309) GERD Report & Trip Thru Waco

December 30, 2008

Dallas: We are on the last day of our visit and about to return to Austin in time for my dialysis at El Milagro. One thing I have been meaning to post about for some time now is a new symptom or reaction or something I have been experiencing at night. From my non-medical brain comes the following description... you know how sometimes you have this sensation that you are going to throw up and the taste of this stuff is very acidic or bitter tasting? Well, a number of times in the middle of the night I have awoken with a start, feeling this upsurge of foul tasting something. Its as if I want to burp but the burp is below this ceiling of stuff that bubbles up. So far, I have caught it and I sit up quickly. Then it doesn't do anything but I feel bloated and my stomach gurgles like a mountain brook. I looked this up on google and came up with some similar descriptions that fit my situation: "Regurgitation: the feeling of acid backing up in the throat. Sometimes acid regurgitates as far as the mouth and be experienced as a "wet burp.""* Usually, this happens along with a sense of nauseousness and a tightly bloated stomach. I get up and wander around, sometimes punching my tummy to get all the gurgles out, thinking that that will help. Other times I find that I can poop and that'll help. Over this past weekend I bought some Tums and they seem to help a bit too. So, the name for this is GERD: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. I sincerely hope mine isn't at the "disease" level and the next time I see Dr. Venkatesh I'll ask her about her thoughts on it. I don't need another DISEASE to add to my collection. An interesting tidbit I read on Wikepedia** is that "Sleeping on the left side has been shown to reduce nighttime reflux episodes in patients." I found that several times when I was having these episodes, sleeping on my right side made it much worse, so, of course, I favored the left side.

This morning we had a leisurely breakfast, packed up our stuff, and headed back to Austin. Stopped along the way at Carl's Corner, just opened last week as Willie's Place (the shop and theatre) and I wanted to take pics of the dancing frogs, but my camera batteries were dead and wha-da-ya know... they're outa batteries! So, no frog pic for this blog. DARN!

We shoot outa there and stop again in Waco for Shayna to get some real Dr. Pe
pper at the Dr. Pepper museaum, where they DO have batteries and I buy a WWII metal sign for the back porch. Then over to Health Camp for a quick burger and back on the highway home. The highway home down by Temple is clogged like Jackie Gleason's arteries and we sit still in traffic for about an hour before we can get off 35 and shoot east a bit to hit Hwy 95 down to below the clogs. I get to El Milagro about half an hour late.

El Milagro: Rosie the Tech and I negotiate for me to come in at 11:30 tomorrow morning, since they're on the odd schedule again (TT on MW) so they can have New Year's Day off. So we figure I'll "take off 2 today and 2 tomorrow". I am poked, hooked up, and evaluated by Anne the Nurse and settled in to reading my second Alex Deleware book of the season; Bones. Why Kellerman wrote two novels this year is a question not worth investigating... perhaps it has to do with his kids being in college... or maybe he just has these new stories pouring outa him. No matter: Compulsion was better than the last few, I think... and Bones is starting out very readable also.

I read until I lay my chair back and that shifts my arm to an untenable position that rings the machine's bell. Jay the Boss Nurse comes over and says my arterial is flat. Omigod! A flat arterial... this means I have to lay out my arm and put down my book unless I want to sit up straight. Sit up straight? Lay out my arm? Lie back? It's all too complicated so I just close the book for now and turn on the TV for the ABC News. I watch the News, doze, wake up and read a little more, and doze and then watch part of Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch and remember Albert's portrait of the director. Lizzie shows up right as Rosie is unhooking me and they chat about the holidays as I finish out watching the movie and we head out into the night.

Notes: In at 78.8 and out at 76.
* Acid Reflux Connection.com, retrieved online from
** GERD, retrieved online from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastroesophageal_reflux_disease


308) Dallas Dialysis & Visiting Joan

December 27, 2008

Drive to Dallas:  Must mention the drive north from Austin... I fizzled out and had to stop at a newish Texas Rest Stop and let Lizzie drive... was feeling nauseous and dizzy.  She took over and I laid back my seat and tried to sleep.  I am from West Texas, where the men are men and the women sit shotgun.  So, you can imagine how badly I felt to let the little woman take the reins of the Sienna.  I can say I was feeling so lousy 
it was actually satisfying to give up the reins and let the little lady drive.  We pulled up for a late lunch on the 'circle' in Waco, at our regular pit stop; Health Camp.  After a simple hamburger with everything on it, and a few onion rings, I am starting to feel better so we head on out and I let Liz continue driving so I can snap pics and "rest".

Dallas East-UTSHS:  My chair is  ready at 3 and here we are 
driving thru De Soto in Saturday traffic and I have to call and tell Pete the Nurse I'm running late! Lizzie is driving and I'm taking pics to illustrate my blog.  Here is the traffic and here is the giraffe blowing a smoke ring marking the entrance to the Dallas Zoo.

We get to the center easily and I get hooked up by a talkative tech named Chaco.  Is Chaco the Talkative Tech Hispanic?  I ask by inquiring, "I know that Paco is short for Frank and Chico is small or little... what is Chaco?"  This question starts him going... "Chaco is from Jacob in the Aramaic and there is a long history of early Christians coming to India and naming their children in the tradition of naming after early characters in the biblical tradition.  ...Chaco is like Jacob and my family is from southern India."  "Huh?" I respond.  So, we have a nice conversation about kids in college and now out, Austin versus Dallas, students at UT Austin from India, Chaco's wanting to be a lawyer early on but by strange twists of fate he is now in the medical field... as a tech.  Finally, I say... "I want to read my book now..." and he meanders away to talk to another patient.  There are only about three or four patients here today.  Lots of empty chairs.  

Pete the Nurse comes over about a half hour later to do my nursing eval, have me sign the permission to die without suing forms, and to say "HI".  Pete remembers me from last year... not much has changed here he reports.  I could get into a conversation about how empty they seem but decide to just take off the "cub reporter for blogs" cap and wear the "I'm just a weary traveler reading my mystery novel" cap.  I read on.  Alex and Milo are getting closer to figuring out the back story behind Kat Shonsky's murder.*  I read for awhile and then doze off and then wake up and read... and doze... and wake up and turn on the swiveling TV's they have here and watch a fuzzy version of Charade** which just started at 7 so I can see the whole thing if I want... do I want?  I've seen this movie so many times I know basically every line of every character... but the characters ~~ James Coburn as "Tex" and Walter Matthau as Hamilton Bartholomew always draw me in and they will again today.  I decide to keep it on while I read my book.... and, of course, eventually just watch the charade unfold.

