Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I am so looking forward to this Thanksgiving. After spending the last one in hospital having to eat my...and I use this term VERY loosely...turkey dinner from the hospital cafeteria, there is nothing as tantalizing as my wife's turkey. Oh and spending it with my family in the ancestral manse will be nice too.

Pie...did I mention pie? I will probably eat myself to a near comatose state today. Oh well, diets are meant to be destroyed on Thanksgiving, and mine will most likely resemble the old car at the County Fair that you can hit with a sledge hammer five swings for a buck.

Honestly though, I am thankful. Scratch that. I am THANKFUL that I am here; I am healthy; and most of all surrounded by those I love.

So here's hoping that all of you who are celebrating today have a Wonderful Thanksgiving and let's remember all the things we have to be thankful for.

Last, but by no means least, I would like to give my thanks to those men and women who are getting their Thanksgiving dinner from a mess hall or a galley while they serve their country so that the rest of us can enjoy our day in freedom. So to all of you in uniform, I am THANKFUL for you, your service and your sacrifice.

Tole

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I Come in Peace

Ok, here's the thing. A lot of my friends enjoy watching campy movies. Especially campy sci-fi and action films. We have noticed that there is a running similarity in the form of the line. You know what I mean. The hero flexes, prepares to destroy the villan and says...the line.

So here begins the list. It goes like this:

Movie: I Come in Peace.

Villan - I come in peace.

Hero- and you're going in pieces asshole.

Feel free to join in.

(This post brought to you by the trailer for Edge of Darkness. Line - You need to decide if you're hanging on the cross or bangin' in the nails.)


Tole

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Huh? It's Tomorrow Already?

Where does my day go? I ask myself that question about 843 times a day. I was unemployed for over 6 months and it seemed like the days ran on forever. I had all the time I needed to get everything I wanted to get done...well....done. I was on the edge of despair looking for work. I am lucky and live in the Great State of Texas, so I knew that there were jobs to be had. Thing of it was, the town that I live in is not exactly brimming over with white-collar jobs in the best of times. When things get tight, those few and far between points of employment grow even more scarce.

The wife and I had even discussed relocating back to San Antonio or maybe DFW or Austin...**shudder** I like my small town. It suits me. My friends, family and life are here. BUT the kids gotta eat and it takes cashy money to make that happen, so we thought about it. Then we looked around us and noticed that about 30-40% of my town had a For Sale sign in the yard. Well, that was that. We'd tough it out.

Fortunately providence brought my family work, and I jumped on it with both feet. I've been there a little over a month and I have to admit I am more than a little pleased. The people are great and the work seems like it is going to challenge me. Me sooo lucky.

Ok I have walked way into left field from my original topic. Where does my day go?

I have joined into a weight loss consortium at the new job. I have started walking and am slowly working my way up to a jog. Currently I'm knocking out 1.5 miles in 30 minutes each morning. This has forced me to get my lazy buttocks out of the bed pre-6 am. **shudder** But I am determined to get under 200 pounds for the first time in damned close to 20 years. Even when I was make hot monkey spooning with the Grim Reaper a little over a year ago I didn't manage to get below 2 bills. I will dammit.

Breakfast and then to work by 8. Lunch at 12 and home by 5:30 or 6. Help the wife get the kiddos fed, bathed and in bed and it's time for me to go as well if I have any hope of being human when the alarm gets obnoxious the next morning.

I fully intend to do stuff...I really do. Like...post on my blog, apply to grad school (yeah, like I have time for school), and work on the house and yard. I have a truck that needs the engine overhauled and a roof that needs replaced. I just don't have enough hours in the day. Oh it'll all get done eventually, but man it sure is taking alot longer that it did when I had nothing to do.

Tole

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Someone's a Press Whore

I'm just sayin'...

Responding to an audience question at a town hall at his presidential center in Atlanta, Carter said Tuesday that (U.S. Rep. Joe)Wilson's outburst was also rooted in fears of a black president.

"I think it's based on racism," Carter said. "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president."



Why can't someone criticize our POTUS without being called a racist? I just don't get it. Granted, Wilson was out of line, but I think Former POTUS Carter has taken "out of line" to a new level.

Carter, a Democrat, said Joe Wilson's outburst was a part of a disturbing trend directed at the president that has included demonstrators equating Obama to Nazi leaders.



No, the comparisons come from Pres Obama's past, his published and voiced system of beliefs and his efforts to nationalize the banking, auto and healthcare industries.

