Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rhab-dough, or how THB spent the few days before Thanksgiving

Hello all:
Hmmmm...what's going on here?


THB has rhabdomyolysis...what the hell is that? Large proteins unable to be processed by the kidneys, a pretty rare and serious problem for you and your kidneys if left untreated for too long.

What causes it? Just about anything apparently...in THB's case, the cause is most likely 
  • The use of medications such as antipsychotics or statins, especially when given in high doses

Here's a site that gives more info:






In THB's case, more specifically, let's hope it is not antipsychotics, since THB doesn't think he is taking any antipsychotics (though clearly THB is having hallucinations...President-elect Trump?????). And, THB is not on a high dose of statin. Maybe it is an odd confluence of things including post-Rio malaise (THB and DB think that is also a likely contributor). 

Insert homage to Leonard Cohen: I said this can't be me. Must be my double. And I can't forget, I can't forget. I can't forget but I don't remember what)

On the other hand, it may be better that antipsychotics is the cause because statins are a major preventative of a recurrence of heart problems, which is why THB was taking one (no longer, stopped immediately).

My shadow for 3 days: the IV drip machine


The treatment for rabdough: lots of fluids (of pretty much any kind). THB started pounding down fluids and was on an IV saline solution, and that has helped reduce the immediate problem. 

Background: 2-3 weeks ago, THB noticed that it was getting harder to do stairs, especially the step-up part of the 7 minutes of calisthenics, and a bit harder for pushups. Then walking also seemed more challenging (though riding the elliptical was not a problem), with a sense of weakness in the thighs (not pain, more like discomfort). Finally, THB called his primary physician, went in Friday morning for a quick review and some blood work. The doc's likely diagnosis: 


which is sort of a generic auto-immune type thing, more common in women, can come on at any age, and is treated over time with diminishing amounts of prednisone.

The real problem showed up in the blood tests. Here's the results for CPK: only 30 times the acceptable level...

ComponentYour ValueStandard Range
Creatine Kinase,Total,Serum6521 U/L24 - 204 U/L

Day 1: When the blood work came back and THB's doc checked it over the weekend, the CPK (large protein) count was 6500. Normal is 20-200. Thus phone calls from THB's primary doc started coming in on Sunday, along with urgent e-mails. Rhabdo can result in kidney failure as the large proteins find their way into but not out of the kidneys. How rare is rab-dough? THB's primary doc is in a similar age bracket with THB and she's never had a patient with rab-dough. Too bad it got caught right away or THB might have been written up in the NYT, which would have been a bad thing for THB since he would have spent many a year peeing every 1/2 hour before a proper diagnosis.

We hustle back from beach (DB driving and THB drinking on and on and on, more than a week's worth of fluids) and check in at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek, the same spot THB got his stent installed 33 months ago (a nice hospital if you have to rate hospitals).

My night time companions: used to avoid unplugging my shadow ever 1/2 to 1.5 hours and dragging the shadow to the toilet 

Saline solution pumped in ER at a rate of 200 (200 what?) via an IV, which means THB is now peeing pretty much constantly. Sort of like the guy drinking beer in the men's room at a football game.

CBM and EM bring in sandwiches for dinner in the ER. THB is now checked in for an overnight stay to keep the IV running, now at 90 whatevers, which translates to peeing every 1.5 hours
Hey, maybe Toto can figure out how to move this handy-dandy feature to Japan! Or, maybe not...is it upside down?

Day 2:  by 6am Monday the CPK count was down to 4400.

That's not low enough to be checked out, so THB spends another night at the hospital. Laps of the 5th floor with THB's shadow (IV) in tow. DB brings in Arizmendi pastry (monkey bread from our freezer, awesome!) and decaf au lait for breakfast, burritos for lunch, and LB brings in burritos for dinner. Around 1:40am, THB is awoken for a blood test. 
The snuggle bench, a very nice fit for two

Day 3: More defrosted Arizmendi and a decaf au lait from downstairs at John Muir. CPK is stabilized at around 4200 this morning (the 1:40am blood draw), which meant the hospitalist doc could give THB clearance to leave, with a recommendation of 2-3 liters of fluids per day and follow-up blood work next week. THB to do walking as only moderate exercise. Two more blood draws, one at 6am (with no test for CPK!) and one at 10:40.

The board was updated constantly with the names of the nurses, the aides, and on the last day in the last hour, with a picture of the hospitalist


OH NO!! The doc was releasing THB based on the 1:40am draw without seeing the 10:40 blood test results, where THB's count went up to 5100. Wrong direction! Discharge cancelled (Trump punishment for voting for Hillary?). DB goes for Le Cheval and THB has pork kebabs with vermicelli, DB chicken with vermicelli, and we share shrimp rolls (not fried).

