10 days grain-free . . .

I thought it was a good idea to turn off all the politics and just do an update on this grain-free experiment my wife and I are doing.  We’re now 10 days into eating NOTHING with any known grain in it.

You know what?  I’ve felt like this before.  Back in 1995, when I was a newly minted Minister in the Church of Scientology.  Completing the ordination was the final step on my being fully-trained for my post, and thus opened the door to my doing training/processing that wasn’t just about my job.  The first action I did?

The Purification Rundown.

I can’t say anything bad about the Purif (as it is usually called).  It was the first step in opening my eyes to the environmental hazards this “modern” world has forced us all to live in.  That, and I did get some awesome results.  That said, the last 2 days of the Purif were, for me, a total living nightmare.  The pain was worse than anything I’d ever experienced, with the exception of passing a kidney stone (I’ve done that 7x now).

This grain-free program is bringing that all back.  I got my very first migraine in the Purif (although I didn’t know to call it that at the time).  Now I’m getting what I’m calling micro-migraines.  The pain is the same as a migraine – usually in the same place.  However the headaches only last between half an hour and 90 minutes, and I can have 3-4 of them a day.  Every day.

There is another reason I deliberately tied this experience to my experience doing the Purif.  They are both processes aimed at better body health, and as such, you have to expect things to get worse before they get better.  Think of it this way – something made your body ill – to get better you have to chase that something out of your body.  While it is stirred up and running out, it is going to be affecting everything it passes through on it’s way to the door.  Sort of like chasing a wild bull through a china shop.

So, even though I feel lousy right now, I have enough awareness of what is going on to accept that this is what is SUPPOSED to happen, and I’m going to hold on and tough it out.  I’d think it should start getting easier in a few days, except that I have no honest idea just how bad the damage to my intestines was.  This might actually take a few months to get all the way through, for me – because I took NSAID pain killers like breath mints from 1980 to 1995.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time.  The way out is the way through.  Whatever turns it on, turns it off.

I think you get the idea.  Mostly I’m trying to remind myself.

2-3 days . . .

Seriously, what is this country coming to?

A little while back, I was talking to my dad and he mentioned that he had an extra “Trump for President” yard sign, and asked if I wanted it.  Needing an excuse to get him here (I hadn’t yet delivered his birthday present, which was overdue at that point) and preferring Donald to Hillary anyhow, I accepted.

When he got to our house, the first thing he did was put it in our front yard.

I really didn’t pay that much attention, but I did notice that 2-3 days later it was gone.  Missing.  Vanished.

Seriously, is this country now so polarized that the only acceptable response to someone putting up a yard sign is to STEAL it?  Cue the violins, Nero has a solo coming up . . . .

Comedy of errors?

The last time I wrote about my struggle with Social Security over whether or not I qualify for disability, they had to reschedule a hearing because the doctor who was supposed to give expert testimony after a review of my records had not received the disc the records would be on.

Well, we finally had the replacement hearing on Tuesday morning.  Normally, I would have posted about it by Wednesday, but the whole “May the 4th be with you” thing caused me to delay writing the post.  Intuitively, I knew I needed to wait.

Thursday afternoon my lawyer called us.  Since my wife is taking vacation time, she was the one who answered the phone.

First, let me share some of my initial observations about the hearing on Tuesday.  The court clerk/typist who usually works in the office I sit in was visible on the video feed sitting in the office with the judge.  She had been replaced locally with a woman who had a less-than-professional bearing.  For one thing, knowing how to touch-type myself, I observed that she (the replacement) was going to have trouble accurately typing anything with finger nails that extended 2″ beyond the end of her fingers.

Anyhow, we had the hearing, and the judge seemed pleased with how smoothly and quickly it went.  My lawyer was nearly ecstatic over how easily she got me to give the specific answer that she needed when she asked me certain questions about my history.

So, when she called me on Thursday afternoon, I was almost thinking that she’d been told we finally won.  Still, intuition said the party was premature.  It was right.

My lawyer had just spoken with the judge, who could not apologize profusely enough for what he had to tell her.  In nearly 20 years of work as a lawyer, she’s never experienced anything like this before.  There exists no record of the hearing Tuesday.  We had a video conference call with the Judge in his court room, but not one minute of it was recorded.  The typed transcript was not “suitable”.

For some reason, when my lawyer told me all of this my memory flashed to the judge stating before we officially started the hearing that they had 6 cases back-to-back.  Thus, my first question to her was, “Did this affect all of the cases they had on Tuesday?”

