Friday, January 30, 2009

BZ Col. James L. Pohl!!!!!

You, sir, have Princess Crabby's undying respect and admiration.
What's right is right and what's wrong is wrong. No matter who is POTUS.

Part of the "The One's" plan for GITMO was to request a four month delay all the military trials and proceedings.
Obama moves on Guantanamo vow, seeks to delay trials
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, CubaOnly hours after taking office, President Barack Obama late Tuesday ordered Pentagon prosecutors to seek a 120-day freeze in war crimes trials of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — his first action toward fulfilling a campaign pledge to close the controversial prison camp.

As with any other blanket order, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. In the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the accused planner of the 2000 USS Cole attack in doesn't work. Or more to the point, it achieves nothing.

It's already been delayed enough. For pity's sake we're finally adjudicating a crime that was committed over eight years ago. As Gladstone said "Justice delayed is justice denied". I agree, so does CDR Lippold.

And who has averted yet another needless and heartbreaking delay? Who has stood up and said no, this is the law, this is what's right? Who has risked his future to DO THE RIGHT THING?

US Army attorney Col. James L. Pohl.

Now, before you say - "Maggie, you are just applauding this guy because he is tough on the detainees." Nope. There is ample evidence that this guy is fair. For example his dealing in the Darbi case.

Or - "Maggie, how can Obama save the world if he can't get everyone to obey?" Nope. Obama can suggest, request, or cajole........but he can't interfere. Perhaps "The One's" crack legal staff could read up on "unlawful command influence". And a word to the wise, the institution that enjoys the most respect from Americans in every poll - the military. So you might not wanna throw any stones in that direction.

"The One" Puts His Foot In His Mouth

....and Cassandra makes sure he doesn't get off scot-free.

The IceMan Cometh
Sacre bleu! The Princess sprang from betwixt the marital sheets yesterday morning to find the long driveway leading to her humble abode encased in a solid inch of glistening ice. It had been shoveled clean of snow at 9 pm, but for some odd reason having nothing to do with the utter absence of orange trees in her yard, she preferred sleep to staying up all night with smudge pots lit and snow shovels at the ready.

In the morning, she dutifully donned multiple layers of clothing and trudged outdoors to chip a 2 foot path to the street. The rest of the driveway is still encased in ice today. It never did melt.

Our new President, who chose to send his daughters to an exclusive private school in DC, was quick to chide area residents for our general lack of hardiness in the face of the latest irrefutable evidence of global warming:

Go read the is very good. No one rips a faker like Cassandra.

H/T The Armorer

Thursday, January 29, 2009

So, Today Starts Off Well

I was up at 0745 to join in a Milblogger's Roundtable.

Also in the call were Chuck of America's North Shore Journal, Bruce of Q&O, Galrahn of Information Dissemination and several others.

I greeted Bruce when he came on the line and he replied "I should have guessed you'd be on the call about pirates!"

I laughed "You're right! I always aspired to be the pirate's lady! Too many Errol Flynn movies."Chuck chimed in with "Or Johnny Depp.", now that I am looking at this pic, have a mental image of Johhny Depp and consider today's pirates......I'll stick with Sailors.

Anyway, the Roundtable was good and I will have something up in a bit.

Rear Admiral Terence E. "Terry" McKnight Expeditionary Strike Group 2/Commander, Task Force 51/59/151 was very interesting and he managed to answer all my questions during his presentation and while he was answering other people's questions. But not to worry, SJS had slipped me a few questions, so I had stuff to ask!

BTW, because of the early hour.........I attended in my favorite black nightgown.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

USS Constitution Is On Twitter

Go here and show your support by following USS Constitution.

Why Is Cheese Delcious On Italian Food......

...but when you melt it on Chinese food it's disgusting?"
From the Daily Show (shameslessly stolen from The Castle) on how people with Bush Derangement Syndrome deal with the new day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

He's Not Talking About Me!

That would be ridiculous!

VADM Harvey's words are being discussed far and wide.

Here's the part that riled some -
"With respect to your comment concerning participation in the blogosphere and the upcoming milbloggers conference, let me speak pretty plainly - most of the blogs I’ve dropped in on and read on a regular basis leave me pretty cold. Too many seem to be interested in scoring cheap, and anonymous, hits vice engaging in meaningful and professional exchanges. There is also a general lack of reverence for facts and an excess of emotion that, for me, really reduces the value of the blog. Incorrect/inaccurate data and lots of hype may be entertaining for some, but just doesn’t work for me."

The question was asked - "Who is he talking about?"

Well I just know it isn't me. If VADM Harvey met me, he'd love me.

I Love This Logic

Bob Cerasoli issues a report about five weeks ago.

The city has more vehicles than allowed by law. The law allows for 60. They have over 270.

The city could save a million by cutting some waste there.

And the politicians reply?

Cerasoli is overestimating the savings.

Wait! If he can't guess the exact amount of money the city will save, you don't have to comply with the law that limits the number?

Between this nonsense and Nagin thwarting Bob's efforts to properly protect his criminal investigators, I don't know how he stands it.

Stick with it Bob! You are doing a good job.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Am A Jackass

So, I'm so brilliant and in charge and I decide that I am stopping everything but vitamins.

And I'm so good at finding out info and making informed decisions.

Yet, I didn't bother to check on how to stop taking steroids.

I expected to feel really good today.....4th day with no steroid.......but I felt awful and five hours in work exhausted me. Truly. I felt like I was lugging a bag of rocks when I left at 1715. I had to nap for two hours before heading to Jen's for Jack.

Earlier in the day I posted a message in the multiple myeloma listserv asking about stopping the Dex. This was in my inbox when I got home.

Dexamethasone Oral
Do not stop taking dexamethasone without talking to your doctor. Stopping the drug abruptly can cause loss of appetite, upset stomach, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, headache, fever, joint and muscle pain, peeling skin, and weight loss. If you take large doses for a long time, your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually to allow your body to adjust before stopping the drug completely. Watch for these side effects if you are gradually decreasing your dose and after you stop taking the tablets or oral liquid, even if you switch to an inhalation corticosteroid medication. If these problems occur, call your doctor immediately. You may need to increase your dose of tablets or liquid temporarily or start taking them again.

Two Tylenol and off to bed.

USS Green Bay

"Fair winds and following seas"

USS Green Bay LPD-20.

The flight deck is knows as Lambeau Field and the P-Ways have street names from the city. The ship actually has a license from the NFL for the logo and the ships seal is green and gold.

Statum Bello Invictus Maneo

Stand and Fight, Remain Unvanquished

Congratulations to the ships officers and crew and Princess Crabby's Ogre who built it.

44 Presidents

SK sent this in an email. Pretty cool stuff.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Not To Brag

But did I tell you the Navy invited me to go somewhere else with them? It's even longer than the last time and further away. I can't, but..........

I would kill to go!

It Probably Wasn't Fair.....

...but all's fair in love and war and winning isn't's the only....oh, I'm off track.

I ambushed my parents before Mass. It was 10:30 and we were just relaxing before we headed up the hill.

"Oh, hang on. I want to tell you something. Grace and Jen told you that the chemo didn't work, right?"

My mother nods and my father says "Yeah, they are going to try something else?"

" I stopped taking everything and I told them I'm not going to take anything for two months. Well....I will tell them. When I talk to them."

So I laid out my reasons, pretty much the same way I laid them out in this post.

My mother stood up and said "Ok, it's your cancer."

Off we went to Mass. It was the 10th anniversary Mass for my grandmother.

Father Mahoney was, as usual, wonderful. Have I mentioned lately that I love him.

After Mass we were hanging back at my parent's house and my niece Kelly said "I forgot her name was Grace." We were laughing and Kelly tried to defend herself saying that we always called her "Mama" never "Grace". We just kept laughing and teasing her. Then she said she didn't know her mother's grandmother's name either....we laughed harder....."Her name was Irene.....your middle were named for her!"

I explained about the chemo to my aunt and cousins. Everyone took it well. they all I agree I deserve a break after the last four months.

