Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Rousing Success and More

I think we can all agree that Joe Rosen notwithstanding, the Haiku Challenge was a success! I laughed, I cried, I was brought back to those days of yore, struggling to please the teacher by stringing together words that probably made no sense. 5,7,5. It is now etched in my mind forever, which shows how little else is going on there right now.

I am happy to report that I am out of bed. My fever persists, but I could not spend any more time in bed waiting for the fever to go away. So I am walking the driveway, which is as hard as it looks for a one-lunged post-surgical candidate, with fever, and scrounging around for things to keep me occupied and out of bed. There are still the MD appointments and other medical related tasks to keep up with, but I am really missing the action of life these days. Since there is more treatment on the horizon, and possibly some harsh stuff, I do not want to be too ambitious. Besides, the last time I got cocky I ended up back in the hospital. I'm still not up to driving, but don't be surprised if I show up at the office (I think I remember where it is), or call you for a lunch date.

Some of you may have gotten Ann Silver's email about my interview for People to People on WSB TV. It is going to air this Sunday morning at 6:30 am, so get your TIVO's programmed. I am "the new face of lung cancer." It's not a notoriety that I sought, but here I am. It also stars Dr. Scheinberg and Dash, Dot, Dewey and Sammy Davis, Jr. Jr.

There was another media event of note today. In the Living section of today's AJC there is a story about lung cancer that features Dr. Scheinberg and my surgeon, Dr. Moore. I think they are gearing up for the Lung Cancer Awareness event on November 8. Please oh please sign up to participate. The link is a mouse click away.

It looks like the latest round of prayers and good wishes is working. I am up and about, and thankful for every minute. I can't quite see the daylight yet, not until the next round of treatment is set and underway. Like those guys running for Prez, we're not there yet, so please don't let up.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Neil's Haiku Challenge

A little black nose
Peeking out from the covers
A dachshund is close

The bright sun shines in
It fills the room with color
And with a warm glow

The words are dancing
The pages move to and fro
A good book brings life.

His blue eyes sparkle
It was a good day he says
A sweet teenager

I used to love food
Now I have to eat to live
Curse the mean disease

Anyone up to the Haiku challenge? Anyone? Anyone?
C'mon people. I'm looking for some creativity and a little fun here.
And don't forget the lung cancer awareness event on November 8. Please join my family and friends who have already signed up. There is an actual, working link to the right for information and to sign up.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Recovery..... moving..... slowly. Fever.......moderating. Resting..... reading..... .......maintain......weight.

This surgery not for sissies.

Monday, October 20, 2008

To blog or not to blog. That is the question.

I am caught in a bind. If I indicate here how I am feeling, then I am afraid you readers will worry, but not posting is apparently having the same effect, says my telephone.

I am not at all feeling well, still troubled by this fever. No doctors will commit to a diagnosis, sticking by the "looks good on paper." I will see the infectious disease MD on Wednesday, so I may know more then.

In the meantime, I mostly stay in bed, wander outside in the sun when I am up to it, and hope that the fever goes away. Soon.

Thank you everyone for your concern.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Looks Good on Paper

I can easily understand the confusion. It makes sense to think that I was released from the hospital because I was cured of whatever brought me there. That is not the case, however. As of Monday evening, the cause of the fever had not been determined, but there was no reason to think I would be any worse off taking antibiotics at home. Plus, I may have insisted on the release :-) So home I went, armed with Levaquin and the Dachshund Home Remedy. Unfortunately, I have not yet gotten relief, and my fever comes more than it goes.

This morning I had an appointment with Dr. Scheinberg. He carefully reviewed the results of the recent blood and other tests and was happy to inform me that I look good on paper. I don't know what all that stuff is, white blood counts, etc., etc., but it would appear as if my recovery was progressing nicely. As if. The only test results that are still outstanding are what he calls the "zebras," the really rare stuff. But I'm feeling lousy. So lousy, in fact, that I even forgot to make a follow up appointment with the infectious disease doctor when I got home. John is now working on that and I am doing virtually nothing, trying to give my body its best shot at vanquishing this latest intruder.

