Steve Pollock

Since 1963.

Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 86)

In One Lifetime

28-Aug-1963:

‘I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal. … I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. … This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
‘And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. … From every mountainside, let freedom ring. And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”’
—The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Negro Preacher

28-Aug-2008:

‘Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story, of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to. It is that promise that’s always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice each of us can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams, as well. That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women—students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors—found the courage to keep it alive. …
‘Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land—enough! This moment, this election, is our chance to keep, in the 21st Century, the American promise alive.’
—Barack Obama, 2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee, who just happens to be African-American.

And this in the span of my lifetime. (I wasn’t quite born yet in August ’63, but I was baking in the womb.) So, within my lifetime, I have seen segregated water fountains and swimming pools and schools and housing in my Oklahoma town go the way of the dinosaurs to be replaced (hopefully) by a black man in the White House in Washington.

Amazing. Overwhelming. Spectacular. Almost unbelievable. Can’t wait for November.

Disappointment and Hope

I see I haven’t posted much since John Edwards, my ostensible choice for the nomination, was dethroned in the usual way … by horniness. So that post below? Well, ignore that. I still believe in the message; but as so often in life, the message is great, the man disappointing.

Yeah, I’m on board with Yes, We Can. Because, not only can we, but we must. Do all the things we need to do to reverse eight years of the Boy Emperor’s destruction.

The new Obama we saw tonight in the acceptance speech was a good one. He needs to keep up the intensity and moral outrage and fierceness. It’s the only way to survive and succeed.

New Mexico for Obama Poster
Oklahoma for Obama Poster
California for Obama Poster
Yes We Can PosterSi, Se Puede Poster

We Can. And We Do.

Daryl Cagle Cartoon

«Daryl Cagle, MSNBC»

Every once in awhile, every great once in awhile, I … sort of like the «state of California»:

‘The California Supreme Court struck a historic but possibly short-lived blow for gay rights Thursday, overturning a state law that allowed only opposite-sex couples to marry. In a 4-3 ruling that elicited passionate responses on both sides of the debate and touched off celebrations at San Francisco City Hall – the scene of nearly 4,000 same-sex weddings four years ago that were invalidated months later – the court said the right to marry in California extends equally to all, gay and straight alike.
The state Constitution’s guarantees of personal privacy and autonomy protect “the right of an individual to establish a legally recognized family with the person of one’s choice,” said Chief Justice Ronald George, who wrote the 121-page majority opinion. He said the Constitution “properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as opposite-sex couples.”
SFGate.com

Glory-osky. We’ll see if this holds in November. Gonna be a big ol’ fight against the fascist fundumbmentalist ballot prop. that seeks to destroy our marriage. Gonna be a tense election season in the Golden State. At least for us.

Done. Finally. Done.

Well, the big day finally went off without a hitch. My ‘diseased’ gall bladder (as the surgeon termed it) was removed in a quick, relatively painless, and easy operation this afternoon. I’m already back home and in my own bed and ready to get on with life.

What’s really amazing is how quick and smooth and easy a cholocystectomy is today with laparoscopic techniques, compared with, say, 30 years ago. My aunt had her gall bladder removed at the now-defunct Physicians and Surgeons Hospital in Duncan, OK, in the 70s. It was long, painful, and resulted in a two-week hospital stay. Compare that to my experience today:

