Monday, April 30, 2012

Feeling My Age

As my cornucopia of literate guests know, I had an appointment with my hip doctor last week. Durango was curious to know if I was going to have hip replacement surgery and if this would make me a more suitable cruiser. He's not very nice.

Last Friday my dentist informed me that my teeth were falling out.

Pretty soon I'll be complaining about my replacement hip slipping and my dentures falling out. That'll be some fun blogging.

I really don't know if I can take much more good news. Of course, at the age of 34 I had my midlife crisis. I've always said I'm going to have as much fun as I can have before 60. I guess in the grand scheme of things it's about time for some stuff to start falling off.

I'm, of course, exaggerating. I just need to have a specialist look at my gums. Apparently my periodontal disease has become suddenly worse. I'm getting a second opinion today at 11. I've had the surgery twice before and it's not a fun experience.

The hip is liable to be a relatively simple procedure. It's just calcification around the Labrum. I'm not allowed to run until it's fixed. But, I can push my little walker around with the groovy tennis balls real good. I'm going in for an MRI tomorrow to get the doctor more information on how he can get it fixed. I don't think replacement will be necessary.

In other aging news my oldest daughter is graduating high school in a month. She mentioned possibly moving in with a friend of hers. I worry that I should alert the people in charge of charting world destruction because if they both live together the world will get very confused about which girl it's supposed to revolve around and their proximity may create some kind of vortex which, left untreated, could lead to a catastrophic event.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Cool Doctor

Yes, you have read that correctly. Today, I had to go to the hip doctor. My brother said he must be a cool doctor.

I thought, a while back, that I had pulled my groin. After a few months, I decided it might be something more serious so I asked my primary doctor about it. She said I should take ibuprofen, go to physical therapy and if it still didn't get any better I should see a Cool Doctor.

Normally, my hip feels fine. I can't sit cross legged though. Any motion which twists my right leg to the outside can cause various amounts of discomfort; from a minor twinge to watery eyed pain.

The first thing the hip doctor did was take X-rays. He had his pretty, but pregnant, redheaded nurse perform the X-rays. Had I known then what I know now, I may have requested someone different. Let this be a warning to you. Pelvic X-rays leave nothing to the imagination.

The doctor came into my room to discuss with me what was wrong and sitting there, on his 17" Dell Laptop monitor, was a transparent black and white picture of my junk nestled politely between my two hips. It was alarming. I giggled heartily on the inside.

It was truly awesome. His cursor was a magnifying glass so when he moved the mouse around, everything under the cursor got enlarged for better viewing. I almost laughed out loud. He had to move from one hip to the other several times to explain what a healthy hip looked like (the left one) and a hip with calcification on the labrum looked like (the right one).

All the moving of the magnifying glass from one hip to the other was enough to make me squirm.

I wonder if that's what the body scanners at the airports look like. I can see why some people might get offended. I just thought it was cool. I'm thinking of applying for a job as a TSA scanner.

I can't find any appropriate pictures for this post. I kind of wish I could have worked up the courage to ask the doctor if he could send me a copy.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Still Alive

Just a note to let everyone know that I survived another cruise. People at work are starting to make fun of me. It's mostly unpleasant.

I remember a while back there was a bar I frequented about once a week. One time a girl ran up to me, gave me a big hug and exclaimed, "Hey Gar! Where have you been?" I didn't know who she was. I never went back. I mean she was pretty and everything, but talk about awkward. I'm not fond of awkward.

This is the way cruising is starting to feel. I'm going to have to lay low for a while. I'm thinking my next vacation will probably be at an all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic with a dive shop on the corner.

Since we got certified for diving, we've taken our scuba gear with us for the cruises. It's a big bag full of fins, masks, wet suits, etc. It's a pain to lug around. We were on board the cruise ship for 5 minutes. The jumbo bag of scuba gear hadn't even arrived at our cabin yet. They slid a green note under my door saying the scuba excursion had been cancelled. There was no reason given.

While waiting to get on the boat, I looked around a room full of people sitting in chairs with their zone numbers waiting to board the ship and finally found a couple who were pointing at folks and laughing so I sat across from them explaining while I did that they were the only ones who looked like they were having fun waiting.

Turns out they were from New Braunfels and we hung out with them for a large portion of the trip. He was a postman and since I sort mail it was like an odd kindred spirit (at least that's what I told him). They somehow managed to smuggle tequila on board. I don't drink tequila, but she does.

