Archive for the 'shit happens' Category

Going Viral

microbes.jpgFor the past week, I have been nursing a sore throat. Yesterday, it finally got uncomfortable enough for me to seek medical help at the local hospital in the urgent care wing. I saw a doctor who examined me and concluded that I had either a bacterial or viral infection in the left pharynx area where my tonsils used to be.

The diagnosis settled on bacterial pharyngitis (possibly strep) and the doctor prescribed an antibiotic. After thirty-six hours, however, the soreness is still with me. I can eat and drink OK, but it is still a bit painful to swallow. Perhaps I have a virus infection which will simply have to run its course since the antibiotics won’t have any effect other than to wreak havoc with my digestive system since it kills the helpful digestive bacteria.

I guess that I will stay on the prescribed meds for tomorrow, but if I don’t see any significant improvement, then my discharge paperwork tells me to go back to the doctor. I will make that call tomorrow.

Curses! We’re Credit Card Fraud Victims! Again!

curses.pngSome low-life SOBs hijacked one of the credit cards probably sometime on our return trip from K-stan. I got a call from the credit union “robot” on Sunday advising me that it was concerned about unusual charges to the card.

Sure enough, there was a fraudulent charge of about $85 on a fuel purchase from a Shell station in Las Vegas, which in one city that we give a wide berth to when passing through Nevada, due to the congestion, high crime rate and traffic. We haven’t been through there in several years.

I got in touch with the 24/7 credit card hot line and had them suspend the card. A new one is probably on the way, reaching the PO Box sometime next week. This has happened before and may happen again. It seems in the past when we’re on the road that’s the time the cards get compromised.

I filed the necessary paperwork to dispute the fraudulent charge with the credit union. It usually takes a week to get the charge removed and they will credit my account with the disputed charge sometime soon. Meanwhile, no credit card available which is no big deal since we have other ways to pay for things.

I did a little research on the topic of how to avoid being victimized in the future and found out several ways that the cards can be compromised.

  • lost cards
  • stolen cards
  • skimmed cards
  • unscrupulous employees at the point-of-sale

Using care, we can discount the first two bullets. Shame on us if we lose or allow a card to be stolen.

However, the third bullet is something for which we can watch. “Skimmers” are appliances that can be overlaid on top of card readers. There are several types out there and we’re going to be on the lookout for them henceforth. Do a web search on “credit card skimmers” to see the variety of illicit devices out there.

As for the last bullet, there isn’t much that can be done about a jerk who is willing to sell your info to fellow jerks. We will just have to use our intestinal sensitization to make judgement as to whom we entrust our private information as best as we can.

Look Ma - No Stitches

incisionWhen I was admitted to the ER last November with a throat abscess, the radiologist discovered a mass on the right lobe of my thyroid gland. After consulting with our Family Doctor we were referred to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist who said the mass and the right thyroid lobe has to come out.

Last Friday, we went to the hospital and had the procedure. The operation was a “Thyroid Lobectomy” which involved removal of the right half of my thyroid which was the section with the mass.

This operation involves removing the half of the thyroid gland that has the nodule. It is sometimes called a “diagnostic lobectomy” because the preoperative diagnosis may be uncertain and part of the reason for the operation is to make a diagnosis of cancer or no cancer. [more]

After the procedure while I was still under anesthesia, the pathologist froze the nodule and did a quick slice analysis biopsy under a microscope and determined there was no cancer. Had the biopsy been positive, then the other half of the thyroid would have to come out. Thank the Lord the mass was benign.

Today (and all weekend, actually) I am doing fine. There is a little discomfort, more pressure than pain, a little swelling and bruising. I am using an ice pack a few times a day to try and reduce swelling.

In the (clickable) image above is the base of my neck where the incision was made. When they closed it up, they used neither sutures nor staples - they “glued” me back together! I had been expecting to have a railroad-track scar across my neck, but they tell me this won’t be very noticeable.

I have a follow-up with the ENT on Wednesday where we discuss what happens next with possible supplemental thyroid medication and whatever else. I’m just glad the main event is over and things went well.

