Friday, December 31, 2010


The last day of 2010.

The year offered many anniversaries. Milestones of a life.

August was the five-year mark for the diagnosis that changed my life. With the addition of a medicine in September, I feel better than I have in a long while. I can complete normal activities.

Through Facebook I have met many others like me. Each of us walking his or her own PH path but at the same time a cooperative journey.

I learned much about myself. I faced emotions and challenges. I grew in ways I could not imagine.

Every now and then, I know you are there, Dude.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Havin' some fun

I went for the comfort foods when I shopped yesterday. I have cheeses to make queso, mac & cheese (you are at fault, Colleen) and spaghetti. I also bought pork chops and cheddar wurst. Now if I can make myself cook. Ha.

I look forward to lunch with Boopie and the youngin' Friday. In our effort to give our bucks to every place in town, we will try Cowboy Gelato. Burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and gelato. Should be interesting. Kinda pricey, though.

Today marks my bubber's 58th year on Earth. Happy brfday!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nag, nag, nag

Pogo fusses and fusses at me. I have fed him numerous times and he still gripes. I wish he would just spit it out. Enough complaining, time to take action.

Connie and I went to the store to stock up just in case the next foray into winter comes our way. The weather guys say either above us or on top of us. I am now prepared for a couple of weeks of looking in the cabinet and refrigerator for something to eat. Nothing appeals yet again. But I am well-stocked. Ha.

I grow sleepy at 6 p.m. Well, I did get up at 3 a.m. I think I exhibit symptoms of brain freeze, too.

Later, Dude.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Say what?

I dreamed about you this morning.

I had a gallon size plastic bag of information and newspaper clippings to show you, but I could not find you. I had followed you to a huge older Victorian-style house. I was not sure I wanted to reveal myself to you. A friend and I wondered through the house and just about the time I was ready to give up, we came across you asleep sitting up on a couch in a dark room. My friend left the room by one door and I decided to leave by the door I came in. I lay on the porch for a long time trying to decide whether to wake you up and let you know I was there. In the end, I decided I did not want you to know I had followed you and I was getting ready to leave when I woke up.

Whatever it was I wanted to show you, I knew you would not be happy.

What are you trying to say, Dude?


Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy day

One of the youngin's came to see me today. After some caffeine, she headed back to school.

This youngin' has an old soul. I am old enough to be her grandmother, but when I visit with her, the age thing evaporates. She possesses many attributes that will take her far. I count myself lucky to know her.

Pogo put his stamp on my friend. He rubbed and rolled and tried to bite her hair. He left half a cat's worth of fur on her dark pants. Sorry!

I allowed my apartment to pretty much fall around my ears the past few days, so when I got up this morning, I had to bust butt to make it presentable. Now I can lie on the couch and not feel so guilty.

My body tells me the fuel I have chosen this past week fails. I need to return to the veggies and fruit.

Later, Dude.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Je t'aime

Je suis triste, peu importe comment vous le dites.

Tu me manques. Plus tard, Dude.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Bill introduced me to Harry & David a few years ago and I fell in love. The boys can do no wrong. I was surprised when the FedEx guy rang my doorbell yesterday, but once I saw what he had for me, I practically hugged him.

I played a bit of a torturous game with myself. What could be in the boxes? They had heft and did not rattle. Finally I could no longer wait. I grabbed a knife and began carefully cutting the tape.

Truffles!! I opened the other box. More truffles!!

I allowed myself to bite into one of the sinfully rich confections. Immediately my taste buds spasmed. The silkiness of the truffle's interior. The wonderfully rich dark chocolate shell. A chocoholic's dream.

I allowed myself a second but the richness prevented me from consuming the whole box in one sitting. Back in the day when I was a young foodie, I probably could have eaten my way though half the box. Ahh, the good times. With the years came a bit of wisdom and restraint. (The cast iron stomach has erroded over the years, too.)

Some days I find myself yearning to talk to you.

Later, Dude.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I mean well, but I often let myself and others down. I commit to a project, procrastinate, then berate myself when I do not fulfill the promise. Part of the problem lies in the inability to say no; the other part involves the pleaser part of me.

Yesterday I did quite alot of walking. After my final treatment, all my joints ached and hurt. A couple of Tylenol later I went to dreamland.

More shopping today. Hopefully the last of it.

Later, Dude.

Monday, December 20, 2010

In denial

Denial. Such a small word with a large meaning.

My disease received its official name in August 2005. I read numerous entries on the Net. Most information was outdated by at least five years. Talk about gloom and doom. Somehow I convinced myself that I did not feel that bad. Thus began my friendship with denial.

Getting more accurate information only served to shore up my denial. I was not on Flolan so I must not have a bad case of PH. Picking up more than 10 pounds this once cannot hurt. This cannula bothers my nose, I do not need the o2 right now.