Yes, it did.  They are scrambling to reschedule ALL of them for as soon as possible – probably at least 3 months, could be as long as 6.

Stay tuned, we’ll be back after this commercial break.

(sorry, I just had to throw in that old television announcer line)

A very busy day . . .

Yesterday was a busy day.

First, the city arrived and put in our 2 new trees (both elms, which will eventually provide afternoon shade for the new sidewalk).  They are in the ground and happy (I think?).  Late last night, Gaia even took care of watering them.

Then I had to call my wife to let her know I was calling an HVAC repairman – at 0900 it was 5F degrees hotter inside the house than it was outside the house, with the A/C turned on.  They arrived at around 1400 (2pm).

Shortly after noon, our mowers arrived – one of them, anyhow.  He told me that his son and daughter-in-law (the other 2) both fell off of a ladder 2 days before while working on some guttering (they also have a guttering and downspout business).  She was about 10 feet off the ground, and landed on the concrete driveway.  He was higher up, but a garden table partially broke his fall.  Both were rendered unconscious by the impacts, but they are doing alright now.

Then the HVAC repairman told me that the problem was 2 parts of our system quit working.  Both could be replaced, but he didn’t have either part on his truck.  One was a capacitor, the other was a circuit breaker.  He has capacitors on his truck – but not for 27 year-old systems.  So, he had to drive out to a supply store to get the parts.  It was all working again before my wife got home from work.

Oh, and though it’s a minor detail in such a busy day – I got an email from the eBay seller we bought a covered litter box from – you really DON’T want to know why we needed that – with a tracking number.  Testing the tracking number at 1430 told me that the package had already reached Lenexa, KS at noon.  While it MIGHT have been able to get here by the end of the day, I was already expecting it to arrive today.  Yep, I was right on it not arriving yesterday, at least.

Oh, and somehow during all of that I still managed to fit in a workout on our new weight bench (despite the severe temp and humidity – there was a storm system wrapping itself around our area all day).

Veteran’s Choice and other updates . . .

Veteran’s Choice:

I finally found out the precise process for going through Veteran’s Choice to get any health care.  First, you have to qualify (which I do, they even re-issued the card for me).  Then you have to get your VA Health System primary care doctor to authorize use of Veteran’s Choice for every visit.  Then you get to actually go to the local physician to get taken care of.

In the case of my possibly getting a hip/femur replacement, it means that I have to go to my VA PC doc, he’ll order x-rays, and then put a consult request into the VA computer system for me to be seen by the nearest orthopedics clinic – Fayetteville.  Then Fayetteville looks over the x-rays and visits with me about my situation.  IF they agree that I should have the procedure, then AND ONLY THEN will I get to see if there are any local surgeons who work with Veteran’s Choice – and that doesn’t even start dealing with the physical therapy after the surgery.

Double the doctor visits; double the x-rays, potentially double the wait time for treatment – and this is supposed to be BETTER care?  I don’t think so!  I was so upset by this revelation that I called my dad – and asked him to call his neighbor and good friend: US SENATOR JERRY MORAN to voice my complaint.  He (dad) said he could do that today.

RANDOM STUFF:

We’re in the process of finding a new home for the black leather, overstuffed, love seat we’ve had in our living room for the last 15 years.  We still like it, and it’s not in bad shape (for sharing a home with indoor cats), but we need the space for the weight bench that I got to prepare for if I get the hip/femur surgery.

I’ve been doing some research, and determined that the hip replacement and the femur replacement are almost the same surgery.  The difference would be that to replace the entire femur should actually be less time in the surgery, because they don’t have to cut the femur with a bone saw and screw on the metal replacement.  But it will leave a larger scar.  Oh well, to get full range of motion and weight-bearing capability back, I think I can live with the scar.

The weight bench has a leg curl/leg extension attachment, so that I can start with low weight and insanely high reps to condition the muscles before the surgery.  Then, after the physical therapist gives me the all-clear, I’ll start working up to heavier weight and get these legs back into the condition they were in before the tumor – at least in theory.

The new weight bench was delivered by FEDEX this morning.

Oh, and in the middle of all the other stuff going on this morning – I got a knock on the front door.  When I answered it was one of the city employees who worked on the new sidewalk through our front yard.  He said that the city “came into some money” specifically allocated for shade trees over the new sidewalk, and he wanted to know if we were interested in getting a couple.  I laughed – I was just on the Arbor Day Society’s website yesterday looking at what we might do along that same idea!  Now all I have to do is go out and put some tomato stakes in the yard to mark where the shade trees should be put and the city will do the rest, within the next week!  WIN!

