Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bullies Suck

Bullying is a growing problem, both in reality and in perception. The perception part is intentional I might add, partly because of media efforts. I serve on a board with community leaders who identify local issues that need attention and bullying is always on the list. I’m in the media and bullying is a recurring topic on some Sunday morning radio talk shows I produce in the Washington DC area. I occasionally interview experts including a psychologist, who discusses causes and solutions, and representatives of local organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, who help address the problem at the grassroots level.

Bullies are power-seeking cowards and, sadly, the very social media outlets that can help unite people in good ways also provide bullies an increasing number of places to hide.

Youth on youth bullying seems to be the most obvious, but the behavior extends to everything from spousal abusers to road rage participants to mean-spirited bosses and politicians to passive-aggressive neighbors.

The effects in the youth area can linger into adulthood. Have you ever been bullied? I have. Mine was in third grade and was definitely not as serious as today’s bullying, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the jerk’s name and sometimes Google him, secretly hoping to learn he is in jail. But he is quite invisible on the internet, which tells me he is still what he was and I’ve gone on to greater life success. I’m lucky. My normally quiet “don’t get involved” Dad got involved that time and demanded a meeting with the jerk’s parents and school officials. The kid never said another word to me. Ever.

One way to stop bullies is to stand up to them. Report them. Face them. True, there are times that can be dangerous, but many bullies are truly cowards and don’t even know how to react when someone fights back in some way.

Enough of my rant. I heard this song recently and that’s what got me thinking about the topic this week. It’s an angry song but makes some good points and this is clearly aimed at young people who are going through a bullying challenge. Listen to it. Pretty powerful song and video.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Blues Sooths

Blues music relaxes me. Loud blues, soft blues, rockin’ blues, soulful blues, swing blues, I love it all.

Thursday was an extremely stressful day at work and blues pouring out my speakers during my hour-long ride home smoothed out the rough edges. My travel buddies included Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert Collins, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and Susan Tedeschi.

Blues isn’t only about sadness. Although listening to some of the sad blues songs can uplift oneself by reminding us that maybe somebody else has it worse. And some blues songs are about getting drunk, something I’d be doing right now except I’m on meds this week and I don’t want to push my luck. I don’t really like being drunk anyway, but I do like the buzz.

Anyway, here is a blues song I like by one of my favorite blues men. It’s fun and oh so true, isn’t it? Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Interesting Observation About Women

I saw this on Facebook today. Thought you’d find it interesting …

'Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.
She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of s**t.'

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Didn’t Want To Like This Song But I Do

This is an amazing song. It is about country singer Blake Shelton’s brother who died in a car crash when Blake was 15. It is sung by Blake’s wife, country singer Miranda Lambert. They co-wrote the song.

If you’ve ever lost someone, especially at a young age, you have to hear this. It might make you sad but you might also get some comfort from it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Up

This was a few days ago.  I hate to think of what it'll be tomorrow when I fill up again.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gettin Random Wit It

Today has been an odd but interesting day. Here are a few random observations:

- The medical situation I’ve been writing about still isn’t diagnosed but I start treatments for some of the symptoms on Monday. I have been in varying amounts of pain for five weeks. Friday was one of the worst days of this ordeal but today was one of the best. I’ve had very little pain and my balance is better than it’s been in weeks. Only two things are different between Friday and today: 1) I slept for 9 ½ hours last night and 2) I did NOT take any Tylenol today.

- I’ve been drinking margaritas off and on for twenty five years but tonight was the first time I made one for myself. Yummy. Then I made a second one.

- I had shrimp gumbo for dinner, along with both margaritas, while watching Italian opera on PBS. And you thought I was predictable.

- I love my Honda car but I really want an SUV again. My car is almost paid for, which means I’m on the verge of having no car payments. But I really want an SUV again. What to do, what to do. Actually, I should just continue with the fantasy because I have other things to do with money right now. But I want my SUV.

- I downloaded some music a few nights ago. By artists I’ve never heard of. I dug around on one of the websites I buy music from and listened to a few examples and took a chance on some music discoveries in two or three different genres. A worthwhile five dollar investment. As soon as I post this I wll find a few more new sounds – new to me anyway.

- It has been raining here all day and more is predicted for tomorrow. That could be depressing but I actually find it very relaxing this weekend.

