My brain, ears, skin, innards

The Wordle word for Sunday, August 6, 2023 was POLYP

I was going to write a comprehensive report on my health. But it became complicated and lengthy, so I’ll break it up. Today, I’ll concentrate on my brain, ears, skin, and another part.

BRAIN: When I attended a Juneteenth event, one of the tabling organizations was doing research into the brain. Specifically, they were checking people for mental acuity and cognitive decline.

I went to their office a few weeks later and took paper and pencil tests. Also, they swabbed the inside of my cheeks. Two weeks later, I got the results. The apolipoprotein E (APOE) genes from my parents are 3,3. This means I have an average chance of developing Alzheimer’s. APOE 2,2 is the best, which only 8% of people have, and people with  4,4 are most at risk.

It’s too hard to explain, so read this article about tau. For me, this is fascinating stuff.

EARS: My wife complained that I did not hear well. I found this odd because I would be in a room during conversations and pick up information she missed.

Still, I went to the ENT place. I had wax buildup. I did not know some information: you shouldn’t use Q-Tips or the like in your ears, not so much because they’ll hurt the eardrum as much as they’ll help the wax to become impacted.

About an hour later, I had a hearing test. I am missing higher-pitched sounds in my left ear. I blame Pete Townshend! At some point, I’ll get some treatment.


SKIN: Back in January, my dermatologist gave me a prescription for  Ruxolitinib (Opzelura™), which is “the only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restore lost skin color in people who have vitiligo.”

Unfortunately, when I took it to the CVS, I was told it would cost me several hundred dollars. I’m still trying to negotiate this issue months later. It’s not just vanity. I’m more prone to skin cancer now than I was in the past.

Inside look

COLON: Both my wife and I had colonoscopies in the past two weeks. The last time I even MENTIONED having one, I was told it was TMI. I disagreed then and now. I’m a fan of regular testing with colon cancer on the rise, particularly among those under 50.

Initially, she was going to have hers eight days before mine, but for reasons, I ended up having mine five days before hers.

This time, the prep wasn’t a big deal for me. Pro tip: JELL-O and other gelatin products are considered liquid. On that day before the procedure, when you can’t eat anything, JELL-O is a superb approximation.

Another thing: when you mix seven capfuls of Miralax into 28 oz. of Gatorade, you will need a larger container for the mixture.

After my procedure, my wife said I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t smiling. She asked if I could make it up the stairs. Her questions made me grumpier. This passed.

But my right nostril itched, probably from the oxygen tube in there. As a result, I sneezed uncontrollably for three days. That was new.

I got a document from my doctor’s portal, which was incomprehensible. Then a day later, I received something in English. “The biopsies from the ulcer in your colon did not show any sign of cancer or malignancy, which is good news.” I need to make a follow-up appointment, but happy, happy, joy, joy.

I’ll do another report reasonably soon.

December rambling #1: Sheila E. turns big 6-0

Rebecca Jade [the niece], Ashling Cole, Sheila E., Lynn Mabry before taking the stage at the Paramount Theatre of the Arts in Oakland, CA during 60th birthday month of Sheila E., Dec 2017
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Why Verizon’s insurance plan covers… nothing

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SATIRE! Palestinians recognize Texas as part of Mexico and World to recognize Moscow as capital of the United States

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Former ‘Son of Sam’ at Albany Med for heart ailment

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Colonoscopy… such a lonely word – as I heard a comedian say recently, life is like a colonoscopy prep

Once in a while the pessimist is wrong

Why we need art

in praise of second fiddle

Levidrome – a series of letters that yields up a word in one direction and a wholly different word in the other

Mark Evanier’s blog post #25,000

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Talking about Kevin


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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2018 inductees. Performer Category: Bon Jovi (inevitable), The Cars (voted for), Dire Straits (would have voted for if there weren’t 19 candidates for five slots), The Moody Blues (my pick), Nina Simone (worthy but hardly rock – see Baez, Joan). Award for Early Influence: Sister Rosetta Tharpe (should never have been on the competitive ballot; just put her in!)

Hyperplastic polyps, and other things

It has rained every day for the past couple weeks in Albany, NY.

This is a picture of my mother’s class (kindergarten or first grade, from the 1933 date). Can you find her? My, they all look so sullen. I mean, I know it’s the Depression and all, but dang.

In that TMI category, there were a couple of polyps removed from my colon in late June. They were hyperplastic, a term I had never heard/seen before. This means that not only are they BENIGN, but they also do NOT turn into cancer. Compare this with polyps that are adenoma type, also BENIGN, but need monitoring. Not to mention outcomes that could have been worse. So I won’t bore you with my colonoscopy tales for another decade.

