Ticks, Strawberries, Doctors

Sunday, June 8

We both slept in after our long hard day yesterday, and I started working on finishing the blog, but our Internet was down again. Now it is late afternoon, and John is doing the finishing touches on publishing the blog, after text additions, editing, link creation, and picture entry. He’s set some irrigation water and done other chores both in and outside. We have been privileged this afternoon with a flock of Starlings all around the house. Noisy critters. Some other bird call (another feathered creature) is cackling out back by the creek too. No clue what it is; Magpie, maybe? Have pretty much spent the day on projects, with only the blog near completion, and late for this weekend. The temperatures and the wind velocity are up — respectively, to 81 and 36.
Rascal brought a live young Starling through the doggie door, and dropped it somewhere, I guess; I heard it cheeping, but by the time I got up, Annie was carrying it to me–I said, what have you got?, and she laid it down at my feet. Thankfully, she has a soft mouth. John picked it up and it was still breathing with eyes opened, and he put it on a rug on a cabinet on our front porch. I checked and it was still alive. I went away for a few minutes and checked again, and it had flown away.
My laptop burped and hung. Restarted, sent out one job announcement, stopped for dessert, and came back to an inoperable internet connection, again. Guess it’s time to hit the hay.

Monday, June 9

Work on projects needing attention, however, mostly off the computer because again, our Internet/DSL was intermittent this morning. Finally, I called the provider (headquarters for Internet Technical Support, in the Midwest), to report the problem (probably the 4th time this month). John had to unplug every telephone line (we have 6) in the house. Static on our lines is awful. When I received phone calls today, I had to tell people I would call them back on my cell phone, and any outgoing calls were made the same way.
Sad news from a friend in Selah, WA, about the death of her best friend’s husband (not young). It’s been a challenge. Very sad, but there was nothing two hospitals could do to save his life, first in Yakima, second in Seattle (for almost 2 weeks). They had time to get all the kids in to see their dad before he died. At least his mind was good until the end, if not the rest of his body.
Finally, late afternoon, the line connection stayed on long enough for me to write a note to the Kittitas Valley Fiddlers & Friends about this week, and about a July 3 performance for the 4th. In addition, I needed to get on to upload some of the videos from the Saturday Awards party to YouTube. I managed to get several of those uploaded too. Windy day. 41 mph gusts for 4 hours today, and 40 mph for 2 hours, in high 30s for 10 hours and high 20s for 4 hours. Breezes started just before 2:00 a.m. this morning. All this wind is helping our cherry trees with their self-thinning. Not good to see so many green cherries on the ground, however.

Tuesday, June 10

We went to Brooks’ this morning, instead of the Copper Kettle, for our normal monthly meeting of the Geography Emeritus Professors. I was asked to give a report on the Saturday Awards party. I won’t have too much to say, except I shall tell them I will email the links to the videos I took while there, and they can view the ones they wish, or not at all. One video talks about the good things that happened in the department this year. A major thing was a donation of $100,000 to the Dept., by Joseph Stoltman, a 1962 graduate of CWU Geography who went on to be a well known and respected professor and chair of his department in Michigan. He and his wife, Gillian, a Chemistry professor, made the donation. His brother Art sells real estate in town, and has just completed a sale here to Anne Engels, mother of Glenn, who many of you will remember, a geography (& English and Computer Science) major. She’s moving from Montana.

