Sunday, December 08, 2019

Visit To My Urologist

My Urologist's Office

This past Friday I had my semi-annual visit to my urologist. I have these twice a year visits to get a head start should any of my developing kidney stones decided to drop and cause me to make an excruciating visit to the emergency room again. The good news is that I have two small kidney stones that are behaving themselves.  They're there but behaving themselves, for now anyway.

The potential bad news is that my prostate cancer may be trying to make a comeback.

My PSA score is steadily inching upwards every time I get my labs.  Even though it is still well under the 0 to 3.9 range considered normal, it is now .23 up from .17 six months ago.  After I had my seed implant radiation treatment for prostate cancer in 2013 (my PSA was 8.4 then) my PSA score always hovered around .12.

I asked my urologist what should I do.  He said we'll just monitor it for now but maybe in the future I might get another biopsy of my prostate. Oh no, I don't want to go through that worse than water boarding torture again to get twelve pieces of specimens from my walnut sized prostate gland. He said eventual removal of the prostate is also a consideration. I don't know if I want to do that either considering the side effects of which I won't go into now but they are not pleasant.

I called my friend Rich tonight and asked him what he did.  He had his prostate removed thirteen years ago but his PSA came back. He said he underwent radiation treatment and now his PSA score is down.  He said his doctor said "that cancer is looking for a place to land."  So there is my friend who had his prostate removed and his PSA still came back.  

You know what folks? I'm just going to monitor this.  Not happy about it but I know something will eventually get me in the end. No one gets out of this life alive but I hope is that I would ease out of it with minimal pain and dependence on others. I have my backup plan.  But for now I'm looking forward to week after next when I land in Philadelphia and spend a Christmas week with my good friends Pat and Don. And believe me folks, I cherish every moment.

Extreme dieting

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Broken Garage Door

Garage door repair

Last night while I was at work at the hotel, I get a phone call from our neighbor. He's calling for Bill to tell me our garage door won't open.  Why didn't Bill call me?  He can't figure out how to turn on his iPhone.  Yes, I've shown him many times but when he gets frustrated he has problems performing simple tasks like turning on his iPhone which admiringly he rarely uses.

The big problem was the garage door.  It wouldn't open. He wanted to tell me to go into our back door. Like most people these days we don't use our front door to go into our house.  Who does, by the way?  We go in through the garage.  I think almost everybody if not everybody in our fifty-seven house development here goes into their casa hacienda through their garage.  

Bill, who normally goes to bed at 7 o'clock at night (yes, you read that right) stayed up until 11:30 when I got home. He wanted to make sure I didn't fall down rounding the back of our house to the back deck in the dark.  Yes, falling down is a threat to me at this time of my life. Old man here.

Safely in our house, and after Bill went to bed, I pulled up Facebook's "Who Would You Refer In Sussex County?" app.  I put in the question "I need a referral to fix a garage door."  One name came up several times.  

I called that name this morning. He came over this afternoon and fixed our garage door and more. He found a bar that was missing a bolt which is why the garage door lately has been emitting a loud "snap!" when we open it. He also installed a new keypad.  Our old one was mucked up so much by bad weather it was hard to enter our secret code. All this repair and service for $155.  Wow, service with a reasonable price.  Sometimes so rare these days  that when it happens I want to jump up and down and shout "Yes!!!"  Of course I left a very favorable comment on his Facebook page.  

Now what's next?

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Black Friday

Oh did I ever make a mistake going out shopping on Black Friday. What was I thinking?

I actually considered going to Wal Mart but I changed my mind. Thank God.  I surely would have been trampled. Can you believe people actually act like this for a sale?  

What I did do though was go down the back way (avoiding Route 1) to the ReStore Thrift store.  It was closed. Uh, okay. Then I took me and Bill to Lowe's.  Surely there wouldn't be the madness that envelopes stores like Wal Mart on Black Friday.  

My first clue something was terribly wrong was when I pulled into the parking lot.  It was the fullest I've ever seen a Lowe's parking lot.  All those people in shopping for lumber?  Hardly.

Undeterred, we exited our car and went into Lowe's through the garden center.  Yes, the garden center where all the Christmas decorations reside, lights a glittering. Mom, pop, grandmom, and grandpa along with the kids and grandkids, many of them riding in the shopping cards whining.  OMG!

I quickly purchased a package of four clear light bulbs and headed for the checkout line.  I told "Helen" in the checkout like "I can't take this.  I have to get of here!"  She thought I didn't want the light bulbs.  I told her "No, I can't take the whining kids and the crowds."  She said she understood.  I felt sorry for her, she was a senior citizen like myself and she has to contend with that Black Friday crowd all day. Bless her heart. She obviously has a lot more patience than this bah humbug old man here.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving Day Surprises

Yesterday,  while working Turkey Day at the hotel, I had two pleasant surprises.

