Blog Archives

OK… next step.They are going to get me ready for surgery.

Hope this doesn’t take long…. I don’t really want to be knocked out for a long time. It’s my right brain that this tumor is on and I hope when they take it out I’ll still have mind enough to do this blog…an activity I am unusually fond of.



I guess I’ll be signing off now.  I’ll try to get back up tomorrow or Sunday.   –  Bill


A personal note – I’m living in considerable fear…

Yesterday I had another seizure like the dozen or so I’ve had in the past three years. As I mentioned at the time of the accident 4 weeks ago that left me with broken ribs and shoulder blade and collarbone (and sent me to the hospital for close to a week), my fall down the stairs was caused by one of these seizures. My car accident which took away my right to drive was the result of another seizure four weeks before that.

The worst part of these seizures is that after blacking out (and falling or actually carrying out some activities), I remember nothing until I come out of it… maybe a few minutes later, but occasionally a much longer time. Those who have experienced seeing me in such a state have confirmed that I talk to them and often do things… something I have never had a memory of.

My fear now is that these seizures may start coming more frequently. I’ve been through a large number of medical tests with no results. One doctor thinks it might be epilepsy and a couple of weeks ago had me watch out and see if new seizures happened, even with prescribed medication. I’ll have to call her today and tell her it has happened… not something I look forward to.

Elly is afraid that I’ll have one while she is at work and that I will fall and hurt myself with ho one around. I fear that, too… but I’ve got to go on living somehow.

Actually, this blog is one of the things that keeps me going and for that I thank the several hundred readers who view it every day. Sorry I’ve spoken about it now… I’ll try to lay off in the future.

– Bill

Starting the third week of moving and we’re still not done…

So help me, moving again is going to take more will than I think I have. We’re still hauling boxes and artwork and clothes and other stuff from 322 Starkey’s to the new house and it is an ongoing exhaustion creator.

To top it off it is raining this weekend and our helper students have football practice for much of it. When this is all done I’m going to sleep for two days straight and then get on with my life.

This morning on my radio show I was stumped for the first time on a play challenge, but, in general it went pretty well. Except, of course, that we weren’t on the internet due to a problem with the provider that the station is having. I’m sorry my regular out-of-town listeners couldn’t tune in today.

First night in the new house…

No TVComcast hasn’t shown up yet.

Dogs are going crazy…they have a long way to go getting used to a new existence.

Unopened boxes, big black plastic bags stuffed with clothes, misplaced furniture everywhere. Organization starts tomorrow (we’re lucky we have a bed ready to sleep in.)

Hope everyone out there has a great night.

I’ll be signing off for the next 15 hours or so…

… to go in for a sleep exam. As I understand it, they stick a bunch of wires to my head at nine o’clock tonight and watch me while I sleep… Then wake me up at 6 AM and take the wires off and send me on my way.

I guess what they are hoping to discover is Sleep Apnea, but I’ll believe it when they can prove it.

When your sitting up tonight enjoying late night TV movies, think of me.

Ironic Marketing Humor

From The Week:

56 spoonfuls of sugar - how healthy!

A KFC franchise in Utah is asking customers to help fight diabetes — by purchasing an 800-calorie Mega Jug of sugary soda to wash down their meals. For every $2.99 half-gallon drink it sells, the chicken restaurant promises to give $1 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

The promotion has drawn criticism from anti-obesity activists, who still haven’t forgiven KFC for last year’s unveiling of the Double Down sandwich, which ensconces bacon and cheese between two fried chicken breasts. But Gary Feit, a JDRF spokesman, is defending KFC, pointing out that the Type 1 diabetes his organization researches is not caused by diet or obesity. Besides, he adds, only one franchise is involved.


Perhaps it is fortunate that Colonel Sanders is no longer with us. What would he have thought?

The Summer Cold…

Since yesterday afternoon I have been running around with the symptoms of a summer cold. I got very little sleep last night, waking up  every  hour or so to a fit of sneezing and  a choking cough.

