Friday, January 08, 2010

As the Soup Thickens

I hate downer posts, and I avoid them like the plague. But I don’t have the plague, either bubonic or locusts. I do have emphysema, though, a disease of the lungs that is neither reversible nor curable.

Right now, there are three things keeping me alive:

1. Oxygen 24/7.
2. Prednisone, a nasty corticosteroid that keeps the airway passages open.
3. Determination, stubbornness, and perseverance.

So far, so good. I’ve beaten several longevity milestones because of (1) my relative youth for the disease, (2) my general good health physically (except for my prostate, which pisses me off), (3) no chest colds or influenza, and (4) my refusal to leave Martha on her own. I just KNOW she’ll forget to pay the fucking property taxes on December 30 and end up living at the bingo hall.

Yesterday, however, a new fly committed hara-kiri in my soup—if I could have seen it, that is.

It started slowly, just a mild blurriness when I read very small print. “Dirty eyeglasses,” I thought, and I’d clean them with my dirty shirttail. The blurriness spread to larger small print, and I used my Sherlock Holmes-quality magnifying glass to read. But like the 1958 Steve McQueen movie The Blob, the blur expanded to all close-up print and, finally, mid-range—meaning this computer screen. Time to see the Doc.

After almost two hours of tests, including photographs, I’ve developed glaucoma.

And both the Doc and I instantly knew the cause: the prednisone, the nasty drug that keeps my airways open.

The solution? We don’t know yet. In the meantime, I’m taking an eye drop drug called Xalatan to reduce the “intraocular pressure,” which is double what it should be. Week after next, I’ll be seeing both Dr. Lung and Dr. Eyeball to see what or what not I can see.

*SHORT WHINE* Man, anything but my eyes. Reading and writing are my two main things, and while I can still do them, I’m s-l-o-w and I get killer headaches in the process. In the immortal words of Wandering Coyote on 10/09/09, “Jesus - what a mess! *END OF SHORT WHINE*

Well I’m not giving up, blog friends, but for a while, I’ll miss some of your posts (some of which are too small to read right now). I just don’t want y’all to think I’m ignoring you.

I’ve left commenting on, but PLEASE, no sympathy or mushy stuff.

[Note to Kim Ayres: I’ll email you my address so you can send me a “I’m Sorry You’re Dead” greeting card when the time is appropriate.]


savannah said...

well, hells bells, sugar! there is a feature on every computer that makes the damn text larger! USE IT!
;~D oxoxoxoxoxoxo

(there are no excuses for NOT reading my blog!!!)

St Jude said...

I'll just post in largest print then from now on Charlie. It might annoy the hell out of some folk but what the heck friends come first. ;0)

Robert the Skeptic said...

Charlie, I had to call my medical insurance provider today. They asked me for my provider number. It is printed on the blue card in white type, the font is Serif-Microscopic, I believe. I guess they thought the card looked cool with all that empty blue space on it.

The people making stuff for us are all younger than us. They don't have a clue. I even wrote to AARP about the small print in their magazine. You would think THEY of all people would be sensitive to our declining sight. Nope.

Just be glad the docs aren't needing to mess with your brain. As Woody Allen categorized it, it's his second favorite organ. I would agree.

Jimmy Bastard said...

For the sake of the holy jaysus, Charlie... dig in man, and enlarge the font before you do yersel in.

Pat said...

Bugger bugger bugger! I wondered where you were. I'll try to do what St Jude is going to do and I hope MTL will have your determination to stay alive to pay the bills etc.
Shoot me if this is a stupid suggestion but could you save the strain by using talking books - whatever they are called?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Jesus Christ on a cracker, man, that blows goats! Do I need to come down there and read my blog to you? Because I've got the air miles. And I am sick of the snow.

Now look what you've started!

Wandering Coyote said...

OK, OK, no mushy stuff from me, but once again, what a fucking mess!

Wandering Coyote said...

Dammit! It doesn't look like I can change my font size on my blog! Fucking WordPress!

Tiffin said...

Charlie, this totally stinks. You know that rolly wheel on your mouse? Press it down and roll it away from you while holding it down. That increses the font size so you can read things better, in case you didn't know this.

Good luck with Dr. Lung and Dr. Eyes.

Kim Ayres said...

Tiffin's idea doesn't work on my computer, but every browser has an option to increase the font size on it, so start using that.

And I'll make sure the "Sorry You're Dead" card is in large writing for you.

koonsmother said...

"Man, anything but my eyes."
Well, if I thought I had any pull, I'd talk to the Man in Charge (it can't be a woman---a woman wouldn't have let this happen) about that. Call me---I'll read to you over the phone; that'll give you an entirely different kind of headache.

Kevin Musgrove said...


I've upped my font a bit, apologies if it's not enough.

There are also options for screen-reading. Windows Narrator is a lot basic; there are others out there that are a ton better.

Pat's idea about the talking books is good, too. And both the Project Gutenberg and Librivox sites have a surprisingly wide range of classic texts for free in various formats.

Hang in there, son.

Stella said...


Charlie said...

Holy cow! I rue the moment I wrote some blogs are too small to read; it appears EVERYONE thinks they're guilty, when in fact it's only one or two. Do not, repeat, DO NOT change your blogs!

And thanks for all of your tips. You're a great bunch of peeple.

Thanks for yelling, Stella, but it doesn't seem to work worth a damn.

Fay's Too said...

I hear ya, Charlie! Prednisone is horrible stuff, but sometimes necessary to maintain our little habits - like breathing.
I have the "print" on my computers blown up to size XXXL and I have a sheet magnifier nearby at all times. Hang tough! (I understand pot is good for eye pressure from glaucoma)

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Hey Charlie -
Hang in there!

Listen to Jimmy and enlarge your font on your browser.

My dad did that to my computer when he visited last time since he refuses to get prescription glasses. The guy even doubles up his store bought cheapos wearing two pairs at the same time. I could not figure out what the hey was going on, thought I was loosing my mind.

I hate advice when I'm pissed or feel like "crappola" but it may help. :)

Peter S. said...

Hi, Charlie! I'll be praying for your quick recovery. Actually, I included you in the mass's special intentions. (I serve as commentator for Sunday mass.)

Meg said...

[This is me trying not to be sympathetic and mushy] Hi. I read your post. And, um. That is all. Oh!! And books on tape! Those are good.

kara said...

if the sight goes, we'll start you a podcast.

we got your back, yo.

Stinkypaw said...

Sorry to rea this, but in the mean time can't you adjust the size of the fonts on your pc?! 'kidding!!

And I'm all for Kara's idea!

Take care of yourself xox

Charlie said...

Thanks again to all of you for your tips and your caring. I have in fact enlarged the text, and it's helping.

Attila The Mom said...

Ah shit.

Charlie said...

MOM: I'll see your ah shit and raise you by an ah fuck.