Saturday, June 28, 2014

Short Points

It's been 18 days since the last update -- sorry about that!  Here's why:

• Crohn's Disease has been enjoying a major flareup this summer, with no sign of abating.  I had been putting out the fire, so to speak, with large doses of Prednisone.  Turns out I can't do that any more, because:

• Sustained use of high-dose Prednisone has knocked my blood pressure wayyyy up into dangerous territory (160/98!) and also knocked my fasting blood sugar levels wayyyy up into, you guessed it, dangerous territory (131!) as well.  So I can now add hypertension and pre-diabetic to my list.  Yay!

• All of the above has left me a prisoner in my own home most days, as I simply cannot be far from a bathroom any more, at least not until things settle down or I major-medicate with stuff to keep me out of the bathroom...but using this stuff always comes with a heavy price later.

• My only remaining relative from the previous generation (apart from my father, about whom the less said the better, except to mention that whoever said, "Only the good die young" must have known him) is my mother's kid sister, my aunt, and she is dying of liver failure due to complications from iron therapy for chronic anemia.  She is not expected to survive the summer.

• Two dear friends have died from colon cancer recently, practically back to back.  As I said a few weeks ago, for the sake of all  the people who love you, get a friggin' colonoscopy.

• My daughter is going through some rough times herself, dealing with depression and feelings that she has little worth.  She is probably not going to go back to University in the autumn.  Her stint there has been both expensive and unsuccessful, and until she finds some direction, as well as some help for her depression, she has returned to the nest and is attempting to enter the work force while figuring out what she wants to do with her life.  Right now she is working your basic college-kid summer job at an amusement park, and hates it.  We are hoping she will turn up something that better suits her soon.  (On a side note, be nicer to the kid who makes sure your seat belt is fastened on the roller coaster, OK?)

So clearly my attention has been focused more on the day-to-day rather than on you, my dear audience, although I love both of you dearly.

More when I can!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Jekyll & Hyde Club, NYC

OK, this is a shameless (and uncompensated!) plug for one of my favorite places to dine in New York City, the Jekyll & Hyde Club on W. 44th St.  I've been a couple of times now, and it's become a staple of any visit I make into the City.  The place has a definitely-theme-park kind of a vibe, but since it's all steampunk Victorian horror, it's a vibe I thoroughly enjoy.  This past weekend we went into the City to see a show and grabbed a bite and a drink afterwards at J&H.

My favorite part of the evening was when my daughter, who had never visited, asked me if I knew where the bathroom was.  More accurately, it was the expression on her face when I replied, "Go into the Library, find the secret door in the fireplace, go down the hall and find the second secret door in the bookcase."  Her puzzled "Is he kidding?" face that slowly morphed into "Cool!" was the best!  (Needless to say, she shares a lot of my sensibilities regarding what is "cool.")

The library fireplace, secret entrance to...

...the bathroom hallway.  It's down there, somewhere.  Not where you think, though.

The food is good, the drinks are excellent, and the staff all seem to be enthusiastic about being there.  Expect to have your table visited several times during the evening by various creepy folk, and for various interruptions both human and animatronic.  Might be an attempted Frankensteinian revival of a corpse.  Might be a visit from the Elephant Man.  It's always different.

Whoever decorated the place did a fantastic job.  The place is busy, eclectic, and authentic.

The bar.

The entryway, as seen from the bar landing.

One of the many, many dining alcoves.

There is also a decent little gift and souvenir shop, and an excellent "haunted house" type of attaction which is accessed from the bar.  Worth it, but do it before you eat anything.  It's extremely, shall we say, atmospheric, and most people are glad of a drink afterwards.

If you do visit, sure, you can walk right into the lobby if you wish and go through the gift shop area into the restaurant.  Or, you can approach the doorman in his somber attire and ask for the day's password.  You then enter the black British phone box out front, speak the password into the antique telephone, and enter the fun way.  Or perhaps "funhouse" way is a better adjective.  In any event, go in via the doorman.  You've already gone to all the trouble to get there; you might as well go all the way.

The exterior.  You can just see the tophatted doorman and the telephone box/secret door.

Don't be afraid to interact with staff.  They won't be afraid to interact with you.  And if the girl dressed as an undertaker comes to your table with a bucket full of syringes and asks if you want to be say "Yes, please!"

(As I stated above, I have received absolutely no compensation from the Club.  It's simply one of my absolute favorite places in New York City.  More information can be found at the club website: 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Get Ready For Your Close-Up

As I write this, I am home from one memorial service and getting ready to attend another one next week.  I realize that as an old fart in his 60's I am at the age where friends and acquaintances of a similar age are starting to, shall we say, shuffle off this mortal coil, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with when it happens.

The point of this brief column is a very simple one.

If you are age 50, or older, and have never had a screening colonoscopy, GET ONE.

Two friends have died of colon cancer and a brother-in-law had a narrow escape this year after much fear and surgery.  None of them had had a colonoscopy when they reached "a certain age."

Is preparing to have a doctor insert a camera up your behind unpleasant?  You bet it is.

Is it inconvenient?  Yes, inconvenient as Hell.  You can't drive for 24 hours after, which means that you not only miss a day of work but a friend or loved one has to take time off as well to be your chauffeur.

Is it worth it?  Completely.  Peace of mind if you have an "All-Clear," and early diagnosis and treatment in the worst case scenario.

In my almost-half-century-long love affair with Crohn's Disease, I have had to get a colonoscopy every two years.  (For you normal folks, it's usually every five years.)  I can tell you that it's saved my life at least twice, with the early discovery and removal of polyps that almost certainly would have become cancerous.  I hate colonscopies, I dread them...and I always do them when it's time.

Don't make the people that love you watch you die from one of the most easily preventable and treatable forms of cancer ... IF it's caught early.

Get a damned colonoscopy already.  (Or whatever other tests are appropriate for your age and/or gender.  See your doctor, get a physical, and get tested, and stop putting it off.  Please.)