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Transplant Athlete
Thursday, September 27, 2007
  Little Miss Road Rash

I was pulling the kids home in the trailer yesterday and took a turn at about 20 miles per hour, exiting the apex I was brought to a crashing halt and I heard the sound of cloth scraping along the pavement. Seconds later Q was screaming in pain. The trailer had tipped over, RJ was on top of Q and they were both agitated. I righted the trailer and Q showed me her elbow and her knee, she was bleeding and she let me know it. I pulled the bike over to the shoulder and looked at the red patches. There were two quarter sized holes in the clear plastic window she had fallen onto and the tire casing on that side of the trailer had split wide open. I couldn't get her to stop crying, so I took off for home to get her cleaned up. She kept saying, "Promise me we'll never take the bike again daddy."

I got her cleaned up with a little hydrogen peroxide, oh boy did she hate that. It looks like it mostly just took off the top layer of skin, so she should heal quickly. Then because she had her pouty face on, I let her eat lunch in front of the TV. We have hundreds of miles on the trailer without an accident, so I think she'll get back in, but I'll have to replace the tire first.

 
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  Even Joshua Knew The Only Winning Move Is Not To Play

Anonymous said,"In all those miles had they come up with a plan on how to stop the war? Other than just pulling out (to what effect?), I haven't heard any of these "patriots" come up with a reasonable plan to follow...
Winning the war makes a lot of sense to me..."


There are a lot of issues wrapped up in Iraq. Did we go in on faked intelligence reports? Does our occupation have anything to do with our homeland security (Gen. Petraeus didn't have an answer until the White House called him)? Winning a war these days is not as easy as saying, "Send in the Marines." While I respect and support our troops, I don't think they can win and here's why:

  1. We have not learned from history. The British tried holding Iraq during WWII. I'm sure they thought they had "won" while they were exploiting its oil resources, but their occupation directly contributed to the rise of Saddam Hussein. Saddam's uncle/mentor was part of the regime that asked Nazi Germany for help against the British. We are most likely creating the next Fascist Saddam Hussein right now.
  2. What constitutes winning? Destroying all opposition? Imagine if some country invaded the US. You and I, and every other average citizen would take up arms to fight. Why do you expect Iraq to be different? Anybody invading the US would have to kill us all, as long as there was one American alive, he/she would be fighting for freedom, it's our way. The difference is we haven't been invaded in recent memory, we haven't kicked out invaders in recent memory, they have and that will embolden them.
  3. Why Iraq and not Darfur? Oil. If as some people think we are nearing the end of oil, then we need to hold Iraq's Oil.
  4. We are supplying guns and body armor to the insurgents. Why should our troops be killed by weapons we supply? Until we are smart enough to keep these weapons out of the hands of bad guys, we can't win. Iran is providing weapons and support to insurgents, unless we are ready to start WWIII, we'll never defeat Iran (a tactical strike will only lead to all out war). The money we send to that region to buy oil is supporting the insurgents and is used to teach children that we are their enemy, until we stop sending funds to that region, they will have all the money they need to keep fighting us.

The point that Vernon was trying to make with his transcontinental bicycle trip and his car-less lifestyle was that we can live on less. We don't need the oil to live happy lives. Think about winning the war this way. If Americans had alternatives to oil, and didn't need to import a drop of oil from the middle east, there would be no need to fight over the region. Iran couldn't continue its nuclear program because it wouldn't have the funds to do so. It couldn't support insurgents in Iraq because it wouldn't have the funds to do so. Cut-off the money (essentially cutting their supply lines) going to the region and you end most of the conflict and win the war.

Is it possible to end the flow of US dollars to the Middle East? I think so. There are technologies available today that can turn organic waste into oil (imagine sewage being turned into fuel instead of being "treated" and released into our streams). These processes are still in the small prototype phase only able to produce 500 barrels a day from a plant that cost around $40 million, but if we spent some of that 1/2 trillion dollars of Iraq war money on the process, I think we could up the output a bit. There have been advances in Lithium Ion Batteries, such that Electric cars like the Tesla can rival the performance of any sportscar and still get 200 miles per charge. Of course, an electric 5 passenger sedan with a range comparable to a gas powered vehicle would cost $100,000 or more, but again, if we spent some of that 1/2 trillion on development costs, I'm guessing we could bring the price down a bit.

