Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On The Mend and More....

Well, it's been a little while since I've updated. Thankfully, it looks like the Great Kidney Stone Episode of 2009 is almost over!

On 02-10-09, I had a lithotripsy treatment at St. Joseph Hospital. Lithotripsy is an interesting procedure. They lay you on a table that has a cutout right where your hip / butt goes. The lithotripter has an arm that contacts your hip with a water filled plastic bag which helps to transfer the sound waves into your body. The machine has an x-ray device that allows the doctor to pretty much put a cross hair on the kidney stone. When they get everything lined up, they fire up the machine which bombards the stone with high intensity sound waves. They do sedate you during the procedure as you can definitely feel the sound waves. It feels like someone thwacking you with a rubber band about once a second - for about an hour. That translates to around 3600 or so 'thwacks,' plus they increase the power gradually. After the lithotripsy, I had a pretty good red mark on my upper hip. But it looks like it did the trick.

I had a couple x-rays taken on the 23rd to take to Dr. Bock at my appointment today. After I got home, I just HAD to put them on the scanner to see how well they would scan. The scanner did an excellent job!

Is that a great-looking pelvis, or what? The long wire-looking thing is the stent (plastic tube) they put in when I was in the hospital. It's a temporary measure to relieve the pressure on the kidney caused by the stone blocking the ureter from the kidney to the bladder. In the full-size x-ray it looks like the trans-Alaska pipeline. Thankfully, I was blissfully asleep when they put that hose in me. Without getting too gruesome, that stent goes in through - shall we say - an existing opening. And it comes out the same way - which makes my skin crawl.

Anyway, Dr. Bock looked the x-rays over today, and had some really good news. The stone has indeed been pretty well pulverized! And he had some even better news as well: when that stent comes out, they will - mercifully - send me off to Happy Land. I had heard that they don't knock you out for the removal procedure, and that had me a bit antsy, to say the least. I was having visions of laying on a table watching someone approaching a very sensitive part of my body with a speedometer cable out of a '57 Buick. Cringe, cringe, cringe.

In other news......

I just upgraded my website package to the Deluxe Hosting which gives me 150 gigs of space, 1500 gigs of bandwidth, and enables things like Java, CGI, and so on. Now that things seem to be stabilizing somewhat, I'm hoping to add some new features to the website very soon.

As if I needed another on-line presence to keep updated, I just opened a Facebook space, mainly because my dad just signed on with Facebook. You have to be a Facebook member to check it out, but there are a lot of folks on Facebook. If you are on Facebook, feel free to drop by. Just do a search in Facebook for Rod Shelley.

I splurged last week, and downloaded a new graphics application called ArtRage 2.5. It's pretty cool! It gives you a lot of neat tools that closely approximate actual painting tools like oils, markers, palette knives, and so on. It also lets you work on layers like in Photoshop, and it will open and save PSD files with layers intact. I think it will be a great addition to my present tools, Photoshop, Gimp, and PaintShop Pro.

Well, this has been a long post, and I'm getting sleepy - and I have to go in to work early tomorrow for a meeting. The good part is they are providing breakfast! You know I'll never pass up an opportunity involving free food!


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tired and Re-Tired

It just goes on and on……

 Yesterday (Saturday), we took the van over to Jack Miller for its appointment with the car doctor. I had several things I wanted them to look at. The brakes have been making a squealing noise for a couple weeks (before my kidney stone episode started), the turn signals don’t work at all anymore, and the power steering has been making a howling noise. And there’s also the flat tire. I made up a list of these things and gave it to the Service Advisor when we got to Jack Miller at 8:30 AM.

 There are few things I hate more than taking a car in for service (I’ve recently added having a kidney stone to that short list…). It’s always a long, boring period of sitting in the waiting lounge for hours, thumbing through magazines that don’t interest me at all, or watching whatever drivel happens to be on the TV. This morning we were entertained by a childrens’ animal show, a 45-minute long infomercial for WordSmart, and most nauseating of all, a rehash of American Idol. We were subjected to this cruel and unusual punishment from 8:30 to about 12:45. 

At any rate, they fixed the power steering problem, cleaned and adjusted the brakes, and fixed (or so I thought) the tire. They didn’t have the part for the turn signal, and couldn’t find one anywhere in town, so they had to order it. Naturally, it’s on backorder. This little episode ended up costing me $1008.00 in addition to the four hours of torture mentioned above. And it will cost an additional $160 or so whenever the turn signal part comes in. I’m starting to feel sick again…. 

Then this morning, I stepped into the garage to check the tires. That #$@$% tire was flat again! I decided I was tired of screwing around with it, and got on NTBs website to check prices. I called, and the guy at NTB said they had some Uniroyal Tiger Paws – a $90.00 tire – on sale for $60.00. He said he could get me in, so once again it was waiting lounge time. At least this time I didn’t have to suffer through anything on TV worse than the Super Bowl pre-pre-pre game stuff, and the wait wasn’t more than about an hour. By the time I paid for the tires, installation, and road hazard warranty, it came to about $392. This has been a painful and expensive week.

 Now, I’m going to try and have a somewhat restful evening before heading back to work tomorrow. I don’t know how the day will go, all I can do is hope for the best, and take it a step at a time.