• Last Friday I picked up my daughter from her university, the University of Pittsburgh, since her finals were over and she was done with her spring term. I found her a mess. If you follow the news, you may have noted that the University of Pittsburgh has been plagued with multiple daily bomb threats since mid-February. There have been as many as 16 threats in a single day. The FBI is apparently no closer to solving the case than they were months ago. My daughter was rousted in the small hours of the morning at least half a dozen times so her building could be evacuated and searched for explosives, and she had both classes and examinations disrupted. She had indicated to us that she was dealing with it rather well, but that was not quite true. It had a toll on her, and on her grades, and she did not do as well academically as we were led to believe this last spring. (Don't misunderstand me; she's not flunking out of school or anything, but her grades in a couple of classes directly related to her major will almost certainly need to be repeated.) And adding the bomb stress to the breakup of her first really serious relationship, it's no wonder that I found her in a state of deep depression. We are coping with this together and getting her the help she needs, both academic and emotional, but it was a blow nonetheless to realize that she was in such a state. I feel quite the failure as a father.
• I had the first in the latest set of physical exams and tests yesterday that will supposedly help determine why my blood iron is falling faster than one of Wile E. Coyote's anvils. I had an endoscopy, which found no sign of illness in my esophagus, stomach or duodenum. Certainly no cause of bleeding, which is not the good news that it first might seem to be. It means that if the problem is in my small intestine, well, that organ has been shrunken by repeated surgeries and resections to where it can no longer have further surgery. So the problem, if it's there, will be difficult to fix. Or worse, if the problem is not there, then I have something far more serious going on in terms of blood disease than anyone is willing to discuss or even entertain right now. The next step is the Pill Cam, a self-contained camera and light source the size of a large vitamin, which is swallowed and sends out beamed photographs which are captured and monitored by a belt pack over the course of about ten hours. Frankly I do not expect anything extraordinary to be found by the Pill Cam, but it's a medical insurance hoop I have to jump through before they will allow a visit to a hematologist/oncologist. So there's that.
• Of far less consequence, but annoying nonetheless, is the fact that -- thanks to the neuropathy which often tells me bad information about where my hands and feet actually are -- I managed to stub the living hell out of right foot yesterday, and broke two toes. Today they are the swollen purple color that only a broken finger or toe can turn, And they hurt like hell. And because they are the two smallest toes, they really can't be set or splinted, just taped. I can't wait until I have to mow the lawn later this week, It's going to Hurt. Like. Hell.
• Of even less consequence, but perhaps even more annoying, for no reason that we can determine, the dog has started peeing in the house again, starting a few days before I left for Pittsburgh. The vet found no medical reasons for this. So having to watch him like a hawk for episodes of incontinence is an extra hassle I really don't need right now.
• The stomach problems I have been attributing to my month-long bout of viral bronchitis turned out to have nothing to do with that virus, but with yet another flare up of Crohn's Disease. I have to put out the fire with Prednisone, a corticosteroid drug I absolutely HATE for its side effects...but it's either that or put up with episodes of, shall we say, jet propulsion of the nastiest sort.
A quiet week in Lake Woebegone it most certainly was not. But we sure got the "woebegone" part right....