Thursday, January 15, 2009

SWMBO and the Get Well Card

I haven't talked about SWMBO lately.

Her Oncologist pulled her out of Chemotherapy at the end of the 9th week during her evaluation. She was so overwhelmed by the chemo, and associated medications, that she was unable to walk unassisted. Also, she was disassociated ... couldn't think straight.

So he too her off Chemo around New Years (December 31st, to be precise) and told her she would have to recover from the debilitation before he could decide on a new course of treatment.

She took a couple of weeks off treatment, to allow the heavy metals to dissipate, went back yesterday for another evaluation.

They did some tests, inclding Scans and Xrays; the doctor said they needed to be able to say that the tumor was ruduced my 50% to determine that the chemotherapy was working.

He was unable to do that.

Show she's going to stay off the chemo for another two weeks, and he'll put her on a weekly regimen of Avastin only (constricts the blood vessels to reduce the amount of nutrients to her tumor ... and also to the rest of her body.)

This every-other-week addition to her weekly infusions have caused her a lot of problems in the past, but her oncologist thinks it will help slow the growth of the tumor, and that the side-effects will be lessened because it will no longer be infused along with the other 'heavy metal' drugs.

So she'll be working on maintenance procedures for a while (indeterminate length, perhaps in terms of years) while her doctors work to find a curative palliative. They're talking about some possibilities, but she probably won't be going back to the normal chemotherapy for the foreseeable future.

The Greeting Card
In the meantime, I received a mysterious message early this week from Mike of Mister Completely. He wanted my street address to "mail (me) a package".

When I got home tonight, after stopping at SWMBO's house to see what I could do for her, I found he Mystery Package. It was a large box, addressed to (Jerry the Geek) "Re: Sandie".

I took it inside and opened it up quickly. Unlike most parcels addressed to me, it did not include reloading components.

Instead, it included a huge Gift Basket with "Get Well" ribbons wrapped around the handle.

I didn't look for a gift card. I didn't even take the basket out of the box to look for a card. Instead, I just came upstairs to email Mike and ask him if this was the surprise package he had promised me.

He said it was (and included the story behind it, which I will not relate here).


What a wonderful surprise for both me and for Sandie. I put the box by the door to take out to the car later, so it will stay cool and fresh until I can bring it to her tomorrow night.

Want to know the amazing part?

I've never met Mike. I've corresponded with him, he has posted comments in support of Sandie and me during her current battle, and every year he invites me to the Gunbloggers Rendesvous in Las Vegas (I've never taken him up on that ... I don't like Las Vegas and it's too far to travel.)

In fact, I don't think Sandie has ever heard of him. Well, she hasn't spent much time on the computer lately, and she doesn't surf GunBlogger websites as some of us do.

To receive this open expression of support from Mike is a wonderful thing, in my mind. here's a guy who only knows her third hand ... only knows me 2nd hand, and still he goes out of his way to make such a generous gesture.

I can only repeat the few things that I have said often, but not often enough.

You meet the nicest people in the Shooting Sports. And you meet surprisingly nice people on The Internet.

The combination of the two can only be said to be "The Best of The Best".

Many people have told me, in relay to Sandie:

"If there's ever anything that we can do, please let me know". The obvious reply to this is "okay, can you show up this weekend to vacuum the floors, Friday to do the laundry, Wednesday to do the shopping?" I'm sorry, we sometimes get a little bogged down in the mundane details.

So if you want to show Sandie some support, I'm afraid the the Gargantuan Generous Gift Basket niche has already been filled.

Can you show up on Tuesday to take the trash cans out to the curb?



Yes, I'm making light of this. What else can one do? But we do receive so much love and encouragement from our friends and acquaintances, and it's impossible to keep up with the volume here. When someone at a match says "Tell Sandie 'Hi' from me and tell her we miss her", I put it on my list and dutifully recite it only a few hours later, when I get back to her. She appreciates your support, and if I don't make the effort to return the greeting, please be patient with me. SHE receives your message, and SHE thanks you individually ... even if not in person.

Sandie and I are both doing as well as can be expected now, and we're hoping that she can spend some time on her day job in the near future, as soon as the worst of the drugs wear off and she canconcentrate again. Her fingers are still numb, so it's hard for her to type on the computer.

But if you will accept a group THANK YOU, here it is.

Sandie will probably not show up at a local match soon, but I do keep her informed on the odd occasions when I show up, such as last weekend's match at ARPC.

And I still have my camera, so unless you want' to be profiled here ... don't shoot yourself!

It's a Jungle out there!

But she can read your messages, or I can read them too her, and we both appreciate

Monday, January 12, 2009

Economic Stimulus Payment Scam

This comes from The HoboBrasser, who can be relied upon to know a scam when he sees one:

From: Internal Revenue Service []
Sent: Monday, January 12, 2009 8:16 AM
Subject: Please submit your Stimulus Payment form

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a Stimulus Payment.
Please submit the Stimulus Payment Online Form in order to process it.

A Stimulus Payment can be delayed for a variety of reasons.
For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.

To submit your Stimulus Payment form, please download the document attached to your email.

Note: If filing or preparation fees were deducted from your 2007 Refund or you received a refund anticipation loan, you will be receiving a check instead of a direct deposit.

Internal Revenue Service

If you receive an email similar to this one, it is a good idea to NOT reply to it.