OK, that’s about it for now. I have a little more web surfing to do then I’ll try to get another 9 hours of sleep. Good night.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Start Spreadin' the News

New York City is another world. It is merely a geographic coincidence that it is part of New York state and the United States; otherwise it is a unique place with its own separate identity and reputation.

I have been there three times. First was a drive-through on my way home on a road trip to photograph fall color in Maine. Second time was to attend a wedding; I stayed in Queens and drove to the wedding on Long Island. Third NYC venture was a company trip to a two-day conference at a hotel right on Times Square. That was memorable because some of us arrived early enough to walk around and see the sights … or at least what could be seen by walking up Broadway from Times Square to Columbus Circle and back. What did we see? The Ed Sullivan Theatre, where Letterman records every afternoon, the CNN building, the Dakota, where John Lennon lived and died and the Brill Building, famous for its connection with several 1960s recording groups. On that trip I also experienced taxi rides (similar to thrill rides at an amusement park), crowded restaurants and the nearly constant sound of car horns, mostly from taxis.

It has been five or six years since that conference and now I find myself set to visit NYC again … TWICE next month, both times for meetings. I am excited about it but I really wish I could add an extra day personal to one or both meetings so I could see more sights. Otherwise, it’ll be basically a 3 ½ hour train ride up, hours of meetings, an overnight at a hotel, more meetings and a 3 ½ hour train ride back.

I could take the vacation time for the extra day and rob my savings account for the hotel, but I guess I just have trouble justifying the expense of the hotel. Some perspective: on my recent road trips and during several local hotel stays during the past few years, I have paid as little as $59/night for pretty good hotels and as much as $129. In fact I paid both that low and that high rate for the same hotel at various times. On road trips I usually stay at Hampton Inn, Best Western Plus, Comfort Inn or Country Inn & Suites. I consider them fairly equal, reliable, clean, safe and relatively affordable.

More perspective: the meetings are at a Sheraton and a Hilton, both in Manhattan, each near some of the sights. The business part and the train are being paid for, so taxis and drinks are my only expenses. BUT, I checked the rates for those hotels. To stay an extra night at one is $259 and the other is $359. Uhhh, what?! I’m not shy about spending money I don’t have, but those numbers make me crazy. I checked a few travel web sites to see what other hotels are in the area. Geez. Even Comfort Inn, the bottom rung on the four I mentioned earlier, is nearly $200 per night.

So my questions to myself is: do I want to spend $300 - $400 extra to visit a few New York City attractions by myself? And what attractions will I have time for anyway? I’d like to see a Broadway play, the top of the Empire State Building, a recording of Letterman and the 9/11 memorial. Oh, and I’d like to eat lunch in Central Park. Maybe ride a subway. Stand in the crowd waving at the camera for the Today show.

My most likely choice will be to add a day to one of the meetings, probably the one that happens to be closer to the 9/11 Memorial. When a few other things get settled in my life I’ll probably go back there for personal travel and not business, and make the trip about the sightseeing. I am lucky that I even have these opportunities at all and I’m grateful for that.

So, here is some music to go with all this talk about The Big Apple …

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Irish Yoga

I meant to post this last week.  It's still funny.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why and Why Not

One of life’s great mysteries is why some people get diseases and others don’t. There is certainly a correlation between a healthy lifestyle and health. Bad health behavior leads to bad health … often … but not always. One of my Dad’s brothers was a life-long smoker and died at age 75 from complications related to that. The grandfather of a hospital employee I talked with today was a lifelong smoker who lived to age 93 and died from natural causes that had nothing to do with smoking. Why and why not?

My Dad was healthy. He didn’t smoke, rarely drank alcohol, ate healthy, balanced meals, and was active till his early 70s. But he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 69 and that medical condition robbed him of mobility, dignity and eventually his life. He lived with it for fifteen years, if you can call that living. Nothing he did in his life led to that outcome. Why did he get that disease?

I live a healthy life. I don’t smoke; I do drink wine, averaging one glass a night … not a health risk. In fact, there is evidence that drinking that amount of wine improves health. I eat a balanced diet of mostly healthy food and have done so for most of my life since my late 20s. I ate too much red meat and fried foods in my early twenties but very healthy meals growing up, thanks to my Mother’s obsessiveness relating to balanced meals.