Soon Lizzie shows up to get me, looking wintry in her black, wool coat and colorful scarf... she is a nice sight walking across the shiny linoleum floor... kinda soft in a scene of hard light metal.  I sigh and am ready to be done with this Dallas Dialysis.  I introduce Chaco to Liz while holding my poke holes and she puts up my stuff in my now shabby DaVita bag.  As we leave and I weigh out I maintain my tradition of being the last to leave, apologize to the staff who slough it off and cheerily bid farewell to Pete; and they heard me exclaim as we walked out of sight, Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night.

We zip on down Buckner to Northwest Hwy, take a left and curve around north Dallas all the way to our right on Preston and the final left on Orchid... we're home... where Lizzie has a nice warm plate of veal marsala from Penne Pomodoro... ah yes... this food is to die for... or, at least it is mucho delicioso right now after having your toxins taken out.  Their sauce of dark brown thick mushroomy heaven is a taste treat on the thinly sliced veal that almost melts in your mouth.  What can I say?  A day well ended.

Notes:  In at 78.6 and out at 75 even.
*Kellerman, J. (2008) Compulsion. Ballantine Books, New York.
** Charade online at Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charade


307) Home for the Holidays

December 24, 2008

Home: We are settling into being "home for the holidays" and it is so nice to just get up in the morning and DO NOTHING, so to speak. Of course we are always doing something... it's just nothing of real consequence... or, I guess I mean, nothing that produces income or sustenance. So, we are just spending time, money, and energy without replacing it with any product... for a change. Its called VACATION... but a variety that doesn't take you out to the Himalayas or to Florida or wherever. I am writing my Holiday cards and mailing them out, updating this blog, and thinking about holidays past with friends relations, etc. Shayna is sleeping. And Liz: shopping in the commercial world out there somewhere.

Last night I took Lizzie to Eddie V's for her birthday dinner. It was fabulous: we started with half a dozen blue-point oysters with a horseradish that Tennille the Waitress said was "atomic". Pfffft. Well, I mixed some up with the red sauce and took a little and it cleared up my sinuses and masked the oyster so well we had to start over with new red sauce and about 1/3 as much horsey sauce. We split a grilled swordfish topped with Jonah crab, avocado, red chile-cilantro and bits of anchovie, with a side of asparagus and hollandaise and Lizzie, of course, deserted with chocolate moose while we sipped coffee and listened to the jazz of the Mark Goodwin Trio... playing jazzy Christmas stuff, including Vince Guaraldi's piano pieces from Charlie Brown's Christmas. It was a great time and afterwards we walked back to the car in the impending fog.

El Milagro: I get here exactly at 10:30 am, like Jo the Nurse had reminded my twice in the last few days... and... of course... they're running about 40 minutes late. So, I take off and go by the LifeWorks' Shelter to see if they want my old X-mas lights. Jeff the Poet says "maybe" and calls Duncan to see... leaves a message about it. I hang out for a few minutes and then head back to El Milagro, where my chair is almost ready and I ready myself for my chair while Carmen the Tech from the morning shift readies the machine. The place is hopping with everyone trying to get in and outa here in a timely fashion owing to the X-mas Eve holiday bearing down upon us. I am happy to help!

Even tho they have KVET or some such radio station on with country Christmas music, I like John Aielle on KUT so I hook up my earphones and radio and listen away as John describes some new thing on his blog and then plays John McCutcheons'
Christmas in the Trenches*. A little later I here the Cedar Report... low levels pokin out now... and then I settle in to reading my new Kellerman book from Johnny for Hanukkah.

Later still I snooze and wake up and read and listen to the radio and snooze a bit more. Once when I wake up Rosie the Tech and Debbie the Tech are standing in front of me updating my data and talking and I open my eyes and say, Where's the Tamales?. They laugh and point down to the end of the room where Patient John has brought some dozens to sell. I buy a dozen for 8 bucks and stick 'em in my bag... still warm from his insulated bag. Wait til Liz sees these. Rosie claims they're really good and later she brings me half to taste. They are good and now I have taken care of one more errand while sitting in my chair! You just hafta open your eyes and ask whomever is in front of you...

I finish up being cleansed at about 4 pm and zip outa there... back to the house to get the lights for the shelter and help Lizzie make holiday cookies. What a day.

Notes: In at 77.6 and out at 75.5

by John McCutcheon

My name is Francis Tolliver, I come from Liverpool.
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.
To Belgium and to Flanders, to Germany to here
I fought for King and country I love dear.
'Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung,
The frozen fields of France were still, no Christmas song was sung
Our families back in England were toasting us that day
Their brave and glorious lads so far away.

I was lying with my messmate on the cold and rocky ground
When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound
Says I, "Now listen up, me boys!" each soldier strained to hear
As one young German voice sang out so clear.
"He's singing bloody well, you know!" my partner says to me
Soon, one by one, each German voice joined in harmony
The cannons rested silent, the gas clouds rolled no more
As Christmas brought us respite from the war
As soon as they were finished and a reverent pause was spent
"God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" struck up some lads from Kent
The next they sang was "Stille Nacht." "Tis 'Silent Night'," says I
And in two tongues one song filled up that sky
"There's someone coming toward us!" the front line sentry cried
All sights were fixed on one long figure trudging from their side
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shown on that plain so bright
As he, bravely, strode unarmed into the night
Soon one by one on either side walked into No Man's Land
With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand
We shared some secret brandy and we wished each other well
And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell
We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home
These sons and fathers far away from families of their own
Young Sanders played his squeezebox and they had a violin
This curious and unlikely band of men

Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
With sad farewells we each prepared to settle back to war
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wonderous night
"Whose family have I fixed within my sights?"
'Twas Christmas in the trenches where the frost, so bitter hung
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung
For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war
Had been crumbled and were gone forevermore

My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War I, I've learned its lessons well
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame
And on each end of the rifle we're the same

© 1984 John McCutcheon - All rights reserved

306) Holiday Cookies

December 21, 2008

El Milagro: Arrive here today to find the holiday cookies that Liz and I were discussing this morning: discussing in the way of mentioning that we haven't made any yet. And, we haven't put up most of the Hanukkah decorations yet. And, we haven't finished shopping for the family gifts that satisfy the kids' goal of the season. And so on.

We haven't made our cookies yet but someone here has and I gobble up a few
of the little ones that are similar to Russian Tea Cookies. Yum. Then I take a few sugar cookies with red sparkles on top into the treatment room with me. Amanda the Great Tech pokes me today and we discuss some peoples' squeamishness about the sight of blood while she does her usual excellent job of sticking.