Last evening at the Folly at Bradley Sanders’ meeting to toss around ideas for the August Carnival. Between my sneezing sand wiping off my watery eyes, I tried to contribute ideas. As it turned out, I’ve volunteered to create a kind of shooting gallery booth. I’ve got just under 40 days. I went home after that and fell asleep in my chair… waking up with a sneezing fit an hour later.

After a night of very little sleep, I went over to the Morgan’s Grove Market and set up my chair in the shade at Ruth Raubertas’s booth. At noon, I came home, fed the dogs, took some NyQuil and fell asleep in my chair again.

I’ve got to shake this before tomorrow when we are taking two of our grandsons, John and Jason, to DC to visit the Smithsonian.

OK, I’m back.

Sorry about yesterday. I was so down with flu and fever that I went on a NyQuil sleep-a-thon and didn’t get to the blog. But, coughing and sneezing, I’m back today and just starting to go through HuffPo, the NY Times and my other News Sources (while watching Charles Osgood on TV) to find this morning’s big issues. Come back in a little while…

– Bill

Getting ready for an eight hour EEG…

The neurologist has scheduled me to come in Sunday morning to take the 8-hour EEG to see if they can find out if there is anything unexpected that caused my seizure last week. I’ve felt like another one is coming ever since it happened…at least I haven’t felt quite right. If this is me getting to the end of my game I’d at least like to know it…know what’s causing it.

Eight hours! that seems like an awfully long time. Plus, I’m supposed to be sleep deprived before I take it (which, given the way I don’t sleep anyway shouldn’t be a problem.) Of course, the seizure could have been caused by extremely low blood sugar which, with my diabetic condition, can happen.

I’ve just got to make it a little longer than three more months to reach age 65, something my father never did. That’s my short-term goal. Not sure what I’m going to do after that. Full Circle Theater announced it’s 2012 season and there’s nothing there for me to direct. I’d like to direct something somewhere while I still have my creativity intact. I’ve still got the radio show on Friday mornings. And I’m working seriously on starting my podcast(s)…that I can do from home. Other than that there’s not much left in my bag.

8 Hours! Whew!

I’m not as happy today as I’d like to be…

I spent the morning going to two of my more common doctors, my GP and my Endocrinologist, over a brief episode that I had Sunday in the early morning. I don’t remember any of the episode, but my wife tells me I spent 3 or so minutes standing against a bedroom wall, staring straight ahead with my hands shaking. As I say when I finally remembered things there were two ambulance technicians from the Shepherdstown FD in my bedroom asking me questions (like “what’s your name” and “how many fingers am I holding up.” – oddly enough I could remember my street number, but not the name of the road for a couple of minutes… that’s pretty scary to me.)

Then my wife left me alone and let me sleep… which I did most of the morning.

According to my GP, I had a minor “ischiotic episode”… or, to coin a phrase, a “small stroke.” I just don’t remember it happening, just waking up from it. He’s sending me to a specialist on Friday.

This has been a lousy week, anyway. I had my annual appointment with the Opthalmologist, only to be told that, due to diabetes, my eyes are getting worse. He’s got me coming back to see an eye/blood specialist on April Fool’s Day (funny, yeah?). However, slowly but surely I’m going blind… it could take another ten or fifteen years.

Maybe I’ll have the big stroke before then.

6:30 AM and I Woke Up in the Middle of a Nightmare…

It was one of those dreams that is too real and that I had trouble shaking off when I woke up.

I was getting ready to go to my appointment with Dr. Kahn (which I actually do have this morning at 9:00) and I got involved in some discussion with a lot of people in my house… a great big house somewhere… not our small townhouse in Shepherdstown) and then I left to go to the appointment. But I forgot my coat, so I had to go back in the house and go through room after room to find it, which I finally did on a bedroom…not MY bedroom…floor. So I left again and got almost to where I was going and remembered that I had forgotten to take my meds, in this case my diabetes pills (for some reason I didn’t even think of the insulin shots), so I went all the way back to the house.

But I couldn’t find them. I went through room after room, looked into drawers, looked on top of cabinets, asked everyone if they had seen them. No one had. I started to go absolutely crazy. Without the pills my blood sugar would rise astronomically and then I would die. As I looked all over this house, which was full of people who I wasn’t recognizing, although they were all people from my past, my old friend Harold Kepnes was coming up the stairs and joking at me. I was so upset… I couldn’t take a joke and called Harold some awful names and he started to leave. Then I realized I had hurt the feelings of a friend and chased after him and got him to help me look for the pills.

