Coffee heat rising

Here Comes the Sun…

Into the third day of a passing storm. It’s supposed to clear tomorrow…today the sun peeked through for several hours, but then the sky clabbered up again and more rain fell with abandon.

Think (hope!) the bronchitis may be starting to clear up. too. In the morning it feels almost like an ordinary cold. But of course, that’s after I’ve been sequestered inside a closed-up bedroom with two hot steamers running for 10 or 12 hours.

In fact, this morning it seemed improved enough to assay a doggy walk. For day after day, poor little Ruby has been trapped in the house by the rain and by the Human’s ailment. Alas, by the time we got to the outskirts of Upper Richistan, the threat of more rain had escalated to a promise. So we had to cut our expedition short and hurry home — just reached the front door when more rain began to pour down.

Thought we’d try again as the weather cleared but then decided I’d druther go back to bed. Plus as I was peering out the front door to check on the downpour status, I spotted a shady pair trotting past the house, transparently stealing and garbage scavenging, almost surely homeless (read “drug addicts” in these parts). On the way home we saw another sketchy fellow going through a garbage bin in the alley behind Josie’s house. In the rain. Uh huh: N.G.

Back at the Funny Farm: yesterday’s extra CPR Call Blocker coding seemed to have had an effect. The number of nuisance calls dropped to two. I thought I’d found the key to blocking nuisance calls from “Name Unavailable,” but another got through. Called CPR’s excellent customer service; the guy there says blocking “Name Unavailable” doesn’t block “Unavailable” calls, each of which has to be separately, manually blocked. Now I’m thinking the only way to deal with this constant harassment is to tell everyone who needs to reach me that the only way to get in touch is by email, and then unplug the phones. Or cancel the service.

As the day passes, the apparent improvement in the epizoõtic backtracks, and by mid-afternoon it again feels like I can’t draw enough air into the lungs to sustain life. So it was back to bed in the confines of the closed bedroom filled with steam.

This is the kind of sh!t that makes you doubt the entire premise of “Aging in Place.” Really? I’m on the far end of being able to drive around the city when I don’t feel well. What is gonna happen when I’m 80 and I come down with this kind of crud? Or something worse? How will I get food? How will I care for myself? Will I die on the floor with no one to notice till my skeleton has been cleaned by the ants?

I see My Beloved Employer, the Great Desert University, whose administrators are always on the lookout for a way to generate another million bucks, are building an old-folkerie for self-styled intellectuals, to house the aged on the campus. Lots of stuff to do. And you even get to go to classes on the campus!

Whoop de doo.

Well, so let’s look at that with the least jaundiced eye we can manage.

Okay. In theory it looks like a good idea. A lot of stuff is going on at the campus. You would be surrounded by young adults, and if you were ambitious enough and influential enough, you might even be able to engineer some activities that would allow you to interact with the critters. Usually a healthy enterprise, this.

However…truth to tell, Tempe is Chez Pitz. Despite the presence of the university, it’s a bedroom community that doesn’t even faintly appeal to me as a place to live. “Old” is the New N*, particularly among the Millennial set: your chance of engaging with the (mostly commuter) students on the Great Desert University campus is almost nil.

Lovely Tempe

However-ever, one would be to some degree — nay, to a large degree — insulated from the overall Southern California-style ticky-tacky of the East Valley suburban lifestyle.

But.

Yes. But. You would be housed in a multi-story apartment building: a rabbit warren.  No yard. No privacy to speak of. No distance between you and your fellow inmates. And not just any apartment building, but a storage bin for old folks.

What would I do with my little dog in a place like that?

Well. You know exactly what I would have to do with my little dog: find some other home for her. And I would never be able to get a dog again.

Sorry. but a goldfish a substitute for a dog does not make. Life is not life without the companionship of a dog. That is fact.

Thus, quite possibly, a life proctored by protectors who will be there to call 911 if you fall and you can’t get up may not be a life at all.

Tomorrow the weather in lovely uptown Phoenix is expected to be “sunny along with a few clouds.” Let’s hope that’s true. And let’s hope it applies to Life, the Universe, and All That…

Found: Lost Gadget. Found: Food!

As suspected, simply waiting for enough time to pass caused the missing two-cup Pyrex measuring cup to reappear. To say that nascent senility is much like gazing into a Magic 8-ball is…well, no exaggeration. Things go missing. They disappear into the air. They stay gone for awhile. And then one day they surface, as if by magic, in some perfectly reasonable spot where, no doubt, they have been residing all along.

So where was the damn thing?

Where else? In the dish drainer, in the kitchen sink. Exactly where anyone who had recently filled a measuring cup with water would place it to drip dry.

Why could I not find it? NO idea. I must have looked right at it at least four times while thrashing around searching for the damn thing.