Wednesday, June 11

Food Bank Soup Kitchen and SAIL exercise. Food bank went well today and we had 4 people up dancing to Five Foot Two. It was quite enjoyable. Then we were treated to Salmon chowder with honey cornbread, along with several other dishes. Afterwards, I went two places looking for a Memory Book for the retirement party, skipping the first at $17.99 (plus tax), and later, found a journal “sketch book” with no lines to make into a book for people to write memories. I cherish mine from my retirement party, so I decided to get this.
I played telephone tag with my cardiologist’s nurse from several places in town today. She had emailed me at home, asking me to call her because she wanted to talk in person. I was a little worried because I thought it might be about my recent test results. Turns out it was, but we tagged back and forth (on my cell) several times before I finally reached her from the parking lot of my last stop before home. Fortunately, I was in the car, stopped, with a/c, and able to take notes. I listened, responded where appropriate, asked questions, and requested a copy of the report on my CT scan from which she was reading. The main concern for the original call was she did not want me to be alarmed and confused by a scheduling call from the Yakima Heart Center, about a referral to the Yakima Chest Clinic, to a specialist there about my lungs, cancelling another upcoming appointment with my cardiologist until 2 weeks after this and a follow-up meeting with another specialist (nuclear cardiologist) is completed. However, in telling me what to expect she mentioned I would be contacting an Intensivist, which I looked up and found to be a physician who specializes in the care of critically ill patients, usually in an intensive care unit (ICU).
That made an impression but not until 2 days later. One immediately disturbing part of the conversation was the error that has slipped into my medical record that is totally unfounded and untrue. It says (somewhere) that I was previously a smoker. I have corrected that statement before (as recently as May this year). I have NEVER smoked in my life. I believe I will type and deliver a statement to every doctor I go to from now on stating that fact. How does one get rid of an error in their medical history? You really can’t because it has been copied and sent to a dozen places and no one is going to go find and “white out” that spot. Out, damned spot! out, I say! [Macbeth; Act V. Scene I.] John and I both read this report and will have to spend an hour or more defining the medical term descriptions of my “condition” found (that needs to be evaluated further to see if it is scar tissue only from something previous, or a “mass” which needs to be tapped and a decision made if it is benign or not, or if it is truly a fibrous tissue resulting from the use of a drug Amiodarone I have taken for 4 years to control atrial fibrillation. Something is showing that is out of the ordinary, so I will have to go through more procedures and evaluations to determine what is producing these results, while I feel just fine and don’t feel ill. I’m trying to continue with a positive attitude, but it’s getting in the way of my already busy schedule to take off days at a time. The worst stay away from home MIGHT be a 3-day evaluation of a drug (Tikosyn©), to replace the one I was on. The drug is so touchy that I’m required to be hospitalized for 3 days for observation of my reactions to the drug, in order to determine the correct dosage for me. Reworded by me, is this explanation: To decrease the chance of getting a different type of dangerous abnormal heartbeat, TIKOSYN© treatment must be started with exceptional observation. While in the hospital, the kidney function and heart rhythm will be monitored for a minimum of 3 days. This helps the doctor to choose the right TIKOSYN© dose.)
The DSL/phone company sent a tech out and he and John started checking the phone lines inside the house. His equipment was telling him our problem was in the house. We found one line with some chew marks – a mouse? These were small but did seem to go into the wire. The tech gave us a new line and a filter for it. The filter is designed to keep anything happening on the phone/talk side from messing with the signals going to the computer. If you really want to know, here is more than you likely want:
DSL – and phone line filter So far it seems to be helping.

Thursday, June 12

‘Twas another busy day today. Our music group played at the Rehab Center. I took off the second tick in a week, this one attached to my left chest. It had not sucked any blood yet, but pulled off a little glob of skin when I removed it. The one earlier was just crawling on my neck. I don’t know where they are coming from. I have only spent a very short time walking under the trees, so they must be coming in on the dogs, and falling somehow into my clothes, yet John has seen none on the dogs. Rascal (cat) occasionally gets in my lap as I type on my laptop computer, but it doesn’t make sense for them to end up on the back of my neck or under my clothes. I suppose they could fall on the chair, make their way up the fabric to the top, and come down onto my neck, but that’s a bit implausible too. John is outside a lot and hasn’t been a host, yet. Go figure!
Rascal was gone for a long time (all afternoon yesterday, overnight, and finally came back midday today. Who knows? He talks but doesn’t communicate useful information. He ate a lot, slept a lot, and sat in my lap or next to John. I don’t know where he is now. Winds have been howling all day, since I drove to town at 1:00 pm. As much as 46 mph. Took memory book and title page into Dean Hall, for someone else to fix who has a paper cutter and glue. It had two photos I had taken of Marilyn, our retiring secretary after 17 years with Geography, and a total of 33 years at CWU.

