Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving With SWMBO - Part IV

Yep, SWMBO is still in the hospital.

When I went to visit her tonite, I discovered that she is no longer in "isolation". During the two days when her private room was an "Isolation Room", nobody was permitted to enter without first donning a yellow paper gown and blue latex gloves. They called this "Robe and Gloves".

(Incidentally, the entire hospital is under some kind of quarantine. Nobody is permitted to pass the guard at the entrance without cleaning their hands with a chemical cleanser. All visitors must wear visitor badges with their name, the date, and the area to which they desire to visit. Anyone who has recently had a cold or influenza, has a cough, or otherwise shows signs of ill-health is permitted to enter. This is presumably because of the current "Swine Flu Epidemic".)

It was nice, being permitted to visit SWMBO without being swaddled in hot, uncomfortable "Robe and Gloves".

More important, it was nice to see her looking much stronger, and more alert.

She still has pain to deal with. From time to time you could see that she was experiencing a pang; she would grab her left side with her hand, arch her back, turn her head and grimace for five or ten seconds until the pang would ease.

And yes, she's still receiving pain medication every hour ... if she asks for it. It's hard to get any rest this way, as when the medication wears off the pain comes back, and it's sharp enough to wake her up. She buzzes for the nurse, the CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) comes in to learn that pain medication is needed. The CNA informs the nurse, and the nurse eventually arrives to feed one-and-a-half syringes of ...whatever ... into her saline drip shunt. In 10 or 15 minutes the pain becomes more bearable. That's followed by another 45 minutes of watching the clock. SWMBO want's to know when to ask for the next shot, so she can get it in time for it to take effect before the last shot wears off. Hard to sleep at night, but the doctor believes this is the best approach.

What's wrong?

The doctors have about given up on the tentative diagnosis that her may be a side-effect of the secondary medications she is taking to counter-act the side-effects of her chemotherapy. That's a convoluted sentence, but it just means they don't think it's a direct result of her cancer treatment.

They have decided it is more likely a bowel blockage than Diverticulitis. They admit that they can't tell the difference in either X-Rays or CAT Scans, but they're going with the "Bowel Blockage". One suspects that choice is because the treatment of a Bowel Blockage is a short term course of treatment, and they can do something about it.

If it is Diverticulitis, they'll know it if the other treatment doesn't work in the next few days.

On the other hand, the antibiotics being administered with her saline drip will already be attacking the (theoretical) infection, so they're not really wasting any time with this course of treatment.

The good news is, her diet has been changed from "clear liquids" to a diet with some solids. Yay! She can eat chicken noodle soup with vegetables, yogurt, etc. The bad news is, every time she eats something, the pain level increases.

SWMBO is philosophical about it. "If I eat something, it makes my side hurt. If I don't eat anything, that makes my side hurt. Might as well eat." [wiggles her hand to indicate how "iffy" the problem is.]

I stayed with her for about an hour, enjoying her new-found strength to participate in, and enjoy, casual conversation. She told me that she had received a phone call from The Hobo Brasser and his wife, Spicey. That cheered her up: they are truly Good Friends. (This term may be defined as people who will phone you when you are in the hospital, but won't bug you by showing up and forcing you to make awkward conversation when you are not, after all, at your public very best.)

No word, of course, about when SHE will be well enough to go home. We're all just playing a game of Wait and See. But we're both confident that she is receiving the best care that Private Medical Insurance can buy, and we're very glad that if this had to happen, it's best that it happens before The Public Option rule comes into effect.

Sorry; drifted into The Twilight Zone for a moment there.

Jeff Cooper's Commentaries

The archive of Jeff Cooper's Commentaries can now be found on MOLONLABE.NET (The link has been updated in my sidebar, under the heading "OTHER RKBA RESOURCES".)

It had originally been hosted by IPSC/UK ... (
.... but this link is no longer active.

For those of you who occasionally enjoy rereading Cooper's columns, the archives carry the "Cooper Commentaries" in 14 annual chapters covering the years 1983 through 2006. Col. Jeff Cooper passed away September 25, 2006 at the age of 86.

(GUNS MAGAZINE article references may be found here. No context is included.)

Many of the earlier articles appeared in Guns & Amm0 Magazine in a monthly 2-page spread called 'Coopers Corner". Because of Coopers strong-held personal opinions, and his plain-talk manner of expressing them, G&A eventually -- reluctantly -- discontinued the monthly opinion column.

