Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Blazer

Now that Donna has gotten her the Chrysler 300, we have an overabundance of vehicles. With Josh home, we have SIX vehicles. It was simply time for one to go. The obvious choice was of course our 1989 S-10 Blazer. It has over 196,000 miles on it, the gas tank leaks, the engine doesn't run well, all of the radio speakers are out, and the exhaust sometimes filters through the car. All the same, it's hard to give it up.

When Donna and I married, I had a 1983 Trans Am. It was my cool car designed to attract the eyes of any woman who looked on it. Of course, Donna didn't really like the car at all :-). It was a neat car to drive, but it was not a practical family car. It had a backseat, but it was so small you couldn't really have anyone ride in the back. Jonathan often asks why I got rid of that car which is really ironic. When Donna got pregnant in 1989, we realized that car wouldn't hold a car seat very well at all. She had a hard time getting in and out of the car when she got further and further along. We finally bit the bullet and bought a brand new 1989 S-10 Blazer on sale at Royal Oaks Chevrolet. We traded in my Trans Am for it since we already had Donna's newer Olds Cutlass. It was the first new car Donna had ever owned in her life. Lest you think I was always a Dave Ramsey guy, we actually borrowed money to buy the car. It was the last car we ever had payments on and we paid it off in a year.

That car has gone through a lot. It took us to the hospital twice to get new baby boys. We took it on all sorts of family trips. It was always the car that could pull through any snow. A few years ago, it was the car that managed to get back to our house through snow (and over a few limbs) when the big ice storm of 2009 hit. We've sat on its tailgate to watch movies at two drive-ins (Mayfield and Calvert City). It's hauled all sorts of sports equipment and all sorts of Ballard County/Memorial athletes. Both of the boys learned to drive with it. It's been like a member of the family.

Josh has been trying to sell it through various means for the past couple of months. Then, my sister-in-law's husband Jimmy offered to buy it. We were thrilled to get anything for it. He knows how to actually fix things on a car so he can fix some of the issues with it and enjoy using it. Changing out bulbs and an air filter the limit of my capabilities. Donna got a little upset when she saw him driving it after we took it to him today. I'll miss that old car too.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Stan the Man..

I had wanted to get the new Stan Musial book. Josh got it for me for Father's Day and I've been reading on it since. If you are not a sports fan, Stan Musial is the face of the St Louis Cardinals franchise. I cannot think of another person in sport who would be considered in the same way.

The book is excellent. It of course touches on incidents that I already knew about. There are long chapters but there are very short chapters (2 pages) that touch on specific incidents that relate what kind of person Stan was. There is a great story of something he did for a rookie one holiday season. I knew he was a really good guy but the book emphasizes that. It even brings up how he requested a pay cut when he had a bad season (I cannot imagine that happening nowadays). I also didn't know he was good friends with author James Michener.

Another theme in the book is how Stan seems to have been overlooked his whole life. The author points out that this wasn't as true as much when he played as later in life. I can't speak to that but there are incidents in my life I remember. I remember how he was left off the all time baseball All Star baseball team and was added by the Comissioner of Baseball. The book states that he was the first name brought up and there was no room for argument. The book also reminded me how Stan was upstaged at the All Star game at Busch Stadium a few years back by the appearance of President Obama.

If you are a Cardinal Fan, baseball fan, or a sports fan at all, I'd recommend you read the book. You'll enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's For Your Own Good..

I was at my doctor a couple of months ago and in the course of our discussion, he said "You're getting close to 50, you should go ahead and get a colonoscopy". I thought to myself "Whoa, What? Let's not go overboard here doc!". He asked who I wanted to use and I said "Dr. McCombs". Both Donna and my father-in-law go to him and really like him. He took really good care of Donna when she was having issues a couple of years ago. So, he got me signed up for an appointment with one of the PAs there.

I went to my appointment secretly hoping I'd get out of doing the colonosocopy. The PA talked with me at length and I told her I was having no issues. Alas, she said "Well since you are getting close to 50, let's go ahead and schedule it". So we did. She gave me a prescription for something called NuLytely and instructions for using it. My appointment wasn't for over a month, so I set the stuff aside.