And for goodness sake, don't click on the psuedo-link (which has been de-activated) with the expectation of getting free money from the Federal Government!

Remember the old canard: "We're from the Government, and we're here to help you."

Any time you hear that phrase, or a variation of it (see above), your best chance is to run, don't walk, to the nearest exit.

It's a lie.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Area 1 Director Election

From The Hobo Brasser, Secretary of the Columbia Cascade Section:

Chuck Anderson had thrown his hat in the ring for Area 1 Director. He is looking for signatures for his petition. He will be at Dundee on the 24th.

As with Tom Chambers, the board sends this out as a courtesy to Chuck, a member of the Columbia-Cascade Section. Sending it is for the purpose of information only and does not constitute an endorsement of any kind.

If you are a member of USPSA in Area 1, please consider signing the petitions for any Director candidates which you favor. I have already signed the petitions which have been presented to me, for the candidates I favor. It's perfectly acceptable to sign petitions for all candidates. The actual vote will sort out the winner.

I understand that there are more than the two candidates for this position. If you are a candidate, or if you know someone who wants to be considered, please contact the secretary of the Columbia Cascade Section (see here) for information about how to send your petition to be available for member consideration at CCS matches.

Or send them to me (in WORD or PDF form), and I will see that they reach the right person to insure that your petition is made available to local USPSA members.

Mr. Chambers and Mr. Anderson, you have already provided petition copies to CCS, so it will not be necessary to provide them again.

However, prospective candidates from outside the CCS section may choose to solicit support in Oregon's CCS section. Please understand that you are encouraged to solicit support from CCS members by the methods described above.

We only want the most viable candidate to win the election. If you don't let us know that you are a candidate, we won't have the information needed to make an informed choice.

Fish Splash

I went to a USPSA match in Albany this weekend. It was a classifier match, and although I wasn't competing I did show up to see some folks and maybe take some pictures.
The match was almost over when I dragged out the camera to take a video of Fish shooting the last of the two Field Course" Stages, which included a Texas Star, a half-dozen IPSC targets, and a couple of 9" steel plates.

I thought it was a good run, but only mildly exciting (except for the shooter, of course).

When Fish came off the stage, after having bagged his pistol, he held up his hands and announced to The Peanut Gallery:

"Hey, I'm bleeding!"

Sure enough, he was leaking, and from both hands.

As we took a short break to try to staunch his wounds, Fish told us the story.

He started out at stage left engaging four paper targets, then moved to the right to pick up the two steel and two more paper. He said he took the steel first, and that was when one of the bullets (more likely a large, jagged bullet fragment, judging from the way his fingers were sliced & diced) bounced directly and struck him where his fingers were overlapped at the front of the grip.

He said it hurt, but he went ahead and engaged the two paper targets on the right, then moved back a step to engage the Texas Star through the port.

Here's how it looked from the Peanut Gallery:


Can you tell when the ricochet struck? I can't. Here's a picture or two from the early attempts to 'stop the leaking'. (Note: if you can't stand the sight of blood, this may not be something you want to look at. But it's not gory, or NSFW.)

Picture 1: Trying to apply bandaids. (Yes, they are trying to use target tape to wrap the fingers.)

Picture #2, after the first couple of bandaids were applied:

Here's the story from Fish, from an email he sent 'later':

Trip to urgent care at Kaiser where they gave me a tetanus shot, took a look, and packed me off to the ER at Salem Hospital because of the chance of tendon and nerve damage. I didn't get back here until 8. Several X-rays showed nothing broken and no metal debris in the wounds, but I did have two deep puncture wounds on the middle finger of my left hand, a puncture wound to the middle finger of my right hand, and a nasty cut on the inside of the index finger on my right hand that finally required three stitches to close. Thank you to everyone who helped me, including the unknown good Samaritan at the range with a first aid kit who bandaged me up.

The ER doctor told me the new scars are\will be the sign of a life well lived.

Well, it's not the first time we've seen blood on the range, but it is a good example of the concern for safety involved in IPSC/USPSA competition.

After 25 years of competition, I have yet to see an injury which involved more than a few stitches, at worst. I've seen some serious Road Rash in the summer, from people in shorts who fall down while running on the gravel. In fact, I've had a couple of them myself.

And I've known ricochetting bullets to bounce back among the spectators, causing minor scratches or a small bruise at worst.

Compared with, for example, High School Football or High School Basketball, this Practical Shooting thing must be one of the safest competitive activity one can hope to find.

To compare, here are some of the web-based links to injuries in other competitive sports:
I've focused here, where possible, on injuries incurred by minors .. Middle School and High School. I haven't even touched on the 'individual sports' such as Wrestling and Boxing. But we will know that it's a rare year which completes without some death or permanent injury being incurred by one of these sports, which are more acceptable than the Shooting Sports (in the opinion of most people.)

In my personal opinion, a sport which most commonly leads to permanent joint injury, or permanent head trauma (eg: boxing) is more dangerous than any of the shooting sports.

It is perhaps indicative that I have made so much of a series of minor slices to the fingers, not even involving broken bones or damaged tendons.

BTW, I labeled this a "KaBoom" moment for purposes of comparison. This was not a "KaBoom"; the firearm functioned perfectly, and the latest word is that there was no damage to the pistol. This would probably not be true if a full-diameter bullet had bounced back with anything near to the initial velocity of the bullet. (If Mr. Fish informs me that the pistol was damaged, I will of course correct this impression.)