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A.M.A. (Against Medical Advice)

Or rather A.G.A. (Against Guffaw’s Advice)!

A while back, my friend Borepatch (who definitely has a right to such opinions in such matters) wrote regarding the acquiring and use of Siri, Google Now, Cortana or Alexa.

Or their fellow travelers.

I warned my roommate of such folly.

BUT, she is addicted to newfangled gadgets (as best she can afford them)!

(And, it IS her home, and she supplies the Wi-Fi…)

THIS arrived in the mail yesterday.  Apparently, there was a sale

It’s an Alexa (Echo) device (‘courtesy’ of Amazon)

(aka, “the electronic hockey puck of EVIL!” – spoken in Don Adams’ Maxwell Smart voice)

Sigh.

There’s a cartoon somewhere (unfortunately, I couldn’t find it) showing government agents discussing how citizens will place wiretaps/bugging devices in their own homes voluntarily, and will allow them to record conversations and Internet activity with ease!

They were gleeful!

I am not.  😦

Sigh.

 

And The Adventure Continues, Part Ocho 

So Monday the contractor returned, closed the hole in the downstairs ceiling, and replaced the upstairs bathroom floor (they had taken a divot earlier to test for asbestos – none found!)

He returned yesterday morning to give the ceiling a second coat.

Everything looks GREAT!  FINALLY!

paint still drying…

previously

(the leak began in MAY!)

I’m still dealing with my enlarged calf, visiting my regular doctor again today. And the vascular guy again next Monday.

At least the shower is no longer leaking. 

But, the adventure does continue. The one working vehicle (J’s 2006 Honda Element) has a battery which is dying. It still starts the car, but could be gone any day now.

$100-250 at most auto parts places.

And I don’t get paid until mid week next week.

It’s always something… 

Sigh.

Spoiler Alert!

As I grew up doing magic (eventually becoming semi-pro in my teens), I know many secrets – even if I cannot perform them personally.  😛

And, sadly, knowledge kinda ruins watching other magicians!  I’m looking for the gimmick, misdirection, the gaffe, the secret – other than just enjoying the performance for entertainment sake.

It takes an unusual talent to keep me interested in the actual performance.

I am also an AZDPS certified/NRA trained instructor.  And have trained people professionally in safe gun-handling and proper techniques.  I also shot in IPSC competition for a short time.

The point being, while I’m no big-time trainer/shooter, I have been around.

And, this has spoiled many TV shows and movies for me.

It’s hard for me to suspend my disbelief when I see a magician perform poorly (and not on purpose for comedy, ala Carl Balantine!)

The same thing applies to gun handling from Hollywood.

In recent memory, the TV show 24, with the counter-terrorist expert Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland) holding his pistol as a cup-and-saucer.  Obviously, the set firearms trainer didn’t bother, or the actor didn’t care!

To be fair, Hollywood has generally improved in this area – Michael Mann with Miami Vice and Heat brought in weapons experts.  We don’t see the ‘grabbing the wrist’ thing as much as we once did.

I’ve been binge watching Bosch on Amazon.  Based on Michael Connolly’s book character, the plots are generally riveting and well acted.  And Titus Welliver as the lead is pretty good, as a driven, ‘colors-outside-the-lines’ LAPD detective.

But, they had a big parking lot gun fight last night (Season 2), and many of the ‘professionals’ (both mobsters and cops) confused concealment with cover, and kept doing the jack-in-the-box thing (jumping up from behind something to return fire).

Smile for the camera!

It kinda took the wind out of my sails…

I plan on continuing to watch it, and hope the acting and the plot hide the poor action sequences.

Also, the lead character wears two extra 1911 magazines – placed backwards in the mag pouch (about half the time), making tactical reloads problematic!

I know – picky, picky, picky

Bosch

 

 

 

And The Adventure Continues, Part Siete

Well, here we are, again…

The contractor returned Thursday to close the hole in the ceiling.  He said their estimate disagreed with the material provided by the insurance company (i.e. they mentioned a repaint, but NOT closing the hole in the ceiling!)  A minimum of THREE WEEKS before they return.

We’ll see.

J., my roomie, continues to have health problems, multiple doctor appointments and physical therapy.  Next is a nerve ablation on her neck, which causes her great pain.

We’ll see.

I discontinued my auto insurance and notified the State my car is no longer on the road, pending sale or donation.  No sale or donation as of yet.  She’s still collecting spider webs…

We’ll see.

