Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ground Hog Day...

I too am looking for the "Last Love" of my life.

The mind....the things and people that attract you -- everyone is different. The only way that you can get a really great sense of the person that you see in front of you is to listen and engage in conversation...and I don't mean on .

I live in North Central Phoenix. I think a good place to meet would be just south of 7th Street and Cactus, at the Point Hilton Tapatio Cliffs on 7th Street just south of 7th St. & Cactus.

When you are ready to meet, let me know.

Look forward to meeting you, soon.


My reply below:

As we get older, sometimes our memories aren't as sharp as we'd like. I got divorced in 2002 and out of shear loneliness, I joined Match. YOU were the first person to write to me, way back then. Because you were and are a tad older than me, I didn't respond. Following my history, you continued to write or wink at me each time I'd become a member here, about every 2 years or so. At some point I replied and we actually spoke on the phone, but I decided that we didn't have enough in common to continue and just faded away. Here we are half way through 2012 and the saga continues. We may both be looking for the last great love of our lives, but it is not each other. I don't mean this in an evil, mean way, but I'm just not into you. 

Dutch Ovens

Addendum:  It appears that Alzheimer's is a constant threat at this age and anyone can be the victim of it, as displayed in the next email from this poor loony woman. Read on:

I wish you best of luck in your continued search!

I am now in a very happy relationship with someone very special.

The best of luck to you.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The iPhone 4S Crisis

I knew when I read the Steve Jobs book that I would some day own an iPhone. I looked forward to it, but felt bad giving up my Blackberry while it was still in it's youth. It was replaced for me at no charge after jumping through some Costco/ AT&T hoops, after I mistakenly sat on it, cracking the face. Believe me, a Blackberry with a cracked face is worthless. So with my Blackberry being only 15 months old, it finally displayed a day of disappointment by going dead unexpectedly around 7 PM. Ah ha, I declared, you're useless to me and started my quest for an iPhone.

I looked on the Internet for a location close to me and found one at the Scottsdale Quarter that was a full blown Apple Store. Wait, there's an AT&T Express at 8778 E. Shea and that's only a mile away. So on day two of my search, I finally walked through the doors of a place that was soon to be a regular stop. I upgraded and for only $217 including tax, I was switched into an iPhone 4S, top of the line. Remembering that I was 66, I refrained from skipping out of the store with my new "score"! It really didn't take long to realize my new phone sucked. I was talking with an old friend when I started dropping the call repeatedly and soon learned that was to be a constant with my iPhone. I think it was around day 4 or 5 that I finally called AT&T for advice and was told to return the phone to the store where I bought it and ask for a new one, because Apple replaces defective phones for 30 days after purchase without any explanation. So the following day, I went back to my AT&T Express and was turned down cold! I was told that they probably thought that I'd purchased it at Apple and that is where it needs to go, as Apple handles all of the exchanges. Knowing that it would be a major project to go to the Scottsdale Quarter on a Friday night, I postponed it until Monday morning. In the meanwhile, my phone continued to disappoint me with poor calls and dropped calls. Monday, I trudged to Apple and entered the store to see it as busy as I would have expected on the weekend. I was greeted by a greeter and told to wait near the iPhone display for the next available associate. I did and waited about 15 minutes when a young girl accidentally made eye contact and caught my wrath. I politely asked how much longer I'd need to wait there. She asked for my first name and introduced herself as Ariole. I immediately though of her as a nipple. Poor girl, what a name to go through life with? For some reason, Ariole invited me to join her and her customer at a table as she finished up with them. To say that I felt like a fifth leg on a chair would be accurate. The couple finally left and I had Ariole's full attention which turned out to be inadequate. I told her that my phone dropped about every call and I'd had a Blackberry at the same location and didn't have that problem with AT&T and the nice lady at AT&T told me to return it to the place where I purchased it and that they told me to take it here. Ariole left with my story and my phone. I saw her talking to another kid about 20 years old and she returned to tell me that it didn't come from their inventory, thus they cannot exchange it. 

Now I was getting pister and pister and chose to laugh instead of exploding at poor Ariole who didn't do anything wrong, besides tell me bad news. I asked her who gave her that decision and she said it was her coworker. I suggested she go to a manager and ask them very nicely to come and talk to me. I could see that I was operating at the wrong level. Ariole had me wait about 45 minutes that time when she returned telling me that she spoke with the inventory manager and he agreed, that since it did not come from their inventory, it couldn't be replaced and I needed to go back where I bought it and return it. She even showed me their return policy stating precisely that. I don't know about you, but I HATE this type of thing!

I had some other errands to run, like I took the battery out of my Corvette and needed to replace it at Costco. I was told by Costco to bring in the old one, as it may still be under warranty. That made me happy! When I got to Costco, with my car battery in tow, I was disappointed again as he told me that my battery looks new, but it didn't come from Costco, so it was worth $9 for a core exchange. Oh well, not their problem. He sent me to the tire section which seemed to be about a mile away, where they told me exactly what size of their battery that I needed, but they didn't have one in stock, however Paradise Valley store has 7 of them. So it was off to PV Mall for a new battery. 

It was then that I realized how my day was going and "wild goose chasing" did come to mind. I think I built up a little anger as I drove back to the AT&T Express to ask if they thought I was going to just give up? I entered the store and was told by some guy to wait while he worked on his computer, but I was in no mood to be told to wait for anything! I ignored his request and asked for young Josh, my salesman manager. They're all managers at AT&T. He told me that Josh was in the back and all I said was to, get him! Before he could go in the back and get Josh, I asked if Josh were new? He said no, Josh is a manager. I laughed. Now here comes Josh, about 22 years old with one of those kids haircuts where his eyes are covered with hair. I laid into him and let him know how unhappy I was and that he cannot keep sending me elsewhere, I'm staying right here until I get what I want. Suddenly some fat guy has his 2 cents to put into it and I ask who he is? He says he's the district manager and I burst out laughing, of course you are! He wanted to know what my phone is doing and I told him I was tired of telling people that are not going to do anything for me. I think he sensed my anger. He went into the back while I reamed out little Josh some more. Finally "Porky" comes out of the back and tells me to go back to the Apple Store at Scottsdale Quarter and ask for Melissa, she's the store manager. I took the card and left. I could see I wasn't going to get anywhere with these two nimrods and my new plan was to contact Chase Bank to stop payment on my purchase. I wasn't dead in the water yet.

