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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Worst funny picture, ever

I’ve complained about bicyclists for longer than I’ve had a blog. On occasion I’ve taken pictures of bicycles on the road, described with some disdain. In fact, the township recently suffered bicycle events that bordered on cataclysmic, if you live in or drive in the township. One is a state law; one a federal ruling. It’s not possible to rank the sublime and the ridiculous, so here they are, in no particular order.

The state of Ohio has ruled bicycles may ride two abreast, and cars must give them three feet of clearance. The visual fulfills sublime to ridiculous on its own. There are posters all over town, all over the roads, of two bikers, side by side, and a car passing. The car’s door is open, to demonstrate a visual of three feet.

Ohio township roads may be as little as twenty feet wide, but generally are thirty feet. That divvies out to fifteen feet per lane, less things like the center line and the berm. Let’s say one polite rider is on the berm; his buddy is side by side, consuming say, a yard of actual road. So, fifteen feet are reduced to twelve. Whoops, less three feet of door, in order to pass, is nine feet. The average car takes more than six feet of width.

You get the picture. Bicycles own the road in townships. Our fine (R) representative, Jim Rinnacci, held a hearing no one knew of until the law was passed. Bikers presented testimony. The testimony has been sealed. The law says that the speed limit on all township roads that pass through a federal park (in the foot note, Boston Township and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park are noted as the only roads meeting the standard) will be twenty five miles per hour.

There ya go, folks. For a nice afternoon of traffic constricted bicycle riding, come on down to Boston Township and ride in the national park.

The other day, going to work, I passed a small car parked in a ditch, and across the road saw a fellow bending low, seeming to be looking. This was at the very top of Kendall Road. I slowed to see if I could help, and saw an old man, sweeping the berm.  A definite “do not get involved” situation, and I sped up to 25 mph  to continue on.

Coming home a couple of hours later, I passed the fellow again. He’d worked his way a couple of miles down the road, and only had the big bend at the Boy Scout Camp and past the lake at the golf course, to get on down to Akron Peninsula Road. Definitely under the speed limit.

I could restrain myself no longer. I took possession of the gully where I park to photograph my header tree, and said I had to tell him a story.

This township is overrun by bikes every day, and simply consumed every spring, summer and fall weekend. Years ago I relayed a phone message to the trustees: “It would be courteous of you to keep the berms swept for us.” The answer was, “Sweep them yourselves.” But, he never called back. All these years I’ve waited.

And there he was, sweeping the berms. We laughed, shook hands, and went on our respective ways.

Note to self--pictures through windshields generally are not optimal pictures.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Not winning this contest any time soon

Between not being permitted to go to work when I could work, then being criticized and more by the troublesome trustee, my six week backlog is not dented enough. The work is caught up, the mistakes are not. My counselor listened sympathetically, and said she would advocate for me. She called the trustee, explained traumatic brain injury, and for her trouble got an earful that included, if I wanted to resign, give two weeks’ notice.

That was a red flag I could deal with. I immediately wrote and signed my letter of resignation, effective that very day, and circulated it. I mentioned I would be in and out the remainder of the month, doing what I could. I’m down to sleeping only an extra four or six hours a day, and that’s been helpful. The stack of mistakes remain, and I think before June 1st, the mistaker will call the mistakees and outline the plan of remediation for someone else to do.

But, the worst thing of all—I don’t amuse myself anymore, and I probably bore all of you to tears, too. I haven’t found a bit of amusement in the setbacks. All the people who understand what they want to understand and not a thing more no longer make me say “Fool. Idiot!”. I don’t want to wait another year.

The good news is, we haven’t settled the blood pressure problem yet. I bought a new cuff. It’s little and cute. I haven’t had a blood pressure problem for so long, I couldn’t recall the difference between a decent reading and an indecent one. I took in the week’s list today, and my doctor said, “These are not good.” They were all one sixty somethings over eighty somethings, and I wasn’t fussed. She was, though.

Years ago, before I had the stroke, she and I had a blood pressure fight. Every drug she tried made me sick, one way or another. Another week and another week, I’m sitting on the table and she’s writing a new scrip. “This is like throwing spaghetti on the wall,” I snarled. “How many left before you get one to stick?” “You’re being referred to a cardiologist,” she replied, and so I have a good one of them, too.

Unfortunately, we could not remember the name of the drug he prescribed. I called the cardiologist’s office to check their records. Diovan, the receptionist announced a few minutes later. Diovan! How could we forget? It brought down blood pressure for six months before the stroke (not related), then we damn near killed me with no blood pressure at all.

The road guys would find me passed out at the desk and call the ambulance. I can’t tell you how many youngsters learned to insert an IV needle because of me. My favorite one whipped the monitor around to face him when I happened to glance over. Must have been a really low pressure reading. I looked at the other two medics watching him, and I told the kid he just passed Bedside Manor on his exam. That youngster now is First Lieutenant for the Memphis Fire and Rescue.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Dr. De Ren

The wren, the wren, the king of all birds…

I’ve known Dr. De Ren for ten years. Back when I had a stroke and no nouns, he was one of the first doctors I saw. He’s a neurologist, and was so young and serious. And Chinese, and handsome, with language skills not more intelligible than mine.  He listened to my noun less speech, or looked at the pictures I drew, and answered my questions. Once I looked at my notes, realized I’d missed an important point and shouted “Bird come back” at the nurse. Probably the first noun I used. The nurse just stared, but Dr. De Ren, outside the door, came back. I looked in the little book just now, and see I wrote “kind” at the end of the day’s notes.

I saw Dr. De Ren for several years, until there was little more stroke business to follow up. When I came back from DC after this pointless accident, I was given a list of doctors to follow up with, or be released. The neurologist was the nice, fat little Italian fellow, who dismissed me and my back pain. But, I already had an appointment with Dr. De Ren, and  knew I could tough it out.

Today Dr. De Ren came into the room saying “You had a terrible accident. Tell me about it.” And I did, and gave him a copy of the little Italian doctor’s MRI of my “perfect” brain. My history with Dr. De Ren began with an MRI of my brain, when he told me the good news was that I had one. I told him my complaints were that I could not stay awake, and the debilitating pain since those neurosurgeons (the swine!) had confiscated my NSAIDS.

“Well, you know, those neurosurgeons cannot stand blood,” he said. “So, they prescribe Keppra. Sometimes they cannot stand blood so much, they prescribe extra Keppra. I see you’re on twice as much Keppra as you can possibly need to prevent a seizure.”

“Why would I have a seizure?”

“Disorganized electrical activity.”

I could see where that might come from. But, “What is a seizure?”

He made fists of both hands and made his body shake, violently.  “It shakes the blood out of the vessels. And remember, those neurosurgeons hate blood! All the extra Keppra is making you so groggy! Perhaps they think you won’t notice the pain if you’re not awake!”

He cut the Keppra in half. We’ll see if I stay awake. He added a tiny bit more Lyrica for the back pain. We’ll see what happens. Lyrica puts me to sleep, too, so I take it at bedtime. I hope it works. It seems a shame to waste being pain free by being asleep.

I just recalled another Dr. De Ren anecdote. My sister had some surgery once, and the doctor feared she may have suffered a stroke. He sent her and her MRI to Dr. De Ren, who evaluated it. The stroke could have happened any time in the past, even when she was born. Absolutely fascinating. He told her the good news was, she had a brain, and he absolutely could not seen in one ear and out the other. Now I wonder about my brain. But the important thing to remember is this: “Those neurosurgeons hate blood!”