The Coyote's Ramblings - 2008B
April-June
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4/5/08
...another week and a half and I'm still around.  I finished the steroids early this week and have stopped taking the antihistamines since I have no more apparent symptoms.  I do have another appointment at SELVHCS (that's Southeast Louisiana Veteran's Healthcare System for the unitiated) on the 21th of this month, and I guess we'll go to Plan B.  Oh, I turned 65 this week so Medicare is now in effect but I think I'm gonna hang in with the VA for the time being.  First, because I'm not sure I want to change docs right in the middle and, second, VA only pays for drugs prescribed by THEIR docs and I doubt anything I could get would beat their $8 co-pay.
 
I made the Nine Mile Sonic last Friday, as well as Hub's this Wednesday.  As I recall, Tuesday was a tad damp for the Fairfield Sonic.  I'm still not pushing the body too much until I'm comfortable with how it pushes back.  I might make a couple more decades if I'm careful. 
 
The middle of this week was a tad hectic around the house; Mom wanted a new toilet in the bathroom and wanted it moved as well.  You haven't lived until you've had plumbers jackhammering up your bathroom floor.  We also had them replace the shower plumbing and put in cut-off valves for the first time in the 54 years since Dad built the house.  It's ALMOST back to normal but it's a little tough when there's only one bathroom in the house.
 
This weekend was a disappointment for me.  There was a whole slew of biker stuff going on today and it was too wet for me to ride, although I'm sure a bunch of hardy folks did.  What can I say but I'm getting old.  Hey, y'all take care and ride safe.
4/13/08
Still around and still taking it somewhat easy...   Maybe passing the middle of my 7th decade has as much as the Graves to do with it but I, flat-out, don't have the energy.  On Tuesday, I rode out Fairfield to see what was shaking at the Sonic but no one was there, so I continued over to Hooters on Bayou.  Now I know where everybody has been.  There was a good 50 or 60 bikes there, mostly crotch rockets but a few grownups.  (Don't get your fannypacks in an uproar, youngsters; someday your backs won't let you ride like that anymore and you'll graduate to the upright riding position!)  I hung around a while, bs'ing and looking the scoots over, but left before too long.  I'll probably be back, but the parking lot's too small, too hilly and the traffic coming in off Bayou can get scarey.
 
I'm not in Tallahassee this weekend for the Freedom Rally.  I still don't feel comfortable getting too far from home until I'm more confident in my invulnerabilty again but, also, because I've got lab work on Monday before my next NOLA appointment.  This week I did start on my 14th gallon of blood, though.  We'll just have to see what future medical treatments do to my elegibility but, for now, I can still give (once I got all those steroids out of my system).
 
Well, it's a gorgeous day out and I'm going riding.  Oh, before I go, there's a new local website for bikers you might want to check out,http://www.blacktopbikers.com . A bunch of the features are still developing since it's only a week old but it may have community potential.  If you sign up, tell 'em Coyote sent you!  That's it; I'm gonna go catch some air.  Y'all ride safe and be good to one another.
4/22/08
...and the adventures continue.  Yesterday brought another trip to New Orleans as a follow-up to the failed first course of medication and last Monday's bloodwork.  At least this appointment was at 2PM, so I didn't need to leave in the wee, dark, hours to get there nor fight Mobile rush hour traffic.  The broken down concrete of the roads hadn't improved but I was ready for 'em this time, so I wasn't quite so terrifying (but more on that later).
 
Arriving dutifully a half hour before my appointment time, I was only and hour and ten late getting it...and a new doctor this time so I explained it all once again.  No interns this time, though, although this was another teaching physician with Tulane Medical Center.  The gist of it all was that the blood work showed nothing improved and the only other medication available had about the same probability of alergic reaction as the methimizole.  The next step was killing the thyroid with radioactive iodine and medication the rest of my life.  Okay, diabetics deal with this all the time and at least it was pills rather than injections.  Now comes the fun part of dealing with the VA.
 
As I think I've said before, the New Orleans system is separate from the Biloxi system.  The game plan is for me to go to Biloxi's Nuclear Medicine department for the procedure and then, 4-6 weeks later, come back to NOLA for the follow-up.  Guess what?  A NOLA doc can't order procedures in a Biloxi facility.  Even better, the two patient medical systems can't even communicate so Dr. Wani hand wrote a letter for me to carry to Dr. Wyrosdick in Pensacola so he can order it and change my medication.  Okay, no sweat...we'll make it happen.  By this time, it's almost 4:30 when I hit I-10 for the drive home.  After pounding the pavement out of there once again, I stop in Biloxi for gas and something to eat, since it's almost 6.
 
