Friday, March 24, 2017

Trumpcare Bill Fails To Pass Congress!

Eddie Munster Paul Ryan - BIG LOSER TODAY

President Donald J. Trump suffered a major loss today. The "dealmaker" couldn't make the deal. 

Of course now Trump is now blaming the Democrats for the failure of the bill to pass. This is interesting since the Republicans hold a HUUUUUUGE majority in the House. 

Paul Ryan was hellbent on passing Trumpcare yesterday on the seventh anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") into law.  Guess he and his cohorts won't be doing a circle jerk on that mean spirited goal of taking away healthcare from 24 million Americans.

One would only hope that Trump learned a lesson today.  That he is not the Emperor.  He is not the king.  He is the president of the United States and he will have to work with ALL of the members of Congress, including the Democrats and yes, the much hated Nancy Pelosi.  

Today was a good day for America folks. Twenty-four Americans didn't lose their health care.

Are their problems with the Affordable Care Act?  Absolutely!  Now let's work with the Democrats to fix it. Put the American people first. Of course the only answer is a single payer system.  Let's do it!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Price is Right Redux Part 2 2017

Time to pick up on where I left off on my last blog posting of our experience attending "The Price is Right" TV show tapings. 

Last year when we attended our first TPIR taping we were seated to the far right of the audience, near where George Gray, the announcer is stationed.

This time we got better seats, right in the middle of the audience.  Now we could actually see the games being played.  Much better! Plus, we were right in camera range.  

I didn't count how many TV cameras there are but there is one on a big metal swing arm that sweeps out over the audience every time a new contestant to called to "Come on down!" and the games are being played. Tune in TPIR  May 2nd and May 3rd and you'll see me and Pat in the audience, wildly cheering like the old fools we are.  We're the two old guys with baseball hats on.  I think we were the only audience members with hats.  I have to tell you folks, it IS fun knowing you're going to be on television. That's the ham in me coming out folks! Who knew? 

One of the most enjoyable things about attending the tapings of TPIR is watching and enjoying the interaction of the host Drew Carey with the audience during the commercial breaks. We in the audience are literally getting a free comedy performance. Drew is funny. As is George Gray the announcer. I have to hand it to the producers of TPIR, they do everything possible to make the whole Price is Right experience enjoyable for everyone in the audience.  And it's all free!

This year at the end of the taping, George asked the audience if anyone wanted to stay for the second taping.  Seems they were short of the three hundred audience members they needed for the second taping in the afternoon.  Pat wasn't as enthusiastic as I was to stay but, being the nice guy he is, we acquiesced and went along with my plea to stay.  

We were told that we didn't have to go through all that security procedure that we went through in the morning. That was a relief. But we did have a lot of time to kill. Another three hours to be sure.  I hadn't eaten anything in the morning and it looked like I would' the eating anything this afternoon. TPIR has a concession stand but it is VERY expensive (which of course it would be, just like airport concessions, they have a captive audience).  Pat took advantage of the pricey concession stand but I abstained. 

We were assured by TPIR staff that even though we were holdovers from the first taping, we could still be called to "Come on down!" And indeed that proved to be true because the lady behind us in line was called.  Pat and I were next to last in line and this lady (and her husband) were last. I was teasing her that she "was last."  Well, she had the last laugh because she was called to "Come on down!" and she won a car! I was very happy for her.  Look at the May 3rd show, she the little woman with the frizzy hair going crazy when she won that car.  Of course I would rather that be me or Pat up there on stage jumping around but we both have a lot less hair than she had. Maybe that's why they didn't call either one of us.

All in all another good experience at "The Price is Right" folks. We'll be back next year. But in the meantime look for us on both the May 2nd and May 3rd taping.

Have a great day!

P. S.
The video at the beginning of this blog has nothing to do with TPIR. We're not allowed to take photos are videos at TPIR taping so I substituted one of my other videos of our second day's stay in West Hollywood. We had fabulous weather!  So lucky!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Price is Right Redux

Pat and me in The Price is Right line February 14, 2017 on Beverly Boulevard, Hollywood, California - check out  Pat's cool white trimmed sneakers - he left his sandals at home and survived!