• 09:30 — I leave home for the hospital.
• 10:18 — Arrive at hospital, park near the ER entrance because the front lot is full.
• 10:20 — Check-in at the admitting department.
• 10:37 — Begin the admitting process.
• 10:45 — Arrive at the third-floor Short Stay Unit; assigned room 3311-1; change into hospital gown; vitals are taken; blood pressure is a surprising 127/83.
• 11:00 — In bed, covered with pre-warmed blankets.
• 11:30 — Questionnaire and paperwork completed.
• 11:55 — IV line is started; nurse Kathleen uses lidocaine prior to venipuncture, which is the first time this has been a painless procedure.
• 12:30 — One last bathroom visit, then a surgical nurse takes me down to the pre-op room.
• 13:30 — Surgeon, stuck in traffic, finally arrives. In the interim, surgical staff start the IV drip, an antibiotic drip, put on anti-embolism bags on my lower legs, have me sign paperwork, and put a paper hat on my head. Anesthesiologist also comes in to explain his part of the proceedings during the wait for the surgeon; he will start with Versed, then Fentanyl, then hit me with the big stuff.
• 13:45 — I’m taken to OR #5 after being given the shot of Versed. After I’m on the table, I’m given the Fentanyl. Then it’s lights out buddy as the anesthesiologist hits me with the good stuff.
• 14:50 — I wake up to a rather, shall we say, eclectic mix of 80s and Christmas music on an iPod in the recovery room. The room is festive. A 99-year-old woman is brought in next to me, having just had heart surgery. Recovery staff and discuss the storage capacity of iPods and various other sundry things.
• 15:50 — I’m taken back upstairs to the Short Stay unit and my room. The male nurse in charge tells me there are three criteria to be met before I go home; I have to walk a bit, make sure my pain is manageable, and I have to potty. I accomplish the first one by walking from the gurney in the hall to my bed. The second is already fine, since it feels kind of like a bad case of indigestion; and the third one I take care of about 30 minutes later. I am given a coke and crushed ice; oh, joy and bliss.
• 16:40 — The nurse comes in to being the discharge process, removes my IV, gives me my post-op discharge instructions, etc.
• 17:00 — Frank comes back from grabbing a quick dinner, the nurses provide a wheelchair and we go downstairs to the Jeep and are on our way home.
• 18:15 — I’m home in bed, Dr. Pepper in hand, chicken broth in a bowl, and two Darvocet taking care of business.
• 18:45 — I blog the experience.

Total elapsed time, from leaving my garage to leaving my diseased organ at the hospital to getting back in bed: About nine-and-a-half hours. Compared to over two weeks 30 years ago.

Not. Flippin’. Bad.

We’ll see how tomorrow is with pain. I can shower tomorrow evening and remove the main bandaid on my navel. The bandages themselves on my four incision sites will dissolve naturally. I can have more solid food tomorrow night and get back to my beloved Jacuzzi baths on Tuesday.

Awesome.

Countdown to the Carving

A couple of hours from now, I head to the «hospital», where the «surgeon» will perform a «laparoscopic cholocystectomy« and thereby rid me of one of my internal problems.

The worst part pre-operatively speaking is going without food and water after midnight. Since the procedure isn’t until 1 p.m., that’ s a long, long time for me to be without Dr. Pepper or breakfast. And I can only have a liquid diet afterwards. Yuck.

I’m not too concerned about it. Twenty years ago I would have been freaking out. At the time, the mere thought of being cut on or losing a body part would have made me pass out cold. Now, after years of tests and procedures to find the source of my joint pain/hypertension, I’m pretty inured to it all. And not afraid of not waking up. Life is what it is. It can end suddenly. And probably will (as opposed to peacefully overnight in the middle of sleep) for many of us, including me. So, it is what it is … human life. I’m sure I’ll wake up and get a Dr. Pepper and be bitchy about the pain and come home and go to bed and shut up. And life will go on.

The curious thing about this four-month-long process has been that with the fat-free diet, I now find any hint of fat really, really unpleasant tasting. Frank accidentally bought me some low-fat cream cheese for my bagels and I couldn’t stand the taste. It was weird. Especially since my whole life has been all about the burgers and barbecue and other fatty things. So, the ‘lap choli” isn’t likely to end my fat-free diet. I like the taste better and it’s better for me.

The next battle will be to get the sugar intake under control. And to resolve, somehow, the adrenal issue.

Y’all have a great day and great weekend. I’m off to get some serious drugging and to be carved up like a turkey.

