Thursday, July 24, 2014

It was like pulling teeth, sort of

Except that it wasn’t. That is a poor analogy.

Now it can be told. Not that it couldn’t have been told before, but I simply chose not to share the information.

For nearly two weeks I have been doing battle with a very large kidney stone, or perhaps I should say a very large stone in one of my kidneys. (It’s the stone that was large, not the kidney. I mean, I may have a large kidney, I don’t know, but that is not pertinent to the story.)

Depending on various expert estimates, the stone was 5-6mm, or 8mm, or 10mm. It weren’t goin’ noplace on its own, ducky.

As of this evening, finally, all the pain is gone, due to the fact that I went into the hospital today and the kidney stone is now gone.


Blasted to smithereens.

I did not have the perhaps more-familiar Extra-corporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (EWSL) , a procedure in which a kidney stone is blasted from without with sound (a sonic wave) in an attempt to break it into smaller, you should excuse the expression, chunks, which can pass more easily through the uretera into the bladder.

Mr ureteroscopy today was not from without. It was most definitely from within. It involved inserting a laser into Mr. Peepee in an attempt to touch the stone and dissolve it.

The procedure worked. I would have had to wait five more days to get a sonic-blast EWSL because I was on daily low-dose aspirin for my heart condition, and one has be off blood-thinners for a period before EWSL is tried. And if that failed, I would still have had to undergo the laser ureteroscopy anyway, which is almost always successful, whereas lithotripsy is successful only about 85% of the time anway. So it opted for the Less Is More (also known as the Why Prolong The Agony? approach.

I feel normal again.

Not that any of you ever really knew what “normal” in my case might look like. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

There are eight million kidney stone stories in The Naked City.

This has been just one of them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Full disclosure

My friend Michelle (All Consuming) left a comment on my Neils post that made me think that she thinks that I wrote the poem myself.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

People my age (there are still a few of us around) would recognize “Neils” immediately as the refrain of the song “Smiles” with the word smiles replaced by the word Neils.

“Smiles” was written in 1927 by J. Will Callahan and Lee S. Roberts.

It was recorded by Benny Goodman in 1936. Judy Garland sang it on “Jack Oakie’s College” radio program on April 6, 1937, when she was a teenager, two full years before she uttered the immortal words, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.”

Here’s proof (2:30) .

I thought it was a pretty clever thing to do on my part, but I don’t want to mislead any young and impressionable readers like All Consuming.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


There are Neils that make us happy
There are Neils that make us blue

There are Neils that steal away the teardrops
Like the sunbeams steal away the dew.

There are Neils that have a tender meaning
That the eyes of love alone can see

(Photo by Andy Roo 2009, CC by 2.0)

But the Neils that fill my life with sunshine
Are the Neils that you gave to me.

To give all semi-famous Neils their moment in the sun, here they are in one place.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The days dwindle down to a precious few

I would like to blog more often, really I would, because I thoroughly enjoy reading your comments. However, this year my rate of posting has dropped off significantly from former years. I really have no explanation for it, other than that the perpetual motion machine that is moi is finally beginning to slow down. Eventually it will come to a stop, and then there will be no more scintillating posts emanating from this address.

In 2012, one of my more prolific years, my output (in terms of blogposts) for the first seven months of the year was:

January 2012 - 24
February 2012 - 18
March 2012 - 16
April 2012 - 20
May 2012 - 17
June 2012 - 17
July 2012 - 15

but 2014 looks like this so far:

January 2014 - 10
February 2014 - 6
March 2014 - 12
April 2014 - 8
May 2014 - 8
June 2014 - 9
July 2014 - 5

so, in anybody’s book, there has been a definite and observable reining-in of rhymeswithplague gray matter.

Perhaps I shall go the way of the dodo bird and the passenger pigeon. If you don’t fancy extinct birds, knock yourself out looking at the pictures in this list of extinct mammals.

[Editor’s note: In the preceding paragraph, the word “perhaps” is not needed. --RWP]

I hope we as a species will be around for a long time yet, but my own individual participation in this great experiment known as Life On Earth has only a few years left, at best.

As the French say, “C’est dommage.” (It’s a pity.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Early morning, pre-coffee thoughts

Every little movement has a meaning all its own.

Except when it doesn’t.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Except when there isn’t.

Everything will turn out all right in the end.

Except when it won’t.

It’s always darkest just before the dawn.

Except when the day is even darker.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)

Strangely comforting, yet there is that unsettling subordinate clause at the beginning that clearly implies that should the day ever come when the earth no longer “remaineth,” the rest of the sentence will be inoperative.

Exercise, exercise, watch me do my exercise. Up, down, up, down. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.

All right, now the other eye.

Monday, July 14, 2014

douze... treize...quatorze juillet est ici! let me wish you:

Happy Bastille Day!

I was going to post a picture of the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe or Notre Dame Cathedral or a portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte or Louis XVI or Robespierre or somebody, but the thought of having to choose just one takes too much effort in this Georgia heat and humidity. I found an interesting crossword puzzle with a Bastille Day theme but it was copyrighted, so ix-nay on at-thay as well.

Nevertheless, whatever you’re doing this quatorze juillet, do it with gusto befitting the day. (Hey, I made a little rhyme!)

Liberté, égalité, fraternité!

And Crêpe Suzette for everybody!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Post-Independence-Day thoughts, 2014 (inspired by thousands of Central American children crossing our southern border into Texas and Arizona)

Many years ago, when speaking to a gathering of the Daughters of the American Revolution, President Franklin D. Roosevelt shocked his audience by beginning his address with the greeting, “Fellow immigrants.”

Daughters of the American Revolution aside, we used to be proud that we were a nation of immigrants, but some Americans today would rather not be reminded. Some Americans would rather lock the doors and never allow another person to enter.

I ask them a question: Who tried to keep your ancestors out?

Nobody, that’s who.

Some people, if they had their way, would rewrite the poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty to read as follows:

The New New Colossus
(with apologies to Emma Lazarus)

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Stopper of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide rejection; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. “Spare me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Do not send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I douse my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus, and my ancestors, and theirs, must be weeping in their graves.