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Archived Entries from January 2007


The Rash

The rash seems to be going away, which I think I'm not happy about. I was hoping that Celebrex wasn't going to be the culprit, because sure enough, I got a headache last night, and another nasty one this afternoon. So far tylenol and aspirin have been able to hold their ground, but this is like that stupid movie (of all of Heinlein's books...)... Hmm. What was it called? Starship Troopers. That was it. These headaches are the bugs--and thinking I'm winning a battle against them is pretty much futile.

What a dumb analogy. Dumb movie and a dumb analogy. Why not make a movie for Stranger in a Strange Land? Now that was a good book. Oh wait, isn't that in the works? Okay, I'm getting sidetracked. Friday was still my favorite Heinlein book. And the one where the old guy ended up in his secretary's body or something? That was pretty cool too. Anyway...

So my point was that I'm hoping I still have the rash tomorrow and that they say that Celebrex isn't the problem and that something else is and that I can go back on my geezer rheumatoid arthritis medicine. It was so nice to be headache-free for even just that week and a half.

My boss is so cool (did I say that in my post yesterday?). He reiterated today that I need to quit worrying about the whole Apache log fiasco. Well, fiasco to me, total non-concern to him.

Anyway. When we redid the floor upstairs and had the new furniture delivered my USB secure digital flash card reader thing went AWOL. It used to float between my camera and my laptop and my laptop bag and my pocket and the basket on the end table that the remotes used to be in. The basket that the remotes used to be in is now remote-less and on top of the fridge. And the flash card reader is gone. I know that I put it somewhere for safe keeping, I just don't know where that somwehere is. And I don't necessarily need it for anything, but it's missing, and that is starting to bother me. Like bother me more and more every day. I finally printed out two copies of what it looks like from newegg's web site and wrote "reward: $20" and handed it to each of the kids. The thing isn't worth half that, but I want it, and I want to know where it went.

Besides, the kids won't find it. It's lost. Oh well.

Posted: Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 1:56 am
Mood: Irritated | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


This Is Getting Ridiculous

So I called the doctor this morning to tell them about this silly rash and talked to Jill, the nurse. She called me back an hour or two later and said that Dr. Lee said that the problem is most likely an allergic reaction to--get this--the Celebrex. It has a "sulfa" compound in it, and I'm probably allergic to that. The first relief I've had from headaches for almost a year and I have to stop taking the Celebrex.

Wonderful.

On a sort-of side note I guess I'm glad it isn't the blood pressure beta blocker because I also got a call today from the woman from the place hired by the life insurance company that provides service for the state of Illinois and she wanted to set up a time to come meet with me and, of course, take my blood pressure and get a blood sample, etc. I've opted sign up for the optional 8-times-salary maximum life insurance offered by the University through the state (it only ends up being a little over forty bucks a month) and they obviously want to make sure I'm not going to die next week before giving me a policy. So I'm glad that I get to keep taking the blood pressure stuff. I'm sure that I'll "pass" either way, but we all know the way that I worry about stuff. Hell, the way I worry about stuff will probably make my blood pressure higher than it should be that day no matter how many pills Dr. Lee gives me to take.

The plan is all finally coming together, and if I get smushed by an errant MTD bus on campus, that plan, minus me, needs to continue. Or at least this will help attempt to keep it in that direction. I already have a policy that I opened when the kids where little, but, well, why am I talking about this again?

So now I'm dreading a headache. I started to feel the onset of one when I was driving home from work. I took some acetaminophen when I got home, along with a lone aspirin, and that seems to have held it off for now, but it's like zombies at the door of the cottage--they'll be back (and in greater numbers). Okay, that's Tusken Raiders, not zombies.

Anyway.

I've decided to join the local country club this year, for sure. It's only like $600, which is totally cheap. Now I just need to find a golf cart. Hopefully Papa can come through and set me up with one. I asked my dad to look around the 'burbs for me as well. I have to have something to do this summer now that I can't consult anymore....

Hmm. I had something else.... Oh! My stupid car! It isn't stupid, actually... At about 75,000 miles I replaced the spark plugs. The platinum good-for-100,000-miles spark plugs. But I couldn't get to all of them and got frustrated and only replaced seven of them.

