Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Please Don't Scare the Tourists

Why have they been picking on women so much lately? Generally, gators go for the very young and very old. Predator style, you know. And dogs. Gators are particularly fond of dogs.

Alligator Interrupts Mermaid Show

Published: May 28, 2006

WEEKI WACHEE - This community's famous mermaids got an unwelcome swimming partner when an alligator found its way Saturday into Buccaneer Bay.

The mermaid show was delayed - and the underwater viewing room screened by curtains - while professional trapper Darrell Plank of Brooksville subdued the wayward reptile.

Plank roped the alligator and pulled it onto a floating dock in the middle of the spring as hundreds of anxious swimmers watched from the bank.

Plank estimated the alligator at 9 feet long.

"I've never seen anything like it," Plank said Sunday. "It could have been a threatening situation."

Find this article at: http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGB9GY79SNE.html

Fried Egg Sandwiches

One thing I love about good bloggers is how they make you think about the stuff you do in your *regular* life.

Not that food should ever be, say, mundane. Horrors!

So Livey's talking about how she eats her eggs, putting them on toast. http://northwoodswoman.blogspot.com/2006/05/how-do-you-eat-eggs.html And lots of commenters weighed in with their own egg, toast, and oatmeal habits. The oatmeal with toast in it threw me. Surprised.

Just like the first time I heard about a fried egg sandwich.


Which turned out to be a heavenly meal.

Messy, but heavenly.

I always love my food hot hot hot, temperature-wise. So right off, it sounded good.

I use one or two fried eggs (over easy), on toast that's sometimes buttered and sometimes not. Iceberg lettuce, if I have it. Salt. And black pepper.

I usually dislike black pepper. But on fried eggs, and sometimes white sauce and sometimes corn on the cob -- yes. It just really, really belongs.

Last but not least: Miracle Whip.

Sometimes other fried egg sandwich aficionados tell me that putting Miracle Whip on one's fried egg sandwich is Not Right. But I do like I do with ALL food police, and totally ignore them. Exactly as they deserve.

And turn my back, to shield my messy meal from prying eyes, and enjoy the hell out of myself.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Cats Can Read

kdad is not a cat person.

He is a dog person.

He's really come around about my cats, though. To his credit, he's willing to revise his thinking on a lot of his misunderstandings about catdom.

It's nice when one's parents listen, isn't it?

Livey http://northwoodswoman.blogspot.com/2006/05/hes-good-boy-really.html
and Desert Cat http://desertcat.blogspot.com/2006/05/new-use-for-canned-air.html both have a very good understanding about the intelligence, and lovingness, of cats.

And hearing about DC's mister hairbutt put me in mind of the day I tried to explain to kdad how cats get so smart.

He'd noticed my Babycat had a habit of sitting on newspapers and books.

So I thought he should know that cats do that because they like to read.

He just looked at me.

--Cats can read!-- I told him.

--They just use a different part of their anatomy than we do.

Friday, May 26, 2006

And the GOOD news is...

(drum roll please)

The Plant Rescue Department is now official:

*ksquest* is a Registered Nursery.

In 2-3 weeks, my Registration Number will arrive in the mail, and I can put it out there for all and sundry to see. But as of today, I can sell nursery stock any time to any one. I'm good to go.

All for the grand total sum of $25.00, and a couple minutes to fill out an application form, and 20 minutes or so walking my property with a quiet and pleasant and wise nursery inspector called Nury. After which we sat and talked for an hour and a half, just enjoying each other's company.

I am so excited I can't stand it. Too thrilled for words.


I've considered doing this off and on for many years. Sometimes I'd think: How could I take it if, during one of my housebound periods when I can't get out and water, half my stock died? And they were plants that someone had had their eye on and wanted and cared about?

Well. I've been waiting to get it together to get a watering system in. That's one solution.

The other one was an attitude thing. It had to do with the hurricanes.

See, hurricanes are well known Attitude Adjusters.

Then, rescuing all those plants that were waiting to go to the chippers was an experience that may mean something extra to a disabled person.

It's a giving back, a validation of the worth of one's existence.

And something else: a salvaging of a life that's damaged, but still has a will to live, to revive, and to thrive in its own way. To be.

Sometimes these bad feelings hit us. We listen, right or wrong, to others or our own selves whispering in our ears about how we're not contributing, we're a drain on society, we're nanny staters, we're bleeding the healthy dry and giving back nothing in return...