Finally, I'm almost feeling normal. Back to the good stuff. Now where did I leave off with our Annual California Adventure? Ah yes, our return to "The Price is Right" TV show audience.

My erstwhile Canadian Travel Buddy Pat just goes along with me on this one. In fact, he never saw "The Price is Right" TV show until he was in the audience for the first time last year during our visit to Hollywood, California. Me, I started watching TPIR before Bob Barker's hair turned white.

Ah yes, the Plaid Suite Days. I used to have a plaid suite just like this!

In fact, just to tell on myself how old I am I remember when Bob Barker first came on TV. Ralph Edwards, the host of the old black and white Fifties show "This is Your Life" introduced a very young Bob Barker as the host of Edward's new TV show "Truth or Consequences" in (wait for it) - 1956!  Sixty years ago folks! Wow, am I past my sell by day or what?

Ralph Edwards and Bob Barker - 1956
In fact folks, actually the first "The Price is Right" shows I used to watch were with Bill Cullen.  You all remember Bill Cullen?  The "I've Got a Secret" panel member. The crew cut and black rimmed Buddy Holly glasses who walked with a limp.  I never did know why he limped by the way.  I do remember thought that the first TPIR show was a lot different from the current version of TPIR.  One might even say it was boring but back in the Fifties we were thankful for anything on TV.  We didn't know Boring back in the Eisenhower Years.  But you know folks, I would take those years back now in place of the nightmare we're going through now.  But I digress.

Bill Cullen, original host of The Price is Right

What a difference in TPIR from those day until today!  Back then the audience wasn't allowed to help by shouting out the prices for the contestants.  I remember Bill Cullen often warning the audience not to shout out the prices.  SOOOO serious. But this was the Fifties folks.  Today, the audience IS the show. We are clapping seals encouraged to shout out the prices even though some of us can't even see the game being played because of the TV cameras and staff blocking our view.

By the way folks, I can see where this post is going to be longer than my usual post so if you have to go to the bathroom now, better do so. If you have anything on your stove, turn off the burners. Settle in for a LONG narrative of our second experience at "The Price Is Right!" TV show.

TPIR has two tapings a day.  They are done at the CBS TV studio on Beverly Boulevard in Hollywood, California.  Two years ago, during  our first visit to The Grove with our friend Nadege, who lives in California and works sometimes at the CBS TV studio, she told us TPIR is taped there.  I could see the large black building with the white CBS logo on the building from where we were standing in the elevated parking lot at The Grove.  That planted a seed in my head "Why not write for tickets and be on the show for our visit next year?"  

Pat wasn't too keen on the idea but he went along with me on this one. After all, we're in Hollywood!  Let's do something HOLLYWOOD!

Well, we had a good time last year.  Didn't get on the show but as I said before, TPIR audience IS the show. A fact that the staff frequently tells us while we're waiting four hours in line outside waiting for the first daily taping.  They tell us "You're all going to be on TV and you're all going to have a good time!"  And you know what folks, they were/are right.  We had a fabulous time. Last year and this year.

I wrote for my priority tickets, which guarantees that we would be in the audience, several months ahead.  

We're told to be in line outside the CBS Television studio by 8:30 for the 12:00 taping.  Now that sounds like we're standing in line a long time and, of course it is, but you know what folks?  They keep us so entertained that you're not bored at all.

The long TPIR line outside the CBS Television studio on Beverly Blouvelard
One of the requirements is that there be no sandals which posed a problem for my Canadian Travel Buddy Pad.  Pat wears sandals.  Last year we purchased a $30 pair of cheap sneakers for his size 10 1/2 tootsies. Those sneakers were only worn once and we left them next to a sleeping homeless man under a paper tent on Hollywood Boulevard. This year we purchased another pair of sneakers, only $20 this time. Pat didn't get to "Come on down!" with those feet smoothers either.  We left them in the closet of our Airbnb when we checked out. Maybe the cleaning woman can use them.

There are two types of audience members in line. Those who just get in line and folks like me and Pat who have the Priority Tickets. 

