Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Report

Yesterday was one of those long days where I had to rise long before the sun, hop in the car and drive two hours south to the Mayo Clinic for an early CT-scan followed by hours of doing nothing before seeing the doc midway through the afternoon to get the results and to find out whether this is the end of the line for me or whether I get an extension of life for another month.

Needless to say, there is a certain amount of stress and anxiety added to my normal level of craziness on days like this. I never know what the verdict will be and have to work hard not to let myself get too bent out of shape. It is a zen exercise.

Yesterday I had the added elements of exhaustion (slept poorly the night before) and gout that ensured that I could not find a comfortable way to sit, stand, or walk. I was a wreck by the time the doc appointment arrived.

The news was both good and unsettling. The good part was that all of the lymph nodes that we have been measuring throughout my body were smaller (yea). The unsettling part was that the scan showed something in my left lung that was either an infection or something else. Because one of the known potential side effects of RAD-001 is possible lung infections the doc decided that I should stay off the drug for two weeks at which time we will re-evaluate my situation.

So, I am going to call her in two weeks and tell her whether I feel "better" or not. How's that for a scientific method? I don't know if this explains my on-going cough or not. The artifact on the scan could be fluid in my lung that is part of this long lasting "cold" or it could be a drug related infection. Either way, I hope that in two weeks I can call back and say that it is gone and then I can restart the study drug. We shall see.

Anyway, that's the news. I am staying at the still-unsold house in the Twin Cities until tomorrow when my son and I will drive back north to our semi-permanent construction zone. My chore today is to go looking for towel racks and toilet paper holders. What fun.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This is a Whant

A "whant" is a "whine" plus a "rant" - whant.

I am whanting because I now have gout in both feet at the same time. WTF? What did I do to deserve this? Whatever it was, I must have been a corker. Maybe it's that hex that was put on me a while back. This would certainly qualify as hex material.

In this shot (which I took by balancing my mac laptop on my knees facing away from me and pressing the "go" bar) which is reversed, you can see my regular gout buddy, the first knuckle on the left foot (right in this shot) and my new torment, the end knuckle of my right big toe.

Tomorrow I head for the Mayo for my regular checkup and my once-every-three-months CT scan and I have a lot of time between the morning scan and the afternoon sit down with the doc. Maybe I can wander around and find some young resident to amputate my big toes for practice.

What da ya think?

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Post From Down South

Greetings from the "Southern Casa." Oh for the day that I do not have more than one casa to say this from. Oh well, what can you do?

Actually, I remain hopeful. I received notice yesterday that a couple wants to come by for a fourth showing. She is sold, but he is iffy if my reading of the signs are right. Anyway, they are coming by tomorrow morning for another look see. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Of course, the house looks partially stripped. There are great empty expanses and boxes stacked in the corners. About half of the furniture is missing. The nice thing is that this house has such fine bones that you hardly notice. If anything, it is the house that is accentuated which is what we are looking for after all. So, send positive thoughts our way tomorrow between 10 and 11 AM central standard time.

Today is my son's golden birthday and he has spent it so far by sleeping in (a plus), hanging out with a girl friend (note the space, but still a plus), taking his last behind the wheel training session and getting cleared to take his license test (a definite plus (in his mind)), and now waiting to go to another girl friend's house for a homemade birthday dinner. He is having a good time. The only thing missing is the large family gathering that has accompanied these events in the past.

Tomorrow we will head back north after he has lunch with two favorite aunts. The day after that, my daughter and I will pack the Prius to the brim and head to Madison for her return to college after a month long winter break. I am hopeful that my return from that trip will signal the start of a calmer time in our lives. The new house is almost done and once we have moved in and settled down, I look forward to thinking about what new challenges might be in front of us.

We shall see.

Monday, January 12, 2009


It's quarter to five in the AM (cold, dark, AM) and I can't sleep. I have been waking up on the hour and rolling over to see if I had magically slept until 6 when I would rise and get the boy up and in the shower, but alas no. It was just an hour (or less) since the last time I checked. So, I finally got up, fed the dog and sat down to do a quick, overdue post.

As you may recall, the last update involved packing up part of the old house and moving it to the new. Well that part went fine though it was a long and exhausting day. But instead of sitting around on our newly transplanted furniture watching the big screen, everything we moved is either still in its box or under tarps. There is sheet rock mud powder everywhere along with the sawdust and general airborne particulate matter that accompanies construction sites. The house is still not ready for habitation though the kids have staked out their bedrooms upstairs. They normally live in such a state of disarray that mere construction debris is hardly noticable.

I, on the other hand, prefer to live in the apartment in the basement until I can move upstairs without feeling like I am camped in the sahara desert with grit everywhere.

On the positive side of things, the special paint job that we commissioned looks really good. It's a two stage process with a base coat of one color and a top coat of another that is "ragged" on. I am very happy with the results. The painters should be done in a couple of days and the last minute taping and sanding should also be done soon. Once that has finished, the tarps will come off the furniture and we can begin the cleaning process that is needed before articles can be stored in the kitchen cupboards.

We are still waiting on some closet and pantry shelving units that will hopefully make an appearance this week. There are a million little electrical and plumbing items that need to be taken care of before the house is truly livable. I have to make decisions and order more lighting fixtures, towel and toilet paper racks, etc. It is mostly down to the little niggly things now.

A large part of last week was spent in the Twin Cities. It was Youth In Government weekend which is where approximately 1600 kids from all over the state take over the state capital and the downtown Minneapolis Hilton for four days and form a shadow state government and legal system. My daughter was involved in the program for four years when she was in middle and high school and this year, she came back as an advisor. My son participated for the second year now, following his sister's footsteps through the court system.

I hung out at our old place trying to do some more packing and attempted to put the "picked over" interior in a better mode for any prospective buyers should someone want to see the house. Not much came back with me this time since we are not able to unpack what we already have here. I did bring two vacuum cleaners up which can be put to good use soon.

This week will be spent trying to whip the new house into some kind of livable shape. My daughter has to return to college next Sunday, so I will be spending as much time with her as possible. My son's sixteenth birthday is Friday and we have to drive back down to the Cities for his last behind-the-wheel session prior to taking his driver's license test. We have already had a couple of head butting sessions over what freedoms he will inherit immediately and what will have to come in timed stages. Sigh. Impatient youth.

It is hard to believe, but the home buying/remodel/rebuild adventure is really starting to approach some kind of closure. It has been such a huge project that has consumed me in so many ways that I wonder what life will be like on the other side of it. Well, I will have some time yet before that question needs to be answered.

Anyway, there you have it.