Summer 2013 – Where have I been?

Wow; I just noticed I haven’t posted anything since late June. July, August and September was a combination of good and bad. In July we got to go to Chicago by train (!) to visit Andrew and Henriët and help them fix up their new house. The train trip to Chicago was awesomely fantastic train trip tbut I was really unhappy with my pictures and became discouraged with photography in general. Since I wasn’t really happy with my pictures I didn’t have motivation to make any posts.

Then upon our return, I got sick in August and was down for the whole month. I’ve had a problem for 30 or 40 years where I get a cold that goes directly to my chest and I spend weeks recovering. I’ve always ended up resorting to a combination of codeine and prednisone; a combination guaranteed to pull me into a dull but tightly wound string. It’s always been diagnosed as asthma, but I’ve become increasingly convinced over the past 10 years that it isn’t asthma; I don’t have the characteristic wheeze and it is always brought on my a virus rather than pollen or other allergy reaction.

We switched to Kaiser this past year and they’ve been great. When I got hit in early August I went to my allergist and started the regular round of treatment. I kept calling back every week reporting I wasn’t well and asked what else we could try. He eventually sent me for a chest x-ray and saw a couple of things that concerned him. So, I went in for an CT scan. The scan showed three spots in my lung that required follow up from a pulmonologist. When I met with Dr. Brixey, she in effect said “I have good news and good news.” The first good news is that I don’t have asthma; the other good news is that if I had to pick a chronic lung disease, bronchiectasis would be the one to pick. The lung’s structure is similar to a series of repeating sugar cones; large on one end tapering down to a point. Coughing pushes mucus  from the narrow ends of the bronchia to the large ends and out of the chest as phlegm. Clearing the phlegm allows for clearer lungs and gets rid of bacteria that love the warm wet home of mucus. I have three spots in my lungs that are honey-combed and don’t have that tapered structure; as a result mucus gets caught in these spots making me have an extended unproductive cough.

She prescribed an “Acapella” breathing device. It looks like an oversize duck call and has a oscillating paddle that pushes air back down the lungs helping to clear the phlegm. I now use that device daily to help keep my chest clear. In addition, at the first sign of a cold I need to immediately start a prednisone taper and an antibiotic to attack the bacteria that wants to take up residence in the bad spots of my lungs. I’m very happy that I’ve been properly diagnosed and now have a plan that is directed at my true condition.

Finally and more significantly Carla ended up needing some surgery in September. That directed my attention to things other than the blog. She had successful surgery and is rapidly recovering.

With all that behind us, I thought I’d try to get back on line. As for the picture taking I can either give up or remember it is the journey that matters. I don’t have to be an expert; I just have to enjoy myself and try to gradually improve.

Thanks for attending my pity party; we did have fun times this summer. I’ll post some pictures documenting the cooking and parties.

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