Leaving the Waffle House to get back on the slab, I felt some shaking of the truck.  I guess I hadn't noticed it before because the roads were so bad, but this was newish blacktop and I managed to find a tire store open and found out I had tread separation on both rear tires (I knew they were close to replacement, but the pounding must have accelerated the process), one slightly and the other, a real bubble.  Anyway, I managed to get them replaced 5 minutes before they closed and got home around 9.  I was blessed to discover the problem before one blew at speed and all this thyroid stuff might be moot.
 
Y'all ride safe, look out for one another, and I'll seeya on the road....I hope.
5/1/08
Happy May Day, workers of the world, unite...er...uh.  Oh, that's right, the Evil Empire has been replaced by the Axis of Evil.  Damn, I can't keep up with the world politics stuff. Of course, I was in the Army when the Berlin Wall went up and Cuba almost did and I am a little warped.  I guess that opening is better than whining about  the slowness of the VA, though.  Finally, over a week after Dr. Wani changes my prescription, I finally get it in the mail.  Now, if only they can get the nuclear medcine appointment (his orders were "ASAP"), maybe I can start getting the body so I can ride in the heat of day.
 
Hub Stacy's and Hooters are nice little rides for evening juants but I'm really PO'ed that I'm not gonna make Thunder Beach this weekend.  I tried a little daytime riding this past week and even that was a tad too much for this heat intolerance crap.  On the really plus side, though, I did find out that when the VA superclinic opens (supposedly in August) we should have our own endocrinologist on staff and I won't have to destroy too many more tires going to New Orleans.
 
As you can see, I'm not doing much riding to report on but I hope everyone has a great, and SAFE, time in Panama City this weekend.  Wish I could join you, but I WILL be thinking of you.  Again, be safe, and be good to one another.
5/10/08
Well, as of this morning, I still don't have a nuclear medicine appointment in Biloxi through June 9, and the heat is definately keeping me off the road in daylight hours.  If that isn't enough to totally tick me off, I haven't even been able to contribute that much to getting our new bar set up.  Oh, that's right, I haven't said anything here about that, have I?  All this medical BS has been on my mind and gotten in the way.
 
The Panhandle Motorcycle Society is a private, not for profit, organization just formed (and chartered by the State) and we have our own building which will include a bar nad other recreational amenities (read bandstand , pool tables, etc).  This is all a cooperative effort and we can use all the help we can get.  It's located on Fairfield Drive, roughly half-way between Gulf Beach Hwy and US98, on the west side in the big curve.  Once we get done, it'll be a great facility for bikers; a private club, fully fenced and paved and run BY bikers, FOR bikers.  Big Henry is the manager and, if you want to help or find out more, he's at 607-7796.  C'mon down!
 
Thanks to the relative coolness of the evenings, I have gotten out to Hub Stacey's and Hooters on occasion.  Both have had good turnouts although Hooters has pretty much destroyed the Fairfield Sonics nights.  Just my personal opinion, but I much preferred Sonic to Hooters.  At least there are flat spots to park and nobody tied a balloon to my mirror.  Kinda miss a chocolate malt as opposed to an adult malted beverage, too... not that I don't enjoy them as well.
 
Well, I'm gonna shut this down for now and head over to PMS and see if I can get some more holes patched before it gets TOO hot.  Y'all ride safe and maybe I'll seeya there or on the road in the cool of the evening.
5/22/08
Wow, I hadn't realized how long it had been since I'd been here.  I've done a very little daytime riding, relatively early early in the day, but the onset of the heat has pretty much kept me off the road.  Unfortunately, it's also kep me from doing too much work over at PMS, as well.  Henry and some others have been going at it, though.  The bar is almost finished, the bandstand is started and they need someone to buy that outside lift; it'd go a long way to helping pay for other stuff.
 
I had another visit with my primary Doc yesterday.  He asked if I had heard from Biloxi on the Nuclear Medicine appointment.  When I told him, "no", he got on the horn while I listened to his side of the conversation.  It seems they GOT the order last month right after I got back from NOLA, but somehow hadn't gotten around to putting it in the system.  My Doc said if I hadn't heard back by next week give him a call and he'd re-light the fire.  Well, by the time I got home, there were TWO messages on my machine: one from the appointment clerk, AND one from her supervisor.  I guess the fire was lit!
 