The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome, so I was not going back to the Apple Store. I decided to call Melissa and see if there was a reason to go there. I made it though their menu and was told by a machine that there were 5 calls ahead of me, but what choice did I have? I waited on "advertising hold" what seemed to an eternity and made it all the way down to me being next, when the phone chimed that familiar chime to indicate a dropped call. I was frinkin' FURIOUS! That's when I called AT&T and waded through their menu and got Margaret. Margaret waited online while she went through the waiting period and came back to me every 5 minutes of so until our call dropped, but she called me back. She told me that she had Melissa on the line and she introduced me. Melissa told me that if I come in, but only after making an appointment, she will make sure I am given a service phone, at no charge. I asked what a service phone was and was told it was a refurbished one. That's when I screamed into the phone that I just paid for a brand new one and I slammed the phone down on stupid Melissa! I was done, put a fork in me! Margaret called me back, assuming I had dropped the call and tried to sell me on the advantages of a service phone. My called repeatedly dropped on her and I finally just stopped answering it. 

I was fuming mad now and decided to call Joshy and let him know just how inadequate the whole operation was and my intention was to stop payment on the purchase, when she said he'd call me back in 5 minutes. That 5 minutes came and went a couple of times when Margaret called again and suggested I just try to unwind my deal and confessed that my problem was that I didn't buy my phone from an AT&T Corporate store, but an independent dealer. I asked how I would know that and she said, I wouldn't but they don't play by the same rules. 

I called Josh back and he said he had a plan. He was not allowed to accept my phone back for being defective, as they cannot get credit for it. That's how Apple has it set up. However I can exchange it for a different color, is white alright? What? That's all I have to do is ask for a different color? I told him I'd be there in 10 minutes and was. They packaged up my defective black phone like it was new and I feel sorry for the next guy that buys it!

In the middle of this story, my new white phone just rang and it was Dee. We chatted for about 20 minutes and she didn't tell me that my phone sucked even once! I think I like her.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chipolti, Small Fry and a Value Drink... $4.47

Not far from the new location that I reside at, is a Jack in the Box. I used to frequent this same Jack in the Box in 1974, when I first moved here. I'd be on my way home from work in Old Scottsdale and remember that the conversation with my wife included me picking up dinner from Jack on my way home. So this particular location holds some pretty old memories, mostly that when I got home, my order was never right. Being hungry one day, I searched the neighborhood for some fast food. I found an Arby's immediately, but that place has never been a favorite. Driving a little farther, I spotted my old Jack in the Box at 71st St. and Shea and pulled in. I went inside because I had no idea what their menu offered and knew it might take awhile. I spotted the Chipolti sandwich, which is deep friend chicken breast, heavily breaded on toasted sour dough bread, with cheese, bacon and a special sauce that was hotter than a firecracker. I liked it! I ordered it with a medium sized fry and diet Coke and the price came to $5.94. I carried it home and savored every crunchy bite. The following day, being a creature of habit, I did the same thing. Day 2 it came to $8.03.......huh? I reiterated what I wanted and tried ordering it without a drink, after all I had Diet Coke at home. Now it was $7.68. I got tired of arguing with a Hispanic girl trying to speak into a mic and trying to understand her, so I drove to the window. There was an American kid, who had waited on me the previous day and for some reason he remembered me. Whatever he said to the girl didn't matter, but suddenly the price was $5.94. I was happy, or at least content. The next day was moving day and Brad and I stopped guess where? Brad went to the restroom to wash his mover's hands and I ordered us 2 Chipoti's with small fries. Now it was $10.55 for 2.

A few days later I had the craving for spicy again and went to me favorite Deep fried chicken sandwich place and there was my friend the American kid. Doesn't it seem funny that in this country I have to describe him by "American Kid"? He remembered me and said he liked my car. I have a Volvo convertible. He leaned over and told me that if I order my Chipolti with a "Value Drink" (it's actually a size small with 16 ounces) I can have my order for $4.47. I'm thinking that at this rate, in practically no time, they'll be paying me to order it! No wonder people hate old folks! Tell your friends!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day with 3 Generations, Plus One...

Today, a Hallmark Day, a day created by the retail industry to increase business in any way they can get it, still it's somehow become an American tradition. Not feeding into this ridiculous holiday, we simply all spent the day together. My son Brad, famous for overextending himself, scheduled himself with 36 hours of obligations in only 24 hours and some of that had to be for sleep. His first text came at about 7:54 and it read, "U up?" I'd been up since about 6:30, but was just laying in bed reading emails on my new phone. I replied, "Kinda"... Then the phone rang and it was Brad calling from his position on the bathroom throne, where he explained that he'd spent most of the night with possible food poisoning. Then he explained that he couldn't rent the trailer we were going to rent, because he remembered that he promised Kylie, his step daughter, that he'd have breakfast with her and Max. See, Brad's a father and a step father too. Then, he was expected to be at the skating rink where Max is scheduled for his first summer league hockey game from 1:15 to 2:15, but I was welcome to come to that, but to dress warm. Dress warm??? It's supposed to be 115 today. Was he serious? Yes, he explained, it's about 45 degrees in the rink area and to bring a jacket. 

I think the last time I saw young Kylie was Christmas of 07 and she was a feisty 18 years old. I was always fond of Kylie. She came into our lives when she was about 10 years old and I recall her always being likable. I didn't really expect to see her today, but was pleasantly surprised when I did. 

After falling into a deep snooze in my reclining chair after eating a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, I was rudely awakened by barking dogs, which I remembered was my "alert" I'd chosen for receiving a text message. The text said, we're in the bleachers up and to the left. I looked at my clock and it was 1:10 already. I leaped out of my chair and ran to my car where the temperature read 113 already and started driving to the skating rink. Good thing I left a jacket in the back seat from 6 months ago, huh?

After getting lost only once, I found the place just where they left it. I entered and found Brad sitting in the bleachers next to this tall thin shapely woman who turned out to be Kylie at 23 and all grown up! She gave me a warm welcoming and told me how she was 23 now, after I commented on how mature she was. Naturally I told her I was 66 and so went the early portion of the day. 

