Month: October 2016

Sidney, the lioness….

The Little Rock Zoo lost its oldest residing lioness, a 22-year old lioness named Sidney this past weekend when the lioness had to be euthanized for health reasons. Admittedly I had no long running personal ties with this lioness although on my last trip to the Little Rock Zoo in 2006 on a photographing adventure of sorts, I do definitely recall spending quite a bit of time at Sidney’s enclosure trying to get a nice photograph of her.

The press release regarding the death of Sidney read as follows….

The Little Rock Zoo has announced the death of 22-year-old lioness Sidney.

Zoo veterinarian Sarah Kline says the animal was euthanized Sunday after a corneal graft on her eye deteriorated.

Kline says the lion had surgery on her eyes in January and a rupture on her left eye was repaired in September. Kline said bloodwork indicated progressive kidney and liver disease and the decision was made to euthanize rather than put the animal through another surgery to remove the eye.

Sidney was born in 1994 and came to the Little Rock Zoo in 2000 as a donation from Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri.

I was fortunate to capture a fairly nice photograph of Sidney as can be seen below when I was on that photographic adventure back in 2006 which I previously mentioned. Be sure and click on the image to see a much larger version of the photograph….

sidney-the-lioness

It is always saddening to hear of a loss of one of our zoo animals but over the years certainly not unexpected. I’m at least glad in this case that I actually had a reasonably nice photograph of the animal….

More brief notes on getting old at my house….

As I get older and begin to suffer from one affliction or another, I find myself beginning to have to do things (or rather not do things) that I don’t particularly like when it comes keeping the inside of my home as I like. With the affliction of COPD I find that I can, after some 70 years or so, no longer make up my bed without it being a major under taking. And changing the sheets is totally out of the question. I imagine that I never paid much attention to what all went in to changing the sheets on a bed when I was in better shape. But there is a lot of pulling, pushing, lifting, and tugging that goes on during that insignificant household chore. But if you have COPD, it’s like a none-stop six-hour workout at the local gym.

Of course early on in my life my mother was my primary motivation for making up my bed. Then when I went into the military they had made an art out of making up the bed, not to mention the dire straits one would be in if they neglected that artistic chore. I guess it was after the military when I was living alone did I realize just how indoctrinated I had become. Now making the bed was a bit of a household obsession and my life was in a bit of a tilt if my bed wasn’t made up and just so-so.

And so we fast-forward some 45 years or so from that point and here we are in a virtual nightmare experiencing bed-lam having to do with an unmade bed every morning!! I am about four days into a new routine which involves little to nothing as relates to now the making of my bed. Gently, very gently pull the bedspread up covering the bed like your covering a dead body… then you leave the room. Bed made (Well sorta, but not really)!

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And while were on the subject, I’ll turn my attention to the kitchen where I have had to deal with yet other issues. I do a majority of my cooking in cast iron which can be quite heavy. Bending over to get it out of the cabinet just under the stove top and lifting it up onto the stove I found was becoming quite the taxing chore. Then I realized that storing such cooking necessities on the stove top in lieu of underneath the stove top in a cabinet would furnish me some relief.

stove-top-with-skillets

So now I find as an elder that not only do I have to deal with the health issues that have come my way but my organized and otherwise well kept home must suffer along with a measure of my pride. I suppose there are yet other surprises I will have yet to encounter before I find myself leaving for Cemeteryville. Oh, for the joy of it all… 🙁

All appliances aren’t just for the kitchen….

I spent pretty much my whole life referring to appliances as things such as refrigerators, washing machines or stoves. Now at the ripe old age of 74 there are yet even more appliances that one may come to know. They fall into a new category of appliances I find myself completely unfamiliar with, in my case most recently it has been a nebulizer and an oxygen concentrator. These are not things I recall being mentioned on any of my favorite television cooking shows. No… these are appliances that I have been introduced to me compliments of my COPD and are more commonly known as medical appliances.

Last Thursday, based on an order submitted by my pulmonary doctor to Alliance Home Care, a nebulizer was delivered to my home for daily to include a specific type of medication. Turns out this is a fairly common medical appliance especially well known among Asthma sufferers but completely unknown to me. When I was a kid I remember the old room vaporizers but this one is of the small hand-held variety it seems.