Ship left on Saturday. On Tuesday we were in Cozumel where we were supposed to be diving. Instead we hung out at Fat Tuesdays with our New Braunfels friends for some Mexican food and Mexican drinks. On Wednesday we were sick. She was sicker than me. There's nothing like having some kind of food poisoning on a cruise ship for a "fun day at sea". Trust me.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hail, Relgion, Pregnancies, Last Update

Tomorrow, I go on another cruise. Since I got certified to go scuba diving last year I've discovered it's quite entertaining to go on cruises and make a scuba excursion part of the trip. It also means this is my last update for a while. I don't go anywhere near the Internet or a computer while I'm on my ship. The Titanic sunk on April 15, 1912. I'll be somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico on April 15, 2012. I plan to make a toast to the people who continued cruising even after that catastrophe. Luckily, there are no icebergs in the Caribbean.

If you haven't checked it out yet, do a Google search for Amarillo Hail Storms. They had like four feet of hail drifts in the Texas Panhandle and had to bring out the snow plows to clear the roads. That's just insane. If I were religious this cruise would be an epic experience because I would know that the end of the world was obviously imminent.

Speaking of religion, I had an interesting piece of trivia just cross my desk. I'll withhold opinions and let you, my favorite reader, use your over active imagination to hear the giggling in my neurotic head. The most religious state of the union: Mississippi. The least religious: New Hampshire. The state with the most teen pregnancies: Mississippi. The state with the least teen pregnancies: New Hampshire. I guess that proves it. Religion causes fertility.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Stress

Last week, after Durango shamelessly failed to warn me about the incoming thunderstorm, my Mazda Speed suffered copious amounts of hail damage. This caused me stress.

The next day my eldest daughter, who has now had her driver's license for over a year, had a wreck. It was not her fault and no one was injured. But, it caused me stress.

I've been dealing with a bad case of heartburn for a while now. I blame it on the Aleve I was taking for my Dupuytren's. Last Thursday I was working on my hot tub again when my left arm started hurting.

Obviously, everyone knows, when you have heartburn and your left arm starts hurting it's not a good sign. I'm not accustomed to manual labor and I was doing manual labor when it started so my first instinct was I just strained a muscle that's not used to strain.

My ongoing battle with neurosis won a decisive victory over my ability to think clearly and I decided to go the Emergency Room. Then, I decided not to go to the Emergency Room. Then, I decided to go. Then, I decided not to, etc.

In the end, I got tired of deciding and didn't go. The next day, I called my doctor to make a checkup appointment. I wanted to make sure I had a clean bill of health before my cruise next week. I probably failed to mention that I'm taking a cruise to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I wonder if they'll be showing the film.

Yesterday, I had my doctor's appointment. I got to have an EKG (which was normal) and had to schedule a stress test for today. I hope you are accustomed to reading to the end because this is where the fun starts.

I arrived at the doctor's office pre-stressed about my stress test. It is a test after all and all tests must be passed with flying colors else it's a failure. I was literally stressed about making an A on my stress test.

I think the nurse sensed something was wrong.

If you've never had a stress test, they hook you up to a machine that monitors your vitals while you walk on a treadmill. The treadmill gets steeper and moves faster every five minutes or so. I don't really know the delay. I usually make it through 3 such increments (your heart rate must surpass 175 beats per minute).

Anyway, the nurse hooks me up and leaves because the printer is not working. I'm sitting in this chair with a tangle of cords coming out from underneath my shirt and I start passing the time messing with my heart rate (displayed on the monitor). It's currently at 90. If I do deep breathing exercises can I make it drop below 80? Yes, I can! Can I make it drop below 70? Not before the nurse comes back with two other nurses to help her fix the printer.

Then, the doctor comes in. My doctor is a pretty lady and I've been seeing her for over 15 years (every 3 months). We have a rapport. But, anyway, now I've got 4 women in the room with me and they are all picking on me. All I can do is watch my heart rate and try unsuccessfully to control it. It starts rising (my heart rate -- mind out of the gutter) and I'm starting to sweat (because of my neurosis of people watching me). It's like the Tell- Tale Heart of Gar Neurosis.

Once I get on the treadmill and start walking the nurses start cheering. Don't ask me why. It's like, "Go Gar, Go! You can do it!" At this point it's just funny because the treadmill is going at a snail's pace. I've been instructed to look straight ahead where they've got some dollar shop art painting of a baseball player which is completely boring and I have a bad habit of looking at my feet while I walk.