While you're standing in line in the chilly Los Angeles morning (temps around 55 degrees) you get to meet all kinds of interesting people.  Last year one of the people we met was a couple from Kansas. Pat told me that the guy would be chosen to be a contestant and darn if he wasn't!  

TPIR has a well honed procedure to keep you occupied while you're standing in line becoming acquainted with your fellow potential contestants called to "Come on down!" and win a car (or two). 

Staff member walk down the line and collect the priority tickets and tell us special folks to follow them, right past all those other woebegone still standing in line. That always feels good to walk ahead of the line, but I'm not one to cut the line.  I followed the proper procedure. I didn't cheat.

TPIR audience has three hundred members. If there aren't enough priority ticket holders the rest of the audience is chosen from those still standing in line.

The next step in the procedure is staff members ask your name and write it on a sticker and place it on your person. 

Then there is a whole procedure of filling our a multi paper release form.  Also, photo ID's are taken.  Folks, there is more security to getting on TPIR than going through TSA at the airport. The only difference is that I didn't get a pat down.

You don't have to stand in line the whole time you're waiting, benches are provided and coverage in case in rains

There are different stages in the line.  Of course one of the stages is we're standing next to TPIR souvenir shop.  Yes, I did indulge. Really didn't need to but why not?  I can show my grandkids my "The Price is Right" tote bag. More likely, I can show my fellow Food Lion supermarket shoppers that expensive tote back.  

The Price is Right souvenir shop

We're allowed cell phones while in line but we have to turn in our cell phones once we go into the studio.  Both last year and this year I didn't take my iPhone with me because I didn't want to put it into a basket with all those strange (and unclean) phones.  Who knows WHERE they have been?

Some of the photos in this blog of standing in line I took from the Internet that others took. Next year I'm going to take my iPod with me and take my own photos.

One of the souvenirs I always get, and most others do to, is the photo next to The Wheel. It's taken with a green screen behind us.  The photos cost $20 each but what the hey? You only live once.

One of the main parts of standing in the line is being interviewed.  This is how they pick contestants. They are looking for people who are genuinely happy to be there.  The interview is short, only about twenty seconds long but the interviewer can tell who is going to provide good TV and who is perhaps not.  I will say, he is good. 

I think most of us are happy to be there but some are obviously very forced.  The key is to be genuine.  You either are or you aren't.  Not being chosen for two years in a row now has given me some thought but hey, I know I'm happy to be there.  I always have a good time whether I'm chosen or not.  Of course it would be fun to be chosen but still, it is a wonderful experience.

Four hours quickly goes by (really) and the last stage is the line just outside the studio. They have six to eight TV's going with old TPIR episodes with contestants winning cars and trips, screaming and jumping up and down, to get you in the mood. By the time we're ushered into the music thumping, colorful, brightly lit studio, we're primed!!!

The smiling and efficient staff quickly assign us our seats while while everyone is clapping to the infectious music.  The excitement builds to a crescendo  as everyone is hyped by all TPIR crew, including one man whose job it is to raise his hands and arms up and down as to the volume of our cheering and clapping.  We are trained seals.

Then George Gray,  TPIR announcer lovingly mouths into his microphone and says 
"Here it comes, from the Bob Barker Price is Right CBS studio in Hollywood, it is The Price is Right!"  As the camera swoops over the cheering, diverse, colorful, clapping audience George says his first "Come on down . . . . !" (and says the name of the first contestant in contestants' row).  By the way, in the audience see the name of the contestants on a written out on a big billboard held by a staff member out of camera range.  I often wondered how the audience could hear whose name was being called to "Come on down!"  

All for now folks. I'll have to continue with my Price is Right experience in my next posting. I've already exhausted you enough with this posting. By the way, we were there for two tapings this time.  Whoopee!

Friday, March 17, 2017

What a Difference a Week Makes

Me with my Mother during my first kidney stone passing - 2001
They didn't know what was the matter, I was kept in the hospital for observation for two days - got about a total of two hours sleep in that semi-private room with all the hospital activity

This time a week ago I was undergoing another one of my painful kidney stone episodes. I didn't know it at the time.  I think in retrospect I was in denial because I thought I was rid of all my kidney stones.  I have lost count of how many kidney stones I've passed in the past fifteen years.

