Friday, February 27, 2004

Death, Taxes and Home Maintenance

Dave’s So-So Adventure, Book Two
Chapter 2, Verse Six
February 27, 2004
Still (cough) on hold.

Well, this little RSV is kicking my butt. I thought I was getting better last Monday, in fact tried to convince the doc to get on with the show, but after making me listen to my chest, we put it off. Then, I got worse over the next couple of days. I was a little better again yesterday when we went in to the clinic, but had just had the worst night of coughing yet. I was still wheezing, raspy, tired. The nurses called the on-call doc and they decided to hold the cytoxan again, and reculture me for RSV, to see if it was still hanging around or whether my symptoms were just leftover effects of the infection. You know, I do some things in my clinic that folks might consider gross, but when they squirt that saline up my nose and have me blow it back that’s gross!

So we came home and I tried to rest, but my wheezing is worst when I lie down (or is it “lay” down?). I’ve been using an albuterol inhaler, which Jon and Rose-Ellen will be very familiar with. It’s a drug which dilates the bronchioles, making it easier to breathe. Breathing’s a good thing.

So, sickness and chemo or not, life goes on. Now, there are certain things in life that one cannot escape. Do you remember what they are? Those of you who said “Death and Taxes” are not home owners, because Home Maintenance is the third thing that you can never avoid, no matter what else is going on.

We have single pedestal chairs around our dinette, with casters on the base. The chairs rock back and forth, a bit. So, we came home from the clinic and I was sitting in my chair. It seemed to be leaning back a bit more than usual. I looked at it, it looked normal. I tightened up the adjusting screw that tightens the spring resistance and sat back down. And then, the seat fell off the pedestal, and I was on my butt, on the floor! Fortunately, I was still in the seat, which protected my butt from impaling upon the remains of the pedestal! Damn, now what?!

Well, the connecting rod had broken off completely from metal fatigue. Just what I needed. But, we have a few similar chairs in the basement that have various injuries, most suffered at the hands, or weight, of our youngest, who sits down rather heavily. I thought I'd go down to the basement to see if I could find some parts to salvage with which to repair the broken one in the dinette.

Which I did. I was in the basement, checking out the inventory in the chair junkyard when I noticed a puddle of moisture under the water heater nearby. Oh no! I got a flashlight to more closely inspect the much needed and much used item. And, you home owners know what was going on. It was rusting out and leaking! “How could this be,” I thought. “It’s only ten and a half years old.” I went upstairs to check the warranty. You homeowners know what it said, don’t you? It was good for ten years.

Well, I went to the daily paper looking for a sale on water heaters, and there were none, of course. I went out to walk over to the mailbox to get the mail while I mulled our options. We had to do something soon, because after Monday, I’d be out of circulation, sort of under house arrest, if you will, for at least a few weeks while my marrow recovered from the cytoxan.

It has been rather windy recently, as it often is here in the spring. I opened the front door and there were two shingles greeting me on the front steps!! Interestingly, we’re one of the few remaining communities in which the local design codes require you to cover your roof with tinder. We have cedar shake shingles on the roof, and they, too, are ten and a half years old. And a few tend to blow off every time we have high winds. We now have to call the roofer, who can never go away until he’s found at least $500 worth of shingles to replace. Arghhh!

Since I can’t do too much, I brought one of my telescopes inside to mess with it. I have three ‘scopes; small, medium and big. I love looking through the scopes, seeing ancient worlds in the heavens. It’s just fascinating, mesmerizing. I brought in the big scope to do some maintenance on it. It’s fully computerized and can find things that I can’t, but it needed to have the finder scopes adjusted and aligned. But when I turned it on, it blew a chip! It just up and quit! Wouldn’t do anything at all. Great.

So, yesterday, Kathy and I went to Sears, found a water heater on sale for $400, plus $200 installation, of course, plus fees and taxes. It was installed very quickly, I’m happy to say. And then I took the scope to my local telescope shop where I bought it. They fixed it, under warranty, even though it was out of warranty, and I brought it home. And I patched together the chair with some other parts. Now we just need to call the roofer.

I’m still coughing today, but not nearly as badly, and I fully expect that we can proceed with the cytoxan on Monday. I’d like to get this “adventure” back on track. It’s been going much too slowly.

And so we’ll get this update out to all you folks so everybody will know of our latest activities. And lack of progress. Until later....