gwx plans made

headed to gwx (geowoodstock 10) with my girlfriend. i had a couple people ask what the hell i was talking about. it’s a geocaching “mega event.”

geocaching.com describes geocaching as “a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using gps-enabled devices and then share their experiences online.” as i said before though, it’s better described as “hanging out with nerds and running around in the woods, chasing after tupperware filled with mildew-ridden mcdonalds toys.”

so, what’s the draw? what’s my take on the “game?” (as an aside: game seems inaccurate to me, as “winning” isn’t possible or, alternately, you make your own rules, so everyone can “win”)

- the hike: i’ve found trail systems i’d never have hiked, if it weren’t for geocaching. 100′s of miles and 10′s of thousands of vertical feet hiked. ’nuff said.

- the cleverness: about one in a hundred caches either wracks my brain or has me grinning for hours. sometimes, it’s because it was a clever hide, sometimes it’s because it was a clever container, and sometimes it’s because it was a clever puzzle cache.

- the hunt: i’m a numbers whore. i’ll pull off to the side of the road to grab a magnetic key holder stuck to the back of a guardrail. no redeeming qualities, but it’s “another cache found.”

- nerd social: nothing like meeting someone on the trail who’s as obsessive about caching. everyone has their own “rules” or find a “game within the game.” learning about others’ obsession is fun.

- the race: when a new cache is published, i get an sms message, an email, and a pop-up on my desktop. if close enough, often within minutes i’m headed to the location of the new cache, trying to be the “ftf” (first to find). around here, it’s frequently an “ftf party” with 6 or 8 cachers showing up and looking.

anyway.. it’s a ridiculous waste of time, like anything worth doing.

gwx

My Badge

Headed to Geowoodstock X

going to geowoodstock, this year. long weekend over memorial day, hanging out with nerds and running around in the woods, chasing after tupperware filled with mildew-ridden mcdonalds toys. what’s not to love?

rate of change

with updates less frequently than halley’s comet (how ’bout that dated reference), i’ve left a couple people wondering if i’m still alive. yes, i’m still alive.

while this blog ended up chronicling my reflux/barrett’s, that’s not really the life i live day-to-day. to assuage any concerns: my scope and biopsies came back with a reduction in inflammation (expected) and no increase in either surface area or severity of the dysplasia (good). a few estranged acquaintances reached out and asked if i was ok… i finally realized it was driven primarily by my last blog post. so… yes, i’m still alive.

i’ll make a half-hearted attempt at another update sometime in the near future.

the waiting game

i’m impatient. generally, but also in this specific case: i hate waiting for pathology reports. my gastroenterologist took (his words) “lots and lots of biopsies,” this morning and expects them to be back from pathology in 2-4 weeks.

quick update on the scope: this is my nth scope, where n represents “lots and lots.” (10? 15?) i knew what i was expecting. of course it still makes me nervous and of course when they first push the drugs into the iv it surprises me. the pain meds wore off about 4pm and my chest hurts a little. i won’t know anything concrete on the barrett’s esophagus until the pathology reports come back, but my doc did double up my meds based on the visual inspection. he said it was clear that more proton pump inhibitors would help. he also (before i went under) said that he’d like me to schedule a follow-up to discuss treatment options. note that this is the doc that preferred the ‘watchful waiting’ approach (which is the american medical associations defined standard of care for low grade dysplasia). he told me to read up and come with questions if i had them.

i’d love to get the slides back from pathology, but my doc doesn’t even get that. no, i don’t think i could do a better job than someone who does this for a living; i’m curious! it’s probably significantly weirder than asking a dentist if you can keep the tooth they pull. “can i keep my biopsies”?

johns hopkins did a study on the consistency (since accuracy isn’t possible with a subjective grading of samples) amongst pathologists and found that some samples commonly have large variability between individuals. 12 pathologists saw 24 individual samples twice (without knowing which they’d already seen). most pathologists were “internally consistent” and graded the same sample the same way both times. some samples had variation from “low grade dysplasia” all the way to “high grade dysplasia”, depending on the pathologist. i can’t find the original study, but they’ve published some guidance for pathologists based on that study.

in a few days, i’ll get a full color glossy print-out from my scope (yes, ew) with some notes scribbled up to reflect the conversation i had with the doc. they don’t expect you to remember much, since the versed, thankfully, has a side effect that gives you amnesia.

i’ll post an update when i get that.

another year another scope

i’m scheduled to get an esophageal scope on monday. the only appointment they had was at 8am, in the fremont district of seattle. getting to fremont by 8 means waking up at 5am or so. i expect to be fully comatose for the balance of the day.

yes, it really has been well over a year since i posted. the irony of having a life that is full and rewarding is that i infrequently have time to (publicly) reflect upon it.

the hospital rule

a friend of mine one suggested a rule to determine when you might consider not taking a risk. the basic rule (paraphrased) is:

if you would be embarrassed describing how you got hurt to the medical personnel treating you, you should seriously reconsider your actions.

last night, i conspired to violate the hospital rule: with a straight faces, a colleague suggested that he climb a step ladder, onto his roof (steep pitched, metal, and covered with snow), and fire roman candles.

it seemed like a perfectly reasonable solution to the problem we faced and i agreed to climb up on mine with the cordless phone and binoculars. his wife vetoed and unknowingly invoked the hospital rule. probably best; explaining how he got the burns and broken bones in the same accident might have… well… violated the hospital rule.