Category: Life

More of: Life With ths

Today turned into your typical casa de major dad day just about that fast. Part disaster, part seat-of-our-pants luck.

The terrific guys who redid all our ductwork 3 weeks ago or so were back today to blow insulation. We’d debated spending yet another grand+ after the $$$gulps ducting, but, considering we’re losing the hurricane hove-up shade trees in the back/that roof is gonna BAKE this summer, it was a painful-but-easy call. AND…a lucky one.

They got up there to find that RATS had ALREADY eaten through one of the BRAND NEW TRUNK LINES, and they were able to fix it before they started doing the insulation. Holy smokes.? Close call. We would have NEVER known.

Anchor was able to get our buddy Nick out here an hour later, with an armload of traps and glue pads? so we can finally nail those beady-eyed bastards.

Corporate policy change: outside ferals are going to see a kibble/canned food reduction, effective immediately. They are OBVIOUSLY NOT earning their keep, paw our signed agreement.? It’s like everyone wants a handout for subpar effort nowadays.

In other household observations, sometimes it pays to just sit back and wait for life to settle down a tad…

Now.

I’m going to make brownies, and ice the CRAP out of them.

A PSA About, Er, PSA

About, oh, twenty or so years ago our Dad was found to have prostate cancer. One of the “good” things about prostate cancer is that it generally progresses so slowly that one will usually die of something else before it gets you (such was the case with Dad); one of the really bad things is that there are no real discernible symptoms for a long time, so, while it doesn’t trouble you so much while you are busy dying of other things, which is good, if it does trouble you ‘unexpectedly’ then you’re pretty much done for (such was the case with Frank Zappa). As Dad’s was pretty benign they decided to treat it with the trending treatment at the time, a seed implant: they take a little piece of radioactive matter and stick it in there to gently bathe the sucker with some of Mr. Roentgen’s finest emissions to slow the progress even more, and as I mentioned that seemed to have done the trick.

But, of course, me being me, it seemed that for the following Christmas the only possible gift I could get Dad was a chestnut roaster. I think he got the joke…

Fast forward a few years, and I always make sure to get my PSA checked with every physical. It was hovering around the “let’s take a closer look” line for a few years, and this past October it crossed it, so I got the required approval from the Insurance Gods to see a urologist. Based on the family history and blood work he suggested that we do a biopsy, and that was done right before Thanksgiving. Ah, a prostate biopsy…how to describe the joys of such an event in a family-friendly way?

I can unequivocally state that if they instituted mandatory prostate biopsies at Guantanamo Bay terrorism would disappear around the world overnight. No Doubt. I’d probably best leave it at that, other than perhaps adding an allusion to “whack-a-mole”. Two weeks later I had the follow-up with the doctor, and he said that magic word that we all long to hear: “cancer.”

Well, isn’t that special. Sure, one’s mind plays tricks, especially my mind, and of course I went into this thing expecting the worst, but did he really have to confirm it? I don’t mind being wrong; I’m quite good at being wrong; now was not the moment when I wanted to be right. But there it was.

So what to do, how to fight this part of me that was planning to slowly, methodically, stealthily kill…me. Were I 15 years older it would be a different conversation, as, again, it “tends” to move slowly enough that chances are something else would take care of me before this did. So here I was, just a month shy of my 57th birthday, being told that I was Young Enough that something more aggressive was in order, to fight and hopefully turn back this barbarian which had already breached my gates…something, but what?

There were 2 basic paths to go down that we discussed: radiation and surgical, each having a set of advantages and disadvantages. In a way it reminded me of a t-shirt that I bought Daughter in late grade school when she wasn’t quite focusing the way she should: “Hard Work pays off tomorrow; Procrastination pays off today” (I’m proud to say she got the subtle hint). Anyhow, radiation, “cyberknife” or whatever marketing declares it this week, pays off today: a series of outpatient visits over more or less a week that zaps the little bastard and hopefully kills the bad cells and stunts their growth. But there are downsides. Radiation is, well, radiation after all and can potentially have side effects in the future, unpleasant ones. And, at the end of the day, the prostate is still inside me, like some 8,000 lb bomb fallen from the belly of an Avro Lancaster and embedded in the mud of the Rhein since 1943. Could it still go off? Yep. And I’d be thinking about that, expecting that boom every moment of every day for the rest of my days.

