Friday, June 30, 2023

Revisiting Canada Day Fireworks

Tomorrow is the 155th Canada Day although it wasn't always called that. It is the day when fireworks will explode all over the country and delight young and old. With problematic local weather they may not occur here at the usual time — 10pm, July 01. We shall see.

We can see them quite well from our bedroom window where I first attempted to photograph them in 2017, the 150th anniversary of the founding of our country. Although they are lit downtown a little over 1km distant, we can see them looming over the Day Care centre across the road.

The faint outline of the building is at the bottom of the photo.

I remember 2018, especially. I had been hoping to find a different location, but the weather had been iffy. It was both chilly and rainy. But the show did go at the last minute, and I shot from the bedroom once again.


In 2019, we positioned ourselves on the trail (old railway) bridge with town hall in the frame. They are hiding on my computer, but I have them on both Blogger and Flickr.


After a Covidish lull in 2020 and 2021, fireworks resumed last year, and we were back at the same spot on the bridge. I showed a bunch then, of course, so you've, no doubt, seen my faves, but here are two that I didn't get around to posting last year.



I don't know whether they will go at all this year — at last when they are supposed to. I imagine there will be a waiting game, and if they do go off as scheduled, and if I choose to photograph them again, it may very well be from the bedroom. 

========================
Health Update

I had a little scare this week when I passed some blood and a little clot, but it was a one-time event, and, hopefully, just one of those things.

Nightsweats continue unabated, for whatever reason. Other than that, I am feeling pretty good.


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Jonathan the Graduate

Jonathan graduated from elementary school (grade 8) yesterday. Mom and Dad used the only two allotted tickets to attend the ceremony during the day, and Sue and I joined them for a restaurant dinner.

As is my custom, I made a little card.

Inside: the second image is from Kindergarten graduation

Front

I assume that the parents took a few photos at the ceremony, but I haven't seen the evidence yet. Of course, we did take a few pictures at dinner.




Onto high school.

================
Health Update

I was feeling better and enjoyed a full big burger at the restaurant. Just one day earlier that wouldn't have been the case. Last evening, I mused that I hadn't quite realized how poorly I was feeling until I looked back once I was beginning to feel better. Hopefully, progress will continue as I finish the prescription tomorrow.

I did have to change once during the night, but once is better than five times. Progress. 



Sunday, June 25, 2023

The Boy Helps Again

JJ was dragooned into service again on the weekend. He and grandma weeded. Grandpa didn't.




We added new mulch last year but had a bag left over. JJ hauled it to the back and spread it out on the two little beds back there.



Good job lady and gent.


========================

As for my health, there's nothing new to report. I remain on meds until Wednesday, and I am no longer feverish. However, night sweats continue. 

I don't understand. I can be sitting in my chair for hours, reading or whatever, and there is never a hint of sweating. Then, I get sleepy, stay in place (or sometime not), turn the lights out, and wake up soaked about an hour later. I wet 4 tees last night. It doesn't matter whether I am in the chair or in the bed; I wake up wet, and feel the need to change after almost every hour. After about five hours of this, I get up for good, and then there are no more sweats until the next night.

My hope is that when the meds have run their course, so will the sweats.

And DrumMajor may be pleased to know that I have added prebiotic yogurt to my diet. Oops, yes folk, probiotic.


Friday, June 23, 2023

The Neverending Story Continues

I know that the health issue has been going on for a few months, and I fervently hope that the topic may soon be put to rest. But it isn't quite over yet, so please bear with me at least one more time.

As you may recall, I first thought the fever indicated that I had contracted a virus. However, as Wednesday progressed, we came to think that there was a good chance that I had developed a post-surgery infection. Therefore, we deduced that we would call our doctor the next morning (yesterday, Thursday).

The fever did seem to break overnight (Wednesday), but I also soaked my night clothes 5 times, so we/Sue* did call our family doctor. We couldn't wait for Friday, for our MD doesn't hold office hours on Fridays, and then we'd be stuck for the weekend. I got an appointment for 11:30.

*I have always made my own appointments, but, in my pathetic state, I asked Sue to do it yesterday. Likewise, I have attended appointments on my own, but I wanted Sue with me this time.

I reviewed the whole story with the doctor — TURPs, dilations, catheters, sweats — but she soon focused on the fever, for that was the change that most alarmed her. She was wary of sepsis and sent me straight to Emerge for bloodwork and an intravenous antibiotic. I was to go immediately while she would call to tell them her findings.

