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Test for Lupus

Posted on April 22nd, 2024

Dave!Earth Day! Which means it's been... um... 38 years since I've eaten meat. THAT I KNOW OF! Because do we really know what's in an Impossible Burger? How do they make it taste so good and meaty? Is it because there's meat inside?

And now? A question. Is this what a parent feels like when they accidentally drop their baby down the stairs?

When I got home, I sat down on the couch to answer personal emails. What I did not see was Jenny sneaking into the room. And I really didn't see her jumping on the back of the couch as I was reaching for my Coke Zero. She jumped into my elbow. Clocked her hard and she ran off. I was mortified. Followed her to her hiding place to check and make sure nothing was broken. Then left her alone.

I called her to dinner and she came down, but was wary of getting near me. She wasn't limping or appearing hurt, so I just let her be. And I've been feeling awful ever since.

Just now she came in and wanted to be petted. So I'm thinking where she hit was on her head and now she has memory loss. Poor thing. I would have been inconsolable if I hit her eye or caused some damage. Hopefully it's something she can just shake off.

And speaking of shaking it off...

There's still something going on in my urinary system. Don't know if it's another, smaller, kidney stone... a piece of the last stone which broke off... just an injury from the passing of the last stone... or lupus.

I feel the need to toss lupus in the mix because that's what House M.D. would want.

But life has to go on, so I popped a couple Advil this morning and went back to work. That's not what House M.D. would want, but he isn't paying my mortgage.


Caturday 352

Posted on April 20th, 2024

Dave!Every night Jenny naps on the cat tree where she can see me... or on the warming pad next to me on the couch. She's doing this so she knows the minute I close my laptop to head upstairs to bed. Because she knows that I'll be happy to pet her for a few hours while working or watching TV. Jake usually heads up a while later...

Jake and Jenny sleeping next to me.

Then, once I set down the laptop and turn off the lights to go to sleep, Jenny leaves immediately because she knows there's no more petting happening. Jake sleeps with me a lot of the time, which is not a big deal because he doesn't need anything from me and doesn't bother me. Mostly. Sometimes he decides to crawl on me because he wants attention, but that's rare.

Well, tonight I did something I never do.

Closed my bedroom door.

It was heartbreaking seeing Jenny walking towards me anticipating getting her nightly petting time, then shutting her out. But I really had no choice. I desperately needed sleep after two nights of not getting any. And having cats on the bed would be a distraction from that.

We'll see if there are repercussions from this tomorrow. Will they shred everything? Poop in my shoes? Chew up the furniture? Nothing is off the table.

UPDATE: After getting 8 hours and 20 minutes of fairly restful sleep, I woke up and opened the door about an hour before their breakfast time. Jake was there waiting. Jenny came running in five minutes later. No repercussions that I've found. Lucky me. This time.


Sleep Deprivation is The Worst

Posted on April 19th, 2024

Dave!Here's the deal. When you sleep 20-1/2 hours in a drug-induced sleep to avoid unrelenting pain depriving you of rest... there are consequences.

First of all, you are not rested. Your body is chemically deadened to the sensation of pain which also can put you into a coma-like sleep (it sure does for me). But you're essentially being tortured, even when in deep sleep mode. I woke up yesterday exhausted.

The kidney stone pain was not too bad after I finally managed to get out of bed yesterday. Which is to say I am not going to be taking anything stronger than Advil to deal with it because I do not need a painkiller addiction on top of everything else.

Unfortunately Advil does nothing to quell the nausea that's plaguing me now. I was in bed most of the day (the orange dashed line is when I'm in bed but not able to sleep)...

5 hours 36 minutes of sleep.

The answer, of course, is to take sleeping pills to get my sleep mojo back. But the weekend is coming up, so I'm going to give it one more try to not go there. Being trapped in a cycle of drugs to get through the day is fine if you're sure you need it... you do what you gotta do... but I don't know if I'm there yet.

And I tend to not make decisions based on things I don't know. Hopefully tommorrow will be different.

UPDATE: The answer is, of course... NOPE!

4 hours 30 minutes of sleep.

And so... I guess now I know. Looks like I will have to take action after all. Which is not what I wanted, but it is what it is.

That's three full days of my life wasted. That bothers me more than kidney stone pain. I've got stuff to do.


Sleeping for Sport

Posted on April 18th, 2024

Dave!Here's my routine.

The pain wakes me up. I take a pain-killer cocktail. I pass out. Repeat.

Ultimately I slept for 20-1/2 hours during a 24-hour period...

Not going to be great for my sleep cycle. But I'll take it over screaming my head off for hours on end.


Guess Who’s Back?

Posted on April 17th, 2024

Dave!Spoiler Alert: It's kidney stones!

Though, to be fair, I'm not really sure whether it's the kidney stone(s) from last week that didn't pass after all... or something entirely new. All I do know is that the pain is even worse than last time.

