Saturday, May 18, 2019

Back To My Regular Routine

Ready to enjoy this beautiful spring day!

Now that I have my colonoscopy procedure out of the way, I can get back to my regular routine. I cannot stress how relieved I am. Ever since my colonoscopy three years ago when my doctor found three large precancerous polyps, I've had this dark cloud hanging over my head. Now I only have one dark cloud hanging over my head, President Donald J. Trump.

This morning I engaged in one of my favorite activities, raking dead grass. I find the activity very relaxing as well as good exercise. I love being outside, breathing the fresh air and listening to the birds happily chirping seeking their new mates.

In two weeks time I'll be in Philadelphia to meet Pat, my Canadian Travel Buddy. As regular followers of this blog know, Pat and I get together four times (quarterly) a year.  Spring time and Fall time we meet in Philadelphia.  We stay at  the guest suite at my longtime friend Don McK.'s co-op in center city Philly. That week we're also going to my 60th high school class reunion. This will probably be my last high school class reunion. Members of my class are dying off with increasing frequency. I wonder who will left for our 70th class reunion. Of course I'll take pictures and videos of my class reunion.

I am so relieved that I can get back to my regular routine. Now I'm going to go out and rake some more grass.  

Have a great day!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Colonoscopy Complete!

Yesterday morning I awoke at 3:02 am ready for my last dose of prep solution for my 8:15 am colonoscopy.  This was the second bottle followed by three eight ounces of water within an hour.  God how I hate this procedure but it has to be done, considering the alternative.

I drunk then waited for the solution and water to work its way through my body for the final clean out.  It worked. God did it ever work.

We left early for my 8:15 am appointment at the colonoscopy pavilion.  What's with the "pavilion" anyway?  I wasn't in the mood to ask.

We arrived at the office and again I had to show my ID, insurance cards and fill out yet another set of medical forms including all my prescriptions.  Didn't I just fill that out at the pre colonoscopy appointment I asked?  She said "We need it on this form."  She wasn't happy with my question.  I didn't care.  

I filled out what I could including my prescriptions, which is a list that is growing and growing. Then I took my seat an awaited "the call."

And "the call" came in not too long.  Several other people were called before me, some in for an endoscopy and some for a colonoscopy, all performed by the same doctor. The thought raced though my mind "I hope he doesn't get me mixed up with someone who is getting an endoscopy and gives them a colonoscopy."  But I quickly divorced my brain of that possibility. They have so many checks before the procedure that it's hard to  get the two mixed up.  

I was escorted into an area sectioned off with curtains and told by the doctor's assistant to "remove all your clothes and put this gown on."  And we all know what "gown" that is don't we?  The one that is open in the back. "All the better to see you with" said the Big Bad Wolf to Little Red Riding Hood.

After removing all may clothes but leaving my socks on (which I was given permission), the anesthesiologist came in and introduced herself. She said she remembered me from my procedure three years ago.  She asked if I had any questions. I said "I don't want twilight, I want to go completely under."  She said "We'll give you a good nap."  Then she inserted the IV in my right hand. I hate IV's.  They hurt and stay hurting the whole time they're in.  Man up Ron.  Then they wheeled me in on the gurney into The Room where the procedure is performed. I always like those rides down the hallway on a gurney. Makes me feel important.  Like I'm somebody. God knows I've ridden enough gurneys the past five years what with my prostate cancer, kidney stone, and leg operations. I've lost count.

My doctor was waiting. I saw the TV monitor screen where my intestines will be displayed once The Instrument is inserted in my anal area (ass). 

I also saw my anesthesiologist.  She smiled at me. As I greeted her I felt a "funny" feeling go up the back of my neck.  Oh I know what THAT is.  I had the same experience during one of my kidney stone attacks when I was in the emergency room begging for relief from the intense pain.  The nurse at that time said I would "feel" the solution go up the vein in the back of my neck to my brain and viola! No pain.  This time I knew I was going out so I said "Uh oh, goodbye!"  Of course I don't remember actually going under nor do I remember coming too; just that I was there and then I was told "It's all over."  Oh how I LOVE that anesthetic.  When I die and we will all surely die, that's the way I want to go.  Unfortunately we don't have much of a say in how we go but if he did, that's the way I want to go.  Just a little tingle up my neck then void. Nothingness. Sorry folks, no Heaven.  And to you fire and brimstone evangelicals, no Hell either.  Just a BIG NOTHING.  