My first kidney stone passing was back in 2001.  I thought my appendix was bursting.  I took myself to the VA Medical facility (this was before I had Medicare) nearby our home in Pennsylvania. They shipped me to the nearby civilian hospital where I stayed for two days. Eventually, after a heavy dose of painkillers, I was released.  Looking back now, I realize that was what had happened.  I passed a kidney stone.  No CRT was taken at that time, I was only kept in the hospital for observation.  The same hospital where my father died the year before. I never did like that hospital. They have always had a bad reputation.  My stay didn't do anything to disprove my attitude.

I didn't have another kidney stone episode until August of 2013.  At that time I was at an auto repair place when all of a sudden I became overcome with nausea and had to go outside behind the building and throw up.  I don't know how I made it home but I did.  

This time I'm living near Lewes.  Bill took me to the emergency room. I literally thought I was dying.  I did not know what was happening to me but I did wish I was dying just to end the pain. This hospital was a better.  They did an CRT and discovered I was passing two kidney stones. 

Me in the emergency room after a heavy duty pain killer was administered - 2013
No hospital stay other than about eight hours in the emergency room. I was sent home with a strainer to capture the kidney stone.  


Different kidney stones captured in strainer

I've lost track of how many visits I've made to the emergency room since I've lived here in Delaware.  I know the one visit required a two night hospital stay for a kidney stone that was stuck and I had to have an operation (the details of which I won't go into here since I've grossed you out with the the "strainer" pictures). That operation resulted in a stent in my penis which had to stay there three weeks to keep three other kidney stone from falling until I could have another operation to blast those kidney stones out.  

That was the last time I had kidney stones.  I thought I was over with kidney stones. Apparently not. 

Me in the emergency room this time last Friday

This latest visit to the emergency room I was told by the emergency room doctor that I had "more kidney stones up there."  Thus I have a visit scheduled with my urologist next month.  

In the meantime, I will continue living each day as if it is a gift.  Today I was about to transplant a tray of daffodils that I had purchased before this latest episode. 

One day at a time folks.

Back to my regular posts tomorrow.  I still have a lot to share of my California holiday. God, wasn't I lucky that this didn't happen when I was in California? Or Canada, where I'll be at the end of the summer. 

Could be a lot worse. But for now, what a difference a week makes. Today I almost feel normal.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Worst Is Over

I do believe, the worst is over. 

Yesterday I was still feeling very "blah" even though I didn't have that excruciating pain.  At least I had my appetite return, albeit partial. 

Not to gross anyone out but part of the problem was by taking all those pain killers I was constipated big time. 

Last night I was just so sluggish I couldn't do anything so I went to bed early at around  8 pm. I woke up several times to go to the bathroom to take a pee (no blood thank God) and just to move my legs from every increasing cramps that were awakening me.

At 2:30 am I was wide awake so I played online Scrabble on my iPhone, as I had the past three nights. For some reason I found that playing that not too mind inducing game relaxed me and took my mind off of my impending doom.

My boss at the hotel texted me yesterday to ask if I was coming into work. I wasn't sure if I was ready but I texted him back that I would.  I'm feeling a lot more confident now about going into work three hours from now. I do need to get out of the house.  And now that I have lost ten pounds since last week (yes, it is true I have lost THAT much weight) I'm ready to show off my new slim body.  HA!  Do I really care?  No.  But it is nice to get back to my more comfortable weight of 163 pounds. The past ten years or so I was whizzing past 170 to 175 and not happy with that extra poundage at all.  See folks, isn't it wonderful how I can be so vain even in my health crises?  A vanity, never leave me my friend.

I've been anxious to get back to posting about my wonderful California holiday. So much to tell and show. 

