Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Medical Travails Postscript Tuesday November 24

As it turns out, my mention of the possibility of traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday got me in a bit of trouble.  After my last blog entry on the subject I heard from my hospice nurse.  She had no idea I was thinking about going out of town for Thanksgiving.  Not to put too fine a point on it, I got spanked.  Not a bad one, but it was definitely a trip to the woodshed.  I am, she pointed out, in hospice care.  Someone like me doesn't just pull up stakes, hit the road and start rubbernecking.  Her concerns were all the same as those I'd already expressed, and they all boil down to the same thing:  what if some kind of medical emergency were to arise while I am on the road?  Apparently the routine is to arrange in advance with another hospice agency to be ready to step in and take care of me in that eventuality.  But if I'm going to be gone for more than one week they actually ask the hospice patient to resign the care temporarily and signup with the hospice agency in the area to which I'll be traveling.  Can you beat that? At any rate it sure drove home the seriousness of my situation.  It’s almost like now, in addition to everything else, I have to worry about a tree trunk falling on me, or something worse.

Another medical development today—I now have oxygen in the house, consisting of two emergency bottles and an oxygen generator.  This is to guard against my  next hard breathing/panic attack, of which I had another relatively mild one on Wednesday.  It wasn’t a bad one (thank God) but was it was severe enough to get my attention.  The aftermath leaves me with a tightness of breath across my chest and abdomen, which is no fun, and also with a line of pain across the top of my back.  It’s usually gone within 12 hours, though.

Company is coming tomorrow, so I probably won’t write for a couple of days.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Medical Travails Sunday November 22

Well, as of this week I can feel a little bit less like a bum.  My first social security disability check arrived.  So instead of getting paid nothing to sit around the house and catalogue my various aches and pains, I now have a steady stream of income to compensate me for that.  I think that is pretty nifty.  And it’s not like there’s no real work involved.  New aches and pains raise their heads to be catalogued every single day.

I still really have no idea how much longer I have to be around this tired old planet.   I’m not kidding about the aches and pains; new ones seem to arise every day while old ones fade away or take a back seat.   The theme for most of this week has been pain across my lower back, where my left kidney used to be.  (The bastards took it out and didn’t even give me anything useful in return for it, damn them, leaving me with a hole good for nothing except collecting the occasional ache, sometimes acute).  This week the major line of pain has dissipated somewhat, but in its place are spiking pains descending my side in paths parallel to it.   These pains can be quite sharp when trying to get up in the morning, or when I get up in the middle of the night to answer one of my pain alarms.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Medical Travails Saturday November 14

Another CARE package has arrived at the Carr household.  I could have told  you who sent it from the address alone:  the package was sent to the attention of  “Forrest Carr News Director and Brother.”  Of course, I’m not  news director to anyone to whom I’m actually also a brother, except in spirit only.  That narrowed the choice of senders down considerably.  I won’t embarasss him here by telling you who it is, but suffice it to say that when I worked with him in Florida TV  news, we had a very close and productive relationship.

The package itself shows the man is hip to my current needs.  It’s stuffed to the rims with candy.  As regular readers to this blog know, my sweet taste buds are about the only ones that have survived chemo and radiation and painkillers and all the other indignities they heap on you in the name of trying to eradicate cancer from your body.  I can taste most meat but very blandly.  But Milky Ways, Snickers, M&M’s, Butterfingers, Kit-Kats, and you name what else are completely undiminished in their enjoyment.

They’ve also helped me reach my weight goals.  My doctor was very worried about my weight for a while there.  I was under strict orders to eat as  much as I could and to take on the pounds.  Toward this end I was prescribed an appetite enhancing steroid, the theory being that every ounce of weight you take on is a victory against cancer, which wants to take it away from you.

Well, I’m here to tell  you that the candy and steroids tactic have done the trick.  I now weigh more than I ever have before in my life.  In fact, I intend to cut down.   But not all at once.

With the package came some nourishment for the soul as well, a pamphlet entitled Keep Calm and Trust God by Jake and Keith ProvanceInterestingly, it’s about the same size and word count as my fourth book, My Lifetime of Weird Coincidences and Strange Happenings, and even touches on some of the same themes, particularly the need to grasp every moment, hold it to your breast and cherish it like it may be your last.  Because it well might be.

Speaking of which, I got my statement back from Amazon and I have to say “thank you” to the many people who’ve been buying my books lately.  It’s much, much appreciated.

Medically, there’s not much else to report.  Some days I think I’m losing ground in the fight against rising pain levels; other days, I’m not so sure.  Yesterday I was feeling so bad that I decided to put my head down and go back to sleep for a while.  I slept until 4pm in the afternoon.  I sort of hate doing that but I did get up feeling refreshed and pain-free.  Those are good feelings.  But I have not slept so late in decades.  I have a feeling it won’t be the last time I do that.

