Hot Air: The Personal & The Political

So, that was the weekend that was.

More dips and rises than this thing:


Steel Dragon 2000: Longest Roller Coaster In The World

Friday Late AM, Early PM

I’d figured I’d be lucky: I was supposed to be anesthetized during President Gag’s inauguration. I was scheduled for surgery to remove the metal drug port from my chest at 11:30am. Told to report to the surgery center at 10:30. Perfect. I could pretend, for a few hours at least, that the American electorate hadn’t really lost its freaking mind a little more than two months ago and selected a carnival barker/con man as leader of the “free” world.

I was jittery, though, because I’m burning out on doctors, hospitals, procedures, tests, exams, fingers digging into my neck and in various orifices, needles, blood spills, insurance forms, grillings on my medical history, and so on — the price one pays for having a catastrophic malady in the “greatest health care system in the world.”

The surgery itself doesn’t freak me — it’s the IV set-up beforehand. See, my veins are recalcitrant little buggers, hard to find and even when they pop out they tend to collapse as soon as the nurse jabs her/his 18-gauge with cannula attached under my skin. And every time I go in for a procedure, someone’s giving me the third degree on my right while the IV nurse is jabbing and digging on the left. I always have to tell the inquisitor to chill while I watch the IV nurse go hunting because…, well, just because I have to watch the needle go in. It’s a superstition.

Anyway, my palms go sweaty, my heart races, and I get shaky nervous. And I haven’t mentioned the stick-pain, have I? I’m told my skin is tough. The needle’s supposed to slide in nicely when the jabber finally finds a cooperative blood vessel but no — s/he has to push it in, hard, most often in the top of the hand. Yeeow.

Nevertheless, I consoled myself I’d be thankfully unconscious while L’il Duce would be swearing on the Bible his oath to honor and defend the rights of billionaires to become bigger billionaires.

Natch, the first thing I hear when I walk into the surgery center is the TV in the waiting room, blaring the pre-game show. I have to resist a tiny impulse to flee. I endure hearing about what Melanoma would be wearing and then, after being called in to the pre-op bay, the obligatory IV ordeal.

I’m supposed to be doped with something called Versed — generic name: Midazolam — a benzodiazepine. Versed puts the patient to sleep and it prohibits the formation of memories, meaning you can shoot me with a gun and since, a micro-second later, I have no memory of it, it essentially didn’t happen. Cool. It’s the same dope used for colonoscopies and gastro-endoscopies, both of which I’ve had and every time I was transported to general anesthetic dreamland. One minute I’m talking to the nurses and techs in the OR and the next, after the blink of an eye, I’m asking when they’re going to start and I’m being told I’m in the recovery room, the procedure’s done. Oh, and I was supposed to be pre-doped with Fentanyl, a opioid 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

So, I’m in the OR, being betadined and draped. I’m joshing with the scrubs and one of them says, “Here’s the doctor.” I wish him good luck and he says “I don’t need it; President Trump needs it now.”

Gee thanks, pal. Anything else you want to bring up to depress me?

The Drug Nurse: “Now?”

The Doc: “Okay.”

The Drug Nurse: “Two CCs?”

The Doc: “Go ahead.”

I settle in for my trip to oblivion. I wait. And wait. I feel the weight of the doctor pressing against my side. He says, “Get ready for a stick and a burn.” I say, “Alright.” It hits me: I’m not supposed to hear that.

Me: “What are you doing now?”

The Doc: “I’m numbing the area around the incision.”

Me: “Oh.”

Then, as promised, the stick and the burn as he injects me with topical anesthetic. My legs kick a little.

Me: “Ouch.”

The Doc: “Is it too much for you?”

Me: “I’m not crying yet.”

Then I sense him doing some stuff around where the incision’s supposed to be. I conclude he’s slicing me open.

Me: “Uh, guys, I’m still here.”

The Doc: “Does it hurt?”

Me: “I’m not screaming, am I?”

The Doc: “Okay, let us know if you feel like screaming.”

At this point I realize I ain’t going to sleep. Nor am I forgetting everything immediately. My eyes wide, all I can see is a blue diffuse light filtering through the surgical drapes. The doctor cuts the sutures holding the port reservoir to my upper rib cage. Then he snakes the thin 9-inch hose out of my subclavian artery. It’s a routine procedure, albeit dicey because he’s yanking and tugging on a major vein into the heart. All I can feel are his weight against me and his ministrations over and in the gaping hole in my chest. I’m thinking: I should be having a nervous breakdown. But I’m not. The drugs are good for something, at least.

Minutes later, the drapes are pulled off my face. “That’s that,” the doc says. And like that, I’m wheeled into the recovery room.

Here’s the port that was taken out of me:


Smart Port® by AngioDynamics

End result? The removal of my port is the last step in cancer treatment so, for all intents and purposes, I’m not a cancer patient anymore. Yahoo! Plus, I get a good story out of it.


The Loved One and I celebrate with a buffet at Siam House. I eat like a horse and enjoy pretty much everything. My taste buds have been devastated by chemotherapy but, on occasion, they seem to spring back to life. Today’s one of those days.

After two plates-full of grub, I realize I feel as though I’m going to pass out. I’m not supposed to drive, drink alcohol, sign contracts, or otherwise participate in normal life for 24 hours after my Versed and Fentanyl cocktail.

