The Ghosts fade, but...
... they're always there.

I'm in Elkins, WV at the moment, visiting some of my surviving relatives. We're staying with my cousin, who lives in what was once my paternal grandfather's house. Here, and all through town, the ghosts of those gone walk along side, an ever-present but mostly quiet entourage. All four grandparents, my mother, an older sister who lived a day. Of two parents and twelve aunts and uncles (including by marriage, so six couples), five are left including Dad, and three of them are fading.

The town itself is a ghost. Much of what I grew up with is gone - replaced, remodeled, or razed to make room for a development or churches. In my minds eye, I still see the hill I used to climb to three hundred feet above my grandparent's house just for the view - (there's a Jehovah's Witness church there now.), the pond I used to fish in has been filled in and houses built on it. Places, people... they're all still there in my mind's eye - I doubt I'll ever really see this town as it is now, but always as it was thirty, forty years ago.

Cellulitus is NOT your friend, AKA: WTH Happened to Mike
Some of you may have heard that I wound up in the hospital a couple weeks back, and I figured I should probably actually put an update together about what happened.

3 Saturdays back (Oct 10th) lwood and I went to lunch and when we got home, I was feeling feverish. I had a cut on my left leg that was healing up well, no problems, so didn't think anything of it. By the next morning, my left leg was a bit inflamed, and I still felt like crap, running a fever as high as 103.5 degrees. Monday the 13th rolled around, and I called the advice nurse at Kaiser, who got me in to see the doctor around 5pm that afternoon.

The doctor took one look at my leg and said "Hrm. How do you feel about staying with us for a few days?" Me: "Um. We can't hit this with oral antibiotics, or give me an IV pick-line and come in for the IV a couple times a day?" Him: "No, because I'm afraid if we don't jump right on this, you could lose the leg." Me: "..."

Turns out I had a major case of cellulitis, which can be caused either by staphylococcus and streptococcus, but could also be caused by MRSA, so for the first 2 days of my stay, they had me on three different IV antibiotics. Kaiser, for all folks complain, was terrific. The attending doc came by around 10 the night I was checked in, and the surgical resident came by as well and did a doppler bloodflow check on my left foot to make sure my circulation was okay. I wound up being in the hospital until Saturday, when cruz531 hauled me home and helped me get situated. <lj user=lwood> had to go out of town, and I can't thank cruz531 and purplevenus enough for all the help they rendered in changing bandages, making sure I had what I needed in the house, providing company, etc.

The main antibiotic they had me on is Vancomycin, one of the strongest antibiotics out there. Unfortunately, one of the side effects is that it can give you a massive case of the hiccups. Those started on the Friday I was in the hospital, and didn't let up until the FOLLOWING Friday, literally causing me not to be able to sleep. When I went home, they put me on Zyvox for another week. As a side note? Thank the gods for insurance - the Zyvox alone would have cost over $1900 for that one week's worth. Oh. And THAT one? Wound up giving me a lobster-red rash over 60% of my body.

The FUN part of all this wasn't even that stuff. It's that baiscally, the infection is one that's in the top two or three layers of your skin, and it winds up killing off a lot of tissue, and of course, I have to wait for the new layers to regrow under it.

So... my left leg from just above the knee down wound up covered in ulcers due to the infection and the swelling. I've been seeing the Wound Specialist at Kaiser and everything's healing up, but it's still gonna be another week or two before I'm back to 100%. They've got me in a compression wrap from the meta-tarsil of that foot all the way to the calf, and they're /very/ happy with the progress on how the wounds are healing, thankfully.

So that's the news from Lake LegScrewedUp - I ain't dead, but I AM still on injured reserve for a couple weeks.

Health Update!
Improving, Go home on Saturday.

That is all

40 Years and holding
I'm writing this entry on just before a moment that's burned in my mind for all time.

It was a hot July night, I was nine. I was /never/ allowed to stay up much past 9pm, even in summer.

This night, I was. My mother knew that there was nothing short of a nuclear explosion that would keep me from the television. The entire US Manned Spaceflight Program had happend in my lifetime so far, and this.. this was it's peak. I was a kid. Nine years old. And we were ON THE FLIPPIN MOON PEOPLE! Commander Armstrong was about to take that first step, and the whole world waited to see what would happen what he'd say. If they'd make it home safely.

