Copyright

All blog posts, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted to the Author (that's me) and may not be used without written permission.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Home

Relatively safe and sound. Will blog more as my wits come back to me-- probably tomorrow. Of course, many would say I rarely, if ever, have my wits about me.

Friday, March 30, 2007

I Know My Bible

So, M and I are watching TV and an ad for the "Book of Truck" (Toyota) comes on. She says out loud, "The Book of Truck?" and glances my way.

I immediately say, "Yes, I believe it is between Mark and Luke in the Bible."

We laughed; long and slightly hysterically.

:-)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sick

First it hit M-- sore throat, general malaise, stuffy head, temperature swings. She got it Tuesday evening and then felt bad enough to stay home yesterday from work (a rare thing). Then it hit me yesterday as the day wore on. I logged off from work about an hour early and relaxed the rest of the evening. Her sore throat seemed worse and she didn't complain of a headache while I was coughing more and definitely had a headache; outside of those differences, we had fairly similar symptoms.

She's feeling better enough she's trying work today. She has a lunchtime meeting with the owner today and her coworker has been out for about a week visiting various stores, so she has some motivation to go in and be present at work.

I'm feeling worse as I write this-- the type of "feeling worse" that involves making the mad dash to the restroom shortly after she left for work . Ugh. I'm supposed to get on a plane early Saturday morning; I hope this clears up quickly or that may be a miserable flight home.

I took an Advil Cold & Sinus pill this morning, so the headache isn't as bad as it could be and the sinuses aren't awful, but my stomach is a bit queasy and I feel like napping. I may not stay logged on at work for very long if this continues.

The problem is that I am not supposed to take my new medication if I feel sick. So, I haven't taken it yesterday (they day I normally take it) and I have no thoughts of taking it today. Of course, being new, I don't know what this will do overall to my body or my weekly plan for this medication. What a pain.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Google

Normally I am a fan of Google in general and their Gmail and Blogger businesses specifically. However, I have had some issues with Blogger lately and currently I can access but cannot see or seem to receive any legitimate email to the account.

It is frustrating when something like this happens and you cannot see or get to emails you know you have. I know, for example, that M has sent me three emails-- one early yesterday, shortly after she went to work. Yet here it is about 24 hours later and I have not received that email, or any of the others. Yet she received the email I sent from the same account (and replied to it, but I have yet to see her reply).

I do not know if anyone else has sent me an email to that account since about mid-day on Monday, but if you did, there is a good reason I haven't responded.

Blogger has also been giving me some difficulty; not posting things when I hit Publish (or send an email to the appropriate address), the edit feature not working properly, and having things reformat in wild ways.

I am starting to wonder if Google is expanding too quickly and not properly controlling and protecting their existing customer base and technology as they go.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Songs

I have a bad habit of listening to the radio. Yes, I know... I shouldn't. Almost any other source of music is better at telling me who the artist is, what the song is, or providing a list of the recently played songs.

Before coming to SJ, I heard a song that was upbeat, catchy, and fun. I liked it. It was on one of the indy stations in SoCal. I tried looking it up on the radio station's website, but they didn't have the song listed (they showed the the "last 10 songs we played" yet, strangely, the list only had the top albums on it and I hadn't heard any of those songs played during my drive).

I then performed an internet search with the stipulation 'lyrics "remember lyrics"' but that was fruitless. While my hearing isn't bad, per se, it is not great. What I mean is that whenever I go for a hearing test, I pass with flying colors. However, when I am in an environment with a lot of background noise and simultaneous sounds (like listening to a song and driving in my car), I have a hard time focusing on any one sound and bits and pieces get missed or misheard. So, my web search came back up with tons of potential songs none of which seemed right.

On to my next best resource: M. She has a wealth of musical knowledge and stays up on a lot of current and older songs. However, with what I was able to describe to her, she was at a loss. I then tried some of her friends, who are also good with music. Nada.