I now have an appointment for next Wednesday at 10AM in Biloxi to sign paperwork and get my no-iodine diet...again (it was a miserable few weeks prior to my thyroid uptake exam last time).  I'm allowed to bring a passenger for that trip but for the actual nucking trip in another three weeks, I have to come alone: they don't want anybody that close to me for the couple of hour trip.  In fact, I'm suposed to stay at least 7 feet away from anybody for three days...but Dr. Wolpe says I won't be glowing.  On the other hand, I should probably also avoid any Homeland Security radiation detectors.  I asked her if I should get a note from my doctor.
 
Well, that's what's been happening; Hub's on Wednesday evenings, Bands on the Beach Tuesday evening, and not a whole lot else.  I really DO hope I seeya on the road but it's a little iffy for a while yet.  Til then, though, stay safe and stay happy.
5/28/08
Kowabonga, boys and girls; he's back!  Back from Biloxi VA, that is.  This was the preliminary visit, with all the warnings, diet, and stuff before the actual procedure will be performed on June 11.  For the next two weeks I can't eat anything with taste OR take my vitamins OR my Aleve (so I might be limping around more) OR anything containing red dye #3.  THEN, there's a long list of stuff for 2 to 11 days After!  Sleeping alone for the next 11 days is no sweat, as is avoiding small children and pregnant women.  One thing interesting, though, is that I should maintain a distance of 7 feet from others for 3 days, but only avoid kissing for two??????  Does that mean on the third day, I can kiss someone from 7 feet away?  Then, there's all kinds of stuff pertaining to the bathroom I just won't go into.
 
Beyond that, the only riding I've been doing remains in the evening but, if it gets much hotter, I may have to cut that back.  Last evening, I rode out to Pensacola Beach for Bands on the Beach, but left at the intermission and came back by Hooters.  There was quite a crowd of scoots there but I decided to head on home before the "loudest pipes" competition.  It was a longish drive this morning, getting there, but I stopped in Beau Rivage on the way home and almost broke even.  I stayed off the interstate as much as possible on the way home, so the return wasn't quite as noring as the trip over.
 
Y'all keep on riding for me out there;  it'll be anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months before this radiation treatment cuts back on my heat intolerance so I won't be on the road in daytime this Summer.  C'mon, Fall!  Ride safe and be good to one another, y'hear!
6/6/08
Half-way to glow-time on June 11 and life is pretty bland.  Limiting my riding to the evenings suck, big time, but I do manage to get out most days.  Coming back from Hooters on Tuesday, one of my rear turn signal lenses broke and fell out, but that's been the extent of my excitement on the road.  After dropping by Seville Square last night, though, I'm almost ready to admit defeat by the heat.  As long as I'm riding it seems okay but the still, hot, air was kicking my butt.  Now if I could just get past waking up with hives!
 
PMS is progressing, but Henry still needs help with various tasks. I can't do diddley and he's only one man.  Does it sound like my Ramblings are just complaints?  That's what I'm feeling right now, so live with it.  Maybe, when I get past this medical BS, you'll hear about fun stuff again.  I'll try to do better next time but, intil then, you'll have to do the riding for me.  Be careful out there.
6/10/08
Okay, I'll finally admit it: I'm real uncomfortable about this trip tomorrow.  Actually, I'm about three steps from scared shitless but maybe it'll let me ride in the daytime in hot weather again and that's worth it.  We'll see.
 
I don't know how many of you out there remember JW.  He was one of the old members of ABATE when I first joined and, probably, best remembered from Cack's.  My best memories of him are from the '97 VNV get together at the fairgounds.  There was all 6'6 or 7" of him on that little 50cc minibike, drunk as a skunk with his knees up around his ears, having a blast.  He was always there, to help, or to have fun.
 
He left town a few years ago but came back home about a year ago, not riding, but to fight the Big C.  Well, as of last Saturday, JW (or John Wayne Moomey, as this former Chapter Membership Trustee would remember) doesn't have to fight anymore.  Wineman has been helping his widow with things and it wasn't until now that he's been able to get me any hard info.  I don't think there's going to be any funeral procession but his ashes will be interred at Barrancas National Cemetary at 2PM on Monday, June 16. 
 