Dr. Venkatesh and Jo the Nurse drop by for the doc's Holiday Drive By and they want to know all about the first night of Hanukkah last night. "Do you get one gift each for all eight nights?" I explain that a lot of Jewish folks pick one of the eight nights and use it like Christmas and then on the other nights they light the Menorah, say prayers, and maybe the kids get some small gifty out of a grab-bag. Even though our home celebration was last night, since we are so disorganized this year, the event has to extend thru the next nights just as a matter of practicality. Jo reminds me that she loves latkes and seems to miss her old Jewish boyfriend (by that dreamy look in her eyes every time she mentions him). Dr Venkatesh is concerned about m
y highest ever Phosphorous score (10) and I assure her that I think it is a lab error cause I can't figure out how I coulda done that bad on my eating habits. The Doc also reports that my blood clearance, potassium (4.9=low), and URR are perfect... and my protein stores are a bit low.

Sherri the Social Worker visits to deliver a map to the Dallas Dialysis place I'll be at next Saturday. I tell her I haven't yet called the Medicare people to back date my application and still need to do that to get rid of that ugly $900 bill that causes me to shiver every time I think of it.

I hear on NPR that a judge in Midland is now putting ankle bracelets on juvenile truants. Wow! Causes school attendance to improve by 50%... but is it legal (ACLU asks)?

News Flash: We have our 2008 Holiday Picture ready to go out... thanks to all the kids being able to meet us at the same time and place... and the work of Kim's David in clicking the pics. It was so DAMN cold out there we didn't spend too much time with "takes"... the slight blur is the blur of the holidays around here.

Notes: In at 78.3 kgs and out at 75 kgs even.


305) Two Posts Together

December 18, 2008

El Milagro:
I'm almost half an hour late today; having had to get my noze zapped by Dr. Leary (for my HHT). He did his usual quick zap and all is better for the holidays. Jo the Nurse wants to set up next week's schedule cause they're closed for X-mas. Sherry Social Worker and I discuss trying to change my Medicare application to save the money I now owe El Milagro and figuring out if I'm gonna stay in Dallas for another treatment after the first one. So, between Liz the Wife, Jo, Rosie the Tech, and Jay the Boss Nurse we work it all out and I get an early time on X-mas Eve. Rosie stays to poke me and hook me up. By the time we're done it's time for ABC News.

December 16, 2008

El Milagro: Returning today is almost like retreating to my sanctuary after escaping from the Halls of DePelchin where a great meeting of the survivors of IKE sought to add understanding to havoc and create plans for the next catastrophe. I left the meeting early in Houston early, running out to my rented Corolla and charging into the west thru plains and forests to hide in this sanctuary called El Milagro: holing up from the anxiety created there in this place miles away from that hall and it's despair.

My haven here in this place called El Milagro is the harbour where I can dock from the storm and have no worries or tensions... a place to sail back to after my forays into the world and a cathedral of blood cleansing...

So, here is the deal. Since my last dialysis my life has been like a medieval battle against a unseen foe. All of my armaments for winning the battle have been like unproven tools improperly forged for the test ahead. "Medieval" because thats how it feels to prepare for an important summit when the whole modern network of computer to printer to internet system falls apart technologically during the last hour of preparation. These office networks are like the alchemy of the day: only the guy from the consultant group knows where to tweek it effectively, and is he available on a Sunday? HA!

So I am left to cut and paste together all my materials for two trainings and one summit! ARGHHHHH! I got so mad at this mess that I finally resorted to calling my boss, Kim, and yelled epithets at her to let off steam.

After a day of training topped off with a visit to my current favorite Houston eatery (El Pueblito on Richmond) I retreated to my La Quinta to rest and got up early this morning to re-plan the summit down from a 75 person meeting to a 30 person meeting. Then, one of my facilitators was an hour late due to Houston traffic and the meeting began more like a processing session for people still in the throws of crisis from the hurricane. And, knowing I had to leave the summit early to get back here in time for dialysis... just made the day an anxious stressful day.

Now to lay back and rest.


304) Of Loss & Holiday Lights

December 13, 2008

El Milagro: Today I planned for the new strategy of spending more time at home doing chores and going in late for dialysis... and so it was after noon when I called in to see about a chair. So, Rita the Nurse says they have a chair at 3 or 3:30 and I try to get her to be more specific and she says "Yes. Between 3 and 3:30" Then I have a brief moment of cheer before Lizzie reminds me that now I'll miss Shayna's end-of-season soccer party. Shoot! One more piece of evidence against dialysis being a fun thing to add to one's schedule.

So here I am, sitting here at 3:30, getting stuck and evaluated by Rita the Nurse, listening to Folkways'
Christmas tunes on my radio earphones, and going over in my brain of brains the morning's activities. Shayna and I put up the new blue LED C9 outdoor lights that Uncle Larry convinced me to evolve to (since our old regular C9 lights use 6 times the amount of electricity per hour!) So now we have these new lights replacing lights I've been using for more years than I can remember. So Shayna was excited to climb the ladder and hook the new lights to the old hooks over the porch and up over the garage doors.
And I was happy to get that chore done.

On the way to El Milagro I stopped by Walgreens to get some hard candy. My habit is to have hard candy available during dialysis. Walgreens again has my favorite hard candy: Christmas candies that come in a Quaker Oats kind of round box available only throughout the holiday season. These are made in Juarez and sold out of a company called Blueberry Hill Foods in my home town. I buy two cylinders today and will probably buy many more before they dissappear again from the shelves.

After Rita sticks me and leaves, Mary the Nurse comes over to check the settup and calls Carrie the Tech over to ask who set me up... I say "Rita" and they frown and Carrie takes off to get my potassium bath, which Rita forgot to hook up. Carrie hooks me up with my potassium bath and I kid her about 'giving my my bath' and we are all happy as clams. I grade one of my classes group projects and settle back to watch some tube... not much interested in the opening of the college basketball season... or leftover football... and settle on the end of a gory movie; Hannibal; and the beginning of one of my favorite movies: Fargo. It's like Saturday at the matinee today. I lay back and enjoy the break from my recently hectic out-of-town schedule (which continues next week for a final blast before my vacation). The place is kinda empty it seems today... the regulars, like George the New Heart Guy, The Mercedes Fat Lady (I'm sorry... she really is fat), and others.

Somewhere in the middle of the movies, Rosie the Tech comes over, pulls up a rolling stool, and leans on my shelf seriously... I can tell she is ready to say something important... so I pull out my earphones and lean towards her too. She hands me a sympathy card with Rosa Acosta's picture on it... "Rosa passed on Thursday..." I read the card and reply, "Oh... she was the longest one here... I remember interviewing her for the newsletter last year..." Rosie: "She died here..." Me: "That's too bad... she was one of the long-timers..." Rosie: "Yeah. We lost three in the last week" and she goes on to tell me about the others, whom I didn't know. Rosie has this expression of sadness and questioning, as if she wants me to say something.... she sits there expectantly and I sit there thinking "do I have a blank look on my face?..." hoping I don't look smirky. I finally say something like, "Well... we all must pass on at sometime... at least she lived a good life, based on what she told me." Back when I interviewed her, she had said, "I am here because of my daughter. She is here for me and I am here for her. (I) try to live (my) life no matter how bad it gets. If you got kids, do it for them." Rosie and I sit there a moment, not saying anything, and then she rolls on back out of our scene and she goes back to work.

