If you can’t stand the heat

I’m the one person who does not get excited to find 72-degree temperatures in early February. I do not not like it one bit. In North Carolina, I’m lucky to get perhaps four straight weeks of temps below 60. Spring and summer can encroach at any time. I love the few nights a year when it dips into the teens. It’s invigorating. I’m a fan of the cool air, in general. 62 degrees. That’s perfect. But 72, in February? Ugh.

Why am I such a loner when it comes to my weather preferences?

Body image issues. For years, I was overweight, with my enlarged polycystic kidneys giving me the appearance of man expected twins Colder temps mean the ability to cover up the body in oversized shirts and sweaters and coats. Warmer temps mean exposing yourself. And if you see yourself in a grotesque light, this is awful.

Sweat. I’m a hairy guy. I sweat a lot. Warm temps, more sweat. Gross, especially for an perpetually out-of-shape guy. Even when it’s only 72 degrees, I’m sweating. Heck, if it’s 50 degrees, and I’m wearing a coat, and the sun is out, I’m sweating.

Immunosuppressants. While I’m hard-pressed to find any evidence now when I Google for it, I was told following my kidney transplant that my Prograf might make me experience the environment as warmer than the average person experience. A 70-degree living room feels like 80. A 74-degree office feels like 84. A cool summer day in the low 80s feels like the low 90s. Etc. Today, with the sun beaming down, is already uncomfortable.

Skin cancer! Related to the above, immunosuppressants put me at higher risk for skin cancer. I’m already so moley. I have no desire to wear bee-keeper attire to keep out the sun. If I wear long sleeves, I’m going to sweat. I get scoffed out when I say I don’t like the beach. Really, I love the idea of the beach, but it’s a horrible place for me to spend more than few minutes.

It’s depressing. What?  You’re thinking, I thought the short days of winter were responsible for depressed moods. For most, sure. For me, the warm temps are a stark reminder of the passage of time. Stuff growing out of the ground? Holy shit, please, no, not yet, too soon! I’ve got lot of life to get right and not enough time to do it. No springtime temperatures yet, please!

So when you exclaim what a gorgeous day it is, and I shrug, this is why.


All things are possible with Dog

Was going to be excited to post something from RunKeeper, would’ve been the first thing I logged in a year…but the GPS went haywire and logged three times farther than Moksha and I actually went. First real run/walk with Moksha. Will need to force myself to do more of these. And perhaps and actually blog for real. This was going to be a Facebook post but then I realized I could just as easily post this to WordPress.


July highs and lows…in brief

Low: There is quite a lengthy, complicated story behind this, but over the course of July 2014, I had no health insurance, for the first time in my life. This was disastrous on so many levels.

High: I created an app that shows all the most recent vines of my dog on one page. There’s probably a page on Vine’s site that does exactly the same thing, but this one was built with Backbone, which I kinda know how to use.

Another stabbing in Durham

Recovering from stab wound! (that was dramatic) Stupid kitchen accident last night involving a knife and frozen turkey burgers. With bleeding hand, drove dwn to Duke Urgent Care @Southpoint. Cleaned up. Two stitches. Hand hurts. I will skip my annual day of yardwork. Maybe next year.

I used my blog instead of Facebook for this communication, just because…not necessarily an indication of a return to blogging

Because I’ve set a precedent for writing about medical conditions

Symptoms: sensation of swollen neck glands, tongue, palate; jaw tightening; occasional struggle to speak, slight slurring of words

Diagnosis: Vocal ulcers

Cause: Weeks of resting after surgery -> silent acid reflux (no heartburn) -> vocal cords ulcerated

Fun stuff: Got to see my vocal chords live on camera thanks to the ENT up-your-nose-and-down-your-throat camera. Unfortunately, I was not given any of the still photos.

Here’s an informative summary of vocal disorders!

Nephrectomy wrap-up

I’ll say a little more and then, most likely, not much else other to reference whatever I’m doing to kill time during my recovery or if I feel compelled to make some point about healthcare.

I was released from the hospital on Monday afternoon, which is about two days beyond what I had hoped my stay would last. During my stay, it seemed clear that the various doctors on my case could not agree on the best course of pain relief. I would have one course explained only to have those plans altered hours later. I grant that the nurses generally did give me pain relief as I requested it or would fight the doctors to get it to me.

I kept my lack of regard for a couple of the doctors to myself, as I knew I’d have to deal with them for the duration of my stay. As I indicated a few days ago, as well as a couple of years, my surgeon was the only doctor I felt comfortable with.