M0st, perhaps all of these columns have been reproduced in the two volumes published by Cooper late in his career under the titles "The Gargantuan Gunsite Gossip" (Cooper & Kirshner, 1989) and "Gargantuan Gunsite Gossip 2" (Cooper and Kirshner, 2001). Both were originally published by Gunsite Press and reprints are available at the Gunsite Ranch Pro Shop. besides at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, where the individual links point. (Also, possible still available at Dillon Precision, where I bought my copies of both volumes.)

Volume I (GGG1) covers the first nine years , from 1981 through 1989. Reprints have been printed by Gunsite Raven Corp. (The book actually refers to these as "volumes", but I don't believe you can directly relate these to the online "volumes", the 14 volumes of which cover only the years from 1983 through 2006.)

Volume II of The Gargantuan Gunsite Gossip (GGG2) covers years 1990 - 2000.

As far as I know, the last six years (2001 - 2006) of Cooper's Commentaries are available nowhere else besides the online website.

And the first two years ... 1981 and 1982 ... are only available in the book: GGG1.

Summary of coverage:

1981 - 1982: available only in GGG1
1983 - 1989: available in GGG1 and the online archives
1990 - 2000: available in GGG2 and the online archives
2001 - 2006: available only in the online archives

For a list of all COGITO ERGO GEEK posts about, or referencing Jeff Cooper or his books, click on the keyword COOPER on the labels below.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving With SWMBO - Part III

As predicted, SWMBO and I celebrated Thanksgiving Day together --- in the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. Also known as The Hospital.

SHE had a cup of tea, a lot of water, some chicken broth, and a small cup of Strawberry Jello.

As she sat in her hospital bed, holding the newly opened container of Strawberry Jello, I noticed that it smelled wonderful. I commented on the savory aroma to SWMBO.

"Yes" she said. "I'm just sitting her smelling it. It reminds me when I use to sneak into the garden to steal strawberries. They tasted good, fresh from the garden, and stolen."

That's a nice memory for her. And it gives her something positive to be thankful for. Well, that and temporarily at a pain level she can abide.

Two hours earlier she had awaken from a nap in agony, clenching her waist and shuddering, when her inter-venous pain medication had run out. (She gets a new shot in the drip shunt every hour ... if she requests it. If she doesn't request it, they don't give it to her ... but it doesn't last more than an hour.) While the nurse was renewing the medication, she also extended her O2 line with a longer section which would allow SWMBO to move around the room if she wants. Later, she mentioned that "the air smells like plastic". It took a while for enough Oxygen to flow through the line to clean out the plastic aromatics.

The lab results today were "inconclusive". They couldn't definitively diagnose Diverticulitis from the CAT scan they ran on her this morning, and the blood tests didn't point to anything specific ... which at least rules out the dreaded Necrotizing Fasciitis. (Nobody mentioned this, but it gave us something else to be thankful for!)

For the moment, they're wondering if it's a blockage in the intestines. They're working on that; it's an awkward diagnosis, because they really can't tell until, if that is the problem, it clears up. In the meantime it's humiliating to treat and is not entirely reassuring.

I spent my day taking care of myself, getting enough to eat, doing laundry and household chores for SWMBO, and most of the afternoon and evening holding hands with SWMBO. My day was a lot more comfortable than hers. Her younger sister and her daughter (SWMBO's neice) visited this morning, and this evening she received calls from her daughter and two of her grandchildren -- her grandson is the father of a brand new baby boy, and that's another thing to be thankful for.

Tomorrow, or perhaps Saturday, if her doctor allows her to eat something more complicated than "clear liquids", I'll bring her a dixie-cup size portion of Vanilla Bean Häagen-Dazs® ice cream.

Among the rest of the things to be thankful for are our many supportive friends, and our families. Thank you all for your affection, and your support.

Hope you all have a warm, rewarding and safe Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving With SWMBO - Part II

As the insufferable Dr. Ian Malcolm so infuriatingly states in Jurassic Park: "Life Happens".

And thus is solved the quandary of what to serve for Thanksgiving Dinner with SWMBO.

The answer: "Clear Liquids for the next three days".

You may recall that Last December (2008), SWMBO's Oncologist observed her as being in the next thing to total systemic collapse as the consequence of 9 continuous weeks of weekly Infusions with platinum and other poisonous chemicals. She spent the better part of a week in the Hospital, completely missing Christmas and New Years.

This year promises to be even less respective of Holiday Plans for SWMBO.

This afternoon about 3pm SWMBO called me to ask for transportation to her Oncologist's office, and then to the hospital. She has been experiencing sever abdominal pain since Monday, and when she first went to see her doctor he prescribed for her ... powerful pain killers.