As the afternoon went on, I became more and more impressed with what I saw. This young lady had blossomed into one of the nicest people I'd ever met. In addition to that, she had that maternal attitude towards Max, her young step brother,15 years her junior. Kylie is a junior at ASU and works a job at the same time, as a food server at an upscale Scottsdale steak house.

Watching about 20, 8 year old kids play hockey was quite an interesting afternoon. After that, it took about 20 minutes to get Max out of his equipment, when we headed back to Brad's house for Max to take a shower and wind down. I got to see Brad's outdoor kitchen I'd been hearing about and reunite with the two dogs. 

From there we went to the Scottsdale Quarter for lunch at a sea food place who's name escapes me. I really don't like sea food, but was outnumbered by sushi lovers. Watching Kylie order wine reminded me of how long it had been since she was 10. I really enjoyed my Father's Day outing, but Kylie was the biggest surprise of all!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Introducing the iPhone 4S

It was a sad day in Scottsdale today. The decision was made to eliminate the Blackberry and go with something more into the 21st century. I recently read the Steve Jobs book and was more or less convinced that the iPhone was going to be my next acquisition. This decision was not made frivolously, but I actually called 2 Droid users and got their opinions. They both agreed that the iPhone would be more fun. I actually set out yesterday looking for an AT&T Store that seem to be everywhere when you're not looking for one, but when you are, all you see are "for rent" signs where they used to be.

I parked my car right at the front door, as there was not another customer in sight. I walked in the front door and there stood 3 ready salesmen in the "Striking" position. Why did this seem so familiar and where did I see these 3 young men before. I startled them by yelling, "Who's UP is it"? Just then the youngest of them, about 22 approached me saying, "Are you here to buy a new phone, sir"? I just looked at him for about 5 seconds and said, "No, I'm here to drop off my dry cleaning"! I could see from their confusion that they were not my speed, so I eased up on them and suddenly it occurred to me. These guys I have been seeing all of my life. I didn't recognize them specifically, they they were nothing but a group of "Green Pea" car salesmen that figured out a way to get inside, out of the burning Arizona sun, but that same mentality. All three had name tags and the word manager above it. That same, "I need this sale to make my quota" attitude.

I bought an iPhone 4S, the one that John Malcovich advertises on TV. The phone that tells jokes. I have no idea what I'm doing and I spent the entire afternoon pressing buttons, just to see what happens. I think I was in the voice mail area when suddenly the lady inside of it awakened and said, "Tell me what you're trying to do"! I got so scared, I almost shit my pants. I put it back on the table for about 2 hours before trying it again. If she shows up again, I'm calling the cops! At least I made it to the 21st century.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Those Crazy "OUT of STATE" Doctors...

I finally got that pesky line removed from my chest. Turns out it was never going to grow a nipple and without that it was just silly looking. I got a call from Tiffany at the Surgi-center and she scheduled me for 2 PM on Wednesday, but after doing that, she called back and said Dr. Harvey was pretty adamant about getting it out TODAY, Tuesday. So she said 3 PM and they'd squeeeeze me in.  Cool. So I got there on time and parked on the 3rd floor of a medical building parking lot, only to find a bridge right to their front door. How cool! About 15 minutes later, a nurse came to the door and called my name as well as another man with a walker, who proceeded to race me to the door. I could have beat him, but why? We went inside and she asked me my birthday and I got pretty excited thinking just maybe they were throwing me a birthday party, but no. The old guy in the walker was born in 1924. I just got beaten by an 88 year old, the bastard! He probably went home and bragged to his wife that he beat out a mere kid of 66. 

They sent us to private dressing rooms and we were told to remove everything from the waist up and to put on the gowns. Shit, I HATE the gowns! Then there were blue things to put on over my thongs and a funny looking shower cap to keep my hair from infecting everyone. I yelled through the door to the pretty nurse that sent me in there, "Do I put the blue things on over my thongs"? She yelled back, "No they're for your shoes"! HUH? I yelled back, "Not that kind of thong!"

At some point, after a brief history of me, they all gathered around to see what I had and it caused a great deal of confusion. It was determined that it was a mere PICC line, but they decided to get the medical description from the surgeon that installed it and that took forever. I heard one nurse say, "Should we even take him into the room"? I suggested using the "room" because the parking lot was full. Believe it or not, sometimes my sarcasm is not appreciated by anyone but me. This was probably one of those times. More time went by when a woman that claimed to be a doctor approached me and from her looks and accent, I couldn't determine if she were Asian or Middle Eastern. I also couldn't determine what she was saying. Finally it was conveyed to me that they were trying to determine how long the line was, so they were sure to get it all. Seemed like a good idea to me. Okay, show time!

I was escorted by 2 of the prettiest young ladies to what was referred to as the "Room" and it was frickin' freezing in there. If my PICC line had had a nipple, it would have been at full mast! I asked the temperature and was told it was 53 degrees. And me with no shirt! I laid down on what was the operating table and my feet were higher than my head and the whole damned thing was freezing cold. More waiting, still no report on my crazy line. Finally the Asian/Middle Eastern doctor lady came in and said, no Lidocain will be needed. Just what I wanted to hear. I'd had another one of these things removed once and it hurt like hell. Then she puts a towel over my right side of my face and I'm instructed to look the other way. I suspect this is because I won't be able to identify them in court. Let the hurting begin. I refused to make a single sound, although it was just like being cut without any numbing agent. I could feel warm blood running down my side until it was wiped by the nurse. Suddenly the doctor lady asked for Lidocain......finally! But it never got a chance to work, as she continued. After about 5 or 7 minutes, I heard her say, "All done". What a relief, I had winced so much my face was permanently wrinkled and that's my story and I'm stinking to it!

It turns out it was a good thing they didn't let Monkey Girl Carol remove it, as it was a different sort of line. It was a cuffed PICC line and no one had ever seen one before. I explained that the surgeon that put it in was from out of state and that seemed to pacify the nurses.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Shame on UPS!