With the exception of those who commit deliberate fraud, I don't go along with that kind of thinking. But I know it's there. And once in a blue moon, in a black moment, I may succumb to it for a bit.

It's not true. We all contribute one way or another, and I know I contribute in various ways that aren't small.

Seeing the life I brought back from hurricane damage meant something new. I'm not sure how or why. But I could certainly feel it. It was on the faces of the people I talked to as I made my rounds collecting bits of plants and wood, this tender and unshielded expression of relief and grief and hope all mixed up together.

If I asked, --Do you mind if I take this plant out of your debris pile and see if I can grow it?-- the answer almost always went like this: --Oh, please, please take it, yes. I'd so much rather see someone make it live and not die, if you can. I was hoping and hoping someone like you would come along before the cleanup people got here...

So now, here I am, registered and real. Knowing I found it in me to get out and water some in the recent dry spell. I lost some plants, yes. Only a few. Less than many other people who watered a lot during this unusual drought. That, I can take.

I'm still basking in the look of wonder on that inspector's face as she told me she'd never seen any grower or retailer plant plumeria the way I did. Ever. How healthy and pest-free and lush they were. Flowering in not one, but two, colors she'd never seen.

After she left, I figured this day was worth a small splurge, and headed over to Lotus Chinese Kitchen for a take-out lunch. Inside a fortune cookie I found the following message:

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Pain Mismanagement

My own visits with the medical folks aren't all nicey nice like the last couple of posts I did. No.

I pay special attention to those good ones. I know full well how very bad it can be.

And - while I hope this doesn't sound like I'm glad you're in pain - reading so much from you others out there, with bad pain problems of your own, reminds me I'm not alone. The last few days, I've really leaned on that.

My primary care physician recently retired. He sold his practice to the guy next door. This new doc is now my new PCP for one reason only: He also hired the old doc's staff. And that staff has kept me in complicated HMO referrals to my 15 regular specialists, and free samples of Flonase when I was broke, and in timely refills with hurricanes approaching, for many years now. Docs are a dime a dozen. Believe me, great *gatekeepers* are worth their weight in gold.

The new PCP, perhaps seeing a big fat paycheck, told me at my first meeting with him last month that I had *too many specialists* and should transfer all those medical issues to HIS office instead. Saves me $15 per copay! Of course, I've never met some magic number called The Perfect Number of Specialists. Unless, of course, it coincides with the Number of Specialized Medical Needs one has. Especially when half of them are world-class medical scientists trying to figure out things like how to deal with my stubborn mycobacteria, and the PCP in question is just a small town one-trick pony.

I did, however, want to dump this idiot diabetes doc I got. Also, my excellent Pain Management Specialist knows I'm broke and live about 20 minutes away - a long drive, down here. Since federal law requires me to actually SEE the doc on a monthly basis, and get an Original *Hard Copy* prescription - no refills, no phone-in prescriptions, the law requires me to drag my sick crippled ass there in person every month - anyway, so the Pain Management doc had a suggestion. See him a few times per year, especially for anything like changes in prescriptions. But for the standard refills on the pain patch, just go to my primary. He could send any records, outline of the treatment plan, etc. the PCP would want.

Good idea.

The new PCP seemed like he was all over that, last visit. In fact, HE brought up taking over from the specialists before I even mentioned it.

So I did like he said, and cancelled the appointments with the pain doc and the diabetes doc, and requested the pain doc's file copy and so forth.

Well. He must have forgot. Or something.

Because he wrote the patches refill for only a 2-week supply, not a month; then did that a second time; then wouldn't write them any more.

But he didn't tell me that. I only found out after several frantic calls to his office. You don't just STOP taking those meds out of the blue.

My great pain doc was really put off by this. He felt suspicious. He said, You can't just go around switching pain treatments like this! And he's right, my God, we're in a state that jails pain docs every chance it gets, on any flimsy excuse. This is dangerous behavior here.

I was Not Happy with the effing new PCP. I had no idea WTF he was up to, and I really resent being blamed for something someone ELSE did. I also resent being scared I wouldn't get my pain patches filled on time.

I had my second meeting with this PCP yesterday. Down below is a copy of the letter I sent the pain doc, Dr. E., after that meeting.

