Thursday, October 30, 2014

I do not know why the cage bird sings but I know why disabled people smell (sometimes like urine)

I have been around old people and they usually smell and not in a good Channel number five kind of way.  They smell like liniments and ointments (I am not sure what those are but I know they smell) and more modern things like Bengay and the scent from adult diapers.  Not all the smells are bad, like Werther's, who doesn't love the smell of hard candies?  The tie in to disability is coming and this will not become a rant about old people.  If you live long enough you will become disabled, so if you want to know what it is like to be disabled find an old person with a walker and they can tell you.  At least I think so, I have never talked to an old person with a walker, there is never enough hard candy.

I could end the blog post here with this insight, being disabled means you can't do what you want and you often smell and more often than not the smell is not good.

Of course that is not the end, I love the sound of my own voice clacking away at the keyboard, it is like a red red robin bob bob bobbin along, singing that old sweet song.

The first three years or so it was not easy to cope but I was able to cope.  My definition of coping was making it to work and staying at work for the full day.  During that three years I did not succeed at putting in a full day of work everyday but it was a passable performance.  It was rough and there were many mornings that hours were spent crying in the shower but I did it and there was a sense of accomplishment.  I always get a sense of accomplishment from a job well done or just a good day of work.

I think I am about to digress into a discussion of how I defined myself through work and that is for another time, I must bring my focus back to urine or at least the smell of urine.

As I live the fifth year sick and I have watched how the sick has progressed in an uneven fashion but definitely on a downward trajectory and on this day I admit I can not will myself through the sick.  The sick is now dense like the fog from that movie The Fog and not the crappy remake the original by John Carpenter with the lovely Adrienne Barbeau starring as a disc jockey that was a hold up in a lighthouse that had been converted to a radio station and transmitter.

Anywho my body no longer responds to my will on a reliable basis.  I am a practical man or more accurately being sick has flowed over me like a river carving the Grand Canyon and has whittled me down to a practical man and as such there are days when hard choices have to be made.  The unexpected by product of a deteriorating body is how easy some choices become.

One of the hard choices is you when wake up on Sunday morning for Mass and your body says with regrets you won't be attending.  In the past I have not taken no for an answer and it has sent me into a downward spiral where I end up being sicker longer than if I had just stayed home.

Just an FYI I ended up writing a whole other blog post about a young woman who I believe is going on to sainthood in the Roman Catholic church and what I am trying to learn from her example but it did not really fit in with this post but don't you all worry it will be coming soon.

Since I got side tracked I have kind of lost the flow but here I go again just like Whitesnake!  Other hard decisions are spend time with wife, friends and family, or take a shower.  I think you get the gist of what the hard decisions are.  What may not have been apparent to all is what the easy decisions are.  Here they come and they will tie this all together with a bow and bring it back to smelling bad.

If the choice is take a shower or go to Mass, that is easy I go to Mass.  If the choice is between being present with my wife (not in too much pain) and showering, that is easy I will be present for my wife.  I think everyone gets the gist of what the easy decisions are but I think everyone is saying "What about the urine?", well do not worry the urine is coming right up, no false advertising here.

If you have been around enough old people you have probably been greeted with the aroma of urine on more than one occasion.  I have some insight into this that I have not seen any else talk about on other blogs or websites, that is bladder control.  As you get older everything stops working well including the bladder but what does that mean in practical day to day living?

It means sometimes you rush to the bathroom to urinate and you don't quite make it and urine just sprays everywhere.  In the past I have received some feedback that my writing style may be a too raw and that might be a fair criticism of what is coming next.  I am a man with a lot of hair, hair covers my entire body except the top of my head (I am bald, like a soprano) and when urine sprays everywhere the Brillo pad that is my exoskeleton of hair gets wet and just to be specific, it is wet with urine.  Now here is where the easy choice comes in, you can clean yourself up in one of two ways; you can do a superficial job and probably catch a little waft of urine sometime later or you can do a thorough job and be out of commission for a couple of days.

For a long time I would be out of commission for a couple of days but now I think to myself, self what does a waft of urine smell really mean in the grand scheme of things and you know what the answer is not much.


Above is the end of my blog post but I thought I should mention that I am losing control of my bladder from nerve damage and in a non glib way I can tell you, some days I have no choice but to ask my wife to superficially clean my urine and let me tell you something, that sucks on all kinds of levels, enough levels there might be another blog post about urine but I am thinking not.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cat Scratch Fever (Week Four The Quickening!)

