911 — Know What’s Scary?


I’d had the sign before: shortness of breath. Always cured with decongestants and Benadryl — hay fever.

Only this time it wasn’t.

And another sign: sitting on my recumbent exercise bike my exercising heart rate for the last few days was not 84 or so but 100+. HUH?

March 1st — woke up because I was having difficulty breathing, took the usual pills, which didn’t help. Charlie woke up and I took her to the bathroom and then to her sunroom — I was out of breath. Over the next few minutes it got worse. For practical purposes I couldn’t breathe.


Not being completely clueless, that is, if you beat me up the side of the head with a clue-stick, I called 911.

You know what’s scary? Trying to tell the 911 Operator what’s wrong when you can’t breathe and talk. But a few minutes later the paramedics showed up at the door and I let them in. They quickly clued in on what was wrong and I was on my way to the hospital. The initial treatment they gave me was helping — I didn’t feel good, but I was no longer scared spitless.

Emergency Room

Emergency wasn’t busy — a lull between spates of overflow beds in the hallways — and I had a room with nurse, doctor and treatment. (This was 5 am on Saturday morning.)

Charlie called Mike and Sandy and Sandy came to spend time with and help her and Mike stayed with me most of the day, until I was finally admitted and given a bed in the main hospital.

X-Ray machine brought into the room — hmmmm . . . possible congestive heart failure.

Later a CAT scan.

At any rate, there is too much fluid in my lungs and I don’t get enough oxygen. I get steroids to reduce inflammation and bronchial dilators. They work and I feel better.


About 2:00 pm a bed opens up in the main hospital and I get admitted upstairs. It’s a nice double room and I’ve got the window bed — a view of the parking lot and other hospital buildings. I’m feeling better but going from the wheelchair two steps to the bathroom and toilet and then to the bed convince me that ten steps is more than I’m ready for.

Nice bed and get fitted with monitor connections, etc. Nurses and aides come by and introduce themselves and doctor tells what drugs I’m going to get by this rather large catheter in my left arm and other treatments via face-mask and pill — all explained again when the nurses actually give me the stuff.

I get a roommate who came into Emergency about the same time as I, some of the same symptoms but with a different problem — blood clots in the lungs. When I checked out, they had just told him that he was staying at least one more day under observation. (He’s 6′ – 7″ a coach and former basketball player and the bed isn’t quite long enough. And, yes, every new nurse and aide at shift changes asked if he played basketball.)

Mike returned with a couple of books and my cellphone and charger and earbuds — ahhh, music and I can “read” the e-editions of my newspapers.

The hospital social worker got Charlie in touch with a homecare service to stay with her and her brother, David, also came over to spend some time and help out.

Without going through the minutia of things (and I got a vaccination for pneumonia) my condition gradually improved, although I still got no more than a few minutes of sleep in short bursts during the night — better than my four-day stay at this hospital a dozen years earlier when I got no sleep at all and left feeling worse than when I’d come in but for a different reason.

They were going to release me at noon today, but ran into problems with our insurance, meds and the pharmacy. That took a couple of hours to clear up. Then I was released, Mike and Sandy picked me up, we went to the pharmacy and got my drugs. (Which Mike paid for as he’d taken my wallet back to my house rather than leave it in the hospital after they’d photocopied my insurance, Medicare and ID cards.)

Ah, home at last. My wife and cats were happy to see me, but not, I think, as happy as was I to see them.

Sunday — March 3rd

Do you know what I appreciate? Waking up in a warm bed next to a sleeping loved one and her cats curled up around my legs. Then rising and, after feeding the cats, having a delicious and hot cup of coffee. My stay in the hospital would have much closer to pleasant if they’d allowed me coffee.

Monday — March 4th

Woke up this morning feeling better. Fed the cats, had a cup of coffee and read the papers. Di woke up and I got her going. Ate a banana and took my vitamins and drugs with a glass of vegetable juice. Went to the med center and got an appointment with a new doctor (my GP retired a few years ago) for tomorrow morning. Came home and printed the test results from my hospital stay (I doubt my new doctor will have them from the hospital before I get there tomorrow.) from their on-line access. Breakfast, another coffee and I’m ready to, slowly, continue with my day, which includes taking Di to the dentist this afternoon. Thanks for your concern folks, but it seems I’ll be around for a bit longer.

Tuesday — March 5th

911 Update: I’m still doing OK. I’ve a tickle in my throat which leads to some coughing but no breathing issues. Saw a new PCP today, my first younger doctor. He says my lungs sound good with very little congestion. I’m to keep using the Advair inhaler for the next several months and also the BP pills I was given at the hospital – high normal readings. Full physical next Wednesday. Thanks for all the good wishes.


