Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rick's log, May 25 to May 30

5-25-10, Tuesday
A surprising front-page headline article in yesterday's paper on, of all things, the art of cursive writing! Formerly known to us geezer types as “penmanship,” it occupied a half-hour of elementary school time every day and comprised a part of the evening's homework assignments as well. Practice, practice, practice was the name of the game. Some got the skill eventually and some didn't and one of the reasons for learning it was to develop a signature as a unique and personal stamp of identity.
Many kids today (Allysan is one) can't read or write cursive and our own adult kids have signatures that imitate it. I had thought the schools had abandoned it long ago and the article says that Seattle Public Schools “encourage” the use of cursive but don't require it.

At last! Dr. Pham called. She has a surgery date set up for me to replace my PD catheter at (gasp) 0530 on Tuesday, June 15.
I have a date at Dr. Oliver's the same day.
Mary called CenturyLink to have our ground line shut off and after all this time and wrangling, the line was dead and gone within minutes. I found this out when I called Dr. Oliver's office to reset the 1100 appointment and couldn't get through. Using my cell phone, I left a message on her office's voice mail to call me back.
Kinda historical. Good-bye forever to 206-463-3327 and 463-1230.

5-26-2010, Wednesday (Art Linkletter passed today at age 97)
Next, we went through the house and boxed up all the cable TV control boxes and remote controls to return them to Comcast, instantly eliminating about $50 from our monthly house operation expenses. This is our first big step in learning to live in senior citizen poverty. Our next step seems to be learning how to wait for my meager disability check from the government which we have waited to receive since last October. It was supposed to come today. It failed to arrive. Although the benefits technically started last month, it's understandable that it would take the government a month to sign it and mail it to us. Anyway, its failure to arrive started a clock ticking for us. Back on Feb. 9 we discovered how Chase bank deals with its customers by making us track our funds down and make requests for them while they collect interest on them...while we wait in frustration for the funds to arrive.
Happy 62nd birthday to Mary. She got funny birthday greetings from Nancy who, along with Charlotte, sang her the happy birthday song while still groggy from her 2nd chemotherapy session.
Boy, did I bleed today! The techie who hooked me up (Cyrus) had trouble placing the needles and one blew out while he was trying to reset the other. Finally he had to remove both of them and start all over which left me in pain for the entire four hour run.
Meanwhile Angela called to tell me she couldn't make it to West Seattle to go over my latest care plan with me. She had several emergencies at Sea-Tac NWKC and while driving north to meet me at West Seattle NWKC had to turn around and go back to help deal with more emergencies that happened after she left.
That's okay. I was busy with an emergency of my own when she called, holding back the tide of my life's blood with a thick gauze pad while Cyrus and several other techies had to swarm a patient who passed out from low blood pressure.
We returned home late to find a worried note on the door from Gregg who had been unable to reach us because our phone had been disconnected. We gave him our cell phone numbers but were too bushed to provide dinner or conversation tonight.
So far we're not missing the phone line or the cable TV. The next thing to go will be the post office boxes. Both of 'em. Another radical move with historical overtones. I've had PO box 238 since the 70s.

5-27-10, Thursday
This is the one day of the year when Mary and I are only 2 years apart in age. She turned 62 yesterday and I'm still 64 until tomorrow.
The ticking clock that started yesterday stopped today when my first meager disability check arrived.
Mary picked up the check at the PO after we went to town to consult with our lawyer on how to declare bankruptcy.
For the moment this will help us quite a bit since the credit card companies have been in harassment mode for a while now. Everyone else in the long line of creditors we've acquired since I became a member of the Living Dead Club has been understanding and helpful but not the credit card companies, of which Discover is the most egregious.
About a month ago Jim Hutcheson (“Saint Hutch” to us) sent us a download from The Washington Post announcing “America's next Great Cartoonist” contest. The web site is about 12 pages long and when I finally got around to reading it today I found the contest closes on June 4th – right around the corner. Mary looked up their website, which contained an online registration form which required an attachment to be...um...attached containing six cartoons for their judges to consider. Unfortunately it's in Word format and Mary's computer doesn't have Word. She scanned six Offshore cartoons and sized them at 6.375” by 2.125” but when she printed them out, each strip's size was about the width of a coffee bean, i.e., nearly invisible. So, if we used their online electronic registration form, the Washington Post would not be able to open the attachment.
Mary printed up their registration form plus the six scanned cartoons so I can fill it out and snail-mail it to the Post. Only trouble is, they didn't include their mailing address but they did include a manager's name, Sarah M., and phone number.
Mary took a break to make dinner and as we sat down, Gregg walked in. Fortunately there was enough food left over for him.
I managed to get a brief bio put together for the Post while Mary experimented with various other ways to try to overcome the formatting problem but the snail mail option may be the only one available.

5-28-10, Friday
Made it to 65! Woo hoo!
First thing today I called Sarah M. at the Washington Post and left a message on her voice mail. Then I realized it's the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend.
Mary took off for the Honda dealership. Yesterday she got a call from Honda that her Civic has a problem in the driver's side airbag that may cause it to spew explosive shrapnel if it goes off. Bad feature so she's off to get it fixed.
Time to go for a birthday bleed.
I got off early enough to catch the 8:05 pm boat home and was knocked out when I walked into the house and found Allysan was there! Big birthday present! She did some special Allysan birthday cards for me. My favorite (a keeper) was a picture of me hooked up to a hemodialysis machine and her looking at me through a door and both of us thinking, “Dialysis sucks!”
I thought I hadn't gotten a call back from Sarah M. but Mary suggested I check my cell phone's voice mail because she (Mary) couldn't reach me today. Sure enough. The phone had turned itself off and there was indeed a voice mail from Sarah M. She said unfortunately all entries for the cartoonist contest had to be done electronically and wished me luck.
Mary went in, hooked up to the website and filled in all the particulars on the application form and within an hour an answer came back welcoming me to the contest.
5-29-10, Saturday
Allysan stayed the night and part of the day. Who knows how long this gets to go on? We'll just enjoy it while it lasts I guess.
The well-preserved but expensive-to-operate B-17 Flying Fortress that's been hanging out at Boeing Field for the last three weeks made two runs south and then north down Colvos Passage this afternoon. They've been selling half-hour flights to the public for $450 a pop so I grabbed the video camera and went out to see if I could expose some footage late in the afternoon. No luck but it was nice to break away from my usual dialysis patient mode for a change.
5-30-10, Sunday
Another week in the chair starting up tomorrow. Friday will be a tough day to end of the week but only because it'll be so long. I'll have my entrance interview and doctor's exam at the Veteran's Hospital at 10 am, and probably some time to kill before my 1600 to 2000 stretch in the dialysis chair that evening.
Mary notes: had a Skype call from John & Julie tonight. They sent their love and good wishes. Let's see now...if it's 10 pm this evening here, it's about 4 pm tomorrow there.

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