KBM and EM stop by and DB heads off to start Thxgiving prep without THB. EM leaves to take care of their dogs and KBM goes off for falafel and pita and we very nice father-daughter picnic in the hospital.
Note the tangling of cords behind my shadow. Required reaching around and through the maze to unplug not one but two different wires. All the while hooked up to the IV with another thin tube

To get more fluids in THB, the new setting for the IV is 125, which means peeing every 1/2 hour. Not bad during day, deadly at nighttime. With the normal interventions (e.g., vital signs, fixing the IV machine), it does not make for a restful night. 

Day 4: THB learns what the IV setting is: drips per second. Really? Drips? Is that an official measurement. Hmmmmm...the blood test at 6:15am this morning is problematic, it is getting harder to find a vein. The left arm is a no-go because that is the saline drip side. The right arm is over-poked.

Another day and another mix-up on the CPK test; the new (to THB) nurse catches the problem around 9:30 that the CPK level was not part of the blood test. She scrambles to find the hospitalist and the lab can apparently use the 2nd vial taken this morning.

At 10:45 the nurse comes and says the CPK is back in the low 4000s so THB is going to be released. DAMN! Now to get the official word from Dr M, the hospitalist.

11:55: no sight of Dr. M

12:05: discharge nurse shows up, processes the paperwork, unplugs THB from the IV pole

12:15: Dr. M comes in for final words. As an aside, his kids go to EBI, Escuela Bilingue Internacional, right down the street from THB and DB in E-ville (and where a grand-neice attends also)

How'd you do on the Pop Quiz?

Here's the make-up quiz: does overdrinking of wine during the Xgiving weekend count towards the 2-3 liter count? Does any wine count? 

GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE!!!!!!!!!!! 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And a bonus: how to remind yourself to drink, drink and drink more fluids when at home...







Thursday, October 27, 2016

E-ville's New Kitchen, 2016


Pre-remodel pics:




Should come with a warning: to not use when uninstalled




And thus starts the long, sad tale: shortly after we leave for Spain and Portugal and Italy, the deconstruction starts, and the project comes to a halt because the electrician did not anticipate the concerns of the the city's electrical inspector.

So, now we're back and at the beach while the E-ville kitchen remodel is underway
Lauren Mabry bowl, to match her sewer pipe


Sheetrock, before taping:












A few days later, taped:







Bathrooms: sheetrock, no taping:






Full moon in time lapse (?)

Bathrooms taped, one vanity now has a counter top!







A washlet seat cover, straight outta Japan



The latest heater, now gone and sheet rock/taping completed

The heater "before taping "pic  
Kitchen cabinets installed, before countertops and appliances 






Our first Mariko Kusomoto piece, from 1997


Our second Mariko piece, made in 2003, purchased at auction 2016, 

Details from the second "box" of wonders: 







A wind-up music box plays and the lobster dances!

Refinished display piece

It's crowded in the 2nd bedroom

Kati Tuominen bowl arrives safe and sound from Milan


Fridge, ovens and freezer drawers installed while we are in Switzerland


We're back from Switzerland and Prague, what does THB do right away?

Take a selfie at the A's game...A's win!
Here's how the kitchen looks on July 24:
Kitchen light controls

New panel in pantry


Freezer drawers

Fridge and ovens

the stove top, just resting in place

The Brits are in town to celebrate a wedding:


The couple, and one giant Princess cake


M, G, and DB 


Moby Dick spotted to port side


Heading for the boat!


Monterey Aquarium



Owl below beach house
Plover in the wild



M reading during the few moments of sun at beach house during their 4 days

What's happening at the loft: temporary covers over plugs; end of July: no countertops, no kitchen sink, no back splash, no dishwasher, no mirrors in bathrooms, no sink in guest bathroom, etc.



And new light controls for kitchen
Another month goes by, what was THB doing?



Meanwhile, back in E-ville, progress is being made on the kitchen and bathrooms:
Not really a yard stick

Notice anything?

The same contractor installed both vanities

 The new vanities are about 3" difference in height!

Counter tops are in: major milestone

The dishwasher is on the far left now

Freeze drawers: very nice!