What does chest pain mean? I am not in pain, therefore I do not have chest pain. Cyanosis? My lips and nose are blue? Really?

A certain amount of denial keeps us from losing our minds with worry. I have PH. No cure. Medicines sustain me; eventually they cease to work. Denial comes into play, otherwise I might as well curl up and die now.

Am I angry? No. Am I sad? Often, though not so much for myself as for others who have the burden of a chronic, fatal disease. Those who are young. Those who are brilliiant. Those who never know anything else.

Did I squander my life? All the choices belong to me. I own them whether I admit they are mine or not. Denial works for naught here.

I can pretend (or deny) all I want, but the truth always wins.

Miss you, Dude.


Sunday, December 19, 2010


Not today either.

Later, Dude.

Friday, December 17, 2010

And ..... a-c-t-i-o-n

I woke up today wondering why I am where I am.

My PH dictates the options for me. Going undercover and writing a story about the homeless will not happen. On the other hand, writing about life as a shut-in raises possibilities. I know I am not J.D. Salinger, but writing might be fun to try.

The bed speaks my name promising warmth and comfort. The kitchen shouts in agony as one more dirty dish joins the pile. The boxes line up in the bedroom, assaulting my eyes. A stack of papers litters the top of the printer threatening to topple in avalanche fashion. The floor no doubt has more cat hairs than carpet fiber.

OK, Dude, time for action.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

* *

I wish I had some swish and swallow. The lovely antibiotics Doc PCP gave me for my leg have caused another problem -- thrush. My tongue rebels and punishes me. My lips are dry and cracking. *whine, whine*

I have added four more pills to my regimen. Doc wants me to take 600 units of calcium with vitamin D twice a day and 1000 units of vitamin D. Then for my heartburn I am adding Prilosec and Maalox. *woo hoo*

I pretty much slept all day today. The skies shifted to their bleak, winter color and my mood followed suit. Escapism at its best. *yawn*

Miss you, Dude. *sigh*


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A bump in the road

The final Tyvaso bump kicked my butt. I felt totally awful, but it took Connie to make me realize why. Duh!! After some Tylenol, I lay on the couch and pretty much took a whole-day time-out.

Never in my pudgy life have I thought eating would not appeal.

Many years of my life revolved around food. I wrote a food column at the newspaper, "Table Scraps." I have not met a fruit or veggie which failed to become my friend (Well OK, maybe one or two). I enjoyed listening to other foodies describe the layers of flavors in the bechamel like one discerns the woody flavor of a fine wine. Hunting down and tasting new foods thrills me as much as a collector of rare books finding a first edition.

A trip through a store like Whole Foods serves as a vacation for me. Because of my travels as a food writer, I got to try cabra, breadfruit, peanut soup, quail, duck (my family was not hunters) and ostrich. I enjoyed traveling, too. Jamaica, Seattle, Orlando, Richmond and San Diego.

When I went to Europe, I was more interested in the Food Hall at Harrod's than the clothes. Cemeteries came in a close second. In Germany, I ate roasted suckling pig that was brought to the table on a board, and yes, there was an apple in its mouth. In Belgium, I bought chocolate. I had mutton stew on a cruise (ugh, it was awful).

All that love of food disappeared. These days I expect something in the cabinet or refrigerator to jump out at me when I open the door. "Eat me today. Please!!" The pleas fall on deaf ears until I am so woozy I grab the nearest cracker or cookie. I have lost another pound. I never, ever thought I would say this: I really do not need to lose any more.

OK, Dude, I am outta here.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Dream weaver

Our subconscious speaks to us through dreams, I have heard.  

As a child, I had a couple of recurring dreams, both involving flying.

In the first, if I held my breath, I could run off the top of the house and fly. The flying was floaty and fun.

The other one I could fly like Peter Pan. I know I had this dream because of Mary Martin's Peter Pan on TV. In my dream, the "wires" that allowed me to fly were spider web fine. They tore and I could not wipe them off my nose and mouth. I felt like I was smothering.

As a young adult, I dreamed I was in a church balcony which was so steep, any false move would hurl me over the edge. A variation of this, which also recurred, involved being lost in a church and climbing many, many stairs.

One dream I have had off and on my whole life disturbs. I hear noises and see flashes of light. I go outside and see bombs falling like firecrackers and I think to myself it is the end of the world.

Nowdays I dream but do not remember. Occasionally I can recall bits and pieces, but if I try too hard, the diaphanous recollections dissipate.

Dream on, guys.

Later, Dude.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

From the mind's file

My mind churns with a song I cannot remember the title of nor can I get the noggin to give up the name of the group. My mind's file system for music lacks finesse. Though I love music, cataloging titles and artists never happened. Oh sure, some songs I can almost sing backward I know them so well. Others float around with a snippet of lyrics or a tittle of melody. Sometimes Google can find a title with the bit of information I offer, other times I do not offer enough. Days later the information pops to the surface.