I watch my movies. So it goes on a Saturday at El Milagro.

Notes: In at 76.5 and out at 75.


303) The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

December 9, 2008

El Milagro: I arrive amidst the beginnings of sleet... yes, sleet in Austin! I am here and welcomed by the angelic face of Amanda the Great. Yes, she has become Amanda the Great. She is the perfectly lovely tech that makes an old geezer like me happy to come to dialysis. It kinda makes me think of the old Red Skelton skits with the bossomy nurses... or, the Lil' Abner cartoons with same... except she isn't really bossomy and there's really none of that Groucho Marx eye-brow raising lustiness of those characters. She is just happy, skilled, sweet, and a real pleasure to have stick you with a horse needle. So, we chat about kids and soccer and school coming to a close: she asks how long it takes me to grade a paper and I guestimate an hour to an hour and a half... why? She turned in a paper and hasn't gotten it back yet and wonders how long it'll take til she gets it back... and we discuss how many variables are involved in getting papers graded and turned back to students.

Mary the Nurse stops by to do my nursing evaluation and Sherri the Social Worker comes by to say that she thinks the $900 bill I got from Da Vita is probably a mistake... just something to get patients to sit up straight and take notice. I say I hope so too... but if it isn't; I've already got my payment plan worked into my budget: $10 bucks a month! I gave that bill to her along with my Medicare Application, which we have to get processed before too long... I am reaching the CAP on my insurance and will have to be Medicare Covered in the new year. This is not good news. So far, my dialysis has cost virtually nothing up until this year, when we finally had a somewhat expensive deductable. But under Medicare it'll cost money every month. Now is that I good deal or what? I'm sure there'll be much more on this subject... which I am gonna hafta learn about now.

I try to settle in to reading a book I found in my garage that I had been looking for off and on for about 10 years... and just couldn't sit still enough to concentrate on it. So, I watched some bad TV and drifted around in my thoughts; mostly about everything I've got to complete before I start my annual holiday vacation on the 18th.

I actually got so busy that I overscheduled myself for next week, finding I'll be in Houston all day on Tuesday. DUH. How could I forget I had dialysis that day? Was it a Jungian Slip? So, I had to tell Jay the Head Boss Nurse that I need dialysis on Wednesday next week cause I goofed up. He seems okay with it.

Before I know it my time is up and Rosie the Tech unhooks me and I am outa there thru the sleety streets shining with the city lights. Onward thru the fog.

Notes: In at 79.5 and out at 76.0


302) Of Pontiacs & Parallel Universes

December 1, 2008

El Milagro:
I am about 15 minutes late and Aisha the Tech, from Waterloo Dialysis, checks my BP and gets my weight (79.1)... and does some of the setup... asking if I can "take off 4.6". HA! I share with her that I can't take off more than 3 without cramping. Meanwhile I am talking to Sherry the Social Worker who is inquiring about my completing my Medicare application and I am asking her about arranging for dialysis in Dallas for 12/27 and rescheduling my 12/16 session for 12/17 because of a Houston training I'm scheduled for. She says she'll take care of all of it and I promise to bring the application on Thursday.

Rosie the Tech somehow takes over from Aisha as I am yakking with Sherry and she and Jo the Nurse are asking me about Turkey-Day and share about theirs too. I am hooked up and evaluated (by Celeste the Nurse) and Mary the DaVita Pill Lady comes by and asks about my switching to their meds system and I am wishy washy cause I don't really know anything about our settup with Liz's flex acct. etc... and when she hears me say the secret word (MedCo) she drops the whole thing "cause MedCo prefers to work directly with patients" Its like Grand Central Station around here today!

Next: Jordy the Dietician pops up in her spritely way and happily reports that my phosphorous is good! What? I ask. "I don't know what you did, but your phosphorous from last labs is down to 5.2! Do you know what you did? Hell, I can't remember what I did
this morning, much less back before the turkey business. These labs were from November 25... and Jordy is delighted and so am I. I assure her I'll keep doing whatever I am doing.

Finally things slow down and I am able to listen to NPR ATC and jot these notes out. Radio news and then on to ABC News and then on to Jim Lehrer's News Hour. All of these news sources are centering on the automakers coming back to Washington and trying to show by their
use of public transportation that they deserve a bailout. I don't know about the whole thing. Seems the bailout government is so different than what we're used to... I guess bailouts of big business is more what we're like than the bailout of individual people who have been slipshod with their affairs. But, of course I hate to see Pontiac bite the dust. Oldsmobile is gone and Pontiac is probably next. I have this image of the classic '52 Chieftan driving into my mind as I listen to the bad news for GM. And that memory leads to memories of the pride I, myself felt, after buying Dick's old '52 Olds convertable and driving it from Ft. Worth down to Austin... breaking down in Alvarado... and finding an old mechanic who fixed it for free just to "look her over" on a Friday after 6. What an adventure having that car was. I drift off for a nap of lead sled memories.

And then I wake up and begin to watch the History channel's Universe show on string theory and the idea that there are many more varieties of ME throughout the universe. WOW. From the review:

Some of the world's leading physicists believe they have found startling new evidence showing the existence of universes other than our own. One possibility is that the universe is so vast that an exact replica of our Solar System, our planet and ourselves exists many times over. These Doppelganger Universes exist within our own Universe; in what scientist now call "The Multiverse." Today, trailblazing experiments by state of the art particle colliders are looking for evidence of higher dimensions and Parallel Universes. If proof is found, it will change our lives, our minds, our planet, our science and our universe.

Now that is worth thinking about as the day draws to a close and the dialysis machine hums along removing my toxins.

Notes: In at 79.1 and out at 76.4 kgs.


301) Processed Turkey & T-day Celebrations

November 29, 2008

El Milagro:
Saturday after T-day holiday and I'm back on my regular Saturday schedule, up to 79 kgs, or 173.8 pounds --- proving that I did like all that food. The thing about food these days however, is that I regularly get naucious and upset stomach feeling if I eat too much. I don't throw up... but I do usually have to lie down and stay very still, while thinking things like, "Why did I eat the whole thing?" And, the difficult part is that the 'whole thing' is much less quantity than it used to be BKD.

Cari the Tech called last night and asked if I want to come in at 6 this morning or at 10:30. HUM? I say... 10:30. Then an hour or so later Rosie the Tech calls and says, "not 10:30 but 11:30: the starters of the second shift are at 10:30 and if we slip you in at the beginning of their shift they'll complain..." I agree: "I don't want to ruffle those starters' feathers..." I'll come in at the end of their seatings.