When she told me that two days ago, she was still able to drag herself to the doctor, so I only learned about it in our regular weekday evening phone chat. I expressed surprise that he did not make a determined effort to learn the cause of the pain, but other than that kept my big mouth shut. Hard to believe, but true.

Today, the Tyelonol-3 quit working.

We got to the Doctor's office around 3:30. The Doctor palpitated her abdomen, bring expressions of 'discomfort'; noted some bloating, and announced that the cause of her pain was either (1) a side-effect of the chemotherapy, (2) an unknown bacteria infection, or (3) Diverticulitis. Whatever the cause, he recommended that SHE check into the hospital for more tests, observation, rest and hydration, close personal care and initial treatment with antibiotics and pain killers.

SHE didn't want to do that, but became convinced when she asked him to define her alternatives.

The Doctor said:
"You go home, get worse until you become entirely dehydrated, experience blackouts, and become so incoherent that you can't say NO to the hospital."
So they put her in a wheelchair, wheel her to the hospital, and at 4pm check her into a private room in the new wing ... which is so new that the variable light-level controls haven't been hooked up to the lights.

Glaringly bright lights illuminated the room while the attentive (but harried) staff in the FULL hospital tend to her.

SWMBO hurts.

Give her a gown, and some privacy to change out of her street clothes.

Take huge amounts of blood from both arms. (There is a reason for this, which sounds something like "double blind checking for possible contamination of the blood sample; we want to make certain that the bacteria we find comes from inside you, not from your skin, my hands, or any other possible source of contamination".)

SWMBO hurts.

After two hours, a new technician comes in to poke another needle in her arm, in a new place. She installs a temporary shunt into which she can plug a saline drip, the prescribed antibiotics, and pain killers. Then she goes away.

40 minutes later, SHE buzzes for the nurse to ask please, I need water and the anti-biotics and something to make the pain go away. The nurse takes her entire medical history back to 1968.

SWMBO hurts.

Finally about 8:15 pm the nurse returns with a handful of medical gear-stuff:
  • Injecting a pain killer into the shunt, she announces that this can be given to her "once every hour ... if needed"
  • Sets up the saline solution to drip into her arm
  • Isn't real sure what antibiotic will be added to the drip but "we'll get something to you real soon, hun."
The pain killer finally started to take effect, and her eyes grew heavy. I had to leave to go pick up my own prescription, which I had planned to get on my way home from work.

So SHE will be in the hospital on Thanksgiving, taking only "clear liquids" (fruit juices, broths, water, jello, etc.) for the next day or two. Chances are that she only 'may' be well enough to leave the hospital on Saturday.

Actually, the initial diagnosis of Diverticulitis (which is the acute stage of Diverticulosus ... which she already knows is an unrelated malady ... the two conditions together are called Diverticular Disease) may be the real answer here.

I experienced Diverticulitis 5 years ago, and it was agonizing. It felt as if someone were jabbing a red-hot poker through my left side; it doesn't throb, or ache -- it is a very sharp, localized pain which does not lend itself to ignoring no matter how tough you think you are. All you can think of is: "Please, someone, make the pain go away!"

I'm not attempting to diagnose, but if what SHE is feeling is as she described, I know how that dominates your attention ... for hours, or days, and it only gets worse as it goes untreated.

But if that is the cause of her severe discomfort, at least she can be assured that it is treatable by antibiotics, and there are many standard pain killers which either dull the pain, or make it so that you really just don't much care. The original treatment takes a week to ten days to resolve the pain issues, and the better part of a month before the antibiotics actually kills the infection and allows you to get back on your feet.

I sure hope it's 'only' Diverticulitus.

What's next? "'War Surtax"

Lawmakers Propose 'War Surtax' to Pay for Troop Increase in Afghanistan -

Two congressmen (Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the purse string-controlling House Appropriations Committee; and Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee) are calling for a tax on 'the wealthy' to pay for the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan.
"If we have to pay for the health care bill, we should pay for the war as well ... by having a war surtax," Obey told ABC News in an interview that aired Monday. "The problem in this country with this issue is that the only people that has to sacrifice are military families and they've had to go to the well again and again and again and again, and everybody else is blithely unaffected by the war."

Surely the military families have borne the greatest burden in this and in any war, but the idea of a surtax (based on Income Tax returns, and only for a select group of tax payers) is new.

No, the idea that "the wealthy" should bear the greatest tax burden is far from new. They already do, and politicians find it easy to play the Class Card when proposing new taxes.