Let's put the race card away shall we? We have enough to complain about and disagree over without it.

Ignorance knows no race.

I'm just sayin'.

Tole

Yahoo Aricle

Is the Ground Cold?!?!?

Do you smell brimstone? Are dogs and cats lying down together in peace and harmony?

I only ask because I find myself in agreement with our current POTUS on Kanye's little outburst...dammit, there I go having to think maybe he's a human being again...sonofa...OW!!! It hurtses us, it BURNS!!!

"I thought that was really inappropriate," Obama says. "What are you butting in (for)? ... The young lady seems like a perfectly nice person. She's getting her award. What's he doing up there?"

A questioner chimes in, "Why would he do it?"

"He's a jackass," Obama replies, which is met with laughter from several people.



Yahoo Article

Ok, we now return you to our usual blind disagreement with every word that comes from his mouth...for now.

Tole

Thursday, July 30, 2009

No Idea Why

but this makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Help Me Understand

First let me say I haven't been posting much lately for a couple of reasons. The foremost reason being that I have felt that any post not pointing out how the current Administration and Congress are raping our Country, economy, and Constitution would be the equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns. (Unfortunately, this is nothing new or unique to this administration.)The other reason, only slightly less important than the first is that everytime I talk, write or think about the above situation it makes me too angry to think straight. The result of all of this is that I just can't write at all.

That being said, I can't sit quietly on this anymore.

Why is it that we can spend damned near a trillion dollars bailing out banks and automotive manufacturers who have so badly mismanaged themselves that there was "no other choice" but to bail them out because they are "too big to fail" because it would put too many people out of work...

***breathe***

I was about to fire up a rant...gotta stop...take a second.

Why would our government, who only wants us all to have jobs, pass a bill that will effectively put 100,000 people out of work AND severly weaken this country's ability to defend itself by cutting all production of the F-22. All in the name of saving 1.75 billion dollars. I know that sounds like a lot...but it was actually less than .2% (that's 2/10 of a percent) of the total cost of 680 billion dollars in the defense spending bill.

I just can't get my head around the logic behind this...

Here's the article from the AP that caused the blood to start shooting out of my eyes.

Yahoo Article

If you can reason through this, let me know. I need to go lie down.

Tole

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Happy Birthday U.S.A.



Tole

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Nod to Phlegmmy

With a healthy *nod* to Phlegmmy's post on the modern primitive footwear here.

I give you the Utilikilt. One day I will have them all...and "only my neighbor will know for sure."

www.utilikilts.com

Monday, May 25, 2009

Veterans Everywhere

I would like to take this chance to give a heartfelt "Thank You" and a bow of the head to all those who are fighting, have fought and especially those who paid the ultimate price so that my undeserving soul can be free.

On this day I spend some time thinking of my grandfathers who stood up to those who would do us harm. My late grandfather on my Dad's side came home from WWII paralyzed thanks to a mortar round hitting the bridge he was crossing. Even though I lost him when I was but five years old, his sacrifice and subsequent pain are all the reminder that I will ever need to hold those who serve in high regard.

My grandfather on my Mother's side served bravely in our Navy and was lucky enough to come out unharmed.

So I give a salute and to all of those who have and continue to serve.

Thank you.

Tole

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Adventures in Firefighting

Let me set the scene. I had worked most of the afternoon cutting down trees and cleaning out planting beds at a house that I am helping to renovate and clean. I was...tired. The drive home in my old truck was going to be my chance to recuperate and pull myself together.

Now my old truck has been acting up a bit lately. Miss firing and backfiring through the carb. My local wrench-jockey had told me that I had a burnt valve or maybe a lobe worn down on the cam shaft. Well, with over 100k miles on this engine (my truck's third) it was time for an overhaul or maybe just a replacement from the local autoparts megamart. I was even contemplating this very fact on the drive home.

As the miles rolled by the truck was being even more cranky than usual. When I took the exit for my house the engine quit altogether. "Oh bother," sez I.

I grab the key and give it a turn to restart the cranky old heap when black smoke starts to roll out from under the hood.

"Bugger!!"

Luckily, I was being followed home by my dear friends Lawdog and Phlegmmy. Lawdog runs across the intersection to a gas station and returns with a fire extinguisher while I unload my truck into Phlegmmy's little ride just in case the fire gets out of control.

Luckily it didn't. The carb was just full of gas and needed to burn a little of it off. The local fire dept showed up and made damned sure it was out and then gave me a push the rest of the way home. (I was literally 3 blocks from my house when everything went pear-shaped.)

