Saturday, May 30, 2009

Phil Spector's Hair: Beyond Perruque

Phil Spector is a convicted murderer. So let's talk about his hair, or lack thereof. Lana Clarkson? Who is that and what does she have to do with the coiffes in question? Hmmm?

Issues of provenance always fascinate me, so I am happy to put scurillous speculation to rest and present Celebritology's carefully teased parentage results (roughly through the Hobbit period):

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Johns Hopkins

It looks like a decision has been made, the first of many over the next week or so.

I will be heading for Johns Hopkins as soon as the arrangements and scheduling can be sorted out.

My stomach is all in a knot but I am sure this trip will result in identifying the little buggers infecting my bones and provide us with a solution to eradicate the offending microbes.

How my insurance will handle this, how Fred et al will handle this -- I dunno. I am too tired to think.

The MDVIP Boutiqueur continues to prove just how invaluable he is. We are meeting next Tuesday to begin planning this adventure.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cleveland Clinic, Hopkins, Sloan Kettering, Mayo, etc.

I was a mess yesterday. After being shown into an exam room at the Infectious Disease Dood's digs, after vital signs and the promise that someone "will be right with you," I sat there and cried. Not pretty crying, not the kind that can be hidden, oh no -- my sinuses clogged, my eyes nothing more than a mascara smear, the tissue box just out of my reach. (The handkerchief I normally carry had been sacrificed the night before to the cause of feline ear mites.)

"This is too much pain; I can't take it any longer," I told the walls.

When ID Dood's PA arrived, the water works were still in full force. Sniff, cough, cackle, cackle.

Somehow, my body knew we were all at a crossroads.

*Nothing* helpful emerged from the ID meeting held last Wednesday night, not a single workable idea. As she circum-and-cross locuted all over the place, it became clear that there was an expectation that my orthopedic surgeon would continue to slice me open every other month, clear what infection he could expose, until death us do part.

Sniff, cough, cackle, cackle.

As she led me back to the Infusion Center area, she promised to call the ID Dood himself. Oh great exclamations of intense and joyful expectations. Oh! Oh!

I scared the bejesus out of the nurse drawing my labs and changing the PICC line dressing. He was afraid to touch me, even with my sniffed reassurances that most of the pain was coming from my left shoulder.

It doesn't make much sense, but the pain derived from touch (this involves CRPS/RSD) is completely manageable if that touch is firm and fairly constant. That can even be pleasant. (Get your mind out of the gutter.) It's when people think they are soothing you, with light strokes and gentle pats -- *those* ways of touching are murder, like fire, intolerable.

And that darned nurse forgets those little details from week to week.

gentle pat light stroke {murderous thought} gentle pat light stroke {murderous thought} gentle pat light stroke {murderous thought} gentle pat light stroke {murderous thought}

The nurse/pharmacist was behind him, giving me looks of encouragement.

Sniff, cough, cackle, cackle.

About an hour later, the PA dropped back by to tell me that ID Dood has decided that I need "fresh eyes" to look at me from an ID-standpoint. She said the OS and ID Dood were going to put their fat heads together and come up with some referrals and they'd give me a call tomorrow (today). She made mention of a famous orthopod who specializes in the weirder instances of osteomyelitis.

When Fred and I toodled our way home, I wrote the experience up and emailed my dear Boutiqueur, my go-to-guy for things medical.

I took my breakthrough pain meds plus some ibuprofen.

This was The Boutiqueur's response:

La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore,

It's very hard for me to "run the show" with all the specialists at Hospital X. I have talked with both ShoulderMan and ID Dood before and am happy to call them again. You need to understand it's a very difficult problem that we are dealing with and they have most likely never had such a puzzling and "resistant" case before. It's uncharted territory. If Dr. ShoulderMan will not go into the joint again surgically (which I would understand) and Dr. ID Dood feels like he's exhausted all the possible antibiotics, then where does that leave us? Another opinion is certainly an option but remember you have some limitations with which Ortho groups or hospital you can go to due to the previous legal issues. [Due to a previously described Sentinel Event... for which *I* am being blacklisted!] Dr. C. is very well known for his expertise in joint infections but he moved to California last year. One of the other options is going to one of the Speciality Hospitals in another part of the country for an expert opinion. MDVIP has relationships with many of these (i.e. Cleveland Clinic, Hopkins, Sloan Kettering, Mayo, etc). In NY,. there is the best Orthopedic Hospital in the country called the Hospital for Special Surgery. Through MDVIP we have easy access in making referrals and getting appointments with some of the best specialists in the country. I think you may need that. Your insurance would most likely cover the cost of the tests and visits and you would just have to pay your way to get there. Flights are fairly cheap these days but I'm not sure of the lodging. La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore, I think you may be at the point that we have to consider something "drastic" like this. Let me know what you think as we'c be happy to initiate the referral and get the ball rolling for you. I'm sure Dr. ShoulderMan and Dr. ID Dood would be in favor of a move such as this. Let me know how you'd like to proceed.