I now have 125,000 miles on my car. That "transmission slippage?" That's not the tranny. That's an eighth cylinder that has 25,000 more miles on its spark plug than it should and simply isn't firing.

So I spent $60 on another set of new Delco platinum plugs and was calm and took my time (let me say that it is wonderful being the person that I am now...) and patiently removed the entire coil ignition pack unit from the back of the engine so that I had a clear shot at getting to the back four plugs, replaced all eight plugs with new ones (and yes, that one last original plug was gross...), and now my wonderful Aurora purrs like a kitten once again. I know, I know, I'm terribly allergic to cats. But seriously--this car definitely has some wear and tear, but the engine has over 125,000 miles on it and it purrs like a charm.

I went to Autozone a few weeks back and had them read the engine codes and the EGR valve is what is causing the problem so it looks like now that I've dealt with the engine and it is happy again I'm going to spend the $200 and put in a new EGR valve. I'm not ready to give up on this car just yet.

Heh. Think I don't have a total feel for my damn car? (Yes, I've had two glasses of wine, and no, I'm not forcing you to read this so you can quit at any time...). The "check engine" light will reset itself after the car is turned on and off so many times without the offending "thing" happening. In my case, after I drive it around town on a weekend, I might have the light turned off by the end of the weekend. Well, the other day I was driving Em to Tuscola to get a birthday present for a friend and she was commenting that she was surprised that we were taking "my car" and I told her that I had replaced the spark plugs and it was running much better and she said "oh, and the engine light isn't on either!" As we accelerated from 25 to 60 as we left town I pointed out the temperature gauge and the tachometer to her and as I turned the cruise control on at 62 MPH I noted that the tachometer was at around 2,200 RPM and that the temperature was at maybe 150 degrees or so. "Now watch, Em," I said, "once the temperature gets closer to 200, the RPMs are going to drop down to 1,800 and when that happens the engine light is going to turn on." The EGR valve has something to do with recycling warm exhaust when the engine is cold so that the cold intake air burns more efficiently. Well, as I was explaining all of this, the RPMs dropped and sure enough the engine light lit up.

Nope. I have no symbiotic relationship whatsoever with my car.

(And I know that "symbiotic" is the wrong word, but it's so much cooler than "yeah, I kinda have a feel for it.")

The EGR valve is next on the list.

Well I've skipped my evening Celebrex, I don't yet have a headache, and I'm still covered in this stupid rash. Sheesh.

At least my boss didn't care about my total screw up with the Apache server logs for last year (and then lack of web stats for the web sites) when I talked to him about it today. See--I need to be able to blog from work when I have the actual cool stuff to talk about. My boss rocks.

And I get to put another RedHat server into production soon running all of the Crop Science Extension web sites.

And I have started the process of joining the Fedora Core Linux web team. I've always wanted to "do my part" with the open source software movement, and finally decided to take the plunge today after a comment on /. from a guy at gnu.org, but those people, especially RMS, are pretty much nuts (and I like my penguin Linux shirt and don't want to add a gnu and GNU), so we'll see where this goes....

Okay, enough rambling.

Go Bears!

Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2007, 2:35 am
Mood: Calm | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Wonderful

So I started some new blood pressure medicine in the midst of all of this headache stuff.

And Friday I noticed that I was a bit itchy.

And yesterday I got up and found I was covered head to toe in a wonderful rash.

So I've been taking generic Benedryl trying to keep from being so itchy, but it isn't working quite so well. I'm (obviously) having a hard time sleeping.

I wish this would have happened on Wednesday or Thursday... I guess I'll just have to stick it out one more day and call the doctor's office first thing Monday morning.

Posted: Sunday, January 28, 2007, 9:05 am
Mood: Itchy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


My Headaches

So maybe a year and a half ago I was walking to lunch with a few friends and we were by the Alma Mater statue and all of a sudden out of the blue it felt like I was shot in the side of my skull with a nail gun. I know, that sounds stupid--I've never been shot by a nail gun so I can only guess what it feels like. But one moment I was fine and in the next moment I had a searing, totally sharp pain in the side of my head. The worse headache I'd ever experienced. All throughout lunch (bacon mega cheeseburgers at Murphy's on campus--yum!) I was in agony--all I wanted to do was get back to the office to take ibuprofen.