This device, which dispenses your required medication in a mist form to be inhaled, consists of a small compressor, hand-held dispenser & medication container, a mouthpiece and a length of plastic tubing for connecting to the compressor. The compressor is quite small at approximately 8″ wide, some 5″ deep and about 4″ tall.

nebulizer-combo-picture

My next new medical appliance which follows the nebulizer was just delivered yesterday afternoon. Once again I was called by Alliance Home Care and they were notifying me that my pulmonary doctor wanted me start using oxygen at night while I was sleeping so they needed to bring by some additional equipment. Well based on what I thought I knew about that equipment, I assumed I was going to get some sort of oxygen tank mounted on a cart with all sorts of trailing tubes, some of which would be emitting some sort of cold mist looking similar to a mini-rocket launch platform.

everflo-q-oxygen-concentrator-5-liter-308Heh, heh… well what they show up with is this small unit as shown just to the left that looks like a small piece of luggage similar to something you would see being pulled around an airport. And it doesn’t hold oxygen and dispense it as needed. No, the damn thing ‘makes’ or more correctly stated, extracts the oxygen already in the room, concentrates it and dispenses it through tubing and the nose piece which I am more familiar with. The concentrated oxygen is then breathed into your system.

Now, admittedly there was a little more dread for me with regard to this appliance and its use. Especially since it was to be used while I was sleeping. For me I saw the first challenge as being able to sleep with a foreign object stuck in my nose. And surely I have to sleep totally on my back, otherwise I would be waking up at some point in the night tangled in an array of plastic tubing with  no idea as to where the nose piece part is anymore. And of course there was a noise I would have to get use to although sometimes mundane, constant noises are a welcome by many sleepers since it drowns out most extraneous noises. Even without this new noise maker, I already run a small fan in my room exactly for that purpose every night.

Well, much to my pleasant surprise, I experienced nothing even close to that last night as I pursued my first night sleeping with the device. Even when I initially put in the nose piece and pulled the tubing around and behind the ears did I hardly even notice it. As far as sleeping I was able to turn to either side at any time I desired and within no time at all lost all realization that the tubing was there nor did the tubing at any point tangle up with me or anything else. Ended up getting my normal full night of rest… 🙂

And so the world goes on for a time longer. I’m reasonably sure these new medical appliances will not be the last but who knows. As they say… growing old is not for wimps! 🙁

Celebrity Encounters of the Third Kind….

dizzy-dean-3I sat and chatted with none other than Dizzy Dean on a flight from Dallas International to Adams Field in Little Rock in early 1967, passed little old Nick Adams, nick_adams-the-rebel-1959-2“The Rebel” in the Honolulu International Airport while changing planes in Hawaii in late 1965 and this past Monday shared my eye doctor’s waiting area with none other the NASCAR driver Mark Martin.

It’s a bit uncanny how you see these celebrity types a hundred times on television and yet when you actually stand in the presence of one you just can’t seem to make up your mind whether it’s the celebrity they resemble or just another clone of the human race. When I first saw Dizzy Dean I finally concluded he was the Governor of Arkansas and was on the plane sitting next to him before someone came by and addressed him as Mr. Dean. Nick Adams is the only one I got right off. As far as Mark Martin, for almost half an hour I sat in that waiting room and tried to decide if it was or was not the Mark Martin of NASCAR fame.

mark-martin-combo-01

At one point he got up from his chair and went outside to take a call on his cell phone. Got a good look at him at that point but he looked to skinny and small to fit my preconceived picture of him. It really wasn’t until one of the nurses came into the waiting room and called, “Mr. Martin” that I assured myself that was really him. Then as he disappeared down the hallway a couple of other men who were sitting closer to him began jabbering away at the fact it was Mark Martin.

As crowded as the waiting room was at that time I was somewhat amazed that no one had spoken to him at all. When there is a celebrity in the vicinity usually at least one person is bold enough to approach them but not the case here.

I did get a chuckle about how he got called out of the waiting room by the nurse. She called out “Mr. Martin” in his case. When any of the other patients were called they were simply addressed by their last names with no “Ms.” or “Mr.” The eye clinic personnel certainly were aware of the elephant in the room. 🙂

It should be noted that seeing Mark Martin in Little Rock should not be that big of a surprise at all given the fact that he lives in a small town northeast of Little Rock. Especially if he is coming to a well-known medical facility and eye clinic in Little Rock.

Return of the Nazi Zombies….