I was patiently waiting in the doctor's office for Iron infusion, after being asked another of those stooopid questions by the receptionist. I checked in and then heard my name called, so I yelled back, "WHAT"? It got a giggle by a few fellow patients and eventually I moseyed up to the receptionist and announced my presence. She asked for my insurance card and asked if I'm still with Medicare???? All I could do was stare at her and say, "How could I not be, unless I became too young to be eligible?" That's when it happened. I looked into her eyes and saw the Ferris wheel going around and around. I decided to just tell her, yes and avoid any further explanation.

As I was re-seating myself after that unfortunate exchange, I noticed a nurse came out and called a name. Just then, a man in a motorized wheel chair began his unexpected approach to the interior offices, but cut his turn too short and dragged the chair behind me in with him, but leaving it blocking his way in his final approach. I stood and cleared it out of his way, so he could continue his trip inside. I replaced the chair where it came from and winked at a man about my age sitting across from and said, "Student Driver". He smiled back and nothing more was said.

At some point I was also taken inside and administered Iron into my soon to be removed "PORT". I was then sent out to wait 30 minutes to see if I was to have any sort of reaction, according to federal law. When I returned to the waiting room, there sat my my wheel chaired friend, clearly in the path of the front door and as it turned out, he was waiting for Dial-a Ride. Just then, UPS pulled up in front of the door, blocking the parking lot, like they do. The driver hopped out and started loading boxes into his hands until they were about 3 or 4 tall, with a large flat box balancing on top and under his chin. Before anyone could predict the disaster about to occur, he tripped over the man with the wheel chair, pouring all of his boxes on the poor guys head. Without a word said, the UPS driver got up, reloaded his boxes in the same proven to be bad way and continued on his way to the inner offices. There sat the wheel chair guy, with birds still flying around his head, confused to say the least, when Dial-a-Ride came in and wheeled him away. My mouth was fully opened in the middle of a major WTF?

Too Many Loose Ends!

In an eleventh hour save, I awakened to a text message and a voicemail, not to mention that as soon as I turned on my phone, it was Dr. Harvey calling to tell me NOT to allow Nurse Carol remove my line, as it is indeed not a PICC line, but a port and it requires a doctor to remove it safely in a surgical setting and that he would arrange that for me today, Monday. After successfully completing a dream of me surviving the procedure, I awakened and waited for a phone call. At 10 AM, I became impatient and texted Dr. Harvey, "What time and where?" He replied almost immediately that it was just what he was working on and it doesn't seem like he can easily schedule me at either the Surgi-center or Good Sam for today. I texted him back, "This is precisely why I didn't want to get sick in the first place, too many loose ends"!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sixty Bucks a Visit...

If you've been following my poor health issues of late, you'll not need to be brought up to date, but here is the 50 cent version for newcomers. 
After being diagnosed with Diverticulitis in late March, I was discharged, had a relapse and assigned too a second session of antibiotics for an additional 14 days, yuck! During that stay, each medical person that listened to my heart was taken aback by the loud murmur that didn't seem to be there prior. I visited the cardiologist and he ordered me directly to the hospital without passing go. It was determined that I had endocarditis or an infection of my heart, some  pretty serious stuff. I was given Vancomyacin and a second antibiotic through a PICC line installed directly into my carotid artery. The amount that I was given, was not regulated and it caused kidney failure or Vancomycin poisoning. After an additional 8 days in the hospital, I was again released and this time assigned a different home nurse, actually 3 different ones until one stuck. Her name was Chimpanzee Lady, but I refer to her as Carol. Whew!

I received a text message that it's been 4 weeks of antibiotics now and Saturday, tomorrow, will be my last day of infusion and Nurse Carol will be here to remove my PICC line. This by itself almost caused me a heart attack. Carol walks like a Chimpanzee from side to side. She is 68 years old and cannot remember to bring all of her equipment into the house on the first try, ever! She seems to have a slight tremor in her hands and boasts of having just lost 160 lbs leaving her a chunky 150 at 5 feet tall. Carol is from my home town and we actually knew some of the same people. The last time she was here, she forgot that and it was like explaining it to her all over again. 

Now I did mention that my PICC line is in my carotid artery and feeds directly into my heart. I'm a little worried and with good reason, that something just might go wrong and I will have to just bleed out. No back up plan, no sterile atmosphere, no misc doctors walking the halls, just Carol and me. I sent the following text message to Dr. Harvey this afternoon and did not receive a reply, but still expect to get one. This is my text:
Is having shaky, side stepping, forgetful, 68 year old Nurse Carol remove my PICC line similar to having Steven Hawkins teach me to dance???

I did mention to Carol that chances are she wouldn't be needed to come and get my Vancomycin levels through blood draws anymore until Friday for the PICC removal, assuming I haven't convinced the doctor to find someone else and she replied, "I'll come if they ask me to, you're worth 60 bucks a visit!"

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Then, In Walks Roberta!

It was a day like any other day, boring, long, restless and full of obligations, mostly to myself in getting well. The phone rang and it was Carol, my chimpanzee nurse. She announced her intent to come over and was it okay if she brought a new potential employee. Someone she was training. Certainly, no problem was my answer. That was my first mistake. Fifteen minutes later they were at the front door and when I made the mistake of letting them in, I was introduced to Roberta, who almost ran over poor Carol to get to me first to orchestrate her own introduction. She chased me into the room where my infusion usually takes place, talking over anyone that even thought of making a sound. I sat down in my reclining chair, where Roberta occupied my personal space, something I despise. 

With her ugly fat face about 2 inches from mine, she told me that she had heard about and read about my plight and that all she can say is that she has gone through almost the same type of loss herself. She recently lost her voice and could not sing lullabies to her new grand baby. Really, really??? Roberta told me that she used to be a hospice nurse for many years and suddenly I remembered why I recognized her and also hated her. She just kept on babbling and telling me how sorry she was about my life. I think it was right around that time that I maxed out on Roberta and told her point blank, "DO NOT PATRONIZE ME"!!! You'd think that she would have backed off, but no. She continued to apologize and if for any reason I thought she were patronizing me, I was wrong. She's just very caring... At this point, Carol got up off the floor where Roberta had pushed her to get to me first. Carol said something to the effect of lets move things along with my antibiotics. Roberta once again took charge and believe it or not, she was instructing Carol on how to do things.