Meanwhile, my mouth was drying out and I was starting to be incomprehensible… I remember running into Harold’s mother and pushing her out of the way so I could search for the pills… and I was getting hysterical.

Then my dog, Nestle, started licking me, and I was in my reclining chair and Morning Joe was on television and, somewhere between sleeping and waking, I realized I was in my real living room and had been dreaming. It took me a couple of minutes to shake off the dream and meanwhile our other dog, Byron, came downstairs and, of course, both dogs wanted to eat and I looked at my cell phone at my side to see the time… 6:30. I had been sleeping in my chair ( I came downstairs at around 4:00 AM when I couldn’t sleep in bed and settled into a CSpan replay of a Climate Change conference in the House of Representatives, when I must have fallen asleep and started dreaming.)

I fed the dogs and then took my morning blood reading… 265!… much much too high. And now, fully awake, I realized it must have been the high blood sugar that was giving me a warning nightmare.

Now, after pills and Insulin, I’m having a cup of coffee and waiting for my blood sugar to go down so I can go to my appointment at the Doctor’s.

I don’t want to go through this one again. Oh, and sorry Harold. Didn’t mean to get you involved.

I had an E.E.G. this morning…

An Electro EncepheloGram (EEG) requires you to have a bunch of electrical contacts put around your head while you lie down in the dark and, well, go to sleep. As such, it’s the most painless and most comfortable test I’ve had so far. I had mine at Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown at 9:00 AM.

The instruction sheet I was given at the Neurologist’s office prior to the test told me to stay up the night before until Midnight, then get up at 5:00 AM. After that I could eat and medicate as usual, BUT I COULD HAVE NO CAFFEINE!!! How in Hell can I function with very little sleep and no coffee? The reason, of course, which I found out at the test, was that they really wanted me to fall asleep as it went on, without any chemical help that would throw off the test. So I napped for a half hour in a dark room with probes wired to my head.

So now I’m back home… tired. I’m going to feed the dogs their lunch and take a nap.

Marking time before rehearsal…

I’m up in the light booth testing the area lights for Thurber Carnival. Everything is rough, but it’s all working pretty well. We’ll see how well in tonite’s run through. The countdown to opening begins with this rehearsal… three days left after this to get it all together, then, however it is, we give it to an audience. That’s Community Theatre.

Right now, I’m tired. Not much sleep last night and a small-but-time consuming amount of housework to finish before I could get over here (I’ve started referring to myself as Housewife Man – my internal comic book hero), plus two dog walks and their feeding schedule. No afternoon nap today. Maybe I’ll sleep all night tonite (doubt it.)

Tomorrow in the morning I’m back at Washington County Hospital for an E.E.G. I’m told this is a painless brain scan, so I just have to spend the time… don’t have to be driven by someone else as there is no sedative. Next rehearsal tomorrow night… I’ll get here early enough to reposition lights we decide to change at this rehearsal.

OOOPS… time for runthrough!

A Quote for the other diabetics like me out there…

I was looking for information relating to the severe nausea I get from using Byetta, a drug prescribed for diabetics to help keep blood sugar down by making you not hungry, when I came across this quote from Jenny who runs the blog Diabetes Update.  In one article she discussed whether ANY of the meds we diabetics consume or inject can cure, or at least turn around, diabetes.

Her conclusion on the major drug companies who are advertising significant reversals of symptoms by using their Insulin/Metformin/GLD-1 products is the following:

The drug companies are not working on cures, because if you were cured you wouldn’t need to buy $400 dollars worth of their drugs every month. Their drugs provide only control, and not very good control at that. Until we start funding research that is not undertaking to fatten someone’s bottom line things are going to stay that way. Why kill the golden goose?

Back in the light booth at Full Circle Theater…

…as Thurber Carnival rehearses tonite. As for me, I’m working out where the light cues will go and which instruments will focus where on the stage (although they keep changing where they are playing the scenes and I am getting muy confused.)

