Friday, October 31, 2008

A Long Two Months

Back in late August an annual MRI confirmed what my body had been telling me for several weeks. The MS is active again. I blogged about it and posted some pictures of the MRI here.

The week of Labor Day, I took the regular course of treatment -- five days of I.V. steroids -- a full gram per day. I've done the steroid thing before and fully expected to reap the benefit of fresh fuel in the tank. I had two, maybe three good days. Then came nightly fevers and and night sweats. I just kept slogging ahead though. What else can one do?

Late in September, I spent a weekend in the bathroom losing everything at both ends and rapidly became dehydrated. That Monday I took myself to the doctor for two bags of I.V. fluids, some phenergan to tamp down the nausea and instructions to return to his office for a follow up the very next day. Tuesday was little better. Skin clammy, heart rate racing along at 120+, the doc ordered an EKG. Because the EKG showed some freaky peaks, he admitted me to the hospital for heart monitoring and other tests.

As it turns out, the heart thing was nothing but CT scan showed my spleen pretty radically enlarged for unknown reasons.

Released after the couple of days it took for him to determine I was stable, I had a list of follow up appointments with the GP and neurologist to try to get to the bottom of everything and to try to determine if the spleen thing might have something to do with the MS treatment protocol. The neuro set me up with an infectious disease physician because he did not think there was any connection between spleen and MS treatment.

The appointment with infectious disease MD took two weeks to roll around. Everyday I was feel worse and worse...whatever vitality I had was draining out bit by bit, day by day. The day of the appointment in the neighboring town, October 22, I was so flat I could not drive myself so I had to get Bo out of school to drive me over. Walking into the office building using my cane, I was shuffling along like an old, old man. After an extended interview with a great doc, I had a truckload of blood drawn for evaluation and instructions to call back in two days for information on the doctor's decision about next steps.

His call to my GP beat my call back to him. He called my GP to warn him that my hemoglobin was at 8 and that he should consider bringing me in for a blood transfusion to boost it back to normal -- 14 or so.

Hmmmmm. Hemoglobin level of 8. No wonder I had been nowhere but the bed all day that Thursday and Friday.

Plans for the type, cross match were made and transfusion was scheduled to take place outpatient in the local hospital the next day, Saturday.

That's when the "fun" really started. They couldn't match my blood for safe transfusion and all the while my hemoglobin plummeted to 6.3, sapping all ability to take more that a half dozen steps and destroying every aspect of any personhood in me. I was a zombie.

The inability to safely match my blood necessitated transfer to a hospital in a neighboring city with a hematologist.

Bottom line? That enlarged spleen was eating my red blood cells faster than my marrow could produce them. They call it autoimmune hemolytic anemia. So now, not only is my own body eating the insulation off of my nerves, my own body is consuming my own red blood cells.

It has been seven days in the hospital now. I've already gone into too may details. I'll just say the anemia appears to be under control now although I have a way to go to build my hemoglobin count to normal. This morning, with a count of 7.9, the doctor is sending me home -- to bed, to continue the medication protocol.

Oh well. At least I get to start the new month at home.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Being Poor = Lazyness

Only lazy minds believe that because it is much more complicated than that.

Being Poor (language alert)

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U.S. Working Poor On The Rise, Says Report

The number of U.S. jobs paying a poverty-level wage increased by 4.7 million between 2002 and 2006, according to a new analysis of census data released Tuesday. The number of jobs with pay below the poverty threshold increased to 29.4 million, or 22 percent of all jobs, in 2006 from 24.7 million, or 19 percent of all jobs, in 2002."The real surprising news, the alarming news, is that both the number and percentage of low-income families increased during this period," said Brandon Roberts, co-author of the report. "This was a time when we had solid and robust economic growth."An increase in poverty "is not just a new phenomena over the last six months," he said.Poverty-wage jobs increased in part because 2.5 million new jobs paid poverty wages; additionally 2.2 million jobs that paid greater than poverty wages in 2002 became poverty-wage jobs by 2006, as pay failed to keep up with the cost of living, Roberts said.

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On the Lighter Side...

Monday, October 13, 2008

From N. T. Wright's "Surprised by Hope"

The method of the kingdom will match the message of the kingdom. The kingdom will come as the church, energized by the Spirit, goes out into the world vulnerable, suffering, praising, praying, misunderstood, misjudged, vindicated, celebrating: always -- as Paul puts in one of his letters -- bearing in the body the dying of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed.  (p. 112)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Frank Schaeffer: A Former Supporter of McCain

The other day I commented to a conservative friend that if Senator Obama were attacked or assassinated, John McCain and Sarah Palin would be held responsible. He looked at me like I'd lost my mind.

It seems that I'm not the only one to feel this way. Today's Baltimore Sun published this article by Frank Schaeffer. I have added some emphasis where I think it's appropriate.

Frank Schaeffer is the author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back.

John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.

At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, "Kill him!" At one of your rallies, someone called out, "Terrorist!" Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee - an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.


John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.

You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.

John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that surround the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post-9/11, to call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we are a bitterly divided country on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty of crazy people out there.

Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.

John McCain, you're walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out "Terrorist" or "Kill him," history will hold you responsible for all that follows.

John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people - forever. We will hold you responsible.


Originally uploaded by haywardART.

David Hayward pegs it once again

Clear and Present Danger

Keen Observation by Andrew Sullivan

questionmark This election really is a classic battle between fear and hope. All Palin and McCain are offering right now is more fear: fear of a black man, fear of terrorism, fear of the other, fear of Iran, fear of the future, fear of Islam, fear of the truth. And above all: fear of defeat. On that last one, they're rational. Which side are you on?

Quote of the Day

There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.
  - Richard Feynman

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

McCain/Palin Supporters: Doesn't this make you proud!

Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy." -- Dana Millbank, Washington Post

Especially True When Fighting MS

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
  - Sir Richard Steele

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

America is No Different

"The fate of empires is very often sealed by the interaction of war and debt. That was true of the British Empire, whose finances deteriorated from the First World War onwards, and of the Soviet Union. Defeat in Afghanistan and the economic burden of trying to respond to Reagan's technically flawed but politically extremely effective Star Wars program were vital factors in triggering the Soviet collapse. Despite its insistent exceptionalism, America is no different," - John Gray.

Until the US scales back its imperial ambitions across the Middle East and seriously cuts its entitlement state, the country's global hegemony will come to an abrupt and humiliating end.

HT: The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

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