My Tale of Medical Woe (Along With Some Weird Metaphorical Stuff)

About that previous entry … well, cancel that.

My surgery was cancelled by the anesthesiologist, who is concerned that my high blood pressue could cause me to stroke out or have a heart attack on the table. He cancelled the surgery a mere 12 hours before it was supposed to start.

Chalk up yet another reason to hate California (I know, I know!).

Anyway. I added two more hypertension meds (I’m now on five) and went to the hospital where someone massaged my chest for 45 minutes. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the good kind of massage; it was done by a very nice lady in order to get an echocardiogram of my heart to find out if there has been any damage from four years of this mess. The next day, I saw the surgeon again and rescheduled the surgery. I’m now on for Friday, 7-Dec, at 13:00 at John Muir/Mount Diablo-Concord. So the countdown starts again.

Speaking of four years, I’m not sure I’ve ever committed to the ether the long saga of what’s happened to me medically. Prepare to be bored out of your mind. It is, however, a typical illustration of how the (dysfuncitonal) American medical system works (or doesn’t).

Fall 2003 — After moving to Ann Arbor, I notice I’m gaining weight and my blood pressure is going up. I attribute it to turning 40.

April 2004 — Forced by the evil No Child Left Untested law, I have to take four undergrad social studies courses to qualify for my master’s degree program at UMich, courses which have been added to social studies minor requirements since I was in college. I take the easy way on advice of my UMich professor and sign up for three months of online study through Brigham Young University. While taking notes and tests for these, I notice that my hands and other joints are very painful. I attribute it to being 40 and in a cold northern climate.

June 2004 — While taking a grad-level math content course which requires three straight hours of note-taking and writing, the hand/wrist pain gets worse. While driving home after class one day on I-94, the pain is so bad, I almost pass out behind the wheel. I start the endless succession of testing and doctor visits at this point.

July 2004 — Before my master’s program is due to start, I see my regular doc, who refers me to an occupational therapist, who suspects carpal tunnel syndrome and makes plaster casts for my hands. Looking back from three-and-a-half years later, this is akin to the officer of the deck directing a cabin boy to repair fabric on deck chairs on the Titanic as she hits the iceberg. The therapist ends up referring me to a hand surgeon. I make the regretful decision to postpone my master’s program a year so I can figure out what’s wrong, since the pain is getting worse.

October 2004 — After three months of electro-nerve conduction tests, an MRI of my wrists, numerous painful injections of pain killer and steroids directly into the nerves of my wrist, the hand surgeon refers me to a rheumatologist with a verdict of no carpal tunnel/must be arthritis. The cabin boy on the Titanic has now been replaced by an electrician, who begins to rewire the ship as she starts to settle at the bow, then decides to summon a welder.

November 2004 — The rheumatologist diagnoses my situation as reactive arthritis; my immune system was knocked out of whack by a particularly nasty round of bronchitis I had the previous January and said immune system is now attacking my joints. He prescribes a strong dose of sulfa drugs and steroids to suppress said immune system. The Titanic musicians begin to play on a tilting deck while a plumber sends a bottle of drano into the ship’s septic system, hoping to stop the sinking.

Thanksgiving weekend 2004 — Running a high fever and delirious, I spend eight hours in the University of Michigan Hospital emergency room, muttering incomprehensibly and occasionally insulting passers-by. Eventually, a verdict of sorts is reached: I am allergic to sulfa drugs. The plumber on the Titanic is hit in the face with water and drano and the ship’s lights begin to go out.

June 2005 — While on pain medications, I start my master’s program and bust through the year, whining all the way. The rheumatologist is mystified, my regular doctor says, and I quote, “Medical science doesn’t have all the answers. Or even most of them.” Did I mention my regular doctor is a med school professor and the director of internal medicine for University Hospital and UM’s medical school? Back on the Titanic, the plumber wanders off to find a wrench and never returns. The officer of the deck disappears as well.