And just in case you wondered? Dealing with this kind of shit can be so emotionally draining, so depressing, that I can't do anything else all day, sometimes not for several days. Can't cook or clean or garden or post.

It's always hard. But in Florida, it can be devastating. It took me two years to find a truly good pain management doctor. I can't function without pain treatment. In my case now, that means narcotics. The pain is that bad. To lose him would spin my world out of control.

Dear Dr. E:

This note is to update you on the recent actions of my new primary care physician.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt until my second appointment. I'd heard he's a decent doctor, so maybe I just got lost in the shuffle. Acquiring Dr. M's practice meant a huge patient load increase, and naturally some disorganization. I'd held off on the new PCP's directions to transfer my care from my specialists to his office, except for pain management and diabetes.

I saw him yesterday, 5/24/06. I said that the way he handled the pain management had damaged my relationship with my pain management doctor. I said, --I followed your instructions. I canceled my appointment with Dr. E and requested the file be sent here. Then instead of filling the 30 days' pain patch prescription, only 2 weeks were filled. After that, again, only 2 weeks. I don't understand what's going on.

His response was this: --That was just to get you by until you saw Dr. E again. [???] This office will not prescribe pain medications for its patients.

I said --I only did what you told me, to transfer the monthly refills over here. He simply repeated, --No, no pain meds from this office.

I said, --That's an absolute right for any doctor. I would never hold that against anyone, ever. But I need to know what's going on. If that's the decision now, fine, that's up to you, but it's NOT what I was told before. We need some communication here.

Then he said --I see you were a no-show April 24 at the diabetes doctor.-- This is a total fabrication! No one likes to be accused of misdeeds they didn't do. I said, --I was NOT a "no-show." I cancelled that diabetes appointment, I was very ill.-- That’s true. I didn't add that also, the PCP had INSTRUCTED me to cancel it!

I told him very carefully: --The result of the actions on the pain meds was this: Sunday night I had an injury. I went to the ER because I'd ripped my big toenail off. The nailbed is so badly damaged they don't know if it will ever grow back. The breakthrough pain from this injury is intense. And now, because of what's happened, it looks like no one is willing to write me a small prescription for oxycodone to carry me through until it starts to heal. It was starting to feel better yesterday. Unfortunately, now it's infected with MRSA and it hurts even worse than before. Do you want to look at it? Here, take off the bandage and see.

He did. Of course, he didn't see the yellow discharge because I'd just carefully cleaned it all off and applied fresh Silvadene and a surgical dressing the hospital supplied me.

He removed the gauze. I removed the bandage underneath and tried to hand it to him for biohazard disposal. He didn't take it. He then wiped the cream off of the raw infected wound - scraping the infected part, horribly - and glanced at it. He said nothing. Then he put two bandaids on it but no antibiotic cream! Since he wouldn't take the contaminated bandage from me, I finally put it down on the examination table, but there was no paper there.

He left it there and walked out. I finally disposed of it myself on the way out the door. Now his exam table is contaminated with MRSA. He either didn’t notice or didn’t care.

I told him I need surgery on my tenosynovitis, and the surgeon requested a medical clearance from my PCP. He angrily said, I can't just go around giving patients medical clearances! How I am I supposed to know what they want?

I said, the hand surgeon's office says if you have any questions, please feel free to call them. They said labs would be required for the clearance. I already did them, they're on top of my file there. That's for you. I'll also need a clearance from my infectious disease doctor so I'll see her next.

He did, at least, give me a physical and EKG, and finally said he'd give me a medical clearance, good for 30 days. I don’t want to continue with this PCP. He either completely forgot what he said about the pain and diabetes specialists, or changed his mind and didn't bother to tell me. Either way is the wrong way to do things. I also find his approach to sterility outrageous. This is unsafe for other patients, and for myself too.

Dr. E, I try hard to calmly accept what life has dealt me. A word I almost never use is this: Suffer. What that new PCP did made me suffer. I did nothing to deserve that. I did everything I was supposed to do. I feel he betrayed my trust.

We can't control the actions of others. I did nothing worse than carefully follow his instructions. I can't change what he did.

All I want to do now is continue monthly appointments with you as before. I don’t care that the copays are higher. Please, don't hold his actions against me.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Back to the E E Back to the E E Back to the E E E R!

I stubbed my stupid toe.

