And I don’t say that lightly. Recently there have been questions.
Today is the second day of June, 2021. On May 23rd – just a little over a week ago I was one sick Geezer.
I had been fighting what I had taken to be the remnants of a cold and the congestion had been coming and going for a week or two. On that Sunday, the 23rd, it was getting worse. I was having more and more difficulty breathing. My wife, the lovely, observant, and concerned for her Geezer, Dawn, could see that I was struggling. She suggested and I agreed that a trip to the ER was in order.
Ten minutes later I was sitting in a wheelchair with a stethoscope moving about on my chest. My lungs were filling with fluid. I felt like I was drowning. The ER doctors began to inject me with something called Lasik and told me to be ready to to start urinating like a Race Horse.
They weren’t kidding.
Within the next two hours I put out more than two liters of sickly looking fluid from my lungs. I could begin to breathe again. The X-Rays said that I was showing signs of Congestive Heart Failure.
Those are three scary words.
I was admitted to the Hospital – Room 3014. I felt like crap, but I was in no apparent immediate danger. Dawn finally was able to go home at about 3 AM on Monday morning.
I continued to crank out more fluid for a couple of days. I also had a lot of blood Vampired out of me. There were tests, tests, and more tests – with no conclusive finger pointing at why I was in that hospital bed. As the week progressed I was poked, prodded and punctured all day and all night. I met more people with letters after their names than I had ever encountered before.
Everyone was kind, helpful and very professional. I felt that I was in very good hands. With the weekend looming it was decided to cut me loose and, since my condition had improved and stabilized, I would now be able to be an outpatient. I was OK with that. I desperately wanted to go home. I was feeling better, Dawn was exhausted, and I had begun to seriously complain about the food.
No matter how advanced that Hospital may be and how brilliant the staff may be it is without a doubt that the place will never become known as a Culinary destination.
Hospital food, while they try to present a wider menu, still sucks. I’m sorry. I have nothing but respect for everyone there, but the person who ruins their version of Macaroni and Cheese should be forced to eat it. As a man with the last name of KRAFT I tend to take it all personally.
I’m home now and making the rounds of my various doctors still trying to discover what caused our late night adventure to the Emergency Room. I’m feeling so much better, but I still need to know what happened and why.
I’ll keep you advised, but right now I’m looking forward to a nice steaming bowl of real Mac and Cheese straight from that little blue cardboard box.
OK, WE HAVE CHRISTMAS OUT OF THE WAY. The eggnog has been thankfully disposed of until next year. Christmas carols are over until Thanksgiving – except on the Hallmark Channel. New Year’s Day kind of takes care of itself with football, aspirin and drawn shades. I guess our next societal obligation is the making of New Year’s Resolutions. I suggest doing that before going out on New Year’s Eve. Doing it after that carries the danger of it being a product of desperation, shame, and physical pain.
It is not one of my favorites. The leaves have turned colors and are falling and everywhere are the signs of death. What blossomed in the Spring and Summer are now lying shriveled and dead on the ground.
Well, isn’t all of this a cheerful start to the day?
It’s sad, but it is a true collection of seasonal signs with only the icy cold of another Winter waiting around the corner to cover it all with snow.
I know that I am wallowing in Symbolism here, but, dang it; these things become identifiable symbols for a reason.
Our Civilization is awash with Symbols of all kinds. Every day we speak, learn, and make decisions based on a mountain of Symbols that are, in a very real way, shortcuts of accumulated information and knowledge.
Throwback Thursday – from August 2016 – “O, Canada! Say My Name!”
Down at St. Arbucks the “Usual Suspects” seemed subdued and even quasi-rational. I should have recognized that as an omen of Strange Things to come.
After lunch I accompanied my wife, the lovely and telephonically lethal, Dawn, as she went to buy a new phone. I enjoy being Arm Candy for her. Her first words to the Blue-Shirted guy at Best Buy were, “I murdered my phone.”
The afternoon went from there on a pathway I can only describe as, “This looks familiar, but then again…”
After the phone business we headed to Staples to gorge on 17 cent notebooks and Bic pens. That happens only once a year. It is like a Burmese Python dining on a full grown white-tailed deer. It lasts quite a while before you need to do it again.
I thought that might be the climax of the day, but I was wrong.
