LINKS FOR THE YEAR 2003
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Blog for October 2003
We have gotten e-mail from friends (still in Brazil) asking how we are enjoying being back in the rat race. Now I sat and pondered that question for a while. I had always visualized that expression with starting guns, a circular racetrack, and Nike clod rats. But perhaps it can be interpreted another way too. Was she inferring that our present company of Americans is rodent-like? Hmmm. In either case the rat race has been invigorating.
Since I last wrote we have been voyaging to places I never had been before. My Dad got very sick. We actually thought it was curtains for him. I spent the first night with him at Massachusetts General Hospital and had my first introduction to the powers of the human mind. Despite all the advances in medicine with diagnostics-CT scans and MRI's- no one can clearly differentiate between two very different mental states- Delirium and Dementia. I am happy to report that my Dad was just visiting the former, but may be taking the very slow route to the latter. The hospital bed flew to a quiet anchorage in Penobscot bay, to underground subway stations, to farm tractor races on hillsides where my uncle was cheating by blocking the other racers with his oversized tractor, which he could not drive and kept stalling- this even before the Front-page headlines on the Boston Globe of October 9 2003. (That's all I will say on that issue.) I could redirect my Dad when he saw bad people with guns, just by steering him with my voice. All the places seemed very real to my father and he would answer questions about the minutest details when I asked him to describe what he was seeing.
It was fascinating and at times funny too. He was convinced my dogs were going after his feet when he tried to bolt out of the hospital bed. (I was happy they were there in his mind because had he actually gotten out of bed he might have fallen and fractured something.) It makes me wonder about the string theorists and their claims of parallel universes and eleven dimensions- or however many there are now. The doctors at MGH could only find gout and severe electrolyte abnormalities wrong with my Dad. (A urinary tract infection I think was probably due to his urinary catheter.) Can we visit altered states by changing the electric potential of all our cells? When we say "it's all in the mind", is it really? What is up with dreaming? I can't believe we spend 1/3 of our lives doing something that has no obvious purpose. The night Isi from "Islero" probably fell overboard somewhere in the middle of the South Atlantic, he appeared in my dream and told me there would be no paella when we went to visit him in Spain. Coincidence? An over active imagination? Perhaps. But it's more fun to imagine a whole separate dimension lurking in the gray matter of our brains.
Phil and I have also been spending an exorbitant amount of time in the truck. We decided to aggressively treat Polly the dachsund's malignant melanoma. This is probably the most malignant of cancers and the most difficult of decisions. Phil said to me- how can we do nothing when she spent three years waiting for us to get back? I am getting quite a discount as a vet, but the treatment is still more than we can afford. I decided to take advantage of the idiot credit card companies that send out letters for 0% balance transfers on credit card payments until June 2004. We did this when we built Iwalani, paying a one time $75.00 fee for six months worth of borrowed money. Hopefully it will work again.
As a vet, I tell clients about all the treatment options where their pets are concerned- radiation always mentioned when indicated, for cancer treatment. But how can I in all honesty, recommend/or reject something if I haven't gone through with on my own pet? Stewart's radiation treatment for hyperthyroidism was a whole different kettle of fish. Polly is getting six radiation treatments at Tufts and four vaccine treatments at Animal Medical center in New York. The mouse tyrosinase vaccine works in both humans and dogs, causing the patients own immune system to attack any melanin producing reactions. Melanin as you may know, is what makes skin dark. The vaccine only works on small tumors- keeping them from growing. Large tumors need to be de-bulked. Hence the radiation. One of the potential side effects is that Polly may become white. At fourteen years of age she has no white hairs- that may change- but she'll only look her age. Dr. Philip Bergman at AMC thinks she can get two more years of pain free life. We'll see.
Our inherited pug Barkley has also undergone a metamorphosis. He came with almost every bad dog behavior in his bag. He suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder, separation anxiety and depression. This suitcase full of issues, manifested itself with his chasing cars, ( granted this isn't a big deal since we live at the end of the earth) chewing on his legs, peeing and pooping in the house, getting into the trash and barking at nothing outside. Phil recited the toll free pug rescue phone number to him and I put him on an anti depressant for three months. He has now become a good little dog and all the unpleasant behaviors are gone. Most of the time.
I've been getting regular e-mail from Stewart's pet sitters on Willy Bolton. They arrived safely in Coff's Harbor Australia and are busy volunteering at Pacific Vet care and walking Russell Crowe's dog, (also named Polly). They sound like they are having as much fun as we did. Our friends on Danza are somewhere to the North of Australia. I always feel underdogged when dealing with them. They are saner, smarter, richer, better looking and have a fancier boat. Likewise they've also one-upped us with a very beautiful new web site- worldvoyaging.com.
Well that's it from this corner of the ocean. We've begun the process of researching the early history of flight by reading books about the Wright Brothers. We have not yet decided on a design for the plane we are going to build. The one hundred year anniversary of the first manned flight at Kitty Hawk happens Dec 17. Americans are pretty well letting this historic milestone slip by with little hoopla. Too bad. We won't. APW