Over all it was a great family day.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Best Wishes To My Friend Bob Cerasoli

He's waiting for a good word from doctors at BI Deaconess. I hope he gets it.

He's down there in NOLA, slogging away doing a good job.

I hope they appreciate what they've got in this guy.

Being Bob Cerasoli
New Orleans' Inspector General Has faced a year of personal and professional challenges — and there are more to come.

It's Been Decided

That is.....if I can get it past my parents.

I am going to stop all drugs for two months. I am going to have my kidneys monitored via blood work.

I am going to give my body time to heal.

I am going to regroup and marshal my forces.

Then we will reassess in two months.

I know SB will be fine because he said it to me before I said it to myself.

Grace said she didn't want me to, but she acknowledged that it's exactly what she would do if she were in this position. Grace also said I had to dedicate myself 100% to good health.....who was she talking to? The most you can hope for is what I was in June.....on Atkins more than off and at the gym more than not.

Jen thinks I'm wrong, but it's my cancer. She said she was very interested in what my number would be after two months of no treatment. Me too.

Frankie and Tommy will agree to whatever I decide.

I had a long talk with my ex last night and he said he couldn't argue with my logic.

Bette asked if I might change my mind when the current number is known next Thursday. What if it drops significantly? I told her it doesn't matter what it drops to, it won't be a lasting response, so it's a moot point.

Tomorrow I have CCD, then a 10th anniversary Mass for Mama Kelley (parents, cousins, aunts and uncles will be present) then Frankie's family birthday party.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to know I don't have to take the steroids tomorrow.

So if I can make it past my parents......I am golden.

Pete Hegseth On The New CINC

Our Commander-in-Chief, Too
Conservative vets will give Obama the chance Democrats denied Bush.

By Pete Hegseth
Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are largely united in their ardent support for victory on those battlefields. At the same time, they represent a cross-section of the political spectrum in the U.S. I patrolled Iraqi streets with conservatives and liberals, blue and white collars, believers and atheists. But about the mission, there was very little doubt. To adopt an old saw: there are no anti-American GIs in Mideast foxholes.
Our group, Vets for Freedom, ran millions of dollars’ worth of television and radio advertising this year that directly challenged Obama’s policies toward Iraq and the surge. We aggressively instigated his return trip to Iraq and called on him to tell the truth about the success of the surge. We believed his stated policy prescriptions for Iraq were outdated and pressured him to reconsider his rigid timeline for withdrawal.

But on Inauguration Day, our approach will change—as a candidate becomes our commander-in-chief. We will not do to President Obama what others did to President Bush. Our brothers are still in harm’s way, and Obama is their commander-in-chief, just as he is ours.We will support President Obama whenever possible, persuade him at decisive and deliberative moments, and constructively oppose him when he pursues policies we deem detrimental to battlefield success. Success on the battlefield—as well as the health of our military—must be our lodestar, as we seek to help our new president defend our nation.

You should go read the whole thing.

H/T Op-For

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wow! What Are You Doing Up This Late?


Possible Side Effects of Velcade

Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders
Gastrointestinal Disorders
Abdominal Pain
Abdominal Pain Upper
Nervous System Disorders
Peripheral Neuropathy
General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions
Edema Peripheral
Infections and Infestations
Herpes Zoster
Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders
Back Pain
Pain In Extremity
Bone Pain
Metabolism and Nutrition Disorders
Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders
Respiratory, Thoracic and Mediastinal Disorders
Psychiatric Disorders
Vascular Disorders

Just Answer My Effing Questions!

I am mental mad!

I have not decided what I am going to do about Velcade. I wanted more info. I sent a fax to the local oncologist.

OK, yesterday Dr. Miller decided that we should change the dosage on the Revlimid (25mg to 10 mg) keep the Dex at 20 mg and add Velcade.

I have not definitely decided that this is what I will do. I need more information.

Could you please advise me of the treatment schedule? I know that it happens over several days in the week. I need details. How long would I be there each visit?

Also, my blood pressure was still high (151 over 90 something). How long should it be before I see results with Lisinopril? I have been taking it for seven days.

So I get a call back saying when these treatments are being set up.

Hello? Did you read the message? I asked for information. I didn't ask you to set up treatments. Try answering the questions asked!

I tried to stay calm while I pushed for my answers. "Ok, but I want to know, how long does it take for a treatment? What's the schedule?"

Finally she did give me the details I was looking for. But how aggravating was that? It was a short fax. Read it.

I shouldn't have to call on the judge to direct the witness to answer the question as asked.

After disconnecting the call, I banged the phone four more times and used profanity.

Thanks! Now I have to say a good Act of Contrition.

Not That It Matters

Nothing I said below is anything more than venting.

The discussion is academic.

I made all these points and more in my appointment with Dr. Miller, Dr. Flaherty and Jennifer.

As Jen and I got in the elevator "You know you are not getting out of treatment....let it go."

I relayed all this to SB last night between mixing drinks and singing loudly to the disco channel.

"What if you stop everything?"

"I can't"

"They can't make you do this Maggie."

"No, but my father can and Grace & Jen will have told him by now. You were the one who made me tell them. Your fault."

What's Real and What's Not Real

Let me see if I can explain my extreme frustration. I haven't been all that successful with a great many people in my life. I think Dr. Miller gets some of it, but he has his set of beliefs and I have mine.

This discussion has been remarkably similar to trying to discuss politics with the "headline readers". I passionately believe certain things about politics, America, right and wrong. Before I profer an opinion, I generally try to educate myself on the matter first. I get extremely frustrated with people who counter my opinions with superficial comments.

For example, Gitmo. There are people who reflexively say "We should close Gitmo." or the current favorite "Obama is closing Gitmo." The majority of people who say this, in my experience, are parroting the words of others. They aren't really familiar with the workings of Gitmo, the legal decisions that created the current situation and the facts on the ground. When you question them, they can't back up their opinions. I get frustrated. I want to convey to them all the pieces of the puzzle that they are missing. Because I think if they just had the facts.........

That's how I feel about multiple myeloma and chemo.

I say there is nothing wrong with me and people nod. Are you really listening? I don't have any tumors. I don't have any bony lesions. I don't have kidney problems. Nothing, not one blessed thing.

I get sympathetic nods and comments of "Well you were caught early." Really? Who says? How do you know I haven't been percolating this for a while? These numbers are fairly high. A normal person's IGA measures between 70 and 350. I have read dozens and dozens of accounts from and about patients who have IGA levels between 700 or so and 2000 and are experiencing horrible manifestations of myeloma. My numbers have ranged from 3310 to 5948. Based on numbers alone, this doesn't sound early to me.

Or I get "Let's treat now because it's easier before you become symptomatic?" Really? Who says? My fatigue is less debilitating because I've never broken a bone? My insomnia is more tolerable because my kidneys function? Also, why is no one considering the trade-off? Maybe it is easier now, maybe it isn't - but for sure I am trading actual quality of life right now for a possible benefit later.

Plus, who says those things are coming my way AT ALL? Because that's the normal course of this disease? Well we all know how well Maggie adheres the norm, don't we?

"Multiple myeloma (also known as myeloma or plasma cell myeloma) is a progressive hematologic (blood) disease." Really? Mine has not progressed in ANY way since June and in the myeloma world, that's a long time. As a matter of fact my June number (5948) dropped on it's own with no outside influence to 4940 in August.

"Hypercalcemia, anemia, renal damage, increased susceptibility to bacterial infection, and impaired production of normal immunoglobulin are common clinical manifestations of multiple myeloma. It is often also characterized by diffuse osteoporosis, usually in the pelvis, spine, ribs, and skull." Really? Not one of these things are present in my case. Nor is there any sign that they are on the horizon. Did I tell you how difficult it was for Dr. Hochstin to do my bone marrow biopsy? Yeah because my bones are in such good shape it took a great deal of effort to punch through. And during my va-cay at the Jordan last week there were all kinds of X-Rays and CT scans. Things are still fine. No symptoms.

During the IMF Conference I participated in back in November, they told us that "Revlimid/ld Dex produces a durable response in 92% of patients." Really? Not me.