I was working so hard out in the yard yesterday. The rainy season is starting up soon and I wanted to get some things put to bed. Tidy up. Gonna rain Monday. Go go go!

And in my enthusiasm, while climbing around between the cabbage palm and the plumeria forest, talking to neighbor Peter, I whacked my toe on a plant pot.

It welled up blood right away. A lot. So what. Like I told Peter, I always bleed out here.

Peter finally made me go rinse it off. He's good that way.

I still didn't realize the toenail was disembedded until a couple hours later. Around sunset.


I took a bath, washed my hair, scrubbed good with Hibiclens, packed up the laptop and a book, and went off to Holy Cross once again.

Nice people there. Usually pretty quiet too, pretty fast, since it's not a Level 1 Trauma Center. Usually there aren't many customers. *No Waiting in Line!*

But last night? Sheesh. Customers out the WAZOO.

I'd been wanting to sleep since 2PM. It was now 10 PM.

It was almost 3AM when I finally made it home.

The doc told me the nail may or may not grow back. Apparently the nail bed took a hit, all banged up bad. When I asked this: --If I did NOT have MRSA, could I have just stayed at home with this?-- he said, --No. No no. I'd take it off no matter what. Too much chance for any kind of infection, not just MRSA, and I really needed a look at that nail bed too. See, the nail was pulled all the way out from the bed, so we can't just tuck it back in.

He gave me a digital block, which is a particularly painful Novocain shot into the nerve trunks running into your fingers and toes. I had several in my left ring finger a few years back. The big toe, apparently, is the worst of all. It's just sensitive. And it needs three shots, three big nerves in there.

I did my usual **Extra Novocain please, I have fibromyalgia** and he said, Ok, we'll be sure you have enough. And proceeded to pull out this HUGE needle and pump so much numbing stuff in, the toe puffed up and pushed away from the foot.

Even so, I felt some of the surgery, at the end. But I made it through.

And I tell you, he was so skillful, that shot didn't hurt nearly as bad as some of the digital blocks I got in my hand. He said he does digital blocks all the time. Well. Practice makes perfect, huh?

Something else: That big toe joint is where I first got arthritis when I was eight years old. My pain management is good - anti-inflammatories, doxepin, zanaflex, fentanyl patches, MSM, malic acid, yada yada. Good, yes. But it ain't perfect. Certainly not. So a good Novocain numb-up, just about anywhere, is a treat to me.

I told them, --My big toe arthritis hasn't felt that good since I was 10 years old.

When I asked if he minded if I took pix for my blog he cracked up. He really got a kick out of it. --Wait! hold on! Here, let me put the toenail back beside it there!-- he giggles. --Hey, Production!

Since the hospital pharmacy would take a while to supply us some Silvadene - my handy dandy MRSA killer - I asked if they'd like to use mine. *Don't leave home without it.* And they did! How's that for patient participation?

Then the nurse put the cutest little dressing on that toe. First it looked just like a Santa Claus stocking cap, then like a little baby's cap. And she checked with me about the tape! Smart lady. She saw my allergy history and realized I'd probably have glue allergy issues.

Whereupon, she slipped an extra roll of silk tape into my bag. I was THRILLED, that stuff is NOT covered and it costs me a fortune. Then it promptly fell out on the floor when the doctor walked in, leaving us looking like cats with cream on our whiskers. But he didn't mind a bit.

He thanked me for not being a grump like some of the other patients tonight. I thanked HIM for the great job. Especially that gentle shot.

I love good work.

This Gets Gory. Handle with Care.

My foot was all swollen from the usual culprits. But you can see the nail is a bit messy, too.

Now THAT'S a NEEDLE. The whole syringe was almost a foot long.

There was a lot of "down time" between the doings. I spent it either catnapping, or watching the world go by out my door. I had the laptop and a book, but I was too sleepy to enjoy them.

Posted by Picasa When the juice went into the joint, it got all shiny and puffy and kind of stood away from the foot.

Nail Less

It's out!

That's the doctor, putting the nail back by the toe for a nice photo op.

You can't tell from the picture but he's laughing. This really tickled him.

And it's nice and clean.

Posted by Picasa Ready to Get Dressed and Go Home.

The little stocking cap thing went on over the cream, the *no stick-'em* pad, and gauze.

Then she twisted it at the end, cut it, and rolled the extra back down over the toe again.

I told her, If I forget how to do this I'll just look at the pix.