His widow told us that his worry was that he'd be forgotten and we promised her he wouldn't be.  I know it's a workday for most but, if you can, please come out to NAS for this.  Wineman is working on finding more details and I'll be in Biloxi tomorrow and out of hand for the rest of the week, but if I find out more I'll try to get the info out.  'Til next time, ride safe and think of your brothers and sisters.
6/16/08
Sorry I haven't updated sooner but, frankly, there hasn't been much to report.  I think this is the longest I've gone without starting the scoot but rain, heat and radiation has held me back. After all, if I went down, I wouldn't want to endanger any pregnant EMT's.  That's on the 11-day exclusion list.
 
The trip over to Biloxi was totally uneventful, traffic through Mobile was smooth, and I arrived in Building 3 a full 50 minutes before my appointment.  I even remembered to bring a book to read this time.  Dr. Wolpe, who also holds the title, "Radiation Safety Control Officer" or something like that, went over and over the rules I had to follow.  She said the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission was very strict about this and for me not to get her in trouble by screwing up (so I've been a good boy).
 
When we finally got around to "doing the deed", I was led down the hall, past the bold red line encircling the floor, walls, and ceiling to a room with heavy glass in the door.  One of those red and yellow radiation hazard signs was on it!  Going inside, I was sat on a metal stool beside a counter which had a plasic tumbler of water on it.  Next to this was what looked sorta like a sand-blasting cabinet with no sides, about 18 inches wide.  Next to that on the counter were three olive-green ammo boxes, also with radiation warnings on them.
 
Okay, this little tech already has a lead apron on, and NOW, she puts on long, heavy gloves and starts looking at the labels on the ammo boxes.  When she finds the one with my name on it, she literally drags it to the front and opens it.  No wonder she drug it: it has a one-inch lead lining.  Now, she lifts out a lead jar with more warning tape on it and puts it behind the glass (also, probably lead) which happens to have the sides open toward me, about 2 feet away. Great, no apron and gloves for me.  Now, she opens the jar and takes one-foot forcepts to take out a pill bottle.  After checking that it also has me name on it, she places it in front of me and heads for the door!  Whooppee!
 
As she scampers out, Dr. Wolpe stands in the partially-open doorway and says, "Be sure and drink all that water with it; we don't want it coming back up."  Hell no, and I'm not sure I want it going down, either.  After I take the capsule and dutifully drink all the water, she sticks her head around the door and says, "now get out of here, fast, and stay away from people for three days.  And that's why you didn't see me at Hub's on Wednesday or Seville on Thursday.  Ride safe, y'all!
6/29/08
Well, it's 18 days since since my radiation and I guess their 6-weeks to 6-months estimate of improvement may be more accurate than I hoped.  I've been doing my riding after sunset, lately, but I dropped by the Harley dealership (hey, there's not too many other places to run into friends, anymore; at least not 'til PMS is open).  I was in the S-10, but all it took was a couple of minutes outside too realize all the heat intolerance was still there, if not worse.
 
I've been running most Tuesday through Friday evenings, Hooters, Hub's and Seville Square, and occasionally out to P'cola Beach on Saturdays.  Last night was little different except I had the worst rain-tag loss I've had in probably 10 years.  The ride over was nice, but the humidity AT the beach was so oppressive that I decided to ride around some more instead of perusing the tourists.  I'd noticed some lightning flashe but didn't think too much of it: this IS Florida in the Summer.  Just about the time I hit the Bay bridge, though, the bottom dropped out!  By Gregory street, I couldn't see squat so I pulled over into the Shell station at 9th Avenue.  Before I knew it, there were 3 or 4 sport bikes and a scooter right behind me.  Let me give you some warning for the future; their building overhang leaks...badly!  Scooter-guy and I each stood there, dripping and smoking our respective cigars until the heaviest stuff let up.  Turns out he had past Beaulah to get to, so I didn't feel too bad about just getting to Myrtle Grove.
 
It was still raining, but at least I could half-way see, so off we went...until Pace Blvd.  I'd say the wind was gusting to 40 or so, and it was a cold one.  At least no hail!
 
My only concern now is how long it's gonna take my boots to dry.  I poured at least an inch of water out and have been through a week of News-Journals trying to dry the insides.  Think I'll stay in today.  Y'all ride safe and enjoy the road!
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