It is the beginning of the fourth week of my journey with cat scratch fever, it is the best of time and the worst of times.  Many of you may recognize that quote from Highlander Two The Quickening.  I think the screen writer of Highlander Two is often maligned and unfairly so.  Okay that quote is actually form a Tale of Two Cities but I am thinking that in this day and age that Highlander Two would be less obscure than a Tale of Two Cities.

As I look over the previous paragraph I think some readers might think I am a pedantic asshole.  I think that impression is coming through because I am a pedantic asshole, at least some of the time.  Another truth that most be told in the second paragraph is week four of cat scratch fever is not really like the quickening at all, the movie or the individual event when our Highlander buddy separates some heads if you know what I mean.

Paragraph three begins with another truth, it sucks to be sick and it sucks worse when you are already sick with a weird, rare chronic disease, you know like sarcoidosis.  Today I slept sixteen hours.  When you are down to eight hours of waking time you start to feel like taking a shit is not a good use of your time and maybe I should get a colostomy bag.  I try to use what is left of my rationale brain to analyze this and realize the stupidity of the idea but for a short time it seems like a good and that all would be right with the world.

Just for the record I think paragraph three was gratuitous and since I am counting paragraphs is this one sentence that I have interjected to be counted as a paragraph?  It was meant to be an aside, like breaking the fourth wall during a play with one quick comment but now some how it has become a paragraph.  These are strange times and there is more in Heaven and Earth than is thought of by your philosophy/science, this is of course a beautiful quote from the bard Jackie Gleason.

To the moon Alice, to the moon...I often wonder whether Alice ever made it to the moon and if she did would she mind if I joined her?  Sometimes I dream of shooting a bullet at the moon but the bullet is so large it can hold me and maybe some books or some futuristic solar powered Kindle.  I would like Alice to keep my mind sharp and distracted from my illness with her sass.  Not enough sass left in the world, that is of course why I think of the moon.

I think this post has become a proof of concept as to my ability to write an absurdest play, that is where the money is these days.  I have tried to model my life after The Bald Soprano as opposed to The Caretaker or Waiting For Godot but despite my efforts it may turn into a Gleasonian Tragedy.  I had a thought just now, how obscure are the references I have made?  I would appreciate feedback except from relatives who know everything so there would be no point for them to chime in, get the hint?

Last paragraph, serious stuff bringing it home in act three or maybe act five?  No one knows how long their time on this earth is and to that end try to take a step back and look at the absurdity that life can be.  My first reaction is to wallow and I think everyone's first reaction would be to wallow, even the sociopaths, it is hard not to wallow.  I would like to make a 1984 reference here but some kind of Animal Farm reference would be much more fitting considering all the wallowing talk but alas it eludes me so be sure to insert your own.

Really the last paragraph, I am going to repeat my thesis statement, being sick sucks.  We are all put on this earth to die and since I have been moderately to seriously ill for the past four, almost five years, I am aware of that.  I have been much closer to death than I am right now and those times I was close to death I entered a Zen state that I did not know I was capable of but this time if I did die it would be from Cat Scratch Fever and that is really harshing my Zen.

Life is absurd, do not forget to smell the fart that has been farted in your general direction before you decide to run, you never know if that fart is going to be your bag.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cat Scratch Fever it is not just for Ted Nugent anymore

My last blog post detailed my travails of what I thought was the flu, it turns out that was not the case.  After a week of still being under the weather and also noticing I had a leg that was red, hot to the touch and swollen I thought it might be time to go see an MD.

The MD looked at the leg and asked if those where cat scratches on my leg, the answer was yes, I have a new cat friend that is a little high strung.  Our new cat is going crazy much less than when she first came to our home but she still goes a little nuts every now and again.  She does not attack anyone she just decides that something has happened and she needs to run full speed from the room using her claws for her traction and if you happen to be in the way, well she will use her claws on your flesh to increase her traction and speed while running.

The point it my cat is high strung but a loving lap sitting kitty and the reason my MD was asking about it is because Cat Scratch Fever is a real thing and not just a song.  In this modern age with all the science we have it is now called Cat Scratch Disease.  That is because they have discovered it is caused by a bacteria that 40% of cats carry and that for most people that who contract Cat Scratch Disease it amounts to a little redness and irritation around the cat scratch.