The hospital is only a block away from her office, which is not much more than a block from our house, so, we were soon there, possibly by 11:30, our supposed appointment time with the doctor, for she is very prompt and often early.

I have recently said, only slightly exaggerating, that I'd sooner spend an afternoon in hell rather than the ER, but it wasn't long before I was ushered into a examining room.

That hideous painting of the dove rising to heaven was still above
the gurney, all these 6 years after it first depressed me.
I also an ECG because my heart was racing a bit.

The ER doctor asked me all sorts of questions. Do you have this symptom, that symptom, and what about this other symptom. No, no and no. As when I recently filled out the pre-surgery questionnaire, it appears that, except for this dadblasted issue, I am quite healthy.

Eventually, many vials of blood were drawn, after which we waited for the results. Meanwhile, the IV apparatus was inserted in readiness.

Nine vials plus the IV hardware. Thoughtfully, I
removed the urine sample from the photo.

Eventually, the results came back. Thankfully, almost every test came back negative, the only exception being an elevation in the white blood cell count. The urinalysis also revealed elevated white blood cells.

The doctor determined that I had an infection but not sepsis. I wouldn't require an IV injection; regular oral antibiotics (ciprofloxacin) would suffice. Scratch my earlier error of equating Emerge with hell, for I was dealt with both expeditiously and competently.

We were leaving the hospital parking lot at 2:30,  only 3 hours after my scheduled appointment with the doctor. It cost $3 to exit parking lot. This was the only charge for the morning. In fact, parking has been my only cost throughout surgeries, cystos/dilations and office visits. Our system isn't perfect, and you may recall that home care didn't work out for me, but in the main, it has worked well.

The only other cost was $4 for the antibiotic prescription. The provincial seniors plan pays for the drug, but we have to co-pay the dispensing cost. It is geared to income, so our cost is $4. Some pay a little more while some pay only $2.

I know that it is too soon for the drug to be doing much yet after only two doses of the total 14 that I must take, but I am extremely pleased to report that I didn't experience a single soaking last night. While I found my chest slightly damp at one point, it was only on my skin and didn't soak through to my shirt. Hallelujah.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Feverish

I have been reading quite a bit lately. As I sit in my chair, very often a very tiny insect will light upon the pages. How can something that small live and reproduce? Life is remarkable. Even if we destroy our civilization (if we can call it that), life will go on for quite some time and will likely do much better without us.

==================

Speaking of life going on, I developed a fever on Tuesday and slept even worse and less than usual. As I have done sometimes in the past, I had thought of going out for a solstice sunrise photo yesterday. I wouldn't have gone far, but I still couldn't summon the energy to drag myself out.

The photo that I had in mind was something like this one.


I took that ↑ in mid-July 2022. I had been hoping for the sun to rise directly over the road, but you can see ole sol didn't cooperate. I wonder if it would have been closer to the centre on June 21.  I do like the photo even though it wasn't 100% what I wanted.

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This fever (only 100-101) is my first health issue of that ilk since pre-Covid. Hardly anybody masks anymore, so it was bound to happen sooner or later. But I haven't been around people much. I went to the pharmacy in Monday for just a short while, but it wasn't very crowded. Otherwise, we have been picking-up our grocery orders due to that other problem, so my exposure to germs has been very limited.

I was close to family on Father's Day, but they're all fine, so I must have been exposed must have been the pharmacy – somehow. Of course, it could be due to internal reasons.

Meanwhile, as I sit and type this at 5:30am, I am first hot and then cold. At least I am not lukewarm, so 
shouldn't be spewed out of any deity's mouth — at least not for this reason.

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth. (Revelations 3:20)

==================

I don't know how long it has been since I contracted shingles, and searching my archives is of no help. I didn't have a bad case because Sue spotted it toute-de-suite. I got a shot right away to fight it and then got another vax a year or so later to, hopefully, prevent a recurrence. That vax wasn't covered, so it cost $200. Not long after, the Health Department added it and authorized payment from then on, so everybody after me got it for free. Of course, they did.

I think got the outbreak around this time of year, and it feels as though that spot gives me some pain every year around this time. It's not terrible, but it is a reminder. I was fortunate to not have had a major event.


 




Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Rainbowing

On the same day as the shoot in the park (two days ago here), we donned our pride gear (don't miss Sue's feet) and took some more photos.

First, we went to the trail (old railway) bridge.



