Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving 2022

It has been an uncomfortable week for a couple of reasons, but unlike our usual Thanksgiving, we'll be staying home tomorrow.  I'll probably take the day off and be generally useless, and I encourage everyone to do the same.  

Uncomfortable reason #1.  We have two "senior" cats (in human years they'd be pushing 80) and it has been a trying year with both of them.  The first was our guy cat, Mojo or just plain Moe.  He had a problem on his annual physical with blood counts being "wrong."  Nothing that blood tests for lymphoma or other cancers could reveal but it culminated a few months ago with surgery for what I think would be called periodontal disease in humans; a large lump on his lower left jaw.  Since that surgery, he has behaved more like himself than he has since the medications started last March.  

Which leads us to the acute uncomfortable reason this week with our girl cat Aurora.  She had some abnormal kidney results in her annual blood tests last March and we were told to retest her in six months.  We've been going to doctors back and forth for the two cats for weeks.  Last weekend, she started displaying labored breathing and we got her into the doctor Monday morning, spending most of the day there. They drained a lot of fluid from around her lungs.  Two weeks before, she hadn't been eating and the current guess is the steroids that were helping her appetite caused the fluid around her lungs.  Since Monday, her breathing has gotten much more normal looking.  She's being a bit more active, still eating and generally acting more normally than she has in a while.    

Uncomfortable reason #2 is me.  I wrote about the bike accident Saturday, and yesterday (day +3) it threw me a curve.  I was up at 5AM to react to Mojo yanking my chain (during some part of his long year with lots of drug experiments, he learned to get me up somewhere between 3 and 5 for breakfast).  As usual, I went back to bed and slept a few hours.  When I woke, I was so dizzy and nauseated, I could hardly get out of bed.  From normal to that dizzy in a few hours.  After sitting up for a while, no coffee, no nothing, I called my doctor's office.  The tech said, get to the ER NOW and get a CT scan.

I spent Tuesday from around noon to 4PM in the emergency room of the nearest hospital.  The good news is there is no brain bleed, no clots, no skull fractures, nothing serious.  The ER doctor said something to effect that they diagnose "concussion" once all the bad stuff has been ruled out, so I have a concussion.  They call the dizziness plain old vertigo (which I've never had in my life).  I have an epic black eye, the worst I can remember in my life, but to me that's the only thing that makes it seem like I got hit on my head hard enough to concuss. 

I'm on a common anti-dizziness pill for vertigo, meclizine, which is an old antihistamine similar to the Dramamine that's a common over-the-counter pill for sea-sickness and both are sold for travelers' motion sickness.  The meclizine reduces the dizziness but doesn't eliminate it and I'll be having a followup with my GP.  The dizziness is most noticeable with fast movements, like standing or sitting too fast, even rolling over in bed.  I have a referral to an Ear Nose and Throat guy, since vertigo typically is an inner ear problem.  I'll call my allergist and see if he thinks it's worth coming in.   

But, hey, my shiner is starting to turn green around the edges, and since I haven't been exposed to Bruce Banner or his cousin Jennifer Walters, there's pretty much a zero chance turning green means I'm turning into a Hulk and that means the shiner is healing.  Otherwise, that would be Hulk, She-Hulk and Goober-Hulk, and that's even too much for the Marvel MCU or even Disney+.

Well, enough about me and the cats.  However you spend your Thanksgiving, I wish you the best.  Take some time to be deliberately thankful - even for the troubles of life.  Yeah, being grateful for troubles sounds odd, but it sure seems in retrospect that growth occurs in response to trouble, not in response to idyllic wonderfulness.  

Thanks to the EMTs, Nurses, Doctors, LEOs, Firefighters and others who work Thanksgiving so we can have the day off.  Thanks to the military men and women who keep the barbarians from the gates and give us the chance to relax.  For now, eat, drink, and be merry. Who knows what next year brings? 

My smoked turkey from last year.  If the dizziness doesn't go away by Friday morning, it will be cooked in the oven for the first time in years. 


  1. Concussions are weird. I've had two, one from slipping on a mossy deck and whacking my head, hard, and, yeah, should have gone to the ER for that one, but God loves fools and all that.

    The other one was after a day of hard fighting I decided to join a cabbage ball game (think rugby, with a cabbage, game is over when the cabbage is dead) and took some real serious side hits after giving some serious side hits. Home was 3 hours away, so after showering, cleaning up and hitting the road, I got to the intersection of I-10 and I-75 before I realized there were more than one or two layers of music on the CD I was listening to.

    Never had a rebound concussion like you have had. They suck. But they are survivable.

    Hope you have a great Thanksgiving no matter how you cook your turkey.

  2. I've already loaded up on food for the potluck; I'll be on-shift all night, and pretty much all weekend.
    Any time you whack your melon, you have a concussion.
    When you whack it hard enough to stir up the tiny stones in your inner ear that tell you up from down, you get vertigo too.
    It's called BPPV,the%20rotation%20of%20the%20head.

    Usually goes away in days to weeks.

    Best wishes to you and the critters, and a Happy Thanksgiving.

    Oh, and helmets are your friend, because they don't scream when you rip a 3-inch gash in them. Unlike with scalps.
    Just saying.

    1. Thanks for that info on BPPV it sounds exactly like what I'm experiencing. "Days to weeks" is a bit depressing, but nowhere near as much as what the article leads with, " In rare cases, the symptoms can last for years."