It was then during an appreciated quiet moment that it occurred to me that I'd seen this abortion before and I asked her if she knew MJ Roberts (NMS) from Hospice of the Valley? Roberta got that, "I'm gonna tell a lie" look on her face and said, I don't remember coworkers names, just faces. A lot of people are that way.

Shortly after that, we were finished with my drug infusion and Roberta got up, and with that going away voice, said goodbye. She wished me luck in my effort and told me that she may never see me again. I looked her straight in the eye and said, "I'm counting on that!" 

The following day, about 45 minutes before Carol was due, I sent her a text message. It said, "Do not bring that woman here again. If she's with you, I will not let you in. If she is with you, drop her at a gas station or just sitting in the desert sun. Thank You, Mel" Carol did not know how to send a text, but was laughing when she arrived.

I Used to Get Laid a Lot part 4...

I made it home by Sunday of last week and just relaxed that day I think. The following day, Brad picked me up along with Max and the 3 of us went to a surprise lunch at the Jade Garden at 92nd and Shea. The owner, Leon is a friend of Brad's and we sat at the bar and ordered lunch while Brad and Leon talked shop. Without knowing it, all three of we Fishers ordered precisely the same thing for lunch, shrimp with vegetables in the white sauce. Kind of an "ah ha" moment. Max sat between Brad and I and continually harassed me while I ate, and finally stole my last shrimp when I wasn't looking. 

We finished and to my surprise, Max and I ate exactly the same items on our plates and each left the triangular cheese puffs and 1/2 of our egg rolls (a little too greasy). We didn't have a chance to see what Brad left, his plate was clean! Brad picked up the tab and we headed out to make our trip to my former place of residence to get as much as possible. The day was rather pleasant up until then. Work was now on the agenda. We filled his SUV with as much as possible and headed out without incident. Came to the new digs and unloaded.

In spite of the fact that I've been in the hospital 3 different times in 30 days, I'm still required to have a home care nurse come daily to administer antibiotics through my PICC line. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the firm that was chosen was of Filipino descent. First it was a polite 49 year old 5' woman named Dalia, then one day she called and said she couldn't make it, but was trying to get someone else to substitute. Well, that was just not acceptable. My success on beating this bug that has attacked my heart is a regiment of antibiotics on a precise schedule. I called her boss and he promised to get me someone. Suddenly, a ring at the door and there stands another Filipino, this time a young man, again really short, under 5 feet tall. He came in and immediately started telling me that he refused to use the equipment that the company had supplied, that the pump they gave me is the worst one on the market and that Dalia had been doing every-fucking-thing wrong! He was surprised she didn't kill me. By this time, all I did was listen. I know from experience of life that when someone comes on that aggressively towards a coworker, it usually more personal that true. The following day, Dalia showed up again and I had to question her methods. Her mouth fell open and she told me that she had trained the young man. That's when I fired them all.

This was the point where I had to return to the hospital for drug poisoning of an overdose of Vancomycin. When I was discharged, 8 days later the topic of home care once again surface and I insisted upon a new home care company. Along came CJ's Home Care. Now I'm at the Scottsdale location and a lady calls and asks some appropriate questions and tell me what time she will arrive. She calls me from the front door and I answer the door and let her in. She takes one look at the large sprawling house and says, some fucking house! I think she used the F work 2 more times before we even reached my room. Her name was Lindy and Lindy was all about herself. I learned she was a widow, this tall 5'11" overweight Amazon with pants that were too tight. She talked about her lifestyle and all the things she was into, when suddenly Karin came in and joined us in bed. That's when I gasped and said, "Oh my God, this is my dream come true. Two beautiful women in my bed at the same time". Lindy said, yeah, too bad you're not going to get laid! We all had a good manage' toi laugh. They laughed harder than me.

Lindy became a problem in no time flat. She'd be late, not want to come at all, tell me that I can learn to do this myself and other unhelpful things. Monday morning I'm coming back from Sonora Quest getting blood drawn, because Lindy didn't want to come and I get a call from some other woman saying she's my new nurse and what drugs do I usually receive? I just about hung up on her. Too much confusion over what should have been a simple job. I asked her if she had my address and she said yes. I told her to meet me there to discuss anything. I was fed up. What ever happened to Lindy, the F lady? When I arrived home, I was talking with Brad on the phone, explaining my disgust, (he's a good listener) and to my chagrin, someone had set the alarm on the house and I wasn't sure if I remembered to code. I didn't and a screeching siren went off that you could hear blocks away and a sign that lit up saying motion in the kitchen. Yeah, it was me running in circles, looking for Karin's phone number! Fortunately she picked up and it turns out I was only off by one number. I went to my room and changed clothes. My phone rang and it was the new woman Carol at the front door. When I opened it, she said, why are the police here? Huh??? I looked over at the side door and there was a rather tall cop peeking in through the window. I slammed the door on Carol and went to the cop to explain. All the while I was expecting him to yell, "Get on the ground" but it didn't happen. He explained that he was there to check on a nurses call and no answer. Just to make sure I was okay. By the way, I'm told that safety check cost $100. That's when I remembered carol baking in the sun out front.

I opened the door and let Carol in who introduced herself as Nurse Carol. The first thing I said to her was if she intended to be my nurse, she'd better drop that name to just Carol. She agreed, saying she didn't want to be confused with one of my girlfriends. No chance of that. Carol was under 5 feet tall (again) American and wearing a purple sweat suit and walked from side to side, just like a ..................Chimpanzee. She wore a bowl cut haircut and was about 68 years old, it turns out. The next thing I asked was, whatever happened to Lindy? She explained that Lindy was just weekend help and that she is my regular nurse. I told her that I'm prepared to fire her and her company for lack of communication. Carol said this: I live close by, I only take on 2 or 3 patients at a time and I understand your needs. Then she asked why the police were here. I told her it was a security check and told her she just got the job. She said, good!

Carol has been pretty good, but it turns out she doesn't like to work weekends, but at least gave me enough instruction on how to do it myself, some of the easy stuff anyway. Carol is from Glencoe, Ill and worked at Saks in Old Orchard when Harvey, Barry, and I worked there in 1963 or 64. She's even Jewish, but still walks like a Chimpanzee. Today I found out why, Carol just lost 160 pounds after a gastric bypass! Wow!