My memory in other categories could win the Nobel Prize for Recollection. I can usually pull the needed bit of information pretty quickly. Movie titles, book titles, lyrics swirl around my brain. Sports stats pretty much the same. Players I usually remember by a physical trait -- hair tops the list.

Journalism is a transitory profession. Most journalists hope to move on to a bigger paper. We all had hopes of the New York Times. Teaching lures many journalists because of the regular hours and holidays.

I digress.

After 30 years at one newspaper, I categorically can say I have seen at least a hundred Walter Winchells and Anna Quindlens come through Amarillo. I usually can bring up a face with a name.

Journalists, at least the ones I know, read and read and read. We fill our mind's file system with lots of useless facts that are well-organized because words help us relay information. Words -- the more you use them, the more refined your writing.

Words have their own Dewey Decimal System in my head. Of course, the drawer for a particular file occasionally sticks, and there are so many, sometimes it takes awhile to access them back there in the far reaches.

Thus ends another episode in my exciting life. On to the dishes now.

Later, Dude.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

See the USA

Back in the day, Connie and I were Lucy and Ethel. There were times we got ourselves into hot water only to escape by the skin of our teeth. Connie drove a faded red tiny car. I think it was British made. I drove a 1951 Chevy like the one below, mine was faded brown.

We could drive the drag for an afternoon on 25 cents worth of gasoline, though there were times we had to push "Old Brown" because we ran out of gas.

We were not allowed to drive in the big city of Amarillo, so one day we took off for Amarillo in her little red car. We decided to go the back route so we would not run into "the parents." We made it more than halfway before we ran into her dad heading the other way. Oops.

We still have our Lucy and Ethel moments.

PCP Doc decided to replace the wick. I get to remove it myself Sunday. He prescribed some antibiotics to make sure the wound does not get infected.

I got lots done yesterday. Couch here I come.

Later, Dude.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Getting it

The other day someone close to me asked if I would feel well enough to come to Christmas festivities. I told the truth. I do not know. If I could plan the days I did not feel well enough to get out of bed, I might. Between the PH, which seems better with the new med, and the depression, I never know what the day will bring. I sent the someone a copy of the Spoon Theory awhile back. Still the someone does not get it.

Another someone told me in not so many words to get over it. "I get depressed sometimes too, but I just tell myself to move on." Oh, if it were that simple. Even Doc agrees I am not a complainer. Perhaps if I started whining over every little thing, people would understand, though I doubt it. Then they would just think I am a whiner.

I go see Doc PCP this morning to get the wick removed from the hematoma site. The bandage actually fell off this morning. The tape was almost like ribbon, very wide and seems to quit sticking in stages.

Connie and I also will head for the dollar store, grocery store, to get car tags for my car, and other errands. Somewhere in there we will go eat lunch to celebrate her birthday, which was in November. A busy day, which means tomorrow I more than likely will take a couch day.

Later, Dude.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Taking care of business

Pardon me while I step on my soapbox.

I listened to a woman tell me about her life's woes. Though I do not know her well, she talked on and on about how she would rip so-and-so's head off, how she disowned part of her family.

I now see the result of parents who had to have a child or two to go along with their Lexus and private club membership. Go, go, go. Ever on the way up. More, more, more. Those children were deprived of what they really needed -- direction, limits, a true picture of the world.

Lump those kids in with the ones who parent themselves because of single moms who struggle to make ends meet or simply use the children to get money for themselves. Streetwise at 7.

You end up with adults who are emotional infants and expect to have life handed to them or adults who think life has no value -- kill or be killed.

*stepping down*

Each day I tell myself I will get some work done in the apartment. Each day I crawl back into bed. Meanwhile the cats have made a total mess of the place, well, their share anyhow.

Enough procrastination. On to the dirty dishes.

Later, Dude.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A wonderful life

My body and I seem to have this problem lately. I go about my everyday living like I have done the past 50 years or so but somehow the body gets in the way now.

Yesterday I bent down to pick up the cat food dish and hit my temple on the pantry doorknob. I wash dishes, but as I put them away, I see food I missed. Every little nick from Pogo's claws becomes a blood blister. Red splotches form misshapened patterns on both arms. Even fingers are not exempt. If I scratch an itch, a mark shows where. If I dry myself too vigorously after a shower, I get a mark. Thank goodness I am not on coumadin, just low dose aspirin.

I pick up bruises like bargains at a flea market. I get bruises in my sleep. (Must have been some dream!)

Slamming the car door on my shin has got to be the epitome of klutz. Yesterday I paid for the awkwardness. Doc PCP basically poked a hole in the golf ball size bump and then scraped out the blood clots. He squeezed and pinched. After he removed the clots, he placed a wick (yes, it looked like a lantern wick only not as broad) into the wound, put a gauze patch over that and told me to come back Friday.