Then, low and behold, we are out shopping and the song comes on. It was some bizarre remixed version, but it was the song. Since I had two people with better hearing than me there, I asked them what the singers were saying, and they steered me in the right direction. Today, I was able to look up the song and found it on iTunes.

Now I can listen and decide whether I want to get just the song or the entire album.

BTW, it was: artist: Peter Bjorn and John album: Writer's Block song: Young Folks.

Stolen

I don't do these often, but I liked this one, so stole it from a friend's blog:

1. my real name:
John Martin

2. my gangsta name (first 3 letters of real name plus izzle.):
Johizzle

3. my detective name (favourite color and favourite animal):
Blue Lion

Blue Otter

Blue Wolf

Blue Dolphin

(I like a lot of animals -- each is a favorite for different reasons)

4. my soap opera name (your middle name and the street you live on):
Martin Las Palmas

5. my star wars name (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first):
Chejo

6. my superhero name (your 2nd favorite color, and favorite drink):
Black Pepsi (hmmm-- might be more exciting if a) I drank or b) I knew any drink names)

7. my “foreign name” (2nd letter of your first name, 3rd letter of your last name, any letter of your middle name, 2nd letter of your moms maiden name, 3rd letter of you dads middle name, 1st letter of a siblings first name, and last letter of your moms middle name):
Oereumh

8. my witness protection name:
Eric Allen

9. my goth name (black, and the name of one of your pets):
Black Calypso

Saturday, March 17, 2007

SNOW!

I didn't really get snow when I was here in December. But this time, I got snow! First Day!!!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Here

I made it. No really bad stories this time, although the flight from LAX to Toronto had some bad turbulence which kept me from getting any rest. Managed to catch Dreamgirls on the flight; good movie, and some great singing, but I failed to see what most of the hype was about. I'd rank it a B+ for those who like musicals and a B- for those who don't.

Used Prime Time Shuttle this time out-- the base cost was quite a bit cheaper than Super Shuttle, but did not include a tip. There were three passengers in the vehicle total, and the other two were a nice couple who were surfers on their way to follow where the waves take them in Australia. Seemed like great people, and they were real surfers-- not the cardboard cutouts who talk funny in movies, but people who really believe and live their lives with the zen-like acceptance that real surfers have. Plus, they both had been surfing from at least the 70s on, so had been doing it before most of these bad stereotypes inundated modern cinema.

I still think there has to be a better way than what we are currently doing for mass transit and the 9/11 scare. It is frustrating that, even when things go well, you see things that can be done better. Like the nice Canadian security screens who insisted I take the Tic-Tacs out of my pocket and put them in a gray bin all their own to pass through the x-ray machine. Come on-- if the metal detector doesn't go off with my white-gold ring, the medical bracelet, or the change in my pocket and buttons and zippers on it, any foil you think might be on the Tic-Tac case isn't going to do anything.

Also, with web check-in and the automated services to self-check your own bags so prevalent these days, the rules on being to the airport X hours before your flight, especially the time "needed" for international flight, are absurd. With the 2-hour rule for International flights, I arrived at the airport by 7:30 (giving me 1/2 hour to get checked in and my bags checked, if I needed it). Since I had used web check-in and printed my own boarding passes, and since I didn't have any checked bags, I walked straight to the security line, breezed through that, and then got to wait from 7:38 until 10 pm for my flight to even board. I got to watch as two complete flights boarded and took off from the same gate before my flight was even announced. It's stupid and tiring.

Also, what is the reason for having me take out the laptop from its case for the x-ray machine? Do x-rays not go through the canvas or leather bags? And, since they are going to open it up and run it through the "sniffer" for bomb-making materials anyway, separating it at the x-ray machine is superfluous.

Lastly, and this gets me every time, what is the point of sending 15 rows of people to board the plane first, not waiting for them to be seated and stowed, and sending another 15 rows down. First, do it in increments of not more than 5 rows. Then, using the walkie-talkies you are so fond of, actually relay to the front desk once all of the people are seated and stowed before sending the next 5 rows. I think it would actually be faster in the long run and would be a lot less problematic than sending 15 rows at once, and then having it all bottleneck at the first person who has to stow his stuff and find his seat. And the next 15 usually only make it down the gangplank to find they are at the end of the previous 15 who are still waiting to get on the plane because of those bottlenecks. Stupid!