Remember that things come in threes? Well, we have Di’s tooth, my ARDS 911 and now — wait for it — the water heater doesn’t heat water. Called the plumber and he’ll be out early tomorrow. Hope it isn’t serious or take too long as Di has a dentist and two doctor appointments Wednesday. Ghads, retirement can be exciting.

Mist on my lap as I type this post.
Mist on my lap as I type this post.

Sorta Random Thoughts/Rants on a Sunday Afternoon

This has been one of those days of the Wandering Mind.

My wife woke up too early this morning with an aching ankle. I wanted to stay in bed. She wanted to get up. We got up. — The newspapers were not here yet.

I made her a cup of tea and brought her pills, opened the windows in her sunroom and turned on the heater. — The newspapers were not here yet.

I fed the cats. Mist had been quiet, but Smoke had been MEOWING since we had gotten out of bed. He finished all of his food but Mist left a bit of hers — into the fridge went her leftovers. Smoke will usually vomit if he gets too much of what he likes too quickly, so I put it away and give it to him a few hours later. He doesn’t seem to mind if it’s cold, but Mist won’t touch it. — The newspapers had arrived.

It was cool outside but not really cold. Yeah, I know I live in SoCal, but I spent Christmas week a number of years ago in northern Minnesota. I don’t remember a single day that the temperature got above freezing. I do remember deciding to go for a walk around my mother’s neighborhood and putting on seven layers of clothing — I walked down the steps, took half of a deep breath, and returned to the warm confines of my bedroom, removing several layers of clothing and proceeded to drink several cups of steaming hot coffee — Ahhhhhh . . .

After bringing in the papers, I made coffee. Well, I had half a pot left over from yesterday and, being the miser I am, poured some creamer (soy) into my cup and filled it with yesterday’s brew. Into the zapper it went — 99 seconds, yes, I like it hot and it’s a 12 ounce mug — then a teaspoon of sugar.

Into the living room and turned on the boob-tube to the English and German football games. Read through both papers starting with the comics and ending with the news sections, finishing my coffee before the papers.

Then into the spare bedroom, which has our recumbent exercise bike. Turn on the fan and the lights, connect this laptop to the TV and put the football games on — courtesy of Spectrum’s computer app. Cycled for the next 100+ minutes watching the tube and reading Asher’s Line War — and getting up to help Di get to the bathroom/loo when she needed to go and bringing her a fresh pack of cigarettes.

Then another cup of coffee, breakfast for each of us, re-read several newspaper articles I was interested in and on to the crossword and Sudoku puzzles in the papers.

Random thoughts?

Well, let’s see:

How do people who don’t read newspapers get their news? There is nothing in-depth on social media; television is sound-bites, sports, weather and celebrity.

Have you ever boiled water on the stove and it seemed, or seems, to take forever before you can add the ingredients? My wife is British and we have an electric teakettle. Heat your water in the kettle while gathering your ingredients. By the time you’re ready the water is hot, add things together and just keep the pot hot.

Ever noticed how much better condensed soup tastes when you add just half of the water the recipe/directions call for? Just add frozen peas, corn or mixed vegetables and it becomes a real meal, or even two.

Venezuela — ghads what a mess. The U.S. (and others) now recognize an unelected, self-proclaimed president as the leader of the government. The elected (no, I’m not going to get into the legitimacy of things) president is urged to step down. What business do we have meddling in the internal affairs of another country? (Think of our reaction to neighboring countries, allies or others demanding President Trump step down because Mrs. Clinton actually received more votes than he did and giving veiled threats about the use of troops to change things.)

Which brings on another question — How many countries have U.S. troops operating within their borders without their permission or a declaration of war? I mean, how would we react to Syrian or Afghani soldiers landing in Florida or Virginia? Shouldn’t we treat them as we expect to be treated by them? Or are we “special,” with a manifest destiny to make the world comfortable for ourselves no matter what the other seven billion people think?

And you wonder why North Korea and Iran want a nuclear capability? And if North Viet Nam had possessed nukes in the 60s?

The Oscars — NO, just no, no, no. ABC is televising the presentations and their pre- and post- shows, seemingly endless hours of narcissistic self-congratulation by the entertainment industry. I mean, didn’t people already vote with their wallets? Why watch the Oscars? To be told: yes, you were right, it’s the best film or performance or no, you’re wrong, this little arty film is the one you should have liked and seen. (No, you’ll never watch it and next year you’ll have to be reminded of what won this year and do it all over again.)

No, I haven’t seen Roma; from watching the trailers I couldn’t even figure out what it was about, therefore, a no go. No, I can’t remember having ever seen a film by Spike Lee, and I’ve never watched a Woody Allen move in its entirety. Yeah, I know I’m a barbarian and only want to watch entertaining, escapist films, not those which show me the world and how it really is. (I get that from the papers, 60 Minutes, CNN and watching the homeless push their shopping carts around the city.)