What is new is the Congress now feels it safe to attack "the wealthy" in a tax over and beyond the income tax ... which "the wealthy" now pay an overwhelming majority of what becomes income for the Federal Government.

Congress once was called upon to vote whether or not to end "The War on Terrorism", but were either too cowardly or too shame-faced to actually put their vote where there mouth is. Now they have found a new way to attract unlikely allies in their continuing campaign to end American participation in the necessary -- but unpalatable -- war.

The Wealthy.

But what's even worse is the attempt to justify new taxation based on the assumed inevitability of the National Health Care bill.

Now we can be just like The Brits: Subjects, not Citizens.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

'The Science Is Very Clear' -Ed Begley

'The Science Is Very Clear' - Video -

Ed Begley, Jr. (who played a hippie in the 1982 file Eating Raoul) recently appeared on the Fox News Channel in an interview concerning Global Warming.

Apparently, Begley is vigorously "Green" and believes that the information on "Climate Change", including that it is the result of human actions, is definitive.

That's not the whole story, though. The aging actor was very careful to say that we should "get our information from the scientists, not from actors or television interviewers". Also, he refused to state that the issue "has been settled".

Click on the video for an amusing example of an interview which starts out civilized, quickly descends to over-talking each other, shouting, finger pointing and name calling.

This interview was conducted after the recent revelations that Climate Scientists who supported the "Climate Change Is A Result of Human Activity" concept have been found to be collaborating in a gigantic hoax to skew the reported data in order to support their theory.

(See interesting articles from The Smallest Majority: announcement of the hacking of email files from climate researchers, and a more recent video interview of a "professor of Meteorology" at MIT -- recorded BEFORE we got a look at the smoking-gun email correspondence. For balance, see here a November 22, 2009, AP article claiming that Global Warming impacts sped up, worsened, since Kyoto.)

It would be interesting to know what Begley thinks of the whole Climate Change thingie in view of recent developments.

We may agree that Peer Review is a good way to evaluate scientific announcements.

However, the reliability of the check-and-balance process is undermined when the peers are in cahoots.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thinking about Thanksgiving with SWMBO

SWMBO endured another "Effusion" on Wednesday, which (according to her Oncologist) means that her auto-immunity system is -- to coin a word -- "Trashed" for seven to ten days. This will be the case every 3 weeks after each effusion.

So that rules out T-Day with the family. Hers, or mine. We can't take a chance of mingling with people who, however valued and loved, may be hacking up The Lugie of Death or otherwise communicating whatever communicable disease they may harbor.

They can catch The Common Cold, and suffer nothing more than a minor inconvenience. For her, the same germ/bacteria/virus may, even in its least virulent form, put her in the hospital for weeks. Or worse.

So we are a Party of Two for the Turkey-Day Restaurant, which will take place at the oh-so-exclusive venue of Chez SWMBO.

Last year we had Spaghetti. Or was that the year before?

We have also celebrated this Day of Thanksgiving with Pizza, Smoked Salmon and Camembert Brule' (Cheese wrapped in Croissant dough and over-cooked, also known as Camembert En Croissant when we remember to take it out of the oven after a half-hour), and Cheerios on the Half Shell.

Okay, I made that last one up. In truth, we had a big Ham Roast. But that doesn't sound as adventuresome, does it?

This year we are thinking about a much more controversial dish: Turkey.

For the two of us, it makes no sense to buy a 12 pound Turkey. We'd just have to throw most of it out. Besides, I don't like Stuffing and neither of us like "dark meat". I note that Fred Meyers stocked their freezers with Turkeys on Saturday, so there is a nice "Breast Meat Only Turkey" available if we get there before they're sold out, so we'll probably buy five pounds of frozen Turkey Breast and consider ourselves Real Americans. I'll wear a wide-brimmed, tall black hat with a buckle in the front, and SWMBO will wear lots of petticoats and a frilly bonnet tied under her chin.

As if!

What's an appropriate dinner for two in isolation?

Actually, we don't much care. In one way, it's just another Thursday, except that we have a four-day weekend to spend together.

In another sense, we want to share a National Day of Thanksgiving with the rest of our country, if we can't share it with our family. We both have so much to feel thankful about. If you are a regular reader of The Trials of SWMBO, I don't have to tell you about it; you already know.

Ultimately, though, it doesn't matter what version of Gluttony we chose. The main thing is that we enjoy the company of each other. The most important thing is that while we are stuffing our bellies, we can be planning another Thanksgiving together.

And another, and another, and another ....

