46. Yes.

Winter and the waxing Imbolc Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Golden Solar. Finally. Solar power. Running the meter backward. Kate’s better day yesterday. Up until bedtime. Sleep. Exhaustion. Thoughtful gifts from Mary and Diane. Brother Mark. Alan. Tatiana. New West Physicians. Coffee. Did I mention coffee?

Lima, Peru, 2011

Another good day for Kate yesterday. Until bedtime when nausea and chest pain came for a visit. The damned feeding tube now leaks worse than it ever has.

To compound this situation we have the retirement of our primary doc, Lisa, as of January 1st and a confusing, still not resolved hand off of us as patients to a new doc. Health care reform. Police reform. Racial and economic justice. Hear my cry, oh Congress. Hear my cry, oh Biden.

Golden Solar picked yesterday morning to come and replace two microinverters that have been dead since our solar installation. The inverters report to the makers of our solar panels and we can download the reports through our own webpage. They have nothing to do with actually producing electricity. I’ve been asking them to do this for almost five years. Why now? No clue, but I’m glad it’s done.

On a personal note my PSA test results from Tuesday came back. No detectable psa. This is the test that comes after Lupron has truly left my system. It could signal a cure.

That is, I had a recurrence. My psa went up. That triggered the radiation in 2019. Coincident with the radiation I began Lupron injections. The Lupron, as I have said, suppresses psa, but does nothing directly to the cancer except deprive it of the cells it prefers. Lupron does not not cure. When it stops, the cancer can begin to grow again.

Unless it died in the radiation bath I had over 35 treatments. With the Lupron now gone, the cancer could have begun to grow again, but this test results suggests that it didn’t. That could mean that the radiation did in fact kill the cancer that had reemerged.

How will I know? I won’t. If I continue to get undetectable results for a couple of years, they’ll move my psa tests from every three months to every six months. If I continue to get undetectable, at some point, five years or so, I’ll have a presumptive cure. But. I had one of those in 2015 with my prostatectomy. So…

I’m planning a celebratory meal anyhow. Probably Sushi Win. I’m cured until I’m not. That’s the way I want to think. Not always possible, but it’s my goal.

My deep exhaustion continues. Not sure there’s a way around it until the vaccines. Naps. Long night’s sleep like last night. Ten plus hours.

Biden. 46. 45 a painful memory, but a memory. Microinverters replaced. Kate’s having good days. I have the psa result I needed. There are bright spots. And, you, dear reader, are one, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Inauguration Day

Winter and the waxing Imbolc Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Kate’s two good days in a row. Rigel’s head shaking cured with a single treatment. PSA blood draw taken. Chuck roast. O2 concentrator finally in the mail. Kate’s new meds. Her wine. Trash out. Beignets. Brie. Sleep. 0 days. In less than 3 hours the infidel to American democracy will be out of office.

 

 

Heard Ken Burns on NPR yesterday. He shook me. After all of his documentaries, the research for them, the interviews, he had concluded that America had undergone three grave crises: Civil War, Depression, and WWII. Now, he says, we are in a fourth. This one, though, may be the most challenging, he said.

Why? There are the 74,222,958 votes he got in the general election. The most ever for a Presidential candidate with the exception only of Joe Biden. Also, 70% of Republicans, including over a 100 in the House of Representatives and a few Senators, believe Biden stole the election. This means there is an enormous pool of American citizens who’s news sources feed them lies. And, that they believe them.

An interviewer on a later NPR program contacted a Wisconsin woman, a Trump voter. She didn’t like the violence at the capitol, but she understood it. It was people frustrated about the blatant election fraud. I see the news, I listen to the news. I see both sides. But I understand the anger. My whole family, all my friends feel the same way.

What are your news sources, the interviewer asked? Parler. Rumble. Gab.

After listening to Burns and to this interview, I had to agree with him. How do you convince someone whose “facts” come from folks who have allowed themselves to be deluded. Whose facts are the result of cynical spin? This is a problem of epistemology and it’s a tough one.

Again, why? Well, that 70% are solipsists. What does that mean? This wikipedia summary about Gorgias says it succinctly:

Solipsism was first recorded by the Greek presocratic sophist, Gorgias (c. 483–375 BC) who is quoted by the Roman sceptic Sextus Empiricus as having stated:[6]

  • Nothing exists.
  • Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it.
  • Even if something could be known about it, knowledge about it cannot be communicated to others.

