Showing 1 - 10 of 73 posts found matching keyword: illness

Gallows humor: for when you're at the end of your rope

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Good news! July's back and legs are responding to treatment, and she's walking much better.

Bad news! July is now having seizures (two in the past three days).

I'll keep you posted.

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2020 has done it again. Alex Trebek has died from pancreatic cancer at age 80.

In the year 2014 BC (Before COVID), Trebek appeared on the final episode of The Colbert Report to reassure its departing host:

"So I guess I’ll be gone forever?" Colbert asked.

"No, Stephen," answered Trebek. "We'll always be there for the American people, whenever they need us the most."

All of life’s important answers must be in the form of a question

May he live forever in reruns.

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July's health problems continue. At least this time it's not cancer (we think).

She's been getting wobbly in the back legs for the past few months, a condition that we've been attributing to old age. (She's almost 15!) However, on Monday she abruptly lost the ability to coordinate her back feet, began dragging her back knuckles, and could no longer get up from a laying position. Or even a sitting position.

Her doctor agreed that this seemed abnormal and took x-rays. He ultimately diagnosed, and I quote, "likely intervertebral disc disease at L5-6, spondylosis at L7-S, mild hip dysplasia."

What did you have for dinner?
"Spondylosis"? Uh, yeah. I see that now.

She's now on a prescription of steroids, muscle relaxers, and spine massages every 8 hours, which she has responded to quite well. In fact, she's already learned her med schedule and asks for her pills on time. (She loves Pill Pockets™!)

The biggest difficulty of her condition comes from her continued refusal to let me out of her sight. This has always been the case. Despite her wobbly legs, she recently fell down the stairs rather than let me be out of her sight for a whole minute. (Could that be how she damaged her back? Silly poodle.)

So, for the foreseeable future, I'll be carrying her upstairs for food and meds, outside to do her business, and everywhere else I need to go, including into my bedroom when I work and sleep and into my bathroom to lie on the bathmat when I take a shower. She's such a diva.

Not that I'm really complaining. It could be worse, which probably isn't something I should say in 2020.

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Dad's in the hospital again for some sort of infection. I thought at first he had decided that if COVID was good enough for the president, it was good enough for him. The good news is that he doesn't have COVID. The bad news is that I don't know what he's got.

[UPDATE 10-06: He's been diagnosed with untreated bronchiolitis that turned into sepsis. He is expected to recover. Would this have become such a dangerous issue if fear of spreading COVID to high risk patients hadn't closed his GP's office to all people with respiratory issues? *shakes fist at 2020*]

After extended visits in three consecutive years, it's getting harder to get Dad to go to the hospital. Despite feeling increasingly terrible, he's refused the option for weeks. He had to spend all last night bleeding from the nose before he'd finally consent to going. What will he have to bleed from next year?

It was almost exactly two years ago that he was checked into the same hospital for diverticulitis, a rupture in his intestines that he never had repaired. Is this a recurrence of that? (How far do you have to stick your head up your ass before bleeding from the nose could be a diverticulitis symptom?) Your guess is as good as mine. Better, probably.

I'm sure you don't really care about my father's medical problems, but this blog also serves as sort of a diary, and one day (probably in October 2022), I'll wonder when it was that Dad went in to the hospital for that mystery infection that might have been COVID.

I mean, I don't mind reminding you, but you really need to work on your long-term recall, future Walter.

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There should have been a new post here, but I have been struck down by a debilitating case of vertigo after one too many hours gaming too close to a video monitor. Mom was right: It is bad for your eyes.

Next week I'll update you on running with scissors.

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As I type this, the United States has 1.188 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 68,276 deaths. More Americans have already died in the past 2 months from COVID-19 than died in the entire Vietnam War. And it's not over yet. By the time you read this, those numbers will be worse.

A quick computation of those figures reveals a current mortality rate of nearly 6%. If you've been paying attention (what else have you got to do?), you may remember that back at the beginning of March, the World Health Organization was estimating a 3.4% mortality rate — an estimate our wise president chose to call "a false number" in a live television interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News. He objected to the WHO number not because it was too low, but because it was much, much to high. "I would say the number is way under one percent," said the president.

(Footnote for future historians: That comment was made on March 4. A month later, April 14, Trump withdrew funding to the WHO claiming that they failed to report the true danger of the virus back in January. Quote: "The reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain that and share information in a timely and transparent fashion." By that logic, I guess we should stop funding the current American president, too.)

Testing continues to be a problem, so we can't really be sure that the 1,188,122 number I referenced above is the true extent of the contamination. If we assume that the actual mortality rate is closer to 3.4% previously observed in other countries, it would mean that over 2 million Americans currently have or have had the disease. That's over a million hidden, untreated, pandemic-spreading cases. Sure seems like someone should be thinking twice about opening those shopping malls, Governor Kemp.

Also unreported in all those grim details is another victim of COVID-19. Specifically, I'm talking about my flattop.

Egghead!

I haven't seen a barber in over a decade, but in an act of solidarity with coronavirus-positive Tom Hanks (and maybe a little laziness), I decided to go ahead and trim my hair down to the scalp. Does it make me look more bald or less?

These days, the fact that I'm alive and well enough to worry about such things feels like an accomplishment.

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Jacob stood in the deserted street and looked up at the large, faded sign.

He had been sent to live with his aunt in Wyoming when the outbreak had started. It was for his own safety, his parents had said. What with the riots and looting and hand-sanitizer made by state prisoners, not to mention the virus itself, the city was just too dangerous.

We'll be back for you just as soon as the shelter-in-place order is lifted, said his mother from behind her n-95 respirator mask. His father gave him a comic book, one of the last printed before the country's last comics distributor had shut down. Then his parents had fist-bumped him goodbye and driven away.

His aunt died from the virus two weeks later. (If only they'd tested her!)

Faced with the dreary fate of slowly starving until he was reduced to eating his aunt's massive, unused toilet paper stockpile, Jacob made the only decision he could. He carefully wrapped his few precious possessions in a hobo bindle and set out on foot.

It was a harrowing journey. The wasteland was a wild and unforgiving place filled with roving gangs of self-driving Teslas fighting over solar energy charging stations. At night, Jacob struggled to sleep under a brilliant sky filled with the reflected glow from SpaceX's Starlink satellites.

It took nearly a month and all of Jacob’s determination, but he finally made it to a place where he wouldn't have to grow up, a neverland without end. The sign in front of him said it all. "TOYS R US."

Jacob couldn't wait to see what wonders lay behind the darkened windows. He made camp in the lonely parking lot and waited for the first employee of the day to come and unlock paradise.

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seriously, she's loving it

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Perhaps this is why many species eat their young

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To be continued...

 

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