J. added me to her auto insurance as an additional driver.

We’ll see.

I’ve my own doctor appointment tomorrow, with a vascular surgeon(?!) regarding my right calf, which continues to be oversized.

We’ll see.

Money continues to be an issue.  Quelle surprise.

We’ll see.

Weather?  Today 111º.  Tomorrow 116º.  Tuesday 118º  That’s The Valley of the Sun in the Summer.  Oh, wait?  It’s not Summer, yet!  😛

We’ll see.

I will update you kind folks as I know more.

Thanks, again for your support.

And The ‘Adventure’ Continues, Part Seis(?)

In our last episode (spoken aloud in Don Adams’ Maxwell Smart voice…)

It was determined I do NOT have a blot clot in my lower right leg (twice!), although the leg remains enlarged.  Not painful, but engorged.  And hard(?) in spots.

I’ve an appointment later in the month with a vascular specialist.  Who knows?

The rash I had has largely dissipated (after THREE 5 day courses of Prednisone – thank you very much!) as well as a slow, agonizing decrease of the itch that accompanied it.  Rash gone, still itching.

But,  the itch has FINALLY gone away.

Roomie continues to suffer from her chronic health problems associated with asthma, COPD, congestive heart failure and emphysema.  And NO, she had never smoked tobacco!

She had, however, worked in plant greenhouses and beauty salons (with many of their toxic chemicals) for most of her adult life.

And she is continuing to recover from her shoulder surgery and is getting physical therapy for the same.

Will she be returning to work?  Who knows?

We could use the money – but at further risk to her health?

YES!  The shower leak has been repaired!  The hole in the living room ceiling?  Not so much.

roughly 3′ x 4′

Apparently, the contractor and the insurance adjuster disagree regarding the amount to be paid.  Or WHEN this is to be done…

I still possess the dead Oldsmobile in my parking space, now growing spiderwebs.  There are ‘complications’ with selling it (not to mention I’ve been offered much less than I thought it worth!)  Perhaps donation IS the best route(?)

AND, just to add to the fun – during daylight hours one may not exit the front door to the townhouse in safety.  The bees who have taken up residence in the tall bush adjacent to the door have become, well, more populous and hyper-vigilant!

Fortunately, this is an HOA problem.

Unfortunately, this is an HOA problem.

When this will get resolved?  Who knows?

(I’ll just walk around the back way to get the mail, thank you very much!)

The ‘Adventure’ continues…

A Cultural Shift

I’ve always owned a car.  At least, since I was a licensed driver.

First, a loaner from my parents, then a used car (bought with assistance from my parents).  Then, a succession of beaters (to which Dave-the-mechanic can attest!).

Finally, after the accident, I bought my dream car – a 1989 Isuzu Trooper! This was in 1995.  Most of my previous cars were at least 10 years old when purchased.  I just never had the money/credit to buy new.

When the Izuzu ‘gave up the ghost’ seven years later, I already had begun looking for a replacement.  The engine blew, and I needed a car.  I was still working, commuting, and one really needs a car to get around the Valley.

Credit, money, income limited my choices.  I ended up with a 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue. (This was 2002!)  She was NOT my first choice, but I did qualify for her.

Who knew she would last fifteen years?

The sad part is, now she is worth maybe $500, if I’m lucky.  She still runs (the engine is still powerful), but needs major work – rack and pinion leak, crankcase leak, a/c compressor, engine mounts and window regulators, and many other things.  I’ve been advised not to drive her unless it’s absolutely necessary.

And, as I now drive J’s car (a 2006 Honda Element, the a/c works!) it seems silly to insure two cars.  We rarely need both.

SO…I’m either selling or donating the car.

It will be the first time since 1970 (broken beater car downtime excluded) that I’ve not actually HAD a car.

I’m looking at one Internet site who claims to buy cars.  As well as Father Joe’s Villages charities and the Salvation Army.

And it makes me sad and a little scared.

I can no longer walk very far w/o pain.  And, what if J’s car goes South – then what?

To get the Olds road-worthy is a minimum $1000.  Seems silly on a $500 car, when a second car is available.

So she’s on the block.

Sigh.

 

 

Memorable Movie Mistakes

I’ve not been ‘on a date’ in some time.  It’s simply a matter of logistics – I’ve no extraneous funds and my car is a beater with no air conditioning.