Much of the point of the sophists was to show that “objective” knowledge was a literal impossibility.

Wikipedia, Solipsism

Let me put it another way:

Biden lost.

Even if Biden won, we can’t know because of massive vote fraud.

But, we’ll never know because the people who do know won’t tell us.

This is a classic solipsism. It starts nowhere and ends nowhere; and, it is an impenetrable mobius strip of an argument because it denies the possibility of contradictory evidence.

Note especially that there is no evidence that can change this argument. No courts who investigated fraud and found none. No state officials who investigated fraud and found none. What about those, anyhow? Well, they’re covering up the objective knowledge of voter fraud. How do I know that? Because Trump lost.

No one wins an argument with a solipsist. Gorgias was the one who said: Man is the measure of all things. This makes social media and the partisan echo chambers it creates a clear and present danger to not only true free speech, but to accurate knowledge itself.

This is the big challenge facing American democracy. Though. It is not the biggest challenge facing all humans. That honor goes to herd immunity from Covid 19 and climate change. The challenge of our right-wing solipsists, however, stands in the way of both of those larger problems.

Interesting times.

 

 

 

 

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Yesterday and Today’s Post

Winter and the waxing Imbolc moon

Monday gratefuls: MLK. BLM. SDS. ACO. KATE. Always. Trouble alarm for Kate. Tom and Evelyn. 2 days. Only 2 days. Trump becoming Mar-a-logged in man. The new broom. Sweeping clean. Throw out the trash.

Tuesday gratefuls: Snow. Cold. Kate’s better day yesterday. One more day, that’s all the time he’s got. No military send off for the most unstable commander in chief. Biden’s Covid plans. His executive orders and his legislation. Radical legislation in the wings. 2021 finally gets some legs. Murdoch’s paper work, crate, plane ticket. Ready to go on Thursday morning.

 

For all those pick-up patriots and summer soldiers out there. John Prine knew you long ago:

 

Not a great first day home. One bite of a buttered bagel sent Kate back to bed where she stayed until late afternoon. Nausea. Dispiriting for the day. And the week, the month, the year. Yet this morning, though still in bed, she says she feels pretty good.

I bought one of those Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up beepers for her. It has a receiver that plays a horn, a beep, or Fur Elise. I chose Fur Elise. We checked it and the signal reaches the loft. I ordered two more receivers and one more beeper button.

Most of the time she’ll use the intercom, but we had an incident last week where Rigel unplugged her oxygen concentrator. Kate was not in the bedroom and couldn’t reach the phone, so she had to get down on her hands and knees to replug the concentrator. With the beeper I could have been there right away. Security for her.

Upbeat. Biden takes over on Wednesday. Rigel is a sweetheart. So is Kep. The Ancient ones have my back. And, so does CBE. Joe and Seoah get Murdoch on January 21st. Sweet home Hawai’i. Ruby runs well. Cooler weather. Though we could use some snow. Brenton.

Tuesday: Kate was in a better place yesterday. Up most of the day, including an hour plus assessment with a visiting nurse from Mt. Evans Home Health Care. Realized that to some extent how I’m feeling reflects hers. When she struggled on Sunday, so did I. When she was brighter, so was I.

Hope she continues on an upward track. Though. The stoma site leaked. Again. The interventional radiologists did not extend the feeding tube since it didn’t leak Friday night. A missed opportunity. But at least she has someone who recognizes the problem and can extend the tube. It’s just… She has to go back for it. Not soon, I imagine, but up to her.

I have a psa blood draw this morning early. Not feeling anxious the way I did two tests ago. Not feeling calm either. Perhaps this will become routine, every three months, but when you consider the stakes, my guess is there will always be a frisson at least.

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Home again, Home

Winter and the waxing Imbolc Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Kate at home. Atrial Fibrillation. Meds. Nurses. Wheelchairs. Swedish Hospital. Kate’s refuge. Kep, Rigel. Family home and complete. 3 days. On the way to Mar-a-Lago. Safeway pickup. Mary’s calendar gift. Precious. Thanks. Notes and cards from Kate’s friends. Evelyn Crane. Tom. His sister.

 

Honey, harvesting

Kate is home. An apparently leak free stoma site. Complete with circumferential suture. Grateful to the interventional radiologists. The pulmonologists. The cardiologists.