PH adds its own spice to my life. The joy of downing nine pills every morning. My very own microprocessor ultrasonic nebulizer to puff on four times a day. The untitled symphony performed by my stomach after treatments. Getting to know the man in brown on a first-name basis. Does going from freezing to sweating to freezing count as exercise? How about lugging an o2 tank?

All in all, it's good.

Later, Dude.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mundane musings

In the spirit of better late than never, I am paying a visit to my PCP this morning. I think the last time I saw him was about four years ago. I slammed the car door on my shin at least three weeks ago and, although most of my leg is flesh colored again, I still sport a rather large knot in a royal purple hue. Surely doc PCP can tell me what to do. I am wondering if the bulge needs lancing.

As for the Tyvaso, I am on eight puffs, four times a day. I am having some stomach woes, so I still need to get food vs medicine synced. At times I have pains where the ribs meet in front. Other times I have heartburn in my throat. Lying down a bit takes care of the former and a few swigs of Mylanta cools the latter.

I got a wonderful surprise package Friday -- a soft and snuggley wrap with pockets. The boys enjoyed a new box. Win, win for everyone.

My hands and feet feel much like Popsicles, so yesterday I found the king size, automatically shuts off after two hours heating pad. The heating pad sits on top of the pillow I use to elevate my legs. I lie on my hands until they warm up. I use a blanket over this and grab a kitty or two as well. My coffee serves a dual purpose. Sure the caffeine gets me going but the mug makes an excellent hand warmer.

Bored. *sigh*


Monday, December 6, 2010

Contemplate this

Some truisms:
  1. Fanatics, no matter what the cause, are dangerous.
  2. Technology just means rumors travel faster and wider.
  3. Some people allow others to do their thinking. What do you think?
  4. Eventually you have to own up.

The Naming Of Cats
T.S. Eliot

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey--
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter--
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

Later, Dude.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What a year

The past year has been one of learning and growing. Many days were painful. Many days came and went without making a mark. I met grief.

Grief and I had a nodding acquaintance before. I lost my grandparents, several aunts, cousins and my dad. I wasted the chance for learning and growing with the grandparents. I wanted nothing to do with death and funerals, so I did not go.

The death of my dad hit hard. He died suddenly. I went into survival mode and then pushed away emotions. I did not allow myself to mourn.

Through the years I have lost colleagues. This past year I lost one whom I had known for almost 30 years. For him, I was able to sit and hold his hand, though he was not conscious. I touched death and did not flinch. I wanted to be strong for him, I wanted to help.

I began this blog and vowed to write every day as a tribute to you. (Except for the days I was hospitalized, I accomplished that goal.) I used writing as a safety valve, releasing pressure when I thought I would go insane.

Without the help of friends (some help totally unexpected but oh so welcome), I am not sure how I would have made it through the year.

Connie calls almost every day. She makes sure I get out. Others offered words of encouragement, some of which came at just the right time.

A couple of new friends mourn along with me and opened up their hearts. We pull each other along the road to healing. I am thankful.

My reactions are honest though maybe not logical. Some chose to ignore me, some chose to condemn me. No matter.

I miss you no less, but sorrow loosens its vice-like grip on me. I begin to breathe once again.

Thanks, Dude.


Saturday, December 4, 2010


Early tomorrow, just after midnight in fact, it will be a year since you died.

I fulfilled a couple of promises I made to you, both before and after you died. I owe you so much,  I wish I could have done more.

I am not as frantic or whacky as I was a year ago. I have had time to adjust to the notion that you will never again pop up on my IM.

Because of my relationship with you, I now have a couple of good friends I would never have had.

Thanks, Dude.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What can I say?

I am such a selfish creature. I forget that I am not the only one. In the great scheme of things, I rank near the bottom. An asterisk at the very most.

In the meantime, I stick my nose into other lives like I deserve to be there. I insert my opinion like only I know this or that.

I am sorry. Wishing will not make it so.

Later, Dude.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Time keeps on slippin'

I wish I could detail the busy life I lead since starting the Tyvaso. The medicine helps tremendously. Unfortunately, my head does not cooperate. I have the urge to curl up and hide. Put my mind in neutral and glide on through the new year. So I waste the newfound energy. The few times I have ventured out, within an hour or so, I am pining for the apartment.

Time steals you away. What we shared begins to fade and I know soon, much sooner than I would like, the memories will go into a box in the closet of my mind. Occasionally I will bring them out and lovingly caress each one.

How hard would it have been for the little actress to hang with you a couple more weeks? What a shame the "expert" did not practice what she preaches.

Later, Dude.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Taking flight

“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder…” –  Henry David Thoreau