In defense of my idiot self, I will say that it was sitting beneath a sieve-type colander made of steel mesh. One could argue that this object was a bit of a distraction. After all, I was looking for a glass container, not a screen bowl. But still…it’s not what you’d call “opaque.”

All that thrashing around for… what?

Ohhh well.

To my delight, I discovered that the recovered glass measure is indeed the OLD version, made in the USofA, not the cheesey product that is pawned off on US consumers today. That is, if you believe the remarks of Amazon customer reviewers, who claim that the original Pyrex can be recognized by the type font used for the painted on brand name. The genuine original was marked PYREX — in all caps. The knock-off is marked in lower-case type, as the one in the image above: pyrex. Yes! Mine IS all caps. 😀

Also found this morning: breakfast.

Lightheaded with hunger, as dawn cracks I stumble into the kitchen behind the dog. I’m fuckin’ starved…and realize i have got to eat! must have FOOD!

None of the rather vile and flavorless items I’ve decided to substitute for the cheese and fruit that I usually eat in the morning is working. I just can’t gag that stuff down — I mean, the various fine dishes I’ve imagined might take the place of my favorite chow. Let us be honest: if it doesn’t have cholesterol in it, it just freaking doesn’t taste very good!

The result is, I go hungry all day because I feel awful from the bronchitis, and because I’m not eating I’m getting sicker and sicker. By noon I can hardly drag myself out of bed, and I certainly don’t feel like fixing a full meal. Or any meal.

So this morning I decided it doesn’t much matter whether I die of a heart attack or of malnutrition. Fuck it! And broke out a slab of fine Leicestershire cheese.

Breakfast, then:

  • Suicidal cheese
  • Toast
  • An apple
  • Coffee

Interestingly, I haven’t died yet. Felt noticeably better most of the day — even managed to walk the dog about 3/4 of our usual route (she hasn’t been out more than twice since this fiasco started four weeks ago!). Still spent many, many hours in bed, but felt like I might live to one day clean house again.

A day or two ago, I bought a package of free-range chicken thighs. Put those on the grill this afternoon, along with some asparagus and a package of rice to reheat. Not too inedible. This little feast is still sitting on my stomach like a rock…but at least I’m not hungry, for a change.

My poor little pooch must think the globe has stopped rotating on its axis and revolving around the sun. About the only exercise she’s getting entails luring the Human out of bed and out to the treat jar in the kitchen. This, of course, is making her fat. The Human’s not exactly getting skinny, either, come to think of it.

How much longer, dear Lord?

“Probably at least four more weeks, wimpy Human…”

{sigh}

So I picked this bug up on the 15th from the Mayo’s ER. That was about three weeks ago. Not all that long ago, but yes, God is (as usual) right: I am a wimp. Videlicet: I am damn tired of being sick!

The last time I enjoyed a comparable bug, it took four months to get over it. This would suggest we have another three months or so to listen to me whine…assuming a bolt of lightning doesn’t shut me up before then.

Maybe that’s what the recent blast from the clouds was all about? A divine comment, on the order of “Please shut up!”

Ruby the Corgi is no more pleased with the whiny Human than is God Herself. Most offensive: the dog walks have come to an abrupt halt. We’ve managed two strolls with the dog over the past three weeks, one of which ended when I couldn’t get enough air into my chest to keep going. My enthusiasm for being dragged through Upper Richistan, it must be allowed, has fallen to exactly nil.

Worse yet, the Human keeps climbing into the bed and parking there. Not wanting to be rousted out of a snooze by a dog campaigning to get onto the bed, the critter insists on lifting the Dog up there, too…willy nilly. In the Dog’s case, the sentiment is more nil than will.

This predicament elicits the gratifyingly terrifying Llama Drama from the Dog. She perches on the edge of the bed’s footboard and leans precariously over, peering down into the void as though she were contemplating plunging from the top of the Andes’ highest peak. This is part of an elaborate dance whose ultimate purpose is to extract a doggy treat.

The Human, alarmed lest the Dog decided to throw itself onto the tile floor — thereby creating an elaborate veterinary bill, to say nothing of two or three hours of frenzy — now has to get up and gently lift the Dog off the bed. Result? The ever-effective Doggy Treat Dance, in which the Dog does a joyful whirling dervish thing, up the hallway and out to the kitchen.

No, she does not want to go out. (Are you kidding? It’s dark out there!) She wants a doggy treat, and she will not give up until she gets one.

Very effective. The Human goes back to bed. The Dog, munching, retires to her nest beneath the toilet.

{moan}

I’ve lost my beloved two-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Where it could be, I cannot imagine. One of the less charming functions of old age is the habit of setting things down and then forgetting where you put it. Hours may go by, days may go by, yea verily even weeks may go by, and the beloved object is GONE.