I don't think this argument was as eloquent as I had hoped, but the point was that there are alternatives to fighting that can be more effective at winning.

 
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Friday, September 21, 2007
  Now If Only I Can Get ABL To Take 6 Months Off...

I dropped Q off at Preschool and then took RJ to his munchkateers class at the Community Center. I dislike the one hour classes, I don't try to make friends with the mommies, I keep to myself. I thought it was going to be a really crappy day, I had a little over an hour between the end of RJ's class and picking up Q at preschool. RJ and I rolled over to the Great Harvest Bread company for slices and I thought I hope my kids have great memories of me pulling them around town when they grow up.

After bread, I gave RJ the choice - playground or library. He chose the Library, so we rolled over there and ran into Michele, Vernon, Tala, Grace and Willow. They had left Portland, Oregon 6 months ago to bike here for the Encampment to Stop The War in DC, which culminates with a March On Washington on Sept 29. Grace and Willow are 2 year old twins, they sit in a trailer behind Vernon. Tala is 11 years old and rides a single bike, although she started the ride on a tag-along. Michele pulls a BOB trailer with gear. I think all the bikes were loaded with panniers. When I found out they had ridden 4500 miles I had to shake his hand.

He said they were pretty set for gear, the things he needed I didn't have, but I did go home and pick up some Gatorade powder, Hammer Bars, A couple new 700c tires, a tube, lube, and fresh handlebar tape.
His 38 tooth chainring was shot, one of the hubs on the kids trailer was shot, and both hubs squeaked when wet, he was also in need of tubes for the kids trailer, but I didn't have anything that could help them. He's been car-free for many years and he vowed to stay on a bike until our boys come home. I was in awe, crossing the country fully loaded is a serious accomplishment, doing it to end the war is even more amazing. I wish them safe travel.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007
  Sad Day In Mudville, Floyd Landis Has Struck Out

Sports Illustrated is reporting that Floyd lost his case 2 to 1. It seems like USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) or WADA (World) shouldn't get too cocky, the arbitrators found "areas of concern" with the lab in Chatenay-Malabry. Apparently, the lab can't do the easy tests as the results of the T-E ratio were thrown out, but the more complicated Carbon Isotope test performed later was upheld.

Stage Two takes Landis to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for his final shot, if he decides to continue.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007
  Flesh For Fantasy From Rebel Yell

I was flipping through the channels just now and saw Billy Idol snarling back at me. My friend Rich got me hooked on his music back in the day. Rich and I had some good times hanging out, so it is with deep regret that I inform him that I just found out Heather sold the Force Five.

Never fear though, there is a company making new Force Five's.

 
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Wednesday, September 12, 2007
  The Needle Was This Big...Part II

As part of the investigation into what's going on with my kidney, I went in for some blood work requested by my nephrologist. The Phlebotomist pulls out 10 count 'em 10 vials for me to fill. WOAH! She started to prepare and she was going to use the standard needle where every-time she slides a new vial in, the needle either goes deeper or yanks from side to side.
So, I was like, "could you use one of those things that has the little tube connecting to the needle?"
"A butterfly?"She asked.
"Yes."
 
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  UMCA Election Committee

After receiving the charter for the committee and participating in the first conference call, I was asked to sign a waiver not to sue attached to a Code of Conduct. I'm all for a Code of Conduct; however, it is only a tool to keep people from disagreeing with John Hughes. He is the one judging violations and implementing/enforcing penalties for violations. I hope you can see that he can essentially set a high standard for those he disagrees with while keeping the bar low for his own conduct and those of his cronies.

