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Thursday, November 17, 2016

nothing good

Went to the cancer center the day before yesterday, and had a very hard time of it.  Legs and feet are so swollen I couldn't fit in my shoes.  Can barely walk, and used a wheelchair once I got to the center.  Was supposed to get a new pain control regime prescribed for me, but the woman (dr?) I met with had no authority to  order methadone, which, in conjunction with the oxycodone, helped me when I was in the hospital.  How ridiculous that I can't get something that helped me.  So sick of everything now.  I'm at the end of my rope, and rapidly losing hope.  Not feeling so "brave" anymore.  What is there to be brave about anyway.
Had major trouble getting in the car because I can't lift my legs very well.  Won't be able to go to Melissa's for Thanksgiving, since there's a long stairway to her apartment.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

seen better days

The day before yesterday, I was discharged from Lutheran Medical Center, after a 5 day stay.  Didn't go to Maimonides as I usually do, but the EMS guy who drove the ambulance said it was crazy busy there.
Went in mainly because of my breathing, and generally was having a lot of pain.
Didn't really recover there... I am wheezing badly still when I walk a bit.  Got several different inhalers prescribed, and just hope they start helping.
A palliative care team saw me, and after much conversation we all agreed on treatment with Methadone started at a very light dose of 10mg twice a day.   It was soon changed to 10mg 3X a day, but they don't send you home with it, and I need to see a palliative care team at the cancer center in order to get it.  Hoping I can get there next week.  Oxycodone 20mg every 4 hours continues with everything.
My legs are very tingly weak tight and numbish.  I fell in the early morning hours of the day I was discharged after getting out of bed to  use the bathroom.  Just couldn't support myself.  Hit my head against my room mate's bed, and had to get a CAT scan (negative).
So, upon discharge I still didn't have great breathing capacity....had not ambulated at all during my stay, except to use the bathroom; had a fall. and could barely walk.
Signed DNR (do not resuscitate) papers when I was in there.  After much discussion of possible outcomes, it seemed the thing to do.
Came home to my modem on the fritz and no internet access (have since come to evie's to stay for at least the night).
And Trump is president-elect, the ultimate horror.
And so it goes...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

missing my mom

I am missing my mom so much.  I just want to talk to her.  Not about anything so deep or profound.... maybe just talk about television shows we both watched, and what we thought of them.  She would say "watch that tonight, and we'll talk about it, tomorrow."  Oh, how I miss such simple pleasures.
Today I bought Sugar Wafer cookies, and some Halvah.  She loved both of these sweet treats.  What a sweet tooth she had.  How fitting that she would marry a baker, and always have some cake or cookies available for dessert.  Mom's meal wasn't complete unless it included dessert.
Years ago we had the finer candy stores in the neighborhood.  Places like Loft's, and Baricini's.  It was from these places that she would buy her beloved Truffles, and Parlays.  She would "hide" them from us in hopes of having them last longer.  But she always hid them in the same spot!...  in the china cabinet.  Of course we'd find them.
She was never fat, though.  In her twenties, she only weighed about 105 pounds, and was quite slim.  In her 30's she got a little chunky after my dad bought the bakery, and they were living high on the hog.  But during the next decade, in her 40's, she got Multiple Sclerosis, and would lose the weight she had gained.
I miss her laugh, and how well she could read me, no matter what.
She would be shocked and dismayed at what I am going through these days, though.  But it sure would be a comfort to have her at this time.
This Sugar Wafer's for you, mom.   I love you, and miss you always.



Friday, October 14, 2016

just another day

Time to check in, I guess.
It hasn't been the best of times over the past month.  No great changes, really, but bad bouts of shortness of breath/rapid breathing, etc., which just does me in, and is so scary.
Haven't seen my doctor in a while, and am overdue for my injections.   I have an appointment this coming monday, and I just hope I can make it.  I think Evie might go with me, and that would help.
Ran out of my pain meds a few days ago, and it took three days to reach someone to finally get a script called into the pharmacy.  Then the pharmacy calls me saying it's five days too early for this prescription to be filled, and they want to know why.  Duh, why do you think?  I don't know how it worked out, but I did end up getting the meds today.  Thank goodness, because the level of pain was really affecting my breathing.  I didn't realize the correlation between the pain and the breathing until now really.  When the meds started kicking in, my breathing improved considerably.  It is no doubt that crushing feeling I get in my chest area that affects it the most. 
Hard to believe it is mid-October already.  Great to be past the summer.  Its been kind of chilly in the low 50's, and even in the 40's during the night.  I love it.  Nothing better than being cozy under the blankets.
I miss taking pictures.    I've hardly taken any this year.  I pray I can make it up the stairs to Melissa's on Thanksgiving.  At least I will get some family and food pics.  Same goes for Christmas.  These holidays will be upon us before you know it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

