Catching Up (again)

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Feeling a bit out of it lately. I have managed to complete most of the coding for the main CMS I have been building. Working on documenting some “tips” for some of the things I did, which is amusing and interesting. But …

Out of it because … well, among other things last night CJ got off work so late that she wasn’t home until 8:30pm, and THEN I got to make dinner. Having dinner at close to 9:00 in the evening, when you typically go to bed at 9:30 or so, is just … wrong. Sigh.

The problem is that while my wife is happy to be employed, has a great boss, some of the people she works with are totally incompetent — to the tune of close to 100 million dollars in transfers being screwed up, which she and her team had to fix, and then she had to document (which apparently has to be done the same day, which is why she was so late). This kind of thing happens way too often, and honestly I am wondering how come no heads are rolling on the floor. But, not my business, except that it screws up my life.

Thanksgiving was okay. It was at the sister-in-law’s “new” house in Sacramento (“new” in that she’s now the owner, but it’s the house her mother lived in for close to 30 years, and it was sold to her by the step-father). We went up Wednesday evening and were there through Friday evening, because CJ’s brother was in town (he’s now a full pilot at Alaska Airlines, and gets layovers in the Bay Area again, which he’s happy about). It was nice to see Bill, but two nights in an unfamiliar bed, etc, was off-putting. Oh well. And frankly, turkey dinner doesn’t make me all excited like it does some folk.

The rest of the weekend was okay, but not all that exciting. We did get out Sunday and see Fantastic Creatures and Where to Find Them (part of the Harry Potter universe) — that was fun. But otherwise …

Went and had my follow-up CT Scan Monday, but have not heard back from a doctor about results. I assume since I haven’t gotten a panicky “CALL US NOW” that things aren’t bad, and hopefully all is well.

I am finally starting to consider getting back into the job market more, partially because my savings are slowly dropping. I still have money, but … sigh. And frankly I need to be making more money and contributing more around here. I pay a couple of regular bills (cell phones and internet web hosting with Earthlink, as well as a lot of food bills, gas, etc.). However, I am not paying part of the mortgage costs, etc. I need to be doing more of that, I feel bad (it sits in the back of my fuzzy brain and bothers me) that I’m not doing more there.

Herself is refinancing the house again, better interest rate, drop the monthly mortgage payments. We’re looking at ways to bring the cable bill down (I think we need to just go in and renegotiate with them), and I am considering trying to work with the cell phone folk and see what I can do to bring that down.

We’re both tired all the time, but I have less reason to be so than herself, she’s the one working herself so hard. It’s been weird. Very weird. I almost feel on the verge of depression again, despite seeing so much progress with the CMS project.

Speaking of that: next up, delete the existing data, document the whole process of setting it up and using it, including deployment. For that to work I am going to take my bio and convert it over (including the WordPress stuff) … that will take some time, but it will be a viable test, and it will ultimately mean having the whole thing in one place. The documentation will include screen captures, etc. So … lots of work there, but I hope to make it easier to understand and use. We’ll see.

I guess the other part of my near-depression is the whole “country going to hell in a handbasket” feeling after the elections. Looking at the people the president-elect is putting into office is frightening. Looking at the way people out there (white males, mostly) reacting to this guy being the president elect and feeling like they can now act out in ways that are so wrong … (threatening Muslims or people they think are Muslim, same for Mexicans, blacks, etc … WTF???). The next two years are going to be fugly. I can only hope that a few Republicans, as well as the Democrats in Congress can pull together and fight back against anything they can legally do … and the election in two years most of the house and the senate seats are up for election, it’s time to make some changes there. Sigh.

Well, anyway, that’s about it for politics on this site. I don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about it …

Day before Turkey Day and …

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Herself is working from home today. I’m of course home. Still have to go to the store and get the turkey. Sigh. I hate going to the grocery store the day before a holiday, but …

Apparently we’re driving to Sacramento this evening. That outta be really amusing, as traffic the day before Turkey Day is always really bad. I don’t know why this is necessary, I would have preferred driving up tomorrow morning, when traffic will actually be lighter. Sigh. Oh well.

The weather’s been a bit colder, which in some ways is kind of nice, although it’s harder to get out of bed in the middle of the night and do those “necessary things” we sometimes have to do.

Got some more work done on the CMS, although I kind of got side-railed between the pancreatitis and being hospitalized (and being really tired for a bit after), and the folk at dBASE releasing beta versions of the software, and having to go back to my book and work on things. I hit enough bugs I had to stop there, though. So this morning I cranked on some code and got something I’ve wanted to add to the CMS done. The last “feature”, I hope. I intend to do more cleaning up, take care of a few things, document the use of it (which means a clean-slate), and then start using it to re-do my blog/autobiography using this CMS. We’ll see how that goes. It will take some time to get everything moved over, but I think it will be worth it in the long run.

