Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Gathering Of Old Friends

Next Saturday there will be a mighty gathering of old friends and I mean OLD.  

My former high school friend (and still friend although long distance) Stuart is flying up from his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida into Philadelphia to attend our 60th high school class reunion  (Downingtown High School, Class of 1959) next Friday night.  Pat and I will be in Philly.  I'm arriving this Sunday and Pat is coming down Monday.  We will meet Stuart at the Philly airport Friday night. The reunion is Saturday, noon, in Downingtown. We're going to pick up our other former high school classmate Larry at his home in Claymont, Delaware, only about thirteen miles from the airport. 

I was thinking today what an interesting group of friends. Or an eclectic group of friends. Stuart is Jewish, Larry is an evangelical (not the annoying kind who is always trying to "save" you), Pat is Catholic and I'm an atheist (used to claim I was agnostic but that was mainly to avoid offending anybody who asked and would feel it their obligate to "save" me from my blasphemy).  Now I just say I believe nothing happens when you die (sorry folks, those of you who Believe).  

We also have differing political views. Stuart and I see our president for the con man he is.  Larry? He always says he "won't talk politics" which to me means, well you know what that means. Pat thinks Trump is getting a raw deal but I think he sees Trump for the con he is. Pat likes the entertainment value Trump.  I have to admit Trump is entertaining, like a grotesque scene that you can't take your eyes off of. 

Larry, Stuart and me back in he day - October 1957 - 62 years ago

Two of us are gay. Two are straight. But you know act folks? We all get along great together. 

This will be the first time Stuart and Pat meet face to face.  A couple of years ago I introduced Pat to Stuart when Stuart called me on my iPhone as Pat and I were waiting in line to cross the border from Canada to the United States. I am sure they will get along together when they finally meet.

You know what folks? I know the BEST people and have the BEST friends. So looking forward to getting together next week. Photos an videos will be taken.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Philly, Here We Come!

Ben Franklin and friend awaits us across from Philadelphia City Hall in the rain

This time next week I'll be in Philadelphia for my annual spring rendezvous with Pat and my longtime friend Don McK. Pat and I stay in the guest suite at Don's co-op at 21st and Chestnut Street in center city Philly.  

Pat and I stay there twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall around my birthday in November.  

This year Pat will be arriving a day late, Monday June 3rd.  I'll be arriving Sunday, June 2nd.  Our stay is only a week.  On June 8th I will be attending my 60th high school class reunion with Pat in attendance. I hope I can get him to take some pictures with my camera. I take most of the pictures at these reunions but I can't take a picture of myself. I have to ask someone else to take the picture like I did at my 50th class reunion.

My old high school friend Stuart M. will be flying in from his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We'll meet him at the airport and drive out to Downingtown with him. That will be fun.

We're having the reunion at St. Anthony's Lodge in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, the same location where I attended my graduation party sixty years ago.  I have pictures from that occasion but they are black and white and from a distance. I was shy about taking pictures back then. Still shy but more bold now. I often get "You should ask someone if they want their picture taken before you take their picture" now.  One extreme to another I say.  I wish I was bolder and had taken more closeups back then.  

This will probably be my last class reunion. We're all dying off at a faster rate now. That Memory Table is getting crowded.

What will Pat and I do in Philly? Go to our favorite restaurants and check out new ones.  Pat likes to visit old city and the modern furniture stores. We have a favorite cafe in old city we like to visit. And of course I'll be taking a lot of pictures and videos.

The forecast is rain so I'll be packing rain jackets for me and Pat.  For several years running now our visits have been rained on but we still have a good time. And it's always enjoyable to visit out friend Don McK. We always end our day at his place have a glass (or two) of wine and reminiscing about old times (war stories) and our current health woes.  Don is good company as is Pat. 

Good friends make good times. Doesn't get much better than that does it?

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Things Around Our House

We have a lot of "things" around our house. My friend Pat, who is a minimalist, has advised me to get rid of them.  He says "you don't need them."  I understand his reasoning but some things I just can't "get rid of."  I do "need them" because they give me comfort.

One such item was the Pierrot clown vase pictured in this blog.  

A couple of weeks ago I came home and found my Pierrot clown vase with the leg broken off.  Apparently Bill accidentally broke the vase when he was closing the curtains in my bedroom. Bill's pretty rough with things.  He attempted to glue the leg back on but it was in the wrong place.  I was heart broken.  I didn't realize how much I loved that clown vase until I realized I might have to throw it away because his leg was broken.

I brought that Pierrot clown vase in 1980 with the little bit of money I had left over from the sale of our house in Philadelphia.  In fact I brought a whole series of Pierrot figurines. Bookends, tissue holder, and picture frame holder. I have all of them in my bedroom which is my sanctuary.  I also have other clown images in my bedroom.  A few years back Someone, Dr. Spo's better half visited my bedroom and was creeped out with all my clown stuff. He's one of those who hates clowns. Other than John Wayne Gacy and Emmett Kelly, I love my clown images whether they be paintings or ceramics.  They give me a great sense of comfort.  

So what to do with my damaged Pierrot clown vase?  I couldn't sleep that night. I called Pat to express my loss.  Didn't get much sympathy from that quarter.  Then I had a brainstorm. Maybe someone was selling the very same Pierrot clown vase on EBay.  I checked and they were!  Viola!

I put my bid on it and here it is, featured on this blog.  

I'm not posting the picture of my damaged Pierrot clown vase.  Bill glued the leg back on the vase but it's not the same. I put that vase back in it's original location, where it has been for the past thirteen years.  Even thought I got a replacement Pierrot, I still have a soft spot in my heart for my original Pierrot clown.  

Even though the clown vases look the same, upon closer inspection they are different.  The clown's face is hand painted.  Look closely and you'll see the subtle difference. Oh, I will have to show you the original Pierrot clown vase. Here it is, before his leg was broken.

My original Pierrot clown vase - look at his face, it looks older and more mature than my replacement Pierrot clown vase

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Beautiful Spring Days

Two days in a row of beautiful, low humidity spring days.  Wonderful!

I'm finally getting to enjoy this spring. Only one more doctor's appointment (urologist next Friday) and then we're (me and Bill) are free of doctor's appointments until the fall.  Wonderful!  We're both sick of all the doctor's appointments. 

Monday I had my dental appointment, Teeth cleaning (always painful) and X-rays.  No cavities!  Guess so, I don't have that many of my real teeth left.

A little under two weeks left until I make my annual trek to my former home and workplace, Philadelphia PA.  I'll meet Pat there on Monday, June 3rd.  I will be arriving at my friend and former co-worker's co-op guest suite rental the previous day, Sunday, June 2nd.  We'll only be in Philly for a week.  The following Saturday I'll be attending my high school 60th class reunion.  This reunion will probably be our last formal reunion.  Too many of us dying off.  I doubt if I'll be around for the 65th and definitely not for the 70th.  Long gone by then folks. 

This past week my neighbor Harvey stopped by and cleaned out the broken branches of my favorite river birch. Now I have a big gaping hole in that tree.  It will take about three years for that to fill in. Hope I'll still be around when that happens. Detect a theme here?

I haven't been updating my blog as often as I used to.  The reason is that I'm just too tired. I think my old age is finally catching up with me. I wind down right about now, 10 pm.  That's with an afternoon nap.  I haven't even made my daily journal entry for the day.  I'm slipping folks.  Fading out.  Hope not. 

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.  

Caregiver Update

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