“We Cling to Whatever Floats”

Actually It’s a Lot Sooner Than That

Let’s face it: 2017 was nobody’s favorite year, unless they’re billionaires or right-wing extremists. And it definitely wasn’t mine. In the month of December, not only did I break some ribs, but Friday I was admitted to UCLA Hospital for one of my rare recurrences of adrenal insufficiency.  If you want the full background of what happened to me in September 1966, click here. To summarize very briefly: Chromophobe adenoma (pituitary brain tumor, rarely malignant) leads to panhypopituitarism which results at intervals in an Addisonian Crisis, which is what I had on Friday. The cure, very simply, is to inject me with 100mg of Solu-Cortef. Otherwise, I just fade peacefully and lethargically into nonexistence.

Unfortunately my condition is rare enough to flummox most doctors. It took a whole day for them to come up with an endocrinologist. Fortunately, she knew her stuff; and I got well quickly. Most doctors know that my condition exists, but they know little or nothing about the symptoms and treatment.

So that, plus my retirement and Martine’s impending departure (some time in January), added to the continuing devastation wrought by the Trumpf Administration, has led me to regard 2017 as an evil year.

2017 was, indeed, a prime number, which school janitor Frazz in the above cartoon strip of the same name, got right. But his teacher friend, Miss Jane Plainwell, is wrong about the next prime year being 4034, which it can’t be because it is evenly divisible by two. The next ten prime number years are, in order: 2027, 2029, 2039, 2053, 2063, 2069, 2081, 2083, 2087, and 2089. As you can see, they come pretty fast and furious.

Are there any benefits to be derived from surviving through a year that is also a prime number? Nope. As Frazz observes, “We cling to whatever floats.”

I wish all of you a Happy New Year!

Addisonian Crisis

Something I Happen Not To Have Any More

Something I Happen Not To Have Any More

This morning, I did not want to get up. As I am usually an early riser, Martine was concerned that I stayed in bed past noon. I was feeling extremely lethargic. This is not the first time this has happened to me: It was an Addisonian Crisis, caused by adrenal insufficiency. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with my adrenal glands: It’s just that I no longer have a pituitary gland to send messages to the adrenals to produce adrenaline.

We’ve been through this before, so Martine knew exactly what to do. Over the period of two hours, I took ten 5mg tabs of prednisone and made arrangements to go to the emergency ward at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. There, they put me on an intravenous drip and took my vital signs. After the first hour or so, the prednisone I had taken earlier started to kick in; and my improvement was rapid.

Fortunately, the ER doctor at UCLA was able to contact an endocrinologist who confirmed the treatment. My first such Addisonian Crisis was at a San Diego hospital where the doctor not only refused to contact an endocrinologist but started testing me for the functionality of a certain internal organ I no longer had. Upon the advice of my own physician back in L.A., I checked myself out of that hospital before they decided to do some serious damage to me.

The lethargy that comes with an Addisonian Crisis can be fatal. I keep thinking of those old movies where people are freezing to death and want nothing more than to drop off to sleep. It’s not a bad way to check out of this life, but, to quote Robert Frost:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.