So here I a
m at 11:30, seated and poked by Dee the Tech... while Lizzie, Shayna and the cousins are geocaching with Larry. I woulda loved going too, but this time the schedule just didn't work out. Instead, here I am with all my dialy-friends, laying here in phlebotomizing repose... watching our TV's, sleeping, or just laying there looking around... taking in the sights of dialyland. I notice there are a few Thanksgiving visitors here today.

Processing Thanksgiving: Today is my quiet opportunity to review the holiday and ponder the meaning of the holiday with my family and to watch MythBusters as a break from my extemporaneous diatribe. These days I find that I no longer really care as much about my slips of the tongue, my rantings and ravings, or my sometimes careless and brainless mis-speaks. I am 61 and feeling a bit cantankerous and obstinate. I am slipping into drivel... extemporaneously speaking...

Okay. So, anyway...the Thanksgiving holiday has historically been, for me, that time of the year when I not only look at what I have to be thankful for, but also it seems to be a time when I recognize my misgivings and gripes (kinda like a secular Yom Kippur) bubbling to the surface and many years I have found myself in a corner of my house purging myself in stream of consciousness journaling... which does seem to help me get centered.

Okay. So, anyway... MythBusters has the team driving around on ice backwards to see if front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive gets more traction in reverse (a myth busted). We had our traditional Thanksgiving Day Celebration at Larry's house amid Dallas Cowboys and as a special treat after dinner, UT smearing A&M! All three of the kids came with us this year and that was grand... even with John & Katie mugging for all their photos. The food was simply delicious and I even ate Liz's baked curried sweet potatoes! We brought my own leached red potatoes so I could enjoy the giblet gravy and mostly I was able to eat a little of everything. The kids were upstairs wreaking havoc on Arron's room while we adults chatted, puzzle-worked (not me, of course), and visited downstairs. I got to cut the giblets, which made me feel like I did something constructive. It was a heartwarming dinner and gave me the wonderful sense of "family" I cherish. And desert was famous: David decided he loves pumpkin pie! With all the food stuffing my tummy, I started to feel like laying down, so we came home before the UT game was over (but satisfied that A&M was dust).

On Friday the traditions continued with Liz and her mom going shopping for lox, bagels and all the fixin's for our Nowicki Friday Family
Brunch... where my dad and my Aunt Irene (from Tucson) drive up from San Antonio for a festive visit that is our fall family get-together every year. We were all busy straightening up the house in the morning; Johnny getting his room together, Katie and Shayna helping set tables and pick up the downstairs... and Katie claiming "I'm starving... when are they gonna get here?" and actually they were later than their usual 30 minute early arrival. We finally saw my dad walking slowly up the driveway with a bunch of flowers for Lizzie, in his Stetson and with his sister following him with a box of Russell Stover's. There arrival was marked by the hugs, busses, and handshakes of relatives long apart, smiles all around, and Grandpa John's traditional giving of his homemade Pomegranate jelly to Shayna, who rushes off to hide it for consumption later and Grandma Joan, who is gracious in her thank yous. And of course, Katie wants to know, "Where's mine?" and grandpa assures her she'll get hers tomorrow.

Everyone sits around expecta
ntly until the food is on the table and we all sit down to gorge ourselves on the delicacies before us: lox, herring in sour cream, sliced roast beef, fresh bagels, cucumber salad, fancy herb bree, tinturn from Wales, and fresh strawberries, pineapple, and grapes and pies for desert: Liz's perfect blueberry pie (discovery of the day: Johnny doesn't like blueberry pie!) and Jen's apple-cranberry pie...Then, of course, its time for the family pictures... Joan and Liz; Irene and kids, the Three Johns, etc. Although Liz and Joan both said this was the best brunch ever, I still have anxiety and unease at these things. I am always hpyer-aware of myself evaluating every little thing Irene and my dad do and say: feeling sensitive and distant (my cancer crab hiding in it's shell, so-to-speak). At one point Katie asked my dad, "Was dad weird as a kid?" and my dad perked up quickly from his plate to affirm that: "Oh yeah. He was weird alright!" and I just couldn't get the humor of it, if there was humor there. There probably was and yet I was in my grouchiness and couldn't find it. I generally felt like I was hovering around the sidelines trying to fit in but also aware that the visit was really for the old folks to see the young folks and for the Austin Nowicki's to entertain the last generation as best we could. Clearly Liz is more objective than I in evaluating these celebrations.

At the end of it all, the old folks headed out amidst a darkening rain sky and Liz and Joan went shopping and Katie went to
her mom's and I relaxed and watched John and Shayna zip back and forth with John on his skateboard hitching a ride behind his little sister. All is well and I am thankful ...for all the blessings already are!

Back to the Present @ El Milagro: MythBusters is over, and my slipping into self-absorbing hallucinatory stream of consciousness is now flickering like an old 16 mm film snapping and crackling to a stop on an old Bell & Howell... I end by flipping over to Meg Ryan and Kevin Klein in French Kiss and finishing my time restfully until James the Nurse comes by and surprises me by telling my time is up. So it goes... and I remember as I step out into the drizzly night,

In at 79 and out at 75.4 kgs.


300) Postmodernism at El Milagro

November 26, 2008

El Milagro:
Jason the Tech sticks me painlessly and I settle in to reading a student's paper. Then he tells me that he has to wait for about 5 minutes to hook me to the machine cause they want the Heparin that he just shot me with to circulate completely and it does one circuatin a minute, about. "That's weird", I think. I ask "How long has that been a procedure?" and Jason replies that it has been a procedure for "awhile now" and I can tell that this is one of those things that Jason does but many of the "old timers" just skip. So, I continue to investigate. He says they are always supposed to let the Heparin circulate so they don't give it to you and then just suck it into the filtering system. He says that others "probably just forget cause there are so many things to remember to do in setting people up." And, the edicts from administration keep coming on down the pike... so this month it is one thing they are focusing on and then a month or so later it is something else.

I ponder that and wonder how such a supposedly "leading provider of dialysis services" can operate in such wishy washy ways... and then I wander off in my mind comparing the glitches I hear about DaVita to my dad's stories about the military, my memories about working for the state of Texas, and things I've heard from friends about places they work... and it all becomes clearer in my brain of brains! Bureaucracy breeds incompetency! The more administrations add on to the pile of rules, the more plain old folks ignore the rules. When caring people get overloaded with procedures and rules, they come to a point of overwhelm and then simply choose which procedures are important to them and then let the others go by the wayside. In the medical arena this can be seen in the number of medical staff who "forget" to wash their hands while working, even though that behavior is clearly connected to the spread of serious infections in hospitals. We blame individuals for these kinds of things and yet it seems to me that the overload of procedures causes well-minded folks to busily forget or slip by some important details... as Jason suggests.