April-July 2006 — I get pneumonia and spend two days in Saline’s hospital, but I graduate with a 4.0 average and Frank gets a job offer back in the Bay Area. We pack up and leave Ann Arbor. Hey, let’s wander over to the other side of the Titanic, shall we? There are other, better crewmembers over there …

August 2006 — In a humiliating repeat of my postponement of grad school, I am forced to resign my first teaching job after only four weeks due to the increasing pain in my joints and increasing hypertension. By now, I’ve gained 30 pounds and have zero energy. Getting out of bed and downstairs is a struggle. Keeping up with 180 seventh- and eighth-graders is a nightmare. I resign the position and my new regular doctor refers me to a new rheumatologist, who plies me with the blessed Vicodin. I start substitute teaching in Brentwood. The Titanic‘s deck angle grows sharper, the orchestra strikes up Nearer My God to Thee and the officer of the deck on the other side assigns another plumber to try to right the ship. The plumber dumps drano overboard and gets everyone nearby riotously drunk.

January 2007 — One night as they go to bed, my rheumatologist mentions my case to her husband, a nephrologist. He suggests a referral and kidney workup. I can have an appointment in two months. The Titanic‘s plumber tosses me some more vodka, introduces me to one of the ship’s engineers and prepares to abandon ship.

March 2007 — A complete kidney workup which mainly features collecting all of my pee for 48 hours in two jugs shows nothing abnormal, but there is a high concentration of a hormone called Aldosterone in my blood. Aldosterone is produced by the adrenal glands and regulates potassium and sodium levels (and therefore blood pressure, energy, stamina, etc.) in the body. The nephrologist refers me to an endocrinologist, since my grandmother lost a kidney to cancer and then died of renal failure and my father has a nonfunctioning adenoma on one of his adrenal glands. Pain is still high and Vicodin is still flowing; there’s now a handicapped placard hanging from the Jeep’s rearview mirror. As the Titanic‘s bow begins to rise from the water, the ship’s engineer introduces me to one of the ship’s officers, then heads overboard after the plumber. The engineer, educated at the finest schools in the world, suspects that there is a hole in the ship. The orchestra is finding it more difficult to play Nearer My God to Thee.

April 2007 — After more extensive testing, including several more 48-hour pee collections, volumes of blood, x-rays, an ultrasound and two anti-hypertensive medications, the endocrinologist brings in a verdict: Primary hyperaldosteronism and a microadenoma mass on the left adrenal gland. The prescription: I must undergo three more tests to find out if the mass is producing all the aldosterone or if it’s both adrenal glands together doing it. If it’s the mass, we do an adrenalectomy. If it’s the glands (bilateral hyperplasia), then we treat it with drugs. A CT scan and two saline load tests ensue, in which my body is flooded with high concentrations of sodium and then my aldosterone levels are measured. If the aldosterone stays high, then the diagnosis is confirmed. If it drops, then something else is wrong. The test is first tried with me eating all the salt and sodium foods I can find. It doesn’t increase the sodium level enough, even after I feel like a walking Great Salt Lake. The test is repeated intravenously at the hospital over four hours. There is a risk of heart attack or stroke. That which does not kill us makes us stronger is mentioned. The intravenous saline load test confirms the hyperaldosteronism diagnosis. The CT scan confirms the left adrenal microadenoma, which is less than five millimeters. The endocrinologist promises one last test and then surgery and relief. A month, tops. Much Vicodin is being consumed, as well as occasional vodka martinis. Meanwhile, on the Titanic, the ship’s officer leans over, spots the gash in the side and yells, “Eureka! I think that’s our problem!” But he orders his crew to conduct five different tests in order to confirm the hole in the side. The deck tilts higher up, the orchestra begins to slide down the deck. The officer shrugs and says, “Oh, we’ll know something in a month and then be able to procede with repairs.”