dream disturbance

I get so troubled by dreams when I try to sleep, that I am often awakened before I've even had an hour of shut-eye.  This sucks, as I often put off sleep as long as I can, and I will sit here, falling out, before I allow myself to submit to the desire.

Tonight it was my mother being overly worried about the amount of time I spend on the computer, and complaining that my phone line is tied up during all that time.  I woke up, and sat in bed, still continuing a conversation with her in my head, explaining why I spend so much time here, until it occurs to me that she is dead, and I haven't had a "dial-up" connection tying up the phone line in oh so many years.

And, of course, I go to my computer.

I think it is the oral chemo med that causes so much dream disturbance.  I take it for 21 days, then have a 7 day break before beginning the cycle again, and yesterday was my restart date. This drug really runs the gamut of side effects.  They don't seem to subside either, as side effects often do after a couple of weeks or so.  Been taking it about 4 months now.

I think there's a good chance I may have broken a rib recently.  Pathological breaks will occur with bone metastasis without actually sustaining any type of injury.  My bone mets specifically affects my spine and ribs.  Right sided rib pain has increased significantly, and movement and deep breaths exacerbates it.  The area is tender to the touch.  Quite similar to when I actually broke a rib after fainting and falling flat on my back onto the hardwood floor.  I see my oncologist in a couple of days, and I suppose she will send me for x-rays.

Got a call from a lawyer's office today about owing over $900 to Maimonides hospital for various doctor's visits dating back as far as 2010 (??).  Had a call some months ago about owing some $2300 for hospital stays and procedures.  They always want to set up a payment plan, and I always just say no, can't do it.  Can't get blood from a rock, folks... sorry 'bout that.

Guess I'll take another shot at sleeping.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Big Brother 18

Been watching Big Brother three nights a week, as I have during the summer season for the past eighteen years.  When I started watching, I was in my forties, and most of the "houseguests" are usually in their twenties or thirties, with an odd 40-something now and then, maybe even a 50.  Of course, the older I get, the younger they get.  I also subscribe to the live feeds (cameras are on these people 24/7), and I can tune in any time of day or night to see what's going on with them.  This gives a better picture of them, beyond what is broadcast on prime time.
This season, they all seem unsually young, generally 23-27, and relating to them, on almost any level, is virtually impossible... Except for maybe closeness with family, and stuff like that, the division I feel with most of them is tremendous.
There are some potentially good minds in the house, but these people need some work, that's for sure.  Paul comes from money (they did a segment where his mom and dad were interviewed in thier mansion like home), and has a tendency to stress how unimportant the money is to him (winner gets $500K).  I can see how he prides himself on the unimportance of money.  That is a positive thing of course, but I can say, without fear of contradiction, that Paul has never gone hungry, without more than a pitcher of water in the fridge (assuming the electricity didn't get turned off).  Take a walk there, Paul, and then tell me how unimportant money is.  He has a small clothing company (think black with skulls), and frequents Europe
Michelle, is heavily into social media, and seems to see this as a career path.  She needs a lot of reassurance, and because of that, she doens't seem to have a good sense of self. Wouldn't trust her as far as I could throw her.
Victor is quite young, 23, I think, and laughs a lot, and likes to make people laugh.  He's Puerto Rican, and is real easy on the eyes.  He seems to be the most regular guy of them all.  I'd like to see him win, but odds are that he'll be "evicted" soon.
They ALL use the word "literally" every other sentence, it seems.  There is rarely a valid reason for using the word to begin with, and why they interject it anywhere and everywhere is just beyond me.
A lot them curse incessantly.
They use the word "bone" to indicate sex.  Yea, that's sexy.  Geez.
The girls spend half the day putting on make-up and doing their hair.
The boys pump iron.