This visit worried me. Her, too. Had me contemplating life without her. Of course, I can do it. I mean, I can do the tasks, the chores, the necessaries. She pays the bills and folds the clothes. Yes, I can.

But.

Who would share breakfast? Commiserate over the latest Trump outrage? Answer my medical questions? Who would hug me? Sleep next to me? Well, Rigel and Kep. Sure. But not Kate. Who would recognize when I slipped into melancholy and tell me? Our family would be very different without her.

Not now. Now she’s here. And today is what counts. It’s all that counts. The rest is the idle occupation of a worried mind. Today I will see her at breakfast. Hug her. Grump about pardons-are-us in the West Wing. We’ll laugh. Do a money meeting. Wonder how Ruth and Gabe are doing? Think about Murdoch getting ready to head out for Hawai’i.

I know. If you read these pages, it’s been a downer for the last week or so. Maybe longer. This is my journal, my record of being here. Sometimes it’s this, sometimes it’s that.

Kate’s home. I can turn my mind to other things. Like the inauguration. Oh, wait…

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At least it’s not the report of an insurrection

Winter and the waxing crescent of the Imbolc Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Kate. Her feeding tube. Tatiana, her cardiologist. Her stable lung disease. Sjogrens. Paul and his breathing help, for stress. The dishwasher. Working. Cottage Pie from Easy Entrees. Kate’s favorite comfort food right now. Kep and Rigel, a little disoriented without Kate at home. Charlie, a little disoriented with Kate at home.

Gratitude for myself. Never thought of that. But, hey! Why not. I’m grateful for me. Wasn’t always. Those drinking years? I was not always my friend. Now though. With a solid paganism at my core, body working, mind filled with years of learning, loving, experiencing. Yeah, I’m not only grateful to be here, but I’m grateful to be me. Good thing, right? Tough to be somebody else.

Kate with a new born Gabe and toddler Ruth, 2008

Kate’s nearing the end of this time in the hospital. Maybe. The interventional radiologists may extend her feeding tube deeper into her upper digestive track to discourage backing up and leaking. She had a feeding last night and didn’t leak. That’s the reason for uncertainty.

The leaking stoma site sounds innocuous. It leaks, wipe it up? No. First, the leaks happen at night and produce a wet splotch of Jevity. It’s sticky and uncomfortable. If it’s a big leak, the sheets and covers get involved. Result: less feeding, maybe as much as 30%, and lost sleep, plus feeling icky in the sticky.

Kate and Seoah’s mother, April 10, 2016

This has been going on since the tube got placed a year and a half ago. The other sequelae of a leak? An irritated and sometimes infected wound around the stoma site. That’s the wound I’ve been treating now for months under the guidance of Amber, an Advanced Wound Care specialist. If we can stop the leaking, stop wetness around the stoma site, the wound will heal. That would be a big deal.

She has an appointment with her cardiologist this Thursday via telemedicine. Atrial fibrillation followup. She was put on a blood thinner, one somewhat more powerful than the baby aspirin she’s currently on. Need to see what else might help. Tatiana is a good doc. She’s already helped Kate a lot.

Her lung issues have shown stability for a year. Yet. She has had three pneumothorax events. Not sure where that is right now. She has no treatment for the interstitial lung disease. Why? The treatments have bad side effects and Dr. Taryle, her pulmonologist doesn’t want to prescribe them until she exhibits an unstable course for her disease.

I’m looking forward to having her back home though I’m grateful she’s had this chance for scrutiny, especially on the feeding tube. The higher calorie feeding liquid is here, delivered on Wednesday. With this she should be able to lower the flow rate of the pump which might also reduce leakage.

Lot of moving parts.

Oh, and on the 19th I get my PSA tested again. This is, contrary to what I believed earlier, the one with Lupron gone. If it’s clear, the possibility of a cure still exists, might already have happened. That would be nice.

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Go to the worst places. Keep on going.

Winter and the young Imbolc Moon

Friday gratefuls: Kate. Always, Kate. The Fall of the Trump, inspired and realized by American Visigoths and barbarians. Illness and frailty. Aging. Covid. 5 days. Impeachment. Again. Still. Always. The winds. A busy day yesterday.

 

 

I posted this on Kate’s Caring Bridge site yesterday afternoon:

Well. Kate will be in the hospital until Saturday. Last night she had atrial fibrillation that dropped her blood pressure and gave her tachycardia. The docs need to decide whether to treat her for it or not. Blood-thinners, for stroke prevention.