July 2007 — Two months passes before all tests and insurance approvals and scheduling can be completed for the final hurdle before surgery and relief: a diabolical procedure called an Adrenal Vein Sampling (AVS) test, performed in an operating room under local anesthetic. A radiologist shaves and numbs your crotch, then passes a long thin catheter up your femoral vein into the left adrenal gland. The procedure is long and difficult since it is akin to attempting to obtain a drop of water from a specific spot in a sewer system while working from a manhole cover 10 miles away. The procedure is ostensibly successful; it takes three hours, but the radiologist has samples and it looks like we’re on our way. Then the lab informs the endocrinologist that not enough blood was drawn in order to measure what must be measured. AVS#1 is a failure. Back on the Titanic, the ship’s officer reports the failure of his crew to snake a line down the side of the ship to measure the hole. “Without knowing how big the hole is and whether the water is really coming in the hole, we can’t repair it, now can we?” The orchestra is no longer playing, and is, in fact, no longer on deck; they’ve hit the water and are drowning. There’s no vodka on board and the only relief is to beat my head against the wall. The ship’s officer remains upbeat.

Two weeks later, a second AVS is attempted. This time, it too is successful. A week later, the lab reports the numbers to the endocrinologist. ‘What does “greater than 50’ mean when it comes to the right aldosterone level?’ How much greater than 50?’ The lab doesn’t know and has discarded the sample. AVS#2 is deemed a failure. My crotch, bearing two deep puncture marks, and I pass out. More of the VV, Vicodin and Vodka. AVS#3 is scheduled for the end of August at UCSF Medical Center, a teaching hospital with radiologists and a lab more familiar with the procedure’s requirements. Back on the Titanic, two crew members die trying to measure the hole. The ship’s officer is hanging on to the railing with his feet dangling. ‘It would be malpractice to repair that hole without knowing for sure,’ he cries. I am knocked out temporarily by a falling railing, but manage to barely hang on.

August 2007 — Things get seriously higgledy-piggledy. I accept a job offer to teach sixth grade math/science at a tough junior high in Pittsburg, a 15-mile, 45-minute commute. AVS#3 can be done on a day the week before school starts and shouldn’t be a problem. I am very, very wrong about this. AVS#3 at UCSF is performed by a resident with an experienced attending nearby. He successfully samples the left adrenal, then starts the hunt for the right. He punctures my inferior vena cavae. The attending knocks me out, ends the procedure, whisks me away for a CT scan, which shows internal bleeding, an inflamed pancreas and an inflamed right adrenal gland. I am admitted to the hospital overnight and given the mother of all painkillers, Dilaudid, which I discover later is a derivative of morphine eight times more powerful than morphine. Nurses pump it into me overnight every four hours and it is bliss. As it enters the IV, it spreads warmth, happiness, goodwill, charm, and love for mankind all over the flippin’ place. It is damn good stuff. I am instantly hooked. I am sent home the next morning and the day after that I get my classroom ready for school. By the end of the afternoon, I’m a mess, doubled over in pain, feverish, shaking, irritable, paranoid, panicky.

At home that evening, the freak-out is turned up as the Dilaudid cravings get worse. The pain also gets worse in my abdomen. I decide a trip to the Walnut Creek ER is in order. Frank sighs in an apparently inappropriate manner. It provokes an astonishingly vicious tirade — hulk gets mad. I leave the house by myself and drive to Walnut Creek on the back winding mountain road. Frank is calling me to come back home so he can drive, and he gets earfuls of venom. This is perhaps one my ugliest moments as a human, certainly the ugliest on my part in our marriage.

Miraculously, I reach John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek without wrecking the Jeep. I am taken back to the ER where I listen to an 18-year-old on the other side of the curtain describe in glorious detail how she completely O.D.‘ed on Ecstasy at a rock concert at Concord Pavilion and how she ‘squirts’ when she’s poked with a needle (don’t ask). My own drama continues as a CT scan shows pancreatitis, internal bleeding, the inflamed right adrenal gland, and, a new wrinkle, a new adenoma on the right gland. I’m admitted to the sixth floor of the hospital, plied with more Dilaudid in higher dosages, and spend three days getting the pancreatitis under control. It does subside with massive antibiotics, but now my gall bladder is screwed up and needs removal.