The other path was surgery, robotic surgery using a “daVinci” machine where the surgeon never actually touches me: he sits at a computer console a few feet away and manipulates the tools using 3D monitors to delve into me and remove the prostate, reconnect the plumbing, and minimize damage to various nerve bundles. As the t-shirt said, this pays off tomorrow: the prostate is gone, that little cancer-spewing cauldron won’t be able to send any of its deviant little spawn out to wreak havoc in my bloodstream, but the hard work, the side effects, oh those are definitely front-loaded.

I chose surgery.

The next week I was back at the urologist and we scheduled the surgery for January 26th. When one, well, when I at least, think of folks heading into major surgery it follows some sort of trauma, right? Something happens, there is great pain and discomfort, symptoms desperately crying out for a solution. It just didn’t seem plausible that I was feeling great, with no symptoms whatsoever, heading for a date with a scalpel-wielding robot. I had a batch of pre-admission tests scheduled for the Friday before the surgery, including of course a Covid test, so I spent that month basically isolating at home, desperately hoping that the test would be negative so the surgery would happen and not get kicked back a couple of weeks. It came back negative, so I was set to be at the hospital at 6 am on the 26th.

At this point in time, Covid is clearly the tragic event of the 21st century, and not just because of the deaths it has caused; the response to it has been the vehicle for incalculable damage to the physical and mental well-being of literally millions of people. When we arrived at the hospital my Bride had to dump me on the curb. I got out of the car and walked alone into a small, constrained entrance to the hospital. She was not allowed, no one but the patients were allowed. I was only in the hospital for about 32 hours, so ok I can deal with that, but I could not help but wonder at the terrible toll this takes on children, on the elderly, on folks who are already suffering from depression on top of other maladies; what a scary, horrific, and at times deadly additional consequence of this disease.

They tell me the surgery went well (I was knocked out), and I was discharged the next afternoon, and for the next 9 days life was more or less miserable due to the catheter. Painful? No. Uncomfortable? Yes. Depressingly miserable? Yes. I had a date emblazoned on my calendar: 10 days after the surgery I had an appointment with the urologist, where we would go over the pathology of the prostate (now that the sucker was out and the lab technicians could slice and dice it for a complete analysis). I was both looking very much forward to this, for it would also be when the catheter was taken out, and I was also dreading it, for it would be when the catheter was taken out, and I imagined that to be an amazingly unpleasant experience. It actuality it wasn’t that bad.

The report from the lab gave me an upgrade on the tumor, kind of like more legroom in coach on United: my cancer was now Stage 2, malignant, but there was no evidence that it had spread beyond the prostate. I have some bloodwork scheduled in a few weeks, and if all goes well my PSA levels should start dropping to zero. That good news, combined with the removal of the catheter, made a difference of night and day in how I feel. Each day I get more energy, and am able to move around more and drift back to a normal life. Oh sure, there are still some issues with my re-arranged plumbing, but they are healing over time. With the love and care of my beloved Bride I’ll even be returning to work next week, just 3 weeks after the surgery.

The moral of this rather long tale is yeah, the world is a shit pot at the moment, but you can’t afford to ignore your health. Cancer doesn’t quarantine. Go to the doctor. Have your check ups. Get your blood work done…and follow-up. The sooner you catch things, the greater your chances to beat them.

In Her Darkest Hour…

America finds a New Hero

An Idaho Falls man and two others were in hot water after being found with cooking pots and two chickens in a thermal area of Yellowstone National Park.

A ranger received reports on Aug. 7 that a group was hiking toward Shoshone Geyser Basin with cooking pots, a park spokeswoman told EastIdahoNews.com Friday. The ranger responded and discovered two whole chickens in a burlap sack sitting in a hot spring with a cooking pot nearby.

Minkia!

2020 once again says hold my beer

The Danish government has ordered the slaughter of all farmed mink in the country after the reported discovery of a mutant form of coronavirus in the animals. It has already spread to humans.

According to a report in the Danish newspaper Berlingske, 207 mink farms have seen infections of coronavirus. The authorities have failed to contain the virus, and all 17 million farmed mink in Denmark will now be culled, said Denmark’s prime minister Mette Frederiksen at a press briefing on 5 November. Denmark has the world’s largest mink industry.