If I can get that working on the web host I use, then I will feel more sanguine about copying it and using it for the Award List … we’ll see.

Doing a backup of the hard drive, figure today would be a good day to get that done …

Lots of randomness here, notice? Very train of thought this morning. Sometimes it’s just the way my brain works.


Good thing we have insurance …

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Herself got the bill from Kaiser form my hospital stay (that whole pancreatitis thing) — pre-insurance payments. It’s alarming. Three+ days in the hospital: over $30,000. The insurance will cover a good portion of it, but good grief. It’s a huge ripoff, I tell ya’.

So she had to work late last night (got a phone call from someone around 2am after she had crawled into bed) for a deployment at work. She has more deployment fun today. Sigh.

Tomorrow however will be fun, we’re doing Donna’s “cheese crawl” again. The only worry is that it’s supposed to rain today and tomorrow, but oh well. We need the rain, can’t complain too loudly about that.

Haven’t been as productive as I’d like this week. I have one more item for the CMS and some cleanup to do (some of that’s done); then documentation. Got siderailed with a new beta for dBASE, added a couple chapters to my book, moved some things around. Ran into numerous bugs with new features, one of which halted me yesterday. Sigh. Oh well.

This coming week is Thanksgiving, which will be at Gail’s new place, her mom and step-father’s place in Sacramento. Tom sold it to her, and she scarfed it up.

Of course, I have to do low-fat for a while longer, and “no booze” for a bit. That’s part of the recovery from the pancreatitis. I’ve been eating okay, the GI tract is fine, no pain … but still … not pushing too hard on that front. Minor changes in the diet here and there. Her eye is recovering, she has an appointment in a couple weeks to have it looked at, and the Monday after T-Day I have my cat-scan to make sure the pancreas is okay. Then I can go back to the gym, and life get back to semi-normal, I think. Be nice to have some wine on the weekends. Sigh.

Well, I’m not sleeping, although I had hoped to, but that’s life. Suppose I oughta shower, go make coffee, all that fun stuff.

A Small Amount about Politics

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I don’t want to write anything lengthy, but it’s tough. I noted in the previous post that I was disappointed. Well, that doesn’t really put it correctly into words. However, it’s hard to say something without pissing someone off these days, the country is so divided.

Being a white, straight, male, means that of the various demographics that are likely to get the shaft (non-white, non-straight, female) more than anyone, I can sympathize, but not truly understand the fears and anger that some people have over the outcome of the election. I am less likely to be targeted than they are. I know people in these categories, I am friends with many. One thing I learned early on is to not care about the color of peoples’ skin, and over time to not be concerned about their sexual orientation (unless they were hitting on me and making me uncomfortable — hasn’t happened in a long time). I adore strong women, and always have. Most of my female friends are at least as smart as me, and many are smarter, and in many ways stronger. However, that doesn’t qualify me to really stand up and say … well … anything really about their fears, their anger, their frustration with the system as it is and is it might turn out under the incoming administration of the U.S.

All I can do is try to remain calm, try to be someone people can come to if they are afraid or worried, someone they can hold onto if that is what is needed. There are friends who have the energy to go out and be really proactive and joining protests and making phone calls and … I’ve never been that politically active. If I were working (let’s not open that wound again) I would cheerfully donate money to some of the worthy causes that can help in the fight to keep the world from going total dystopian.

I doubt I’ll post this anywhere else, but I felt a need to say something. Somewhere. On Facebook, where a TON of discussion is going on, I sometimes have added a comment in a thread, but immediately find I need to turn off notifications because any political discussion these days causes massive commentary, and frankly some of it turns my stomach. I joked with one friend about how I could use the “recovering from pancreatitis and don’t want to upset my stomach” defense, but it really was meant as a joke. However, I know the night of the election (only one week ago), I had to walk away from the TV long before the counts were over, and just go to bed. Not because I was getting past the Pancreatitis (having just been released from the hospital the day before), but because my brain hurt, I felt ill, I just knew deep down that the outcome we got is where it was going. And I couldn’t watch anymore.

I sort of understand (again, I’m not in the demographic) why some people voted for Trump — the disenfranchised — those who lost jobs because they were sent overseas or the company just shut down, those who feel that their jobs are being “taken” by people who are not “them” (usually non-white, but …). They feel that the current administration hasn’t done what they should for them, and the democratic candidate never addressed their issues. Trump did tell them he would fix things. I don’t believe he can or will, but that gave them a little glimmer of hope.The DNC really blew it in this area …

Anyway, about all else I can add is:

  • You have a right to be angry;
  • You have a right to protest;
  • Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

However, you don’t have a right to:

  • Be nasty, bully people, assault people verbally, assault people physically … If you do it because you voted for that guy, he never said this was okay, and on CBS this last weekend he said to “Stop it”. Don’t believe me? Go watch his interview …
  • Vandalize — including graffiti, etc.