Meanwhile, the Dilaudid is pumping … at least until Saturday night, when a new shift change nurse ignores me for six hours. I begin to come off the Dilaudid. The result is not pretty. Hulk mad. Hulk take vengeance on world. I confront the nursing staff for their inattention and then demand to be released on my own power. I speak with the oncall physician who reluctantly agrees. I sit in the ER waiting room while Frank drives over to pick me up. The hospital’s supervisor apologizes. Hulk still angry, but able to be civil. I go home.

I start school on Monday and Tuesday, but by Tuesday night, I’m seriously crashing due to low potassium and no Dilaudid. David and I set out for the ER again, but there is a huge wait in Walnut Creek. I get the screaming mimi’s on the way home. Frank takes me to the Concord ER, where for six hours I lie twitching and gibbering and getting pumped full of potassium and other drugs to counteract the Dilaudid reaction. I will miss the rest of the first week of school. The Titanic slips beneath the waves and heads for the bottom. The ship’s officer and I are clinging to debris. “I know we can fix her if we can just find out how big the hole is!” he says.

September 2007 — I now need a gall bladder surgery and AVS#4. A referral to a surgeon results in stalemate; she’s unwilling to operate until my blood pressure is down; endocrinologist can’t get my blood pressue down until an AVS is successful. We take a breather. Gallbladder surgery is put off ‘til November and AVS#4 is scheduled for late October, at Walnut Creek, the third facility/radiologist to attempt it. The ship’s officer gathers a crew to attempt a dive down to the Titanic to measure the hole. “Then we’ll bring her right up again, you’ll see!”

October 2007AVS#4 isn’t a disaster, but the radiologist is unable to snake the catheter into the right adrenal gland. AVS#4 is a failure. My only options: The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota or Stanford Medical Center, an unknown quantity. I schedule the gallbladder for 20-Nov, throwing up my arms. The Titanic‘s officer is consulting with the ship’s designer, who clings to debris nearby. The designer is certain the ship’s plumbing can be fixed before the hole is repaired and the ship raised. Listening to them, I begin to go insane.

November 2007 — Blue Shield denies my request that AVS#5 be performed by the Mayo Clinic. That leaves Stanford. Each AVS has cost the insurance over $30,000. If they want to refuse to allow the best to get it done, then we’ll just keep repeating it here in the Bay Area at $30,000 a pop out of their pocket. Idiots. Meanwhile, the 20-Nov surgery date is cancelled by the anesthesiologist, who senses some major lawsuit action if I croak on the table due to my high blood pressure. He insists on more meds and a detailed echocardiogram. The five antihypertensives I subsequently take turn me into a drugged, whacked-out zombie, barely able to move. They dehydrate me and rob me of the little potassium I have left. But the anesthesiologist is satisfied because my systolic has dropped 10 points and he no longer is panicked about a lawsuit. The gallbladder surgery is rescheduled for the 66th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

And that’s where we stand. Crews are working on the Titanic‘s plumbing and the Arizona is about to blow up. It’s gonna be a hell of a weekend.

Snorg!

Red Rover Thanksgiving Cartoon Frank and I can relate (he’s the dog heading for the floor to get away from his snoring husband).
 