"The average age at diagnosis is 62 years for men and 61 years for women" Really? I am 47.

My point? My case hasn't followed one single rule or fullfilled one single expectation of this diagnosis. Why must I believe it will progress to being symptromatic?

What if this is all it was ever going to be? An anomaly in my blood work. Who is to say that if I had a less thorough primary care physician, I would not have walked around for the next ten or twenty years fat, dumb and happy? What if my crazy flucuating numbers are merely my body's adaptation to chemical exposure in my youth? I played down the Oilies and I was exposed to an unbelievable amount of stuff. They dumped everything under the sun in the Mystic River basin. The housing project next to the Oilies is classified by the Feds as a "cancer cluster".

Everything that I have been told about multiple myeloma and me, is supposition.

Now let's get to what's real.

Chemo has caused real problems.

Chemo has had real consequences.

One of the potential consequences of steroid use is elevated blood sugar and I have it. One of the consequences of elevated blood sugar is heart disease. Therefore to fight the possible cancer, I have caused a real problem with possible fatal consequences.

Another potential consequence of steroid use is peripheral neuropathy. Of course, they told me that it usually presents much further into treatment (again, my condition is not following the norm) and is possibly reversible. Every morning when I wake up there is some degree of numbness and tingling in my hands, arms feet or legs. That's real. Laying there waiting for it to subside it is very real. Glasses breaking as they slip out of my hands in the sink is very real. the mild ache that remains is a reminder all day of how very real it is. Therefore to fight the possible cancer, I have caused a real problem with possible lifelong debilitating consequences.

Despite taking my lisinopril faithfully, my blood pressure yesterday was 151 over 90 something. There's another very real consequence of chemo. Before my diagnosis my blood pressure normally ran around the 125 over the low 80s.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

You Know When People Say.....

...."I wish I wasn't right about this."???

I never understood that. Until today.

I LOVE BEING RIGHT! Until today.

I have said the words "I wish I wasn't right about this." with the proper sincere tone. But I didn't mean it. Until today.

Four four fucking months I have said "I don't have any symptoms. What if I am doing this for nothing?"

And I was RIGHT.






There was nothing wrong with me until I let them make me do things to cause problems.

Do you understand that? Because I when I tell people they just nod sympathetically. But I don't think they see.

Ask anyone who saw me in July. I was 32 lbs lighter. Tons of energy. A little tan.

And happy.

Where am I now? I told him today. I am poor and getting stupider by the minute. "By the minute?" he repeated. It's true. I waved "Sea of Thunder" at him. I gestured toward Jennifer "Do you see this? I started it last week and she wants to know why I am not finished yet. I can't focus."

He read the title. He told me not to take it the wrong way, but he thinks I am the only female patient who has ever had a book about a naval battle in his office.

Now I know how people feel when the police specialist tries to talk them off the ledge.

I probably got maybe half my points across today.

I told him that I wasn't going to do a transplant until my numbers were much better. He agreed, that made perfect sense.

He said Velcade is generally well tolerated.

That's what he said about Revlimid.


Thank You..... whoever decided that a good present for Frankie's 21st birthday would be "Pineapple Jack".

I don't drink a lot, but I think today we will make an exception!

Do you know that Comcast has a classic disco channel?

Booze, disco and M& pity party is in full swing!

If I Really Had Cancer.......

I'd be upset now.

You see, I was born in Boston, but for the purposes of cancer.....I am from Missouri. I told Dr. Miller today that I have a really hard time believing him and the others about this multiple myeloma thing. He said I needed to trust him. I told him he was asking for more faith than Father Mahoney.

Let's see........well one of the first things I read when I learned of my IGA multiple myeloma diagnosis was that IGA tends to be drug resistant.

"But Maggie, that doesn't mean yours will be!"

"Revlimid has a 92% success rate."

Isn't it nice to be special?

Sherri Catches How I Feel About Chemo

Well this Gave Me Pause

This morning's guest Op-Ed contributor wrote of Israeli-Palestinian situation. It's not a solution I advocate, but it's well reasoned and fair to both sides.

The One-State Solution
THE shocking level of the last wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence, which ended with this weekend’s cease-fire, reminds us why a final resolution to the so-called Middle East crisis is so important. It is vital not just to break this cycle of destruction and injustice, but also to deny the religious extremists in the region who feed on the conflict an excuse to advance their own causes.

But everywhere one looks, among the speeches and the desperate diplomacy, there is no real way forward. A just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible, but it lies in the history of the people of this conflicted land, and not in the tired rhetoric of partition and two-state solutions.

Although it’s hard to realize after the horrors we’ve just witnessed, the state of war between the Jews and Palestinians has not always existed. In fact, many of the divisions between Jews and Palestinians are recent ones. The very name “Palestine” was commonly used to describe the whole area, even by the Jews who lived there, until 1948, when the name “Israel” came into use.

Jews and Muslims are cousins descended from Abraham. Throughout the centuries both faced cruel persecution and often found refuge with one another. Arabs sheltered Jews and protected them after maltreatment at the hands of the Romans and their expulsion from Spain in the Middle Ages.

The history of Israel/Palestine is not remarkable by regional standards — a country inhabited by different peoples, with rule passing among many tribes, nations and ethnic groups; a country that has withstood many wars and waves of peoples from all directions. This is why it gets so complicated when members of either party claims the right to assert that it is their land.

The basis for the modern State of Israel is the persecution of the Jewish people, which is undeniable. The Jews have been held captive, massacred, disadvantaged in every possible fashion by the Egyptians, the Romans, the English, the Russians, the Babylonians, the Canaanites and, most recently, the Germans under Hitler. The Jewish people want and deserve their homeland.

But the Palestinians too have a history of persecution, and they view the coastal towns of Haifa, Acre, Jaffa and others as the land of their forefathers, passed from generation to generation, until only a short time ago.

Thus the Palestinians believe that what is now called Israel forms part of their nation, even were they to secure the West Bank and Gaza. And the Jews believe that the West Bank is Samaria and Judea, part of their homeland, even if a Palestinian state were established there. Now, as Gaza still smolders, calls for a two-state solution or partition persist. But neither will work.
A two-state solution will create an unacceptable security threat to Israel. An armed Arab state, presumably in the West Bank, would give Israel less than 10 miles of strategic depth at its narrowest point. Further, a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would do little to resolve the problem of refugees. Any situation that keeps the majority of Palestinians in refugee camps and does not offer a solution within the historical borders of Israel/Palestine is not a solution at all.

For the same reasons, the older idea of partition of the West Bank into Jewish and Arab areas, with buffer zones between them, won’t work. The Palestinian-held areas could not accommodate all of the refugees, and buffer zones symbolize exclusion and breed tension. Israelis and Palestinians have also become increasingly intertwined, economically and politically.

In absolute terms, the two movements must remain in perpetual war or a compromise must be reached. The compromise is one state for all, an “Isratine” that would allow the people in each party to feel that they live in all of the disputed land and they are not deprived of any one part of it.

A key prerequisite for peace is the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the homes their families left behind in 1948. It is an injustice that Jews who were not originally inhabitants of Palestine, nor were their ancestors, can move in from abroad while Palestinians who were displaced only a relatively short time ago should not be so permitted.

It is a fact that Palestinians inhabited the land and owned farms and homes there until recently, fleeing in fear of violence at the hands of Jews after 1948 — violence that did not occur, but rumors of which led to a mass exodus. It is important to note that the Jews did not forcibly expel Palestinians. They were never “un-welcomed.” Yet only the full territories of Isratine can accommodate all the refugees and bring about the justice that is key to peace.

Assimilation is already a fact of life in Israel. There are more than one million Muslim Arabs in Israel; they possess Israeli nationality and take part in political life with the Jews, forming political parties. On the other side, there are Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Israeli factories depend on Palestinian labor, and goods and services are exchanged. This successful assimilation can be a model for Isratine.

If the present interdependence and the historical fact of Jewish-Palestinian coexistence guide their leaders, and if they can see beyond the horizon of the recent violence and thirst for revenge toward a long-term solution, then these two peoples will come to realize, I hope sooner rather than later, that living under one roof is the only option for a lasting peace.