Now several years ago my wonderful (ahem) doctor told me that if I ever needed to I could take up to five ibuprofen at a time. So anytime I ever took ibuprofen, I never messed with it. Why screw with taking two, only to still have a partial headache 20 minutes later.

So a year and a half ago I got back to the office and took five ibuprofen. And the sharp pain, as expected, went away.

But for the last year and a half, I've battled headaches. I have no idea why. I've never been a "headache person." And I just sort of accepted it. A headache would happen, I'd chug down five ibuprofen, the headache would go away, and that would be the end of it. Except this would happen more than once a day. Now I talked to my good doctor, and cleared with her again--you told me that I could take five ibuprofen up to four times a day, right? Yep, that's what she said. Just probably not every day for a year and a half.

So I wore out the lining in my stomach, made an ulcer, started bleeding internally--we all know that part of the story. No more old doctor, no more ibuprofen.

My stomach has been fixed, but I can't take ibuprofen anymore. So my headaches persist. And Tylenol doesn't work. It does the half-headache thing. And while I don't drink like Larry Hagman drinks, I get nervous about taking Tylenol. Even if my new doctor tells me not to worry about it.

So he did a bunch of bloodwork. Everything came back perfect. I didn't know if I should have been happy or mad.

He upped my blood pressure medication. And also put me on beta-blockers. Now I feel like I'm tipsy when driving to work. Yet the headaches persisted.

Oh, and he doesn't want me to be taking Tylenol every day because he thinks I'll get "rebound" headaches from when the Tylenol wears off. What "wears off?" It never works all the way to begin with...

He tried muscle relaxers. They make me drool in my sleep, and I don't clench my teeth when I drive, but they didn't fix my headaches.

He put me on epilepsy medicine, because a side effect of this particular stuff is that it cures migraines. This stuff is such awful stuff that you have to "ramp up" to the full dose--one pill every evening for a week, then one pill in the morning and one in the evening for a week, then one in the morning and two in the evening for a week, then finally the full dose of two in the morning and two in the evening every day. And that didn't help. So now I have to wean myself off this stuff. Right now I'm at two in the morning and one in the evening for a few more days before I can go back down to 1-and-1. And I had to refill my prescription because I was running out. How dumb is that? I had to pay to refill a prescription for a medicine that isn't even working because I have to wean myself off of it.

On February 2nd I'm having an MRI to make sure I don't have a brain tumor or an aneurysm. I told my doctor that if they don't find a tumor or an aneurysm or a huge nail that is stuck through my skull, that I want to go back on Nexium and be able to take ibuprofen again.

And, surprisingly, he said that might just be what happens.

But first, last Friday, he gave me some samples of something called Celebrex. Yeah, the commercials with the old people dancing around in the field of flowers. It's for rhematoid arthritis. Basically, it's very similar to ibuprofen--it's in the same family of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Here's the catch: ibuprofen is both a cox-1 inhibitor and a cox-2 inhibitor. The cox-2 inhibitor is the thing that makes my headaches happy, and the cox-1 inhibitor is the thing that screws up my stomac lining. Celebrex is just the cox-2 inhibitor.

I took the samples home Friday, and called the doctor Monday afternoon. No headaches. All weekend. Not one. At one point I had one feel like it was going to start, and 20 minutes later it was as if it had given up. I couldn't believe it.

I filled my prescription yesterday.

I'm still interested to see what they find on the MRI. Because while I'm happy that the headaches are under control again (without screwing up my stomach), there's still something wrong. What caused them in the first place?

Oh, and between all these pills I'm taking, something isn't playing nice. I got out of the shower Saturday morning and was covered in a rash. Oops. Hopefully it's just the fabric softener....

I'm home from work today because, well, they are doing another test of sorts that isn't, well, that gross, but let's just say it's easier logistically for me to deal with it at home than it is at work. And leave it at that.

I just hope they figure something out soon.