There is a silver lining, however.

Unlike last week when I couldn't keep painkillers down... tonight, I can.

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Celebrating The Kidney Afterlife

Posted on April 4th, 2024

Dave!After the kidney stone nightmare last night (and this morning), I decided to work from home today just in case there was still a fragment left to come. Or my nausea returned. Or whatever.

After lunch I noticed that my right leg hurt pretty bad. I take a look and... yep... I've got a massive bruise on the front of my upper leg and the side of my lower leg. Absolutely no clue how I did it. I was in such a huge amount of pain that I could have gotten hit by a car and barely noticed. Maybe I did get hit by a car!

The good news is that I get to share this awesome drawing of the male urinary system that I drew up in one of my past posts about kidney stones...

Filtration System Schematic

I was pretty tender on my right side all day today, but actual pain was minimal. I managed to keep an Eggo waffle down for lunch (no butter, no syrup), get a huge chunk of work done, and drive over the mountains for my appointment tomorrow, so I'm calling the day a win.

As for the drive itself, it was pretty crazy. Roads were clear. But there was a lot of snow assaulting me going up the pass and hardly any visibility coming down the pass. I was excited to post a few photos of it all, but my dashcam cord has gone bad and my camera wasn't on for the whole trip. Maybe if you just picture A WHITEOUT... JUST WHITE EVERYWHERE... and that will be close enough.

And now, for your reading enjoyment, I present... A TIMELIME OF HORRIFIC SUFFERING...

  • 5:40pm I leave work to get cleaned up so I can see a friend's photos from a trip he took.
  • 6:15pm I have a faux-cheese sandwich for dinner.
  • 7:30pm I arrive at my friend's house. Everybody else had dinner earlier (which I was invited to, but skipped, because I don't like to make life difficult for people over my dietary choices) but I did snack a little on crackers, carrots, and hummus that was left over.
  • 8:15pm I bow out early because I feel some kind of abdominal distress coming on. From what, exactly, I have no idea.
  • 8:30pm I get home, take an antacid, and output some PDFs for work to email out for review.
  • 9:10pm Starting to get really uncomfortable now. I decide to call it an early night.
  • 9:20pm And now I get it. I've felt this before. Kidney stones. I haven't had one since 2017.
  • 9:30pm There goes the contents of my stomach.
  • 9:40pm And now I'm in serious pain. I take one of my three remaining Oxycodone/Anti-Nausea combos I have left from 2017. Immediately throw it up.
  • 9:50pm The pain is almost overwhelming, so I try one of my two remaining Oxycodone/Anti-Nausea combos. It goes no better. Even the small sip of water was too much and everything comes right back up.
  • 10:00pm I have now reached the "Begging for Death Stage." I am very close to calling a friend to take me to the hospital for a pain-killer IV, but all I can think about is how it will cost me thousands of dollars since I'm nowhere close to my massive insurance deductible.
  • 10:30pm At this point, I'm crossing my fingers that I'll just pass out from the agony.
  • 11:20pm Time has no meaning. Has it been hours? Days? Weeks? I don't know. My cats have abandoned me because I'm pretty much screaming non-stop. It doesn't no good, but I can't help myself. I keep running to the bathroom to throw up, but there's nothing to throw up.
  • 12:07am I know it was 12:07am because that's what it said on my clock when I decided to take my final Oxycodone/Anti-Nausea combo. Now I have something to throw up.
  • 1:20am According to my Apple Watch, I passed out for 35 minutes or so. I have no recollection of it. According to what I remember, I was awake and screaming the whole time. This actually makes me happy, because it meant my cats had a break from being absolutely terrorized.
  • 2:30am Around this time, I am crawling around my house looking through every pill bottle I can find to see if there's another hit of Oxy I can throw up. There is not. I contemplate the hospital again, feeling like the pain will never end.
  • 3:30am Around this time, the pain starts to recede.
  • 3:40am The pain isn't gone, but it might as well be. I have two soda crackers and a sip of water to celebrate. Nothing gets thrown up, so I guess the worst is over. I drink a full glass of water and try and get some sleep.
  • 7:20am I wake up and take a whiz. That wonderful feeling of having a needle stabbing inside my urethra is both painful and a relief, because I know it's now officially over. UNLESS THERE IS A SECOND ONE SOMEWHERE ALL UP IN MY BUSINESS!
  • A full day of work followed by a drive over the mountains, trivia night at a bar where I was smart enough to eat very little and drink no alcohol (but not smart enough at trivia), and an early bedtime.

Let's not be doing that again any time soon.


So This is “Health Care”…

Posted on April 3rd, 2024

Dave!Greetings at 3:45am on Thursday morning!

I have kidney stones!