Manny Machado — 10 years: $300,000,000.00 — which is about $185.000.00 / per game over a ten-year span and assuming he plays every game (and, no, I don’t think he’ll get the Padres into the World Series). Just think, he’ll make more money for playing a single baseball game than most (any?) of us will make, or have ever made, in an entire year.

How much will Manny pay in taxes?

How much do Bezos, Buffett, Gates and Donald John pay in taxes? Amazon made $11,000,000,000 in profits last year and paid $0 in income taxes; yet they wanted billions in incentives to put their HQ in New York to make more in profits and still pay nothing in taxes. I’m not one of those who believe New York was wrong in having second thoughts about gifting Amazon.

Interesting article in the LA Times today about politicians and using your phone apps to keep track of you for the purpose of targeting you with their ads (and who knows what else).


Socialism seems to be the new buzzword being used to target Democrats and other opponents of the Republicans and Donald John.

Ever notice how those who can afford the best medical care say it is too expensive for everyone to have even basic medical care provided by the government? Even if they work for the government which provides for their medical care?

Do you have a Social Security Card and Number? Provided by the government — Socialism!

Do you get a Social Security check? Provided by the government — Socialism!

Do you have Medicare? Provided by the government — Socialism!

Do you drive on public roads? Provided by the government — Socialism!

Did you or your children go to public schools? Provided by the government — Socialism!

Is your water delivered by a government water district or your sewage treated by a government sanitation district? Provided by the government — Socialism!

Does your farm benefit from subsidies and price supports? Provided by the government — Socialism!

Is your food inspected for safety? Provided by the government — Socialism!

Are your police and fire departments government agencies? Provided by the government — Socialism!

You want a border wall on our boundary with Mexico? Provided by the government — Socialism!

And on and on and on . . . time for a drink.

Mist and Smoke in the Window
Mist and Smoke in the Window

Jussie Smollett

I’ve been sitting in front of my TV and watching CNN’s coverage of Roger Stone’s and Jussie Smollett‘s court hearings today.

A listing of the chronology of the Jussie Smollett “incident?” has just been read out by a representative of the prosecutor’s office. In a word it is DAMNING.

I wonder what is currently going on in Robin Roberts’ brain (and in the brains of her co-workers and producers at ABC).

Perhaps, just perhaps, we should take this as a cautionary tale regarding: jumping to conclusions?

As a side note: I’ve never watched the show Empire, nor, prior to the “incident” had I ever heard of Jussie Smollett. All I know of him is what I’ve seen on the boob tube or read in the newspapers over the last several days.

Mist and Smoke beside me on the back of the sofa.
Mist and Smoke beside me on the back of the sofa.

Does God believe in Trump?

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

“I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times and I think that he wanted Donald Trump to become president . . .”

– – – – –

Steve Bannon the former chief strategist to President Trump:

“But I was doing the Lord’s work.”

– – – – –

Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey on Steve Bannon:

“I don’t think Steve Bannon would know the Lord’s work if it hit him across the forehead.”

– – – – –

David Lewicki

I was @realDonaldTrump’s pastor for 5 years @MarbleChurch. I assure you, he had the “option” to come to Bible study. He never “opted” in. Nor did he ever actually enter the church doors. Not one time.

– – – – –

Does God believe in Trump?

Does Trump actually believe in God?

Personally, if the God many of us believe in actually does exist, I think He washed his hands of the whole human race many generations ago and is enjoying a sunny beach on some lovely planet on the other side of the universe — someplace so far away its light will never reach Earth.

The Next Presidential Candidate

We now have several announced candidates running to replace Mr. Trump as President.
I don’t personally care whether he is replaced by a man or a woman, a young person or an old one of whatever race, religion, political party or sexual orientation. What I want is someone who puts our country and its people first, above ego, personal loyalty and the amassing of more personal wealth. I want a professional and experienced (gawds, how this hurts to say) politician who knows the legislative process and can deal in compromise without personal recriminations.
We need to get things working again.
This is not the time for a starry-eyed idealist, celebrity, reality TV personality or ideologue who sets off the ire of a third of our citizens simply by existing.
It is not the time for a reactionary trying to return us to the twentieth (or nineteenth or eighteenth) century.
Let us remember that we are all in this together; that our problems are solvable and that our generation can fix them.
History is not dead. It has shown us that there are other ways of solving our problems. If we work together, we can solve them without people resorting to the methods employed by colonials of the 1770s, the French of the 1780s and 1790s or by the Romans of the first and second centuries before Christ.