The Great Circle Route

Imbolc and the Waiting to Cross Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Dr. Repine. Space Invaders, or Visual field exam for glaucoma. That sweet tech whose name came out muffled through her mask. My Phonak, something with the battery or the charger. My “insurance” company. American medicine. The labyrinth. Little India. With Ruth and Gabe. Ruth driving. More assured. Gabe with some facial hair. Driving the great circle route around Denver.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Night Sky on Shadow Mountain


Busy day. Feed the Kep. Write Ancientrails. Breakfast. 100 minutes of workout. Shower. Drive to Littleton. Eye doc. From Littleton to Northfield to pick up Gabe and Ruth. Over to Little India. Back to Northfield. Drive home. A complete circle around the Denver metro. 120 plus miles.


While eating with Ruth and Gabe at Little India, where Ruth knows the wait staff, a call came in from Anova Cancer Care. No approval yet for my radiation. Could be a week. Oh. They took me off the schedule.

Frustrated. But not surprised. If I had another option, I’d have taken it. Pre-existing condition has made me permanently joined to the Minnesota medical insurance behemoth, United Health Care. Their second guessing of my oncologists has been a dynamic theme since they denied my first axumin scan.

Constantly caught within a triad of big insurance, big pharma, and the folks trying to deliver my health care. There is no scenario in which you build a health care system like the one we have. It creeks. It leaks. And it makes having cancer or any other chronic illness a constant challenge.


Every six month glaucoma check. Stable. Dr. Repine is thorough, but quick. She explained my heterochromia to me. I have a blue rim around my brown eyes. Arcus senilis. Fatty lipids create a white haze around the outer iris which refracts the brown beneath as blue. Common, apparently. Odd.


I should explain my workout numbers. They’re generated by my fitbit. It gives double minutes for time in the cardio and peak heart rate zones. That way I can workout for 50 or 60 minutes but end up with 100 minutes of workout time according to the NIH standards. The minutes not in the cardio or peak zone are still in the zone of moderate exercise. The NIH recommended 150 minutes represents moderate exercise. Or, they say, 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. The cardio and above fits into that level of exercise. Thus, the double minutes on the fitbit.


Gabe thinks I’m going to live to be 95. Or, a hundred. When, he noted, he would be 38. Doubtful. But it’s sweet he thinks that. He’s got some peach fuzz. Conflicted about it. Maturing is hard. Though he seems on that path.

Ruth says school’s going well. She’s still struggling. Depression. OCD. But she’s got a therapist she really likes and sees regularly. Working at it. She’s not alone. The number of teenagers with serious mental health issues has grown alarmingly. Especially since Covid.

Being a teenager has never been easy, but the changes over the last decade or so have created so much frisson for them. Gender. Climate Change. LGBTQ+. Two working parents. Political division. The woes of higher education roiling their attempts to sort what comes after high school.

What can grandparents do? Love them.