Missed deadline

I'm still writing the paper; this will probably go on until Christmas, or maybe New Years. The due date, last Thursday, was for the students getting a grade. Since I will get no grade it doesn't really matter. I spoke to my professor and she will read the paper whenever. She's very good to me.

The tooth extraction was relatively trivial. I'm healing well. But it had all kinds of other implications. I've been on an antibiotic for four weeks. That's a killer all by itself. The antibiotic affects the blood thinner I take. I don't remember how many blood tests I've had to endure, or how many more until it all gets straightened out. Nothing is ever simple these days.

I've been wanting to tell about Eli. He and Charna and his gf drove in from Chicago for Thanksgiving. We had a lovely dinner, then, Friday morning, Eli and gf, Adele, drove to her home where her sister would be coming out at a cotillion on Friday night. Eli and Adele had to dress for the party; they looked beautiful. Adele could wear rags and look beautiful. My grandson, of the torn jeans (rags) wore white tie and tails. Amazing how well he cleans up.

This kind of society stuff is way beyond anything I was ever exposed to. My most interesting foray into high society came when we went to a wedding (or party, I don't remember) at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. We had Aunt Ev (one of my ex's wealthier relatives) with us in our somewhat beat up VW beetle. The doorman wanted to ignore us, but she got out of the car in her sable (really) jacket and told him to take the car from us. He did. It was probably forty years ago, but I still remember it vividly and with pleasure.

Back to the paper. I'm about half finished. It's hard for me to know when to stop doing research. Makes the whole thing longer.


Some days are good

Some are not. That seems to happen more and more as I get older. I heard Yo Yo Ma on Studio 360 this morning talking about his cello. He said humidity is different every day; cellos and human bodies are different every day. I really understand that.

Today is supposed to be the last great day we will have for awhile. It's truly beautiful out: sunshine, blue skies, not too warm. I've been walking for three and a half hours. First stop–health club. Since I faded out Wednesday, I've been more careful. Went again on Saturday but stopped after treadmill and rowing. I was feeling OK; just didn't feel like pushing it. Finished the workout this morning then kept walking. Took a book back to the library, went to Whole Foods for lunch, browsed in Borders, stopped for chocolate ice cream on Highland Avenue, then went to the Orchid Show in Mellon Park, finally back home. Altogether, I walked about four miles. I'm tired, my feet hurt but otherwise I'm fine. It's a great day.

Alice and Mage: I have discussed with the doctor the problem of determining how sick I am. Unfortunately, outside of collapsing or passing out, there are no black and white symptoms. So, it remains a matter of my judgment.

Exercise is I

Since my cardio-rehab program ended I've been diligent about going to the health club three days a week. (that's been one whole week) Yesterday was a beautiful day; I was feeling good; I went and did my thing, for a while. I began with 20 minutes on the treadmill. I was feeling so good I went a little faster than usual and slightly increased the incline. Great!

Then I got on the rowing machine and my arms and legs turned to rubber. I don't like the rowing machine; I find it the most difficult of all the exercises. So, deciding my mind was trying to get me to play hookey, I kept on for my usual ten minutes. Then I sat there. It's not particularly comfortable but I didn't even try to get up for several minutes. Finally, I got up and sat on the bicycle seat next to the rowing machine–slightly more comfortable. Eventually I made my way to the lounge and sat on the sofa for a long time. I'm not sure what was going on: possibly low blood pressure. After what seemed like a long rest I got up and went home, took a nap then finally got to most of the other things on the schedule, but I never did feel good.

This morning, feeling good again, I finished my workout at the club. I'm still not sure how bad things have to get before I ask for help. I would have been very annoyed with myself if I had gone to the hospital yesterday. What do I have to feel before I make that decision?

Start! Heart Walk

Sorry I've been so slow about this, Mage, but I was very tired afterward and also had some other work I had promised to do on Friday, then promptly forgot.

So, here it is: The event was held at Heinz Field, home of the Steelers. This is the first time I've ever been there.

Mostly it was held in the parking lot and the area near one of the entrances. They let us go in to what is known as the Great Hall, but the stands and the field were securely locked up.


Vendors with heart related products had booths, along with a few hospital groups. There are only a few hospitals around here. Most of them are UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). 


I had the feeling most of the people attending had some kind of relationship with the vendors or the hospitals. I don't think the American Heart Association did a very good job of publicizing the event. They were able to use the stadium because this was the Steeler's bye week. Every news broadcast talked about the Steelers not playing this weekend; it seems to me they could have mentioned the Heart Walk in connection with it.

The event began at 10 am with lots of milling around and opportunities to visit vendors. Nothing really happened until 11.



That's the Steeler's mascot, Steely McBeam, scaring a small child.

Then there was a half hour of speeches and some warm up stuff geared to thin, healthy people of which there weren't too many around. Finally, the walk began, about 11:30.

I never found my cardio-rehab people, Robin was otherwise occupied, and I never saw a single person I knew. So I walked alone among hundreds of people.



It was a nice walk; half of it was on a pleasant trail next to the Allegheny River. But the day was unseasonably hot. It would have been much better if they had walked at 10 and had the speeches afterward. I completed the entire 3 miles, but the heat knocked me out.


This is a survivors hat that was given to me for surviving heart disease. I should have gotten another one for surviving the walk. My idea of a survivor is someone who had gone through the event and lives to tell about it. I think I've only survived the skirmishes; the battle won't be over until the afib wins.


