Fake News

I got a tipoff on some sneaky poison perfume today. It purported to be from DC’s police chief. Let me quote a small piece.

The government is afraid that this might be another terrorist act . They will not announce it in the news because they do not want to create panic or give the terrorists new ideas.
Send this Fwd: to all your friends and family members.
Diane J. Ford
Office of the Chief of Police

This sounds reasonable, right? We’re not going to announce it on the news, but please forward this to all your friends and family members.

It took around ten seconds of searching to confirm: HOAX.

I wrote to the person who sent it to me.

You have made a huge mistake and now as grown-up you have to undo it. You have posted a truly INCORRECT story which originated years ago. It is still untrue today.

She replied,

I just got it sent to me and I thought I be safe and send it to others .

Instead she did just the opposite. Maybe this isn’t yelling “FIRE” in a crowded theater, but it’s on the same track. She showed no intention of undoing her damage.

I’m not that guy and I’m done reading your nasty comments .like the news people never made a mistake .

And with that she cut me off. A Facebook de-friend!

News people do make mistakes which are usually noted and corrected. However, news people don’t go on the air just because a rumor has appeared in their inbox.

I’m guessing she won’t be reading this.

The Port From Hell


“It’s still under warranty,” I told Helaine. We were on our way to the hospital, my second doctor visit of the day, to have my port catheter checked out. At the moment it allows neither drawing or infusions.

Of course in medicine nothing comes with a warranty starting with the patient.

In the prep area I explained to anyone who’d listen my irrational port fears. Even if it doesn’t hurt it will seem to me like it did!

They wheeled me away down the hall and through two sharp rights to the procedure room. A large probe hovered over my chest, it’s x-ray image shown on a few large monitors. It didn’t take more than a few seconds to see a full loop had formed in the catheter.

imag0698While my Yale Medical School trained interventional radiologist watched a live fluoroscope of my chest he attempted to manually cajole the kinked catheter into place. You thought it would be that easy? Get real.

I’ll be in Newport Beach 8:00 AM Thursday where he’ll go in through my groin and pull the catheter taught from the far end.

All I wanted to do was avoid the pain of IVs. One yesterday. One today. One surely next week for the re-do. Shoot me now.

Can We Talk Insurance


There’s going to be a lot of talk about insurance in the coming months. Different takes on what to offer, how to pay.

Please don’t miss the bigger point. Without insurance you become your own death panel.

The treatment I am receiving is ridiculously expensive. I am a Medicare recipient. I’m still working so I pay a Medicare premium every month (my Medicare tax too). It’s not free, but it’s reasonable. Thank you America.

The cancer I have is a very bad type. It’s an aggressive grower. The mere fact major surgery like the Whipple is used shows how brutal the battle can be.

So what happens to an uninsured, downsized 62 year old who has my symptoms? That person will discover the cancer too late and die.

Most pancreatic cancer sufferers die quickly after discovery. My tab was well into five figures by the time the cancer was diagnosed. Without insurance no one can afford that.

America’s medical care rates poorly compared to other nations. Not for me. With insurance what I get is world class. The numbers are brought down because we have so many without insurance plus the underinsured. They often go untreated. Just the deductibles and co-pays are enough to keep treatment from getting started.

I didn’t think I was going to get cancer. Who does? Shit happens. But why are we the only industrial nation where sickness after a plentiful life can bring you ruin?

Everybody needs insurance. It can be done for much less than we spend now. It needs to be done.

Not A Good Day For Me Or My Port


After my Whipple and before chemotherapy began I had a port catheter surgically implanted in my chest. The concept is simple. Around the size of a bottle cap with a catheter to my main artery, the port is a permanent easy connection to my bloodstream.

In practice it hasn’t worked out that way at all.

What is supposed to be a convenience has turned into a royal pain. I have become a head case over it. Some of my fears are irrational. That doesn’t mean they’re not real.

A quick recap for those of you who lived through the sixties. After its insertion the area around my port remained bruised and sensitive for a few weeks. I avoided touching it at all costs. After my last chemo treatment we had trouble controlling its bleeding.

At first today the port allowed infusions but no drawing of blood. A few hours later it was doing neither. Why? No easy answer.

I am upset but I will get over it. Being angry won’t help. That’s the natural inclination, of course.

Tomorrow it’s back to the Treatment Center. I never got the chemo today! Unless something radical changes they will have to tap my arm — exactly what a port was supposed to prevent.

As for the port, it might need to be seen by “Interventional Radiology.” Sighhhhhhhhh.

Did I mention I’ll get over it. Just not yet.

Dos Equis: WTF?


A Dos Equis commercial ran during the football game tonight. “The World’s Most Interesting Man” they said.

No! It’s an impostor.

What is Dos Equis doing? Did they have a meeting where someone said, “This is going much too well. How can we screw it up?”

I sent them a tweet this evening.

No response was expected nor received. However, I did a search for the hashtag #mostinterestingmanintheworld and found:

  • A lot of people think the new guy looks like Michael Phelps’ dad.
  • No one likes the switch

Here’s a feel for the sentiment.

Tracy Forner ‏@tracy_forner 4h4 hours ago Brownsburg, IN
the new @DosEquis #mostinterestingmanintheworld is the @DeborahNorville of interesting men…

Felicia Newberry ‏@FeliciaNewberry 4h4 hours ago
the new #mostinterestingmanintheworld looks kind of creepy

Hector Castelltort ‏@hcastelltort Nov 25 Edinburg, TX
Is it me or the #mostinterestingmanintheworld suddenly got less interesting?

Steven Brener ‏@spodeworld Nov 25
.@DosEquis Bring back the old #mostinterestingmanintheworld !!!

I agree with all of that, except the Deborah Norville part. I always liked Deborah Norville.

Another Day Another Doctor

Another day another doctor. Guess who’s got an endocrinologist? She’s my diabetes specialist. Of all my doctors she seems the most genuinely interested in the entirety of me. She’s physically diminutive and like so many folks in our area originally from Asia. Her goal is to replace three of my daily insulin shots with one […]

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The Effects of Chemo

I’d been told the effects of chemo therapy don’t happen immediately. Tonight I can attest that’s true! Most of the last two days have been spent sleeping. It was pretty much the only thing I could do after my chemo session three days ago! I’m better now. My head is clear. Nearly 100% back-to-normal. Chemo […]

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Back To The ER

That opinion changed when I took off my suit coat between broadcasts last night. I looked like a gunshot wound victim! Blood had saturated the dressing over my port and was slowly flowing out onto my shirt.

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Welcome To Chemotherapy

Today was chemo day number one. I was very apprehensive. It wasn’t the infusion that scared me. I was worried about my port. Let’s cut to the chase. It was easy and mainly painless. It was also very different. The treatment center, across from Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach but part of the USC Keck […]

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The High Cost Of Drugs

A 90 day supply of insulin arrived from the mail order pharmacy today. It came in a styrofoam box with two (mostly melted) ice packs. It’s all in a refrigerator now, 10 injection pens each of two different formulations. The insulin came with an itemized bill. I pay nothing. My insurance plan paid $2,469.30 — […]

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