Friday, June 13: A nice lucky, Friday the 13th

Need to finish compiling a packet of goodies from us for Marilyn for her retirement celebration. Marilyn’s party is at 3:00 to 5:30, with light refreshments and a champagne toast after 5:00 (required by the Univ., for not having alcohol served during working hours!)
More to come on that event which I captured in video and stills, but first the only one we have together with Marilyn, taken at the beginning of the party by Steve Hackenberger.
MM between Nancy and John at Marilyn retirement party
I was taking pictures so I didn’t get in any others except one with a student who won our award last Saturday but had to be at the 75th Anniversary of the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area in northern WA. Her name is Bethany Oliver. I will put the YouTube video link I took of that award ceremony (for the Hultquist Distinguished Service Award), with the other person in, below her photo.
Nancy and Bethany at MM retirement party
Here’s Nancy with Bethany, and next is the YouTube link to the ceremony she missed while at the Loomis, WA ceremony. Watch the wind blow at the awards.
In response to a friend’s comment about my lung scan concern. I had a similar scare in 1967 while a graduate student in Cincinnati, working in a medical computer center, where they had a TB patient in the building and X-rayed all of us working there. They found a spot on my lung, and put me through one of the first echocardiograms, being developed there at the time. For the first time, I saw the prolapse of my Mitral Valve (the one now replaced with a porcine one). I had been warned of it by a doctor when I was 17 (it causes a heart murmur I have had all my life, since having Rheumatic Fever as a kid). The doctor was a cardiologist my mom (a Cardiac nurse) respected, and, at the time, I had no doctor, but I needed a physical exam to enter college. He realized it and explained what it was and what I might expect in the future. He recognized it and told me the things I should watch out for and be careful of doing. Today, I received a CT scan report to the doctor (copied by my cardiologist’s nurse to me at my request). I have to translate the medical terms (John did this stuff when I was in the hospital) to try to understand the diagnosis, especially before I start going to other specialists. I managed to find two of the doctors mentioned in my referral, and studied their credentials. I think I will go with the fellow who became a pulmonary specialist MD in WA (UW), in 1980, and has been practicing for 30 years, that is, if I have any say in the matter.
Spent a bunch of time transferring photos and videos from the retirement celebration today.

Saturday, June 14

We have been home all day, going since early morning. Wind has been blowing longer than that–up to 41 mph for 3 hours, and consistently blowing since yesterday at 3:30 all over 26, but largely in the high 30s or low 40s. Happy I’m not out in it today at graduation, in the open field. Would have returned home with chapped skin and lips from the wind, but still probably have received sunburn.
I have been working on pictures I took yesterday and writing the blog and researching the report and doctors (specialists) they wish to send me to in Yakima soon. I hope I can get an appt sooner than later, to find the underlying cause of this.
Strawberries: I just finished another pound package; 2 down and 3 to go. There’s bunches more to be picked but John stopped to do other things. He picked the smaller softer ever-bearing type and they need fixed the day they are picked. He did bring in 3 very large ones from a different patch. We ate them for lunch. Tomorrow he will pick several pounds of those and then water the plants. It took 110 minutes to upload the larger you-tube video from yesterday (it is 6 minutes long), but the system is still processing it a couple hours later. Wind is whipping. Just blew over the metal pooper-scooper from beside the back door, and loudly, onto the concrete patio. Rascal was resting in the sun by the patio door, and it scared us both. Later, John came in, opened a window by his computer across the room, and then took the food I had fixed out the back patio door to the outside cats. The wind tunnel was opened and blew the blinds against the phone, dumping it on the floor in pieces and disconnecting the line. I had to climb under the counter to retrieve the pieces and put the blind up, repair the phone, and get on with life. Finally, for the hour before 10:00 p.m. tonight, the wind decreased to 17 mph. Nice. John was getting pretty weary of it and said so more than once in the past couple of days.

Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan