The hits keep coming

Today’s my first day off of painkillers in over a week. Oh, how I miss them. Hello, aches and pains. Life is better on painkillers (kidding), though I have to say it is (kidding, I think). Okay, some frankness: I probably could have justified a painkiller or two today. It’s not as if the coughing didn’t hurt – it did.  I just felt I was enjoying life a bit too much in an altered state. So, I stayed normal for the day. Boring.

I was too lazy to shoot my own stash of these. Is it my imagination or do these pills look like breath mints? I tell you, the breath mint companies would sell a lot more of their product if their mints made you feel like these puppies make you feel.

I was too lazy to shoot a picture of my own stash of these. Is it my imagination or do these pills look like breath mints? I tell you, the breath mint companies would sell a lot more of their product if their mints made you feel like these puppies make you feel.

BTW, I have two hernias. One I’ve known about for a long time. It’s a large bulge in the middle of my upper abs and rises like an Alien is ready to rip through my gut when I do a sit up. It’s kind of gross but the doctors in the hospital have said if it doesn’t bother me then let it be. Easy for them to say. They don’t have a creature living inside their stomach.

However, now I notice a bulge from my navel when I cough. So, it’s off to the hernia surgeon next week.

Hmm, broken ribs, a couple of hernias? Winner, winner, chicken dinner – in the hospital. 

It seems to me that one day . . . possibly . . . maybe . . . it could happen . . . I might cough so hard that the upper half of me just explodes. Boom. Bang. Explosion cough.

One minute I had a midsection, the giant cough happened, then my office walls were covered in blood, mucous, and organs, with a few ribs sticking through the drywall. Watch as my head rolls off my treadmill and is buried in the backyard by one of my Labradors.

And there’s more.

I took another hit recently when I found out the drug study I was supposed to be in got cancelled. Four months of waiting down the “CF sucks” toilet. Flush.

It took my breath away when I found out, and my daughter and wife cried. I think they felt worse than I did. I guess it’s why I never mentioned it on this blog. I kind of expect good things to fall through sometimes and I thought it would be bad luck to talk about it. It didn’t matter in the end.

That’s it for tonight. It’s broken ribs, shingles and hernias week at my house and we’re all celebrating, though clearly I have been celebrating more than anyone else thanks to my pal Norco 5/325. Yeah, baby.

Life is still good.

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1, 2 punch of cystic fibrosis and James Dalton

One of my favorite movies is Road House. Patrick Swayze plays James Dalton, a “cooler,” aka bouncer, or “bar consultant.” When a bar or dance hall needs to clear out the riffraff, he shows up and kicks the sh** out of bad people. If fact, he knows how to rip a man’s throat out with his bare hands – and does.

The end of the 80s and the last of the neon fonts.

The end of the 80s and the last of the neon fonts.

Great movie. Masterpiece.

In one scene, after Swayze’s character is stabbed, he walks into the ER with a thick stack of medical records outlining his long history of injuries, and passes on the pain-killer while the model-hot doctor staples the cut closed. Awesome.

So, I’m pretty much the opposite of this guy, except for the medical paperwork.

Sunday, I broke two ribs, but not in a bar fight, which would have been a 1,000 times more exciting than how I did break them. I fractured them while coughing during a breathing treatment.

I’ve never been shot but I can’t imagine it hurting more than the cough that broke my ribs, or the subsequent coughs that came with blinding, nauseating pain. Luckily, I had an unused bottle of expired Vicodin handy.

After a couple of rough nights of not sleeping well, and not knowing I had broken ribs at that point, I visited the Ortho doc. And even though the half-a-dozen x-rays didn’t show cracked ribs, he told me that I had one. He was half right.

Prescription for healing: pharmacy-fresh painkillers, rest, and Motrin – as much as possible without creating a blood fountain in my lungs.

The next day, not satisfied with the broken rib diagnosis, and thinking it was my intercostals because it hurt in areas other than where the Ortho Dr. thought the break was, I went to my CF doc and he sent me for more X-rays.

The Ortho doc must have purchased his X-ray machine from Craigslist, or in a back alley, because the hospital’s machine showed two broken ribs, numbers 6 & 7, and looking at the film even I could tell they were broken.

But that still didn’t explain the additional rib-cage pain was I having.

The next day, a red bump and blotches that were sensitive to the touch showed up on my lower right side – SHINGLES the clown, where have you been?

F’ing two broken ribs and shingles?

Bar-keep, my good man, mix me a Valtrex & Norco 5/325 cocktail, please. Help myself?  Why thank you very much. I will do just that. 

Yes, once again cystic fibrosis hit me with a 1, 2 punch., and expanded my fat file of medical injuries, hospitalizations and surgeries.

The good news, and this may be painkiller driven, is that I’ve been in a pretty good mood about the whole situation. I laughed when I saw the shingles on my side. Who gets two broken ribs AND shingles at the same time? That’s gotta be kind of rare, huh?

It’s good to be King, even when it’s King of the Idiots.

Oh, and the fun of treatments and making sure I don’t cough too hard – well, it doesn’t get funnier than that.

Some days, I just have to laugh at what cystic fibrosis throws at me. That is until I learn how to rip its throat out.

Yeah, swallow this CF. [Throat ripped out, gagging sound.]

Oh, to be the coolest of all coolers.

Squashed – an excellent family game

I recreated the cube. My daugher, purple, reached the king. I had a red piece on each side. So when she squashed me, my other red piece went to the top next to the repositioning of the king. I then squashed my daughter and took care of my wife shortly after that. BTW, use the yellow mat or a tablecloth to play. We didn't because we like distressing our $100 Craigslist table. But you might not like the result of smashing pawns into the cube on your table.

