fairly positive, and my tears on my walk were certainly hopeful ones.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday in the Hospital with perhaps a chance to leave

Reflecting on my last journal, I decided to respond further with some more detail from my life, including being in charge of a psychiatric unit in my late 20s at South Beach Psychiatric Center. I was night coordinator and I was being trained by the psychiatrist as a covering therapist (my actual degree is in psychology), and the patients really liked me since I was very kind and often very naïve (Dr. Krisnamurti said that the patients often lied to me to get sympathy, or small favors, or cigarettes) but I didn’t care and they appreciated all the extra time I spent with them, often 10 hours or more a week. When I made my difficult decision to go for a master’s degree in English at Boston University, the unit offered to pay for my doctoral studies if I would agree to return to the unit. I was very proud of that offer and I still am. I wrote some of my best poems there and I think South Beach was one of my most valuable working experiences. Anyway, it is a little after 6 am and the phlebotomist was not able to draw blood from the spot the Nicky the nurse had chosen, so she will be back in 15 minutes to draw from a spot she has chosen. The first stick wasn’t too painful and the second stick at my elbow wasn’t too bad either. I hope my numbers are going down but If I have to stay a couple more days, it won’t be that bad. I am ready for breakfast and I told Nicky to tell the psych people that I need a specific time for them to visit or I will cancel it. Just waiting for them is not going to work for me since I like to walk so much and Claire Hall is coming for lunch and a walk. I would love to go on a bike ride soon and do all my exercises. Walking is a big help. I do think I have a deeper anxiety in my life and that has to be what to do with the hollow. I am pretty sure that if I make a pretty full recovery, then I will try to stay longer in the hollow. It has gotten harder to maintain with a recovering knee and just being 65, but I do think I still have a shot at staying there till 70, my original goal. I know all the benefits to living in an apartment closer to Blacksburg but it would be a real jolt right now, even though my present illness makes it more appealing. I think April or May will be the real moment of decision.