So here I am over age 50 entering my fifth week of undiagnosed medical issues. The symptoms have stabilized in the past two weeks but the “norm” now is fairly constant pain, sometimes in the background and sometimes annoyingly present. Walking is a struggle after I’ve been sitting for any length of time and is at least a small challenge at all times. Each possible diagnosis from five doctors and my retired doctor cousin have led me to research their suggested possibilities, with the same results in every case: I exhibit a few of the symptoms, but only a few.

Why?

Anyone who knows me well knows I am a relentless problem-solver. Most of the doctors I’ve seen so far are also obvious problem-solvers, yet the problem isn’t solved yet. Next week I do start a series of treatments that should attack the symptoms, but that might still not lead to a diagnosis of the causes. Nothing has been completely ruled out, but fortunately cancer is now very low on the list of possibilities.

I am a big believer in cause-and effect and in the concept that behavior usually leads to both the problems and the solutions in life. Maybe it’s a flawed belief. I haven’t done anything that would produce this medical result. Sadly, nothing I’ve done has solved the problem yet either. I can tolerate a lot of pain but that is clearly not my first choice in dealing with this. I want to know the reasons and my options for fixing this. I have a lot of life left to live.

I also believe in the power of a positive attitude and it seems my positivity is wavering a little. I am confident in the outcome of all of this but I’d be kidding you and me if I said this crap isn’t bothering me. My problem-solving strategy usually involves a form of ‘divide and conquer’ – meaning I break down big problems into smaller manageable pieces and deal with them one at a time. So my typical advice to someone else in my position would be to attack things one piece at a time. I’m trying to take my own advice. It’s a bigger challenge than I anticipated. And I still keep coming back to the root question: why is this happening?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Politics and Religion. Again.

So a Baptist minister introduces a Catholic presidential candidate with these words: "I don't care what the liberals say, I don't care what the naysayers say, this nation was founded as a Christian nation...There is only one God and his name is Jesus. I'm tired of people telling me that I can't say those words.. Listen to me, If you don't love America, If you don't like the way we do things I have one thing to say - GET OUT. We don't worship Buddha, we don't worship Mohammad, we don't worship Allah, we worship God, we worship God's son Jesus Christ."

So let’s see if I have this right … If you’re not Christian, you’re not American. Oh, and “if you don’t like the way we do things” … who is “we”? This nation was founded by Europeans who massacred the ‘real’ never-heard-of-Christ Native Americans who were already here. It was founded as a place where people could have religious freedom, could worship in any way they wanted to … including not worshiping at all and not worshipping any God.

Yes, our nation turned out to be the greatest on the planet, but don’t try to ignore the high price we paid for that. And don’t ignore the contradictions. And most of all, don’t tell me to get out because I’m sometimes liberal (and sometimes not), sometimes Christian (and sometimes not), sometimes worship God (and sometimes don’t) and most times love America (and sometimes don’t). People died so we could all hold those contradictory positions.

And I suppose in all fairness, that alleged ‘man of God’ who spoke those words today in my original home state (Louisiana) while introducing presidential candidate Santorum (who is Catholic, a religion that is sometimes ridiculed by Baptist ministers as being not quite Christian) has the right to speak those obviously contradictory words just as I have the right to think he is full of shit for saying them.

It is interesting that he also prayed that God’s will be done in the upcoming election. Which means that if Barack Obama is re-elected, that is God’s will, right? In which restaurant will this minister be eating his own words when somebody other than Santorum takes the oath of office next January?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Basic

Sometimes a basic idea works well in a song.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Procedure

Every baby boomer knows you’re supposed to get “the procedure” when you turn 50. If that’s you, what are you waiting for? It is so easy (I’m lying) and comfortable (OK, that is partly true). I had my first one today. Here are a few random observations:

The colonoscopy and recovery was the best sleep I’ve had in months. The time from when the anesthesiologist said “ok, time for sleep” till the nurse said something like “wake up, Sleeping Beauty” felt like five minutes. I was actually under over an hour.

Preparation the day before is much less comfortable than the procedure. Part of it includes using the entire contents of a specific size container of a product that relieves constipation. I read the label as I mixed it with a sports drink … it was a 14-day supply, which I was to consume over the next six hours.