Then, we stopped at Linda's sign once again (you will recognize the venue) to take our obligatory photo while the sign remains current, for it may change soon. I wore my Father's Day shirt as well as rainbow streamers on my hat. My shoes also fit the theme fairly well.


Finally, Sue had another, Show Where Your Feet Are photo challenge. They change the time; this was at 6pm yesterday. We returned to the bridge, and Sue shot her rainbowed shoes (once again after practicing on Monday).


This is how she made the photo.


She took a photo of our two pairs of feet. I probably should have rotated the photo, but I didn't.


As you can see, we are not yet de-feeted by life.





Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Shower Needed

This morning, I am wearing my 4th tee-shirt since last evening when I went to bed. Yes, I soaked through 3 last night, and I might have soaked through another if I had not arisen at 4:30 in some level of resignation and disgust.

It started when I was catheterized, four weeks ago. It’s not that I have never had night sweats before, but they were occasional, and I could often trace them back to some silly late-evening snacking. Not being completely brainless, I no longer do that. But the night sweats are now into their 4th and almost 5th week. 

I looked online for causes here, and I can’t see anything that relates strongly to me. I drink very moderately and infrequently. I am not stressed, and I am not on any new meds. I am a bit overweight, but that is nothing new. One possible cause is prostate cancer, but the lab test from the surgery reveals that I don’t have that. However, my prostate has most definitely been interfered with, so perhaps that is it. I am guessing that it is.

What I can say is that the sweats not heat-related. Nights have been cool and apart from the sweats, I have been comfortable. I mean, soaking-through multiple times a night is not exactly comfy womfy, but when I go to bed and off to sleep, I am not experiencing a heat issue, and, if anything, I wake up cold and not hot when the sweats occur  

So, I don’t think that I will call my family doctor just yet and will trust that the nonsense will sort itself out. If not, I guess that I will make a call next week. I really feel, however, that I have had enough of doctors for now and would prefer to avoid another consultation that will likely lead nowhere. Oh, she’s good and would probably send me for some sort of blood test or other, but I am fairly certain that it would reveal nothing.

This morning, however, I think it would serve me and Sue very well, indeed, to have a cleansing shower.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Shooting Sue

As might expected, my interest in photography has recently been non-existent. But I am now untethered and feeling quite a bit better, so when Sue needed some photo for her ongoing 365 project, I was er volunteered.

I was still happy to leave my camera ay home and shoot with her phone. It wasn't a great problem, for as I have opined previously in this space, the phone does a very fine job in certain kinds of situations. Photographing people with a phone in good daylight can work extremely well.

We drove to the park around the corner and took these photos.



We kept walking along the path that you see above to the bench by the water to get the photo that Sue had uppermost in mind. I don't know what she likes best, but I prefer the above portraits. Nevertheless, the following bench photos suited a theme that she needed to follow.

The first photo shows the context; the second is closer and shows Sue and her outlook better.



It was good to get out, and I am pleased with the results.


Sunday, June 18, 2023

Father's Day

With two separate families involved, our half usually does Father's and Mother's Days on the Saturday.

They came over with donuts and coffee, and we had salty snacks on hand.


Time together was the important thing, so I had declared that gifts were not necessary. There were a few regardless. One was a t-shirt that could be worn for Pride events or at any other time really. When I receive a shirt now, I ham it up because, over the years, shirts became a frequent theme, and we have pictures dating back decades of me holding shirts up.



It was time for Wizard. Sha won.



Some goodbye snaps, the second by Shauna, so it could include Sue, who took most of the other photos.



It was  good to be feeling better and be with my loved ones.


Friday, June 16, 2023

Relief and Smoke

Should I post one more time, but very briefly, about my recent and even current condition? I might as well, for there's nothing else worth mentioning — not that this is really worth mentioning, but you know . . .

We've had one post-removal concern eliminated after I made it through yesterday and the night without a setback. Last time, after a promising start once the initial catheter was removed, I blocked up during the night and had to flee to ER where a another catheter was installed.

But I am sure we are ok on that score this time, and there's nothing else to do but continue to take it easy and wait in the hopes that I won't develop that awful internal scarring again. I don't know what further intervention they can do should it reoccur. I cringe to think.

Meanwhile, I am experiencing a curious but banal sensation. You see, I still sort of feel like I have a bag strapped to my leg. It's where the pant rubs against the spot that the bag occupied for 3 weeks. At least that's how I am explaining it to myself. Of course, now that I don't have to cover that unsightly thing, I can switch to shorts if I so desire.