It's interesting, it's balanced....right? So what's the WOW! factor?

The author - Muammar Qaddafi, the leader of Libya.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Beware of Offers of Cannabis

No, I wasn't really going to smoke any. I haven't smoked pot in for-ev-er and even back then it was sporadic because all it did was put me to sleep.

But several people have made comments about supplying me with some ever since my diagnosis. I know what they mean. They want to say something funny and supportive.

Now I find out that it would be far from helpful.

From Tim's Wifes Blog -
"So the last funny drug story happened just awhile back at afootball game Olivia was cheerleading at. The mom of another cheerleader has some medicalproblems and we talk shop a bit. She has lung issues and tells me that she wound up with somefungal pneumonia thingy and I said, "you mean aspergillosis?" and she said "Yeah, that was it!"
Aspergillosis is something that used to be fatal and MM'ers and those going through transplant can be at risk. It is also something you can get from smoking pot which is often contaminated with the fungus."

Just say no, kids!

Day One - No Traz

My brain still works.

Still not fast, but it feels better.

I see the myeloma specialist tomorrow at NEMC (my third meeting) and I am going to get tough with him. I am bringing Jen with me.....and who's tougher than me? Jen.

When I was in the Jordan and she raised her eyebrow at someone who made her repeat herself.....yikes!

Anyway I made it through the new stuff over at the Phibian's and the Castle. I was so with it, I sorted through some stuff at Information Dissemination!

Last night I took myself to the movies - Defiance - it was good.

Today my baby turned 21. It feels weird.

Do You Have A Macy's Nearby?

They are settling a lawsuit by giving away free cosmetics.

I was on my way to the movies last night when a salesperson from Macy's told me to go through the cosmetics department and get something.

There were several department stores involved and there are several items to choose from.

The details are here. But it was simple enough. I walked into the cosmetics department, there was a queue and I signed my name and got Clinique Mouisture Surge!

This Is Ridiculous!

I am stopping the Trazodone.

Someone told me about an herbalist in Plymouth and I am going to go there. There must be something I can take that will put me to sleep and not mess me up.

I didn't get to work until 1400 today.

So far my choices are -

Take nothing and not sleep.

Take 50 mg Trazodone and go to sleep, but wake up shortly after that and not sleep.

Take 100 mg Trazodone and sleep 12 hours....but be fuzzy and useless the next day.

Plus it exacerbates the tremor so I am shaking like a leaf. I broke another glass today while I was doing the dishes.

And I can't discount the possibility that it was the Traz that put my in the hospital last week.

I have tried valerian and Simply Sleep.

Let's see what else I can try.

All I am sure of is that insomnia is better than how I felt today. I am more useful at work on 2 hours of sleep than on 100 mg of Trazodone.

I've also added curcumin to the vitamin/supplement list. It's supposed to make the steroid work better so you don't have to take higher doses (which is good since that may also have been what laid me up last week) and it's supposed to counter act some of the fatigue.

Sloan Kettering's herbal list shows it to be ok for me. None of the warnings apply to my cancer or my chemo.

I read about it on a blog the Myeloma listserv sent me to.

So basically, like the cinnamon, it's a no harm/no foul supplement to take.

Now to find something innocuous to help me sleep.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jen's Listening To Michael Graham

She emails me -

"Ok Michael Graham is laughing about the fact that he didn’t know there were words to go along with Hail to the Chief, I feel like a complete geek because when he played it I knew the words."

Sorry Jen, you are a geek.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ignacio Ramos and Joe Compean

Their sentences are commuted.

Thank God!

They weren't pardoned, which is a travesty - and I don't say that lightly.

But their sentences will end on Mrch 20th. My birthday. I don't think I'll get a better present that day.

Bush commutes sentences of former Border Patrol agents

h/t Sherri

OK, So After.....

....a good night's my own bed....and all the meds are regulated....a little perspective.

Thank you to Jimmy, Karen and Mark at work who found me and called the ambulance. Held my hand until they got there. Covered me with low air loss covers (although I do hope they were clean ones and not from the soiled pile! lol).

To the EMTs and firefighters who I really never saw except for once or twice when an insistent face swam into view and demanded I open my eyes.

To the ER staff at the Jordan, Heidi my nurse, Eileen my continuing care nurse (nice to finally meet you after a million phone calls!). The radiology department. The ER doctor who offered me morphine (I declined). The ER secretary who brought in a phone because my Dad was looking for me (and Heidi who did most of the talking because I was crying).

The people on the telemetry, the nurses and CNAs and LPNs, Maryellen, Sue and Anne. My discharge planner Colette - again nice to meet you Colette.

The people in cardiology and ultrasound. The aides that rolled my behind to all these places (no small task especially with the extra 30 lbs from the steroids).

Some people knew who I was and some didn't so it wasn't just being "Maggie from X-Company", it was that they were genuinely caring. Although as the nurses was nice that I wasn't incontinent.

I am very lucky. The hospital is five minutes drive away (with sirens - it takes me ten), my oncologist is right there. I have Blue Cross - even with the new $1500 deductible and copays, etc....I am still way ahead of lots of people.

Yeah - What He Said

From today's NYT, Bill expresses how I feel. He usually does. I really like reading him and watching him on FoxNewsSunday. I love his sense of humor. He had a really funny one yesterday on FNS, I'll have to dig it up. I'd love to have dinner with him one....even though he'd be bored to tears, lol.

The Next War President
In synagogue on Saturday, before saying the customary prayer for our country, the rabbi asked us to reflect on the fact that a new president would be inaugurated on Tuesday, and urged us to focus a little more intently than usual on the prayer. The congregants did so, it seemed to me, as we read, “Our God and God of our ancestors: We ask your blessings for our country — for its government, for its leaders and advisers, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority ...”

Barack Obama will assume that just and rightful authority at noon on Tuesday. After a dinner with him that I attended last week, as we said our goodbyes, I overheard one of my fellow conservatives say softly to the president-elect, “Sir, I’ll be praying for you.” Obama seemed to pause as they shook hands, and to thank him more earnestly than he did those of us who simply — and sincerely — wished him well.

The incoming president is the man of the moment. He deserves good wishes and sincere prayers. But I’ve found myself thinking these last few days more about the man who has shouldered the burdens of office for the past eight years, George W. Bush.
He wasn’t my favorite among Republicans in 2000. He has made mistakes as president, and has limitations as a leader. But he has exercised his just and rightful authority in a way — I believe — that deserves recognition and respect.

It will probably be a while before he gets much of either. In synagogue, right after the prayer for our country, there is a prayer for the state of Israel, asking the “rock and redeemer of the people Israel” to “spread over it the shelter of your peace.” As we recited this on Saturday, I couldn’t help but reflect that a distressingly small number of my fellow Jews seem to have given much thought at all to the fact that President Bush is one of the greatest friends the state of Israel — and, yes, the Jewish people — have had in quite a while. Bush stood with Israel when he had no political incentive to do so and received no political benefit from doing so. He was criticized by much of the world. He did it because he thought it the right thing to do.

He has been denounced for this, as Israel has been denounced for doing what it judged necessary to defend itself. The liberal sage Bill Moyers has been a harsh critic of Bush. On Jan. 9, on PBS, he also lambasted Israel for what he called its “state terrorism,” its “waging war on an entire population” in Gaza. He traced this Israeli policy back to the Bible, where “God-soaked violence became genetically coded,” apparently in both Arabs and Jews. I wouldn’t presume to say what is and isn’t “genetically coded” in Moyers’s respectable Protestant genes. But I’m glad it was George W. Bush calling the shots over the last eight years, not someone well-thought of by Moyers.

Many of Bush’s defenders have praised him for keeping the country safe since Sept. 11, 2001. He deserves that praise, and I’m perfectly happy to defend most of his surveillance, interrogation and counterterrorism policies against his critics.