If it wasn’t for people such as Doug Englebart, I wouldn’t be communicating with you. The tools he helped develop in computing are used today on the Internet. I started watching the lengthy video here from 1968(!). At about 19 minutes in, he’s essentially describing the hyperlink; at 30 minutes, the computer mouse; later, Google.

I knew Google RSS feed reader was going away. Now I get an e-mail from Bloglovin every day – found it easier for me than some of the others that were suggested, such as Feedly.

There was so much to write about the Supreme Court cases in June. Yet the only thing I could muster was a piece in my other blog that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is only partially dead, i.e., Section 3, while Section 2 survives. Those widespread news reports saying otherwise were wrong.

I actually started writing a piece on how crazy Justice Antonin Scalia was in the month of June, but I just lost my mojo for it. Mark Evanier put it well: “I don’t understand a lot of the logic behind [the] rulings on Gay Marriage. Scalia’s dissent in the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act reads to me like the rebuttal to his support the day before in the castration of the Voting Rights Act;” that’s about right. SCOTUS voted 9-0 on the gene patent case, correctly, to my mind, but Scalia’s “reasoning” was bizarre. Yet I actually agreed with the rebuttal of the Supreme Court’s support for DNA testing of arrestees.

Arthur, rightly, was complaining a few weeks ago about the immigration reform bill Marco Rubio (R-FL) co-sponsored but threatened to kill it if gave gay couples immigration rights. So I found it quite entertaining that, as a result of part of the Defense of Marriage Act being struck down, a US citizen who is married to a non-American of the same gender will be able to sponsor his or her spouse for immigration in exactly the same way that legally married opposite-gender couples can. And the first couple approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services is from…Florida. Was that REALLY a coincidence?

When I feel discouraged about the body politic, I realize I need to find and read this book: The American Heroes of Social Justice.

Need to wish a belated happy 25th anniversary to Denise Nesbitt, the progenitor of ABC Wednesday, and her husband Jon.

At some point, it has rained every day for the past couple of weeks in Albany, NY. It doesn’t bother me as much as it does others, based on the whining in social media, though it HAS been difficult to mow the wet grass. Now some local towns around here suffered sudden, severe flooding; THOSE people can complain. Still, I prefer it to the arid 100F+ (38C+) temperatures out in the western US.
I’m reading The 10 nerdiest jokes of all time, and this one made me literally LOL, with the intro, “Is there ever a wrong moment to make an existential funny?”

“Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French cafe, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, ‘I’d like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream.’ The waitress replies, ‘I’m sorry, Monsieur, but we’re out of cream. How about with no milk?'”

Colonoscopy preparation day!

If I’m a little slow visiting your websites, you will know why!

Preparing for my second colonoscopy

I’m having a colonoscopy tomorrow. Oh boy! The preparation starts today. Actually, it started a week ago, when I purchased the laxatives and the clear liquids to take today. Then a couple of days ago, start a low-fiber diet, avoiding nuts, seeds, popcorn, and corn. Yesterday, drink at least 8 glasses of water or other clear liquid while maintaining a low-fiber diet.

Today, low residue breakfast: eggs (not fried), bananas, apple sauce, juice without pulp. Clear liquids for the remainder of the day. At 3 pm, start the laxative/clear liquid regimen, finishing up tomorrow morning, which of course will keep me…busy. The actual procedure will be around 12:30 pm tomorrow, and my wife will bring me home.

So if I’m a little slow visiting your websites, you will know why!

Here’s what humor writer Dave Barry said about HIS colonoscopy back in 2008: “Which brings us to you, Mr. or Mrs. or Miss or Ms. Over-50-And-Hasn’t-Had-a-Colonoscopy. Here’s the deal: You either have colo-rectal cancer, or you don’t. If you do, a colonoscopy will enable doctors to find it and do something about it. And if you don’t have cancer, believe me, it’s very reassuring to know you don’t. There is no sane reason for you not to have it done.”

I did this before, a decade ago. It was no big whoop; I don’t believe that I watched the procedure on the monitor. My wife gets one every five years – her brother John died of colon cancer at the age of 42 in 2002 – and she likes to watch.
Colonoscopies Explain Why U.S. Leads the World in Health Expenditures: “The high price paid for colonoscopies mostly results not from top-notch patient care…, but from business plans seeking to maximize revenue; haggling between hospitals and insurers that have no relation to the actual costs of performing the procedure; and lobbying, marketing and turf battles among specialists that increase patient fees.”

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