The first was my blogger friend Spo of Spo Reflections (see here).  He called on my phone at work to wish me a happy Thanksgiving. How nice to hear an actual voice in real time sincerely wishing me a happy Thanksgiving. Especial Spo, a sweet and gentle and caring person there ever was. If you're among his friends, count yourself fortunate.  He and his husband Someone has great enriched my life by their wit, humor and kindnesses. I wish they were my neighbors but alas, they live far away in Arizona. 

The second surprise was my boss and owner of the hotel were I've toiled the past thirteen years with my cheery hospitality personality thousands of guests. I had mentioned to him earlier in the week, after I asked him what he was doing for Thanksgiving. He said he was cooking a turkey dinner for nine friends at his house.  I told him that what I would really like for Thanksgiving was a few slices of leftover roast turkey breast.  I don't want the whole turkey and I don't want to buy one of those water infused bland turkey breasts at the store. I told him I was tempted to go one of those places where they dish out turkey dinners cafeteria style to the homeless. I could pass as homeless, I'm old, tired and bedraggled looking enough. Only thing is stopping me is that I would probably be exposed as an imposter if one of my neighbors is spooning out the turkey gravy on my mashed potatoes.

There I was, at about 10:30 PM, on the last hour of my shift and I hear the door open.  "Who could that be?" I thought.  Viola!  It was the owner with a Zip-loc bag of three thick turkey white meat slices.  What a pleasant surprise!  I really didn't expect to get the turkey.  By the way, one of my co-workers is from Turkey, the country. But I digress.  Folks, that turkey will be consumed this evening for dinner. I plan to make a broccoli, Stove Top, cheese casserole with those turkey slices. 

Doesn't take much to keep me happy folks. Just some kindnesses like these two very kind individuals passed my way yesterday.  

I'll pass it on.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Day

Here we are at yet another Thanksgiving Day. 

The temperature outside is a sunny 48 degrees, perfect for some window cleaning. Yes, this is what I do on Thanksgiving Day. I also cleaned my blinds in my bedroom. However, the window cleaning didn't go so well though. I had to go out through the garage door and I didn't know Bill was still working on the garage door.  

In Bill's previous life he was an electronics technician for RCA (remember that company) and GE.  He took early retirement from that job forty years ago. However, he just can't get the electronics thing out of his system. He always has a project going on. This time in the garage.  He's hooking up an alarm system for when someone drives up our driveway. Of course he's had that hooked up numerous times in the thirteen years since we lived here but this is a project that he's never finished with. He always "runs into a problem."  I asked him "Do you ever take on a job that there isn't a problem? Just once, did you ever take a job on that ran smoothly without any problems?"  He looks at me like I just stepped off a space ship from Mars and says "Well, I ran into a problem here."  

The problem this morning was that instead of going into my home office and checking my e-mails, playing online Scrabble with Pat and other Internet searches, I decided to clean my bedroom window blinds. While I was cleaning them I noticed the windows outside were pretty gunned up.  After cleaning my blinds I went outside through the garage door which I had to open. When I hit the automatic garage door opener I heard a bang and ka-boom! That was screwdrivers, screws, ratchets and who knows what hit the cement garage floor.  Yep, Bill's working on a project again, a project that never gets finished.

When I met Bill lo these many years ago his project was building a living room couch. Yes, a living room couch from scratch. He already had the frame built. The whole time I visited him in his New Jersey garden apartment that couch was never finished. He eventually threw it out, unfinished. In the fifty-five years we've been domiciled together he always has unfinished projects. I've asked him numerous times "How about doing some maintenance like painting or repairing or cleaning?"  Nope, he likes his projects. 

Years ago I looked up to see if this was a psychological thing with someone always working on a project.  Sure enough, it is. I forget what you call it but Bill has it.  Over the years I've grown accustomed to his penchant for unfinished projects but I have to tell you folks, at times my patience is tried.  Like this morning. Of course he's mad at me now because I set him back by opening the garage door. So here I am at my computer kvetching about it. 

I'll go back to my regular routine here at my computer. Then lunch, nap and to work this afternoon at the hotel. We have a full house today. Thanksgiving and Christmas are always the best time at the hotel, almost to a person most of the guests are in a good mood and very pleasant company on the holidays. When I leave the hotel tonight at 11:20 PM I'll see that steady stream of headlights of cars going in the opposite direction of me on Route One, headed for the tax free outlets for Black Friday. Then tomorrow the hectic Christmas season shifts into high gear.  