Smooth down the edges...

Posted by Picasa
All Done!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Dixie the Weather Cat

Dixie lives next door. She's a very beautiful cat, with stunning china blue eyes.

A master mouser, too. And ratter, and catcher of such exotic other critters as a Knight's Anole.

She also predicts storms with an unusual cat habit.

Dixie and I, we have an interesting relationship. Before Walter and I moved in, three humongous dogs lived in the back yard. When they left - between the last owner and us - Dixie'd had the run of the back yard here for a few weeks. She figured it was now Her Territory, and was satisfied with that.

Babycat and his mother April were not.

They both were always friendly with other cats, and rarely got in cat fights. April soon did well enough with Dixie, and at any rate, April's no longer with us. But Babycat?

Dixie and Babycat hate each other's guts.

Babycat's too old to do much about it any more. But for the first several years here, I'd catch him and Dixie at all hours of the day and night, sitting on each side of the fence, cussing at each other in Cat. Deep low drawn-out growly cat sounds. --yo' mama! --yer dog daddy! --HA! which ONE of YOUR daddies? hyuh!

Dixie was so convinced this was HER territory that she was coming in the cat door and eating Babycat's dinner in the middle of the night. I figured it out after being abruptly awakened from a dead sleep by the most god-awful raucous screaming cat fits you ever heard. Sounded like all the torments of hell broke loose in my kitchen. Fur flying, all that. Several times, no less.

So one day I made sure to catch her at it. I was prepared. I had a big cup full of water waiting. And as that beautiful head poked its way inside the little cat door, I hurled the water full in her face.

For the next 10 years, every time she saw me, she'd run away like a bat out of hell.

She still comes around, though. Verrry cautiously.

The last couple of years, Babycat's pretty much given up. As a 21 year old he just doesn't have the zing he used to...and isn't concerned about the same issues any more, either. And I've been trying to let Dixie know it's okay for her to come by.

She doesn't always take off like a streak any more. Sometimes she'll even stay put in the yard as I putter around.

But she has a certain way of telling me her opinion.

At least, that's what it looks like to me. Sometimes, our pets do things, and we just wonder... *What is the Author Trying to Say?*

Like when Livey's dogs brought her an overripe dead squirrel. On the doorstep? No. On the floor by the bed in the middle of the night. http://northwoodswoman.blogspot.com/2006/05/just-eww.html

I'm not quite sure why this made me feel so silly. It seemed like that squirrel was responsible for everything odd going on in Livey's life just then.

Her cursor changes colors overnight? Squirrel did it. http://northwoodswoman.blogspot.com/2006/05/odd.html

Is a snow day ruining your nice spring sunshine mood? Good time to toss a dead squirrel in the snow. http://northwoodswoman.blogspot.com/2006/05/ugh.html

No man in that bed? Ha! no-brainer there. Ripe dead squirrel'l do it every time. Whether or not Livey farts in her sleep is not the main issue when there's a dead squirrel in the picture. http://northwoodswoman.blogspot.com/2006/05/im-in-pissy-mood.html

A couple years back, I was just finishing up some hurricane preps when the weather changed and it was time to go in and close the hatch. I'd been picking up loose things from the back yard so they wouldn't become flying debris in the storm.

I went to go pick up an empty 5-gallon bucket. I was startled to see it contained three freshly killed rats.


But what were they doing in my bucket?

The temperature had dropped down low. Was she...refrigerating them?

Hurricane supplies?

Or was she displaying her opinion on MY hurricane preps?

Or maybe, with the storm approaching, she just hadn't gotten around to finishing her dinner?

A few days ago, I was picking up the back yard again for our incoming Prolonged Rain Event. I have big stacks of empty pots along the east side fence - by Dixie's house. I kept walking by them, back and forth, and noticed something odd. A...noise. A smell. A big huge bunch of flies, which took to the air in a great loud buzzing swarm every time I brushed by.

I looked inside the empty pot with the flies inside. And saw three rats there. Freshly killed.

I think she's snarking me again.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Betcha Can't Tell a Man Was Here

Posted by Picasa I miss him.

Made it to the Station on Time


The Gas Station, that is.

The great El Cheapo one no less. $2.82, about $.10 less than most anyone else around.

Driving on fumes, I was. But...Friday was Payday, yay Payday! and now I got a full tank, meds bought, and fresh tomatoes.