We weren’t home more than five minutes when the landline phone began to ring. Nobody ever calls us on that line except wrong numbers and telephone solicitors.
“Hello, John, this is Jade calling from your Canadian pharmacy about refilling your prescription today.”
I was beginning to feel like a hungry Burmese Python and “Jade” sounded like a Doe about to accidentally step on me. I humbly refer you to my blog posting from May 11, 2015 – “Remember, You Called Me.”https://johnkraft.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/remember-you-called-me/
Dawn just shook her head when she heard me say, “Canadian pharmacy – you’re in Canada?” She could read my mind.
I started with, “Jade, Jade, listen to me. I’ve been binge-watching “Breaking Bad” for the last few days and I’m thinking maybe you, being in Canada, might be able to get me some of that Dude’s stuff – some really good Blue Meth.”
“What are you talking about, Mr. Kraft?” All of a sudden it’s no longer the friendly, “John.”
“I’m talking about you being in Canada you don’t have to mess with the Feds. Say my name, Jade! Right? Say my name! I need some really good stuff and you can do it for me.
“Jade, you gotta help me. What’s that, Jade? You hear that? They’re at my door, Jade.”
The confused voice from north of the border tried to interrupt. “What are you talking about? I don’t understand you.”
I’m not stopping for anything even though Dawn is leaving the room.
“Jade, the Feds, they’re at my door. You gotta help me. Jade, hold on a minute. Wait! Here, you talk to them. Jade? Jade? Jade?”
I wonder where she went.
Perhaps my friend, Jade will go to her supervisor in the boiler room and relate her chat with me. Maybe then they will take my name off of their sucker list. If they really are in Canada they don’t give a hoot about any American “no-call lists.” I figure that if, each time they call they get me, and are plugged into the world of some idiot Meth-head who wants to buy illicit drugs from them while the Feds are busting down the door. If this happens often enough they might decide on their own to quietly put an asterisk next to my name with a notation saying. “If you ever call this guy we will set you adrift on an ice floe chained to Howie Mandel.”
And I thought that today was going to be a quiet, rather boring, day.
Thank you, Jade from my friendly Canadian pharmacy. I hope you will recover soon.
“Holy Broom Closet, Batman!”
I wasted a good portion of yesterday with Doctors, Nurses, and Technicians who spent two hours trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube…and I was the toothpaste.
I am not claustrophobic. I’ve been in some pretty tight spots in my life – literally and in a figurative sense so having a CT Scan is no big deal – except that it is a big deal. They don’t shoot people through that gizmo just for fun.
During my last visit to my Doctor’s office, just before taking off for Texas, his minions took about a quart of blood from my “Good” arm for testing and analysis. They never take blood from my “Bad” arm as if it wasn’t connected to the rest of my body. I think it is, but I can’t prove it.
They took my blood and that was it until later in the day when I got a phone call from “Amy Lou” at the Doctor’s Office.
“The results of your blood tests show an abnormality that concerns the Doctor.”
Fiction Saturday Returns With – “Family Matters”
Technically and legally I have no direct access to police records. When I left The Force, or rather it left me, I lost my key to the door that opened on a world of information, but I hadn’t lost Tim O’Shea. At least I hoped not.
Tim O’Shea had been on the force longer than me and because of a couple of injuries in the line of duty he had been moved to desk duty. He had shown a knack for the technical side of the badge and after some retraining he was put in the IT Department as a clerk. He was a quick learner and within a year he became “Tim The Computer Guy” who everyone turned to when they needed to track a suspect’s path via the world of Bits, Bytes, and Mega-Whatevers. If a Person Of Interest had ever so much as played an online video game Tim O’Shea could track him down and tell you what he had for lunch. I was counting on that level of investigation.
Rather than go back downtown and through the front door again and face running into anyone who might not appreciate me doing their job for them – and doing it better, I parked a block away from the HQ building and came through the City Offices entrance. A visit to the Building Code Enforcement offices on the lower level provided a quiet backdoor access to the Police IT section of the basement.
O’Shea had his own office filled with more electronic gear than that Gates guy in Seattle. He was down in the building’s basement where it was always cooler than the rest of the joint thanks to the ancient A/C system. No matter what the setting the top floors were too hot and as you went down everything got cooler. Down in the basement it was like a picnic cooler in Winter. Lettuce could sit on a desk down there and stay fresh until Spring.