Basically the prep involves no solid food for at least 24 hours and way more fluid intake than you would normally have in a day. My grocery trip in preparation for the preparation must have looked like stocking up for a very bizarre party: Gatoraid, ginger ale, apple juice, cranberry juice, chicken broth, bottled water and Miralax.

I am a regular guy. You know what I mean by that in the context of this post, right? I was “regular” at least 14 times in 24 hours. Ouch.

Here comes the gross part (assuming the previous two paragraphs didn’t make you sick): pooping liquid is a very odd experience. Oh, and the afore-mentioned sports drink was red. Draw your own conclusion.

Here comes some gross but funny stuff, part of a text exchange with a friend during my prep day: “Anybody who thinks I’m full of shit should check with me later.” “It’s a crappy day, but in a good way.” “As long as I don’t get shitfaced.” “Who new shit could be so funny?” “Yep, that’s some funny shit.” ”This shit has to stop.” There were more lines but I deleted the text by mistake under the lingering effects of the anesthesia.

I now have six full-color pictures of the inside of my rectum. No, they will not be available on my photo blog.

Okaaaay, enough of that shit, uhh I mean stuff. Yes, everyone should get this procedure regularly, usually starting at age 50; younger if there are other indicators of possible problems. The gastroenterologist suggested I do this all again in three years.

The first thing I did when I got home this afternoon was eat a sandwich. I never thought a basic ham sandwich could taste so good. And I won’t be drinking any red sports drinks for a long time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More and Less

I want more of this ...



and less of this ...


Monday, March 12, 2012

The Universe

A good friend of mine often refers to the ‘Universe.’ She doesn’t mean the huge emptiness with stars, planets, etc. but rather something more spiritual; perhaps a cosmic thing that connects us all. Something God-ish. It’s hard to verbalize but I usually think I know what she means when she says it. Makes perfect sense in the context of the conversation.

My mind has been flooded lately with thoughts I usually shelve for further consideration at some point in an unspecified future. My recent medical situation combined with my obsessive nature un-shelves those thoughts … the ones about what my future does or doesn’t hold. I am an insufferable optimist but I allow myself to consider and plan for all possibilities. End of life is one of them, as unlikely as that is for me at this point. I’ve always been interested in what happens after life is done so it’s natural for me to think about it when riddled with rapid onset of unexplained medical problems.

Anyway, I was thinking about religion today. When asked (on medical forms, for example) I claim Unitarian Universalism. Hmmm, interesting that ‘universe’ is part of my adopted religion. I grew up Catholic but have felt since high school that there was more to spirituality than what I learned in that denomination. I go back there for comfort sometimes, because it is still a part of me in some ways. And it’s predictable and comfortable, like the menu at McDonalds. But in the mid 1990s I became a charter member of a UU congregation.

It is an interesting religion because it is mostly free of dogma. There are principles but it is a very open religion that fosters exploration; specifically stated in their principles: “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” You don’t have to reject where you’ve been to belong; it is NOT a ‘converting to another religion’ thing. The idea is to expand, to learn from the wisdom of other faiths and beliefs. It is my kind of religion and I have benefited from the association. And I miss it. The congregation I was part of had some problems a few years in and I distanced myself from it. The denomination, however, still holds a great attraction for me and I want to join another congregation. I like the spirit of fellowship and the encouragement to seek wisdom from a variety of sources.

My belief in a higher power is complicated and personal, but one component of it is that we are all connected in some unseen way. Something guides us, informs us, shows us various possible paths and leaves us to our own devices to choose the path or paths. My friend’s most recent mention of this topic relates to my medical dilemma and the array of choices I have to make relating to the variety of suggestions being offered by a couple of doctors. She said, “Breathe deep, move forward and let the universe guide you.” Sounds a little like the “hippie logic” I often give to people (maybe that’s why we’re friends) but it also makes complete sense to me. Whatever does guide us seems to build neon signs along our paths, pointing out possible directions. Her advice might also be said as “slow down a minute and trust your instincts.” There is something universal in that way of thinking.

Interesting side note: I have also always been fascinated with the huge emptiness of stars and planets. One of the most memorable visual images of my whole life is as recent as the 1990s … a clear night view of the sky while on the deck of a North Carolina beach house in the off-season. That neighborhood was empty, very little ambient ground-level light from houses, no street lights. I looked up and saw more stars than I had ever seen. The sight was awe-inspiring. What is out there and why does it exist? It is too vast to be incidental or accidental. It is powerful in some unimaginable way yet there it is for all to see. Something connects it all. It is random and not random at the same time.