Even some art is now in place

Dish towels imply cooking is going on; we eat lunch at the kitchen island shortly after THB is home from the Rio O's
Another week goes by, time to install bathroom mirrors and make sure the kitchen back splash fits
But first, let me show you where the contractor burned holes in the floor (someone on the crew decided the microwave on the floor was functional if you could plug it in); this happened months ago

And let me show you what is now behind our ladder to the loft

Holes punched into the sheet rock, caused by closing the ladder with force and pushing the rubber bumpers into the wall 

Not an outline: a rectangular punch in the wall
August 31: the birds are on the field at AT&T Park throughout the later innings

The mirror is up in the hall bathroom, no problema


Not so good in the master bathroom: the mirror won't fit around the faucet


Emergency call to plumber to set aside the faucet so the mirror can be installed
Another week goes by, and on Sept 2 (Happy B'day bro!) the  lights are finally fully installed:


LED lights in grooves in the ceiling


You know where THB was going after taking the pics







and another few days go by and we find out that one of the back splash pieces needs to be redone: no new dates for repair and installation

We decide our contractors are off the project! We're close to being done, and they are not adding value. No more DSF. 

What did DSF bring to the project: no anticipation of the electrical requirements, burnt holes in the floor, a couch with the outline of a bucket, a broken toilet, vanities at different heights, a broken wall and smooshed bumpers behind the ladder, many many slipped delivery dates (well, no project plans so we couldn't track all the slipped dates), and tirades about what bad clients we were in (among other things) not respecting their home lives. 

The new pantry "art" door is installed (it still needs coverlets for the hardware and finger-hole insert


These are weeds from the empty land across the street from the loft (backlit)




The artist, Nora Pauwels

Kati Tuominen bowl on the dining room table

On Sept 23, the glass backsplash was installed:

The pantry has been re-arranged and all the dry food is stored away and easy to get to on pull-out drawers  
All the dishware, and most of the pots and pans are near the stove top



And, the next day we went to see the latest art installation at the Presidio, Home Land Security (sorry, I don't have pics of the art), an excellent show.

The opening Bertrand Russell quote is amazingly apt:
Neither a man
nor a crowd
nor a nation
can be trusted
to act humanely
or to think sanely
under the influence
of great fear


The show has a great booklet and an awesome stamp!




It's early October, a short trip to LA for an opening of the Boardman collection at LACMA and a stop at one of THB's fave bakeries, Huckleberry:

Sunday morning and many to-go orders for pick-up
We're out on the Bay with the Snows, watching the Blue Angels during Fleet Week: 


And, we're almost done with the kitchen remodel, only a few things are left, the most important of which is finishing putting the art back in new and exciting ways!


Dishes are re-arranged after an extra shelf is put in place

It looks familiar, a few pieces are in the same spot, some not, and the rug has been cleaned
We're back from Seattle (mid-October), which included visits to two different Macrina Bakery locations 
This is the one near the ballparks


And, we've had our sofa cleaned in situ; you can just see the faint outline from something circular and weighty that had been left on the sofa too long during construction 
It's now 13 days before the election, Game 1 of the World Series goes to the Indians, and Game 1 of the NBA season is a debacle for the Warriors. This season will not finish with an 82-0 record or 41-0 at home.

And, the kitchen is pretty much done, only one or two cosmetic things left to go. We settled up with DSF (exchange of paper and check at a neutral site). The art is back in place, and here are pics of how things look as Halloween approaches:




Note: the Mariko pieces are now side by side on a pair of new ledges and All Eyes has moved to a new position, and the Kati bowl is now on the floor



Terry Turrell head has moved to the loft

David Reekie piece also escapes the TV display and is now on a new Eric pedestal




Richard Shaw piece is where All Eyes used to be, Lauren Mabry piece is back on the table





Note: The Eric Powell display piece has been refinished and two more of Eric's pieces are now in the loft

The old coat rack is down, replaced by hooks and Gail Tarantino's piece is now in front hallway


Wesley Anderegg's piece escapes the TV cabinet

The countertop on the island is larger, and is a big improvement for assembling and prepping. The fridge is larger (we'll never fill it up!), the lighting is way, way better, and overall the magic triangle seems more functional. 






Larry Calkins' piece has moved to be atop the old tool chest (which has moved out of the bathroom)

Molly Hill's work has come up from the beach house

Hap Sakwa's bowl now on a newly purchased Eric pedestal

No changes except finally THB has his old office/workout space back





The sink is a bit smaller, the counter space more usable, and the vanity holds more with deeper drawers

A new "unfinished" plywood stand to highlight jewelry pieces
Now we are starting over from scratch learning how to cook: new induction stove top, a steam/convection oven, a second just-convection oven, using probes, slow cooking, oven pans that allow drips onto other pans, and new recipes. The election is only days away!! Everything will be new and different in the future...and THB will be older and harder to train!