O’Shea’s domain was different. He had set up his own environmental sphere – temperature and humidity controlled 24 hours a day with multiple backups for every system. Nothing was being left to chance or political interference.
Yeah, Tim O’Shea was the right man to see…that is if he’ll let me through the door.
The O’Shea Problem
The hard feelings between us go back a number of years and like all too many long standing problems – there was a woman involved.
I left the police ten years ago, partly at the urging of the powers that be, partly by the sadness in my troubled heart, and partly because of a woman named Josinda – Josie for short.
Josie was a civilian clerk in the City offices that shared some floor space in our building and I didn’t know, I swear, that she and Tim were a number. Apparently it was a bigger number in his mind than in hers because she said “Yes” when I asked her out for a drink. Tim did not take that very well. In his eye I was, I think his phrase was “Claim jumping” to let me know how he felt. I didn’t know how he felt about her. She didn’t either. She broke it all off with Tim and me both. It was no big deal to me, but to O’Shea I had ruined his life. I tried to explain it to him, but he didn’t, wouldn’t, or couldn’t believe me and a good working relationship crashed and burned. That hurt more than not getting closer to Josie. I was over her in about an hour and a half, but having Tim O’Shea shooting daggers at me everyday hurt.
All of this was a long time ago in the past as far as I’m concerned, but friends still in Blue tell me that Tim still gets somewhat icy when my name comes up.
I feel like I really don’t have a viable second choice. If I want to dig into these three killers it’s got to be Tim O’Shea or nobody and Nobody stopped talking to me a long time ago.
What a lopsided triangle that was: Me, Tim, and Josie. I innocently asker her out – for a drink and nothing more, I swear. She said “Yes” and before I knew what was happening Tim got PO’d at me. Then Tim got PO’d with Josie. She got PO’d at both of us, saying, loudly, that she was not going to be the prize at a Police Turkey Shoot. She called us both “Cop Bastards” and walked away. When she told off Tim in the office in front of everyone it all really hit the fan.
He blamed me for everything. I tried to tell him that I wasn’t cutting in on his turf – claim jumping – and that I was the only innocent leg of the triangle. He didn’t buy that at all. Nobody bought it and all of a sudden I am being cast as an evil and sneaky SOB.
I may have been innocent in that mess, but I got laid more in the six months after I got tagged as “The Bad Guy” than I had in the previous years. Some women just like the Bad Guy who’d steal another man’s woman. I didn’t put up much of a protest. Nothing I could say would overturn the rumor machine and, anyway, I was having a real good time of it. I considered it a payback for my reputation being sullied.
After that six months of fun and games things calmed down. My Groupies figured out that I wasn’t such a scumbag after all, and once Josie was out of the picture and stopped feeding the rumor mill, everybody took a breath – except for Tim O’Shea. To him I was still the Devil incarnate – a combination of a Casanova in a blue uniform and the actor Richard Burton. Well, let me tell you, Josie was no Elizabeth Taylor.
The sign on the door should have been enough to stop me from going any farther.
“Knock, Phone, Email, or send a Postcard, but DO NOT just walk in.”
I figured that since I was already on his “Least favorite persons” list I had nowhere to go but up. I twisted the doorknob and pushed open the door. Without even turning around in his chair to see who was violating his space, O’Shea yelled, “Can’t you read?”
“Not very well, Tim.”
I’M GOOD AT GROCERY SHOPPING. I’M NOT GOOD AT DANCING.
Everybody has those little slices of life where they excel and others where they stink like the next morning in a fraternity house. No matter how hard we try to master a certain skill it evades us.
It is raining buckets out there. We don’t need this much water and I certainly don’t. I’m clean already. Even the Baristas are lining up two by two.
I knew that we were expecting some rain, but I didn’t think that we would be getting it all at once.
Just going from the back door out to the car which is no more than ten feet and I was soaked to the skin. I had on my rain slick and it was thoroughly wet all the way through. Let’s not mention my unmentionables.
I felt like a drowning dog.
Just the other morning as I was trying hard to be a calm, sober, and mature adult, but not having much luck. I was at St. Arbucks slurping my coffee when a young man lurched through the door. He looked to be in his twenties but had a baby face that made him look about fourteen. But there was something “off” about him.