We need someone who travels a lot, and not on corporate jets or using first-class, to become head of the TSA and revise the rules to make sense. We have rules designed to keep terrorists off the plane-- except they don't work. We have rules that are designed to foil weapons and bombs-- except they don't make sense. We should scrap the entire system, write a procedure that works, and then implement it. Damn the cost.

Anyway, enough soapbox. I'm here. With my loved one. Happy. And very tired.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Good News

I had my second shot today. The doctor kept me in the office for an hour and a half afterward, checking on me frequently, to ensure that I did not have an adverse reaction to it. I think he and his nurse were a little disappointed when I did not—maybe RA is one of those less interesting diseases to specialize in and they were hoping for something to enliven their day.

All I got this time was some minor tingling in my feet and a little dehydration. I was not hallucinating, feeling heavy, feverish, suffering from a rapid heart beat or high blood pressure, or any of the other symptoms I had after the first injection. So, slightly dejected about not having an emergency to deal with but also happy that I can continue taking this medication, the doctor let me go to work. I am cleared to continue taking it.

My next two injections are scheduled for while I am back east. Since I have the luxury of having someone with me, I will alter my schedule slightly and take it in the evening so I can relax afterward and she can be there to watch me. I don’t think it will be needed, but it is nice to have that precaution available. And what a sweet precaution she is!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Beat One, One to Go

I managed to beat the NWN2 game last night. The final battle is pretty epic, in that you are supposed to control nearly all of the companions you have accrued during your time playing the game. In addition, you are fighting against some extremely high-level villains who have a variety of skills.

Then, once you complete the first battle, you get a moment to rest and save the game, and then the next villain comes out. Once hes defeated, another set of mobs attack you before you have an opportunity to do much of anything. Then, the final mob attacks. All during these battles, you have to pay attention to the clues being spoken by various members of your party as you need to destroy statues, destroy portals, and use certain abilities in order to be successful. And, with the mobs and number of characters you are trying to control, those messages may fly by very quickly.

All in all, I felt that the graphics were much better and the rules engine superior to that found in NWN (and its add-ons). However, NWN was a more fun game to play, as the story made more sense and you had more choices as a player of what to do and where to go. NWN2 really forced you into a linear progression that had few variations even if you played once as a Lawful Good character and the next time as a Chaotic Evil character. Basically, there are three chapters and you have some evil choices/directions in chapter 2 you can makebut the story is the same; you are just playing on the other side of the cut scenes and conversations. There is something wrong with a game when you get nearly the same minions and missions as a paragon of light and goodness or as a scion of darkness and evil!

Also, when the game was first installed and the first few game updates were available, the game engine ran smoothly and without any noticeable hitches on what was determined as the standard setup for my CPU, memory, and graphics card. However, after the most recent update (1.04), my game play shot to hell and I had to disable many of the features that I could run with no difficulties prior. Also, I went from having smooth transitions and virtually no errors or crashes to jerky transitions that took much longer to load, errors, and the occasional crash. I have a pretty solid gaming machine, so I can only imagine how tough it was on others with lesser or borderline machines.

The fights against the Red Dragon, Fire giants, and the fight against the two Black dragons were really well-done and nicealmost worth the price of the game alone. However, I dont think this game has much replay value. I will probably uninstall it from my system now that I have beaten it.

As a brief aside: If only they could make a game that was in-between Elder Scrolls and the two NWN. A game with great play- /replay ability, awesome graphics, some ability to play online with friends or networked (doesnt have to be as complete as with a fully online game), and the option to follow the main storyline or do more of your own thing. I mean, I would love to play Morrowind with my friends online; the ability to create nearly any character and do nearly anything would rock the house. Or, a DnD-based game that has true modules that you can run with your character, instead of being a persistent world online (ddo.com) or limited focus/scope storyline (NWN2). Wouldnt it be great to buy the equivalent of NWN, get some friends together, download and play a fully-tested and complete module?

