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Transplant Athlete
Monday, December 22, 2008
  Ghosts Of Christmas Past

ABL and I have been alternating holidays since we got married. One year Christmas is with her family the next year Xmas is with my family. Two years ago, I wrote about our fateful trip to New Jersey to visit my family which included diarrhea, vomit, and a dead cockatiel. RJ is sick again. He's been sick on and off for over a week. We got a brand new car this week and he threw up in it. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he didn't want to go to my parent's house...

Poor little guy.

 
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Saturday, December 20, 2008
  Zoom-Zoom

ABL and I bought a MAZDA5 last night. As I was driving home, I thought about all the features I'd write about it. I'd gush with pride as I'd describe the seating for 6 in a car about the same size as my cavalier, the cruise control, the silky smooth manual transmission. Instead, I'm going to tell you about my son gushing...with vomit...in my brand new car.

Really RJ, you couldn't give me any warning???? We were 2 miles from home and I heard a soft gurgling coming from the backseat. I asked if he was ok as I made a turn onto Hiddenbrook from Dranesville. In the middle of the turn, he spewed all over the back seat...The car had 40 miles on it. ABL wants to trade it in on a different car or skip the payments until it gets repossessed. jk

I had been looking at the Chevy Cobalt, but my best friend's parents bought one and they weren't happy with it. I had very low expectations for a car, so the Cobalt would have been fine, but ABL and I still would have been bumping up against the space limits in a small car like the Cobalt. We really should have bought a minivan back in 2003 when Q was born (instead of the Escape).

In these troubled economic times, I wanted to buy American, but the big3 make it so hard. For instance, here's what Edmunds had to say about the Grand Caravan during a long term evaluation: "We encountered a host of problems, from a finicky radio and passenger sliding door to constant creaks and rattles. Build quality was terrible -- the "+" marking on the shifter was wiped off by someone's finger, the tan leather quickly showed signs of discoloration and the rear bumper plastic warped to the point where we couldn't open the tailgate. This was all after only six months, and you'll find similar experiences in our consumer reviews of the Grand Caravan." Considering any vehicle ABL and I purchase will be around for over 10 years, it's obvious Dodge's minivan wouldn't work for us. GM doesn't even make a minivan, you've got your pick of a full size van (over $30k) or an SUV...Same deal with Ford, I'd have to spend over $25k for an 8 passenger full size van that get's such horrible gas mileage, Ford won't even post it on their website.

When I started looking at the MAZDA, they were still majority owned by Ford, so I felt like I was buying American. I know in this day and age, a lot of foreign brands build cars in the USA (a BMW I once co-owned was built in the US) and I shouldn't penalize those American workers just because they work for a foreign company.

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Friday, December 19, 2008
  New Glasses

I got my first new glasses (not counting sunglasses) in over a decade yesterday. My old glasses were in a real sorry state, they were missing one of the nosepads, they were quite painful when rough housing with the kids. The new ones are rimless and I only paid $129 for them. I bought them over the internet, based on reviews I found at this site.

There's a reason I hadn't bought new glasses in 11 years. Back when I moved into Herndon, I got my eyes checked and bought two pairs of eyeglasses. I spent somewhere between $600 and $1000. Since then, I've just been getting the lenses replaced in those frames to save money. With these internet sites offering glasses on the cheap, I can afford to buy more often and to upgrade what I buy. One of the reasons I spent so much 11 years ago was to get those super lightweight can't feel 'em on my face lenses. I got those this time around included in the $129 cost along with the anti-reflective coating for night driving and computer use.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008
  Arterial Angioplasty

I had a busy day yesterday. RJ had a recital at school, then my business partner and I met with our new accountant, I stopped in to see the NXSTAGE home hemodialysis unit, and then I stopped in to the Vascular Surgeon to have my fistula checked out. My appointment was at 2pm, but they didn't get me in to be checked until 4pm then with the anesthesia and all the work, I didn't get home until 6:30 to 7pm. I was reminded to get some accessory veins tied off by Dr. Lee.

Once again, the catheter removal has been pushed off into the future.

 
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008
  Huge Fluffy Bumpers

I took Q and RJ up to Liberty this past weekend. I dropped Q off at the ski school and took RJ tubing. This is for the rest of you parents out there interested in taking your kid tubing: Pebble Ridge is the little kid area (2 to 4 years old). It's pretty much like tubing in the back yard. You have to walk up a hill (in my case, pull RJ up the hill) and let them go. You can't tube with them. They've got snow walls to keep the kids on track and big fluffy bumpers at the bottom (although the attendant generally stops the kids before they get to the bumpers). The main tubing area looks like fun. There's a magic carpet lift (think airport moving walkway) and from what I saw, you can pick up a lot of speed. I figured it would have scared the bejezuses out of RJ, so we stayed at the kiddie area. The tubing area is around the corner from the ski area.

When we went to pick up Q, she had taken the Dipsy Quad up the mountain and she was carving wedge turns across the mountain. Her first ski session of the season and she looked awesome. I was very proud of her.

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Friday, December 12, 2008
  Home Hemo

I just started investigating the possibility of doing home hemo. Apparently, the training takes 3-5 weeks, roughly 5 hours per day. ABL is required to be there at least for part of the training to learn how to stick me and emergency procedures.

The home hemo unit looks pretty cool. It's small and portable. It's been designed for travel use (Team RAAM here I come). The main benefit of home hemo is that the increased frequency of treatments provide health benefits.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008
  One More Week

Doc says one more week and I can get the catheter out.

Since TG's neck is pretty strong at this point, I may try to take RJ to school in the trailer when I get this catheter out. Experts recommend that a child be at least a year old before they ride on a bike. TG is 9 months, but I think she's ready for it. That should take some of the pressure off the Cav.

 
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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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