We are in the postmodern world, where individuals follow their own rules (No, I don't mean chaos, I mean many truths with small "t"s) whereas in the modern world, people had to follow procedures more closely because they were the Truth (with a capitol "T"). My brain doesn't have the answer but I hallucinate that the Japanese group approach may increase people's sense of responsibility and pride for sticking to the little details. What, dear readers, do you think?

I shake my head off this train and focus more on the paper I have on my lap about SFBT and depression in adolescents. There are typos! I hate that. You would think that graduate students with advanced computers and programs like Word "X" would be able to produce a paper without typos and simple grammatical errors. It is a pet peeve of mine that I try to let the students in on when I say in the syllabus, "check for grammar". Catching these little edits takes away from my reading for content... so, I end up reading twice.

I review the paper, make some edits, and shake my frustration about grammar off and turn to the news. Then I nap for awhile and wake to watch the end of Jim Lehrer's News Hour and the coverage of the attacks in

I drift off again and wake again to watch the last half of Criminal Minds and the first part of Barbara Walters' interview with the Obamas and then it is time to unhook, weigh out, and walk out into the brisk night air and truck on home. So it goes in dialyland.

Notes: In at 76.7 and out at 75.5 kgs.


299) Dialysis & Documenting the Kick Kats Loss

November 24, 2008

El Milagro:
Rosie the Tech hooks me up to the machine and hits a nerve with the arterial needle. I get a jolt in my thumb and index finger that reminds me of those steel bars we used to grab in Juarez as kids for 25¢. You'd hold onto the bars attached to a car battary as long as you could while the Mexican operator grinned and turned up the juice... a slow surge of electricity that grew until your hands were trembling and you threw down the bars in excited pain. Anyway... this flashed thru my brain as I was climbing the back of my chair and Rosie is trying to hold me down and adjust the needle while I'm squirming... but not screaming cause I don't want to seem like a wimp in case Big Daddy Joseph is around. She finally finagles it to where the pain melts away and I only have tingling numbness in my thumb and about 3 fingers... not sure, since I can't feel em.

Kate the PA (actually a Nurse Practitioner, she explains) comes by todo the Dr's Drive By and she is even slower than Venkatesh... updates my Ropinirole script and talks about new breads for my diet now that ___ the dietician has discovered that my rye bread has whole wheat so I must forgo eating it anymore! Damn! I love rye bread. So, they console me and offer that I can eat sour dough bread (yuck) and I add 'botillo' rolls... which Rosie squinches at and can't figure out what I mean for a few minutes... deja vu... and then blurts out "Bollio... he means bollio... French bread!" and we all agree those wonderful hard crusted rolls are white bready enough to make my diet. I reluctantly agree that I'll change my habits and get rid of the rye. I complain that I've been eating my basic sliced turkey on rye with carrots and grapes to many years... and I think
of the complaints I used to get from Johnny and Katie over getting the same sandwich every day through elementary school.

So I settle into reading a paper I downloaded on the research on bereavement in prep for my Amarillo workshop on SFGT.

Later I catch the ABC News, and Jim Lehrer's News to get some better understanding on how and why the nation is going down the toilet. It is Monday so I am lost on what's on TV... never watch on Mondays I guess. We are here Monday cause of Turkey Day down the road on Thursday... and El Milagro's switching the days so the staff can have a Thanksgiving of their own. TTS people are MWT this week and MWF are STF (I guess).

I now lay back in my chair and watch whatever is on... without attending to it... b
egin to read a paper from the class but it is boring (sorry students) so I drift off in my mind to the events of the weekend... when the Kick Kats LOST a game in the tourney!*

It was in the game with the Starlettes, who we had beat Saturday... but because of Austin United's** disheveled tourney planning (which is always the case in the rec league) we ended up having to play them again and this time with a macho-type ref who only sees with blinders. If we wanted to gripe we could say that one of their scores was made by an off-side player and there were other gripes... alas... they did lose and the Starlettes did win, 3-2. In the last 10 minutes of the second half the girls pushed thru a score but the luck wasn't with them to score another one, even though they took about twenty shots during the final minutes of play. When the whistle blew... it was over and there was a silence of shock and dismay for seconds before a cheer rose up from the Starlette parents, who were also in shock about winning against us. I headed across the field to hug Shayna and the girls were all cryey and blubbery... Shay
na mumbling that they cheated and the ref didn't see the off-sides, etc. We took the kids back to the bench and as the parents drifted across the girls lined up to high five the winners.

Coach Charlie choked back his emotions as he addressed the kids and parents, stand
ing in shock and dismay in a huddle to the side of the field. The girls all had tears streaming down their faces as Charlie pushed out, "I've been memorizing this speech for over a year now... and it doesn't make it easier... it was bound to happen that we would lose a game... it is really a matter of luck and an inevitability that we would lose some time. I never thought it would go for two and a half seasons! That is incredible and you should all be really proud of that... all the other teams have been gunning for us for the whole season... you all have grown as a team and there is no reason to feel bad." As he was finishing up and the girls were dispersing I added that if they were angry they could take that to the next game at 3:30.

The girls did get their spirit back and beat the last team 4 to 1 and it was good to end the season on a win rather than on that loss to the Starlettes. They ended up third in the tourney and are given a invitation to the regionals. Now we have to plan for the district games in Boerne on December 7th!

Notes: In at 77.5 kgs and out at 74.7 kgs.
* Kick Kats online at http://kickkats.shutterfly.com/
**Austin United online at http://www.austinsoccer.org/


298) Soccer Tourney & Dialysis

November 22, 2008

Update: Since last posting on 11/15 I have had two dialysis sessions and here is what I remember about them:

11/18/08 ~ Drove in from Angleton (30 miles south of Houston) where I was doing a training on the "new STAR", leaving there at 12:15 and making it to Ellinger, where I stopped at Rick's for two delicious chopped beef sandwiches and a root beer, and then on to Enterprise by 3:30, turning in the car, and shooting over to dialysis by 4... and, of course, that is the day they were late so I sat out in the waiting room for 15 minutes
. My BP 90 something over 40 something was real low at the beginning of the session and the only thing I could figure was possibly that I had been meditating on the highway from Smithville to Bastrop. After a few minutes of sitting, my BP came up to an 'acceptable' number and Rosie the Tech poked me. The session was uneventful and I got out of there by 8:30, down below my new dry weight of 75.0 kgs... out at 74.6 kgs.

11/20/08 ~ Session after my class... where the Case Staffing group did a great consultation with the Math teacher related to one of her students! It was exactly what I wanted to see from this group before the end of the semester! Rosie the Tech hit me up and we briefly discussed high school students' behavior and Jo the Nurse chimed in ab
out her expectations of high school students... everyone has an opinion, don't they? I settled back as if after a delicious meal to relax, catch the news, and watch Survivor and Gray's Anatomy. Good day and out at my dry weight of 75 kgs (165 lbs).