So, after beating that game, I turned my attention back to City of Heroes. I played for an hour last night and got one tenth of the way to level 50-- only about 4.2 million XP to go. I am close to reaching the end of the level progression in that game and unlocked the two new archetypes for use.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Been Tagged

I apparently was tagged. I am tasked with writing 10 quirky, odd, weird, or unusual things about me. Most people I know would likely say just writing my name would be enough. ;-)

Let's see what/how many I can come up with:

  1. I have predominantly awful dreams. However, many of these "nightmares" have really weird themes to them: like the recurring dream that I am living in 29, the Cubans parachute in to take over (ala Red Dawn), and the Godzilla comes trampling over everything. Yes, Godzilla -- and in my dream it doesn't look any more real than it does in the Toho movies.
  2. When people sleep near me (same room or within a room or two), they tend to not remember their dreams or have generally pleasant dreams-- while my dreams get worse. A few friends have actually called me a "dreamcatcher" because of this.
  3. While visiting England on a tour, Chris M. dared me to streak through our floor of the hotel. I said what the hell, took off every stitch of clothing, and casually walked an entire circuit around our floor. I learned two important things that day: 1. people at that time in England tended to leave their doors open and be up and about at 10 pm at night and 2. they didn't mind seeing a skinny white American walking buck-naked through their hotel. Oh, a third thing-- cute cockney-accented girls have very nice things to say to and about skinny, naked American boys walking through hotels. >:-)
  4. I have a strange fascination with, and attraction to, fire. As a child, my family pretty much always let me light the fires (and M has learned to do the same). I can sit mesmerized by the flames for long periods.
  5. In grade school, there were two groups of guys from my block who walked to school. On the way, we would often have "rock wars" (isn't it amazing that young boys would think throwing and being hit by large stones before school is fun? I wince a little at this memory). I have a natural sidearm delivery when throwing and one day, with Chris E. and I were on the far side of Mesquite Springs Rd and Doyle D. and his buddy on the close side, we were chucking rocks. I didn't see a car coming and threw a rock-- and, because of my sidearm delivery, I threw the rock through the open window on my side and it came out the open window on the other side and still nearly hit Doyle! Everyone saw that, we were all amazed, all agreed I couldn't do that if I tried to, and then ganged up and walked to school.
  6. The very first time I tried water skiing (at the Colorado River with the Cole family), I strapped on the skis, they explained what was going to happen, I popped right up, did three circuits of the inlet we were in, and then stopped. I then proclaimed that I had mastered skiing, I didn't understand what all the fuss was about, and I have never water skied again. Afterward, I fell asleep on my stomach on a lounge chair and got the worst sunburn of my life; it involved large, puss-filled blisters and deep red flesh. Mom and my sister got to take turns seeing how large a piece of my flesh they could remove when it started peeling.
  7. One day while jogging with mom and Mr. Cole on Highway 62 east of Utah Trail, I hit the "runners high" they talk about and felt like I could run forever. I have had a very similar out-of-body experience when drawing, painting, and writing a few times.
  8. At my sister's wedding there were only a handful of us from the west coast there. When it came time to throw the garter, I was reluctantly pushed out to stand at the far end of the line. Scott threw the garter and, like magic, it curved and curved. I pointed at it and started to say something when the garter ringed my finger and I reflexively closed my hand on it. When my sister threw the bouquet, her maid of honor and a fellow west-coaster, Mary, caught it. With all the PA people there versus the few CA, it is strange that two CA people caught the items. Oh, and I still have the garter.
  9. Wristwatch batteries don't last very long in watches I am wearing. I get this trait from my mother. A 5-year lithium battery will generally last about a year or two. Cheap batteries can go dead within a year. Also, we both go through vacuums like tissue paper; can't get one that consistently works or doesn't need constant maintenance.
  10. While in college, there was a creepy guy who moved into our dorm wing. Before we realized how creepy (let's put it this way-- we wouldn't leave any of the female residents alone if he was around and the police became involved at one point), we all just sort of avoided him. One day I was showering in the handicap stall (we had two stalls total and no handicapped people, so it wasn't like I was interfering with a disabled person's ability to shower), I had just finished and was drying off when I heard someone come in and start brushing his teeth. Then I heard someone else come in and start talking to the first-- and it was El Creepo. The voice that answered was my friend and roommate, Chris L. Thinking it wouldn't last long, I just quietly finished drying off, wrapped the towel around myself, and waited. They talked for a solid 20-30 minutes, the creepy guy going off in many random and bizarre directions. Finally, Chris managed to extricate himself from the conversation and they both left. By this time, I was sitting on the floor in the shower stall, still with the curtain closed. I then left the stall and went back to our room (which was directly across from the bathroom). I don't think Chris has ever completely forgiven me for that one! In my defense, the last thing I wanted was to be accosted by the Creepy One virtually naked!!
I don't think I am going to tag anyone else. I'll just let you enjoy these revelations.