After he came through the door he stopped and took his time looking about the room. He made no move toward the cashier’s station. My first thought was, honestly, that he was considering who he should approach to try to get some “spare change.”
I could not have been more wrong.
UH, OH! I SEE A CHALLENGE AHEAD. At least it is not directly involving me.
I learned the other day that one of the Usual Suspects is going under the knife in a few days. It’s nothing life threatening, but according to him it’s worse – he is going to have his golf game taken away for a year.
Why not just cut out his heart?
IT HAS BEEN TEN MONTHS SINCE I HAD CATARACT SURGERY ON MY BABY BLUES. That is not a completely accurate sentence. My eyes are not blue. They have been black on occasion, but never blue…and where else but on my eyes would I have cataract surgery? In fact the only accurate part in that sentence is that it was done ten months ago.
Now that we have that squared away I will move on. I just went back for a follow-up exam with the doctor.
EVERY TIME I HAVE TO FILL OUT A FORM that asks which State I am in I have to fight the temptation to write in “Confusion.” That’s where I seem to be spending most of my time. Yesterday was a perfect example.
According to my calendar I had a Doctor’s appointment at 9:45 AM (Be there 15 minutes early, bring your insurance card and co-pay.) My calendar also said that I was scheduled for a Colonoscopy today at 10:00 AM…and also at 9:15 AM. I seriously doubt that I would or should be getting two Colonoscopies that close together. I think that might cause some terrible butt cheekal distress.
I KNOW THAT THERE IS NOT A LOT I CAN DO ABOUT IT, but I get really tired of taking my daily fistful of meds. Counting Vitamins, and other Supplements I down eight pills with my morning coffee, three with lunch, and six more with dinner. I feel like I am a bulwark of the American Pharmaceutical Industry.
Don’t get me wrong – I know that there are a multitude of people who have to ingest more medications than I do, but I can only live within my own frame of reference. I understand that all these meds that I take serve a purpose – two purposes actually – 1. To keep me from having a neurological blowout at freeway speeds, and 2. To keep my local Pharmacist employed. Both are noble causes indeed.
Throwback Thursday From March Of 2015 – “Congratulations, You’re Still Alive!”
I WENT TO SEE MY DOCTOR this morning. I see him about every three months. He likes to keep tabs on me because of my high blood pressure and the veritable buffet of meds that I take.
The last time I saw him my BP was 120/60 – which is pretty darn near perfect for a human being. This morning it was 110/60 – a tad low. Compared to what it was a few years ago when I first went to see him, he is happy. Back then it was something like 180/170 – not bad if you are a cheetah chasing down a springbok, after having had a half dozen espressos and a pound of licorice.
Throwback Thursday From Feb. 2015 – “Stop The Freakin’ Presses!!”
“THE AMAZINGLY INTACT REMAINS of a meditating monk have been discovered in the Songinokhairkhan province of Mongolia, according to a report in Mongolia’s Morning News.”
I can’t speak for anyone else, but when I want news from Songinokhairkhan province, I turn to the Mongolia’s Morning News.
I BEG YOUR PARDON. DID I HEAR THAT RIGHT?
Ear Candling? Yes, I did hear you correctly. You were asking me about Ear Candling. Someone I know was asking whether or not they should try Ear Candling.
For those of you who are already completely lost, let me explain.
We were on time, checked in, and led back into one of those little curtained off areas where I was handed a hospital gown. I did not expect that. The Nurse, Techie, or Head Patient Wrangler told me that they were going to hook me up to a heart monitor and put a port into a vein – just in case.
Whatever. I was resigned to my fate.
By this time tomorrow I will have a brand spankin’ new lens in my left eye. Then for the next two weeks I will see better in that eye and still see crappy in the other.
At the end of these ads they always stick in a disclaimer, “Ask your physician before starting any new medications.” Aren’t these new meds all by prescription only? I would assume that you cannot get these drugs by hanging out in the Seven-Eleven parking lot after midnight and befriending some guy named “Lucky.” Your doctor should have to write a prescription for a real pharmacy to fill. I’m not going to start popping some “Xyzzzqwizl!” with my Dr. Pepper and feel I’ve done my part.