The fact that I don’t travel is any circles with available women has nothing to do with it!

😛

I was thinking this morning about a few of my more memorable dates in the distant past.  Some with fondness; some not-so-much.

I used to like to attend the cinema.  There were many first-run films each week, lots of theaters from which to choose, and who doesn’t like sitting in the dark with a young woman? (this was in my 20’s – before I had been married, and subsequently divorced).

Now, of course, there are fewer movies and movie houses.  And one may sit at home in one’s skivvies and watch videos until the cows come home, with beer, pizza, and (if one is so lucky) company.

AND, one may pause to go to the bathroom!

Times have changed.

ANYWAY, I remembered a couple of dates.  One was a later Hitchcock film.  I did (and DO love Alfred Hitchcock).  My date said she did as well.  Were post-date antics in the offing?

Sadly NO.  The film was Frenzy.  A film of a serial killer rapist, made in London.  I think it was the first time Hitch actually exposed breasts on film.  Following a violent rape and strangulation.  Hardly something to arouse a normal young woman to later romance.

Sigh.

Another time, a former girlfriend returned to town and looked me up.  We went out a few times, and I had hope of rekindling the romance.  But, it was not to be…

She had mentioned she liked Burt Reynolds.  There was a new film out with him in it.  I thought “Hey!  Maybe this will get things going again?”

Hardly.  The film was Deliverance.  You remember – dueling banjos, homosexual rape?

I just couldn’t get a break!

(as an aside, the consummate actor Ned Beatty was the rape victim here.  I’ve wondered about the audition…“Hey, pages 18 and 19 are missing?  Don’t worry about it, Ned.)

And The ‘Adventure’ Continues…

(in our last episode…)

Let’s see…Heart pain (NOT!), a rash, leg edema, J’s health, water from the upstairs shower into the downstairs…

THAT’S IT!

(It’s been a busy month!)

Shower leakage!  We’ve not taken a shower for seven days.  Not that we don’t want to.  Water began coming through the ceiling into the downstairs, and continuing to bathe in that manner just seemed imprudent.

My washcloth and I have become VERY close.

Call the insurance company, you say?  Sure, why not?  Not having the $500 deductible at hand was a bit of an issue.  Fortunately, my very kind and generous Sister stepped up with a surprise gift allowing us to begin the process of again being able to get clean!  Thanks, EL!

Of course, the process is never easy.  The plumber says first they must check for residual moisture and damage before beginning.  And, due to the age of J’s home, asbestos. 

ANOTHER $400.

Fortunately, the company who removes the ceiling (and maybe the shower pan) tells us they can eat that cost (the insurance does not cover it!)!  Whew!

This morning comes the asbestos test.  If negative, the above company may remove the ceiling w/o further adieu, and the plumbers may begin repair this afternoon.

If not…perhaps another day or two of asbestos remediation is involved.

Sigh.

At least things are in process.

Thanks, again, Sis!

As to the other ongoing issues…

J’s health.  She has many health issues, some of which are chronic.  And is seeing many physicians monthly.  She IS recovering nicely from her rotator cuff surgery, and is currently involved in physical therapy for the same.  Our thanks to you all again for your kind wishes and help!

NO heart or chest pain.  The hospital said I was diagnosed ‘non-cardiac chest pain’ – which means they don’t know, could have been gas or muscle-related.

The rash.  I finished my second 5-day run of prednisone, and the rash returned.  Going to the pharmacy today to get a third course of graduated prednisone – so when I stop, it tapers off (per the Doctor).  If that doesn’t do it, then onto a specialist.

Sigh.

The leg edema.  I completed a 10-day course of broad spectrum antibiotics, and it seems to have improved the appearance and size of the leg remarkably!  The Doctor has me picking up a diuretic to hopefully complete the job.  Coupled with orange juice.

The proximate cause of either the rash or edema?  They’ve no idea.

I’m posting this early, as the itching kept me awake, even with the loratadine I’m taking.  Anxiously awaiting the pharmacy opening @ 0900 to obtain the additional meds.

Well, that’s it from us here in The Valley of the Sun.  Hope you all are doing better than we?

How To Ruin A Perfectly Good Saturday 

First, get together with a group of friends for coffee and such, and listen to the the latest versions of their respective weeks.

On the way home, experience an odd internal pain while driving – particularly while turning the steering wheel.  Not vigorously, mind you, and with power steering.