Friday, March 09, 2007

TV Outcomes

The following blurb was on the IMDB.com website for Friday, March 9, 2007:
More Revelations About British Broadcast Scam

In what is fast becoming a scandal involving virtually all of Britain's major broadcasters, London newspapers today (Friday) revealed new allegations that programs featuring competitions in which viewers pay a telephone fee to vote on the outcome have been rigged. Alistair Graham, head of ICSTIS, which regulates premium-rate telephone lines in the U.K., accused some TV producers of engaging in "semi-fraudulent behavior" and confirmed that ICSTIS was currently looking into allegations of fraud affecting ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, and the BBC. "If we have any evidence in which we believe there is a possibility that a criminal offense has been committed, we have very close links with the City of London police and I can assure you that we will refer such evidence to them to investigate." Meanwhile, the producer of the quiz show Brainteaser apologized Thursday after disclosures that the Channel 5 program ran bogus contests on at least five occasions and said that viewers who paid $1.50 to phone the program would receive refunds. The program is produced by the seemingly suitably named Cheetah television, a division of Endemol, producers of Big Brother. (NOTE: In Thursday's edition we incorrectly noted that Big Brother airs in the U.K. on Channel 5; it airs on Channel 4.)
Anyone who doesn't realize that these outcomes aren't at least partially rigged is an idiot. It is like people believing that pro wrestling is "real;" they are deluding themselves.
Big Brother, American (or other) Idol, Survivor and any other of this type of show is inherently biased: they want to be a ratings success. In order to be a hit in the ratings, you have to stage, control, and pre-determine some or all of the show. If you don't have the bitch/bastard that pushes everyone's buttons, you don't have the high drama. If you don't have the sweet and somewhat naive innocent, the hard-luck case, the overcomes-enormous-obstacles person, you don't have the audience's sympathy. You need decent people with no real charisma or charm to be cannon fodder.
Watch Survivor critically, and then flip to any drama on TV, and you can see incredibly similar storytelling devices in place. You see the same craftsmanship and plot hooks used. The producer's primary goal, after all, is to entertain.
Now, look back at the many articles over the years of "technical difficulties" with the phone lines for these call-in-and-vote type shows. Every one of them has had it occur at least once. Some have also had reports of subversive or inaccurate phone numbers displayed. Some have had problems where the East Coast would show one set of phone numbers and the West Coast another. Others have had "power outages" happen that make the tally inaccurate. What about the hints and suggestions of collusions between crew and cast on the shows? Does anyone remember the quiz-show scandals, both minor and major, of the 40s? The 50s? How about the 60s? Producers and creators have been manipulating these shows from the earliest days of television. Our "games," and their manipulations, are just a little more sophisticated now.
The volume of people who have left reality and game shows admitting that scenes were re-staged, re-shot, or edited in such a way as to be misleading or inaccurate is pretty consistent. Some have even hinted or accused the show's production of actually scripting outcomes or manipulating the contestants directly. This is the reason why the producers make the contestants sign some of the most stringent gag orders in the business; they don't want the audience to know just how much is fake.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-"reality" show. I couldn't care less what people watch, as long as I have the option of watching (or doing) something else. If you like these shows and are entertained, great for you. Just remember that entertainment is the point of the show. They have to keep the audiences coming back show to show and season to season.
Pro wrestlers are still incredible athletes even if the matches and outcomes are staged. Likewise, the producers of American Idol (or any other reality program) would not have a product if the contestants on them weren't talented, smart, engaging, and unique people. Even if the outcomes are partially or wholly pre-determined, the people chosen for these shows have talent-- it wouldn't work otherwise. It is just silly to think that the producers don't coax that talent, groom it, and script sequences to play to certain contestants strengths and weaknesses so that the show follows the general course the producers want. Do you honestly think that the producers really miss such glaring problems during the background check as always seem to crop up season to season with some contestant? Is American Idol, Survivor, and Big Brother really using such poor fact checking agencies that they can't find a DUI, a battery charge, or prison stay during a person's background check? Come on, we all know better-- or should.
In the end, these shows are entertainment and nothing more. If you choose to buy into the "reality" of what is presented, so be it. That's your choice. But to then be shocked when the curtain is pulled back and we get a glimpse of the man behind is somewhat absurd.