We all have base feelings, it’s what we choose to do with them. Violence as a way of acting out your anger (whether it’s acting out now because you think your incoming President says it’s okay — again, he didn’t), or whether you are angry because the outcome of the election didn’t go “your way”, all of the above is ILLEGAL. It’s also not what a “good person” does. We all need to rise above this shit, and find productive outlets for our feelings.

Do I think the country is “going to hell in a handbasket”? Well … probably not. Hopefully not. Already the incoming has backed off some of his campaign promises. However, some of the folk he’s picked for his cabinet are hardly people I would trust to “do the right thing”. There’s a lot to be concerned about. In the eight years Obama has been in office, despite congress, he has managed to get a lot of good things done. I fear much of the good that was done will get trampled on pretty badly. I have the hope that some of what the incoming wants to do may be illegal, or thwarted somehow. But I fear some of it will come to pass.

Well, that’s longer than I expected. I doubt anyone who needs to read any of this will, but oh well. Try to be better, that’s all I can ask. And don’t forget that in two years a large portion of congress is up for election … vote out the people you don’t want in there, try to get some movement going. Having a congress that spent 8 years trying to thwart the President has not been good …

Health Update, and a bit more …

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I still haven’t said much about the election. Partially because others have said it better, and partially because I just don’t really have much I can add to what’s been said. Sometimes silence is good, I guess. Disappointed, yes. Hopeful, a little … cautious, though. Being very cautious. The DNC really screwed up and didn’t address people they should have, didn’t deal with their concerns, and now the whole nation is facing a problem of epic proportion. But … I hope we can get through it with minimal damage. I honestly don’t know.

Anyway … went and saw the doctor today as a follow-up to my “fun” of last weekend. My weight is down to about 193 lbs, the lowest it’s been in many years (I attribute that a little to the exercise I’ve been doing, but more to the nearly a week of low appetite, the hospital stay with very little food (to avoid aggravating the Pancreas), and now the low-fat diet I’m on. It’s not 100% fat-free, but …) I have been worried about my blood pressure, because about six months ago I had stomach pains, saw a doctor, and my pressure was high. It was really high at points during the hospital stay. Instead I ended up with a blood pressure reading today of 125/82 or something very close to those numbers, which my doctor told me is good for a teenager. So … there’s that. I got a pneumonia shot (sheesh) because they’re worried about my immune system (between the prostate cancer and now all this fun).

The next (and hopefully) last follow-up on that issue is the Monday after Thanksgiving, where I get a new CT Scan of my pancreas.

Am very close to done with the base CMS code, only to have the folk at dBASE throw a lot of new features into the beta of dBASE (and it’s time to start testing things and putting examples into the next version of The dBASE Book Plus) … so the “finish” of the CMS is sort of on hold for a bit, until I reach a point that I’m feeling like all is in decent shapes. Lots of bugs cropping up … but thats’ life.

SCA stuff: CJ’s started to feel like sewing a bit, and is starting a new riding houppelande for me, maybe in time for 12th Night. One of our friends who is an amazing jeweler is starting the design work on a new coronet for me (my old one is a) heavy, and b) not really flashy … it is nice, but …). He said last time we talked face to face that he could have it done by 12th Night, but he has a real job, and a wife who keeps him busy (trips, they’ve been to various parts of Europe in the last few years), and … and … so I am not feeling sure it’ll be done by 12th Night. On the other hand, he may just get into a “get ‘er done” mode or something. I dunno. Be cool to have it then.

CJ’s eye is healing, she’s in that weird state where if she has her glasses on, her “good” eye is no longer the good one, but if she has the glasses off, her “good” eye is definitely the good one … it’s a bit disconcerting, I’m sure. She has a follow up in December.

Well, I probably ought to get back to working on something. Or not. Feeling a bit tired, sleep was a little unsettled last night, or at least I feel like I didn’t get enough.

Pancreatitis … Idiocratic Pancreatitis No Less

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Last week was a motherf***er of a week.

So, Tuesday, CJ had her eye surgery scheduled. Great, she’s finally getting the cataract dealt with (that she should have dealt with 3 years ago, but …). That took a while, and she may have to have more work done later, but we’re at a “let the eye recover” phase. She’s doing a ton of eyedrops, has to sleep with a plastic cover over her eye to keep from damaging it, and can’t lift more than 20 pounds. Fun. But … it will be worth it in the long run.

Same day, my stomach started giving me some trouble. Seriously? I decided to be stoic — she had enough to deal with, and it wasn’t bad. Wednesday, the pain was not getting better, my coding project on hold, I watched movies and drank a lot of water, that was about it.