But I don’t think keeping us safe has been Bush’s most impressive achievement. That was winning the war in Iraq, and in particular, his refusal to accept defeat when so many counseled him to do so in late 2006. His ordering the surge of troops to Iraq in January 2007 was an act of personal courage and of presidential leadership. The results have benefited both Iraq and the United States. And the outcome in Iraq is a remarkable gift to the incoming president, who now only has to sustain success, rather than trying to deal with the consequences in the region and around the world of a humiliating withdrawal and a devastating defeat.

The cost of the war in Iraq, and in Afghanistan, has been great. Last Wednesday afternoon, in the midst of all the other activities of the final week of an administration, Bush had 40 or so families of fallen soldiers to the White House. The staff had set aside up to two hours. Bush, a man who normally keeps to schedule, spent over four hours meeting in small groups with the family members of those who had fallen in battle.

This past weekend Barack Obama added to his itinerary a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Obama knows that he, too, will be a war president. He knows the decisions he makes as commander in chief will be his most consequential. And so on Sunday morning, before going to church, he placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and stood silently as taps was sounded. The somber tableau provided quite a contrast to all the hubbub and talk of the last few days. Obama’s silent tribute captured a deeper truth, and — I dare say — a more fundamental hope, than could any speech.
You see, just as I was deeply offended by the insult of the shoe throwing because "W" is my President, so to I have hope for Obama. If he fails America fails. I get that unlike all the asshats who wished for "W" to fail. I get that. So like Bill writes above, I pray for Obama.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Slow Moving

So, my secret plan to sneak into work despite my boss' and my family's objections. It never came to fruition. I am moving too slow and I am too weak. It's steroid day and even at the lower dose, I am not good for much.

Instead I am trying sort through some stuff. One of my goals for the bedroom renovation is to go through everything I take out and not just blindly move stuff back in.

I am a packrat.

So last night I went through a box and reduced the contents by 3/4s. For example, Frankie and I went to Riverdance years ago. It's normal to save a program.....I had four.
We have been to Disney a few times, Tommy and I......Tommy, Frankie, John and I....Frankie and I.....Frankie, Danny (one of my extras) and I.....Frankie, Earl (Earl is one of Frankie's good friends and I knew if I brought him I could just lounge at Typhoon Lagoon) and I....every ticket was in that box.
Receipts so worn that I couldn't tell what they were for. LOL, I am bad.

Today I've resolved to go through the lingerie chest. I've been putting it off. Back on October 23rd my claddagh necklace broke. The charm was fine, the chain was fine. But the piece that connected them broke. Once I found the charm in the bed where it was under the pillow I thought all was fine. I took the necklace off. I remember doing it and putting it "somewhere safe".

And now "steroid girl" can't remember where that is. I've looked a few places, but I am so afraid of not finding it, that I'm not looking that hard. It isn't lost if I haven't looked everywhere. I know, it's hard to follow how my mind works.

So, my normal "safe place" is the lingerie chest. I don't wear jewelry often, consequently I don't have much. The bulk of it is in the lingerie chest.

But today I am making myself do it. I'm three drawers into seven and it's not looking good.

I broke open a sachet in the 3rd drawer and made a mess. I pulled out the vacuum and it wasn't sucking anything up. I was perplexed because I had recently changed the bag.

The hose was completely stopped up with all manner of things that should be *picked* up, not *vacuumed* up.

Seems the boys have been cleaning in my absence. I know it's the thought that counts - but these mutton headed boys will try to vacuum up anything smaller than a dead body rather than bend over and pick it up.

Ok, back to the search. It's bumming me out. My Dad gave me this necklace when he came back from a trip to Ireland in '03 and I basically NEVER take it off.

Is Multiple Myeloma One of Those Magical DXs?

In my business, durable medical equipment and home oxygen there are certain magical diagnoses. For example COPD or Alzheimers. When people call to order something and I ask for a qualifying diagnosis. They rattle off stuff. "Unsteady gait. OA. History of falls. COPD." I interrupt, "We have a winner." Or "History of MI. Hypervolemia. OP. Alzheimers." I interrupt, "Ok, I'm all set."

We've had, in my nearly 14 years with the company, one patient with MM. She got a scooter. But she was Blue Cross and BC is a physician order driven insurance so I wasn't expecting it to be a problem.

So I never thought of it, but Multiple Myeloma must be one of those magical diagnoses. They see ICD-9 code 203.00 "multiple myeloma without mention of remission" and it's your gold ticket.

I understood that the EMTs had to take me to the Jordan. It's a liability issue. They aren't allowed to say ok, when I tell them I'd just like to go home. They have to convince me to go with them. And I was exhausted, so I went along. I was anxious and embarrassed and weepy and I figured that they would check me out and tell me to go home and rest. Someone from work would come get me and take me home. Finis.

But no.

First off, comedy. I had to wait for CT scan and X-Ray until my pregnancy test came back negative. What? Are you kidding me? I've not had many X-Rays but I know they ask if you're pregnant and then you say no and they X-Ray you. I've never heard of anyone needing to actually take a test. I said "Trust me, I am the least pregnant person you know. I have had 7 pregnancy tests since September." I know they just thought I was out of it because I could not articulate that my Revlimid deliveries hinge on negative blood tests for pregnancy. But still this made no sense and no one has been able to explain it to me.

While I was in the ER they told me that my potassium was really low, not critically so, but it certainly could be a factor. I struggled to think if I had read anything about MM and potassium or Revlimid and potassium or ld Dex and potassium. But I wasn't coming up with anything. I was having some trouble answering questions. Not all of them. I was able to respond mournfully that the President was "W"....but sadly, only for a few more days. But I couldn't tell them what my Trazadone dose was. And when they mentioned using contrast for my CTScan I was panic stricken and babbling. I couldn't remember why, but I knew I couldn't have contrast (turns out that MM patients shouldn't have contrast because contrast is tough on the kidneys and your kidneys are already on shaky ground with MM).

Anyway, they admitted me and I was baffled. They had given me a potassium pill. My blood pressure was coming down. My CTScan was negative except for my thyroid being large and I already knew that. I've had it biopsied. It's fine.

So up to the room I went. It was around noon. They told me that my oncologist would check in with me the next day and I could make it overnight, couldn't I? (Now remember, I can't make a big stink......I'm Maggie from X-Company and everyone knows it.) My boss came by with my license, health insurance card, cash, ATM card and my glasses from my desk. Jen came right away with more cash and Frankie and books. I finished "The Given Day" while I was there and started "Sea of Thunder". Frankie went and got me the standard remedy for sick people in my family, a chocolate ice cream soda. I told my Mum and she asked if he remembered chips. He didn't, but I was still happy.

Dr. H came in around 1830 and told me that he wanted to watch me for a couple of days. Days!!!!! I didn't argue, but I spent all of the next morning rehearsing my argument for getting out by noon. Then the nurses said that he wouldn't be by until after his office hours around 1700.

Grace brought my parents down. My father made me pumpkin bread and he brought 3 slices individually bagged for my sisters and I. He also packed a real knife, napkins and butter. My father is a careful orderly have no idea how I baffle him. They were there when Dr. H showed at 1800. We all listened while he explained that my heart monitor looked fine and my blood work showed the potassium deficiency was corrected......he was disturbed that my pulse was dropping to the 50s and my blood pressure was wildly erratic. So he really wanted me to stay. I look at my father "Do as you're told." Well that's the end of that....isn't it?

OK, this is where my mother rats me out. Dr. H asked how I felt. I felt like shit, I hadn't showered for 36 hours. I was cranky. I had a non-stop headache. The strain of being nice was becoming unbearable. I brightly replied "I feel great!" Dr. H smiled cynically "You do?"

My mother says "You have to watch this one....this one lies." The doctor repeated "She lies?" "Oh yes, she lies."

Thanks Mum. What happened to code-of silence? What happened to punishing the finker?

So I was stuck another night. I wondered how they were justifying this to Blue Cross. After all people are always talking about some friend or relative being bounced out of an uncaring hospital while barely clinging to life. Here I was preparing for a second night.

Then on Friday, Dr. G did her utmost to persuade me to stay a third night.