I do have a favor to ask. On Saturday, November 8, Dr. Scheinberg's group, among others, is sponsoring a one mile walk and 5K fun run at The Concourse for lung cancer awareness. I know that some of you are busy that day (Julie, Ruth, David), but I would be honored if you would participate, and/or spread the word. It looks like a great event for kids, too. Here is the link:

Love to all.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Room 650, after 40 hours

The first things you notice are that it is small and painted industrial yellow. Not a pleasing color but not offensive enough to really matter. There is the usual sink and WC with shower. There are some odd angles and then you notice that there are two doors. Once ensconced, the main door is sealed with tape and nurses and visitors enter through an anteroom to get washed, gloved, masked, and in some cases robed. Believe it or not, this is not for my protection. I am being tested for every known infectious disease, from TB to hanta virus. So far, no signs of TB, or any other dangerous infection except a modicum of staph, for which I have already received a single heavy dose of a medicine that I cannot pronounce. Nondescript linoleum, a hole in the wall from a door handle, shelves, television, telephone, clock, medical equipment, two chairs, bed, and a window overlooking a parking lot and some Perimeter style office buildings complete the scene. The smell, which started out as inoffensive, is working its way to the other side. I am wondering how to fix this without violating any rules.

I am receiving very little treatment, or attention from doctors and nurses. My fever continues, so I wait, usually patiently, as this chapter continues to unfold. I am certainly not going home today, and I would not take any bets on tomorrow.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hello from Room 650

A week that started with the promise of a smooth recovery began going south on Tuesday and never recovered. In addition to the expected post-surgical issues, I have been struggling with a fever. After spending this afternoon at the ER at St. Joseph's, I was admitted to the hospital this evening. Perhaps you can hear the drip drip drip of the antibiotics flowing into the IV tube. I expect that to continue through at least tomorrow. Please know that I am resting comfortably in my luxurious suite in the respiratory isolation wing, and I will be in touch.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Today is Yom Kippur, the most somber, most holy day in the Jewish religion. It is the Day of Atonement, when, for 24 hours, Jews seek forgiveness for their sins of the past year, and as the holiday closes at sundown tonight, make their final plea to be inscribed in the Book of Life. To make sure that there are no distractions from this solemn task, and maybe as a bit of punishment because none of us are without sin, Jews fast from sundown of the evening before, to sundown today.

I am thankful for religious guidance that instructs me to be a good person every day; most religions do. But I am especially thankful for the opportunity, once a year, to contemplate what kind of person I have been, and what kind of person I want to be. And absolution does not come at a distance; prayers can only do so much. Ultimately, if the sin is against a person, as opposed to the environment for instance, one must seek forgiveness directly from that person. It is a simple dynamic, but oh, so difficult. Think about it. First one must admit wrongdoing; and then one must seek out the victim of that wrong and ask to be pardoned. Again, I am awed by the simplicity, yet difficulty of this task. But for me, it is the simple human communications that seem the most challenging, but most important in my life.

Before now, I gave fleeting thought to the Book of Life. I took for granted my excellent health, good fortune, and believed that the other wonderful trappings of my life were there because I worked hard for them. But that has all changed. All over the world, the words "who shall live and who shall die?" are an integral part of Yom Kippur services. I now tremble at this momentous determination; no matter how this judgment is made, or who makes it, at this time next year I wonder if will I be joining my fellow Jews in seeking atonement for the sins of another year past? Seeking to again be inscribed in that Book of Life?

My road to recovery from surgery has hit some bumps and I am struggling with a fever, and finding pain meds that work well enough without debilitating side effects. The services at my synagogue stream online, so I am off to pray remotely. Gotta love technology.

No matter what your religious beliefs, wishing that all of you are inscribed in the Book of Life, and that you each find peace within your families, friends and communities.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

This has been a most peaceful week here in the Aussenberg/Denys household. Protected from the political and economic turmoil swirling around us, inside these four walls (and many windows) we are sleeping well, eating healthy and delicious food, and enjoying this stunning weather, even if it means just looking out the window.

Today I am on a mission, however. Armed with coupons and a fabric sample, I am hunting for sheets. We have a new bed and it's time to change the sheets, so I will need a second set of California King sheets. My reconnaissance missions indicate that I will find what I am looking for at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I am confident enough of my chances for success, so I think this mission has just the right degree of difficulty and challenge. I will provide a full report after the mission is complete.