Suspense, worry, hope. I felt all of these things. We'd come this far since I was born! Hey! By the time I was in my thrities or forties we'd have orbiting hotels, people living full time on the Moon and on Mars!.

But... unbeknownst to me, the dream was already dying. Within weeks the first layoffs at NASA would hit - Tom Wolfe talked about this in his Sunday op-Ed piece in the New York Times so I won't recount it here.

The dream was dying. The dream... is almost dead. $15billion a year is all we spend on NASA. That's less than five percent of what goes to DOD, much less anything else. Can you /IMAGINE/ what we could do if we simply invested - not spent - INVESTED - $100 billion a year for ten years on the space program? 

We've gotten so many tangible rewards from the money spent on space, yet no one wants to see that. I sit and hope, that forty years later, maybe, just maybe by fifty years, we'll go back.

The dream is NOT dead damnit. It's only sleeping because we don't have the will.

Body Image, Health and all that...
For the last year or so, I've been really unhappy with the weight I've been carrying. My blood sugar's been up and down more than a hooker outside Fort Dix on payday  making me to say the least mercurial, my mobility's been /extremely/ hampered by either getting exhausted by walking much at all, my lower back killing me, or some combination of the two. It's caused me to not want to go anywhere, see anyone, do anything... and it's been getting worse.

On the 19th (2 weeks ago tomorrow) I got completely fed up. I KNOW how to get his weight off, I've provably done it before. A very low carb diet /works/ for me. I drop weight, I don't get hungry, I don't have sugar/carb cravings. After talking it through with <lj user=lwood> I decided to knuckle down, get back on the proverbial wagon, and take care of myself for a change. I started on the 20th.

As of today, I'm just over 15lbs down so far. That's not much when you consider I started at 415 (Yes, I know. Scary.) I mean, it's only 3.75% of my initial body mass. But - the other changes have been damn near remarkable.

I couldn't walk 2 full San Francisco city blocks without stopping 2 to 3 x because of my back, or getting too tired. Now, I don't even think about it. My blood sugar seems to have stablized - I'm not ripping people's heads off randomly, or fighting off depression. I'm actually sleeping all night without waking up, and am starting to feel /good./

I'm not going into this with a set weight goal. I do know that the way I'm built, seeing the low side of 250 would be amazing. I don't care. I care how I /feel/.

There are two or three people who know I've started on this and who read my LJ - and have been in my blast radius when I've been an ol'grizzle bear in a couple times in the last two weeks. You know who you are. Thanks for putting up with the insanity. It was temporary. I promise.

I have no idea where my weight's going to wind up, but so long as I'm doing the right things, rather than "Carb Attack! Rawr!" I'm not gonna care too much.

More on the whole process as time goes on.

Dreamwidth Invites
As several on my f-list have already posted, Dreamwidth went public beta today. That means I've got four more invite codes to hand out. If ya want one, pipe up here!

Public Transit for the Lose

06:07 Leave home.
06:20 Damn. Where's the 06:15 bus?
06:35 Next bus.
06:45 BART Station. Miss Fremont train by 30 seconds
07:00 BART to Union City.
07:25 Arrive Union City, having missed Dumbarton Express by 2 minutes.
08:10 Catch NEXT DumboExpress -
09:17 Arrive Palo Alto Office.

Elapsed time: 03:10 for a trip I drive in 00:45 to 00:50.


Got a Dreamwidth Account..
Same username over there. :)

CNN completely understates forces going after Somali pirates
This is almost funny. In an article this morning, CNN says that two additional ships are being sent to the area where the Maersk Alabama. They elaborate saying:

The ships that are en route to help the USS Bainbridge are the USS Halyburton, which is armed with guided missiles and carries helicopters on board, and the USS Boxer, which has a large medical facility on board.

The Halyburton is a Frigate, a smaller shit than the Bainbridge. Bainbridge ALSO can carry helos - two SH 60 Seahawks to be exact. Now we get to the USS Boxer. She's a Wasp class amphibious assault ship - this is what we use if we have to put Marines on the beach - she carries up to 42 aircraft, about a dozen landing craft/amphibous landing craft, and... 1800+ Marines. Of course she has a large medical facility - it's a sick pay for treating combat casualties among those Marines.

No I'm not going to say if those Marines should or should not be used in this situation. HOWEVER, c'mon CNN, get your facts right!

Hrrm. Anyone have a spare invite key floating around?

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