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Used to Get Laid a Lot, part 3.

When I left off, I was hiding from the reality that I knew had to take place. I called Dr. Harvey and turned myself in like the hospital parolee that I was. As I figured, he wanted me to do an immediate blood test to show the level of creatinine in my blood, or in layman's terms, the percentage of impurities that should have been filtered by my kidneys. When I left the hospital I was at a base level of about 1.7, pretty high, but my normal. Suddenly I was recorded at 2.7, a full point higher and entering the danger zone. Dr. Harvey ordered me back to the hospital where dialysis was available at a moment's notice, if needed. I did my usual negotiation. I told him that I refused to go, that I had too many things going on right now with my move and he needed to figure out another plan. He agreed to let me stay out of the hospital if I agreed to get my blood tested everyday, which is no easy feat while moving and having to be available for the nurses visit everyday. The first day, my level dropped to 2.5 and the following day it skyrocketed to 3.6, then in the hospital 3.8. After just one full day at the new location, I had to turn myself in at Good Sam's again! Many of my belongings are still at the old location, even today.

I was told that I had to consider my priorities and staying alive was definitely a priority. I waited until after rush hour and drove to the hospital like a man that going back to prison. When I checked in, the same young girl was there and to my embarrassment, she knew my name and shocked to see me back again. She had all my information at her fingertips and I pretty much just sat there while she checked me in. As we walked to my new destination on the 9th floor, the kidney and liver floor, we passed one of her coworkers who asked what happened, why am I back?

I got there about 8 PM and after being diagnosed with dehydration and Vancomycin poisoning and somehow, I couldn't get a cup of water until about 2 AM. It turns out I wasn't in the computer and was not assigned a nurse. All I got were lies from the guy I'd keep catching in the hall, a male nurse that wanted nothing to do with me. Finally I said, "Hey man, this is the desert, get me some water"! That brought me a Styrofoam cup of water, all I wanted. I was never offered my medications that night, so I took my own that I'd had the good sense to pack.

By now you're probably wondering what Vancomycin poisoning is. Vancomycin is a very powerful antibiotic that they use for fighting off infections in the heart, or endocarditis. I take that along with a second regiment of drugs that I am able to inject myself. I had evidently taken way too much of this first drug, causing my kidneys to shut down. The thing that bothers me is, knowing that I'm in stage 4 kidney failure, why wasn't it monitored to begin with? After 8 more days in the hospital, my kidney began performing again and are now at a healthy level for me, however one of the duties of the visiting nurse is to check my blood levels daily and my dose has been reduced to less than half.

Lets talk about my new roommate. As I walked into room 904-2, a window view this time, I passed my new roommate laying in his bed. I nodded hello, but got no response. My roomie was an American Indian wearing a stocking cap over his entire head, swollen to indescribable size and of a nondescript age. I couldn't tell of this guy were 20 or 60, he was that swollen.

I've been told that I'm judgemental. I'm not so sure that being judgemental is a bad thing. It keeps us safe and is one of the reasons we don't go running out into traffic or in general avoid trouble. Knowing that my roommate is a full blooded American Indian, DID make me think of my credit cards and wondered how safe they'd be if I were in the shower, but my poor roomie was too ill to even speak, let alone get out of bed and perform a robbery. I also refused to think that he was a victim of the dreaded fire-water or alcohol abuse, although I immediately thought of it, because I'm judgemental, dammit!

I learned my roommate's name was Preston and he'd been here a long time. Everyday, several generations of family would come to visit Preston and would not say a word to me of any sort, in spite of my attempts at being cordial. They just look down and ignore me. One old woman and she must have been the grandmother, would full on peek at me and when she did, I'd yell BOO! That would keep her on her own side of the curtain for awhile. His family was from a small town called Page in Arizona, would only stay a short time and leave without any endearment, just slip away. I knew that Preston could speak, as he'd soil the bed every few hours by yelling to a nurse, "A little slipped out"! That became my warning to get up and take a walk...

Around day 4, Preston was feeling better and his therapist decided it was time for him to walk. He did 8 circles of the nurses desk area and wouldn't shut up once he started talking. Preston was feeling good. My first question was to ask him how old he was? Thirty three was his reply and of course, what are you in for? His reply kind of startled me. He said, "partying too much." Now what makes me think I'm judgemental?

The following day, Preston was moved to another room, his mother thought he'd do better if he had a window. I was in solitary bliss for about 4 hours when suddenly it was announced I was getting a new roommate. It was about 10 PM and suddenly Wally appeared. Wally was a 79 year old gay man suffering from dementia and a bladder issue. He was a nice enough guy, but would ramble stories of his life at a volume that was too low to hear. It became background noise. If he'd ask me a question, I'd yell, "what" and fill in the blank. It turned out that old Wally was HIV positive and was from a town called Lincolnwood, Illinois, just next door to Skokie, where I was from, but his family moved away in 1951. He told me of the Blue laws in our home towns. He told me that back then, Blacks and Jew were not allowed out after dark in Lincolnwood, kind of his way of letting me know he was anti-Semitic. Just for giggles, I Googled it and there was no such law. Sharing a bathroom with an HIV person bothered me, but since Wally never seemed to make it as far as the bathroom, it wasn't too much of a risk. When Wally wet the bed, he would cause a commotion of different sorts, like he lost his wallet and he thinks someone stole it. They'd show him his wallet and then they'd notice he was wet and needed a bed change.

Somehow, I became one of Wally servants. He's press the nurses button and no would respond in a timely way, because he was always the boy who cried wolf. So he'd yell, "Mel, get the nurse, quick"! So I would... It was a chance to get out of bed and away from Wally for a few minutes. The funniest one was when he called me over because they had stolen his glasses. He'd looked everywhere, in the drawer, on his table, all over his bed and they were nowhere to be found. I let him finish and casually told him he was wearing his glasses. He checked and decided I was right!

