August 25, 2012

Whatever became of Zina?

I am now entering the third month of an MS exacerbation and had been losing ground for a month or more before it bore down on me in Ohio. That's why the scarcity of blogs. And I am in an intellectual war with Google, soon to be my default browser and nearly everything else, who redesigned the blog's editor while I was in Ohio. I am having the hardest time figuring out technical issues.
So, I was treated at the Cleveland Clinic's Mellen Center, the lead agency of the US Consortium of MS Treatment and Research Centers. I'm still a hamster after all these years and subject myself to a day of testing and and MRI for a longitudinal study by the center's director and director of Clinical Research , Dr. Richard Rudick, each year. I had emailed him and anyone else I had emails for the Sunday night before my Tuesday research appointments.
I knew I needed to be treated, but treatment before the study exams would nullify results.
As it turned out, I had no idea that Rudick and his immediate staff check emails Sunday nights.
So I got a very early Monday call at my brother's to come in, do the study tasks, an get my first treatment.
Alas, they could not get a vein for the blood tests and to sink the IV.
They had heat lamps and heat pads on me to try to get the veins out of hiding. "Lady, your problem is you no longer have any brown fat."
Years ago, I had looked into brown fat, the body's temperature regulator. "You know how your Mexican neighbors put a coat on when it's 75? They have no brown fat," the nurse said. "The way you are reacting to AC, I'd say you have no brown fat anymore either."
By the time they got a vein, it was too late in the day to start treatment. Brother took me to Siam Cafe for early dinner. And back to the distant suburbs for the night. Before treatment, I had to meet with my US accountant. Then a quick strop at Trader Joe's, and a check in at the Mellon Center treatment room.
When you get treated with SoluMedrol, they give you hard candy to kill the IV's metallic taste. It wasn't going away fast enough for me, to I started to chew. Crunchy. Oh no, that's my first crown, 100 percent porcelain, in the candy. In smithereens. In my mouth!
Brother took me back two more times. We enjoyed meals made by his wife, one on the deck. But he was a little disappointed I didn't want to stay up late and watch 3D movies with their new equipment. Dinner and bed, two more times. And then to Malvern to be with my friends. And to find dental care where I was last seen as a teen. By a man who was the young whippersnapper my dentist hired to be an associate when I was still in high school.
So Dr. Gade made a provisional crown and de-burred another crown damaged in the chewing frenzy,
So here I sit, a month after my return. I have less mobility than when I sought treatment in June. And the Cleveland Clinic asks I do it again here.
I have two new crowns to replace the ones I chewed though. Done here, compliments to Dr. Gade from Dr. Canales on very fine provisional work.
Here, I will be getting the IVs at home. So much less stress! And I'll get some grape juice to sip instead of sucking, uh chewing, hard candy. Gee, let's see: meds and IV nurse will be $35 day. The fun starts Wednesday with an appointment for a physical with the neurologist-internist in Cancun. His physicals are nearly an hour long and cost $500 pesos, about $43US.
And people ask why I like the medical care here so much.

August 17, 2012


Expenditures, gastos. I am setting what feels like a record, which it is not. But coming back after a month in the US, during which I shopped for things for the apartments and for my modest wardrobe, it stings!
 I have reupholstered the golf cart, given it new brakes, fixed a hole in the guest house roof, had the water storage tanks cleaned, sent the VW in for repairs, had the normal parade of 20 dollar a day workers pass through to catch up on cleaning and gardening, fixed the screens and paid all but $50 of the bill to replace two crowns mangled in Ohio. I expect to have them put on tonight or Monday, depending on the Navy's role in the Isla Mujeres Anniversary celebration. My dentist is oral surgeon to the Navy, an officer.
 So...that written, I'm off to the ATM near City Hall and the license office for her tag. Less than $4US, thank God for small favors!

August 4, 2012

Deserved Honors

A highlight of my afternoons at American Legion Valley Post 305 in Malvern, Oh. was the celebration of Dan Bitzel's 65th year as a member. Bitzel, left, was a tail gunner on a B-plane in World War II. He is about to have a birthday, but is still  93.
 Bitzel joined the service when the Army had the Air Corps. Left when it was the Air Force. He's a humble guy: I can't tell you how many missions he flew, how many enemy planes he shot down.
 His anniversary party was a surprise after Saturday Mass. He was walking down the Legion steps with a buddy when he spotted his family along the wall and the commanders along the side. The look on his face was priceless.
 We all enjoyed a buffet that included Cass's lasagna. When we were kids, we enjoyed his pizza at the shop near the Post Office. It's nice having grown up in a small town area and to live in one now!