About a week before my appointment, Donna went and got my prescription. She came back with what looked to be an enormous jug with white powder in it. I found out I was to drive 12 8 ounce glasses of this stuff the night before along with 2 Ducolax tablets. I had to drink 4 more glasses the next morning before my 11:30 appointment. There were four flavor packets you could choose from (cherry, orange, pineapple and lemon-line). I somehow doubted it was going to make the stuff taste like Kool-Aid.

For the week before, you are not supposed to eat beans, seeds, popcorn, peanuts, etc. I knew Josh and I were going to watch the Cardinals play the Saturday before and part of the deal with our seats was free food (including popcorn). I had Donna call hoping again I might get out of it by saying I'd be eating popcorn. Again, no luck. They said "Oh, one night will be OK".

The day before the procedure, you have to have a liquid diet. You are limited to Popsicles, broth and jello. You also cannot have any red or purple colored jello. My two favorite flavors of course are cherry and grape. So, I was limited to orange and blueberry. Donna strained three cans of chicken noodle soup for me. Josh got all the good stuff in his lunch and I got broth.

That night, I started with the liquid. I'd been warned to have something with you when you started this since you'd be "stuck in one spot" for a while. I took my new Stan Musial book Josh got me for Father's Day plus my laptop with Netflix playing. I had Donna mix in the cherry flavoring. The stuff wasn't too bad to start with. I drank the first couple of glasses at 15 minute intervals wondering what would happen. I didn't wait too long. I won't go into the gross details, but it was like a nuclear laxative kicked in. I got through eight glasses chugging them right down. After that, the last four got tougher and tougher. I got all twelve down though. I went to bed after that. I only got up a few times in the night.

Starting the next morning at 7, I worked on the last four glasses. I thought being hungry would help, but getting those four down wasn't as easy as it'd been the night before. I'd put away a gallon of that stuff. That cherry flavoring didn't seem as good at this point. We left at about 10:30 and even ran a few errands (with me close to a bathroom if need be of course) without issue. We got to the Gastro center at Western Baptist about 11:20. I filled out the usual paperwork and was ushered back to a room to wait. The nurse put an IV in and showed up a film about how a colonsocopy works.

Finally about 1:00pm, a nurse came to wheel me back. I looked at Donna and told her I loved her and back I went. They wheeled me into the room and I could see the monitor they would use to see how my colon looked. I could even see the tubing and I thought "Wow, that looks like a lot". Dr. McCombs put his hand on my shoulder and said "Mr Yancy, lets get this done and get you to lunch, OK?" I thanked him and said "Yes Sir!". The nurse started putting the knockout stuff in my IV and said "Here comes the good stuff!". I remember thinking if I should close my eyes. Next thing I knew, I was back in the room where I started. It was like they flipped a switch and I had gone completely out.

I saw Donna's beautiful face and knew I had made it fine. They gave me some Diet Coke to drink. They make you do something quite a bit before you leave. To put it delicately, since they put air in your colon to inflate it to see it better, that gas has to come out before they let you go. Being a male, this was a piece of cake. I looked at Donna once and thought she was crying. Turns out, she was laughing so hard, she had tears in her eyes. They wheeled me out to the curb and Donna picked me up. She then told me how I kept repeating "Dr. McCombs sure looked different" about 10 or 11 times. She also said I was quizzing the nurse about every beverage they had until picking what she knew I would - Diet Coke. That's some mighty good stuff they put in that IV I guess. She told me that everything was fine and they'd removed a small polyp and said I should eat a bit more fiber. Donna fed me when I got home and I just relaxed the rest of the night while my personal nurse took great care of me. I had no problem getting up and heading to work the next day.

Now, let me talk to my friends/classmates that are my age. This really wasn't anywhere as bad as you might sometimes be lead to believe. Please don't put it off and risk not finding colon cancer until its too late. I can tell you the people at the Gastro Center were great and took wonderful care of me. The only bad thing was I would have thought with two days of a liquid diet/not eating that I might drop a pound or two. Alas, that didn't happen..