Eventually, you may find it…but…not until you have replaced it.

Alas, though, this particular item cannot be replaced, except by a piece of knock-off junk. The only way I’ll be able to find one like it will be to find one in an antique store someplace.

Goodie. Just what I feel like doing when I’m at Death’s Door: stumbling from Goodwill to St. Vincent de Paul to the Mormons’ second-hand store searching for a piece of real Pyrex.

It couldn’t have gone far. Either I set it down carelessly and can’t remember where or the cleaning lady put it “away,” in which case I’ll never find it. Another possibility: I could have dropped it in the trash. But fortunately, I haven’t taken the trash out to the alley in days. So…tomorrow I’ll have the pleasure of fishing through the two trashcans in the garage, one piece at a time. The likelihood that it’s in the garbage is almost nil…but…I can’t afford to take that chance.

Ohhh gawd, i am soooo sick! The last thing I feel like doing is driving from pillar to post trying to replace that thing in a thrift shop. Let’s hope it resurfaces soon, like a dim message in the inky Magic Eight-Ball of my life.

Updates: Bleach and Bugs

Item: The no-chlorine, oxygen laundry bleach.

Holy mackerel. Since the stuff seems to have disappeared from the nearby grocery stores’ shelves and I couldn’t even get it from Amazon, I dropped by a Fry’s Marketplace (Kroger’s) on the way home from an appointment with Young Dr. Kildare. And yes: I did find it there. Try to guess the price…

SIXTEEN BUCKS for 88 ounces! That’s 16 cents an ounce….

So pretty clearly this is a product that’s being taken off the market. I was going to buy two bottles of it, but thought I really couldn’t afford that.

I’ve already looked at Target — they don’t have the stuff, in any brand.

Tomorrow morning I’ll go over to the Walmart — the full-service Walmart, not the grocery-store version, which we already know doesn’t carry it. Failing that, I may drive back halfway to the White Tanks to grab another bottle of it at the astonishing price. Which is, we may say in glorious understatement, not what I want to do just now.

Once the stuff is no longer available, though, it looks like you can use plain hydrogen peroxide in its place. And in the glorious tradition of the great Trent Hamm, the grand-daddy of all personal finance bloggers, you could combine the H2O2 with washing soda, fifty-fifty, to make your own DIY knockoff.

Personally, I feel washing soda is, as chemicals go, a little harsher than I want to use on my clothing and sheets, especially in the new-fangled washers that don’t do a very good job of rinsing the laundry. So I think once actual laundry-quality O2 bleach is gone, I’ll be using just plain hydrogen peroxide, available in gay abandon from Costco.

At any rate…it’s annoying. Personally, I’m damn tired of seeing every product that works taken out of our sticky little hands.

Item: Pounding on Death’s Door

The bastards still aren’t letting me in!

Source: Merck Manual

Schlepped across the Valley to see Young Dr. Kildare, with whom I had a long-standing appointment. He was less than thrilled with some of my reports from the battle scene at the Mayo.

To start with, he reviewed the contents of this year’s annual physical from the Mayo and was surprised that my assigned doc there did not flag what he believes to be unacceptably high cholesterol levels. That, I think, is arguable: some might say they’re marginally high but do not yet need medication. He would put me on a med right now.

We compromised: I agreed to lay off the booze (pretty easy, since I haven’t even been able to look at a bottle of beer or wine since this damn bug set in), and he agreed to stand by for four months. Silently, I also decided to replace my regular breakfast fare of several pieces of high-quality cheese with something a little less…rich. He doesn’t know about the roquefort, the cheddar, and the assorted other spectacular dairy products with which I regularly start my days, and he ain’t about to know. 😉

Nor was he pleased to learn that the Mayo had scheduled no follow-up testing for the UTI. He felt I should head for a lab in a few weeks for another urinalysis, to be sure the E. coli in question is really, truly GONE gone.

Although this is somewhat questionable, given my age and the fact that the antibiotic made me so sick I couldn’t take an entire course uninterrupted, it made sense to me. And one good thing about doing this through his office is that he uses labs that are close to my house, as opposed to demanding that I schlep 15 miles across the Valley to use the Mayo’s facilities.

As for the present respiratory ailment that still has me barking like a sea lion, he characterized that not as a “cold” (Mayo’s diagnosis) but as bronchitis, no doubt viral. When I said I’d never had a stuffy nose with the thing, that was what elicited his present opinion. He wants to keep an eye on that, too.

Well, I think the respiratory thing is on the way out, though I’m still so exhausted that at this very moment I can barely type these words. The cough and the fatigue will, if prior experience speaks truth, continue for another four to six weeks, at which point the whole mess should start to pass.

I hope.