Now I have a decision to make. Do I clean up and revive my old friend of over 20 years or do I take my wife's advice and give him the rest he has earned a 100 times over?

I am, suffice it to say, torn.

Tole

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Idle Hands and All That

I know it's been a long time since I put some of the little things that course through my head on a daily basis out there for your review. To be honest, I've been buried trying to get back in the swing of going to work after 5 months of being out with that pancreatic mess.

So I get back to work...I'm there for just at two weeks and BAM I get laid off. Cue the new round of depression and feelings of inadequacy. How do I cope you ask? I destroy stuff.

Specifically, I gutted my kitchen...to the studs...nothing left. Now comes the tough part...putting it all back together. I'm getting there, but it is taking a long time. Fun part is that after being sick for so long my endurance is..well shall we say that an asthmatic hamster with a blood disorder can work longer than me.

Luckily, I have friends like Lawdog and a wife with the work ethic of a frontiersman to help me out.

Pictures to follow...I promise.

Tole

Monday, January 26, 2009

An Unpleasant Side-Effect

I think I mentioned that I have lost about 70 pounds since September. I've begun to notice things I didn't realize were going on before I lost the weight. You know, all the typical almost cliche things. I have more energy. My blood pressure has normalized. I can breathe. Blah blah blah.

One thing I was happy to see is that I no longer have to buy "big guys" jeans at Wally World, which means my pants are $2 cheaper now. That makes the skin flint in me giggle a little.

BUT, I was not prepared for being COLD!!! When I tipped the scale at 266, I was never cold. I didn't wear a coat, even when it was close to or below freezing. I played in the snow with my daughter in a short sleeved shirt for Pete's sake!!

I haven't been warm in almost a week. I miss my insulating blubber. I am seriously tempted to hole up until May, burn my furniture and any other combustible material I can get my grubby little mitts on, and crawl under several blankets until I hear the geese fly by headed north again.

Oh well, at least I'll live to be cold.

Tole

Saturday, January 17, 2009

4 Months in a Nutshell

Ok, it’s time to talk about what the hell happened to me 4 months ago. Truth be told, the wind-up actually began in June of 2007. That was when I was first told I should get my gall bladder checked as a CT of that general area showed there MIGHT be some stones developing. Well, I didn’t want to pay the $500 deductible for the trip to the hospital, so I blew it off.

Fast forward 15 months, and one of those lovely little gall stones decides to leave the gall bladder for a change of scenery and gets good and bloody stuck on his way past the pancreas. This interruption of our little stone’s journey plays merry hell on the pancreas, which by the by will in turn play merry hell with the rest of the body, and will earn one a quick trip to the ER.

It took the nurse practitioner on call in the Bugscuffle Memorial Hospital, Hair Care and Tire Center, all of about 15 seconds to decide that whatever the hell was going on with me was WAY above his pay grade and promptly stuff me into an ambulance and forward me to someone with many more degrees on his office wall.

Oh, did I mention the pain? Second only to childbirth or so I am told.

Thirty minutes of hell on wheels later, I arrive at a somewhat bigger hospital and am greeted by my new best friend, my new GI Specialist. I am beyond grateful for the treatment I have received. He and his associates literally saved my life, but more on that later.

One of the side effects of acute pancreatitis is that your body thinks and behaves like it is dehydrated. The treatment for this is to pump mass quantities of fluid into the patient and hope he doesn’t drown. I almost did. See, my doctor decides, and rightly so, that the blockage must be removed to stop the pancreas from digesting itself. So a procedure is performed to remove our little hero, the gall stone, from the area where he got himself stuck.

This should have been a walk in the park…should have been. It wasn’t. See, while they were pumping me full of saline, I had decided to let about half of what they were giving me leak out through the walls of my blood vessels, and what wasn’t leaking out I decided to hang on to, so I shut my kidneys off. This had the effect of bloating me up like road kill in August. Bloating of the magnitude I achieved makes it VERY difficult for one to breathe, so I quit. This invokes the use of the term “Code Blue” and lots of people show up from all over the place and get very busy. In my mind it looks like that scene in the Fifth Element when Gary Oldman knocks the glass on the floor and all the little robots scurry in to clean it up.

I earned myself a 5 day vacation in ICU breathing on a ventilator and getting pumped full of diuretics. After leaving ICU, I got to spend 7 more days in the CCU before my doctors were happy that I was stable enough to go home.

By this point I had lost 40 pounds and a good portion of my pancreatic function. Joy.