So between, "A Little Slipped Out" and "They stole My Glasses", my room smelled like the men's toilet at a retirement home, pretty much all the time... The best part about the incarceration in the hospital was the nurses and nurses assistants. Several of them hung out in my room to kill time and I appreciated the company. The worst part, sad to say were the staff doctors. They literally didn't know their asses from holes in the ground. after my blood levels would come in, someone or the other would inform me of their current standing. The 4 different doctors would visit me and give me 4 different reports. I used to argue, but learned to just smile and say thank you. The day that my creatinine level went from 3.6 to 2.1, Dr. Harvey called and was elated. Twenty minutes later an Asian Doctor came in telling me he was from Dr. Harvey's same office, he looked at a clip board for a few seconds, report there was no change in my levels and left. I said nothing. He clearly never got the latest report.

They day I was to be discharged, a nurse came in and asked why I thought I was going home today. Smiling, I said because all my doctor's have told me. She replied that Dr. Middle Eastern guy has me scheduled for surgery! Do you think I saw RED? What are the taking this time, an arm, a leg? The doctor, having seen I was scheduled for him drug infusion, ordered a PICC line installed in my arm. I asked the nurse what I should do with this PICC line I already have, sew it up? It turned out this little asshole was on the floor and when he came in, he was about 5' 5" tall and apologized for not checking first and assured me that it would not have ever taken place. Somehow, I couldn't even raise a smile for him. Turns out that after 8 days in the hospital, he found it necessary to get a stool sample from me so the medicare bill could go a little higher. I told him that i he needed a stool sample, get some scuba gear and go look for it! He left... I firmly believe that patients going to a hospital require some sort of patient advocate. It should be mandatory...

There's more, to be continued...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I Used to Get Laid a Lot, part 2.

When I left off last time, I had just had a PICC line installed into my chest and I think that before the dust cleared from my head it was already 2 PM. I had been promised that after that procedure I'd be free to go. I was returned to my room by means of a gurney with a cute female driver, I might add, my favorite type of transportation. As we would cruise the hallways of the hospital, I'd lay very still and when we'd approach civilians coming to visit friends and family, I'd come from the dead, which is what they all think they're going to see, to shock them with a friendly hello! I think one old lady soiled herself.

So I'm delivered to my room and immediately begin to dress for discharge when some nurse tells me, not so fast, they still don't have the necessary okays to release me, but assures me it's just a matter of paperwork. It might take a few hours, because the doctor that installed my PICC line didn't fill out his paperwork properly. Well, I'm not always real tactful when I'm pissed, so I explained as nicely as I could that I am not a prisoner here and paperwork or not, it's really not my problem, because once I get my pants and 2 shoes on, I'm leaving! I dressed as slowly as humanly possible, but as I said my goodbye to Fred and walked out to the nurses area, I received the looks that a non-conformist would receive. Suddenly, I nurse that was on the phone yelled out, "Let him go, I got the release signed". I smiled, said my thank you's and goodbye's and split. As the elevator door closed on the 5th floor at Good Sam's, I heard an audible, WHEW!

I took my car out of valet parking, another nice touch for patients and took the long ride home to Glendale for one of the last times, as the move was the next thing in order. I arrived around 3 PM, peed and hit the ground running. Brad and my 8 year old grandson Max showed up for the moving portion of today's entertainment and we loaded my new truck and and prepared for the first load to North Scottsdale. One of the things that was scheduled, was to transport my old 85 Red Corvette that had been in storage all year, to it's new home in Scottsdale. I asked Brad if it was okay if he drove the truck and Max rode with me? With his approval, Max and I took off. I drove while Max asked the questions that an 8 year old might ask. Do you like Corvette's, do you like red? Are we almost there? Suddenly, he tells me to turn down the treble. I have no idea of what he refers to. I said, what treble? The treble on the radio, he replies. I tell him that I don't know how! He points to the treble adjustment on the radio and says, right there! Humph, I comply, He says, better. You know I've had this car for over 10 years now, and no one has ever complained about the treble!

Now Max is reading a book as we ride and I'm sure that he's strapped in properly as I keep looking over at him in complete disbelief that he is mine, one generation removed. My nose, my hair, my eyes, even my big ears. I said to Max, you know we seem to have the same kind of ears? He looks up from his book and looks at my flopping ears and says, yeah and looks back down at the book. I ask him if that's all he has to say about the subject  and he puts the book down on his lap and just stares at me for about 5 seconds and says. "You want me to make a big deal about it?" Yep, he's got my sarcastic personality too! (poor guy) Brad tells me that he's the class clown and that sounds very familiar to me, hmm....

We arrive at our destination without incident except that Max got a big kick out of us pulling up next to his dad driving a different vehicle and making wise cracks to him at red lights. When we got there, Brad did most of the heavy lifting, as my frail body has seen better days while I gasped for air in the shade. Finished for time being, we headed back to the Glendale location, when my phone rang and it was some guy that I had promised to show my truck to on Saturday. It was the last thing on my mind, frankly. I told the guy that I was sorry that I had not been more available to him and I would understand if he wanted to go back to Casa Grande without coming all the way up to Glendale, but he kind of insisted. I'd already had a pretty full day and was just looking forward to relaxing. Brad and Max took off and left me to prepare the truck for a visitor. Sweep it out and park it in the light as it was already pretty dark out.

I'd actually spoken with the guy several times and he knew my situation with being in the hospital and was accommodating to say the least. I no sooner sat down, that the door bell rang and it was once again, show time! Bob was a pretty good guy, a retired Marine with a young wife and new family. Bob was about 50 and had a 2 year old in arm, with the wife and 2 more kids in their van. We went for a ride and Bob liked the truck and tried his best to lower the price, imagine that. I was too tired to negotiate and told him, no offense, but take it or leave it. To my surprise, he said, I'll take it! Humph, should have tried that 20 years ago... He gave me a $500 deposit and I told him I'd still need it until at least Wednesday and by then I'd give it to him finished or not. We shook hands.

Sunday was repeat day of Saturday, except no surgery. What I neglected to tell you was that I was required to get nursing home care to infuse 2 pretty powerful antibiotics through my new PICC line, so everything needed to be scheduled around that 2 hour visit. When the nurse finally left, with me still attached to the pump machine, I tried to remember the ritual of how to disconnect myself. On top of that, the nurse was a Filipino and I had an awful time understanding her.

Back to the move... I neglected to tell you that the air conditioning at the Glendale location had fizzled out while I was in the hospital and we were operating on one window air conditioner for the entire house with many drapes and towels try to block off the living area. Brad showed up alone, which was probably better for work effectiveness and he worked his tail off while I did my usual complaining about how I can't do more. Brad was GREAT!