And real soon, a few bucks in my PayPal account.

cuz I got some FLASHLIGHT shopping to do!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Nicetown Woman Rip's Hubby Bits Off with Bare Hands! Einstein Reattaches! Morphine Helps! Neighbors Weigh In! This Time He Won't Take her Back!

Worse yet, the poor man was sleeping the sleep of the innocent when the assault took place. There's something positively heinous about THAT.

***sigh*** Just when I was fixin' to celebrate the First Anniversary of Penis Day. May 18, 2005 it was. http://ksquest.blogspot.com/2005/05/more-penis-day-whizz-takes-fifth.html

I mean, I'm sitting here thinking to explain *it's not all about the Whizzinator, read on to hear some nice news about Mr. Happy,* and now THIS fool woman comes along to spoil the pleasure.

HA! SHE needs a BLOG. sit by her computer all polite and quiet and not be running around doing damage in her pajamas like some damn FOOL...


Injured Husband Talks to Action News
Exclusive Television Interview

TIOGA-NICETOWN - May 17, 2006 - A Philadelphia man is recovering from an attack, allegedly at the hands of his wife. The assault on his private parts has become public knowledge. In an interview with Action News after his release from [the hospital], the 52-year-old victim spoke of his terrifying ordeal.

The 52-year-old Tioga-Nicetown man, who we are identifying only by his first name of Howard, arrived home late Wednesday, hours after his wife allegedly tore off two parts of his genitalia with her bare hands. Surgeons at Einstein successfully managed to repair the damage.

Howard/Tioga-Nicetown: "Doctors did a beautiful job in E.R. and the paramedics did a wonderful job, they only took 4 minutes to get here."

Howard says his 40-year-old wife Monica, who he says is bi-polar, somehow conceived the notion that he was cheating on her. So while he was asleep last night, she attacked him.

Howard: "I mean she just grabbed me all down there and yanking and yanking and tearing me up with those fingernails."

Police and paramedics rushed to the man's row home in the 3800 block of Pulaski where they found him bleeding profusely. He was rushed to Einstein where doctors first labeled his condition critical. He was later upgraded to stable after having reattachment surgery and a few doses of morphine. Howard still cannot believe his wife of 11 years would allegedly do this him.

Howard: "I can see doing something like that to a rapist, or mugger but not a husband, not something like..."

Dann: "She thought that you were cheating on her?"

Howard: "I wasn't cheating on nobody, I'm home in bed at 8' 0 clock every night, I mean I'm not out there messing around."

Brian Lawson/neighbor: "I mean men cringing when they hear the story, I mean uh, I'm just cringing thinking about it."

Antoinette Fortune/Neighbor: "Who would wanna do something like that?"

Unidentified Neighbor: "That's kinda nasty. That's drastic isn't it? He's lucky to be alive."

Some neighbors say Howard's had problems with his wife before and has thrown her out only to let her back in. They worry what'll happen next.

Dann Cuellar: "Howard, you're not gonna let her back in here are you?"

Howard: "Oh no, no, no. She's in jail where she belongs."

At one point, Howard's wife Monica was facing attempted murder charges but now, the D.A.'s office has asked that a psychiatric evaluation be performed before any charges are filed.

(Copyright 2006 by Action News. All Rights Reserved.) more News archive

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Snot Factory

In 1991, when I moved back to Florida from Louisiana for the last time, I did really well with the allergies for about six months.

After that, it got downright crazy.

My excellent Shreveport allergist warned me that moving to South Florida - moving anywhere, really - might SOUND better than living in a place called *Allergy Alley.*

--But! Too late!-- he said. --You're already super-sensitized. Wherever you go, after some exposure, you'll sensitize to the local allergens. You'll be good for around 6 months to 2 years, then you may well end up even worse off than you are now.

--Well-- I replied. --Shreveport is not the place for me. And even if it were only 6 months of having a life again, the tradeoff would be worth it to me.

It was.

And also: the doc was right.

So around the 8th month, trying desperately to stay alive in the midst of the most bizarre spiral of new sensitization I've ever experienced or read about, I was lying on the couch talking to a friend of mine on the phone. This guy was a very successful real estate developer I'd known from Chicago, known since I was 21. We thought alike about a lot of business things, and we had some interesting conversations.