Thank you again, Mage and Robin, for helping me raise money for the event. If anyone else wants to contribute, it will count towards my goal for the next 30 days. I dedicated my walk to Arvin's memory; it would be nice if I could reach my goal in his memory.

More health stuff

I've decided to do the American Heart Association's Heart Walk next Sunday. I'll be walking 3.1 miles, a little more than usual, but not impossible. Since I've been doing the cardio rehab I hear about all these opportunities to contribute. The rehab is holding a raffle with some great goodies in it: an iPad, a Wii and some other stuff. Needless to say, I bought lots of raffle tickets. I made a contribution to the AHA in memory of my brother who suffered from heart disease most of his life, including having 2 bypass surgeries. I've been lucky: just a stent and a pacemaker.

If you'd like to sponsor me, family, just click on the "Sponsor Me" button on the badge to the right. You might also come and walk with me.

Labor day labors

It's been a beautiful weekend, the best one all summer–sunshine, cool breezes. I walked about a mile on Saturday, then two and a half on Sunday. This morning I went back to my health club to work out. Rehab was closed, so you can tell how dedicated I am. Unfortunately, my afib kicked in; I was wiped out all afternoon, never got out to another beautiful day. I feel better this evening after taking a long nap. 

I'm so inspired by the Japanese art class I printed out all the readings and I'm slogging my way through them. Most of it is way over my head. I vaguely remember something about Hegel from college, but never read any Foucault or the other two guys. The class is about space in Asian art. I understand a lot about space in art, but I"m not at all sure about the readings. I'm anxious to get to the class tomorrow, find out if anyone else understands this stuff.

After making several flag books and a few single page books I'm back to work on my garden book. I think I've got about 250 pages already, mostly photos. I'm thinking about another trip to Japan, probably April or May. I don't know how this will work with my afib or all the blood tests, but I've got a little time to work on it.

This week is Rosh Hashanah. I wish you all a happy, healthy, peaceful new year.

Cardio rehab

Much to my amazement I'm really enjoying the rehab three days a week. I look forward to going, instead of having those interminable arguments with myself about getting over to Club One. Not that Club One is bad. The rehab is like have a personal trainer, but one that monitors your heart, not just the way  you do your exercises. I think I like all that attention. Also, I work harder. Nothing like being accountable to someone.

It's interesting to speculate about why some of those people are there, especially the thin ones. After a lifetime of being told that fat will kill you I see as many skinny people there as fat ones. Did they have heart attacks, or just stents. I'll probably never know, but I have to conclude that being thin is no guarantee of anything. And even though I never returned to the dietitian, I've lost about 5 pounds.

Saturday I went on an Osher trip to Meadowcroft Rockshelter. The rockshelter is a fascinating archaeological dig documenting the oldest inhabited site in the new world. We were fortunate to hear a lecture by Dr. James Adovasio, the original excavator of the site. You can read a little about the controversy he generated at the link above.

Here is a picture of me with Dr. Adovasio, taken by Pat, our Osher program assistant. I told her I thought he looked like he was in pain. She replied that he was probably wishing I was 50 years younger.


Cardio update

Wearing the monitor, last Thursday, nothing happened until early Friday morning. Then I was back in afib for the day, but it was never as bad as Wednesday had been. I went back to rehab and exercised in spite of the flutter. When I woke up Saturday morning, still fluttering, or fibbing as they call it, I took the old dose of my meds. By noon I was feeling good and have been fine ever since, even though I immediately went back to the reduced dose. I tried to ask the doctor about it, but his staff just told me to do what he had said and wait to hear from them. (Remember, he has the personality of a drill sergeant.)

I've been waiting all week; in fact, I'd pretty much given up. Since I was feeling good, I didn't care. Today was the big day–they finally called, not with an answer, but an order to come in again, possibly on June 29. Obviously, this is not an emergency. I made the appointment for July 6. I have a busy three weeks coming up and I won't let them spoil it.

Next week I'm taking that book making workshop at the Society for Contemporary Craft. Then the next day, Saturday, I'm driving to Chicago then on to Door County for another art camp. Back to Chicago the next week to visit with friends and relatives and attend a nephew's wedding. I'll get back here July 5. But I promise I'll post again before that.

Cardio rehab

My second session of cardio rehab ended abruptly when the monitor showed I was in afib. This is a nasty problem I've been trying to ignore; yesterday's event made that impossible; also impossible for me to do anything useful all day.

I've been taking a beta blocker to control the afib, but beta blockers are also used for high blood pressure, not one of my problems. My pressure got too low and last week the Dr. told me to cut the dose in half. That may have been what caused my bad day. I'm going back to the doc this morning to get a Holter monitor. The rehab center sent him a printout, but he likes his own tests. I'll talk to him about the meds.

I'm much better today, although not entirely symptom free. I wear the monitor until tomorrow morning, return it and try cardio rehab again.

Walking again

This morning, Ivetta and I went walking in Frick Park. This is the first time I've been there since last fall; many things have changed. One section along the Homewood Trail was shockingly bare and disturbing looking. Frick Park is a steep valley with wooded hillsides with minimal management, primarily keeping trails cleared and walkable, so this huge dug up area was a terrible surprise. I later found out it was cleared of diseased oak trees in hopes of keeping the disease from spreading.

My usual walk in Frick Park covers about three miles. I made it a little shorter this time, about 2.5 miles, and was pleased to find I was able to climb the hill (downhill in, uphill out) with less trouble than before. However, I found the walk exhausting and took a long nap after I got home. 

Pictures tomorrow.