On Saturday, Dr. K asked me if I wanted to go home or stay. I voted for go home. As soon as he left the room I packed, dressed, stripped the bed and threw all the sheets and towels into the dirty linen container in the hall. I didn't want anyone pointing out that I could stay since I was all "settled in" like Dr. G had said Friday night.

I know they were all perplexed but insurance companies don't often care about perplexed doctors. So I have come to the conclusion that multiple myeloma must be one of the magical diagnoses. Maybe I should get a scooter.

Have I Ever Explained About My Bill?

That's how I refer to him - "My Bill".

Bill is one of Frankie's two best friends.

I have mentioned him plenty of times in passing here, but I don't think I've ever explained. When people ask me how many kids I have, I respond "Two. And two extras" Bill is one of my extras.

In the summer of 2004 there was one kid who slept over more than most. Bill. It wasn't hugely noticeable because there were always kids sleeping over. That's just how Frankie rolls. Then September comes and everyone starts sleeping at their own houses because school has started.

I didn't talk to Bill much. Bill just doesn't talk much. I knew in passing that Bill's mother had passed away and that his father, who had a little drinking problem, liked to settle arguments with the back of his hand.

One night, a few weeks after school started, the phone rang after midnight. Frank beat me to the phone. He spoke with the caller for a few moments and then he hung up. He turned to me and said "Bill has to come sleep here tonight." Keeping in mind what I knew about Bill's home life, I just said OK, threw some bed linen on the couch and went back to bed.

So Bill slept on the couch that night.....and the next night.....and the night after that.

I had no idea what the right thing to do was. I was completely perplexed. Bill's father never came looking for him (he lived less than half a mile away). He never called or came to speak to me - make sure I wasn't a bad person and I didn't run a crack house.

Bill's paternal grandmother (his maternal grandmother had died young just as Bill's mother had from the same illness) never talked to me either, but she was a huge help behind the scenes. She lived across the street from Bill's house, in the house she had raised bill's father in. She sent down baked goods and stuff. It seemed she was some mad shopper because several bags of clothes came down to the house from nice department stores. This was big because I also had Frankie's other best friend Danny with us. Dan's father was deceased and his mother had a substance abuse problem. So the boys shared clothes and food and stuff. Now before you think I am some great humanitarian......I didn't invite this situation. I didn't consciously choose it. I just couldn't get out of the way fast enough. I am no great shakes as a parent. I was divorced and worked 50-60 hours a week. All I could guarantee was that there was food in the fridge, a roof over your head and while I might yell at you for being a mutton and throw a wooden spoon, I never hit anyone in anger (although one day I did run from my front door, across the street, into the Coop, into the ballfield and tackled Frankie at the waist for mouthing off at me - he was defenseless with laughter along with all his friends.)

At the six week mark I was having a conversation on the phone with my ex-husband. I told him I didn't know what to do. Every night I could hear Bill walking around, sleepless. Frankie mentioned Bill's frequent stomachaches. I didn't know if Bill had a doctor or health insurance. John agreed it was quite a predicament. Then he said Bill's father had always been a jerk.

"You knew Bill's father?" I wasn't really that surprised, my ex had been born in the house next door to where we lived. I was the one who was only here for a little bit in the summer as a child. Funny how I ended up here permanently and he ended up in Virginia.

"Well, I didn't know him as well as I knew Bill's mother."

Now I was confused. I knew Bill's father had lived in the house across the street from the house he was born in.....but I didn't realize his mother was also local.

"You knew Bill's mother?"

My ex laughed. "You knew Bill's mother......Patty."

I. Was. Floored.

OK, let's flash back for a minute.

In the former summer community where I live, people bought cottages in waves related to family, friends or coworkers buying cottages. For example, in the 70s where was a wave of policemen and firefighters who bought cottages after this one cop, George bought his. One guy goes to a cook-out at George's cottage and then he buys a cottage, then his friends come down and like it and buys cottages. And so on.

In the 50s there was a wave of printers. My grandfather was a printer. He worked for more than one company, but at the time he worked for Tichnor Brothers. His best friend and coworker, Mr. White (his first name escapes's steroid day) bought a cottage on Oak Street. My grandfather was godfather to Mr. White's younger daughter. My grandparents rented a place or two before settling on the one they bought in '54. It was four doors up from the Whites.

My mother ran with the White's younger daughter.

I remember visiting their cottage frequently with my grandmother. They had a great yard swing.

When I was in my teens it became more noticeable that I was only there for a short time, usually two weeks in July. By the time I showed up all the cliques were settled as most of the other kids were there for the entire summer. But Mr. White's granddaughter....the oldest daughter of his older daughter Ginny would come down and get me when I showed up.

She was incredible. She was tall and thin and blonde and she didn't walk, she glided like a model. I was so awestruck, I couldn't be jealous. If I had to describe her in one word, it would be languid. She was very popular and so I was in-like-Flynn as they say. I thought she hung the moon. Many of my favorite summer memories are about hanging with her. Mama Kelley used to remark on how Patty and I were the 3rd generation of White's and Kelley's hanging out. My grandfather and Mr. mother and Betty.......Patty and I.

When we hit our late teens I started spending more time back in Charlestown. She started spending more time with friends from school as she lived there year round. Then I married. I heard she married as well.

Then I heard he was kind of a jackass - Mama Kelley and my mother still visited Mrs. White and her younger daughter.

Then I moved down here year round and I thought I thought I should look her up. I never did, I was wrapped up in my own life.

Then in '02 I heard she was ill. I got updates from her aunt and sister. I thought I should try to contact her. I never did.

Then she passed in January of '03 - breast cancer. I regretted never acting.

OK, are you still with me? Now we're back to October of '04. I'm on the phone with John and he tells me I knew Bill's mother....Patty.....Mr. White's granddaughter.

I was really choked up. My ex laughed "How did you miss that? I thought you knew who he was."

I drove home and when Frankie came in I excitedly explained about his great-grandfather and Bill's great-grandfather and Bills' mother and I. "Bill can stay as long as he needs to. I will always take care of Bill. Anything Bill needs."

Frankie listens, nods and in typical "Frankie-fashion" says "Well Bill could really use five bucks."

I laughed "Here's a ten, you bastid, get going."

Then Bill came in and I talked about it to him, he nodded and said "OK".

SB called that night and I told him. I explained that I now got to return all Patty had done for me by taking care of her son. I got to make up for never getting in touch with her when she was sick. "Maggie, this doesn't make you responsible for this boy." I laughed and used one of his own favorite sayings in reply "You can't unring a bell, SB!"

A few nights later I was sitting watching TV, Bill came in and sat on the couch. At the commercial break Bill said "This thing with my mother is a big deal to you." I smiled "Yes Bill, it is." The show came back on. At the next commercial, Bill said "And I'll get it when I am older?" "Yes, Bill, you will." He got up and left the room.

I tried a few times to share some memories with Bill. One night "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney came on the radio. I told Bill that his mother and I loved that song and it played constantly in the summer of '73. Another time I told him that the first person to take me down Dead Man's Trail (a popular teen hangout where Frankie and Bill often went) was his mother. But Bill never really responded and I worried I was just stressing I stopped.

Eventually Bills' father met a woman who made him stop drinking and Bill moved home. He's still here at least once a day.

So why am I thinking about this now? Well this past Tuesday was the 6th anniversary of Patty's passing. It's a tough time for Bill.

Bill, understandably, hates hospitals. Jordan most of all.

But Bill came to see me while I was there.

I had the hardest time not crying. Must have been the meds.

OK, Hear Me Out On This One Before You Jump

I am not saying this because I am pro-Israeli.....which I am.

This is not meant to be an unkind knock against a grieving father. I think this man has suffered greatly and I am heartbroken for any parent who loses a child, much less three.

Gazan Doctor and Peace Advocate Loses 3 Daughters to Israeli Fire and Asks Why
Published: January 17, 2009

TEL HASHOMER, Israel — Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Gazan and a doctor who has devoted his life to medicine and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.
But on Saturday, the day after three of his daughters and a niece were killed by Israeli fire in Gaza, Dr. Abuelaish, 53, struggled to hold on to the humane philosophy that has guided his life and work.
As he sat in a waiting room of the Israeli hospital where he works part time, he asked over and over, “Why did they do this?”
Elsewhere in the hospital another daughter and a niece were being treated for their wounds.