Cranky customer 3.0

As I said last week, the driver who picks up our trash dropped our bin 20 feet from the sidewalk after getting our trash.  So, I called and left another message on the voicemail of his supervisor.  However, since I have not yet received a response to the new message, I decided a more direct approach was in order.

So, this morning I was waiting when the driver pulled up on the street south of our house.  As he walked up the sidewalk to get the bin, I limped down the stairs of our front porch and we had a chat.

I explained that I’m disabled, and the woman (he called her a young lady) he talked to is my wife, and that she was home sick the day he talked to her a couple of weeks ago.  Not only does she work, but sometimes has to go out of town; so, I have to be able to put the bin where I can get it.

He was very polite, and agreed to get it from where I have been putting it, and just as importantly to return it to there.  I told him that eventually my doctor wants to do a hip replacement, and that after he does I’ll start putting the dumpster over where he suggested.

Over all, I think it went very well.

Another Cranky Customer update . . .

It would seem that our discussion with WCA isn’t concluded yet.  Last night I took our trash dumpster out and put it where I usually do.  This morning my wife actually watched the driver take the dumpster down the sidewalk, empty it into his truck, and then park it in the LEAST ACCESSIBLE PLACE IN OUR YARD.  It isn’t even close to the sidewalk this time.

Yes, I have called the Joplin office again.  I had to leave another message.

Cranky Customer update…

Well, I had to wait until late afternoon Thursday to get the call back from the WCA “supervisor” – but it turned out to be worth the wait.  The entire conversation lasted only 2 minutes.

First he asked my name, to be sure he called the right number.  Then he asked what the problem was, and I quickly described what was going on.  I concluded by saying, “I’m disabled, and he’s wanting me to more than double the distance I have to take that dumpster.”  At that point, he cut me off.

His reply?  “I’ll have a talk with the driver on that route, and inform him that your dumpster is fine exactly where you’ve been putting it.”  No more problem.  I guess we don’t need a new trash service after all.

Well, I think it is about time . . .

A couple of days ago I wrote a blog about my frustration at my primary care doc at the VA trying to push me onto statin drugs for my cholesterol.  In her comment on the blog, my good friend Anita pointed at the Mark’s Daily Apple website ( marksdailyapple.com ) and said it is her Paleo Diet guru.  I’m also on the Paleo Diet, but hadn’t seen this site, so I went to take a look.

My chief frustration with the site (at least at first glance) is that it is typical of sites that specialize in fitness – they don’t have anything to say that doesn’t include a fair amount of healthy exercise.  If I want to use his program, I need to be able to follow the program.  But, after a bone tumor in my left femur in 1980, the femur can’t handle that sort of activity.  The permanent limitations I was given back then included: No walking over 1 mile per day TOTAL, No jumping of any kind (like parachute jumps), No pushing pulling or lifting over 30 pounds.

Every time I have ever exceeded those limits, there has been a price to pay.  Stress fractures around the site where the bone tumor was have ensured that a week on crutches each time was the minimum price I’ve paid.  I actually have a pair of aluminum ones in a closet that I’ve used for years.

But – I had an idea today.  My doc asked me on that last visit if I’d thought about getting a hip replacement.  I half laughed and said I might get it someday, but when I do we’d have to replace the whole femur because of the bone tumor that caused all this trouble.

It may be time to do that.

Why?  Because I’m actually only 53 years along.  If I do get a hip/femur replacement, I would have to do physical therapy, and then I’d be free – FREE – to start exercising in earnest again.  Keep in mind – before the tumor I was a candidate for the US Army’s Special Forces training.  A hip replacement before this summer could mean that I’m able to start training for a half-marathon by the time I’m 55.  I can almost get excited just thinking about it.  If I also get the migraine headaches under control, I might even be able to go back to work, part-time at least.

It is something tempting to think about.  Especially since I just had a short phone call with the Veteran’s Choice program, and they are setting me up with an appointment for a primary care doctor HERE IN TOWN.

More car repairs . . .

though, I should make note that this is not an emergency action.  When we had the starter replaced (and the oil leaks repaired) last week, the service station did an exam of the car while they had it, and found that the timing belt was worn and cracked.  Though not threatening an immediate failure, it was still likely to fail sometime in the next 6 months to a year.  That isn’t really surprising, on a car that is almost 19 years old.  So, we went and filed our taxes, and we’re applying the tax refund to getting the work done, using the credit card to cover the bill until the refund arrives.

Ironically, the car will now be more reliable than it was when we bought it.