      FWIW, I haven't ridden without a helmet since elementary school, nearly 60 years ago. In the early '80s, when I started riding again for the first time since then, I got one of the early Bell helmets. My helmet has no visible dings or cracks, although the after effects have me thinking I should replace it anyway.

  3. Are you sure you do not want to launch your turkey to overtake Artemis 1? If you ever do deep-fry a turkey, make sure you do so outdoors in case the turkey is not sufficiently dry before immersing it in hot oil!

    Happy Thanksgiving, and many more!

  4. Hope all is better (for you and and the cats) soon. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. A Happy Thanksgiving to you, as well, SiG.
    Hope you feel better soon.

    Whitehall, NY

  6. Have a good Thanksgiving.
    I'm not a doc or a medic, but please try to be cautious for the next couple months - and keep in touch with your doc if anything, even slightly unusual,..
    sometimes being a hypochondriac PITA after an incident like this is not a bad thing

  7. Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you continue to recover. 21/2 years ago I fell on the ice and hit my head. I'm a klutz and thought nothing of it. A week or so later, I couldn't form a coherent sentence. I didn't realize what was happening, but ended up getting a craniotomy for a subdural hematoma. I'm a youngster at 63, but hitting my head is no joke anymore. If Mrs SIG senses something is not right, head for ER pronto

  8. Sorry about your cats being sick- that is hard to see.

    Have a good Thanksgiving and remember, no wing-suiting until you get better. All the doc's agree on this important point.

  9. hope you and the mrs have a quiet T-day. my better half and I went to Golden Corral early today and avoided the crowd & dirty dishes. plus we got home before the storms came in for our part of SE TX. probably get another round of walks in for my dog pack too. God bless

  10. Speedy recovery, SiG! Doesn't read as if there's any cognitive effects, but I recall a friend had some brain exercises to do when he bonked his noggin. Don't know whether that was intended to speed healing or prevent degeneration - maybe both. He was restricted from cycling (both varieties) for a while

  11. Look up benign positional vertigo. Some Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy people (not all) do a canalith repositioning procedure that can solve the problem. Not a plug for the Mayo. Just first search result.

    maj md

    1. Interesting idea. Do you happen to know if warm compresses or a heating pad to the ear helps?

      Looking at the BPPV link from Johns Hopkins that Aesop provided higher up in the comments, it talked about something I've noticed I have but haven't talked about (nystagmus) and reinforced some of the things I've seen. Looking up, down or turning my head to the right is likely to trigger it, while walking around the house without looking around is pretty benign. I had some troubles standing up, and sitting down, until I tried to just lock my head looking forward. If I look down before standing up, that's asking for it.

      When I hit the ground, I must have come down harder on my right side. My right knee hit the edge of the road - my only road rash is there - and something hit my right eye, knocking the lens out of my sunglasses. Now I have the worst black eye of my life on that side. My guess is it was my handlebars or shifter. I still see fine with my glasses, but the black eye is annoying.

    2. I have had this intermittently for many years. The bad days are a real challenge. Sometime the repositioning routine works and sometimes it doesn't.

      SiGraybeard, I hope you get to feeling better. We don't bounce nearly at well at our age as we used to.

      Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    3. I have had this intermittently for many years. The bad days are a real challenge.

      That's rough to hear and think of. I sure hope you get relief.

      Unfortunately, I have some things to do outside that absolutely have to be done. I was waiting for a part for my antenna repair which I don't have a date for, but is looking like next week. Probably. OK... maybe?

    4. SiG Take it easy and feel better. Hope you and Mrs Sig have a grand deep fried turkey.

  12. Hopefully the antenna repair does not involve a ladder? Please? Gravity is a shifty little beggar- hides out but never lets up for second.

  13. If symptoms persist insist on an MRI of the brain. There are TONS of things that don't show on a CT scan that will show on an MRI. And don't wait. Time is tissue.

  14. Sig, get better, Soon. We are all selfish and want you around for a loooooong time!
    Had to go to the walk-in (ambulatory) clinic for my lower right leg last Sunday because I could no longer stand the pain and the redness was working its way up my ankle - doc looked at it, told me to get in to the Emergency Room right away if it traveled up my leg any farther, and gave me Cephalexin for a week, 4x a day, for "cellulitis". Hard to say exactly what it was, since no ultrasound scan, xray, or CAT/MRI scan. Been sitting on my ass since then doing NOTHING because it hurts still but getting better, I hope. Dangit, I still have all the hydraulic lifters to change on my wife's Jeep before the engine is operational again. Like me, it has a lot of miles and needs lots of TLC. Thankfully, I have a garage that I can heat, though!

    Wishing everybody a Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble, gobble.

  15. I was out of town with no internet, so sorry for the late 'get well' wishes.

    Definitely keep an eye on any changes or additional symptoms.

    On a lighter note, how the heck did you get your turkey to come out that beautiful color? My turkey (smoked it this year) was covered in black soot from the smoker, and I pulled off all the skin before serving keep everyone from looking like a bad day at the emo/goth clothing store in the mall.

    Was it as simple as a piece of foil over the bird? This was my second time trying smoke, but the first was half a dozen years ago and I don't remember what I did or didn't do, but I don't remember it being black like this year.


    1. It has been long enough since I made that turkey (it's a year-old picture) that I'm low on details. It was smoked by indirect heating in my Weber kettle grill, and based on a recipe at Serious Eats website. Indirect heat can be done with steel baskets to hold the charcoal and hickory chunks or you can just pile them up along the perimeter of the kettle, and the turkey is kept where direct heat from the coals doesn't hit it. (Seriously, I have a couple of those baskets and just used them once or twice).