I recreated the cube. My daugher, purple, reached the king. I had a red piece on each side. So when she squashed me, my other red piece went to the top next to the repositioning of the king. I then squashed my daughter and took care of my wife shortly after that. BTW, use the yellow mat or a tablecloth to play. We didn’t because we like distressing our $100 Craigslist table. But you might not like the result of smashing pawns into the cube on your table.

So there we were at the kitchen table after dinner playing Squashed, my 12-year-old daughter whooping it up and rubbing in the fact she won the first game. I  squashed (pun intended) my tweener’s happiness by winning the second game, leaving my wife 0 and 2. 

Now the object of Squashed is to be the last pawn standing. Simple, or so it seemed the first time we played and each of us took the simplest strategy of racing to the top of the cube to reach the king. Now reaching the king means you get to flip the cube to any side you like and squash other players’ pieces into the center of the cube, never to be seen again – or until the next game.

I realized during the second game that there is strategy beyond racing to the top. It isn’t the only way to play. The key: it helps to plan ahead. Hold that thought for minute. I’ll get back to it.

I’ve already established that my daughter is a terrible winner and loser. Hmm, where did she get that from? my wife likes to ask.

Yeah, okay, she got it from me, which makes for a battle royal each time we play a game.

And the third game of Squashed was a classic battle. My daughter wanted nothing to more than to squash me and win.

She was in good position to do just that, with one pawn left that was much closer to the top than my two pawns. But I grew up playing board games, not video games, and knew it was time to school my daughter in the art of “non-digital gaming.”

Like a compulsive gambler whose horse is 10 lengths ahead with the finish line in sight, my daughter giggled and jumped about, taunting me with her knowledge that she was a sure winner.

I have no problem busting self-esteem in my house when it comes to games. It’s good to learn what defeat tastes like early in life. So, I moved both of my pieces sideways to opposite sides of the cube.

This is an exact quote from my daughter to my wife: “I don’t know what Daddy thinks he’s doing.” That should have been her first clue something was up, but certain victory clouded her tweener mind.

And when she reached the space next to the king, she chose to squash me instead of her mother. Oh, the glee and joy of certain victory in her face when she left me with one piece – one piece which just happened to be next to the new location of the king. You see, when you flip the cube the opposite side comes up and the king gets moved to the top. I planted my pieces on opposite sides so no matter what, one piece would be in the position to squash her on my next turn.

“Daddy can’t do that,” she said to her mother, her certain victory crumbling like a 6-month old chocolate chip cookie. I almost felt bad for her. Ah, not really. I was happier for my own craftiness.

I finished her off, then my wife and became the Squashed King with a 2 and 1 record.

The next morning I rubbed it in and left a note for her on the cube: “You were Squashed.”

So, a high recommendation for the game Squashed. It appears simple the first time you play it, but gets better each time. I got my money’s worth alone during the third game – “I don’t know what Daddy thinks he’s doing.” That’s right, Honey, even I don’t know what I’m doing sometimes, but this time I did. Ha.

Why I haven’t been blogging

Reason #1 for not blogging: Work.

And lots of it lately. 18 days in a row just ended. I used to have the greatest job in the world. My days were filled with creative challenges and writing. The key word is “creative.” Then the recession came and the first to go were the administrative assistants for the department. But the work didn’t leave with them. It flowed to the rest of us and we started wearing two hats, and in the process my job went from creative work to administrative chores. And, as the admin work has stayed with us and increased, my need for a creative outlet moved to other areas – like woodworking and upcycling furniture.

I’m getting better at woodworking. The number of mistakes I make during a project is going down. For the door in the picture, I used bird’s-eye maple and walnut on this door and finished with 7 coats of Waterlox Tung oil. I started with raw pieces of wood and cut and sanded it all myself. I learned a lot of lessons in the process but I’m happy overall with how it turned out.

You can never, I repeat, never, have enough clamps in life.

You can never, I repeat, never, have enough clamps in life.

Found a Fox door handle. I miss Fox. Who knows, perhaps he'll return one day.

Found a Fox door handle. I miss Fox. Who knows, perhaps he’ll return one day.

I saved a $85 pine coffee table I found on Craigslist. It was in bad shape, legs falling off and cracked legs, a purple flower painted on it, and a nasty painted finished. I stripped it, fixed each leg with pocket holes and wood glue, and used a homemade vinegar/steel wool stain to give it an antique look. I applied three coats of Briwax and now I have a very sturdy coffee table that my 12-year-old daughter can beat to hell and I don’t have to worry about.

More clamps. It took at least this number of clamps to fix each leg. Sometimes more. It was puzzle-like.

More clamps. It took at least this number of clamps to fix each leg. Sometimes more. It was puzzle-like.

I used my apple-cider vinegar steel wool mix again. Half is finished and waxed here.

I used my apple-cider vinegar steel wool mix again. Half is finished and waxed here.

I found a rocking chair at a local consignment shop for 200 bucks. It’s solid tiger oak, which is one of my least favorite woods. So I did some light sanding of the peeling varnish and used Chalk Paint and dark wax to age and bring it back to life. I was going to sell it but I ended up giving it to my sister-in-law because she liked it and I think it’s cool that she’d put it in her house. Let’s keep it in the family.

This is the "before" shot after I sanded off all of the peeling 1960s varnish.

This is the “before” shot after I sanded off all of the peeling 1960s varnish.

Making the world more colorful and saving furniture one piece at a time.

Making the world more colorful and saving furniture one piece at a time.

Back to blogging.