I was sneezing and sliming and blowing my nose and trying to keep myself from scratching my itchy eyeballs, and coughing up pieces of lung and stuff.

But the amount of snot coming out of my face was truly remarkable. My friend had beentheredonethat on the snot issue, himself. Didn't bother him to listen to me. I told him, --You know, I think I made around one gallon just in the last hour or so. Really. The garbage can by the sofa was empty and now it's spilling over already.

Surely there's got to be a market for this somewhere...--

GARDENERS BEWARE! Furry Fiend 'Run Over'

Alligators. Caterpillars. Deer. Slugs and snails. Coons. Squirrels. Dogs and cats digging. Armadillos and possums and birds and bears, even.

These are the normal sorts of animal problems we get in our plots of land down here.

I've been watching all y'alls gardens going all gorgeous out there. Such pretty garden bits on the blogs! All those tasty veggies ripening in the sun.

Only to be threatened by the equally burgeoning wildlife.

Just be glad you don't have to deal with THIS one. And click on the link, too, down below. The picture of the culprit in question is just...killer.

* * * * * *

UK News
End of the road?

Furry Fiend 'Run Over'

Updated: 18:28, Thursday May 18, 2006

Gardeners and allotment-holders may be able to breathe a sigh of relief after reports that a giant rabbit terrorising their plots has been run over.

The giant rabbit, whose carrot-crunching exploits caused vegetable growers to put a bounty on its head, was the accidental victim of a teenage driver, according to the Northumberland Gazette.

The creature was dubbed the Were-Rabbit of Felton by residents of the Northumberland village, after the Wallace and Gromit film featuring a monster bunny that wrecked plots.

Growers were so fed up they announced a shoot-to-kill policy on the beast last month, and sharp-shooters were positioned around the allotment to protect the crops.

Rael Rawlinson, an 18-year-old A Level student, said she ran over a "massive" rabbit on an approach road to the A1 late at night.

It cracked the bumper of her car, leaving a tuft of fur, before it went under the wheels.

Rael, who was unable to stop in time, told the paper: "When I got out and had a look, it was stretched out on the ground.

"It was about 2ft long."


RAIN! Rain rain RAIN!!!

Yesterday. The day before. The day before that.

Maybe 6 or 8 inches, where I live.

The fires are out. The terrible drought is relieved.

And today? Today, the great pleasure of a springtime cool front - only mid-80's - and beautiful brilliant sunshine.

So gorgeous, I almost didn't mind having to do a *doctor day* instead of hitting the yard.

But tomorrow?...ah, toMORrow!...

k is gonna get good and DIRTY!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


A lot of the 'sphere is taken up with rants.

You won't see much of that here. Some, yeah. Not much.

It's not that nothing ever bothers me. Of course it does.

But most of what I ever want to complain about in human interaction boils down to something pretty simple. So there's not much left for me to say besides this:

I hate unkindness.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ft. Lauderdale Hand Clinic

I took the compromised hand in question to the Ft. Lauderdale Hand Clinic today.

Judging from the initial phone calls, I was pretty sure this was The Right Place to Go.

I knew it for absolute fact the minute I walked in the door.

And was even more certain-sure when I left.

Not only did the place just exude competence, there was this wonderful secure welcoming aura of care and compassion and interest and friendliness about it. That feeling was embodied in everything from the people working there to the medical equipment to the art on the walls.

I really, REALLY love good work. You've heard my thoughts on crappy work too, right? Good work makes my day. And this wasn't just good, it was GREAT.

They made me a custom splint. Real for real from scratch, all the way. They made it PERFECT. The relief was immediate. And with any luck, it'll keep me functioning and feeling better, and prevent more damage being done, until the hoped-for hand surgery.

Before I left, I wanted to know if I could actually identify the place, instead of calling it an inblognito *hand clinic.* I left a card, and expected to get a phone call in return. Instead, the nice lady said - Can you stay for a minute? - and then led me to the owner's office.

Surprised me, that.

We talked about disabilities and blogging and medical care - as in, *care.* Oh, she knows what that means. She said she knew what blogs were but had never looked at one before. I looked at her office computer and asked, --Are you on the internet right now?
--Okay, plug in this address.

She pulled up my plain jane blog and must have liked it okay as is, because she said I could put their name out there. They even have a website of their own, in those pretty S. Florida Art Deco colors: http://www.handclinic.com/

She walked me back out the door, and asked if there was anything else she could do?