OK, this is just awful. Tragic. But here's my question. And I think it's a legitimate question.

Why, if you are an educated person would you keep your children with you in a war zone after being warned to leave if you were a non-combatant?

The Israelis have been warning civilians to leave for a while now.

I understand if *he* decides to stay. He's a doctor, doesn't want to leave his people.....ok. But why keep your children with you? He was warned and he had the means to send them elsewhere.

It is not unprecedented in history to see people who stay in a dangerous place, but send their families elsewhere. Look at all the children sent out of London to the countryside or even America during the Blitz.

I understand not deserting your post. But I fail to understand keeping your children in a war zone.

Messing Up Already

I was seen by five doctors in Jordan - ER doc, attending on the floor once I was admitted, my own oncologist, and two of his oncology associates.

The three oncologists each had their own theory on why I fainted.

My own said it was probably the increase in steroids eleven days previous. So he reduced the dosage back to 20mg from 40 mg. He said that when people first started taking Revlimid the dexamethasone was prescribed at 40 mg per day for four days every other week. Then some people developed arrhythmias and the consensus was to lower the frequency of the dose.

Dr. G, who saw me Friday night thought because of my constant head aches and fluctuating blood pressure (from a high of 160 over 100-something as I rolled into the ER to 125 over 85 at some point yesterday) is was high blood pressure. I was up and down through out my entire stay with no rhyme or reason. There were enough results well into the 140, 150 range to concern them. So doctor G prescribed something, I forget the name of now. That's how I ended up staying Friday night. She said she'd like to observe me on the new medication the first night considering how much other crap (my word, not hers) I take. Then she said "After all....." she gestured at my books, my notes (I started "Sea of Thunder" so I had a notepad and a pen in my lap with the book), the over the bed table with my hand lotion, M&Ms, charging cell phone (which I wasn't supposed to be using), hospital phone, bottled water - every need - and said "You're all settled in here."

Dr. K told me Saturday at noon he thought it was the fact that I wasn't taking the Trazadone consistently - none Saturday night, 50 mg Sunday night, 100 mg on Monday night (in response to the doctor changing the order) and none Tuesday night. I confessed that I didn't take it often because it can make me fuzzy and the insomnia pretty much only happens in steroid day and the day after. So he said to adhere to the schedule more consistently.

None of these opinions/instructions conflict so that's ok.

So I filled the high blood pressure med and took it. This morning I took the lower dose of Dex. But I forgot the Traz last night and was up until 0300. My alarm was set for 0815 to take the dex, it's supposed to be taken 1st thing.

But now I am going back to bed.

The Hardest Part Of The Last Four Days

It wasn't the constant headache.

It wasn't the worry that this was the beginning of some downward Multiple Myeloma slide.

It wasn't the egg on my head.

It wasn't six holes/bruises from my IV insertion (or attempted insertion) sites. Very colorful.

It wasn't the worry about missing four days at work (God! That's going to smart come payday!)

All those things were/are tough.......but not the hardest part.

It was the pressure to nice.

You have no idea how difficult this is for me.

The Jordan is one of my employer's biggest referral sources. I wasn't "Maggie" or "patient 123". I was "Maggie from X-Company". Everyone knew that. So everytime I would have snapped at someone......everytime I would have demanded something.......everytime I might have said something snippy.......I had to bite my tongue.

I was unrelentingly cheerful. Everything that happened was met with a bright "Thanks, that's great!" or "That's no problem!"

Up to and including smiling and joking Thursday night as my IV was changed. The EMTs put the original IV in my anticubital fossa (vein inside the elbow) of my left arm. It was awful, lol! I am left handed and everytime I bent the elbow it hurt. So on Thursday when it was clear that I was going to be stuck there another night, they were ready to move the IV to a better site with a smaller gauge IV cath. I asked specifically if it could be in my right hand. I've only had three previous IVs (two babies and one Zometa treatment) and those all went quite well. Well the nurse said she didn't think hand insertions were good. She asked if she could put it in the inside of my forearm. I deferred to her request. If I was "just Maggie" I would have said "No, put it in my hand please." The first insertion was a failure. I never look at these sorts of things when they are being done to me......but there's no mistaking what's going on when you hear "Oh shit". She said she'd try again and picked a site near the first. Another negative "Why can't I do this? You know I am really good at this." At this point "just Maggie" would have said "Stop, send up an expert." Then she said she'd try the outside of the forearm. "Your vein rolled!" So I said - nicely, calmly - "Ok, well let's just go for the hand." Three bruises, one success. Next night, same nurse. My IV was kinked and needed to be reinserted. "Just Maggie" would have said "Get someone else." Again she didn't want to put it in my hand. One failed forearm attempt and it ends up back in the inside of my elbow! At least it was the right elbow.

After all, I am a company girl! I even smiled when one of the discharge planners came in to meet me (I have been talking to these people on the phone for years). After telling me how happy she was to put a face with the name and not to worry about anything while I was there - yes, there is an upside to being "Maggie from X-Company" - she leaned in and KISSED ME!!!! LOL I am not a social kisser. I called my boss immediately "Hey! The things I do for you. So-and-so just kissed me." She might have responded, but I couldn't understand because she was laughing so hard.

The Phibian Says This Is "Well Worth Your Time"

And I concur.

Go read the post.

Watch the vid.

Follow the link.

"The biggest thing people fail to realize is they look at 9/11 as the start on the War on Terror," said Kirk Lippold, former commander of the Cole. "The reality is that the war on terrorism started not on 9/11, but 10/12."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

OK - The Short Version

Wednesday morning I fainted at work. Doesn't that make me sound like such a delicate flower??? Hehehe! Truth is I fell back against some conveniently located file cabinets and slid onto my ass - then - bonk! Fell sideways to the concrete floor of the warehouse.

People yelling - Firefighter & EMTs - Ambulance - Jordan ER - Admitted!!!!!!

Four! Four! Four effing days later I am home.

I am wiped out. I'm fine. I will relay the gory details later.

I had a couple of hundred emails waiting. Seriously, lol. I think I picked out all the directly personal ones (as opposed to the Multiple Myeloma listserv and the Medicare listserv and the NEMED listserv and the newsfeeds I subscribe to) and answered them. If I missed you, it was just that, I missed you and I will catch you tomorrow.

Right now I am headed to Jen's, I was supposed to be there an hour ago.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Where's My Invitation?

January 15-17, 2008

So.....SB Sends

He forwarded an email to me about noting the passing of MOH winner CAPT Ed Freeman. Some feel that not enough attention was paid. I'm sure they are correct. For the record I did note it at the time.

But here is the email

Have a drink for ED Freeman You're an 18 or 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, 11-14-1965, LZ Xray, Vietnam. Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 - 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.

You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again.. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.

Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.
Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.

He's coming anyway.

And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.

Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses.

And, he kept coming back.... 13 more times..... And took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.

Medal of Honor Recipient Ed Freeman died last Wednesday at the age of 80, in Boise, ID ......May God rest his soul.....

(Oh yeah, Paul Newman died that day too. I guess you knew that -- He got a lot more press than Ed Freeman.)

Have a drink for Paul Newman too "Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand".

USS Samuel B Roberts Documentary

Ok, this email gets to me on time. Brad Peniston who wrote "No Higher Honor" emails a group of us once in a while with news related to the book. When the History Channel first aired the documentary "Hero Ships - USS Samuel B Roberts", Brad emailed us the next day! LOL

Today he is a little more prompt. Not much......but.......

Today at 1300 (1 pm EST) and tonight at 1900 (7 pm EST) the History Channel International (please note, that's different than regular History Channel) will re-air this documentary.

This was part of an eight-episode documentary series entitled "Hero Ships," and that the USS Samuel B. Roberts (actually, all three of them FFG-58, DE-413, DD-823) is the subject of one of the hourlong episodes. The Roberts episode features interviews with Capt. Rinn, Bob Bent, and Jack Yusen, and a bit of historical commentary from Brad.