We go home and I fall asleep and don’t wake up until the next morning.

Saturday AM

Still foggy, I mess around on my computer. I’d downloaded some stuff the previous few days and decide today to clean out my download folder. Nothing to it, normally. Today’s not normal.

Rather than move my Download Files to the trash, I inadvertently move All Files there. I don’t realize my mistake until after clicking Okay in the Are you sure you want to permanently erase the items in the Trash? dialogue box.

Watching the individual files being disappeared into eternity, I think, Hey! Oh, Jesus H. Christ, I don’t want that trashed!

And that!

And that!

There’s no way to stop the trashing process except to cold quit the computer. I do so. When I restart it, my desktop is empty as is my home folder. Everything’s in the trash, including plenty of stuff I haven’t backed up yet. Thankfully, there were so many files in the trash that the process only disappeared a precious few of them. I have no idea what they are. I’ll learn what they are at some time in the future when I need them

As for the rest of the files, some 1500 of them, I move them from trash to the desktop. Of course, they’ve all been extracted from folders so I have to spend the next five or six hours reorganizing them.

The Loved One is having a better time of it as she’s preparing to drive up to Indianapolis for the Women’s March there. She’s wearing the Pink Pussy Hat Charlotte Zietlow gave me to give to her Thursday. She’s traveling with her pal Les and a work buddy. She’s asked if I’d wanted to come with. “You know, men are marching too,” she’d said.

I can’t go. I’m doing my part by working my colleague Susie’s shift at the Book Corner so she can bus it down to Washington for the big event.

Saturday PM

The numbers are in: The Women’s March, collectively in cities across the nation, is said to be the single biggest protest in US history. Crowd estimates:

  • Atlanta: 60,000
  • Boston: 250,000
  • Chicago: 250,000
  • Denver: 200,000
  • Los Angeles: 200,000-750,000
  • Madison, Wisconsin: 100,000
  • New York: 200,000-500,000
  • Nashville, Tennessee: 20,000
  • Oakland: 60,000
  • Philadelphia: 50,000
  • Pittsburgh: 20,000
  • St. Paul, Minnesota: 60,000
  • Washington: 500,000

Dang, mang. Sadly, Indy’s rally drew only 4500. Sigh, Indiana. Still, The Loved One and crew were there:

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And, to put a perverse exclamation mark on it all, Indiana State Senator  and certifiable jagoff Jack E. Sandlin posted the following on social media:

In one day, Trump got more fat women out walking than Michelle Obama did in eight years.

Now, let’s get those numbers out to the polls and toss bastards like him out of office at the very first opportunity. Then all the Saturday crowds won’t have been for naught.


Sunday AM

How did I miss this? Astronaut Gene Cernan, the last human being to step foot on the moon, died last week.

Cernan grew up in west suburban Chicagoland. Not to be outdone, Lawrence County, just south of us in Bloomington, was home to Gus Grissom and two other guys who flew on Space Shuttle missions.

Sunday Afternoon

The nurses in the recovery room Friday told me the doctor had prescribed some powerful pain meds for me. As usual, I declined them. Hey, I’m a toughie, dig?

I put up a ceiling fan and light in the guest bedroom. I hardly give my glued-up incision a thought. Most shocking of all, I don’t blow up the house or fry myself.

A thought: Isn’t it cool that we don’t have to mess with stitches or staples after surgery anymore? Skin glue is in the Cyanoacrylate adhesive family that includes Krazy Glue™. Veterinarians began using the medical-grade variation on the broken bones of pet pooches and the like in the early 1970s. Gradually, its use was introduced in human medicine. Over time, researchers found gluing wounds closed was safer than suturing them, with fewer incidences of infection and reduced scarring.

Remember this TV commercial from the late 1970s and early ’80s?

Sunday Evening

On the computer, looking up the score of the Packers-Falcons game. Not that I care a fig about football but I have a soft spot for the Green Bay Packers of The Loved One’s home state. They got trounced.

While surfing, I get a notification from iCloud that I should back up my desktop. Bah, what do I care for iCloud? I decline. The dialogue box says something on the order of I can’t quit iCloud unless I back up my desktop. I look for the Leave Me The Fuck Alone button. Finding none, I select Cancel.


No. Just No.

Nope. Can’t cancel. iCloud repeats itself: I can’t leave it unless I back up my desktop. So I start the backup process. Then I decide, screw it, so I cancel the operation.

My entire desktop disappears once again. I shriek even more shrilly than when I’d made my files almost disappear on Saturday morning. The Loved One wonders if I’d suffered a heart attack. Me? I figure I’m in for a nervous breakdown, only I’m not doped up on Versed or Fentanyl to ward it off.

Bang, I get on the phone to the Apple help geeks. The rep walks me through the procedure to retrieve everything I thought I’d lost. After long minutes, we find all my lost files.

The Rep: “You’ll have to re-organize your desktop.”

Me: “That’s nothing. You saved me from a nervous breakdown.”

The Rep: “We don’t want you to have a nervous breakdown.”

And how was your weekend?

One thought on “Hot Air: The Personal & The Political

  1. George Bull says:

    You might well be the first journalist de-ported during the Trump administration.

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