AZCDL: No Blood in the Streets

acdllogo.jpgDave Kopp, President of the Arizona Citizens Defense League issued an email to AZCDL members today regarding the recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida. He correctly points out that both states affected by these natural tragedies are generally well-heeled with regard to citizen firearm ownership. In spite of that, the post-ravaged areas have few violent incidents reported.

No Blood in the Streets

I’d like to take a moment to thank you for your kind donations to the relief efforts for hurricanes Irma and Harvey. There is still much to be done to help our fellow Americans rebuild their lives, but it serves as a vivid reminder of what can be done if we group together for a common cause.

Historically, Florida and Texas are some of the most-heavily armed states in the country—and yet, there were relatively few cases of firearms related violence during these tragedies. As you and I would expect, responsible firearms owners did not use the chaos of these storms to perpetuate violence. Instead, they—and many others—joined together to help their neighbors in a time of need.

AZCDL works to promote safe gun ownership, and to create laws that enable us to protect our rights. Please, click here to help us continue that mission, and help us to dispel the notion that firearms owners are irresponsible and dangerous.

Thank you,
Dave Kopp
President, Arizona Citizens Defense League

We continue to support AZCDL and are a regular reader of their literature on their site and on social media.

Hurricane Preparedness

TofuThere are currently three hurricanes active in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. All are posing risks to Caribbean islands and to Mainland US destinations. The most significant storm is Irma, currently wreaking havoc on Puerto Rico and likely to devastate its way through the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and thence up the east coast of Florida. At 941 millibars central pressure and winds of 160 mph, it is possibly the strongest storm ever seen in the Atlantic. We will be praying for those in the path of the storm to be well and safe.

All seriousness aside, I have included a (clickable) whimsical photo (I forget where I stole it) of the vegan section in the deli department of some store in Houston where folks there stocked up on everything but the tofu crap. Who could blame them?

Oh, and stand by for the calls by “climateers” to blame this on man made greenhouse gasses instead of the natural forces on the planet as intended by its creator.

Monsoon Season is Upon Us

Monsoon Radar

Last night, tonight and for the next few afternoons and evenings, the radar image above is typical of the precipitation activity over our state. We experienced our first downpour late yesterday, with the results being a lot of flooding and debris in the usual places. There were reports of downed trees in town and emergency crews restoring electric power and other interrupted services.

We were fine here, albeit a bit shaken when lightning struck just up the hill behind our house. It seemed to rattle the dogs a bit too, but no harm to anything we could detect. None of our utilities were interrupted (other than satellite TV due to the precipitation) and we stayed cool (104° and 77% humid outside).

Our retention walls behind the RV drive did the trick yesterday, with the heavy runoff diverted to the west side of the property and down the creek that The Better Half and I devised in early 2016. We should continue to be OK in the weeks to come.


Short Circuit AftermathThe Better Half had a little mishap yesterday when she went to the electrical outlet in the hallway to plug in her camera battery recharging unit. Upon her attempt to plug the little unit in, she was greeted by a shower of sparks, a whiff of ozone and a tripped circuit breaker. I was in the courtyard when I heard her yell for me. I came running to see what happened.

(Clickable) image: Outlet under repair. Note the black mark inside box.

Not knowing what the problem was, I went to the circuit breaker box and attempted to reset the tripped breaker with no load on the outlet. No dice, it wouldn’t reset.

The only recourse was to open the outlet in question with the breaker still off. Once open, I immediately saw the problem - the bare earth ground wire had been looped around the outlet such that it was in close proximity to the screws on the hot side. The wire had actually fused to one of the hot screws and burned it in half, apparently when TBH jostled the outlet plugging her charger in resulting in a dead short hot to ground.

I cut the ground wire away from the hot terminal and prepared the end to be reconnected to the ground terminal away from the hot side. After reassembly, the circuit breaker set correctly and the outlet (and the rest of the several shared outlets) functioned correctly once again.

TBH and I recall having interfaced with the electrical guy that worked on the house as it was being built. We both thought he was a flake at the time. It makes us wonder how many other little time bombs might be lurking in the other wiring around the house.

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