My doctor came by and told me "Everything looks fine. We found three small polyps but that isn't unusual for someone who has had polyps like you have had."  He told me to call back in a week for the results of the biopsy.  He seemed confident that I was fine and folks I was vastly relieved that he didn't find cancer.  VASTLY.  So relieved in fact that I felt I had a new lease on life albeit a short one since I am so old.  

Bill had to drive me home since I was still woozy from the anesthesia.  A nice high I might add.  Bill was a little nervous making the three mile drive home on Route One. Traffic wasn't heavy but Bill doesn't have the confidence like he used to driving.  Next time I'll have to get someone else to drive me.  I would hate to have an auto accident after having dodged cancer.  

By the way, Bill's eyes are better.  More on that in a future blog post.

I'm here at work now, feeling free and renewed and ready to tackle the next challenges in our little corner of the world. 

Now I'm ready to go to my 60th class reunion on June 8th.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Colonoscopy Today!

Today is the day folks!

I got up at 3:15 am this morning to take my second bottle of colonoscopy preparation liquid.  That to be followed with three eight ounces of water within the next hour.  I've done that and let me tell you it was no picnic. It annoys me when I hear others tell me "It's no big deal."  Well folks, I'm here to tell you to me IT.IS.A.BIG.DEAL.  

I can hardly get through it. Gagging and nauseous. Bloated. Feeling like I'm going to pass out. Hey, more power to those of you "It's no big deal" folks. You're lucky!  

I was talking to a guest at the hotel Thursday night. She said she had the same problem with the prep liquid.  She only weighed about one hundred pounds.  She brought up a good point, she said she was taking as much liquid as a two hundred and twenty pound man.  She also got sick from ingesting all that liquid. 

Well, today at 8:15 am I undergo the tube up my behind to check to see if any of those pre cancerous polyps have returned. The one good thing about today, this is probably my last colonoscopy in my lifetime.  Yes folks, I have arrived at that point in my life where there are a lot of "last times."  

Now when I get back later today I'll attack that double billing I got for my last EBay purchase. They charged my Pay Pal account and my Discover card account.  What's that all about?  Always something.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Colonoscopy Prep

Colonoscopy prep solution

Today I begin my colonoscopy prep.  Oh joy.

I think this is my fifth colonoscopy. My doctor said this will probably be my last colonoscopy because of my age.  Yes, I am THAT old.  

I've been dreading this day.  The colonoscopy procedure itself is nothing. I'm knocked out by a very effective anesthesia, it's the prep the day before.  

In addition to not eating all day I have to drink the awful prep solution.  This time I was told the solution tastes like cranberry juice.  Yeah, I'm sure it does.  Just like the last time I was told the prep solution would taste like lime flavored juice.  To me it tasted like lime flavored toiled bowl cleaner. Not that I would know what toilet bowl cleaner taste like but I have a vivid imagination. 

I have two bottles of this prep solution. I gulp down the first bottle (no sipping!) at two o'clock this afternoon. Followed by drinking eight ounces of water once an hour for the following five hours. God, I hate drinking all that water. I feel like I'm going to float away.

Tomorrow morning, the day of my procedure, I have to get up at 3:15 am to drink the second bottle of solution. Fun times. That's followed by three glasses of 8 ounces of water for three hours. 

I have to be at the Seaside Endoscopy Pavillon at 8:15 am tomorrow morning, all clean out. Clean as a whistle. Lean and mean and ready for my colonoscopy scan.  Thank God this is the last one.

By the way, the Seaside Endoscopy Pavillon is just up the road from the funeral home. Eventually that will probably be my last "stop" one of these days. A day I hope is far in the future. But one never knows. 

5:38 PM 5/14/2019

UGH!  I'm almost through the first phase of cleaning out my bowels.  I drank the "cranberry" flavored solution.  Guess what folks?  It is just as horrible as all the previous solutions I drank.  I'm literally gagging now.  

After drinking that solution I had to follow it with a glass of eight ounces of water every hour for five hours.  I have one more glass to go.  I hope I can make it.  And yes, it is "cleaning" me out.  God.

Early tomorrow at 3:15 AM I get up to take the second bottle of solution followed by three glasses of eight ounces of water.  At least I'm not taking five glasses.  

I hope I can make it folks.  I've heard others says "the prep isn't so bad."  Not here folks, it is AWFUL.  

After this last glass of water, I'm going to have my "dinner" of clear chicken broth.  Yum!

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Ron's Colonsocopy Appointment

Me at my doctor's office this morning filling out more medical history forms

This morning I had my pre colonoscopy appointment. 