I think they call this generation, The Millennials
God help them.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Wonderland coloring pages





Here are some quick shots of pages I colored in the Wonderland coloring book.  My apologies for the blurriness; I didn't spend much time setting these up.  Some pictures covered both pages, but weren't photographed that way.  Click on any pic to view as a clickable slideshow.

I used Pentel Arts Fine-Point Color Markers.































Wednesday, August 17, 2016

oh to be in Saranac Lake

I check the weather at the online site called Weather Underground.  Along with current and future forecasts, there is an area that shows the state lows and highs.  Invariably, the highs will be  close to home, like New York City, Queens, Yonkers, etc.  The lowest of lows is almost always at Saranac Lake.  Yesterday's high was in NYC, at 91 degrees, and the low at Saranac Lake was 50 degrees.  Major difference there.
I've been to Saranac Lake once, when I was doing audits on medical offices throughout New York State. It is located not far below the Canadian border, amidst the Adirondack Mountains, I believe. The doctor's office was in the middle of nowhere, as most things seemed to be in that area.  It was run by a Chinese doctor and his wife.  Much of their medical equipment was quite old fashioned, including an otoscope made of wood.  The doctor and his wife were sweet and soft-spoken, their demeanor reflective of the mellow surroundings of Saranac Lake.
This is the kind of easy and laid back type of place I wouldn't mind living in.  I would certainly enjoy the weather... even in winter, when the lows are often in single digits.
Nevertheless, I live in Brooklyn, where the temps are most often higher than New York City temps which are recorded in Central Park.
Chances are I will spend the rest of my life in Brooklyn... the past being a fairly good indicator of the future.
If I owned a car, I might actually consider moving upstate, but even if I did, it would mean moving away from my sister/niece and great nephew, which would probaly be too hard to do.  I imagine Evie would consider moving with me, which is why I didn't name her among people I'd be leaving behind.  I bet we could rent a house for half the price of what I'm paying for a one-bedroom apartment.
The heat was terribly oppressive yesterday, feeling a lot worse than the readings of low 90's.  The air was just thick with the heat.
I had gone to the cancer center, where I had to get an IV calcium infusion, before getting the injection that aides my bone strength.  It was so cold at the center that I had to be covered with a blanket while getting the infusion.  I am not complaining.
When I went back outside, the heat came as a shock after spending hours of shivering in the center.
Luckily, I've been able to use my air conditioner without any more leaking.  Mark Durfee, fellow poet and blogger (The Walking Man, http://themanwhowalksalonewalksfaster.blogspot.com/) had suggested to me that I raise the temperature setting, and lower the energy mode, to ward off the leaking problem, which thankfully, it did.  Just about saved my life, considering the heatwaves we've been having.  Bless you, Mark!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Review: Understanding Exposure (How to shoot great photographs with any camera) by Brian Peterson, 4th edition



Having been a photographer for over 35 years, I am pretty familiar with the Exposure Triangle, and how to use it, but it is always good to have a nice reference book at hand to inspire and encourage me to use my knowledge more effectively.
I enjoy all the varied photographs showing the same subject at different exposures, and how this can greatly effect the outcome.
I very much enjoyed the section on Light.  It included:  the best light, frontlight, overcast frontlight, sidelight, and backlight.  Again, giving good examples of each.  
Also, the section on shutter speed, giving good examples and techniques for freezing motion, and implying motion.
I have never been one for using filters, but recently acquired some polarizing and neutral density filters, so the Special Techniques section, outlining these exact filters, was quite welcome.
Despite my many years of photography, I have never quite mastered the art of using electronic flash.  There's a very comprehensive section on this, and I will no doubt refer to it many times in my quest for understanding it.
This is a good photography reference tool for beginners and advanced photographers as well.
For more information, click on these links:  
I received this book from Blogging for Books in return for publishing an honest review.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

on Becoming a Bird, despite being Earth-bound

Becoming a Bird


Broken wings lay against your breastbone
digging deep to the other side
A visceral attachment
Seemingly significant, yet still
you cannot fly.

Iridescent feathers lay flat against your cheekbones
Your eyes are separated by yet another,
You are cross-eyed, two by two,
Visually aware of elemental differences
that further define the yin and the yang
You can see.

Playing hopscotch with frogs
defines your personality
You like to laugh,
but you will not win.

Everything is in the trees,
and on the edges of clouds and
deep hanging fog.

But all you need is a sidewalk
and chalk
if you want to play.