The universe … something to think about it, isn’t it? It is probably fitting that I do not have a better ending for this post.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Phototherapy Works

My emotions have been on a roller coaster ride for the past month.  Felt like crap yesterday.  Decided to summon a proven mood-lifter ... photography.  The twenty minutes I spent walking around my yard with my camera yesterday put me in a much better mood.  Here is one of the pictures I shot.




CLICK HERE to see a few more.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It Suits Me

Clothes makes the man. Ever heard that one?

There is no dress code where I work. Most days I wear khaki pants and a sport shirt or jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt. I look like an Eddie Bauer or Dockers ad. But a few times a year I wear a suit. I should do it more, if only for the reaction I get from female co-workers.

I received compliments from at least six different female co-workers and two non-work female colleagues. Wow! Yesterday I wore jeans and a purple long-sleeve t-shirt. No comments. Tuesday’s wardrobe selection was brown pants and a brown and orange shirt. No comments.

I’ve had jobs where I wore a suit or at least a tie nearly every day. I don’t mind that at all, but it really isn’t necessary at this job. I spend most of my day in a dimly-lit office in front of a computer writing scripts and editing audio. Today I had a quarterly meeting with area community leaders and I usually dress up a little for that one. I also recorded interviews with two of the meeting participants. Hmm, I was the best-dressed person in the meeting.

Did I mention that I own exactly one suit? When I had a suit job I owned several suits but that isn’t necessary for this job. My suit is basic black. Today I wore a white shirt (I only own one of those too) and a new Jerry Garcia tie. I wear a suit about seven or eight times a year but I own more than ten ties. Don’t ask. I love Garcia ties because they are stylish at the same time as irreverent. Jerry never wore a tie but his art has graced dozens of ties.

The bottom line, however, is that I occasionally love attention, especially from females. I guess whenever I’m in that mood, I just have to wear a suit.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Med Crap and Other Things

Not much new to report yet, other than I’ve had MRIs, CT scans, blood draws, doctor visits, internet research and they still don’t know what’s wrong. Another doc visit is set for later this week to evaluate more test results. Maybe I’ll know something then.

Eight needle sticks, four different doctors, three different facilities, two blood labs … you knew this was coming … and a partridge in a pear tree.

All this poking, prodding and feeling and no orgasm to show for it. Geez, do I have to everything myself?

The oddest part of this is the sudden onset.

I’ve taken ‘live for today’ to the limit, meaning that I can’t seriously schedule anything more than a few days ahead because I have to be time flexible to get these appointments and tests done quickly.

Other parts of my life are on hold. Again.

Google. Blogger and all related products ... I do NOT ever want to stay signed in!  Ever.  Under no circumstances.  Quit asking.  Quit checking that stupid box for me.  I will never check it myself and I'm pissed when you check it for me.

It feels like I’ve read more warning labels and signed more consent forms during the past month than I have during the rest of my life combined.

No matter what all this turns out to be, I have a strong belief in the healing power of a positive attitude and some of my closest friends believe that too. While I might not be able to schedule a meeting for next week, I am still planning on having my 100th birthday party.

This Is Too Funny

Sunday, March 4, 2012

History Is For the Birds

Earlier today I was watching some History Channel show about artifacts in museums. It was a surprisingly fast-paced and interesting program. One of the stories was about a living communication device that saved two hundred lives.

Communication technology is taken for granted today. Soldiers have two-way devices, computers, satellite access, GPS and more. In World War I, battlefield communication involved wired telegraph, runners and … I’ll get to that in a moment. The subject of this story I watched on TV was about a battalion that got cut off from supplies and reinforcements when surrounded by enemy divisions. They were holding their own with guns when suddenly they encountered cannon fire. They quickly realized the source was their own military … a bad case of friendly fire. Those shooting the cannon didn’t realize they were firing on their own trapped battalion.

Radio communication didn’t work, wires were cut by the enemy and runners could not get out. There was only one method left: carrier pigeons. Also known as homing pigeons. Really.