The Danish prime minister described the mutated virus as “a serious risk to public health and to the development of a vaccine”. However, health minister Magnus Heunicke told the press briefing that there is no sign yet that the mutant virus causes more serious symptoms of covid-19.

Some areas of northern Jutland – the region of Denmark that connects to the European mainland – will be isolated to stop the spread of the virus in humans. Frederiksen said a “mutant” virus has been identified in five farms and 12 people have become infected with it.

That’s pretty scary how it can go between mammals…and mutate.

19 Years

Murdered as their life was just beginning.

When in the Course of Human Events

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

God bless, GOD BLESS America.

I Am a Philosopher

…of very little note.

Kathy Kinsley

I was so very shocked and saddened to get a text message from THS that Kathy Kinsley had died.

She was a long time commenter here, and she’d always keep checking in during those times when we had some gaps in posting, and always with grace and class.

She will be missed, and we are very, very sad.

RIP

It’s A Crazy World

Yeah, I’m still here. Been working from home for a month now, and frankly it’s a lot harder than being in the office, the work day never ends.

I hope and pray that all of you are doing well. Whether you are religious or not, the analogy of Easter holds, especially now. We find ourselves in a tomb, don’t we? Whether it be by demand of the government or by problems in life that keep us entombed between our ears, and these days a lot of us are dealing with both, now is the time to roll back that rock at the door and emerge to live anew. You can do it.

God Bless, Dear Friends.

Merry Christmas

The Nativity” by Giotto, 1305

– part of the magnificent Scrovegni Chapel frescoes, in Padua, Italy. I had to try to get a shot of Mary’s beautiful face before I left the chapel that night. I have Ebola, and especially his wonderful lady, to thank for that magical experience.

A medieval chapel, at night, with colors that defy description in spite of the gloom, and ethereal figures on every surface. I was the first person of the tour group in, thanks to her. Had it to myself for a few precious moments.

And I kept being drawn back to Mary’s face, looking at her baby boy.

Merry Christmas, my darlings. May you all be healthy, and happy.

God bless you, every one.

UPDATE: Via aelfheld in the comments, and we thank him.

O Holy Night

Où l’Homme Dieu descendit jusqu’à nous
Pour effacer la tache originelle
Et de Son Père arrêter le courroux.
Le monde entier tressaille d’espérance
En cette nuit qui lui donne un Sauveur.


Peuple à genoux, attends ta délivrance.
Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur,
Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur!

May the blessings and love of our Lord fill you and yours with hope this Christmas time.

Peace, true Peace from our home to yours, Dear Friends.

Don Cherry Fired

How dare you say such things

“You people… love our way of life, love our milk and honey. At least you could pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada.”

The Truth shall set you free…of your job, it seems.

He’s 100% correct, and so of course has to go.

I’ll Never Forget

And I’ll never forgive

Rest In Peace, Al Haynes

A model of heroism and professionalism, the Captain of United 232 died Sunday.

Read the cockpit transcript, and the story of one he saved.

30 Years

We just got back from a simply lovely weekend in Cape May, where we celebrated our 30th anniversary. Can’t believe it.

We Now Live In A Python Skit

I’m Not Sniffling

YOU’RE sniffling.

I’m sorry it took the French to give us a non-doofus, wonderful father in an ad, but God bless ’em for this one.

Tito Gobbi

I don’t need to say anything else (well, other than Victoria de los Angeles)

Indeed

The 4th of July – God Bless America

!!!Happy Independence Day!!!

stone.tif

Cherish every single moment and be safe at Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!

This Is So Spot On

“Children RIPPED FROM THEIR MOTHERS’ ARMS!!!!”

Everything is a lie with these people.

And dad would kinda sorta like his daughter back.

EXCLUSIVE: ‘They’re together and safe: Father of Honduran two-year-old who became the face of family separation crisis reveals daughter was never separated from her mother, but the image of her in tears at U.S. border control ‘broke his heart’

casa de major dad

…lost our Big Handsome last night. Our hearts are just broken and we are shattered.

You all here have watched BeauBeau grow up: shared his adventures, his wisdom and his recoveries from Scottie chomps over these past 13 years. And he enjoyed knowing he made you smile.

Damn, this house seems so empty without his massive, strong, loving presence here.

Oh, man.

Happy Birthday Dear Departed Sweet Boy

We miss you so.

Ebola Explains the Universe

…to the best Dad in the World.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to ALL you wonderful guys!

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