A great birthday present

Imbolc and the Valentine Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Kep, the calm. Pulmonary function test. That nurse. Driving down the hill. Beau Jo’s. Pizza and cherry cobbler. Snow. Still coming. Into the Snowy months. Rocky Mountain Pulmonary. Wheat Ridge. A 1960’s ‘burb. CJ Box. Tal. Philpott. The Good Life. Vince. Who will plow my driveway. A good birthday. Ruby and her peculiarities. Gift certificate to Pappadeux’s. Animas Chocolates.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Friends and Family


My peripheral arteries and veins are fine. Rocky Mountain Vascular Institute. My lungs, too, are fine. Rocky Mountain Pulmonary. A good birthday present.

Drove down the hill to the quaintish suburb of Wheat Ridge. Had a chest x-ray. Always fun. Then to the campus of Lutheran Hospital where a very enthusiastic nurse administered a full pulmonary function test. This involves taking a deep breath. Well. Several. Then blowing out hard. Panting, very softly. Repeat 3 x. Into a plastic tube. Albuterol inhaler. 4 x. More inhaling and blowing.

Hardest part for me. She enclosed me in a clear plastic cylinder that looked like a small dunk tank. Seated. We got 2 out of 3 repeats done before I tapped out. Claustrophobia got me. She kept saying I did very well. And, apparently I did.

The pulmonologist, whom I wish Kate could have seen, was a young guy. Got his M.D. from U. of Minnesota like her. What are we seeing you for today? I want to know if there’s any pulmonological reason I’ll need to move to a lower elevation? Within four years.

He leafed through my results. Your chest x-ray looks fine. An elevated left diaphragm. Polio? Yes. Some of your breathing tests are actually better than normal. Oh? Yes. Your lungs are very efficient at diffusing carbon dioxide out and oxygen into your blood stream.

So when I get shortness of breath, my paralyzed left diaphragm plus my extremely low testosterone level and altitude explains it? Yes. And it won’t get worse. No. In fact you could probably go up another two thousand, three thousand feet.

What a great 76th birthday present! Glad I scheduled it for yesterday.

On Monday I see Dr. Eigner. My oncologist. He sees me once a year, the rest of the time I see Kristie, his p.a. We’ll make a final decision on the radiation though as I’ve said I’m inclined to do it. I’m also going to ask him straight up what the odds are for me since I have metastases that have gone to the bone. How much time have I got? No certainties. I know that. But he knows me, my medical history. More important though how long will my healthspan remain solid as it is now?

Not sure what pushed me down so far last week, but I’ve turned the corner on it. Back to doing what I can, then living my best life.


Wondering about writing. Do I even want to do it? Yes, Ancientrails. That’s a well established habit. Now in its 18th year. But the other writing. Fiction. Non-fiction. Do I need to do it to feel good about myself? Not sure anymore.

Maybe I’m at a point where leaning into the life I have is enough. Friends. Family. The Mountains. Hawai’i in four years. Learning Korean. Reading. Art. Movies. Hiking. Travel. Taking care of the Kep.

A longer conversation.