I've also been wanted to comment on the current political environment, especially Trump's latest "Toddler In The White House" moment of accusing former president Obama of wiretapping him but you know what folks? I am SICK TO DEATH of that monster in the White House and all his enablers. ALL OF THEM.  I never in my life thought I could hate anyone as much as I hate Trump but I do folks. At times during my illness I thought that the very idea of that psychopath lying narcissist in the White House representing our country to the world, makes me gag. Literally, I gag. But that's all I'm going to say on this matter, for now anyway. 

I'm on my way back folks.  This one isn't taking me out. Something will in the future, of that I am sure. But not this lousy kidney stone. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Feeling Better

Dare I say it? I'm actually feeling better this morning. Still weak and sore (abdomen) but I don't feel like I'm dying. 

I'm not sure if my kidney stone has passed (the soreness in my lower abdomen) but I no longer have blood in my urine. 

For the first time since this current kidney stone episode began last Friday, I've been able to eat my normal breakfast of brand, almond milk and strawberries. Taste is still somewhat off but I didn't have to throw away half the cereal like I did a few days ago when I first tried to eat my normal breakfast. 

I'm off he painkillers, I can take this little bit of soreness.  Got to get my bowels working again, which is the downside of painkillers. They kill the bowel movements. 

I'm scheduled to go to work tomorrow evening. I think I can make it.

One thing that isn't helpful is this brutally cold weather, winter making its last blast. Thank goodness we missed the snow that blanketed areas north of where we are enduring day to day living here in southern Delaware. I look out the window in the morning at the stiff daffodils and puzzled robins, trying to figure out why they can't take a drink out of my now frozen bird baths.

This too shall pass Ron.

You know what folks, sometimes I just get so tired of these medical emergencies that I feel like going to sleep and not waking up.  But then I think of how fortunate I am that my health isn't much worse, which it isn't. And can you imagine if this happened while I was in California? Or Canada? 

Life is a roll of the dice isn't it folks? Here we go for another day. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Still Suffering

Have I passed my kidney stone? I really can't tell. My stomach is still sore but that may be because of my infected bladder.

I just got back from my local VA Outpatient 
Clinic. I called them yesterday with an emergency request for more pain killers. The  Emergency Room over the weekend only gave me twelve painkillers (a generic Percot pill). I was in a panic because I used the last pill from the Emergency Room yesterday. Thank goodness the VA came through for me. 

Folks, the worst thing about passing a kidney stone is the pain. And each time is different. 

I began feeling something was going on early last week but I willfully ignored the signs of kidney stones and bladder infection.

I could no longer ignore this extremely painful process which is why I ended up in the Emergency Room.

So here is the update on my situation. I called my urologist's office to make an appointment. They told me since I was "passing a kidney stone" then couldn't see me until NEXT MONTH!  I was stunned. I called back just to make sure and I was told I have to pass that kidney stone first. Why don't I just die while I'm at it?

Passing a kidney stone, I've seen this movie before.For most of the weekend I've been in bed all day, sleeping.  Then Sunday night I woke up and felt NO PAIN.  I actually felt normal, which is a wonderful feeling when you've been banging your head against the wall for so long. 

The pain in my left side has moved down. I haven't seen any kidney stone in my pee but it could be a small as a grain of salt.  Something that small cause so much pain?  Oh sure. I can't seen too much in my urine anyway with the the blood.  The most blood I've ever had during one of these episodes. One thing though, I'm not in excruciating pain, which is often the case with a kidney stone passing.  I was Saturday night, big time. The kind of pain where you say "Lord take me, I'm ready to go!"

So you know what the other problem is don't you? Not to gross out my more sensitive readers, but I haven't taken a good poop since last Friday morning. I usually go twice or more a day! TMI?  That's the downside of painkillers, they do back you up.  And folks, I'm pretty well backed up. Of course I haven't eaten that much either. I'm on a Kidney Stone Diet. HA!

Folks, I'm so anxious to get back to normal. Thank goodness my co-worker Don W. filled in for me last night at the hotel. Believe me folks, you wouldn't want to encounter me in the state I'm in, if you were checking into the hotel last night.  

Oh, I forgot to mention. How lucky are we here to have missed this Major Winter Snowstorm?  I drove the thirteen miles (one way) to Georgetown this morning in the high winds and rain to pick up my prescription. Well worth it folks!