I on the other hand take drugs to suppress my immune system and hence the increase likelihood of full blown Cat Scratch Fever, so unlike most of my blog posts this one has concrete information that could help someone.  If you are on immunosuppressants be careful around cats, there is more danger than you know, similar to the Rabbit from Monty Python's Holy Grail.  Be careful you all.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Early Morning Flu or When is it time to go to the Hospital? I don't know but my wife probably does!


Late Sunday night or early Monday morning, at this point that is not clear to me because the events of that night are shrouded in mystery, it was the fog of flu (as opposed to the fog of war) and the only thing that was clear was that I was a victim of the flu. By 4:00 am I knew the war of the flu was going to be serious.

I was not sure how long the war of the flu would last and this was my only solace.

That previous statement on hindsight seems to be a little to hyperbolic even for me.  First there is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Roman Catholic Church.  It comes up every now and then but on a serious note my conversion process to the Roman Catholic church has been trans-formative in a positive way.  The insight that I have gained from my Deacon (I don't own him but you know what I mean he is mine) and the Saints (not the football team, I like the Bronocs regardless of names) and contemporary Priests and Bishops have had prescient insight about suffering and the good that comes from it (even if I can not see it).

Second my wife has saved my life on a daily basis since I married her, sometimes literally, sometimes emotionally, and definitely spiritually.


On the that Monday morning I had all those things and my outlook was dark, especially when I closed my eyes so I did not have to look at my projectile vomit. 

Side Note: My wife is wonderful that is all (not really but really) 

Let the narrative of the flu continue!  Somewhere on that Monday morning I was no longer able to get out of bed and I mean literally could not get out of bed and I am talking the old school definition of literally when it used to mean literally.  At another point that morning I lost the ability to form coherent sentences, I am probably not indicating the severity of the issue, I lost the ability to communicate.  From a layman's perspective I think I appeared like I was the victim of a stroke.  I wish I was saying that lightly, it must have been terrifying for my wife.

The incoherent moments would come and go, well sort of I guess it would be more accurate to say I was less incoherent at certain times than others and during these times I would say no every time my wife would ask if we should go to the hospital I would say no and shake my head.  There is some history there that will not be fleshed out here but I will get to sometime in the future or I won't one of the two but the point I am making is do not hold it against my wife, it is all on me.

My eyesight started to fade away to white like when you would turn the contrast knob on an old TV, I did not mention this to my wife.  I am not sure if it was I did not want to tell her or I was unable to tell her, looking back I was in bad shape and I should have gone to the hospital.   I have had a couple of other incidents when I was alone that I was much closer to death than I was Monday morning and I usually use the fact I am alive as an argument for why I did not need to go to the hospital, today I will not make that argument.

It is hard to argue against going to the hospital in the future when this time I was incapable of making a conscious rational decision based on the facts, my condition at the time precluded it.  My wife did not have a way to know this and it is unfair to put her in the position that my judgement should always override hers.  If anything she is probably more capable on a day to day basis of making decisions for me because she gets a more objective view of the situation.  It is a good thing I am getting baptized soon.

As Monday wore on my wife took care of me and watched me like a hawk as my breathing deteriorated and my fever went up and the vertigo kicked in and it seemed as though every inch of muscle and bone had been personally punched by those guys from The Fantastic Voyage, not to mention vomiting and too weak to get out of bed were still in the picture.  Through all that she was a rock.

What did the Flu (at least that is what I hope it was) from this week teach me?  My wife is awesome, she is so awesome that awesome is not an awesome enough word to describe her.  Also I learned it is unfair to through necessity force my wife to make more and more decisions (she has stepped up and been brilliant) and then cut her out of any input on whether I should go to the hospital or not.  If you are in a similar situation I hope you can have an honest conversation with your spouse about those decisions, I do not know how many spouses would feel better taking on a more active role or worse, I can see it both ways.

In my case it turns out I have been selfish and the selfishness has been de facto punitive action against my wife.  There are so few things that are really within my control (shhhh don't tell me there are actually no things within my control) why would I want to even unintentionally punish my wife?  The answer is I wouldn't in case anyone was wondering, I was going to leave that unanswered and end there but then I thought somebody will remember when I was not particularly nice in the past and be like I can see him intentionally punishing his wife he was kind of jerk.