I am scheduled for my colonoscopy next Wednesday morning. Oh joy.

My last colonoscopy was three years ago. At that time they found three large polyps that were precancerous.  My doctor removed those polyps and scheduled me for another colonoscopy in only three years.  Oh joy.

After checking my vitals this morning he gave me the go ahead for my last colonoscopy.  He told me "At your age (there we go with the "at your age" thing again" - same thing I heard when my urologist discovered my prostate cancer) this should be the last time you need a colonoscopy."  What? I'll probably die of something else as my urologist advised me when we discussed treatments for my prostate cancer.

The one thing I hate about getting a colonoscopy is the "prep".  I was assured by his assistant that the new prep "taste like cranberry juice."  I hope.  I know it cost me $110 and that was with a $57 discount.  I get my meds through the VA but I don't have time to navigate that bureaucracy to get my prep kit from them and besides if I did, I would probably get that prep that taste like lime flavored anti-freeze. Not that I would know what anti-freeze taste like. 

The good thing about getting a colonoscopy, in addition of course to detecting possible colon cancer in time, is getting "knocked out."  I imagine that anesthesia is what death is like.  Just a complete void that you don't even know you're going out.  So strange coming back from the dead.  But one day I will experience that final "anesthesia", that's for sure.  We all have that date with destiny.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Bill's Eye Appointment

This morning I took Bill to see his eye doctor.  This appointment was for an eye examination for a new eye prescription for Bill so he could get new glasses. For the past year Bill's eyesight has deteriorated significantly.

Last year Bill had cataract surgery. That was quite an ordeal.  But after his cataract surgery Bill still had trouble seeing.  Like really a problem, he couldn't even make out the top big letter on the eye exam chart which is E.  

Back to the eye doctor.  After several examinations it was determined that scar tissue had formed around Bill's replacement cataract lenses. That scar tissue had to be removed by more laser surgery. Then this I take Bill back for yet another eye examination.  Yes, dilation fluids, waiting in the waiting room, and all that.  

Back to the eye chart.  Bill still can't see the top letter on the eye chart.  His doctor comes in, examines his eyes and discovers that Bill has macular degeneration.  Yes, Bill is slowly losing his vision.  His doctor said he had "dry" macular generation which isn't as bad as "wet" macular generation.  Still, at age 90, Bill is losing his sight.  

Bill as often said if he loses his sight he doesn't want to live. He's being very dramatic of course but still, losing one's sight is a serious matter. I guess I should be thankful that Bill doesn't have dementia or other serious physical ailments like diabetes or worse. Bill still mows the grass and performs handyman work around the house. I think his activity is what keeps him healthy. One of my biggest worries these days is that I will die before Bill.

Yesterday when I woke up I was very dizzy and disorientated. I couldn't seem to get my balance. Then waves of nausea swept over me.  I felt like I was drunk.  I laid down to steady myself. When I got up again the dizziness came back with the nausea.  I was scheduled to go to work. I called in and said I couldn't go to work the way I felt. I laid down again and had a good sleep for about two hours. When I got up I felt fairly normal again. I called into work and said I could go in.  Now the whole point of this narrative is that my condition caused me to think, what if I died before Bill? That's my big worry these days folks, especially after today's diagnosis of Bill's eye condition. 

Having said all this, today was a beautiful spring day. We're enjoying each day, together. All part of life folks, especially the part of growing older. Even though we're running into more problems at this time of our life, we still have a good life and are very fortunate. Could be a whole lot worse.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

My Names


Inspired by a fellow blogger who recently posted about his many names, I decided to post about my many names.

I was born Ronald Walter Tipton. My Mother named me after her favorite movie star, Ronald Coleman.  Now I realize most of you have no idea of who Ronald Coleman was.  He was an English actor with a sonorous voice who starred in "Prisoner of Zenda" and "Shangri-La".  Memory of Ronald Coleman is long gone now but during the Thirties and early Forties he was a popular leading man.  I was born in 1941, the height of Mr. Coleman's popularity.  

Ronald Coleman - actor for whom I was named

I am the oldest of three brothers. My father's name was Isaac.  My Mother did not like that name.  My father wanted to name me after himself but my Mother wouldn't have it.  She told him "I'm not naming any of my children that ugly name."  Ironically, when my second brother was born, he was named Isaac Walter Tipton, Jr.  It all worked out because my father was blonde as is my brother Isaac.  Of course when my brother had a son, you guessed it, "Isaac Walter Tipton, III".  To keep them all straight my father was always referred to as "Ike".  My brother referred to as "Isaac" or "Jr", which he hated. His son is referred to as "Ikey", which as a 52 year old grandfather he isn't fond of "Ikey".  He has tried to get everyone to call him "Ike" but to us he will always be "Ikey".  But I digress.  