Thursday it was worse, and no signs of getting better. Worse, I hadn’t had a BM since Tuesday morning (if you need an explanation, think about it …). I finally told her I was not doing well, she set up an appointment, we went to the Park Shadelands branch of Kaiser late in the day (first appointment available). Doctor checked me out, sent me to get a blood draw for lab testing (which was horrible — I don’t think I’ve had that much problem with a simple blood draw in ages — pain, nearly passed out — badly handled by student nurse …), get a stool softener (for the BM issue), and put on my schedule that an ultrasound scan of my intestines needed to be done.

Friday morning: around 8, while I was trying to sleep (because sleep is tough when you’re not feeling well), I got a call from the doctor, told me I should go to the emergency room. Herself was trying to work a half day. Oy. Well, her boss was cool. Went down to the hospital.

Checked in, got set up for a CT Scan (Cat Scan). Did that, and then “hurry up and wait” time happened. Waited for results, waited for results of yet another blood draw. Preliminary diagnosis: Acute Pancreatitis. Got admitted to the hospital proper. The doctors I talked in ER (both of them) felt an ultrasound of my gall bladder was a good idea.

I haven’t been in a hospital for a long time. I mean, I dance around the edges for lab work and such, and my regular doctor’s office is in the complex, and so on, but …

Got settled (as much as one can be). Spent a lot of time waiting. In the hospital, waited and waited, got lots of tests, but no ultrasound. Waited. Spent the night (CJ went home with Don and BJ, who also took the van home for us). Sleep was hard, because of the IV. They were giving me saline and also antibiotics. That was because the inflammation of the pancreas might have been because of some sort of infection. They really didn’t know.

Saturday rolls around. Had a blood draw at 5:30am. Good grief, what a horrible time for that. The roommate I had was a bit of a prick, and his family was worse. He was upset because he needed to have his gall bladder out and the surgery wasn’t happening right away. Took his frustrations out on everyone. Felt bad for the poor nurses who had to deal with his ranting. Luckily he slept a lot.

Eventually I got the ultrascan. Turns out the gall bladder appeared to be in perfect health, no signs of stones, no signs of sludge. I get to keep mine. On the downside, if they found that to be the problem, removing the gall bladder and I would have been done. No, turns out I have idiocratic pancreatitis — meaning they don’t know WTF caused it.

Another night for observation, but I was allowed (finally) to have some “food” — chicken broth and gelatin. The gelatin sucked. I ate one of them (they gave me two). Never again. “Clear Liquids”. A tea with pretty much no flavor (Lipton teabag, no caffeine).

Sunday: Early, doofus roommate finally got his surgery and left. Didn’t come back for recovery. Fine by me. I got the room to myself. Niiice. Quieter. Tried some “full liquid” — split pea soup and pudding. The pudding was so sweet I could barely touch it. Not doin’ THAT again. A little pain though after. So back to clear liquid. Figures. Later in the day I got some Milk of Magnesia (hated the stuff as a kid, still don’t like it). Even later I had a BM. Messy, but it cleared out the pipes. The pressure and pain reduced quite a bit at that point.

In the meantime, somewhere in all this fun stuff, I had an endoscopy, which is the opposite of a colonoscopy. They put me under for that, which is just as well. The reason was to check for possible issues at the top of the stomach (the duodenum). Nope, nothing wrong there! Clear liquids didn’t cause problems. So I had more broth, fruit juice … slept with the room empty until about 4 in the morning. (Very old man, nearly 90, had a heart attack, his breathing was rough, he was barely coherent … but he slept most of the time and was really quiet.)

Monday: was feeling much better. Had a shower in the morning, which was nice. Doctor was encouraged. Got “Full Liquids” again for food, to see how my stomach handled it. This time the soup was tomato (kind of a weird aftertaste to this one), and more pudding (and fruit juice). No pudding for me, not falling for that sugar bomb again. However, no reaction — my stomach didn’t give me more pain. Doctor let me go home! Yay!

Don and BJ came and got us. Of course we got all kinds of lecture from BJ about fibers and low-fat diets, and blah blah blah. Oh well. She means well. Was really happy to be home. Spent some time dealing with things that needed dealing with on the computer, and then watched movies and such. I have not been quite as intense on the computer, but doing a lot better. I tell ya’, after all that time in the hospital (it felt like longer — 3 days and nights) sleep was fantastic.

Of course, one problem with all that is that I was in the hospital during the time change. Didn’t notice it because everything was automatic. Got home and the alarm hadn’t been touched. Wednesday morning took CJ to work an hour early. D’oh! Oh well. All is good again.

My diet for awhile will not be as exciting, and because alcohol can be a cause of pancreatitis (none of the doctors we talked to felt that our drinking habits were such that there was any chance that set it off) no booze for awhile. Just in time for the holidays. Yay. But, it beats more hospital time. It’s not like they can remove the pancreas and you can live, after all … Anyway, that’s been my big excitement. Never mind the election, that’s a whole other topic.