These trained pigeons were a routine part of getting the word out in 1918. They were trained to return “home” from up to twenty miles away. This battalion had only one left and enemy soldiers knew the strategy and were trained to spot and shoot down the birds. The battalion commander wrote this note: “We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it.” The message was attached to the pigeon named Cher Ami, who managed to fly 25 miles, even though he was injured by enemy fire. The message reached its destination in only 25 minutes, the shelling stopped, 200 American soldiers were saved and Cher Ami became a decorated war hero.

This story is why I like studying history. In our world of internet and smart phones it is interesting to see that what we now consider primitive forms of communication could be just as effective as today’s devices. And they work in similar ways … recharge a smart phone battery = feed a pigeon. Although a pigeon is a bit messier.



Click HERE for another version of the story.
Click HERE for yet another.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Don’t Be a Stranger

Medical issues and death are on my mind way too much this week. I’m having more tests done Monday on my own med issue because they still can’t determine the cause. I remain optimistic that they will and that they’ll find a suitable treatment. Meanwhile I have to at least think about what to do if they don’t.

So in the middle of that crap, a former co-worker dies. Sadly I had not been touch with him for more than two years. We had become pretty good work friends and we each learned from each other. He lost his job a few years ago, not for anything specific, mostly because they company wanted to make a change. I’ll spare you my opinion on that. The last time I saw him in person was the next day, when he came to gather personal items from his desk. I had no contact with him for another year or two. Then he called me to ask for some advice about something and to say he was still unemployed and he and his family were totally broke and moving halfway across the country to a rent-free house being offered by a family member.

Many times during the two years since that conversation I thought of calling or emailing him. People would often ask me what he was up to, assuming I knew. I kept putting off making contact and, well, he didn’t reach out to me either. I think his reluctance related to some embarrassment about his situation. Mine was that I just didn’t know what to say.

And all of that is so ridiculous.

I understand how difficult it is to ask for help or to admit that things are not going well. We all get so busy in our own spheres that we don’t allow time to help other people. That is so wrong. I am as guilty as anyone for that and I have often promised to change that behavior. Yet once again I did not.

The rumor about his death started Tuesday. I contacted a mutual friend to see if she had heard anything and she was devastated at the possibility. She had also just received a mysterious email from the friend’s wife and the uncertainty grew. Wednesday night I got confirmation that indeed the rumor was true; he died of a heart attack at the way-too-young age of 66.

He had health problems but I can’t help but wonder if he just gave up. Would things have been any better if old friends and co-workers kept in touch? It’s hard to say. It is a challenge to not place at least a little blame on myself and others.

The phrase “don’t be a stranger” is synonymous with the idea of keeping in touch. No matter how busy we get, we should try to keep in touch with friends who might need our support. Many of the people who matter most to me text me daily to ask about my situation. I have no words to describe how much that means to me and the positive impact it has on me. I do the same but maybe not enough.

I say all this to offer this to you (and me) as a learning experience. When a friend needs you, don’t be a stranger.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Medical Observations

I have a medical issue that has required several tests during the past week. I’ll skip the details for now; family and friends who need to know already do. But I do have a few observations about doctors, doctor office staffs and medical centers.

- The doctors involved have performed exactly as I want them to. They have good investigative skills and compassion. They have reached out to me when needed and if things haven’t moved along fast enough with other providers, they stepped in and made things happen.

- My main doc is part of a practice affiliated with a well-respected hospital. He is good but the staff is hit or miss. Getting through the automated phone answering system is a total pain in the ass.

- The reality of our diverse society is that there will often be language barriers and, sadly, those are much more apparent when trying to schedule appointments. English is not the first language of the two main doctors involved in my situation so far but that has NOT been a problem with them, only with some of the staff.

- I am probably radioactive. OK, just kidding, although I have had MRIs and CT scans and I do read all the warnings before signing the release forms. So far, the release forms have been scarier than the injections.

- No matter what all these tests reveal, I am probably going to experience some inconvenience soon. I realized this week that my backup plans for work activities need significant improvement. I have a specific way of doing things on my job and I have not trained people lately.

- I also realize that most of my closest friends do not know each other. Three are regular readers of this blog. I might be connecting y’all soon, digitally because you live in three different states and not the one I live in.

- Scroll down and listen to the Kenny Chesney song I posted recently.

OK, lunch break is done. Time for more work then another doctor visit.