The nurses are cheering and my doctor is chastising me for looking at my feet. Fun was had by all. Then, the treadmill's incline is increased and the rate is sped up.

By the 3rd incline, it's hard to choose between a very fast walk or a slow jog. I lean towards the walk, but try and take big steps. My doctor doesn't like this because it looks like I'm about to fall off the tail end of the treadmill. She starts pushing me forward. She literally stands behind me and pushes me to the front of the treadmill. It's disconcerting. I don't like people behind me.

My doctor quizzes me, "Which package did you choose, the one with cheering or the one with whips?"

The nurse cheers again, "Go Gar go!"

"I think I checked the wrong box on that form," is all I can say.

I still don't know if I made an A.

My Loving Relationship

I've been in love with Pandora for a long time now. I listen to it at home. I listen to it at work. I even listen to it in my car.

The last update, 1.5.18, debilitated my ability to listen to Pandora in my car. For some reason, on my Android phone, it would skip through more songs than it played.

It would come up with the album art and the title, then the little loading screen would appear. The loading screen would get up to 1%, then go back to loading. After a few seconds it would skip the song without playing any of it. Sometimes it would skip several song fairly quickly. Eventually (sometimes up to 5 minutes later), it would decide to play another song.

I cleared the Pandora cache from the application settings. I uninstalled Pandora and reinstalled Pandora. I tried every logical thing I could think of. I even tried some illogical things.

I did a search on Google and found someone talking about "shutting the phone down and removing the battery" to fix a somewhat related problem.

I am now convinced that all Android applications degrade over time. When an application quits behaving, don't complain too loudly to the application developer. It could just be a bad case of Android Application Entropy (AAE). Uninstalling and reinstalling the application will usually bring the degraded application back into some kind of harmony with the Android OS.

And, if that doesn't work, uninstall, shutdown the phone, remove the battery, leave it out for a few seconds, put the battery back in, turn on the phone and then reinstall the application. I have no idea why this works. I figure there must be something always saved in some kind of temporary memory that stays as longs as there is a power source, but I haven't researched it enough to prove this theory.

My Pandora is now back to making me happy in my car. Where all loving relationships should

That was funnier in my head.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Pump Update

I kid you not. I have been getting requests from around the world to update my pump saga. It's interesting. I've got an insulin pump, a pump for my spa and I've also got a sump pump. They've all been giving me trouble. Today I bought a new vertical switch for my sump pump. It keeps water off my back porch during rainstorms. It's supposed to rain tonight.You can get more info on Durango's Weather Blog.

I was kidding about the requests from around the world. Actually no one has been sending in requests except for my own neurotic head which seems to be sending in requests for the most absurd of situations lately. He even wants me to tell you about his installation of Windows Vista on a Crapintosh. I have no idea why.

But, I did promise, during my Hot Tub Saga story, to give you an update. It's not as pleasant as I had hoped. The new pump arrived and was easily installed. Upon turning on the hot tub controller, bad things started happening (before I even was able to test the new pump).

The other pump (the one I didn't install) started making a growling noise. The control box (which looks a little like the one pictured) made a gasping sound and quit (no power). I was able to reset it and it made another gasping sound and quit. Now, it appears to be dead. I'm going to take it apart tonight. The pump that made the growling noise was completely locked up. I took it off and inspected it and ended up putting it in the dumpster for a proper burial.

These little controller boxes are not cheap. I'd say if I shop around I might be able to get a new pump and controller for $600 (some of them come as a set). More than likely I'll have to spend around $700 and buy a controller box ($450) and then get another pump ($250) separately.

Controller boxes come in two basic varieties. You have the Air Switch model. They are older, cheaper and are less susceptible to the elements. But, you don't get as many options on the control pad (the little pad that is reachable by people in the tub). From what I've read, it's worth the extra cost to get a Digital Control Box.

I am assuming that a Digital Control Box will allow me to setup circulation times or circulation based on temperature right on the control pad. My current box had the settings but I had to get underneath the tub and set them on the box itself. Information like this is hard to obtain for some reason.

But, alas, I have extinguished my budget for hot tub repair this month. Maybe I'll try again next month. I'll also try and keep you updated.

I've just been alerted that there is a tornado nearby so I must end this early. Durango didn't keep me informed with real time information as I had assumed. I guess my new sump pump switch will have to wait for the next rainy day.