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.
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?
consider… 802.1x generally requires _some_ dns resolution. and in most cases (small sample set), those are also caching recursive resolvers.
shouldn’t it just be, “requires a warrant?”
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.
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.
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.
While picking out the farm property/house, obvious points of interest were the electric, water supply, sewer, water heating, and house heating. I think about each of these as “supply systems” and have been working to build plans to improve the “sustainability” of each.
The term “sustainable” used in marketing misses the mark when used to describe my goals. Yes, I want what I do to have a minimal ecological footprint and examine the source, transportation, and materials used to produce what I buy… but that’s not the only way I’m using the word. I want my “supply systems” to a) help us survive (supply clean potable water, keep us from freezing, keep us out of the dark, etc.) and b) require little input to continue function.
sus·tain·a·ble [ sə stáynəb'l ]
1. able to be maintained: able to be maintained
2. maintaining ecological balance: exploiting natural resources without destroying the ecological balance of an area
My primary focus for the past year has been on water, electric power (for lighting, cooking, computing and entertainment), and heating. The house is on Puget Sound Energy utility power, a well, and septic tank. It has forced-air electric heat, a small Jøtul wood stove, and a big propane hot water heater.
I posted about my water woes in December, but haven’t posted the full impact that this had on my electric consumption. The shocking thing to me is how much of my electricity usage is driven by water consumption. The well is fed by a 79 foot deep 1.5HP submersible pump and a 9 amp Franklin Electric pump control box. To put this in perspective, that’s the equivalent of flipping on 10 100 watt light bulbs, when it runs! For much of the month of December, the pressure switch was misadjusted and even when working property, I was running the water to try to clear the sediment out of the lines. The effect is clearly visible in the “January 09″ bill. What’s going on in that Jan-Apr 08 timeframe?! My well was broken. There was a crack in the pipe leading from the well to the house. That was fixed in late Feb. and you can see the drop in usage immediately after.
My goal for the summer is to draw less than 500 kWh/month. To do this, it’s going to take some diligence, but I think it’s doable. The house has several very large skylights that almost eliminate the need for interior lighting until after sundown. I put a clothes line, last summer and that should supplant my clothes dryer. I’ll probably even use the solar oven (caramelized onions, Israeli cous cous, and lentils work well).
I’ll post again, about my overall energy conservation (and which definition of that word I’m using) and some more metrics another day. I also endeavor to post more about the rest of my “supply systems.” I have to run, though… there’s a light on in the kitchen.
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.
two months ago, i had a consultation with a new gastroenterologist. i was due for an upper gi scope and decided to stop putting it off. having moved a year ago, i didn’t have a gi in this area. i found him through swedish medical and the barrx (or bârrx) directory of practitioners who’ve licensed the technology. i scheduled an appointment. he’s based in seattle on first hill, in a building that adjoins a swedish medical facility. when the mid-day appointment arrived, i drove into seattle and found the building and office remarkably easily.
after the typical new patient foreplay… filling out forms, blood pressure, heart rate, etc., i spent 45 minutes talking to my new gastroenterologist. he was very well read on barrett’s esophagus and 80% of his practice is treating the condition. i’d intentionally used medical terms (“7cm segment of intestinal metaplasia with no dysplasia observed” instead of “i have barrett’s”), when completing the forms, to avoid being talked down to. it’s incredibly frustrating to have to explain that you don’t need an explanation.
after a minute or two of gauging my knowledge and interest, we discussed bârrx (he prefers “halo”, as bârrx medical is the name of the company while “halo90″ “halo360″ are the names of the procedures/products). note that i’ve been putting off this surgery for some time now. immediately following my diagnosis, i made up my mind that this was a course of treatment i wanted to pursue. he explained that treatment of barrett’s patients who have no or low grade dysplasia isn’t something he does often. he explained his reasoning behind it. he quoted some much lower figures than i’d heard, for the probability of developing an invasive carcinoma, in any given year. i explained why i was still interested, despite the fact that it’s not the american medical association’s ‘standard of care.’ he seemed to understand and said, “let’s just get a scope and talk after that.” fair enough, so back in the lobby, i made a date with a camera on a stick.
being treated like an educated adult by an educated adult, in this circumstance makes all the difference. i learned a ton, felt like my opinion mattered, and came out if the conversation with a degree of trust for my new doc. did i mention that a doctor spent 45 minutes in a consultation?
the process of prepping for an “egd” (short for: esophagogastroduodenoscopy – best word ever) is pretty simplistic and the instructions on the photocopied sheet they hand you fall into a few areas:
- keep your stomach empty (no food or drink for ~8 hours beforehand)
- don’t mess with your body’s ability to heal wounds (no blood-thinners or anticoagulants including aspirin)
- before you start fasting, don’t eat anything that would confuse the doctor (mostly this is defined as “no purple or red staining foods”. the examples they give are red jello and kool-aid.)
no problem, right? these are easily followed directions, right? only a moron could screw this up, right?
went out for dinner the night before. spur of the moment, we went to the barking frog in woodinville. great menu and it just seemed like the right thing to do that night and with my appointment mid-morning, leaving 8 hours between food and scope was going to be easy. the place was pretty empty, even for a thursday night, so we managed a small table near the fireplace. we enjoyed the meal so much that a couple at the table next to us literally said, “we’ll have what they have.”
their menu is always great; i had:
Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras
House Made Beignet, Strawberry ~ Vanilla Drizzle
Baby Beets & Arugula
Laura Chenel Chèvre Crottin, Aged Sherry Vinaigrette
Wild King Salmon
Pan Fried Tomatoes, Cucumber & Dill Créme Fraîche,
Roasted Romanesco Broccoli with Dry Aged Jack & Roasted Poblano Cheese Fondue
amazing meal, but see any problems with it? i had a minor freakout, when i realized that the (quite tasty) beets quite easily met the “red or purple foods that might stain your insides” criteria. a call to the surgery center in the morning assured me it was not the crisis i’d imagined, mostly because my appointment was mid-morning.
the scope was uneventful. the drugs are great. after spraying your throat with lidocaine, a healthy dose of versed is pushed through the iv catheter. in addition to the euphoric “please shove that 4 foot long hose down my throat, i won’t mind” state it leaves you in, it has the tremendous side effect of partial amnesia. apparently i insisted that i needed a bagel sandwich, on the way home… don’t remember it. as with my past scopes, i slept for the rest of the day.
got the results in the mail, a couple weeks ago. along with a fairly graphic image of my food tubes, a brief and barely legible note that reads “10cm segment no dysplasia some ulceration sched. followup.”
given that, the punchline is that the segment has grown some (30%) in the past 24 months, i don’t have dysplasia (more significant probability of developing cancer), and the symptoms of my reflux/gerds are not completely controlled.
i’ll likely schedule a follow-up appointment for the week after new year’s.