An Awful Night at Carilion

It is Wednesday and my first day in the hospital and I got my first dose of chemo (methoprednisone, 500 mg) and I had no real problems with anxiety or jitteriness. Rob thinks that will happen this evening or early morning so we will see. I had an awful morning since by the time they had admitted me and were ready to do the blood work, my valium had worn off and my lidocaine was losing its effect. Finally nurse Amanda got the IV in my right arm (looked better to her) and two minutes later a guy comes in and says he is going to draw blood and I say absolutely not and chase him away. I was not going to be stuck twice in a few minutes but fortunately Amanda was able to get the blood from the iv since I hadn’t had any chemo yet. I did later apologize for both of them and James the night nurse has promised to get me a 2 and ½ mg valium a half hour before tomorrow’s blood work. That should help a lot. I emailed back and forth with my kayak friend and she was wonderful, doing research which seemed to say that my treatment is the best one. Cathy Gallo is going to come visit tomorrow and she is one of the few people I would like to see. Claire was in touch and I may have her come visit in the afternoon as she offered to. Rob is much more optimistic than Dr. Pant and his call cheered me up quite a bit. He thought a vacation south would be a fine thing. Rosemary has also been very kind and she shared a lot about her own kidney experience. I also had a nice chat with Kelly and she was very supportive and that also had a very positive effect. I really do hope to get up to see her. I walked around the hospital quite a bit, probably a couple of miles but I got tired on my last walk a little after nine so I may not walk too much more. I did get my first dose of Cellecept and that hasn’t done anything bad yet. Wednesday continued to go well until about 11:30 pm when I was told that since my roommate had left, I was going to have another roommate. James the nurse said the new patient should be in fairly soon so I said I would stay up until they got him settled. No problem I thought figuring that this guy would go right to sleep. Unfortunately, the new patient didn’t get there until after one and after thy moved out his bed and completely woke me up and when they finally left about a half hour later, the new patient proved to be a problem. He left the light on and had the TV loud, and was coughing loudly and wanted a spit cup. Anyway, after a half hour, during which I read a little and put in my ineffective earplugs, I finally went out to tell James that this wasn’t going to work. He was not that helpful, still saying that I couldn’t get any valium for sleeping (as it turned out I did have a sleeping med order according to Dr. Pant and he was going to make sure it was available tonight). And so I sat in the lounge area, where they said I could use the fold out bed but I had no desire to sleep there since it didn’t look very clean and there were lights and noises. James was no help and eventually walked away from me and I cursed at him that this was fucking ridiculous (which I regretted and apologized later), but he also said, after I asked him if this was good medical care, he replied “Yes, I do” which was silly to say. I finally got a private room (which I didn’t ask for because I knew they were full) and that was such a relief and when the valium kicked in about 3:30 I finally fell asleep and slept till 8:10. I immediately called to talk to a supervisor and though they said one would be coming soon, Chelsea and Ellen didn’t show up until 10 o’clock and though I asked for a nurse to come a couple times, Amanda didn’t come until almost ten, so I had to give myself my morning meds. Chelsea and Ellen were very friendly and I think they saw my side but they are obviously working for the hospital so I think they will be balanced. I got my blood drawn and my second infusion so that was fine. Dr. Pant told me that my numbers had gone up (2.1 to 2.6 but he mentioned that the numbers might need a new more days to go down (something Rob mentioned, that my numbers might go up to 3.0 before going down). Then Claire and I had lunch and took a long walk around the hospital and that felt so good. Dr. Belcher came and asked me about what he should do if I have a heart attack and I agree with him he should try to resuscitate me. Then if asked if I wouldn’t mind seeing a psychiatrist because he thought I had a deeper anxiety (not sure about that) but since I just found out that I have lupus nefritis and that my numbers are still going up and he asked me what to do about a heart attack, shouldn’t I be very anxious. I absolutely think so but I told him I would be glad to talk to someone because certainly during my drive home from my failed Texas vacation, my fear of the pain of the renal biopsy (which was supposed to be from 4 to 10 but ended up about a 2), my anxiety about the results from UVa (which took 8 days to get and were not very good), and my increasing numbers seem to me enough to get anyone on earth pretty anxiety and last night’s unprofessional treatment of me also contributed to my being upset and more anxious. I just want this on record. I understand some of the staff may see things differently but since I am an award winning investigative reporter with over 350 publications and several books out, I think I do a very good job of presenting the truth. If any of the staff want to respond to this, feel free to share it and I will be glad to read their responses and offer counter responses. Let me make it clear that almost everyone has treated me well and the three people who I has problems with I apologized to. I want to single out Abby, Nicole and Amanda.

Monday, January 9, 2017

still no definitive news

It is Monday evening and I am waiting for a call from Rob. It may not answer what I have but it should clarify things a little. I should absolutely know what I have by tomorrow when the results of the renal biopsy are due. I hope it is not lupus, or at least that it is the easier to treat kind. I called Dr. Trividi but she didn’t return my call yet. I did get a low pressure shower head and I picked up some needed supplies. I had a cup of onion soup and a baguette at Panera, where I have finished my lumosity training and am working on my blog. I did my knee exercises, my weights and yoga, rode the stationary bike and I practiced all my piano pieces. My blood is 4 pints low and that has Rob worried. I talked with Rosemary and she did not offer to take away another course but that may happen when I get the final diagnosis. I talked to Gyorgyi and she is on the way back home, still recovering from her bad cold. I am going to have a salad when I watch the National Championship game. It was still too cold to go for a walk, but tomorrow should be warmer and I hope to go for a stroll tomorrow. Cathy is doing better but teaching is a real struggle, particularly since she can’t eat anything all day.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

a snow day in the hollow and getting out today

It is Sunday and I am in Greens watching the Packers / Giants game. It was brutal out last night and this morning but I stayed at the house yesterday, clearing the road and taking a 25 minute hike toward the afternoon. I did some straightening out around the house and my yoga and my knee exercises along with 40 minutes of bike riding. I also practiced almost all my pieces. This morning was just too cold to even go out. I did my yoga, knee exercises and for the first time since the biopsy, my weights. I rode the bike for 40 minutes and practiced all my pieces. I also kept straightening out the house, even sweeping the floors. I read the Toyota book and figured out how to get into 4 wheel drive low, which may come in handy. Tomorrow I may know all the results and I am scared but not panicked. I tried to call Gyorgyi but her box was full so I’m not sure if she got home yet.

