Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Made in China

Well, that's my take on the glue that held the box together that used to hold this 28 pounds of cat litter that now sits in the Target parking lot. The glue was Made in China!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Accepting (1/10/12)

Today I returned to the real world. Sure, there was the quick visit to the Rite-Aid last night but it's not the same. I was annoyed last night, leaving the cocoon of the hospital room for the hustle and bustle that is San Diego. I thought maybe I had just gotten used to having everything taken care of for me - I didn't have to think about a thing! But what I found was it was more about being away from the noise, the traffic, everyone in their one mindset on their personal mission to get somewhere or do something. The hospital strips all of that away. It really de-stresses life like you can't do otherwise.

We only went out for a short trip to Trader Joes and Sprouts, and didn't drive by the actual Hillcrest sign so I snapped the picture of the Trader Joes' rendition of the sign.

I love where we live. Getting out and about always makes me realize why we moved here - not just to San Diego, but to Hillcrest. It's about acceptance. Hillcrest welcomes all kinds. It's called "the gayborhood" but it's really more than that. Perhaps it's evolved in the 10 years since we first moved here. But Hillcrest was, is and likely always will be accepting and welcoming. That's why we call it home. It doesn't matter where you're from, what color your skin is, what your sexual orientation is. There's room for you here, and that's why we live here.

We've looked at other neighborhoods and there are a LOT of great neighborhoods in San Diego which we would live in. The problem is, none of them are Hillcrest!

For Granted (1/9/12)

I'm back to the Blogger website. I was relegated to posting from my iPad while in the hospital, and Blogger wouldn't let me upload pictures, so I cheated and used Facebook to keep up with my "pic a day" blog. I know, there probably is a better blogging site or an app for that. It's ok. I'm out, I'm back with the Macbook Pro and it's all good. :)

I've spent 43 pretty healthy years on this earth. No broken bones, no surgeries, no extended hospital stays. In fact, since I was discharged from St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, NY on or about September 17, 1968, I had not been in the hospital overnight -- until last Wednesday.

I got quite sick last Sunday which led to the hospitalization on Wednesday. I have been living with intestinal issues for a few years now, and from time to time the pain was unbearable. Maria took me to the ER on three different occasions with stomach pain. The juice fast and weight loss was initially so I could have the laparoscopic cholecystectomy (or, removal of the gallbladder through a tiny hole). Since I wasn't in pain for three months following the fast, I didn't have the surgery, on advice from my doctor.

Then Sunday came. Oh the familiar pain. It eased in Sunday afternoon, then hit full-blown around 1am Monday, backed off on Tuesday before returning on Wednesday. By the time Maria came home to take me to the ER, my pee was dark orange and I was very yellow -- like a Simpsons character. Come to find out, not only did I have a stone lodged in the main bile duct, I also had what doctors called a "smoldering infection" in my gall bladder. It was close to sepsis, which could be fatal.

After an ultrasound and MRI confirmed the blockage, they rushed me to the GI department for an ERCP or Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography. They knocked me out, stuck a camera down my throat with a wire which they used to dislodge the stone from my bile duct. On Sunday, they removed my gallbladder. Since the procedure was done laparoscopically, I only have four small holes and I was able to be discharged less than 24 hours later. If not for the infection, they would have given me the boot that afternoon.

I left my hospital room for urgent care, where Maria was being treated for an upper respiratory ailment - something viral, which must just run its course. She got some good codeine cough syrup for her troubles and we were home by 4pm yesterday.

I must say, it's been a great run! She and I have been blessed with incredible health that we certainly took for granted. I know I did! I also took people in the health care profession for granted too. After watching them work their 12 hour shifts, moving from one room to the other, providing meds, changing beds, cleaning up "spills", handling all sorts of unseemly things, I will never take them for granted again. Thank you Rod, Mateo, Sarah and Monica! You are truly the best, and a credit to your profession!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


What a way to start the New Year! Apparently, we both caught something in LA or on the train, because we both felt like crap today. Initially I thought it was the crappy food I ate, but after a second day of feeling like this, I knew it was something else.

One of the best things about my job is I have the ability to take paid sick time, no questions asked - so long as I don't take advantage of it, if you know what I mean. It's also a benefit that I totally take for granted. I don't think about the millions of people who don't have this benefit. If I get sicker, I don't have to think twice about going to the doctor because I have very good health benefits.

I am so fortunate, yet it angers me that we have to fight so that everyone has the same coverage that I have - that somehow it's a privilege, or that by giving everyone access to affordable health care it will diminish the benefits and care for those who already have care. How selfish are we?

On New Years Eve, we had dinner and drinks at a vegan restaurant in Burbank. We had the pleasure of talking with the owner and his wife for an extended period of time. The one thing that stuck with me was that he pays for health insurance for his employees. His rationale? It's the right thing to do! He also believes that long term it will give him the opportunity to retain employees, saving him the money of training new workers. Of course, it also keeps his employees healthier, saving the added cost of lost work hours.

So I'll do my best to be back in the game tomorrow -- no promises though!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Vegan (1/2/12)

Many of you know that I spent some time in 2011 fighting issues with my gallbladder. After completing an 8-week juice fast and dropping 55 pounds, it seemed as if my health issues were behind me. Unfortunately, that doesn't quite seem to be the case.

Since completing her juice fast, Maria has been eating 100% vegan. I, on the other hand haven't been quite as committed. Traveling makes it easier to excuse away bad behavior. We spent the long weekend over New Years in Camarillo, Los Angeles and Burbank. I did buy a salad and fruit on the train, but they gave us chips, trail-mix, cookies and wine. Add in a few beers for good measure, and I was on my way to a serious shock back to reality. We had a great vegan meal in Burbank on New Year's Eve - complemented with a massive assortment of California craft beers. You get the picture.

I started feeling the effects early this morning - the sugar, the dairy, the processed foods - all of the things I've been so good to avoid for three months. So today it was back to plant-based eating and water. Still not nearly back to 100%, but this too shall pass.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Irony (1/1/12)

Today begins a new year. I loved the idea of a "photo blog", a pic-a-day. Since the thought crossed my mind this afternoon, I'll make every effort to follow through this time. I chose today's picture as our taxi cab was taking us from our hotel to Union Station in LA. When I got home I learned some of the backstory of the monument.

The picture above is of Father Serra Park, across from Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. The memorial on the right of the photo is The Eugene A. Obregon Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial, which was built to honor those who have been awarded the Congressional Medal of honor, with special emphasis on people of Hispanic descent.

The site of the memorial is in old Chinatown, where the Chinese massacre of 1871 occurred which is why some questioned the location of this memorial.

I found irony for a different reason: The homeless people in the park. We continuously ignore the growing homeless population in our country. Many people don't know this but there are more homeless veterans in San Diego than anywhere else in the country, followed closely by Los Angeles. There are over 8000 homeless veterans on the streets of Los Angeles.

The ruling class in this country wraps themselves in the flag, exhibits faux patriotism telling us to support the troops. It apparently ends the moment they return from battle.

Until the day comes when our "leadership" finally wakes up, thankfully there are organizations such as Veterans Village of San Diego to take care of what our Government refuses to acknowledge.