Below is a list of names that I have been known by in my seventy-seven years trodding this earth:

Ronald - my given name and the name I was known and referred by during my school days from first grade to twelfth grade. 

Ronnie - the name my family always called me by which I hated because I thought it sounded too feminine. 

Ron - the name I choose for myself when I left home and joined the Army in January of 1960.  No one in my previous life had ever called me "Ron". I didn't plan to change my name to "Ron" when I joined the Army.  What happened was when I was asked by a friend in Basic Training for my first name (in the Army everyone is called by their last name, more about that latter) I decided then and there to refer to myself as "Ron."  This decision of mine created an interesting dynamic between my two lives. The one life I had before I joined the Army and the one after I joined the Army.  The first time someone from my post Army life heard me referred to as "Ronnie" they thought it was so childlike. Same with people from my pre Army life when they heard someone from my post Army life call me "Ron", they said "Whose Ron?"  Even to this day, all my family calls me "Ronnie" with the sometimes exceptions of my two younger brothers.

Buck - My two younger brothers often refer to be as "Buck".  The best way to explain that is that it is an affection term of derision.  Since I am the oldest I have a tendency to lord it over my brothers (best looking, smartest, etc).  They let me get away with my vanity but bring me down a notch or two by referring to me as "Buck."  I sign "Buck" to the birthday and Christmas cards that I send to them.  

Potts - this is the name my partner and husband (55 years now) calls me.  "Potts" is a shortening of the original name "Sweetie Pie" (yes, I know it is nauseatingly sweet) but hey, who doesn't have pet nicknames for their partner. I call Bill "Snag".  Again, an affectionate term of derision. Bill had all his teeth pulled many years ago.  The dentist wanted to leave a couple of good teeth in his mouth. Bill insisted on having the good ones pulled too.  You had to be there.  I also call Bill "Billy."  

C.B.1 - What my good friend Pat calls me.  I call him C.B.2. No explanation needed at this time. Just a term of endearment that is only know by us.

Tipton - this is how I was known during my three year enlistment in the Army. You lose your first name in the Army.  During Basic Training I was often referred to as "Fucking Trainee".  Of course almost everyone in Basic Training was called that endearing nickname. 

Tip or Tipper - my best friend from high school always calls me this nickname, even to this day. You would think more people would call me "Tip" but interestingly they don't.  One of my uncles was always known as "Tip", maybe because his given name was "Fieldon Jacob". 

Faggot - I've been called this term of derision quite often in my lifetime. Probably because I came out of the closet in 1963 and never hid the fact that I was an am a gay man.  I've been called "Faggot!" as I've exited gay bars.  I've been called "Faggot" as I've walked home on Spruce Street in Philadelphia.  I've been called "Faggot!" as I've walked on Laurel Street in Rehoboth Beach.  I've been called "Faggot!" as I've walked back to my rental unit during my many summertime stays in Provincetown.  The persons calling me "Faggot!" were always a carload of drunk young guys out to prove their uncertain masculinity to their friends. You would think this rite of passage for young men uncertain of their sexuality would have changed during these days of "enlightenment" but the last time I had that vicious term thrown at me was when I was walking down Laurel Street in Rehoboth Beach two years ago with Pat. A carload of so called straight guys trolling the gay neighborhoods spotted us walking.  Two men walking together in a mostly gay neighborhood?  "Faggots!"  

Mr. Tipton - believe it or not I am rarely called "Mr. Tipton".  Something that disappoints me because I thought I would gain that term of respect after aging gracefully.  

"Uncle Ronnie" - what my nephew, grand nephews, nieces, grand nieces and grand grand nieces all me which I love.  "Uncle Ronnie!"  A nice friendly term of endearment.  

One thing I will never be called is "Dad" which sometimes makes me sad but this is the hand life has dealt me.  

A footnote, if I was born a girl my name would have been "Louise", which was my Mother's middle name.  My Mother always wanted a girl and of course she had three boys. During my Mother's pregnancy she and her sister-in-law Gert ("Aunt Gert" who had the same middle name "Louise)) had a friendly rivalry whose baby would be born first.  Of course I was born first (November 9th) and my cousin "Louise" was born November 13th.  

Me with my cousin Louise Tipton White