Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cough, Cough

After one week of feeling lousy and getting worse, and prompted by media accounts of new cases of Swine Flu, I called the Advise Nurse of my clinic and gave her my symptoms.

She advised me to take long, hot showers, and drink hot tea. Oh, and also to breathe in the tea fumes. She also made an appointment for me with my doctor the next morning.

I am wayyy beyond tea fumes at this point. This morning, my wheezing tunes woke me up. Several times.

So, Dr. Heath said I either had bronchitis or pneumonia. She listened to my back several times, and said she could hear things in the lower right lung, and then she mentioned something about the lung being collapsed. So, half an hour later, I was sitting in the x-ray place on Telegraph - yes, the very one I go each year to get those lovely but painful mammograms.

A woman wheezed her way into the seat across from me when I sat down. Her husband stormed in a minute afterwards and bellowed at her, "Give the man your paper!" After fussing with her for several minutes, she not responding, he snatched it out of her hand and gave it to the clerk. When I got to the window, I watched the clerk stamp STAT on my paperwork in big, red letters.

Gosh, I could get a stamp like that! I could mark everything medical. "URINE SAMPLE NEEDED. STAT!"

I was shown to the change room, and told yada yada yada, yeah, I know the drill. While I was sitting there, waiting for the x-ray tech to call me, the man next to me, who really didn't want to give me the seat next to him, was really non-plussed about being in a hospital gown with his pants sitting next to him. So he got up and wandered around, carefully holding the gown behind him. I should've told him that he could've placed another gown on backwards so that he'd be fully covered - like so many of us mammogram patients have learned - but I didn't know what reaction I'd get.

The x-ray itself, all 3, was uneventful. I didn't have to take the gown off, so I wonder why they couldn't have just shot the x-ray through my shirt and bra? If it goes through skin AND hospital gown, why can't it go through shirt, bra and skin? You just wonder...

Anyway, after all that, I have bronchitis, not pneumonia.

I went to Long's, where the doctor said they'd call in my prescription inhaler, and wouldn't you know, no call. Maybe they called another pharmacy. Well, that's what direct dial is good for on my cell phone, and why I programmed the number in.

I was hoping I'd get the inhaler before another wheezeful night, but it doesn't look like it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Big Disappointment...

As it turns out, the Pres. Obama pronouncement for same-sex partners is ONLY for children of domestic partners. Not the domestic partners themselves, many of whom suffer from ailments they can't pay for, AIDS, huge financial bills caused by health issues, etc.

This is very disappointing.

They say that this is "just the beginning" of changes his administration will make. It's not a very promising beginning.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A BIG Step Toward Equality! Woo-hoo!!!

I like this short article so much, I'm reprinting it in whole. An Executive Order means immediately. "Domestic partner" means MY partner. I can finally let her share in my health care program. Finally.

Obama Intends to Extend Federal Benefits to Unmarried Partners
Updated 9:23 p.m.
By Scott Butterworth

President Obama will announce tomorrow that he is extending federal benefits to include unmarried domestic partners of federal workers, including same-sex partners, White House officials said tonight.

Obama will sign an executive order implementing the change in the Oval Office, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging the president's announcement.

The move would give partners of federal employees access to health care and financial benefits such as relocation fees for moves. The State Department announced a similar extension of benefits last month, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calling it "the right thing to do."

The action will come as welcome news to gay-rights activists, who have voiced loud disappointment with Obama's handling of several issues important to their community.

Obama has signaled his opposition to same-sex marriage, saying that he instead supports civil unions for gay men and lesbians.

Most recently, the Justice Department argued in court that the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same-sex married couples, should be upheld. Gay-rights groups were infuriated by the administration's linkage of same-sex marriages to marriages between cousins or of an underage girl.

The administration's reluctance to reconsider the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay service members -- after Obama promised during the campaign to repeal it -- has also been a sore point among these activists.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Get Me to the Play on Time

I'm still dazed from our whirlwind trip to New York. It was a wonderful trip. I was still talking about it today.