And that I find new web hosting for the Nerdrium soon.

Posted: Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 6:24 pm
Mood: Optimistic | 3 comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Hey...

My web site is back!

Methinks it's time to find some new hosting.....

So much to talk about too!

Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2007, 4:00 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Transmission Slippage

I think the end is nearing for my poor car. I experienced some anomalous behavior on the trip home last night, again on the ride to work this morning, and definitely again on the ride home this evening. I don't know if it is the transmission slipping or the engine burping or what the problem is, but it "feels expensive" if that makes any sense. Heh.

We may be a one-auto family for a while, then. I don't know that I want another $600 per month car payment right now. I'd rather get the war chest built up a bit more, tie up the rest of the loose ends, and then deal with another car. Maybe I'll just get another $1,000 beater and drive it until the wheels fall off and see how far I can make it.

And the Aurora isn't quite dead yet. It isn't dying when stopped, and acts fine when cruising at 65 or driving in town. It's the accelerating around 40-45 that makes it unhappy.

We'll see how it goes....

Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2007, 11:29 pm
Mood: Not Thrilled | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Louis James

I wonder how much more I choose "moods" that start with "A" just because they are at the top of the pull-down menu and I don't have to scroll too far to pick them....

So my younger brother got accepted to college. My younger brother, who is an even weirder part of my already weird family situation. Technically he's my half-brother, the product of the marriage of my father and my step-mother, the woman my dad married a few years after my mother died in 1986. (Very technically we're not related at all as I'm adopted--and I only ever consider or even bring that up because he will probably have or "carry" the genetic heart disease/problem that plagues my dad's side of the family that luckily--I guess--I don't have in my genes...)

So anyway, he's going to Southern. For you out-of-state-ers. Southern, of course, means Southern Illinois University. Quite frankly, I consider SIU the best of the other state schools, but I hesitate to get into that too much because then I become the pompous you-know-what that thinks he knows everything because of where I dropped out of college and eventually somehow graduated from...

Quite frankly, I think we're all a bit surprised that he got accepted anywhere as his ACT score was, well, not good (to put it nicely) and his class rank was, well, worse. So good for him.

But for some reason I feel some pressure, some burden, some onus on myself to make sure that this goes off without a hitch. Like I need to make sure his ass gets up and goes to class and does what he needs to do and graduates on time and hit the damn ground running.

Sure, there are people out there that work in construction, and started their own contracting companies, that live in huge houses and drive big SUVs. And they'll be happy to tell you how many JetSkis they have and how much dough they make. And that's all well and good. But that's hard work.

Go to college, Louis. Suck it up for four years--it's just four more years of your life--and I promise the rest of your life will be easier. It was so hard for me and the redhead when we started out and I was running a stupid bar. And when I did go back to school and finish up the redhead was 8 months pregnant, I got a job making $6.50 an hour, and we lived in a dinky two-bedroom apartment. It's a bit cushier now, but that was a lot of work. Look at Molly and Budgie--they did it the right way. Go to college, have some fun, get your damn degree and get out. Easy peasy.

I don't know.

I just hope he doesn't screw this up. He's lucky he got into college. He's lucky that he's not going to COD. But I don't know why I feel like this is "my problem" now too.

Oh well. I should go back to bed and try to catch some more z's.

Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2007, 11:18 am
Mood: Apprehensive | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Yawn

Sorry for the boring blog.

But nothing has been going on.

I've been crazy busy at work. The Crop Protection Technology Conference just ended, and the Corn and Soybean Classic meetings start next week. The on-line registration stuff, for which I'm responsible, has worked fine this year (as I figured it would), but I've been quite busy nonetheless dealing with running out registration cards and receipts and lists and such (and changing database stuff when registrants call and decide that they've registered for a meeting at one location and now they want to go to one of the other locations instead). I'm also sort of still in the middle of getting out of my "old" job and tying up those loose ends. The two different grant review panel meetings are both in the next few weeks--at least I'm getting out of the one that is in Kansas City (I'd have had to drive to Indy and then fly to KC).