The only other thing that I will mention is that we are experiencing low air quality today, this time from the fires in Quebec. The way that Eastern Ontario is configured, we have Quebec both to the north and east of us, but the fires are to the north. We are about where I've placed the orange tree near the bottom of the map.

So, we've closed up and put on the AC as a bit of a precaution, for even though it doesn't look that think out, Sue reported that she could smell smoke when she was attending to the bird bath, just a short while ago.



Thursday, June 15, 2023

Freedom

Ladies and gentlemen, I am chuffed to report that as of 1pm ↓


Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Falling and Failing

That was creepy and disturbing television. I am referring to the documentary on Prime about the Duggars but also Bill Gothard — Shiny Happy People

We have never really watched Reality TV, so we didn’t know the Duggars. Of course, we have heard of them and knew the basics: evangelical, big family, and a kid who is in jail for possessing child porn.

The character with whom we were familiar was Bill Gothard — the other guy who was featured. It was his teachings which seemed to have much to do with the creepy beliefs of the Duggar clan. 

You see, in the late 70s and very early 80s, we attended his Basic Youth Conflicts seminar on three separate occasions. After a day at work, we would motor down to Detroit every weeknight (for a week) and all day Saturday. The third time around was to take friends to the seminar.

Then we lost touch with Gothard. For one thing, I stepped away from the faith. That makes it sound like I must have fallen into sin and depravity, but the reality is that I simply stopped believing.

Four decades later, Sue and I were shocked to see what happened to Gothard soon after we were exposed to his teachings.

It’s the old story. A religious man has some success. He gains power and wealth. It goes to his head, and he becomes more extreme. Gothard was preaching a brand of misogyny although he wouldn’t have called it that, for you see, my dear,  he just wanted to protect women (poor brainless things) under the umbrella of their husbands’ righteous authority. There were, allegedly, even inappropriate sexual occurrences.

I won’t try to prĂ©cis the four episodes, but I was appalled at the treatment of both women and children. A girl belonged to her father until the day of her wedding, and then she belonged to her husband. The punishment of children was sickening. The group seemed to be obsessed with spanking in order to break the childrens’ willful spirits.

It was pretty riveting and upsetting to us, especially because of our past connection with Gothard. Now, I am happy with being a humanitarian free-thinker. Indeed, those who say that religion poisons almost everything, do have a point.

Power, money, misogyny and sex. It’s where all the cults seem to fall . . . and fail.


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Betwixt and Between

Betwixt and Between:
between two positions, choices, or ideas; not really one thing or the other.

Since the surgery I have been a Betwixt and Between sorta guy.

When I am awake, trying to read or watch something or other, my eyes tend to close, and my mouth may drop open. And then I might hear myself doing that ugly snorting and snoring sort of thing. 

Then, since I am seeming to be falling asleep, I put away whatever it is that I am doing, and I try to settle into a resting position. Suddenly, I am no longer drifting off. While I might snooze for a few seconds, I don't really sleep.

It's like I can't not sleep but also like I can't sleep. Call me Mr In-Between. (Song here 1962 by Burl Ives that I had forgotten until I wrote out the name.)

Thankfully, I have still usually been able to sleep for my typical five hours at night, but I seem to spend most of the rest of the day in that forever betwixt and between mode. I feel sleepy, but I can’t sleep.

I wish that I could either be wide awake or fast asleep and not trapped in this betwixt and between state, but such has not been my lot just lately.

Hopefully, it will change soon, for I would prefer to be one or t'other and not neither nor.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Minding the Gap

I associate the phrase, Mind the Gap, with admonitions in the London Tube. It’s stuck in my noggin although I don’t know if it is really said or how frequently. But the phrase came to mind when I was thinking about our health care system, for gaps there be  

I am well into my third week at home with a catheter. As a senior couple, we haven’t haven’t had one visit or even a phone call to ask how we are managing with it. 

We were given the equipment and sent on our way without any follow-up provision, not even a flipping pamphlet. This is the gap that we have been forced to mind.

It’s a good thing that Sue is both competent and tenacious, for she has ferreted out information from the internet. It was only with the help of the internet and daughter's workplace that she figured out how to clean and take care of the infernal apparatus.

There we were with no one to officially bridge the gap and check in on us. If I may be permitted to change my metaphor, it was a case of being left alone in the deep end and desperately trying to swim and not sink.

