Changed my residency. Evidently they gave me an Elvis commemorative plate.
One reason I put the blog on hiatus was the health of my best friend, Lou. He was going through some rough times and I’m helping him out. Here’s where things stand at the moment.
Lou had renal cancer back in 2011/12 and lost a kidney. He came back strong.
He has heart problems. High blood pressure, A-Fib, and degenerative heart disease.
About a year and a half ago, lung cancer was discovered on one of his heart scans. A bunch of small spots all over his lungs. Stage 4, inoperable. Lou decided not to undergo radiation and chemotherapy.
He has been easily fatigued, weak and had lost a lot of weight, but scans every few months show the cancer hasn’t grown or spread.
In the meantime, he developed arthritis and a bone spur in his right hip.
He has been suffering nausea and loss of appetite due to gastritis, plus and inflamed throat because of GERD.
And tinnitus. And headaches. And irregular sleep patterns. Plus he has developed floaters and flashes in his left eye. His 73 year old body is wearing out in several ways.
His cardiologist, oncologist, ENT, optometrist, and counselor have him on a bunch of meds and it seems they’re finally helping. He has been in less pain, more active, eating better, sleeping better, and is in a better mood, taking interest in his hobbies again. I hope this is a continuing trend or that it at least stabilizes like this for a while.
We have an appointment tomorrow with his very good, well informed, helpful Nurse Practitioner, and another cardiologist appointment in a couple of weeks.
As for me, I’m here for the duration or until I’m no longer needed. That could be months, possibly years. The only nomading I do now is supply runs to town and medical appointments in Silver City, Deming and Las Cruces. Lou wishes he felt well enough to do a little traveling. I’m of the opinion it would do mind and soul good to take a break from the small world he’s in now, even if it exhausts his body. I’ll try to talk him into something, even if it’s just a drive up to the cliff dwellings.
Anyway, that’s what’s up.
I'm putting this blog on hiatus. Not much to write about lately. Other things require my focus. See all y'all in a few months, maybe. But here's a photo from earlier today. Bear Canyon Reservoir, Mimbres NM.
The game is like Heads Or Tails, only it’s about whether the avocado pit will be in the left or right half when it’s opened. For another level of guessing/betting, there’s the question of whether the avocado will be unripe, ripe, or too ripe. And if two people with avocados open them at the same time you can play Same Or Different. Then make guacamole.
Nah. I’d want something very similar to what I have, with a few minor improvements. Here’s the wish list:
• Chevrolet Express or GMC Savana cargo van (because they’re tanks)
• 3/4 ton (a 1/2 ton would probably be enough, but they stopped making them)
• V-8 (my 4.8L is enough, but now the only engine choices are the 4.3L V6, the 6.6L V8 and 2.8L turbo diesel 4 cylinder)
• Silver (so I don’t have to deal with white paint peeling)
• Sliding side door with tilt-out window (see this for why I prefer a sliding door)
• Tilt-out windows on the back doors (ventilation, man)
• Passenger seat delete (because I’d remove it anyway to make room for the fridge)
• Power windows/locks/mirrors (because I’m tired or doing the door lock walk around, and I'd like to roll the passenger side window up and down from the driver seat)
• Cruise control (because I cruise)
• Blind zone alert (always good on a van)
• Backup camera (because I have one now)
• Automatic locking differential (for the iffy roads)
My needs are simple.
I woke up just before the sun crested the mountains. My first thought: this bed is very, very comfortable. I enjoyed it for another minute, stretching, scratching, letting out a deep breath. The desert lit up. G-o-o-o-o-o-d morning.
I tossed off the covers. The Rolling Steel Tent was comfortably cool. I slid open the door to let the sunshine in. I pulled on my pants and shoes and stepped outside.
The air was fresh and clean. It was quiet. The yuccas and creosote bushes were rimmed in light. Some of the rocks sparkled. I was still and absorbed the moment.
Whatever else was happening in the world, it wasn’t here. It wasn’t weighing on me. It was just this beautiful, peaceful morning. Another one of many. Another one I wouldn’t have experienced if I was living my old life.
Three bottles of cheap-ass vodka
Two 1-liter water bottles
One 1-quart milk bottle
One small Pringles can
Three random pieces of cardboard
About a dozen no-longer-wet wet wipes
As I drifted up out of sleep I became aware of a faint repetitive plik… plik… plik… plik…
Huh? What’s that? water dripping?
I sat up and turned my head side to side, trying to ascertain the direction the sound was coming from. There was a brief pause, then plak… plak… plak… plak… plak… plak…
I moved toward the front of the Rolling Steel Tent, hoping it wasn’t a mouse gnawing on something. The sound seemed to come from outside. I had left a bag of collected litter by the door. Had a critter broken into the bag, (re)scattered the contents and was now trying to chew a discarded water bottle?
I stuck my head out. The bag was undisturbed. The elusive noise changed to KAK… KAK… KAK… KAK…
There were headlights about a hundred yards away silhouetting a figure. Ah, that’s it. Someone is trying to drive tent stakes into the rocky ground. Oh, the misery of desert pavement. Oh the misery of setting up camp in the dark. What time is it anyway? 2:38 AM. Someone had badly miscalculated travel time, or had trouble along the way. Here’s wishing better luck, amigo.
At least I didn’t have a rodent problem. That I knew of.
The public land on the east side of Pahrump NV is littered with, well, litter. It can be windy here, so it’s somewhat forgivable when some lightweight something-or-other—a plastic bag, an empty water bottle, a paper towel, etc.—slips away and ends up stuck in a creosote bush a quarter mile away. Some litter blows in from the developed parts of town, where it seems trash cans and dumpsters have no lids. But some of the crap is just flagrantly dumped here. Like this:
Way back, during one of my first visits to Pahrump NV, I discovered the Horizon Market, a convenience store out on the west side of town that had public showers. I knew it had showers because it said so in large letters across the front of the building.
I was feeling grimey after a week in the warm, dusty desert. I wanted something more than a sponge bath, so I headed to Horizon Market.
"Uh-oh," I thought as I turned off the highway. The store facade had been remodeled. It no longer listed showers. Did that mean they had stopped offering them? Although the guy behind the counter had sort of a surly desert rat look, he was quite affable and assured me they still had showers and that the price hadn’t changed. Two bucks for the shorter shower, four for the longer one. I splurged.
In the previous episode, the power cord on the fan that I like, that isn’t made anymore, broke. I decided to do the ecologically right thing and repair it rather than replace it.
To make the repair I’d need a soldering iron, some solder, and some heat shrink. At least I already had some suitable wire left over from installing lights and 12-Volt outlets in the Rolling Steel Tent.
I went to the Home Depot in Pahrump NV, just down the street from where I was camping. They were all out of the $20 soldering irons, so I had to get the $30 one. Add the other items and the total came to $49. Forty-nine dollars to repair a fan I could’ve replaced for $18. Sigh. It sort of makes me hope I’ll have an opportunity to use the soldering iron several times in the future—even though I don’t want anything to need repairs.
Just got off the video call with my radiation oncologist, Dr. Chin. Everything on the scan continues to look good. Yay!