Saturday Morning: Shayna is in her end-of-season soccer tournament today and we have already been to two games: against the Starlettes (1-0) and the Dynamite (5-0). Next we have the Comets at 1 pm. I call El Milagro and find out from Rita the Nurse that they don't know yet what time I can come in... they'll have Rosie call me when she comes in.

More to come....
Anne the Nurse calls and we set up for me to go in at 2 pm... right at the end of Shayna's next game, which starts at 1. Arranging for dialysis and soccer tourneys don't mix well. I could just tell Anne that I don't want to come in until 2:30, but I always feel fortunate that on Saturdays they usually call me first (I hallucinate) for the open chairs and so I
usually get my choice of times... and, I fear that if I am changing their offers too much, they'll just drop me as their first choice for open chairs. I may or may not be right about that... and it seems that I should mostly just accept their offers. So, I do.

My point is really that just arranging dialysis within anyone's Saturday schedule is annoying. I could have originally selected MWF as my dialysis days but I was afraid of threatening my work schedule... didn't want work to think that my dialysis was taking too much time for work... so, I selected TTS as my days, thinking that Saturdays would very seldom interfere with work, except for the once-a-year board retreat. So now my home schedule is interfered with on Saturdays. So it goes.

More to come....
El Milagro: I left the game with the comets with about 10 minutes left, and Kick Kats ahead 2-zip... Johnny yelling from the sidelines, cheering his sister on. That's a good th
ing cause we can see her play harder when he is watching... and basically she is playing very well today with lots more speed and energy than usual... and almost scored in the second half on a two foot shot that somehow missed.

A smiling Amanda the Tech is here to cannulate me today and I report on Shayna's games to her as she does her work. Ann the Nurse does my nursing eval. I watch the college football and begin grading my students' lit reviews. Read one and realize I didn't bring the others in their folder... instead I brought a folder of articles to read to prep for my SFG(rief)T training in Amarillo. So I review these for awhile until I get tired of it, and then turn my attention to the TV. I find Geena Davis' movie, A League of Their Own* and although I don't really care much for baseball, I love Geena and Madonna so this is good fare for a Saturday Dialysis Matin
ée and I enjoy watching it.

Now that I have added fedoras to my hat wardrobe, any movie set in the forties gives me an opportunity to check out the men's hats. I notice that the men are wearing broader
brims than my hat has... and I think that the narrower brims must've come in the fifties. Or, the costume designer just went for fedoras without concern for historical accuracy. I wonder which as I watch. I remember once taking my '52 Ford pickup truck downtown to see if I could get it into a movie being made in Austin, and they turned it down cause the wheels weren't accurate (fifties wheels being taller and narrower than the wheels I had on the truck). "Are these 3" brims accurate?" I ask myself. Speaking of hats, my order of my winter hat came yesterday and was too big! I must send it back and get a smaller one. Asi es la vida.

Notes: In at 77.6 and out at 74.7 kgs. Visit the Kick Kats site at http://kickkats.shutterfly.com/
* A League of the their Own retrieved online November 2008 from All Movie Guide at http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:28669
**Added a pic of John and Gabriella to the Halloween Pics, post # 294


297) The 2008 Conference on Solution-focused Practices

November 15, 2008

Preface: Since last Saturday I've been too busy to post: Solution-focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) Workshop for Austin School District's Social Workers on Monday; SFBT Crisis Intervention training and Cultural Competency TA for LifeWorks on Tuesday; co-facilitating the STAR Provider meeting and a facilitating a short workshop on SF Conversations with Youth at the PEI Statewide Conference on Wednesday; and ending up the week with participating on a panel discussion on EBP's and SFBT on Thursday and a presenting a short workshop on Crisis Intervention with SFBT on Friday! This is a much busier week (preparing for and delivering 7 things) than I usually plan for myself now that I am on dialysis... yet all these things just came together in the same week... and I basically had to do them all and do my best to make them useful to the participants.

Even though I had all these activities going on, I was absolutely thrilled to be able to attend
(and present at) at my first Conference on Solution-Focused Practices!* This is the 6th Edition of this conference and I was able to attend because it is in Austin and sponsored by the UT School of Social Work and produced by the SFBTA and Liz's office of Professional Development (making Lizzie a bit crazy for the last week). This year the conference had a real international flavor, bringing folks from England, the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Japan, and New Mexico! Let me tell you, I was really extremely nervous to be around all the folks who have written the books and carried on with Insoo and Steve's work and I must've worked over fifty times how I was gonna present my usual 6-hour Empowering Youth & Families in Crisis workshop** in 1 and half hours to this audience of high-powered, famous exemplars of SFBT!

Mostly I was worried in my head about presenting a defined theory of behavior as being connected to the a-theoretical, social constructionist paradigm we call the solution-focused process. I fretted that these
mighty epitomes of SFBT might argue against the idea that I am suggesting connecting this practice approach to a formalist psychological theory and they might actually refute my ideas as nonsensical and counterintuitive. Although this nagging thought had germinated early on and I had constructed my multi-framing of the material carefully, I became more concerned (like fixated) after sitting in Bob Bertolino's*** philosophically oriented workshop on SolutioNation: Next Generation of SFBT.

So, I review my copied materials, the way they are described in the program, and decide to (1) frame the theory part as "a sympathetic metaphor for externalizing the problem", and (2) present the material inside the frame (box) of describing how we teach [using a
(3) SF process] counselors in community-based youth and family STAR programs to utilize SFBT in working with clients in crisis. Since my participants usually have the belief that knowing more 'facts' about crisis helps them work with folks, we give them the Slaikeu theory and then dovetail it with SFBT. This frame leads to (4) sampling some of the exercises we use (ala adult education) and giving a brief overview of the important elements of crisis that lend themselves to SFBT: coping, re-establishing equilibrium, and listening to the client's story and their beliefs about how change happens.

Well, that is all fine and dandy, and within a few minutes in my workshop I realize that the participants, in describing their "challenges" in using SFBT with Crisis, are bringing up specific client situations, like "suicide", "homelessness", and such... indicating to me that they really want more of the type of presentation I do with counselors! So, here I am juggling telling the story of our educating practitioners, describing the link between crisis theory and SFBT practice, and teaching some about crisis, while sticking in the participant activity I wanted to do... and rushing through it all in 1.75 hours!

While processing it in the empty and hushed room afterwards I write: "too scattered, frenetic. One woman wanted to case staff a homeless suicidal person and I didn't want to go there. Reviewed important stuff about crisis - coping, restoring equilibrium, starting with what client wants, etc. Laura Judd was helpful playing Vanna. Was great having Millie (one of the original state monitors of the STAR program) there for historical anchor. I'm glad it is over... and now... I wonder where the bar is?"