I’m also using my time tonite to finish entering information into the American Conservation Film Festival on-line database. Candi and I split the 30 movies up to work on so that we can have them available tomorrow. Since I don’t have to be anywhere in the morning I’ll probably sit up late finishing them.

Starting on Wednesday I have more new Doctors‘ appointments and tests to get to the bottom of this Aphasia problem. Between now and October 6th I have “TEE” tests (Don’t ask me, I’m a civilian –  I only know it’s with the heart doctor), CAT scans, blood test, a meeting with a neurologist and anything else Dr. Kugler, my GP, can set me up with. These with rehearsals every night and an opening on the 24th at Full Circle… and the regular Friday morning show with John on WSHC… are making me a busy boy.

Car in the shop; First Aphasia test today…

I’m sitting over at my daughter Penny’s house where my wife dropped me after I left my car at Brown’s Car Repair to find out why it is overheating. Very shortly we have to leave to go and get the first of three Aphasia test appointments that my Doctor arranged yesterday.

I’m expecting just about everything to go wrong today… my car will need days to repair and will be very expensive, the medical tests will show that I am slipping into a mental breakdown state (where I probably won’t be able to drive the now expensive car anyway), and my life will go dribbling down the drain.

Or it could work out alright.

What are the odds?


UPDATE…after Lunch.

1. Car is going to cost around $1200.00 and needs a new radiator, thermostat and a couple of other parts that Browns won’t have until tomorrow. That’s pretty depressing (Hello debt!)

2. MRI test on my neck (which plots if anything is blocking blood to the brain, I guess) showed nothing outstanding. Next test on Friday… an “Echo” test by a heart specialist.

Penny drove me home and I start thinking about the dismal Fall that is beginning.

It looks like I have Aphasia…

What a miserable day today has been.

First, I had my quarterly doctor‘s appointment with Dr. Kugler over in Hagerstown, MD, and brought up, as I have just about every time I have been to see him in the past few years, that I have these small periods (usually not more than a couple of minutes) where I lose control of language when I’m speaking. These “seizures” as he calls them do not effect intelligence or physical presence… I just babble incoherently for a couple of minutes until I become aware of the meaning of words again. It is one of the reasons I am glad not to be working as a teacher or sales professional any more… it HAS happened during a class and when I was doing an Insurance presentation to a client back in my Aflac days.

Anyway, now I am apparently blacking out for a couple of seconds on some of these seizures and waking up without remembering what has happened. I’m not rolling around on the ground or anything like that… I just don’t remember what happens at the time.

Dr. Kugler sums all of this up as Aphasia. According to the National Aphasia Association, the definition of this condition is:

Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that
impairs a person’s ability to process language,
but does not affect intelligence.
Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others, and
most people with aphasia experience difficulty reading and writing.

It also seems to be caused by either a stroke, a brain injury or a developing brain tumor. I don’t think I have had the first two, and a worry about the third. Over the next two weeks I have three different tests with specialists… a neurologist, a heart person and someone else, that Kugler’s office set up. I’m not excited about this, because…

Second, as I came out of Kugler’s office and started up my 2001 Toyota Echo (which has been a very reliable car) the engine started to overheat (a signal light popped up on the dashboard) and, as I went to the grocery store, it stalled out. I let it cool off a while, went to the gas station at the Grocery complex, filled the tank, checked the oil and saw it was low… added three quarts.

I started up again, but as I was going near my daughter Penny’s house in Martinsburg it started to smoke from the front and stalled out. I let it cool for a while, then slowly drove to Penny’s driveway where the car died. She had a bottle of coolant which we put into the coolant holder. Still couldn’t get it to start up… so I called Triple A.

After an hour when Triple A still hadn’t arrived, the car had cooled off enough to start up again and I managed to get it home, where it died again. I have an appointment at Brown’s tomorrow morning to find out what’s wrong. It may be the thermostat, or a coolant leak, or something else.  Whatever it is it will be an expense we didn’t predict this month and I’m dreading it.

So, as you see, it’s been a lousy day so far. I hope yours was better.

– B