If you are by any measure a “PC gamer” then you are quite aware of the jeopardy purchasing a new computer can create regarding your current collection of PC games. Unfortunately I have found myself in that situation several times over the past couple of decades.

As with any type of computer software, a new computer with an updated or new operating system can often present new computer protocol and the software will not function properly or at all if uploaded to the new computer. Well, once again after purchasing my current computer one of my favorite games would not load properly on my computer.

call-of-duty-world-at-war-01The name of the primary game, “Call of Duty – World at War”, like so many computer games had a special bonus ‘addon’ game that you got once you completed all the levels of the Call of Duty main game itself. That game was titled “Nazi Zombies” and the game found itself becoming quite popular among gamers. It was an arcade game of sorts with almost unlimited levels giving you a number of choices of weapons during game play to fight off the sometimes hoards of zombies licking at your heels.

But after a number of tries in getting the game installed on my new computer with no success I finally had to relent, assuming the game would no longer be available to me. So I put it back in its case and stuck it in a drawer which contained many other games and software programs that would no longer function on a newer computer. That was all some two years ago!

Then recently by chance I came across information on the Internet regarding the game and its installation that discussed the exact same issue I was having loading the game. It gave a simple solution as how to resolve the issue so I dug the game from the “dead pool” drawer and walla… within a few minutes my game was functioning in all its mayhem and glory.

In this game you find yourself in an old war torn two story building and all the windows have been boarded up to protect anyone inside from the Nazi zombies roaming the countryside. When the zombies accost the building looking for you they begin by tearing the old boards off the windows and if you can’t stop them there they crawl thru the windows and they come after you with nothing between them and you but your weapon.

So as far as those Nazi zombies go, well they’re on the loose once again and can be seen here in a few of the games screen shots shown below, quick to pick up my trail and lumber toward me sending me to my demise. And as usual, it didn’t seem to take them very long to accomplish their goal much to my gaming disappointment. If you have a thing for zombies be sure and click on the screen shots below for a much larger image….

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Currently Level 4 is the highest level I have reached so far. Web chatter notes that Levels 1-5 are normally for newbies while Levels 6-10 are for more accomplished players. It’s my understanding that the number of levels within the game is unlimited. Most have trouble surviving 10 and as noted in some information from the web, Levels 40 to 60 have been achieved but that’s pretty much the current limit by the most prolific of the zombie gamers.

No, I will never be one of those prolific gamers and it is pretty much a given that at my age it will never take those mean old zombies long to send me to Cemeteryville. But it is kinda a fun game…. 🙂

I had a sleepover night before last….

Well no, it wasn’t as though I ‘scored’ as they often say. Not to say some 74 year old’s aren’t up to such things but alas, that’s one group I cannot attest to being a part of.

No, my sleepover pal was a ‘Wrist-Oximeter” which was prescribed by my new pulmonary doctor and delivered by “Alliance Home Care Equipment”. It is a device that is worn on the wrist as shown in the photo below with a monitoring device attached to your index finger that monitors primarily your oxygen saturation level along with your pulse. Although the device can be worn at any time, I was required to wear mine one night, overnight, to monitor my oxygen levels while sleeping.

wrist-oximeter

Alliance home care picked the device back up yesterday morning, took it back to their office where they downloaded the information gathered by the oximeter and emailed the data to the doctor for her review. So now I guess I just wait for a call from the doctor or one of her nurses with the results with regard to any further followup required.

Took delivery of a ‘nebulizer’ this past evening again delivered by Alliance home care. This is a device normally used to treat asthma patients as I understand it so we will see what that is all about in the next day or two I suppose. Will see if that turns out to be a greater challenge than the wrist-oximeter…. 😕

Pulmonologist or bust….

female-doctor-looking-at-x-rayWell tomorrow will be my first visit with a pulmonary doctor. My primary care doctor noted to me on my last visit to see him last month that it was time to see a pulmonologist for a more precise evaluation of where I stand with my COPD.

I’m actually looking quite forward to the visit since I hope to get a good evaluation of where I stand ‘stage wise’ with this emphysema. My perception of its progression and an actual evaluation could be at some odds with each other, whether good or bad.

The one thing about this disease when you go to see a doctor, you don’t expect they will prescribe a new medication that will put you on the road to recovery because that can’t happen with a degenerative disease. It seems I go simply for the sole purpose of finding out a more definitive estimate of when the train I’m on will be leaving for Cemeteryville.