Follow Up

I amazed Renee today. I walked into her office and said, "I need to show you something...." I then proceeded to lift both arms easily over my head. I did two pseudo-deep knee bends. I lifted one leg and rotated the foot 180 degrees, and was able to flex both hands from a full fist to completely stretched out.

Now, for the average human being, these acts are not usually a problem or very difficult. However, in early December, my RA kicked up and my medications slowed down and I have been having increasing difficulty and pain. My range of movement was affected.

My RA doctor agreed that the medication was no longer effective and we quickly worked on getting approval for a new medication. This was finally approved and I took it for the first time this week, on Wednesday. It didn't go so well.

However, the medication is working. As you can see from the range of movement I mention above, the majority of the swelling and pain has been removed, I take the stairs with little to no pain, I can move and stretch in ways I haven't been able to for awhile, and I am feeling much more chipper and full of energy because I am not in constant pain. I feel like I can bowl again (anyone who knows me well knows how positive a statement that is).

I spoke with my RA doctor about the ER visit on Wednesday. We came to an agreement that, because the medication appears to be working so well, we will try administering it again under controlled circumstances and hope that my body is getting used to it and I do not react in such a violent way again. If so, then this will become my medication for now. If not, then we have to work on another solution. So, on Tuesday, I will go to my doctor's office, we will administer the next injection, and then I will hang out in the office for a minimum of an hour to see if anything happens or if I have a reaction. If I do, they can treat me there for it or they can run me the block up the street to the ER at St. Joseph's and get me treatment there. Either way, I am confident I will get the immediate treatment that might be required should things go wrong.

I am cautiously optimistic that I will not react so poorly this time and this medication will continue to be a solid choice in the weeks and months ahead. Hopefully a week of this medication circulating through my body will ease the next injection and it will not be such a shock.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Fun Time

I scared M, my mother, my friends, and most of the people at work today. Today was the first day to take my new medication for my RA. Having never taken it before, and it coming in an injectable syringe, I had to go into my doctor's office to have them show me how to take it.

The nurse/practitioner showed me, answered a few questions I had, and then sent me on my merry way. Took me about 30 minutes to drive to work from there and, as I neared work, I started to feel a little funny. Couldn't put a finger on how, exactly, though.

Over the next 10-20 minutes I got bad fast. Felt "heavy" (I mean that literally, I felt like my arms weighed a ton and I kept stooping over because my head was too heavy to lift), I got flushed and hot, a rash developed on my chest and back, I was hallucinating, and dizzy. I asked Renee, my boss, if she knew if there was somewhere I could lie down. She didn't know, so I contact Tom in Facilities. Tom came up immediately, asked how I was doing, and made the executive decision that he needed to call 911 just in case it was a more severe reaction than it seemed.

