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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

When Nursery Songs Go Bad

spider!  eek!
OK, kids! Pick up your kazoos and toot along with me!
"Itsy-bitsy spider crawled up my leg and bit the crap out of me ..."

Wait. That doesn't sound quite right, does it? But it's my story, so I get to tell it the way I want to.

Yesterday Jezebel and I walked out to the barn, and then we sat on the porch for a while watching the hummingbirds. After I'd been back in the house for an hour or so I saw the bites forming on my legs. Seven of them. Seven tiny bites turning into hot, red flashpoints with craters in the middle.

If there's anything I hate worse than mosquito bites it's spider bites. They swell almost instantly, they seep, they take weeks to heal, and they're agonizingly itchy. I've been slathering them with a prescription cream and now have bandaids over them so my pantlegs and socks don't rub against them.

I know it's an allergic reaction to the saliva injected (histamines and anti-coagulants abound). I've always had a degree of reaction but it's gotten much worse the last 2 summers with my use of Nexavar. Is it something to do with the anti-coagulants, given Nexavar's primary action on bloodflow? I guess I'll ask Dr G if he has an opinion on this.

In the meantime I'm in long pants - between the spiders and the mosquitoes my legs look bullet-riddled. Thank goodness I gave up bikinis and miniskirts a long time ago!

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Hundreds of Channels, Nothing to Watch

Early yesterday morning I was awake, flipping channels, and stumbled on an AFL Premiership match between Collingwood and Sydney. I love Australian rules football - no sissy pads and no timeouts, just prime athletes moving quickly and gracefully downfield; the most common on-field talk you hear is "Play on!" It's fast moving and demanding. I've long been surprised that it hasn't garnered much support here, so I'm thrilled when I find a telecast.

Insomnia always has been part of my life, and that tendency has become more and more pronounced with RCC and my medications. So one would think cable (or in our case DishTV) must have a lot to offer in the wee hours, right? I suppose it does - if you like sports, or movies, or infomercials. I do like sports but there's a limit to my endurance. I do like movies but I'm rather finicky about what I watch. Infomercials are a plague and pestilence, in my opinion.

I was lucky in 2000 - recovery from my nephrectomy coincided with the Olympics in Australia, so I got to entertain myself with a great deal of live broadcasts. Given the time difference and the "prime time" broadcast mentality I saw lots of the "offbeat" sports (3-day eventing, archery, sculling). Maybe it's just me, but I've enjoyed seeing those "offbeat" sports since the days of ABC's Wide World of Sports, which introduced many of us to sports" from around the globe" we'd never heard of.

I generally keep myself occupied with knitting or reading when I'm awake so as not to disturb Saint H. I don't often venture into the land of pre-dawn channel surfing but I'm always stunned by how little there is to watch. And if I feel that way on my occasional forays, how on earth does someone working third shift feel?


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Little or Nothing

Not much has been written, as not much has happened recently. We travelled to Lake Erie for a few days. No fishing, but a tour of North Bass Island in the Lake Erie Islands and a Toledo Mud Hens game passed the time nicely. And last weekend I indulged in the repeating-but-not-annual trip to the Michigan Fiber Festival, reveling once again in the company of knitters.

We've gone back to the tropics, so to speak - today's weather hot and humid, putting me in mind of rain forests in "B" movies from the 50s. We have fewer trees but the overall effect is probably what the producers wanted to instill. We escaped the flooding rains that neighboring counties have endured this week; not sure how that worked out, but I'm grateful we received "only" 3.75" of rain as opposed to 9.35" on Tuesday. Our land is glacial tilth plain, with a 5' slope from one end of the property to the other. In the midst of this relatively flat land, any rise is noticeable, and we are definitely on higher ground than our neighbors. I'm still going to call about flood insurance.

I've been on the 3/8 dose of Nexavar for about a week, and note increased fatigue and some tendency to irritation on my feet. So far no full-fledged blistering, but there seems to be a level of tenderness that wasn't there at the lower dose. I'll be keeping watch on this.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Is It The Weather, Or Is It Just Me?

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I abhor hot, humid weather. My brain goes on autopilot, my head aches, my joints swell, and I'm just not pleasant to be around. Blogger Farmgirl says it all when she states in a quiet rant, "In my opinion, if you're not moving, you shouldn't be sweating profusely."

I am reminded of an incident from grade school, when a friend's cousins came from Arizona to visit her in our hometown in west-central Indiana. It was the height of summer, of course. The youngest cousin grew more and more quiet as the visit progressed; his father finally asked if he was okay. The child burst into tears, and sobbed, "I'm going to die!" He had never before had sweat stand on his skin ...

Exulting over another birthday doesn't diminish the fact that I often feel quite old these days, between the weather and the medications. I had been experimenting (with Dr G's blessing) with Nexavar dosages, and had reached a half dose last week. Sorry to say that yesterday my left big toe reacted with tingling and the beginnings of the old familiar blister ridge, and the joint of my left thumb has begun to thicken and blister. Therefore I'm once again off the medication. Next week I'll begin again at a quarter dose, and then build up to 3/8 dose and see how long I can maintain it.

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