Shayna and I head out to the fields for her early soccer game, while Liz heads up to the conference. Shayna's Kick Kats beat the Bobcats 2 to 1 in an interesting windfest... the winds are from the north at about 35 mph and bring a 40 degree chill across the field and we have the wind at our back! We can score from midfield... and of course, given nature's boost, the girls all try to dribble in to 5 feet to shoot. No score. Second half we score into the wind twice and the other cats actually use the wind to score one. Shayna plays best I've seen this season! We go for breakfast tacos and I take her home and zoom over to catch the second workshop at the conference.

Sit in on Joel Simon's**** workshop, When the Client Doesn't Follow the Script, and am knocked out by it! The information is good, his humor and facilitation okay, the videos fairly well produced. What is fabulous is the process he uses to bring everyone into the conversation and his non-threateningly directed activities that utilize modeling AND practice in a way that is PERFECT from my perspective! I write on my evaluation, and tell him personally that I intend to take this lock, stock, and barrel and use it in my trainings. He replies, "just give me the credit" and I promise to do so. For me, this is the highlight of the whole thing, workshop wise.

After this workshop there is an hour and a half break until the final plenary: Liz and I drift downstairs to the leather-couched computer/TV room to relax watch the Longhorns play Kansas on the largest TV I have ever seen (probably 50 feet wide, it seems). Millie from Seguin comes in so we spend time catching up with her.

The closing keynote, The Next Question, facilitated by Evan George and Chris Iveson***** is a continuation of their beginning keynote. In this continuation they start by having the whole conference audience split into pairs and share with each other what we have learned so far... then pick two others and share with them our sharings. I am sitting behind two women from the Austin Cancer Society (Kim and Sharon) and pick one of them. Stephen Langer*****, who was on the panel with me and Theresa on Thursday, is behind me so he come up a row to choose the other woman and complete our foursome.

Well... then Chris the Presenter calls my partner, Kim, up to be the "client" in this activity so we end up with a threesome, which works just fine. In this exercise, Chris interacts with Kim (the "client") and Evan instructs us to think up dialogic response questions to use next in Chris' conversation with Kim. Then we discuss our questions in our little group and hallucinate which directions the conversation might take if we ask our questions. Then Evan asks for a few of us to share our responses (like a reflecting team) and Chris selects one to carry on the conversation with Kim. This is another wonderful example of how to teach and consider SF questioning. It provides an opportunity to converse about various questions to use and to get others' views as well. Our threesome finds (in my view) that there is usually a two-person slant to our created questions; sometimes Stephen and Sharon agreeing, sometimes Sharon and me, etc. We find that we usually are thinking about cognitive (thought or meaning) or emotional (kinesthetic or feeling) slants in either a "jumping forward to solution" way or an "expanding the present" vein... it is very helpful to me to discuss these differences with our threesome. I always learn a lot in these kinds of activities and am happy as a lark when walking out for the break.

Unfortunately I have to go to dialysis right after the break... I finagle a copy of the Brits' book from Susan at the B
ook Woman stand and ask Chris and Evan to sign it and head out with a head full of ideas and thoughts and even some feelings(!). What a fabulous morning!

El Milagro: I arrive 15 minutes late after my agreed upon time (3 pm) because I just couldn't tear myself away from the conference before the 3 o'clock break. I am being directed to a chair by a smiling Amanda the Tech and I am smiling too, and she says something like, "you seem to be in a good mood..." to which I reply, "wonderful conference and Shayna winning her game this morning..." and describe the conference briefly [:)] while she sets up my machine, Connie the Nurse does my nursing eval and catches me up on the final UT-Kansas score (WE WON!), and James the Nurse takes my temp. I am set up, hooked up, and before I know it I am sitting back, thinking over my experiences of the last few days, reading my notes, and writing on this post.

I write in the stream of consciousness way of brain dumping --> very exciting conference! 1) Lots of ideas taking me back to the spirit of SFBT. 2) Lots of ideas about making my workshops more experiential and SF'd. 3) Lots of new people met, like
Sara, Laura, Stephen, Chris, Dvorah (discussed News of a Difference...Hans), Lance, Kim and Sharon, Jeff, and Monica. 4) Lots of old friends and acquaintances seen, like Millie, Susan, Peter, Frank, Yvonne, Keith, my students, Renee, and the folks from LifeWorks' residential services. Met Jeff Chang****** and describe briefly the idea I have for the chapter, writing about using spatial time line ideas with youth (with Leslie) and tell him we are getting together after the semester to begin work. Apprehension about my workshop and discussing it briefly with Lance Taylor******* and laugh to myself because now, a day later, it seems my brain knots about it were just my anxiety about considering myself a small fry jumping in the big pond with the big fish... yikes... that was scary! I get over my anxieties as I meet and converse with folks and receive some positive feedback from people in the workshop, including the woman who seemed to want the case staffing. We ate dinner together and she and her colleagues from Boulder were some fun... talking about visiting Allen Boots for boots and me telling them Cavender's is cheaper. Anyway, she also said that she did get some ideas out of my workshop and that she was just talking about a recent client she had that was homeless and suicidal and it was helpful to think about how he is coping in the present... in other words, what got him there to talk to her... so, that too made me feel better...

I am tired of writing and thinking... coming down from the rush-like hyper-kinetic energy I got from this conference... now I am hungry and tired and must see the sleepy-land spirits...

I wake up and watch Blade Runner, which wakes me up fairly well. Jason the Tech comes up to ask the name of this Harrison Ford movie and I tell him and he has never heard of it... ah youth's innocence! This is a great mindless way to end a perfect Saturday. I finish the movie, Amanda Ambrosia the Terrific Tech unhooks me and I move on into the chilly night with a quite low BP, which always makes me feel a bit dreamy and comfy on my drive home.
So it goes.

Notes: In at 76.9 and out at 74.6 kgs.
* 2008 Conference on Solution-Focused Practices, retrieved online from http://www.utexas.edu/ssw/ceu/sfbt/
*** Bob Bertolino
retrieved online 11/08 from http://www.bobbertolino.com/
Joel Simon retrieved online 11/08 from http://www.0to10.net/
*****Evan George & Chris Iveson retrieved online 11/08 from http://www.brieftherapy.org.uk/about_index.php
*****Stephen Langer
retrieved online 11/08 from
******Jeff Chang retrieved online 11/08 from http://www.paccc.ca/AGM/2008%20Workshop%20Speaker%20Jeff%20Change%20Biography.jsp

*******Lance Taylor retrieved online 11/08 from http://www.fittingsolutions.ca/