PS: SWMBO's latest evaluation shows that her Blood Oxygen is up and her tumor "has gone from 3.6 to 3.2". Neither of us knows what this means, or what the measurement is. But we are assured that it is an improvement.

We'll take what we can get, be it a medical evaluation, or another Thanksgiving Day together.

And of course, there will be Häagen-Dazs® Vanilla Bean Ice cream -- or what's a Heaven for?

Russian cannibal who ate his mother given lighter sentence

Russian cannibal who ate his mother given lighter sentence by judge who says 'he was starving, he needed to eat' | Mail Online
A cannibal who killed and ate parts of his mother had his sentence reduced by a judge who said 'he needed to eat'.
Sergey Gavrilov secured reduced time in jail after confessing: 'I did not like the meat very much. It was too fatty. But I was so hungry, I had to eat it.'

The 27-year-old was given a lenient prison sentence because the judge said he was starving and needed to eat after spending all his money on vodka.
Yes, what you just read is the lead to an article which made news in England. Even The Brits consider this irrational behavior on the part of the Russian Judiciary.

We have just established the boundaries of what The Brits consider "acceptable".

Some of us may think that this compares unfavorably with the British policy which forbids possession of firearms by private citizens. Or the right of self defense by whatever means available during a Home Invasion.


"A Modest Proposal":
Here's the implication. If you're a British Subject (they don't have "citizens" any more), and you're attacked in your home by a drunken "Yob", your best defense is to slice off some muscle tissue and eat it. Better if you cook it, of course. I recommend saute with virgin olive oil and a little garlic. Wash it down with a nice Chianti.

Then call the cops.

When the Bobbies learn that you ate human flesh, they will be so distracted they will forget that you used your Public School Cricket Trophy to bash his head it. No weapons charge!

Of course, you face the risk of having used a knife to butcher the poor, deprived innocent Yob. But with any luck, they will be impressed by your determination not to bother National Health Service after the innocent Yob has bashed your head it with your own Cricket trophy.


Reading this over, I don't see a Down Side.

Do you?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Abort Health Care Reform

"Abort Health Care Reform" from "The Smallest Minority"
(Friday, November 20, 2009)
In his indefatigueable drive to examine in excruciating detail the "Health Care Reforms" of President Obama, Kevin Bacon scores another Major Hit in the "A-Zone" of the Obamacare Bill.

A "UK Expat now living in New Zealand " commenter described as "Phil B." describes his personal experiences with Socialized National Medicine (Obamacare in the UK) in prolific and turgid prose.

It's not a pretty picture, and it bodes ill for the American of Socialized Medicine.

Go there, and read the whole thing.

Mister Rogers Speaks

Can you say "You can't make a weak man strong by making a strong man weak" children?

I knew you could.

H/T "Smallest Minority", "The greatest middle class in the face of the earth (11/19/09)
Actually, that quote probably was not correctly cited as originating from Abraham Lincoln. According to "The Quotations Page", it was part of an extended quote by William J. H. Botcker:
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatreds.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
William J. H. Boetcker, 1916 (often attributed to Lincoln)

This is from a pamphlet published by Boetcker called "The Ten Cannots", according to (the often egregiously erroneous) Wikipedia.

It's a shame that the quote was cited as according to Abraham Lincoln; it undermines the veracity of the thought.

However, taken together "The Ten Cannots" should -- and perhaps would, under other circumstances -- provide us with some guidance, some perspective, in regards to the wisdom of mandating (as Rep Rogers says) that 85% of us should be penalized for the (unproven) benefit of the other fifteen percent.

I'm not saying that I don't agree with Mr. Rogers; I'm only saying that if you're going to support your political/social/cultural position by quoting A Great American, it would be wise to choose the Great American who actually said it.

(BTW, here is a link to the Mister Rogers YouTube page. You may here find other opinions with which you agree. Or not.)


Here's a one-minute quote of Mister Rogers, speaking to an almost empty house about Democrat health bill cuts $500 billion from critical Medicare services.

This is important to me because, in three months, I will turn 65 years of age. This weekend I received a letter from Social Security Services Administration advising me that I should register for Medicare "three months before your 65th birthday". That's tomorrow for me, folks. (November 23, 2009 + 3 months = February 23, 2010.)

Obamacare is famously said to be designed to save health-care monies by cutting services to Senior Citizens. I'm on the cusp, this is ALL I have to look forward to for my future health care, and I'm pissed.

If this doesn't seem sufficient reason to be outraged by , perhaps you should consider the words of Pastor Martin Neimoler:

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me --
and by that time no one was left to speak up.