We went for five days - but two of those days are total travel days. We arrived at Long Island's Islip Airport at about 5 pm, but had no idea that it's such a long drive from there to Manhattan. A car was there to meet us, and helped us retrieve our luggage off the carousel. So we drove through the rural-looking towns to get to the bridge which would take us to Manhattan. I was kind of surprised that everything was so green.

Debbie and Ralph were there at the Belvedere Hotel to greet us, and talked us into walking a block and a half to a Thai restaurant, where we talked about all kinds of things. Ruth and I were a bit in a fatigued stupor, so I hope most of it made sense.

The plays we saw over the next three days:

Accent on Youth, an old chestnut starring David Hyde Pierce (Niles from Frasier), plus the actor who played the anchorman on Murphy Brown. There was no real impact to the play, as all the risque things they did aren't risque at all to us. Still, it was great seeing Pierce. The plays after that would pick up in pace, intensity, and we could relate to their themes more easily.

The next morning was leisurely because, remember, we were jet lagged, and so a 2 pm matinee seemed like late afternoon to us. So, two blocks away from the hotel, we found Exit the King, the Ionesco play starring Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon. We entered early and kind of established a routine. As in most of these theatres, the restrooms are inconveniently located downstairs, but so is the bar, so we'd have cokes while waiting for curtain time to arrive, then find our seats.

We had a very leisurely dinner at a restaurant across the street from our first play, and a terrific bottle of Chianti Classico. Our seats for Exit the King were about 4 rows back, and so we could everything perfectly. At one point in the 2nd act, Geoffrey Rush as the king comes up and down the aisles, and we were right next to him as he mourned the loss of life. Rush himself co-translated the play, and added "1 percent" of some new stuff to update it. And it was obvious that Rush and the director came up with some real physical comedy that added to our ability to sit through a 2-hour play on death. I would say that King was the best play we saw in our time there. It was just brilliant. And its relevancy can never fade.

After the play, at about 4:30 pm, we stayed standing around the stage door, hoping to see some of the stars depart. Suddenly, William Sadler, who played the Doctor, came out, and laughing along the way, he signed autographs and posed for photos. We didn't want to partake in this activity, as I must admit I'm always shy at doing such things. I met Bill several years ago at a charity dinner where many Deep Space Nine actors appeared, and I had won one of Bill Sadler's photos, so he promised to sign it for me. It took at least half an hour to get him to sign it, because he kept telling stories about the photo. Just a hilarious, personable guy.

That night we continued on the absurdist/death theme and saw Waiting for Godot with the brilliant actors Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin. John Goodman was also in the cast. It was very repetitive, but you don't really notice that because of all the humorous bits Irwin, Lane and Goodman add. Another brilliant revival.

Before we went to the second theatre, we went back to the Pigalle restaurant, where we had breakfast the first morning, and had some cheese and grapes so that I could make it until dinner. Then we walked into the rain, suddenly turning serious, and walked the 4 blocks or so to the area where the next play would be. Our dinner was at an Italian restaurant, and it was very nice.

Our last play, on Thursday night, was a musical. We went to a rather listless Thai restaurant first, and then got over to wait in line for In the Heights, the 2008 Tony winner for best musical. The place wasn't packed, but the audience's enthusiasm made up for any vacant seats in the expensive rows. And the audience was also diverse, skewing young. The woman next to us was very young, telling us that she was there with a bunch of young actors from her workshop, and they had seen several plays within the week, including Billy Elliott, which she highly recommended.

In the Heights refers to Washington Heights, a rather poor section of Manhattan, and the story was about several young people and how they were trying to earn a living in tough circumstances. It was full of upbeat songs and a lot of Latin dancing. I really enjoyed the dancing, and I liked the storylines very much. And what a wonderful set!

This last play was the longest of all of them, lasting a full two-and-a-half hours, so we got out at 10:30 pm. We walked quickly back the two blocks to the hotel, packed and tried to get to sleep as soon as possible, as 5 am came very early the next morning.

I think next time we do this - and I hope there is a next time - I'll do more research into the plays available. But I can't fault the four we saw. They were terrific.