I may have mentioned this once before but the one thing I would like for Thanksgiving is a nice slice (or two) of turkey breast with maybe some tasty stuffing (Stove Top will do).  I mentioned it to my boss and the owner, he's having folks over to his place for Thanksgiving dinner. I know it was bold of me to ask but maybe he'll take pity on me and bring me over a taste of Thanksgiving. Every Thanksgiving holiday I see these reports on TV about churches and others feeding the homeless Thanksgiving dinners. I've always been tempted to get into one of those lines but I'm too much of a snob to do so.  

Wherever  you are doing today for Thanksgiving, I wish you the best and think of me when you're feeding your pie hole one of those delicious brined turkey slices.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Annual Maintenance Checkup

This morning I had my semi-annual dental appointment at 8 AM for teeth cleaning and a checkup. Good news, the cleaning wasn't too painful and no new issues with the teeth I have left. The only painful part was paying the bill when I left the dental office.

At 9 AM I had an appointment a few blocks away at the medical imaging office. This appointment was for an X-Ray of my abdomen for my appointment with my urologist next week. He's keeping track of my latest kidney stone that is forming in my old, decrepit body. Hopefully we can head this kidney stone off at the pass before it makes its passage through my very tiny little urethra tube thus causing me such unbearable pain that makes me want to exit this early existence. 

Last Friday I had an appointment at my dermatologist. He, or shall I say she (student doctors observing) removed potentially precancerous actinic keratosis formations under my left armpit and lower back.  Waiting in the room for my doctor to evaluate me, he entered with two women, students. Didn't even ask me but just proceeded to evaluate my body which was only covered by one of those flimsy hospital gowns with the open back. I only had my shorts (underwear) on.  I apologized for my sagging body (always an embarrassment these days) while three sets of eyes scanned said body. He informed the students "Mr. Tipton has three choices, we could shave off the keratosis, leave them (to an option because the constantly itch) or burn them off".  "What will it be Mr. Tipton?"  I said "Burn them all off!", which is what I always have done. The "burning" is done with dry ice. And it hurts.  It burns. Smoke happens. But at least I'm not itching any more and I've dead ended any possibility of those skin formations turning into cancer. This is over twenty-five years now I've been having keratosis skin lesions burned off my skin. None on my wrinkled and weathered face this time though. I walked out of my dermatologist's office sorer but relieved that I won't be itching for a few more months until the next visit in May of next year.

I am so thankful that I have medical insurance to cover all these health care expenses and that I have doctors to take care of me to help me survive a few more years.  

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The "Holidays"

Here we go again, "The Holidays".  

This week is Thanksgiving. As in years past, I'll be working at the hotel on Thanksgiving Day. No complaints here, I'm used to it.  Interestingly I meet the nicest people at the hotel during the Thanksgiving holiday. Usually grandparents visiting their children and grandchildren who stay at the hotel because they can't take all that grandchildren activity 24/7.  Can't say as I blame them. I couldn't either.  Whoever the guests are, they always seem to be in good spirits which I welcome.  Life is too short to be unhappy. Be happy folks!

Now once we pass Thanksgiving Day we'll get inundated with Christmasy things. Some of the worst is that U.S Post Office advertisement that is singing  "There Is No Place Like Home For The Holidays". OMG! Do we have to listen to THAT until Christmas Day?  Come on Post Office, take that commercial off before you turn our brains to 


One good thing this holiday though, I haven't heard too many "HO, HO, HO's"  God, I can't stand that phony Santa "HO! HO! HO!"  

I probably sound like a "Bah humbug" kind of guy but I'm not really. I love the Christmas season and "the holidays" but what I don't like is the over commercialization. 

The one Christmas activity that I have always engaged in and enjoyed is sending and receiving Christmas cards. However, for the first time in my living memory, I think I'll drastically cut back on my Christmas cards this year. There are those former co-workers and friends I've been exchanging cards with every year, I'll still send those because I truly wish them a Merry Christmas.  There are also a few blogger friends I like to send cards to.  But I don't think I'll continue to send cards to those relatives and others who I never receive a card from.  My cards are probably just an annoyance to them anyway. And the relatives, sad to say almost all of my relatives are Trumpers. Can't do it folks, just can't do it.  I've unfriended all of them from my Facebook account so why send them a card wishing them well as long as they continue to support the criminal in the White House. They're lost, especially to me.

I'm looking forward to spending a week before Christmas in Philadelphia with my friends. True friends. I'll be returning Christmas Eve to work at the hotel.  I'm also working New Year's Eve, which is always enjoyable for me working at the hotel.  Long gone are those days when I celebrated New Year's Eve partying at the gay bars in Philadelphia. Those were the days folks!