I know that I have been going on and on, ad nauseam, on this topic, so I’ll try to stop now. It’s just that dealing with this device has been almost the sum total of my life for almost three weeks.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Impossibility

Sorry, no can do at this particular moment in time.



Friday, June 09, 2023

An Autocorrect


As we were heading out the door to pickup our groceries on Tuesday, Shauna texted this message.

Well that was a little alarming, but thank goodness she followed it up very promptly.



What an incredible Autocorrect!

We did get Dani from school. By afternoon, she was recovered sufficiently to make it to her job.

In case anyone is still worried, here is Danica looking very happy, in a very recent picture.


As I have written, she is learning to drive, and that pleases her. But she was extra chuffed in the picture because she was driving what she calls her own car. It's an inheritance, if you will, from her recently deceased paternal grandmother.

Thursday, June 08, 2023

The Invisible Man Syndrome

Yesterday, I wrote that, just perhaps, I might try to post from the hospital today. Alas! the invisible man syndrome reared its head, and here I am at home. I have written in the past (I think) that has often seemed to be my fate to be overlooked and to fall through the cracks in life, but I am not going to plow that old furrow again. 

But I will tell that it happened again yesterday. 

At hospital admitting, there was some sort of a hitch with my paperwork, specifically with regards to with having a room for me after the surgery. Nevertheless, I proceeded to the surgery floor and was in there by 7:30 being bombarded with paperwork, questions, and in setting up my IV.

The waiting game began. At around 8:45, they apologized for the delay because the surgery ahead of mine was taking up more time than anticipated. But then, another patient went in before me, which I am pretty sure wasn’t supposed to have happened. Shortly thereafter, I was told that the delay was because they didn’t know where to put me post-surgery. But they were working on it.

I texted Sue and Sha at almost 9:30

They parked me in a corner, or very close to it, and went about their chores with new arrivals and post-surgery care of other patients.

To say that I was uncomfortable in a narrow gurney is an understatement, for apart from the catheter contraption, I have back and other issues, and was also coping with a caffeine-withdrawal headache.

I was beginning to have a pity party and texted:

Ten minutes later:


10:10


10:30 in response to Sue's texts wondering what was going on.


Just after that ↑ post, and after I had been squirming on the gurney for three hours, the surgeon came to see me. There was simply no room available for me in these post-COVID times, and the situation could not been resolved. The invisible man syndrome had struck once again in my lil ole life. 

I faced a choice, Return tomorrow (which is now today) or have the surgery right then (yesterday) and go home afterward.

Well, I am (we are) used to a catheter by now, or as used to it as one can be, and we have been muddling along for two weeks already. Shauna had taken the day off work, and I didn’t want any of us to face the preparation of getting ready all over again for an early morning drive.

I texted Sue at 10:35


My next text to Sue was more than two hours later at 12:50


So, here I am in my humble den and not invisible to Sue. (Or Lacey for that matter, who I can tell you is most anxious for breakfast.) Last night, for only the second time in two weeks, I did not have a sweat-through, and I had a good-for-me sleep in my chair, and not the bed this time. Maybe I will try to sleep in the chair again tonight.

I have a larger diameter catheter this time, but I can’t tell the difference. My urine was pretty red overnight but seems to be a bit less tinged this morning. It will stay in until next Thursday when we will drive back to the hospital where the urologist will remove it. 

That is assuming that he is able to see me through my invisibility cloak.



Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Pruning and Cutting

We had a lilac bush that had gone off-kilter (or should I write, all catawampus?), partly due to broken branches due to that nasty but short-lived winter ice storm back in April. 

Sue asked our ex-sil if he would help us prune it. Sure enough, he and JJ came over and set to work.


Only a few days prior, I had noticed that the adjacent tree, a silk lilac, was rotting at the trunk. So, although we hadn't been expecting it, they cut that too — all of the way down in that case. Sue's collages tell much of the story.



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In other news, I think I have more or less figured out the lights-in-cars of which I posted yesterday. I think the sun is so dull that it is hardly lighting up the atmosphere, but it's central beams were enough to poke through and cause little spotlights.

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And . . . if you are reading this after 9AM, Wednesday, there is a good chance that I am already out of surgery, but the plan is to stay in overnight. Maybe I'll even post from the hospital bed tomorrow. We'll see about hospital wifi, however, as I don't have a phone plan that gives me a ton of cellular coverage.