So once again tonight I find myself in the position of publicly thanking someone for reaching out to me.   To my Florida brother-in-arms and his lovely bride, let me extend heartfelt thanks and let you know that your words do mean the world to me.  I will abide by them, keeping calm and trusting God.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Father, the Veteran

I can't believe a whole year has gone by!  Here is a re-post of my Veterans' Day tribute to my father, Frank Carr.

My late father didn’t live long enough to hear Tom Brokaw refer to men and women of his time as “The Greatest Generation.”  Had he done so, I’m sure Dad would have embraced the idea—not because of anything he’d done himself, but because of those with whom he’d served and whose valor he’d witnessed personally.

Frank Pearce Carr, Army Serial Number 01 010 262, had just turned 23 when he signed up for the National Guard in Memphis in 1939.  His Army papers list his civilian occupation variously as an office equipment salesman and as a meter reader.  When war erupted, Dad, who had two and a half years of college under his belt, applied for Officer Candidate School in Fort Knox and was accepted.  In May of 1942 he won the rank of lieutenant and was assigned to a unit of lightly armored M5A1 Stuart tanks.  The Army sent him to the Pacific.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Medical Travails Monday November 9

So.  I got bitten once by a baby water moccasin.  Wanna hear about it?  Because apparently you’re gonna have to.

What, you may reasonably ask, does that question have to do with my sometimes-but-not-quite-daily blog about my cancer battle?  Hang on.  We’re going to get to all that.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Medical etc. Tuesday November 3

It was a another somewhat fitful night last night as back pain set up where my left kidney used to be, and didn’t want to leave me be.  But I finally got past it with “prns”--an extra dilaudid pill logged as “pain relief as needed.”  I am finding that if I lie on my side when the pain is at its worst, it does subside and I can get back to sleep.  Still, this new development is not welcome as it causes me to up my pain meds which in turn causes me to be partially zonked during the day.  (I don’t mind being zonked during the night!)

Yesterday was nurse day.  Judging from the color of my eyelids and surrounding tissues she’s pretty sure I’m becoming anemic. This would be no surprise if true; all my taste buds related to red meat are dead or are on strike, so I’ve had very little appetite for it.  If it weren’t for chicken I don’t know what I’d do.  I have discovered an item at Wendy’s that I didn’t know about.   Without looking at the menu the other night I asked for a “crispy chicken sandwich” and what I got was a kid’s entreĆ© about half the size of their adult sammiches.  Two of those perfectly match my appetite and they are quite tasty to  my current buds.

The nurse also wants me to eat eggs.  Who knew eggs could help with anemia?  My taste buds are about 50% effective on egg, bacon, and cream cheese products.  Plus, cooking bacon is messy, and I’m loathe to fix eggs without also making bacon.   However, Deborah showed me how to prepare bacon in the microwave, where there’s far less after odor and no skillet to clean up afterwards.  So we’ll see.  Two eggs, four strips of bacon does not sound like too daunting a challenge for breakfast or lunch—provided I can stand long enough to prepare the meal.  Yes, it has come down to these kinds of questions and I was pushing it today getting through the cooking process for lunch.  And then the entreĆ© was only half as tasty as I remember that bacon and eggs ought to be.  *sigh*

The last of the book reviews I’ve been waiting for in regards to The Dark is now in, and it’s largely very good.  I’ll be promoting it tomorrow or the next day.  The book currently has a 4.9 rating with Amazon readers, with more than a dozen reviews posted, and that is outstanding.  There will be sporadic promotions for the last two books over the weeks ahead but no more writing on new projects, I think, other than this blog.  I’ve pretty much decided to call it quits with the publication of book #4, Weird Coincidences.  I did not submit that one for outside editorial reviews, but if you read it and liked it, then reader-posted reviews on Amazon.com are always welcome.

That’s four books, folks.  Four books published after taking a sabbatical where I said I’d publish at least three.  I don’t feel too shabby about that, although I sure hate the diagnosis that came with it.   I am grateful, however, that my energy levels at least did last long enough for me to get that last one out.  Given what it tries to say about the value and joy of life, that last book may have been the reason for everything.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Medical Travails Sunday November 1

As those who’ve taken time to read my latest book, My Lifetime of Weird Coincidences, know, weeks, months, sometimes years can pass by without anything noteworthy or “reportable” springing up in the way of strange or possibly “paranormal” happenings.  But now, several weeks after publication of the book, I finally do have something interesting and new to point out and report.