The EMTs arrived, led by Jim. The great thing about EMTs-- they spend most of their day waiting with almost nothing to do. So when the call comes in, they leap on it. It felt like there were 15 people there assisting me. It was likely closer to 6-7, but still-- a lot of people. Firemen, EMTs, ambulance personnel-- they all came running! Jim asked me questions while Tom and others helped shoo the many well wishers and curious away from my cube. They verified the rash, the temperature, fast heart rate, and high blood pressure. Jim kept talking to me and asking me questions.

Aside: I respect the hell out of any person who selects fire, police, EMT, medicine, and the military as his/her career. It takes special people.

They put me on oxygen, which cleared quite a bit of my fuzziness within a few minutes, but I still wasn't feeling great. They gave me a ride downstairs on a gurney, and then to a nearby ER for good measure. During the ride, Kevin mentioned my BP as 180 over "palp" which is exceptionally high for me. And this was down from whatever they read in the office, so I was doing poorly, but improving. My resting heart rate was stated as 96, which also is pretty fast for someone just laying down not doing anything. My temp was 100 something, so was elevated. They were great; answering my many, many, many annoying questions patiently and working like true professionals.

Aside: I guess I should mention: I tend to talk when I'm tired, anxious, and not feeling well. I am on record as having continued to talk after passing out in gym class as well as continuing to talk and ask questions with an endoscopy tube down my throat and "twilight" medication in me-- Doctor Ennis is still amused by that one.

In the ER, Doctor Lin and Nurse Carl took over. Carl was exceptional; bright and articulate in explaining what was happening, clear in what he wanted me to do, and extremely professional and competent. He put me at ease fairly quickly.

At this point, my blood pressure dropped down to 150 over "palp" and my heart rate was down to the high 80s. My temp was still a bit over the place, as now I was fairly cold. On an average day, if you take my temperature, I'm usually a bit below the supposed average, usually around 97.5-9. They read me as 96. That's at least a 4 degree swing in less than an hour. Soon my temperature was back in a normal range and under control.

The rash slowly left me and the flushed look of my flesh took about 40 minutes or so to leave. My fuzziness and hallucinations lasted quite a bit longer, and the strange heaviness didn't go away for awhile, either.

They hooked me up to an IV of saline and that made a huge difference. At this point, I was feeling mostly well, but they still checked my heart (all strong/good) and took a chest x-ray (clear) just to be sure. They took some blood and analyzed that, as well (nothing unusual). As more of the fluids got into me, they took off the oxygen and I rapidly improved from there.

My buddy Chris arrived; apparently my friend Robert, with whom I work, saw the EMT activity at my cubicle (how could he miss it-- he's two cubes over or so) and was worried, so spoke with Renee and forwarded an email to all my CA friends with what was going on. As soon as he found out where I was taken, he passed that along as well. Chris happens to work a couple blocks north of that hospital, so took some time off and came to sit with me. Although Tom stayed with me through the entire event and is a work friend, it was nice that a personal friend could make the time.

Meanwhile, Renee phoned both M and my mom, letting them know what had happened. M was, understandably, upset, but it sounds like her new work-mate, Scott, was able to help her through it until I could call with a more personal update. I actually got a call forwarded to me while in the ER from my mom, asking if she needed to drive down. She had made arrangements to leave work if needed and could be there in an hour and half (probably less-- she knows how to move when needed!). I told her I didn't think it would be needed, so we arranged to speak later in the afternoon after she was off work.

With Tom and Chris keeping my spirits up and the saline working through me, I came out okay. Dr. Lin said they couldn't find anything. He did say that not one of my symptoms was a typical allergic reaction to this medication. However, anyone who knows me knows that if anyone is going to have the ".001%" reaction to something, it's me. I get that from my mother. Part of what makes me special. ;-)

This all happened starting about 9:00 am this morning. I was to the ER by sometime shortly after that. The ER held onto me until about 1pm, at which time Tom drove me home. Doctor's orders are to take it easy, drink lots of fluids, and let them know if anything flares up or I have any symptoms reoccur.