 

Big, Dirty Bathtub

What was originally described on local radio as a spill amounting to just “140 gallons of bunker oil” following the ramming of the Bay Bridge by a container ship last week rapidly turned into 58,000 gallons of oil spilled into San Francisco Bay, which will have «long-lasting effects»:

‘A major oil spill is making San Francisco Bay look like a dirty bathtub, and the ring of black that soils the shoreline is likely to pose dire consequences for birds, mice, ducks, fish and the smallest of aquatic creatures for years to come, scientists say. Hidden under rocks or lying deep in the sediment and soil in wetlands and the bottom of the bay, the residue from 58,000 gallons of ship oil could remain for years, daubing creatures with a fatal blob or contaminating the food chain. “It’s pretty awful,” said John McCosker, a senior scientist at the California Academy of Sciences.’
SFGate.com

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard is «admitting some errors», including the whole 140 or 58,000 thing:

‘High-ranking California politicians and Bay Area residents angry about their oil-splattered beaches demanded answers Friday to why the Coast Guard took so long to notify the public of this week’s huge ship-fuel spill and how the sludgy mess was allowed to spread so far. Coast Guard officials acknowledged they had erred in waiting more than four hours on Wednesday to issue an advisory that 58,000 gallons – not just 140 – had spewed into the water after a ship rammed the base of a Bay Bridge tower, but they insisted their response was appropriate.
‘California’s two U.S. senators, San Francisco’s congresswoman, a host of state legislators and residents up and down the damaged coastline were not buying it. “Something went terribly wrong,” Sen. Barbara Boxer told The Chronicle when asked what she thought of the disaster response. “It was not handled the way it has to be handled. “You are talking about the most pristine part of the country here. We value this ecosystem. This is what makes the Bay Area special. It’s just unacceptable,” said Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.’
SFGate.com

Unacceptable. But what’s done is done. We have to accept it. Like everything else in the last seven years.

Poison

It’s looking like Bayley was the victim of «rat poison»:

‘Rat poison was found in the pet food suspected of causing kidney failure that killed at least 16 cats and dogs, but scientists still don’t know how it got there, state officials said Friday. The toxin was identified as aminopterin, which is used to kill rats in some countries, state Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said.
‘Aminopterin is not registered for killing rodents in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, though it is used as a cancer drug. State officials wouldn’t speculate on how the toxin got into Menu Foods’ now-recalled pet food but said no criminal investigations had been launched. Scientists at the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell and at the New York State Food Laboratory tested three cat food samples provided by Menu Foods and found Aminopterin in two of them. Hooker said they would test individual components of the pet food, as well. The early test results were released to give veterinarians a better idea of how to treat sick animals.
‘“Any amount of this product is too much in food,” Hooker said.’
—Associated Press

I think I’ll go be sick now.

Bayley Beagle Comes Home

Sad moments today: Bayley Murphey Beagle came home for the last time. I picked up his cremains at 11:30 this morning. Whoever did the work did a very nice job (except that they spelled his name, “Bailey” as usual). There is a paw print in plaster, and the cremains are in a very nice cedar box. I put it in the living room with a photo.

It was a very tough time. Along with picking him up and bringing him home, there is more and more news about the recall and how widespread and deadly it is. I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Channel 2 news was showing a very sick beagle in Fremont, who got sick after eating the food. It’s a tragedy and a crime. Every time we look on the Menu Foods website, they’ve added additional UPC codes of Authority food that was affected. It’s nasty and disgusting and heartbreaking.

Frank and David had rough moments over seeing the box which holds what’s left of Bayley. Frank couldn’t look inside. David and I unlocked it and looked. There are small bone fragments and dust. David had a very hard time for awhile and didn’t eat dinner. Frank had his moment a little later.

I guess I’m still numb. I’m also really angry. I miss him terribly. It was probably unnecessary and caused by the food we were feeding him. As one lady on the evening news said as she held up a packet of tainted food, “I killed my cat by feeding her this.” I feel the same way. I feel like I killed Bayley by feeding him. And I didn’t even know it.

I hate this. But I’m glad he’s home. I wish he were snoring here on the couch with me. But at least he’s here and not lying on a cold slab somewhere.

We plan to prepare and cook our own food menus for the «Beagle Boys». May Menu Foods rot in hell. Bastards.

Can we agree that I must be in the anger stage of grief?

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