The pain scale is bullshit. There would be a significant difference between my pain level at rest and perhaps a minute later if I needed to get up. Which pain number to report? There really needs to be a pre-op discussion about how the patient interprets the pain scale. You’re told that 10 out of 10 is “the worst pain you’ve ever experienced.” What’s tolerable for me? A 5? A 4? I would be challenged, “But you said you were a 5 earlier”. Anyway, I’m frustrated just thinking about it. Now that I’m out of there, I am in control of when I need more pain meds.

Hospital stays suck and will always suck. This one went better than my one from a couple of years ago. I hope it’s a long time before I have to do this again.

Resting comfortably at M & E’s. Will head home in a couple of days.

Nephrectomy day 2 wrap up

That was an especially fun four hours. Coughing causing agony. Dr. “C” continues to infuriate. I decide I must sit up to deal with coughing no matter the pain. Eventually stand up to get a change of gown. I have densitized myself to the rawest sharpest pain. Chest xray. Don’t know result but apparently one taken after surgery showed possible lung collapse and infection. Saw this in my online records. No one told me. But given more painkiller. I just hiccuped without seeing death.

And I’ve looked at thr surgery site. Two harmless looking holes. Large mass I’ve carried around for over 20 years is gone

Nephrectomy fun

Was intending this just for fb, but mobile phone app limits updates to x characters.

Don’t want to overshare tmi with tmp but fb can be a useful tool when not wanting to answer same questions multiple times. Though i may not be up to being interactive.

Surgery to remove remaining huge grotesque polycystic kidney was successful yesterday in that the kidney is gone and there were no major complications. However, pain management has not gone well. I have a huge inflamed cavity that feels like a bomb blew up. Any movement impacting torso or abdomen is potentially excrutiating. May finally have a new solution to manage this.

Never actually got a room. Went from noisy, chaotic recovery area to a more isolated recovery room that is usually quiet. Nurses have been a mixed bag, from amazing to awful. Duke is, as always, a mixed bag of competence, which is frightening considering duke is a top hospital in the world. My surgeon is awesome, i must say.

I wont get out of here too quickly since i basically lost a day due to bungled pain management. Maybe friday evening but saturday seeming more realistic.

Must stop writing and try to sleep, since ive got a dark quiet room for only who knows how long

Kidney chronicles

Not blogging much. Have certainly cut down on the health posts. But I’ve documented the kidney chronicles fairly comprehensively…so…

The right polycystic kidney that’s scheduled to come out in 16 days is raising hell one last time, a bit like Glenn Close rising up out of the bathtub. It’s reminding me in the most acute way why it needs to be disposed of. Probable cyst burst. Pain. Not quite kidney stone pain. I’ve had both, so I think it’s cyst pain, since I can actually get up and walk around.

But here I’ve been looking forward to this surgery lately for reasons of mental wellness and vanity. Psychologically, I’ve wanted this third kidney surgery (following one nephrectomy and one transplant) so I can be done with polycystic kidneys.* I’ve wanted the second ten-pound mass removed from me so I can drop ten pounds, and so if I look pregnant, it’s because I’m fat and lazy.* To be reminded that this kidney has also been fucking hurting me for 20+ years gives me reassurance that I’m not just having an elective surgery. I need this done in every way.

However, I didn’t really need this reminder. I’ve got shit that needs to be done in the next couple of weeks. I’ve to wrap up some stuff at work. I’ve got to figure some important things out. (They must be figured out in the course of the next couple of weeks. Not “must”. It would be nice.)

Anyway, so glad I shared and had a chance to use a Fatal Attraction metaphor.

* I also have liver cysts, which are a byproduct of PKD and which will only get progressively worse over time and wreck their own havoc on my body, but I will worry about that later.

Romney Bullshit on Pre-existing Conditions

Yes, I do think Obama was pummeled by Romney in presentation and style tonight, and it’s not my intention to analyze it. I just can’t let Romney’s bullshit about pre-existing conditions slide.

Romney “lengthy description” of his plan on his website, as he alluded to during the debate, is only 369 words, and it states

Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage

If Romney “appeals Obamacare”, we’d just revert back to the old status quo, which I’ve been intimately acquainted with for the past 15 years or so. You must retain “continuous” coverage  to avoid losing coverage for pre-existing conditions. Continuous coverage means you can’t have a gap of more than 63 days. It means that a person struggling to get by who loses his job has to figure out a way to pay $500-$1000/month for COBRA coverage to continue affordable treatment for his or his family member’s cancer treatments. A snafu once put my continuous coverage in jeopardy years back. It would have been disastrous, as it has been disastrous for tens of millions of Americans over the years.

Again, people would pre-existing conditions would not be protected under Romney’s “plan”.