The pneumothorax was small and may have healed under 100% oxygen. Her feeding tube reinstalled, she starts getting the higher calorie liquid now.

She is weary. When I asked her how she was feeling, she said, “I wish it wasn’t happening to me.” Yeah, me, too.

Covid makes visiting her not possible. The dogs and I live our usual lives. Get up early. Doggy breakfast. Write Ancientrails. My breakfast. Read newspaper. Around 4 pm doggy dinner. Get fresh water for them morning and evening. In between workout, comb Kep, vacuum, things like that. Wait for a call from the hospital. Eat well, get good sleep.

Lost a little sleep last night. Maybe an hour. Ideas rummaging through memories, trying to find something distressing. Read a good quote: keep the front door and backdoor of your mind open. Let ideas come in and go out. Did that. Took a while but I went back to sleep.

Stress? Oh, yes. Using all my learnings. Deep breathing. Front and back doors open. Consolation of Deer Creek Canyon. Looking out, clearly, over the absurd and the abyss. Checking in with friends and family. Workouts. Being with the dogs. Seeing Black Mountain, Arapaho National Forest, our wild neighbors. Really seeing them.

Working. Stress not overwhelming me.

I’ve allowed myself to go to the worst places, the most difficult imaginings, then go on. Kate is not dead, not dying; but, she is in great difficulty. We can navigate our way beyond this current rocky stretch, get back to cribbage and Sherlock, meals together. Her crosswords. My writing.

I want that. She wants that. We’ll see.

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Scylla and Charybdis

Winter and the young Imbolc Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Swedish hospital. Interventional radiologists. Nurses. Kate. My Kate. Kep. Rigel, who is still asleep. Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Joe. Seoah. Ancient ones. Flowers. Cold. Night sky. Black Mountain, steady and tall. CBE, our anchor. Rabbi Jamie. Alan. Marilyn. Susan. Mindy.

Yamantaka

Kate’s still in the hospital. She had a hypotensive crisis last night coupled with tachycardia as her heart tried to make up for the falling blood pressure. Then, a valium to calm her after things got stabilized. She has a procedure this morning to try to better understand why she has the pneumothorax.

I miss her and can’t see her while she’s in trouble.

Emotions running from sad into worried to longing to gratitude. I’m so grateful she’s in a place where folks can take care of her, give her a good look, see what’s going on. Her situation, complicated. Our primary care doc said, “Kate, you’re a complex patient.”

Geriatrics is a specialty because us old people often present with multiple issues, but Kate goes beyond that. Her Sjogren’s is the wildcard, always. Now the repeating pneumothorax. And the hypotension.

Not to mention Covid, the apex predator stalking all our lives. Still out there.

Feels like we’re on a high wire with Scylla and Charybdis gnashing below, ready to gobble us up.

Have to make a Happy Camper run this morning. Comb Kep, who’s shedding like he’s responsible for giving us all new winter coats. I mean, he sheds a lot. Finish organizing the cds. Unbox Kate’s new, higher calorie feeding. Sleep.

Trying to get perspective, but finding that difficult.

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Hard

Winter and the Imbolc Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Swedish ER. Swedish hospital. Feeding tubes. Interventional radiologists. Pulmonologists. A long sleep last night. Exhaustion. That fuckhead. One week. Impeach him. Convict him. Imprison him. No mercy. Calm. Deep breathing.

Kate with friends

Kate’s back in the hospital. She has a pneumothorax again, in the same spot as last two times. A leak, if you will. Her feeding tube, the one placed on Sunday, came out on Monday. So it needs replacing, too. Not sure how long she’ll be there and I can’t visit her. Covid.

A lot. She’s had two trips to the E.R. this week already and now a hospital stay. The last three weeks have increased the level of difficulty here. For both of us. So much that I’m glad she’s in the hospital so I know she’s ok. That’s weird, eh?

Not easy to describe my feelings right now. I’m so tired. I slept almost 12 hours last night. Kep and Rigel were more than ready for breakfast. I’m worried about Kate, of course, but I’m glad she’s where some folks can pay attention to her medical needs.

We’ve both become frustrated, which is a nice word, with the medical care system. Managing her feeding tube is a nightmare when a problem occurs. No one owns it as their responsibility. Most don’t know how to handle it. See this Sunday’s ER visit. Yet it feeds her. Pretty important.