Miraculously, my lost movers called and arranged to come the following day. My movers were not great, but cheap and with as many moves as I've made in the last few years, cheap was good. He told me that he couldn't call me back because his phone broke. I didn't question it, I just appreciated that he was coming. Two guys and a trailer moved about 90% of my stuff and it was about 111 outside. I was beginning to feel a little faint, so took refuge in my new bedroom without water. I was too sick to even drink. The movers took my only two bottles of water, how could I say no? They headed out and I just laid there in my new bedroom, rehashing the day. Something happened that had me scared to death and I couldn't even get myself to think about it. When I awakened that morning, I didn't have to urinate and in spite of drinking about 2 full bottles of waters during the day, still no urine production. From experience I know that that meant kidney failure. I knew if I told Dr. Harvey, he'd put me back in the hospital which is exactly what happened... To be continued..........again!

Friday, June 1, 2012

I Used to Get Laid a Lot...

It seems like I haven't written anything in over a month. I just verified it. It's not because I haven't been occupied with things. I think that one of my last posts talked about how I went to the hospital with a case of Diverticulitis. While in the hospital, every doctor that listened to my chest, was somewhat shocked to hear my rather aggressive murmur and almost without exception suggested I get it listened to by my cardiologist. It was only when Dr. Harvey listened to it that I actually did what they all suggested and made an appointment with my heart dude. He ordered an echo-cardiogram and that disclosed a vegetation on my heart that indicated either an infection on my aortic valve or a piece of plaque that was in a precarious place. Immediate heart surgery was discussed, but I declined. I was ordered to go directly to the hospital for treatment.

I went home, grabbed a few things and headed to Good Samaritan Hospital to check in. It's odd to go to a hospital when you're feeling fine, but I just did what I was told. I believe that this is where the merry-go-round began.

I don't expect to be able to complete the entire story in one sitting, so get comfortable, possibly get something to drink and climb aboard the merry-go-round with me.

I arrived at Good Samaritan Hospital about 8 PM, only to find my son Brad and Dr. Harvey had both arrived prior to me. Brad was sitting and waiting, doing some work on his laptop and Dr. Harvey gotten tired of waiting and gone home. A sweet young thing with a good sense of humor checked me in asking way too many personal questions, like, "Are you moving your bowels"? I looked at her for a couple of seconds and replied, yes, but not right now"! Her already reddened face took on a special glow with that one and she couldn't hold back her laughter. After a long time of waiting for a bell hop (or attendant) to escort me to my ready room, my young friend took the job and escorted Brad and I upstairs to room 524-1 the cardiac floor. Much chaos took place as my portion of the room did not have a bed. Call me fussy, but I insisted on one. Also, my new roommate was to be a Black man and I was pretty excited about that and I mean it in a good way. I could see from a distance that he and his wife or woman as it turned out, were getting him settled in and the lucky SOB had a bed! Pretty soon they wheeled a big bed into my room and called for my attendance. I feared it may still be warm from the corpse they had just removed from it, but no, all was cool with fresh linens.

Let me explain why I was so excited about having an African-American Roomie. Being from Chicago, I was raised to dislike anything and everything that wasn't just like me and the Black man was our arch enemy. The news at 5, 6, and 10 was riddled with Black violence and mayhem. Our dinner table conversation consisted of the evil of our times created solely by the Black man with a few Puerto Ricans tossed in.

Then I moved away from the Midwest and Chicago area to sunny Arizona and suddenly, without ever noticing it, the hatred and animosity was gone, due primarily by the media. Our Black population was much lower percentage wise and we would just have to look for another whipping boy. Voila, the Mexicans! The obvious impact that this new way of life had on me was to bring to my attention, why in the world did I ever buy into this hatred of a people that had really never hurt me personally? That's enough about my revelation, time to move on.

I was stripped of my street clothes and handed a gown that kind of resembled something my 85 year old grandmother would wear. I was not pleased with their fashion sense and remained under the covers as much as possible for fear that the fashion police might just ticket me. My roommates name was Fred and we were introduced by voice only as there was a dividing curtain separating us. You know the type. I think it was my first trip to our community bathroom that floored me, when I got a look at Fred for the first time, close up and personal. My Fred looked more like Redd Foxx (Fred Sanford, from Sanford and son) than the original! He even had his voice! I kept hearing the jingle from their show, every time I looked in his direction too.

Fred was 72 and was suffering from heart failure and had no experience or patience with being sick. Fred and I got to know one another pretty well and I learned that the Black man and the White man have a great deal in common. In the morning, Fred would yell over the curtain, "Mel, you got any bacon"? I'd laugh and yell back, "Nope, not here in the cardiac section, they won't give us bacon." He'd reply, "why not, I ordered it!!!" Then it would be time for my silent laugh...

Fred would refer to people by their ethnic heritage when he was talking to his girlfriend of 50 years. He'd say things like, "I think that White girl took my shoes"! Or, "I just saw that good Black doctor." Fred was planning a trip to Tucson as soon as he got out of the hospital to see his son that he's not seen for over a year, as he's "carcerated" there. I asked what he was incarcerated for and he told me that his son was in prison for 4 years for a DWI. I said, wow, that's along time for a DWI and Fred said they found out when they pulled him over that he had a warrant for murder too. I didn't ask any other questions.

Back to my health issues: The reason that I'm locked up this time is to have a special test that will define the type of vegetation I have on my Aorta. They do a test called a TEE. They put me to sleep and ran a camera down my throat to photograph my heart at work. Although it was not conclusive that it is an infection, there appears to be an abscess on my Aortic Valve that will possible go away with medications. If not, a second heart surgery will be necessary and I'm not looking forward to that. I had a heart surgeon come in and talk to me and he didn't pull any punches. He told me flat out that any heart surgery is dangerous and a second surgery, as in my case is ever more dangerous. That's when my blood pressure jumped to 200/100, no shit! That was the most scared I'd been since the 4th grade when Robbie Golden said he was gonna beat me up!

So after 4 Days in stir, I had yet another surgery. One to install a port into my Carotid artery for delivering antibiotics directly into my heart. Oh joy! (To be continued)