Friday, January 6, 2017


Another big dip in the roller coaster. It is Friday and when I finally got in touch with Dr. Pant, he told me the preliminary result indicated that I either had a fairly mild condition easily treatable or lupus. He wanted me to get a blood test today and though it was originally supposed to be just for lupus, Valerie had to stick me twice and she ended up taking 5 tubes of blood. I should know the results (of the biopsy and the blood work) on Monday or Tuesday. I did my first workout today since the biopsy and then rode my bike for 40 minutes. Both felt good but I was pretty tired after and I ended up taking a nap. I then drove into town for dinner and to get some supplies and I should be heading home soon.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


Thursday started out slow since it was hard to get up and when I finally did I didn’t get much done around the house. I took a nap then got up and played piano then took another, shorter nap. Eventually my blog entries will be one word: napping. Anyway I was going to go see Mr. Hamrick the welder but he was busy so I drove to East Coasters and Matt helped me reverse part of the bike rack so I was able to use the unbroken piece. He was very helpful and I tipped him nicely. Then I had lunch with Claire and that was very good and we had a very good chat about things. I had been told that I wouldn’t know anything until next week so I was kind of in an easy going mood so I headed over to Dick’s to get the short socks to help my swelling legs and surprisingly they had 4 pairs of long johns in so I bought them. Then it was off to my office—for a nap of course—and then I decided to try to get my tiles working and that was another disaster and when I finally got off the computer (and they are going to send me another replacement set of tiles that work with my phone’s operating system) I missed Dr. Pant’s call. He wanted me to call back and I won’t be able to talk to him until tomorrow so that upset me. I assume he doesn’t have any results but I am uneasy about why he wanted to talk to me. I called Rob but he hasn’t called back so I don’t think there is much I can do right now. Cathy’s having a tough time getting back to teaching and that worries me. I wish she could quit but I don’t think that is possible right now. I ran into my kayak friend and had a nice chat with her. She isn’t too busy right now and I’m glad.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

the renal biopsy is over and wasn't too painful

Well, it is Wednesday night and I am watching Duke clobber GT. The really good news is that the renal biopsy wasn’t very painful so my week of terror is finished (I was expecting something in the 8-10 range but the worst it got was a 2. They did numb me a lot and they gave me a lot of pain medicine so that may have helped). I still haven’t taken any pain meds but I am very, very tired. I drove home from the Comfort Inn and took a long nap, then went for a walk up to the orchard, then walked home and needed to take a two hour nap when I returned. When I got up I played piano for 20 minutes and then needed a half hour nap before I had enough energy to get going. I contacted Rosemary and she and I will chat after I find out the results of my biopsy and what the treatment plan will be.

Monday, January 2, 2017

less than 15 hours

It is Monday evening and less than 15 hours to go for my renal biopsy. I will be so glad when it is over. I had a reasonable day, having to drive only a little less than 300 miles, stopping to ride my bike at a community college outside of Knoxville, napping, playing nine holes at clear creek near Abingdon, getting my oil changed near Marion and getting to my office for another nap before it got dark. I talked to Gabes and he was sympathetic and I promised to call him tomorrow. I have gotten a lot of support from my friends and that has been very important, especially from Maddie Gallo. She has been very kind and concerned and it moved me. I am certainly not looking forward to tomorrow but it has to happen and I will take either 1 and ½ or 2 5 mg valium to calm me down. Claire is set to meet me at 1, if that’s when I can leave.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

almost home

It is New Year’s day and I guess it is an accomplishment that I am still here. That is certainly histrionic but with how low I feel it is not inaccurate. Another day of driving in the rain, although I did get off I-20 and go biking in the light rain for a half hour and that really helped. I ended up napping twice (driving in the rain is really tiring) and made it to Athens, Tennessee. I did my exercises and I am watching the Detroit / Green Bay game at Applebees. I did my lumosity training and am going to post my blog.