She’s been sick so long that it’s hard to discern serious symptoms from not so serious ones. And, to know who to reach out to discern the difference. Sjogren’s complicates everything with its suite of symptoms, like fatigue and low grade fevers, that mimic the symptoms of other diseases.

Then there’s the emotional toll all this takes on both of us. Hard.

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Ah, well

Winter and the Imbolc Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Easy Entrees. Pork Schnitzel. Peasant salad. Feeding tube. Jevity. Kate, always Kate. Our democracy. Our nation. 8 days. Impeaching. Prosecute. Sleep. Sleep.

 

 

And, again. The tube slipped out again. When the E.R. doc put it in, she couldn’t get in the same size Kate had, so she inserted one one size down. For whatever reason the balloon that we inflated yesterday, deflated. And, out came the tube.

This time I couldn’t reinsert it. It’s tricky. The tube too flexy. The stoma has begun to close a bit. That’s the worry. That the stoma will close and have to be reopened surgically. Kate’s so fragile that anesthetic and the insult of surgery might be too much for her.

Kate’s nausea kicked up this morning. That’s the worst condition for her. She hates retching and nausea. I mean, nobody likes it, right? But, she hates, hates it. Waiting for all that to stabilize, then I imagine we’ll head back to the ER at Swedish where they did a poor job last time. Get them to fix their error. We’ve had good experiences there. This was an anomaly.

It does come, however, after Sunday’s long visit there. It does come, however, after Friday’s O2 concentrator failure and the resulting hypoxia. It does come after three weeks of extreme fatigue and low grade fever. It also comes, this time, without a feeding since it came out as she was starting last night’s Jevity. So very not good.

I got good rest last night. I’m no longer exhausted, though I am tired. My mental state is fine. Yesterday morning, not so much. I had to have a morning to myself. It was good, too. Got a workout in. Had time to just be. To recuperate myself. This introvert had been on task too long, with too many people in the picture.

Not sure where all this is going. More time at the E.R. ahead of us. Tough.

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Passed (not past) the red line

Winter and the waning sliver of the Moon of the New Year

Is there time?

Monday gratefuls: Swedish ER. New feeding tube. Putting the new feeding tube back in. Rigel whining. Sleep. Kep. Kate and her endurance. Jevity. Food. Water. Oxygen.

 

 

Oh, geez. Hitting the red line. Burn out. Exhausted. Both of us. Kate’s feeding tube popped out about 8:30 am. I have put in back in before successfully, but not this time. The stoma had tightened up. Call to a physician. No help. Call Dispatch Health, they’ll come to you. Except they won’t because we’re not in their service area. Call urgent care. No, we don’t do gastronomy tubes. Call Swedish E.R. in Littleton. Nope. Go to the E.R. at the hospital. In Englewood.

Finally left house around 10:30. Didn’t get back until 3:30 or so. In the E.R. more critical patients get cared for first, as they should. But. That bumps folks in Kate’s situation back in priority.  I sat in the car and read while Kate was in the E.R. Covid.

Got back home.

At bed time Kate says, “Charlie, I need help.” What was it? The feeding tube had popped out. The new one! Jesus. The E.R. doc had not inflated the little balloon that keeps it in place. Sigh. I reinserted the tube and Kate inflated the balloon using a syringe and air. Pulled on it a couple of times. Should stay.

I went back out to watch TV. “Charlie.” Rigel had pulled the plug for Kate’s oxygen concentrator out of the wall. Again. Of course this brings up the string of incidents on Friday morning when Kate became hypoxic after one of our O2 concentrators died. Again. That day was tough because it took a while for her to reoxygenate. BTW: I have ordered a cord lock for the outlet.

Rigel chose last night to whine for about an hour or so. Sounded like she was sick. I couldn’t believe it. I was so sleepy. Finally got up and let her outside. She ran away happily. Grrrr. When she and Kep came back in a bit later, she went on the couch upstairs and went to sleep.

Back to sleep.

At this moment the feeding tube is in place. Kate’s got oxygen. Rigel has eaten breakfast as has Kep.

I’m in the loft writing this. Might work out. Tired. Not sure. I do need no contact time right now. Down time. Alone time. Recuperative time.

Used up my reserves over the last three days. And, it’s not like it was a quiet week in Washington either.

I’ll be fine. I only need rest and sleep. And quiet. And no problems to solve. Kate’s resting, too. A genuinely difficult week.

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