Experience this three different times in the space of fifteen-or-so minutes.

Drive home and internally debate calling the RN nurse help line, offered by your insurance carrier.

Make the call, and experience a chain of health-related advertising while on hold. Disconnect the call and redial the main number, eventually being menu-prompted to a live nurse.

Discuss the specifics of the multiple events, including the depth, type of pain, duration and other symptoms experienced.

Receive the strong suggestion I visit either an E. R. close by, or an urgent care.

Soon. 

Ask roommate J. to drive you. She has recently been released to drive, but with her shoulder on the mend, I’ve insisted she not yet so do, until now.

J. begins experiencing her own symptoms she has had repeatedly for a couple of years, involving her heart and asthma. Decide to drive yourself the 1/8 mile to the Urgent Care, based on the fact an E. R.  is more distant, and costs more money.

The Urgent Care performs an EKG, says it ‘might’ be unusual, and recommends an immediate hospital intake for further evaluation. Drive home and ask J. to do the honors, just in case.

Arrive at the E. R..  J. ‘s breathing has again become labored, probably because of stress and the smoke in the air from the nearby desert and city fires.

They admit her first, for observation.

At length, get admitted, have blood taken, and another ekg done. And answer the same questions the same way to three different doctors, the same way you did at the urgent care.   And have another ultrasound of the still puffy leg.

Eventually get moved to a room. You are hungry and tired, and J. gets released on her good behavior.

Attempt to call family and friends via cell.  Apparently, this is verboten.  Text everyone and go on FB.  (Thank you for your support!)

Finally, get a doctor’s permission to eat.  Initially, as the lunchroom is now closed, they bring you a well-traveled turkey sandwich (I LOATHE turkey!)

Negotiate and end up with BBQ chicken and a baked potato!

Awaiting later blood work, to compare with the earlier, to see if any actual heart damage occurred. Get told you might have to stay overnight.

Get released twelve hours after the initial pain happened, not having any additional pain or symptoms, with the diagnosis ‘chest pain of a non-cardiac nature’! (IOW, they don’t know!) 

Received referrals for your regular doctor and a cardiologist, just because.

Ask J. to return to collect you.

Realize you are subject to the power of suggestion, as one of your friends had been discussing her heart attack last week in this morning’s coffee, with the subsequent placement of a stent.

Consider suicide (just kidding)…

Don’t Do Anything Rash! (The Adventure Continues…)

SO…

I go to see my primary doctor yesterday afternoon.  She confirms ‘yes’, I DO have a rash of undetermined origin, now permeating most of my body.  My edema in my right calf is of significant size, and has NOT diminished when horizontal.

She prescribes a synthetic corticosteroid to deal with the rash.  She is MORE concerned about the edema.

She sends me to a diagnostic center for an ultrasound of the leg.  (I must drive myself, as J. is still recovering from her shoulder surgery and cannot drive.)

It’s either this, or she admits me to the hospital.  She’s concerned I might have a blood clot(!)

So, it’s back from central Phoenix to Chandler (nearer to where I live) for the imaging.  It’s approaching 1700, but they are waiting for me. (My doc has pull!)

I wore sandals I don’t usually wear, so she could get a better look at my legs and feet (wrestling with socks and ‘Ed’ the really big shoe can be difficult when swollen.  The sandals are uncomfortable and make driving difficult.

And I cannot afford to Uber.

J. is with me for moral support and to listen to my cursing.

Finally, we find the place and I get the ultrasound.  NO CLOTS!  😛  They contact my doc, who prescribes a broad spectrum antibiotic and schedules me to return Friday @ 1300 for follow-up.  She does this all herself and makes certain she speaks with me about diet to accompany the antibiotic.  Initially, I missed her call (loud surroundings) and she called back and left a message.  Then she kept calling until she could speak with me personally.

I have a great physician!

The Good News is I picked up the meds.  The Bad News is neither is recommended for evening use.  So, another night of calamine lotion looms.

I think I received three hours of sleep.  J. has another physical therapy appointment this afternoon.  AND I TOOK MY FIRST PREDNISONE THIS MORNING!  😛

C’mon work!

Time will tell.  It’s been about two hours, and I feel slightly less itchy.  (Perhaps that’s just wishful thinking?)

I will keep everyone advised.  (No Clots – Hooray!)  😛

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…