Aside: I'm trying to be as accurate as I can about the times, but I was a bit "floaty" due to the hallucinations and dizziness. So take them with a grain of salt.

All in all, it was much ado about nothing. However, I wouldn't trade the response I got for the world. Tom did the right thing, as having someone take me home or to the ER personally would have left the company open to lawsuits if anything should have gone even more wrong. And, of course, it may not have been a simple reaction to a new medication that went away in a couple of hours. I'd rather have someone overreact than not react enough and something bad happens.

However, I am once again struck by the quality of the people in my life.
  • M was obviously upset and concerned and couldn't wait for me to call her. While she denigrates herself constantly by saying she is too emotional and doesn't handle these types of situations well, I found her to be strong, calm, and comforting and she put me at ease immediately. Of course, as she'll likely say, I'm biased. Very, very biased. ;-)
  • Mom was willing to drop everything and come down if needed-- and she's a teacher, not something you can easily drop on a dime. But family always is first and foremost in her life.
  • Chris showed why he is my best friend by dropping whatever he was doing and coming to just sit with me and keep me company.
  • Robert shared important info around to everyone he could think of so that they knew. He is one of the most compassionate and caring people you could meet-- if you're his friend or family, he will do anything to help you. Period.
  • Tom was both professional and a good friend by doing everything by the book but also staying with me through the event and keeping my spirits up. While he kept saying "it's my job" my only response is this: No, Tom, you definitely went above and beyond and I appreciate it. Oh, and M: Tom passes on congrats on our nuptials. He only wishes he could have performed the ceremony. :-)
Many people don't get the chance or make the time to evaluate their lives and those with whom they associate. Unfortunately, some of my health concerns have made me constantly evaluate both. And my conclusion has never changed: I have the best people around me. Each one is smart, compassionate, and caring. Quality, every one of them! And I have a great life; it must be great if these people are my family and friends! Having these health concerns has, in many ways, made me a better person and certainly has helped me to appreciate everyone in my life.

Thank you for showing the quality of your character and for helping me through another rough time.

***

Oh, and as an aside to anyone who cares-- my feet don't hurt. The medication may just be working! Dr. Lee, the one who prescribed it, will call me tomorrow and we'll discuss what my options are.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Pretty Woman

Last night I walked by the picture of you I have hanging by the front
door. For whatever reason, I was particularly struck by how grateful I
am to have such a wonderful woman in my life and in my heart.

I stopped and looked more closely. Once again I marveled to myself
that such an attractive and caring woman would be available when we
met and would be willing to try me out and see if we were a match.

This led me to think about our first in-person meeting, and the
nervousness we started with and the joy in each other we found later.
I thought about my first visit to SJ, meeting your family and friends
(who all turned out to be such nice people). Our trips to DHS and 29.
Our recent visit to get "library cards."

I am so, so lucky that you found me and made me yours.

I love you.

Monday, March 05, 2007

What Are They Thinking?

I just walked into the men's room upstairs here at work, turned the
corner, and heard the squelching of my shoes on wet tile. Looking
around, I saw -- how should I put this -- a lot of liquid and very
little water all over the floor by the urinals and the sinks.

We are supposed to all be adults here. I shouldn't have to deal with the
bathroom looking and smelling like the ones I was forced to use in
grade-school.

I can't help but wonder: what if I had been a client here for training?
What if I was a prospective client touring the business to see if I
wanted to hire this company? One look at that mess and I would likely
say thanks, but no. Is the behavior in here indicative of the behavior
these people have for their software, product, clients?

Even giving the benefit of the doubt that a urinal overflowed (which I
doubt-- I would assume a lot more water and a lot less "other" if that
happened), why wouldn't the person there when the problem happened tell
Facilities so it could be cleaned up? Why wouldn't they put a quick note
on the door that it is off-limits or in need of work? Something, so I
don't walk into that kind of mess.

How a person treats a bathroom they do not need to clean or take care of
says a lot about the character of the person involved.