The bosses bought an audience response system (think "ask the audience" lifeline from "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" but where the professors can have a slide that has a question on it with a number of possible responses and the audience members can press a button on a little handheld thingy and a few moments later the results appear on the Powerpoint slide up on the screen). It's pretty slick. But guess who ends up being ultimately responsible for making sure that that is going to go off without a hitch.

But I'm happy. Being busy is better than being bored. I'm certainly not complaining.

As far as home goes, I've been continuing with the home improvements, although at a bit slower of a rate now that the floor is finished. Alex and I wired up the outlet under the island over the weekend. Now I need to put the outlet in the island itself and make the plug, etc., and then the temporary anchoring mechanism. No big hurry, though.

I'm just enjoying the ride at this point. Phew.

I'm very happy mentally, and I really, really think that all of the goofy emotional stuff is really finished this time. I've had some slight glitches the past few months, but the operative word really is slight. I said something to the redhead last night when we were watching television that made her jaw drop. I was calmly expressing slight displeasure about something that I would normally have been rather, well, pretty upset about, and then noted that there really wasn't any reason to get too hot and bothered and that being totally mad was only destructive to myself. Holy moley. Like I'm an adult or something.

How refreshing.

So the only problem now is these nagging headaches.

I can't take ibuprofen anymore at all. Literally. Any time I do it makes my stomach feel awful. In fact, I've been eating lots of salad for lunch and dinner. I've just been feeling crappy healthwise all around. Hmm. More buzzing bee irritation than maudlin whoa-is-me my-health-is-so-bad feeling. If that makes sense. I've been back and forth with the doctor. Muscle relaxers. They make me drool at night (I don't clench my teeth anymore, which is nice)--but I still have headaches. Some sort of anti-seizure medicine whose side effect is headache relief, and I swear that this stuff might be making it worse? So then I had a full set of bloodwork ordered.

And any time they do bloodwork I get scared out of my gourd. My liver is failing. My bad cholesterol is too high. My heart is being stressed. Pick your poison.

Nope. Everything perfectly normal. Every single test.

I told the redhead that I wasn't sure if that made me feel better or worse.

I go back on the 19th. The next step might be an MRI.

If there isn't a frickin' tumor or blood clot or a ten penny nail that's embedded in my skull that I didn't know about I'm about ready to tell ol' Dr. Lee that I want off the muscle relaxers, off the blood pressure medicine, off the seizure medicine, back on the little purple pill indefinitely and a free pass to take all the ibuprofen I need to take for the rest of my life.

I mean, this is getting ridiculous.

I guess I had something to talk about after all. Glad you came by and wasted your time? ;)

I'll try to come up with something more interested next time.

Posted: Wednesday, January 10, 2007, 3:19 am
Mood: Blah | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


My Dang Boy

So I thought my son was becoming a big kid when he joined the band and I became the owner of a saxophone payment. But then he joined the 5th grade basketball team. And it wasn't that big of a deal when he was just going to practice a few nights a week.

Tonight was his first game. I was totally, totally nervous for him. I'm not an athlete, and never was. I'd be scared to death to go out and play basketball in front of people. And while I can say that I'm pretty sure that he's at least athletic (unlike his father) I still felt scared for my "little" (monstrous for his age) boy.

I figured he wouldn't play much. The kids of the coaches would play. And the kids of the guys that were friends of the coaches. And the kids of the guys that went to school with the coaches and the friends of the coaches. I'm not from here. I don't coach. My son is a popular kid--I was never a popular kid so I guess I don't get how he is. That came out wrong and the redhead will gripe at me when she reads it, but I didn't mean it meanly--if anything I'm tickled pink that he doesn't have trouble making friends.

So not only did he play, but he played most of the game. There were 10 boys on the team, and they are supposed to get somewhat equal playing time. Alex played the entire first and third quarters, and most of the fourth.

They, well, they lost. But they were good sports, which can't really be said for the other little boys that they played (and I'll leave it at that...).

I still can't believe my little boy is growing up.

I still have to post those damn pictures of the floor installation, and I have other stuff to post about as well, but I've really, honestly, been too busy.

Maybe in the next few days....

Posted: Wednesday, January 03, 2007, 2:35 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


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