--Yes, actually. I wanted to get a picture right here, coming in, but I need someone to hold the door open to get the photo - Can you?

--Sure!-- And she did.

How many clinic owners would do this for someone like me, a totally unknown new patient? Answer: I've been in a lot of clinics, folks. I never saw customer service like this in my life. That good. And literally, from the top on down.

So if you're ever anywhere NEAR Ft. Lauderdale and need some genuinely high-quality hand care, now you know where to go.

In fact, they were so extremely good I was yearning to give them Poor Mr. Foot. Well...hands are a far cry from feet. But you know how far they DO go?


Yes. As in all that PT that goes into fixing shoulder impingements and rotator cuffs! oh BOY!

I suddenly decided to move that shoulder work up a year or two on the To Do list.

Now: If you want the gory details on WHY we walked in that door in the first place, they'll follow soon. But first, here's what it all looked like, getting a perfect custom made hand splint at the fine - so fine - Ft. Lauderdale Hand Clinic.

Deep breath. I go in. So far, so good.

Okay. It looks non-threatening enough.

Hey. Actually...This looks like my kind of place! Posted by Picasa

Yeah. I can handle this.

Italian glass blocks take a special kind of mortar all their own.

(These are the little thoughts that help me be a calm and patient patient.)

I like their wall art. Stuff like,




I see all kinds of exotic-looking hand therapy tools.

Doesn't this bottle of hand lotion look so very apropos?


In this metal container is some good-old fashioned paraffin.

Melted wax, basically. This has been used to treat arthritis for years and years. You dip your hand in this wonderfully warm stuff, and OH it feels SO good! Posted by Picasa

A poster about blood-borne pathogens. I like that. You may think I'd want people to be LESS conscious of my own contagion but if so, you've got it backward. I really, really want NOT to infect anyone.

Not to mention, it goes both ways. I'm immunocompromised both from deliberate immunosupression, and general ill health. So I don't want the other guy's germs either.

Awareness mean caution. Good.

Photos of injuries on TV often don't look like much even when the damage is pretty bad.

Neither does this. But the tendon on the far side of the hand has leaked out its cushioning fluid. *Tenosynovitis.* A balloon full of synovial fluid runs from just below the pinkie to the wrist. It protrudes almost a half-inch out of the hand.

That's a big one. It hurts. Hurts all the way from the fingertip almost to the elbow. The pinkie doesn't work right either. I can bend it fine, but I can't straighten it out all the way. They call that *dropped.*

I'm right handed.

My write hand.

My most important cane hand.


it's a problem all right.

Posted by Picasa
Somehow this makes me feel like Frankenstein.

Ah! How To Make a Splint!

The sheet of plastic Splint Stuff has holes so it looks like pegboard.

The hand therapist checks the length of my stubby little arm and cuts off a piece of plastic.

Then she uses some special material to draw out the shape of my hand. Posted by Picasa

Okay, make that plastic even littler.



The plastic is flexible when it's hot - around 130 degrees. She stirs it in a bath of hot water. Cooks it up so it's bendable.

Suddenly it's not pegboard any more.

She shapes it like a sculptor, conforming it to my hand and wrist and arm. The prescription for this diagnosis calls for a splint that ends just under the 2nd knuckles of the last two fingers. The edges have to be smooth and not cut into my skin.

I love watching this woman's hands. They look eloquent to me. She's so good, and so fast, that her own hands are a blur in most of my pictures.

I told her: I bet when you went to school for this they didn't tell you you'd be a performance artist. Posted by Picasa

Good in back? Check it all over.

Back to the hot water. It's not perfect yet, see. Got to make it perfect.

Perfect at the edge.

Perfect where the thumb part goes. Posted by Picasa

Finally! it's JUUUSSSST right.

Time for the sock!

She cuts me 2 socks. I'll wash one every day, and they drip dry. This way there's always one that's dry.

He's dressed at last!

Since this is a custom splint, the velcro and straps are custom, too.

We go over the delights of velcro. We both grew up before velcro existed and we can't imagine how we made it through.

Three straps or four? She tries it on for a look-see. Posted by Picasa

Okay. Four.

Yay! All done!

Ain't that pretty though?

It's autographed too. Got a Ft. Lauderdale Hand Clinic sticker, phone number included.