I figured it out because I've been screaming in pain for the past 6 hours. Still hurting, but I really, really hope the worst of it is finally over, because... holy crap is this unreal. I used to get them regularly. Like clockwork once a year. But then they mysteriously stopped, and I haven't had one since 2017. Probably because I started drinking lemonade regularly? No idea why they're back.

What's bothering me most... other than the sheer agony, of course... is that I really should have had somebody drive me to the hospital. When the pain is so bad that I can't keep down pain medication, I used to go and have them give me an IV so I can get through it. But now? The whole time I was terrorizing my cats with my yelling, I was thinking "I know it will pass eventually... so can I really afford a hospital visit? No. I will just continue to be in absolute agony to see if can get through this on my own."

What kind of FUCKED UP "health care" system is it where somebody has to be screaming for six hours because a hospital visit is off the table for them? I have no fucking clue what we're even doing. Guess I should be glad it wasn't ten hours. Or days.

We'll find out exactly how bad our "health care" is tomorrow (today?) when I go in for a consultation for yet another eye surgery. Where the entire time I'll be thinking "Do I really need to see that badly?"


A Massive Nozzle and Ceiling Fans

Posted on May 24th, 2017

Dave!When I bought my home, I noted how all the heat in the place is constantly rising to the upstairs. Doesn't matter if it's natural heat in July and August... or furnace heat in December and January... it's all the same. Downstairs cool. Upstairs hot.

And since I put my bedroom and  office  cat's playroom upstairs, those rooms can get uncomfortably warm. So I took a cue from places like New Orleans and Maui and installed ceiling fans...

Silver Ceiling Fan

They. Are. Wonderful.

And since they are controllable from my home automation system, the fans can be controlled remotely. No need to get out of bed to turn them on/off or change the speed. I can do all that from the iPhone on my nightstand. Or by saying "Alexa, set David's fan to medium."

What I really need to do is get a temperature sensor and have everything programmed to happen automatically! The fan speed could be determined by detected temperature ranges. That way air could be circulating as needed, even when I'm not home.

The best thing about ceiling fans is that I don't have to run the air conditioner as often. Especially at night when I'm in bed and the fan is above me. This saves a crazy amount of electricity... and if I were able to install them in the downstairs living room and guest bedroom, I could probably get away with no air conditioning at all. Alas, the recessed lighting cans I need to install from are in all the wrong places, so... no joy there.

A summer project I've been bouncing around in my head is to install a ceiling fan in the stairwell. That way I could have it running in the winter to keep the heat downstairs where it belongs. Or so I'm guessing. Air flow thermodynamics are not something I pretend to understand.

And now for my metaphorical explanation of kidney stones from 2009...

Let's say that you built a new greenhouse where the plants require special water. Highly filtered water, you might say. So you build a nice system where dual filtration units remove all the impurities, then pass the filtered water off into a bucket. The bucket in turn feeds a massive nozzle which you then use to spray your plants...

Filtration System Schematic

The key to comprehending this system is understanding just how massive the nozzle is. It's enormous. Firefighters are in awe of just how big it is. You could hose down an entire football field plus a team of cheerleaders in just five minutes (assuming you didn't want to take your time, of course)... because that's how astoundingly large this nozzle is.

Unfortunately, the tubing you bought to feed the system is way too small. It's also very soft, and easily ripped if anything sharp comes near it. It can also be prone to tearing if you force something too wide through it. And no, I don't know why. Maybe you spent all your money on the massive nozzle and didn't have enough left over to buy decent tubes... whatever... it's not important.

What IS important is that the nozzle is just fine. The nozzle works perfectly and can handle just about anything you throw at it. It's the tubing which is totally inadequate to the task here.

Because, oops! Every once in a while the filters let a particle slip through. This causes all kinds of agony, because those little tubes just aren't built to handle it. Eventually, it will most likely make its way through the system, but it's a painful process. The worst, most horrifying part is in the tubes leaving the filters and depositing into the bucket. These are the tubes least able to cope with the damage. You get something going through here and you become so traumatized that all you want to do is burn down the entire greenhouse.

The tube from the bucket to the massive nozzle is uncomfortable, but nowhere near as painful...

Filtration System Schematic with Blockage

Blargh. Having a particle stuck here feels like you have a little razor blade about to run through your nozzle. It also makes you feel like your bucket is full all the time. So you spend your entire day running to the greenhouse even though your bucket is mostly empty. What time you don't spend at the greenhouse is spent in quiet discomfort, just waiting for the particle to finally exit your filtration system so you can get back to a normal gardening experience.

And I would really, really, like to get back to normal so I can start living my life without having to worry about the spikey rock headed down my massive  penis  nozzle.


Spy Pain and the Homecoming King

Posted on May 23rd, 2017

Dave!Even through the pain-medication-induced haze I was mired in, sleep last night was fitful.