Here is a preview.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Here's What You Need To Know About Gaza

"We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us." —former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir
With Hamas, Hitlerism comes to the Middle East wearing the mask of anti-Hitlerism.
By Jonah Goldberg
‘Go back to the oven! You need a big oven, that’s what you need!”This is what one young woman thought passed for acceptable discourse during an anti-Israel rally last week in, of all places, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Other chants were similarly unlovely. You can watch it on YouTube if you like.
But why bother? The Fort Lauderdale outburst is just one window on the upside-down world of Israel hatred. Across the Islamic world, and in too many points West, it is still considered a penetrating and poignant insight to call Zionists the “new Nazis.” For instance, in Sunday’s Gulf News, Mohammad Abdullah al Mutawa, a sociology professor at United Arab Emirates University, penned an essay titled “Zionists are the new Nazis.” He began: “Today, the whole world stands as a witness to the fact that the Nazi Holocaust was a mere lie, which was devised by the Zionists to blackmail humanity.”
At a Saturday protest in New York against Israel’s military assault on Gaza, some carried signs that read: “Israel: The Fourth Reich,” “Holocaust by Holocaust Survivors,” “Stop Israel’s Holocaust,” “Holocaust in Gaza” and “Stop the Zionist Genocide in Gaza.”
Type “Israel” and “Nazi” into any news search engine and you’ll be rewarded, or punished, with a bounty of such statements from just the last week or so. Gaza is the new Auschwitz, the Israeli Defense Forces are SS troops ... I find myself tempted to simply write “et cetera” because it’s all so familiar by now. But to do that is to dismiss, and therefore accept, such grotesqueries as trivialities, when in fact such charges are deeply revealing — just not about Israel.
First, let us note that if supposedly all-powerful Israel is dedicated to exterminating the Palestinian people, it is doing a bad job. The Palestinian population has only grown since 1948. There are more Arab citizens living in Israel proper today than there were in all of Palestine the year Israel was founded.
Perhaps one reason Israel fails at genocide is that it isn’t interested in genocide? That would explain why Israel warned thousands of Gazans by cell phone to leave homes near Hamas rocket stockpiles. It would clarify why, even amid all-out war, it offers aid to enemy civilians. It would even illuminate the otherwise mysterious clamor from Israelis for a viable “peace partner.”
But no. For millions of Israel haters, the more plausible explanation is that the “defiant” Palestinians have miraculously survived Israel’s determination to wipe them out.
Meanwhile, calls for the complete extermination of Israel are routine. The Hamas charter, invoking the fraudulent “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” as justification, demands the destruction of Israel. Hamas exists solely because it is dedicated to the complete obliteration of the “Zionist entity.” Remove that “principle” and Hamas is meaningless.
A sick mixture of Holocaust envy and Holocaust denial is the defining spirit of Hamas. Indeed, Holocaust denial passes for a scholarly pursuit not just in Gaza but throughout much of the Arab and Muslim world.
The head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, literally earned a doctorate in it. His doctoral thesis became a book, The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism, in which he denounces “the Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that 6 million Jews were killed.” In Hamas’ eyes, Abbas is an incorrigible moderate.
It’s Palestinian Islamists who have ideological and political ties to Nazism stretching back to the days of “Hitler’s Mufti,” Haj Amin al-Husseini, a happy warrior for the Nazi cause.
So why the obsession with casting the Israelis as the new Hitlerites? One answer is surely that critics know such charges are painful to a country largely born of the Holocaust and marked by its scars. It also grabs attention, galvanizes radicals, vents legitimate frustrations and anger, and helps demonize the enemy and, hence, justify the murder of “Zionists everywhere,” as Hamas often declares in its communiques.
But I think the desire to cast the Israelis as Nazis is fueled, deep down, by the haters’ need to see their own hatreds and ambitions mirrored in their enemy’s actions. Hamas has an avowedly Hitlerite agenda. The only way to make such an agenda defensible is to convince yourself and others that the Israelis deserve it. Hence, Hamas and its allies insist that when they aim rockets at grade schools and playgrounds, they are resisting the “new Nazis.” It brings to mind Huey Long’s reported prophecy that if fascism ever came to America, it would be called anti-fascism. Well, with Hamas, Hitlerism comes to the Middle East wearing the mask of anti-Hitlerism.
The quote and pic are from the Patriot Post. Jonah's column is at National Review.
BTW, my favorite line is "First, let us note that if supposedly all-powerful Israel is dedicated to exterminating the Palestinian people, it is doing a bad job." LOL!

Well Sunday Didn't Go As Planned!

The plan because it was steroid day, was to do a few small projects around the house and rest a lot. Rest and enjoy my last bad carb day before being back on Atkins.

Frankie was staying at a friend's house and he was planning on being home to shovel long before I had to head to Jen's for "24".

No go.

I woke at 0910 to take the steroids (the earlier in the day the better). I was going to go to back to sleep, but there was a call from work. I wasn't on-call, but I had to go anyway.

That meant shoveling. I had to get out. At least I didn't have to shovel at work, we have a really good crew maintaining the property and they don't stop for weekends.

I ended up spending more than seven hours. So much for lots of rest and eating M&Ms, lol.

I had to stop home before heading to Jen's on top of leaving work much later than I wanted. I was getting text messages from Jen threatening no entry after 1955. I got there at 1946.....but I had to shovel my way in!

I had asked Frankie if he had taken care of Jen's - he always does. He told me that one of his friends reported that all Jen's snow had blown away. This does happen on occasion because she is right on the waterfront.

Not this time.

By this point I am wiped.

Shovel. Shovel. Shovel. Lean against the house and huff and puff.

Shovel. Shovel. Shovel. Lean against the shovel and huff and puff.

Jen came to the door and sarcastically asked - "Are you done playing in the snow?"

YOU'RE WELCOME! Grumble.....grumble.

I got in and she had it paused in the DVR. I was trying to get into IM so we could discuss it with SB. The plan was to live blog it. That didn't' work.

I didn't get any food until 2100. I was starving! It was supposed to be chicken parm, mozzarella sticks, garlic bread and Coke. Followed by ice cream and brownies.

I got reheated spaghetti and meatballs.

Not the "24" feast I expected.

But no matter - Jack was fabulous!

SB was disappointed. He hopes it gets better.

Jen is devastated that Tony is bad. She has decided that Tony is actually infiltrating the bad guys on his own and is really, after all, deep down.....the good guy she always loved.

My favorite part was when Agent Walker told the other FBI agent to take Jack's gun. I looked at Jen and we both laughed. Jack doesn't need a gun to kill people!

I like the POTUS this year. I wanted her husband to toss the son's GF off the roof, Jen laughed and SB said "That works for me!"

I am in the minority in backing our intervention in the fictitious Sengala.

I loathe Janeane Garofalo, but her character is funny.

I was very happy with the big two hour beginning and excited there is two more hours tonight.

I will leave work earlier and set up the laptop in the corner where the light won't both Jen - we watch in the dark.

Life is good.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Adam Of Universal Hub Remembers Something.....

....that was tickling the back of my brain.

Lt. Kevin Kelley Leads His Men

When the reports came in about the BFD ladder accident. I called Jen and asked if Billy was there, no he is still on Purchase Street at Headquarters. I called "T" to ask who was killed. Was it someone from Charlestown? No. Lt. Kelley was lived in Quincy but was OFD. I was remembering some connection. Then I came to me that the Discovery Channel had done a special "Firehouse USA:Boston". It was back a few years ago. I had watched and I was sure it was Huntington Ave that was featured.

It was and Adam posted vid showing Lt. Kelley in action. I'm going to post it because in my opinion.....this is how you should think of Lt. Kelley.

One of Adam's commenters posted another video from the series on YouTube. (Tissue alert, Sherri.) the second half of this vid (2 minute 55 second mark and beyond) which shows Kelley at a family party with his wife and three daughters choked me up.

There are more on YouTube.