Over the next two and a half months I would return to the hospital 4 more times for pancreatic and gall bladder attacks, and for pain from something called pancreatic pseudo-cysts. These little jewels are a common after-effect of pancreatitis.

Basically, the pancreas leaks fluid into the abdomen. This stuff accumulates in little bubbles and the body walls them in to protect itself. In most people these things will resolve themselves and re-absorb within three to six months. I am not most people. I had three of them. One was the size of a head of cabbage the two others were only slightly smaller. HA, take that normalcy!! Just to ice the cake, I developed a bit of an infection in the largest one in the middle of November. Shot my temp up to 103, my blood pressure down to 93/64 and my pulse up to 155. That got that ER nurse’s attention by God, no 6 hour wait while they triage me this time.

This little endeavor earned me another two week vacation at my (I think my name should be on the building somewhere) hospital. It also won me the privilege of taking part in a CT guided drain tube insertion. This is something I suggest everyone avoid at all costs as I think the technique was developed in a dark, dank dungeon sometime in the Middle Ages. It is also where I found out that the biggest lie you will ever hear is, “You’re going to feel a little pressure.”

You see, for a CT guided procedure like this you have to be awake…that’s right, I got to watch them poke a hole in me, insert a guide wire, insert a tube over that guide wire and then drain a liter of fluid out of my gut. (Sorry about the nasty factor, but it was necessary.) I went into that procedure with a temperature of 99, a pulse of 95 and good color to my skin for the first time in a week. I came out with a temp of 103, a pulse of 150 and a face that was as white as a sheet. It sucked.

Two weeks later, we had to do it all over again, because my drain got stopped up and I had to have a larger tube put in. Dammit.

By this time, I have now lost 66 pounds in two and a half months. I DO NOT recommend this as a method of weight loss. Call 1-800-JENNY20 or Nutrisystem or Weight Watchers or hell just go for a friggin’ walk. Avoid this illness at all costs. (Here endeth the PSA.)

This time the drain was working just as expected, so my doctor decides it’s time to send me to a surgeon who specializes in the pancreas. Two more weeks go by and I meet him and his staff. During the get to know you chit chat with his nurse we learn that there is a possibility that I may require a procedure known as a Whipple. She tells us that this is, bar none, the worst abdominal surgery known to man. It involves removing a portion of the pancreas and any other material in the abdomen that is causing difficulty.

There is good news though…apparently you only need 10% of your pancreas to remain non-diabetic. Will the happiness never end? Then she gets up and leaves my wife and I looking at each other like we had just been told, “The world might just end, see ya!”

Five interminable minutes later, the surgeon comes in and greets us with, “I’ve looked at your latest CT and I don’t think we’re going to need to do anything that drastic.”

“Ah,” I think, “the old good cop bad cop routine and now he’s my hero.” And he is…for the moment.

He also thinks that my drain is insufficient and needs to be upsized. There was a loud creak of vinyl as my sphincter sucked a considerable portion of the upholstery on the exam table up my bum. I remembered how bad the two prior procedures had hurt and voice my concern in a squeaky falsetto that would have made Lou Costello proud. (If you don’t know who that is:

1.) you poor, poor comedy deprived person, and
2.) go rent or buy Hold That Ghost.

I am informed that his hospital is a “kinder, gentler hospital,” and that I will be unconscious for the drain exchange. I almost kissed him dead on the mouth.
This drain would remain in for another month leaving a hole in my side the size of a #2 pencil, BUT the last CT that I had taken showed NO sign of any pancreatic pseudo-cysts.

Today I got a call from the surgeon who is going to be removing my gall bladder in 3 weeks. I am lucky that is all he is removing. Somehow, by the Grace of God, I avoided losing any of my pancreatic tissue. I’m lucky that way. I should fully recover, unless I decide to be troublesome again.

In all seriousness, if you thought about me or prayed for me during all this time, even if it was only once, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tole

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

I know it's been a long time since I showed my ugly face to the world, but I thought that I'd take a few minutes to wish anyone who hasn't given me up for dead a Happy New Year.

For any who didn't know I, I have been extremely sick for the last 3 months with acute pancreatitis and it's many after-effects. I'm slowly getting better and hopefully will be back up to factory specs in a couple more months. I will write about it as soon as I sort out all my feelings about shaking hands with the old Reaper. Dealing with my own mortality has not been fun.

In the meantime, love like you mean it and live like there's no tomorrow...there may not be.

Tole