Around 4:30am the pain medication wore off, so I reluctantly downed another pill in the hopes that I might get a bit more rest before having to go to work. Unfortunately, my body was not having it. Sleep is pretty much impossible when you can't get comfortable, and I was about as uncomfortable as I could be.

And so I turned on Netflix with the plan of distracting myself to sleep as the medication hit. The first thing I see? Hasan Minhaj has a comedy special out called Homecoming King. I love the guy on The Daily Show... really love the guy for his work at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner... and thought it was worth a shot.

It ended up being one of the best things I've seen...

Seriously. If you are a Netflix subscriber, stop reading this and go watch it. If you are not a Netflix subscriber, then start your free trial and watch it. If you have already burned your free trial, then bite the bullet and pay the $8 to watch. Because Homecoming King is everything you could want in a comedy show... funny, smart, painful, charming, hopeful, devastating, educational, sad, witty, and beautiful.

But mostly funny. Which was the vacation I needed right now.

Because the minute I turned off the TV and checked into The World... I saw coverages of the bombing in Manchester and that Roger Moore had died.

I've run out words when it comes to news of yet another terrorist attack. Except to say that I can't fathom the hatred that fuels somebody to bomb a venue that was filled with kids. It's a horrific act that has me wondering if this planet is quickly getting to a point that it's beyond saving. That any of us... even a terrorist... can do something like this... the case for humanity's continuing existence just gets weaker and weaker.

And then there's 007.

They say that the James Bond you like best is the one you grew up with. For me, that was Roger Moore.

Not that I knew anything about James Bond when I was a kid.

But then come 1977, Star Wars was unleashed on my 11-year-old brain. Needless to say I became completely obsessed, and was so hungry for more sci-fi space opera that I was tuning into anything that even hinted Star Wars. Including the James Bond film Moonraker in 1979. Which sealed my fate as a huge James Bod fan as well...

James Bond Returns in MOONRAKER!

Yes, yes, I know Moonraker is not rated very highly in the Bond canon, but I loved it. I still do. I loved it so much that when VHS rentals were ushered in with the 1980's, my family would rent that giant VHS player so I could see all the Bond movies I had missed. Which, for me were Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, and The Spy Who Loved Me. I never much cared to see the Sean Connery films because Roger Moore was the Bond I knew.

Then we got more Moore with For Your Eyes Only (still one of my favorites!), Octopussy (not one of my favorites), and finally A View to a Kill (with the incomparable Grace Jones and a made-for-Bond-villain Christopher Walken!). And while I eventually grew to love Sean Connery's films... enjoy Pierce Brosnan's films... and rekindle my love of the ultimate spy when James Bond was reimagined for a modern world with Daniel Craig... Roger Moore will always be the James Bond to me. Say what you will about his take on the character, it was always entertaining.

Not that Roger Moore defined himself by the character he played. He spent decades working with UNICEF and other children charities. He also used his celebrity to fight against animal cruelty, and is credited with getting foie gras removed from British store shelves (a food born out of horrendously inhumane treatment of ducks and geese).

Sir Roger Moore, you will be missed.



Posted on June 4th, 2012

Dave!Last night as I was sitting down to dinner, I had some unexpected pains shooting through my groin. "Well, this can't be good!" I said out loud to nobody in particular.

And, sure enough, it wasn't... because a couple hours later it felt as though I was pissing razor blades through my urethra. "That's funny," I mused... "I don't recall buying a diseased crack-whore recently!" Though, to be fair, my memory isn't quite what it used to be, so I went to bed wondering if I was going to end up with a prescription for penicillin and a frowny-face in my medical record next to some exotic STD.

Then, sometime around 4:00am, I awoke to agonizing pain shooting through my John Thomas.

Seriously, it felt as if my unit had been sliced open... turned inside-out... and then had lemon juice poured on it.

Hobbling to the toilet, I was fully expecting my wanger to explode into shredded streamers like a party popper...

Party Popper Popped!
Image from Yatego Shopping.

But instead... a kidney stone dropped out, and the pain instantly subsided.

Yes, somehow I had a kidney stone and never even knew it. That's because usually a kidney stone starts causing excruciating pain long before it gets to the end of the line...

Dave Filtration Model

Usually, I am in total agony as the stone travels from my "Dual Water Filters" (kidneys) to my "Water Bucket" (bladder) all the way through the "Sensitive Tubing" (urethra) and out my Massive Nozzle (wiener)... which can take days. This time I didn't feel a damn thing until the bastard made it to my "Sensitive Tubing."

Which is very odd (but totally welcome because it saved me several pain-filled days in bed). Guess I'm just lucky that this got cleared up in time for me to take an early drive over to Seattle for work this morning.

But was it alone? Or can I be expecting a buddy to start causing hideous amounts of pain any minute now...



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