-- The Go-To-Guy Boutiqueur

So it is today now.

How would I like to proceed?

In order to make such a determination, the kitchen floor requires the business end of a mop and the toilet boil wants a scrubbing. Two of four cats need an intense combing, one a serious brushing, and the remaining Little Boy? Never-ending sessions of love, daubing his wounds with gauze.

The clothes piled in the bathroom should be washed, dried, and folded before I can give proper consideration to Medical Tourism.

It was hard for me to trust the orthopedic surgeon who has been caring for me this past year. He has a reputation as one of the best -- but reputations mean diddly to me now. I am a product of the best schools and training, myself, and I know how little I know! The OS who managed to screw up my life back in 2002? The nurses liked to tell me, in response to my aired concerns: "But La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore, he went to Hah-vahd!" My current OS? He proves himself by being himself, and he *is* the best. He is straightforward and reliable. He's talented and kind. He has a great staff.

It was hard for me to get to the point of trusting him. I don't want anyone else to operate on me -- he knows the terrain really well now.

The question is not whether or not I am being petulant and contradictory, but rather whether or not I am so petulant and contradictory as to be a real and present danger to the logic necessary to a good decision!

(If anyone out there has insights to share... please do, as I am fresh out.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Heimlich Maneuver for Cats

What a way cool moment the felines and I shared early this morning!

Unable to sleep, I was serving up breakfast at 4:30 am and boiling water for lime sugar free jello (to be enhanced by a nice celery dice) -- yes, I *am* an adept multitasker, thank you for noticing.

During a pause in the action, I was reviving myself with a bowl of bran flakes, tootsies stretched toward the huge stone hearth in this, one of Marlinspike Hall's largest kitchens. We keep a fire going year round -- there always seems to be a bit of a chill here, deep deep in the Tête de Hergé.

Something made me look over to the Kitty Chow-Down Area, where I saw Dobby in dire straits. His entire body was convulsing in an attempt to breathe, his paws fighting some invisible enemy, theft of his oxygen -- all without making a sound. Marmy was sitting ramrod straight by his side, looking alarmed. (Yep, that was the extent of her maternal reaction.)

I careened over to poor Dobby, popping a wheelie on the way, hair flying in the breeze of my own speed. I scooped him up, flipped him over, screamed from the pain in my arms and shoulders, and performed a perfect (if I do say so myself) rendition of the Heimlich Maneuver for Cats.

What a sweet moment when a big glob of goo flew out of his mouth--Ptooey! and Splat! -- onto the fridge door.

Marmy went and sniffed it, sashaying her little fluffy butt.

Dobby leapt off my lap and without much of a pause, resumed eating.

Oh -- an update on the condition of Our Gimp, Uncle Kitty Big Balls. The "toe" of his right rear paw was amputated, and the vet also had to take a large bit of the metatarsal. Another abscess spontaneously opened and drained on the thigh of his left rear leg, to go along with the one on his "ankle." He has drains in each leg and a huge bandage (dry on wet) over the operated site.

The Fredster enlisted my help Friday night as aide to the Changing of the Gauze, but had several ADHD moments that made the situation somewhat less than stellar. And so, last night, per his assinine request, I did *nothing* to assist.

And so it was that soon after he began, Uncle Kitty Big Balls sank his sharp little teeth into Fred's big toe -- punctured it top and bottom, and did not extract his little dental tools cleanly, either. Unfortunately, there was almost no bleeding.

And so it was that Fred had to call the local Marcus Welby, MD, drive to the pharmacie and begin a round of Cipro... I think he was supposed to update his tetanus shot, too, but hey! I had no questions to ask, no bright ideas to share -- per his own instructions.

No, I am not happy it happened... just pissed that he has to be so stubborn, to his own detriment. Easier on him, easier on Uncle Kitty Big Balls, and a nice change of pace for me if I even do as little as tuck the little dude under my good arm so that reaching that back leg is less fraught with danger.

Poor little guy, we gave him the last of his pain medication last night -- and he is obviously still in considerable pain this morning, carefully holding that heavily bandaged leg away from all surfaces.

I'll have to recount the tale of my heroism and Dobby's near death experience to him, distract him a little. Even after the Great Toe Attack, it is clear that Uncle K. is a pacifist, a gentle soul.

Lordy, I hope that toe doesn't get infected.

Fred has joined the "BID" antibiotic dosing routine -- at noon and midnight, I am hooked up to vancomycin, Uncle Kitty Big Balls gets his liquid amoxicillen, and now, Fred, himself, has to take his twice-a-day Cipro!