Then there's the Agreement Not To Sue...which essentially grants John Hughes and the Board free reign to do what they want without fear of litigation. Not that I would resort to litigation, but the threat of litigation is the only thing we have to keep them honest, when the elections and control of the Board are in the hands of John Hughes. John Hughes requires all new and renewing members to sign this form, now committee members and Board candidates must sign it. How many times must we sign this Damn thing? Ironically, John Marino is afraid John Hughes will sue him...How rich would that be, the guy who wants everyone to give him a free pass lawsuit wise, suing a member?

It's clear that John Hughes has usurped the power of the Board. I finally saw the letter that he created in Lee Mitchell's name. It was sent to me by someone who had requested that the UMCA not release their information, who according to the rules of the UMCA should not have gotten it. Proving once and for all that John Hughes gave out a different list (possibly electronic) to his candidates than the one that was sent to others who requested it. One last point about the mailing lists from the election scandal of '06. When he finally sent the paper copy to Mavis, the addresses were truncated. Is that insult to injury or what? Send the list out a week before the vote deadline, in paper form, with the addresses missing information.

    Here is what I'm laying at the feet of the Managing Director and his handpicked Board:
  • RAAM Purchase in violation of Constitution and bylaws. Interestingly, this issue has been pushed aside due to the 2006 election debacle.
  • Late election in violation of the rules
  • Manipulating the election through unethical tactics including editing candidate statements, the Lee Mitchell letter, and delaying and truncating the mailing list to hinder opposing mailings.
  • Silencing opposition by controlling, limiting, or censoring all avenues of communication related to the UMCA. While not against the rules, this is not the conduct I would expect of a healthy organization.
  • Allegedly, somewhere during all this controversy, the new handpicked board voted a $5000 bump in salary for the Managing Director. While not illegal, it is quite fishy.
  • Finally, I personally feel that the Managing director has failed to implement some important initiatives to grow the organization. For example, I have been nagging him for over a year to move membership renewals online instead of the paper based system currently in use. A competent manager would have had this implemented in a week, maybe a month depending on the capabilities of the webmaster. He keeps telling me it's coming. HAH, It's not even breathing hard!

So, since I wouldn't sign the waiver not to sue, I am off the committee and I'm in a holding pattern. John Marino and Michael Shermer (two of the founders of our sport and the UMCA) have weighed in on the subject and I'm going to see what they can achieve before I throw in the towel on the UMCA. I'm guessing if we don't see some reform, then I will most likely quit. I don't want my money supporting John Hughes.

 
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Wednesday, September 05, 2007
  The Needle Was This Big...

There's one tile in the Ultrasound ceiling painted to look like treetops. As the technician squirted hot gel all over my belly (not as sexy as it sounds), I thought about how my obsession with ultracycling began with my transplant. With my function declining, I'm wondering if my obsession is also subsiding.

I've been poked and prodded for over two decades now, I know the drill, and I can even watch as the needle enters the skin, but I wish I hadn't seen the needle they were going to be using for the actual biopsy. No exaggeration, this needle was about 6 inches long and had a thick handle about the same length. It's very intimidating. They use the Ultrasound to precisely place the needle to get just what they were looking for and to avoid complications. For those at home keeping score, this was biopsy number 4 for me, two biopsies of my native kidneys and two of my new kidney. Despite the local anesthetic, this time around was painful.

My roommate at the hospital, James, was bitten by a Copperhead in his backyard on Monday. He looked pretty good when he left, so I think the anti-venom did its job, definitely want to file that piece of info away. I had a rough recovery at the hospital, I got out of bed early and nearly passed out on my way to the bathroom. When the nurse dosed me with Lasix, I thought it looked like an excessive amount (are you going to put all that in?). The pain was much greater than I had expected, so they eventually gave me a percocet, which didn't do much, but I told them if they gave me two, I would be out for a long time and I had to drive myself home.

I have to say, that this time around, I was treated quickly and the quality of care was much higher than in 2005. Here is the post I wrote about the last one. I was out of the hospital around 4pm and again nearly passed out driving home. I had to pull over on the Toll road for about 15 minutes, then I made it to the CVS on Elden. Then home. It's been 34 hours and I still have pain around the incision and pain when urinating. The transplant coordinator says drink more fluids to flush out whatever is going on and call if more symptoms pop up.

 
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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity


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