Safe House

As a precaution against my own stupidity I did not leave the house today, save to pick up dinner, and I did not let Otis off leash anywhere near a body of water, frozen or otherwise.

I am happy to report that we are all doing well.

Chemo starts again tomorrow should this flu have finally cleared my system. Keep your fingers crossed. I want to get this over with, damn it!

Man on Chemo Saves Dog From Drowning in Icy River… News at 11

Let me preface this story by saying that yes, there is no question in my mind, nor should there be in yours, that I am a complete schmuck.

I am OK. Otis is OK. But we never should have gone for a walk this afternoon along an icy creek, especially given how cold it was, that I am in the middle of chemo, and that Otis, despite his Border Collie and German Shepherd smarts is still a dog and if given the chance will run out onto the ice on an icy creek.

And it had been a really nice walk. Despite the cold, it felt great to be outside on a quiet trail in Fairmount Park with Otis who loves the cold and loves this particular trail that winds along the now frozen creek. We were maybe a quarter mile from the car when Otis bolted ahead. I heard him running through the woods, down towards the river, then a second or two of silence (as he slid across the ice), than crack and splash. I could see him in the distance holding on to the thin ice. It was a horrible sight. He was terrified. I was terrified. After yelling at him for a minute to come, which he didn’t–he was stuck–I started looking for long branches, downed trees, anything that I could use to get him out of the icy water. When that failed I called 911. They were useless, and besides, had I waited for them Otis would have drowned. A good Samaritan with her dog tried calling Otis to the other side of the river where the ice looked thicker. That didn’t work. There was only one thing to do and it was going to be a cold, but quick run back to the car after I got wet. There was no way in hell my dog was dying today in front me. There was no way I was going to home to Jacqui (who was aware of the situation via cell phone) without Otis.

I knew that at most the water was no more than 4 feet deep, enough to freeze my butt off, but not deep enough to kill me. Plus, the water had to be warmer than the 20 degree air. I slid myself across the ice. It cracked about a foot from Otis. And lo and behold, it was no more than 2 feet deep. I stood up and laughed and grabbed Otis by the collar, walked myself through the ice until it was too thick, picked him out of the water (he took off running, a good sign) and pulled myself out.

We ran together to the car, which thankfully contained the suitcase full of clothes and a towel and a blanket that I was supposed to use in the hospital this week. I got Otis in the car, stripped off my frozen clothes, dried myself off and warmed up. Otis and I made a quick stop at the doggie emergency room where they put him under a drier to warm him for a few minutes. Neither of us are worse for the wear, but the lesson is learned for me: while in chemo MORON don’t put oneself in a potentially hazardous situation.

Please don’t call and yell at me for being such an ass. I feel guilty enough for putting us both at risk.

We are all resting comfortably at home tonight. Happy to all be OK and to be together.


Now that my platelets have recovered to chemo-safe territory, my white count is depressed from the flu I had through the Saturday. I am officially a pain in my own ass and prohibited from chemo-ing until at least Thursday.


So I am back at home tonight (that part is great) sitting by the fireplace with my beautiful wife and daughter.

On a sad note, I ran into the daughter of Sam, the very deaf ninety-five-year-old hip fracture patient who I shared my room with during chemo back in November ( Sam was a sweet old man, and I was deeply impressed by the love and affection he and his wife, together for probably seventy years, had for one another, despite the fact that neither of them could talk or hear particularly well. Sam never recovered from his surgery and died a few weeks after we were roommates. He is terribly missed by his family.

It is an incredible thing that Sam and his wife were together for so long. We should all be so blessed.

Grownup Einstein

Chemo starts again Monday, and in an attempt to stave off chemo brain, I’ve been at home all day watching Baby Einstein videos–you know, the videos that play that horribly annoying music and show various shapes and other images on the screen in an attempt to dull the brains of millions of children around the world. The videos are designed to make you as smart as Einstein himself. And so far it seems to be paying off for me. After watching a collection of videos called “Baby Einstein On the Go” my IQ is up 20 points and I now feel compelled to watch 16 hours of television a day. Thanks, Baby Einstein, Mission Accomplished!

Our President, no surprise here, is also a great fan of Baby Einstein.

In case you missed it, last week, during his State of the Union address, between the lies, nonsense, double-talk, and standard deception, President Bush carried on a twenty-five-year-old tradition and pointed to the visitors gallery to acknowledge several great Americans (can you believe that this guy is even allowed to give the SOTU? When will our alien overseers finally end his illegal and immoral rule?). This year’s honorees included an Iraqi War hero and a brave man from New York City who jumped onto a NYC subway track in front of an approaching train to save a complete stranger. Bush also honored Julie Aigner-Clark, the founder of the Baby Einstein Company.

Huh? What? The founder of Baby Einstein was honored by the President as embodying “the great enterprising spirit of America” despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends absolutely NO television before the age of two, not to mention a Federal Trade Commission investigation against the company for the deceptive and false advertising of its products.

Did someone forget to tell this to the President or was the President and his staff too busy watching the Baby Einstein Language Nursery DVD in preparation for his State of the Union to know that something might be amiss in Baby Einstein-land?

The folks at Baby Einstein, who “respect” the good doctors at the American Academy of Pediatrics, “do not believe that their recommendation of no television for children under the age of two reflects the reality of today’s parents, families and households – for example, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study found that 68% of all babies under two years old watch screen media on any given day.” (Source: Hmmm. The opinion of a medical organization advocating for children’s health and safety doesn’t matter because the majority of children under the age of two are already watching television. Are they kidding? There is something about this type of thinking that is strangely Bush-like. It’s no wonder that Ms. Aigner-Clark and her company are favorites of the President, who has used similar lines of logic in violating our Constitution and miring us in a war in Iraq.

Meanwhile, I wonder how old Albert must feel seeing his good name trampled on in such poor fashion? I don’t know much about Einstein the man, but it probably isn’t a stretch to believe that his response to the folks trying to sells smarts by ripping off his name AND to a President ruining his adopted home would have looked something like this…

WARNING: Dad, Do Not Read This Entry!

Chemo now set for Monday.

In an alternate universe where it wouldn’t give my father terrible guilt knowing that I got the flu upon returning from visiting him in Florida, I would tell you all (on the condition that you DO NOT mention this to my father) that I got the flu on Monday night. Good thing my blood counts were low Monday, causing the initial chemo delay. It would have sucked coming down with the flu while getting filled up with methotrexate. I’ve had a fever all week that finally broke today.

I gotta tell you, chemo is nothing next to the flu. I’m serious. 102.8 without any purpose just stinks. At least the miseries of chemo are for my own good. The flu sucks no matter how you cut it.

Special thanks to Jacqui who insisted that I thank her for taking such good care of me this week. Somehow taking care of me while I have the flu is more difficult than when I am recovering from chemo. Go figure.