24 July 2007

It's been / one week since .....

......my wife's hysterectomy. I've been in 'cave' mode for the duration, as everyone who's read the comments for the last post - thanks to Kate/Susan, who acknowledged the e-mail I sent out to everyone - knows the surgery went off without any problems. Other than both MIL and myself pacing the carpet of the Candler Hospital waiting room clear off when she took a little longer in recovery than the doctors said .... it was all good.

Luvuhmylife was nice and drugged when we went in and saw her (about 3:30 p.m.). MIL and I got back home about 7:00, and later that evening (after MIL had gone to bed) I got a phone call -- it was Seraphim, who was feeling a bit lonely. This was about 11:20, and she sounded surprisingly upbeat for a woman whom, less than 12 hours earlier, had been under general sedation and having her female parts dismantled.

Best of all, it was done vaginally. Seraphim came home the next afternoon, and began recovering. She's been in "Princess" mode, her every need catered to. (Although I had to 'get on to her' when she tried to move the ottoman up close to the chair -- excuse me, dearest of heart, that's MY job. I'm not the one who got Bob Barker'ed!)

Today is The Princess' birthday, and we celebrated by going out to Shenaniganz Ruby Tuesday in Pooler for supper, and for 'dessert' we went two doors down to Chick-Fil-A for some yummy milkshakes. It's the first time since coming home from the hospital that she's gotten back out. Seraphim did very well, but - as expected - she's quite tired.

A few thoughts, before I join The Princess (that name has a nice ring to it, yes?), and Princess' Mama in the living room for a movie:

1) In honor of the surgery, I bought my wife a Golden Retriever.

2) At Shenani--er, Ruby Tuesday, I asked my wife something (I forget what), and her answer included three words one should never utter in such a restaurant: "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY." A waitress was standing behind our table, and she heard her. She looked in our direction, and smiled. I shook my head - not once, but two separate times. Do NOT bestow your collective Pepper-Tanner off-key crooning upon our meal!

Fortunately, I remembered a nugget of wisdom from someone back in Troy, who worked in the trenches at such a restaurant: servers HATE doing "the birthday thing." Still, I consider this a close call.

3) Let the record be known, however: it was SERAPHIM'S call where we ate tonight. It was 100% her call. Now, were it my birthday, I would've suggested Checker's. Even Carey Hilliard's, or - even better - a roadtrip to Columbia. I don't think Maurice's BBQ servers do birthday songs .... unless, of course, it were to the tune of "Dixie" and included several waitresses in full blackface "Mammy" getup.....

4) Like I said, I don't give a flip about the man's politics or which flag(s) he chooses to fly outside his establishment. The man knows what good barbecue is, and Carolina Gold is - positively - the best BBQ sauce on the planet, bar none.

5) And no, it was not a dog I got my wife; the "Golden Retriever" in question is the brand name of grabber device I bought her. She drops something, she can use the Golden Retriever to pick it up, saving her the pain of leaning over. That's a big no-no.

6) This milkshake sure is good. Almost as good as Steak & Shake, or the homemade shakes at Byrd Drug in Troy.

7) Milkshakes seem to be making a comeback. But whatever you do, avoid the Krystal "MilkQuakes" at all cost. That was a barely-drinkable concoction. But at least we got a reusable plastic cup as a souvenir.

8) Drew Carey has been named the new host of The Price is Right. Talk about a surprise curve ball! I think he could do very well in that gig -- as anyone who's watched both his sitcom and Who's Line can tell you, he has that amazing ability to allow himself to be the straight man, while still being the star attraction. That's an important trait ... I believe he will bring out the best and funniest out of every contestant who comes up from contestants' row.

9) How could I have not thought about Drew? In a sense of twisted irony, he bears a strong resemblance - especially in haircut and glasses - to the ORIGINAL host of Price: Bill Cullen! (except, of course, Cullen was far skinnier) One could time-travel from 1965 to the present, turn on the TV and say, "Damn, Bill Cullen sure has put on weight!"

10) What worries me is TPIR will still fail. Not because of Drew's hosting abilities (like I said, he'll shine in the role), but because of the moronic mouth-breathing trash who will refuse to accept anyone but Bob Barker on Studio 33's stage.

11) Okay, it's movie time. Now we need to decide just what in hades we'll watch.

12) Probably Waiting... -- MIL hasn't seen that one yet.

13) If you've seen Waiting..., and like it, you'll certainly love a movie we watched earlier this week: Employee of the Month. Good stuff.

14) Good, good stuff.

On that note, all is fine down here ... thanks for all the prayers and thoughts sent this way. My wife is doing very well. My love and dustcloths we're making to all.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Princess Grunt" Gleck

16 July 2007

A simple request.

Tomorrow, my wife will be undergoing her hysterectomy (and another, unrelated procedure in the general vicinity).

Please pray for her. This is my best friend they're gonna be working on.

Updates as they happen.

--Talmadge "Not sure who's more anxious" Gleck

15 July 2007

Happenings Fifteen Years' Time Ago

Over the weekend I had to make an Alabama run, as this Tuesday will be my wife's surgery. I had a great time with Tiger (and turned him on to Little Miss Sunshine, which he was the last out of his clique to watch), but were it not for my last chance to spend time with the kid for at least another month (and it's been four weeks since I last saw him), Troy is the last place I would want to be on July the 14th. Not just any year, but especially 2007.

Yesterday marked 15 years since my grandmother passed away. Now I've long since gotten to the point where I think about it every now and again on the date, but otherwise my life progresses as usual. That's good, as it took a few years just to get to that plateau alone!

But I was spending this day in Pike County. Tiger and I went to Wally World to get him a couple of things, followed by a quick lunch stop at Burger King (yummmmm...yum?) and then getting a couple of movies to watch from Movie Gallery. Driving up and down the 231 bypass -- with new lights which after nightfall make this snowbird arterial as bright as any stadium.

The Supercenter, which opened in 1999, is part of a stretch of 231 which is now every bit as congested and cluttered as between George Wallace Drive and Brundidge Street, an area I lovingly call Heartburn's Half Mile (for all the fast-food joints). I've been away from there nearly seven years, and that area looks very strange to me. It didn't even look like Troy, truth be told. 10 years ago, it was cow pastures on both sides!

What's amazing is, throughout Saturday it didn't occur to me even once just what day it was. Even while driving down the bypass. On recent past 14 Julys, I would pause a few times and reflect. Reflect on how far my life has come, particularly in this decade. This time, however, I was in Troy - ground zero - on a milestone anniversary, and I didn't think about it once.

I take that as a good sign.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "I still miss her, though" Gleck

13 July 2007

The results are in.......

....from Tal's Totally Trippy Trance Test. The sleep doctor gave me the results of my sleep analysis study last week, and the SURVEY SAID:

*ka-DINNG!*

Study start time = 9:43:32 p.m.
Study end time = 5:06:27 a.m.

Total study time = 7.21 hours.
Sleep period time = 6.93 hours.
Total sleep time = 6.57 hours.

Latency to sleep onset (read: time it took me to fall asleep): 17.2 minutes.

Number of arousals = 133.
Number of awakenings = 3.
Arousal index = 20.2 (shut up, Beavis)

Sleep O2 level: 93.4%
Lowest Os level: 66.5%

RESPIRATORY SUMMARY:
Apnea events: 167 (!!!!!!)
Longest duration: 92.7 seconds.
Average duration: 32.4 seconds.
Total time: 90.2 minutes.

That's 90.2 minutes out of 394.48 minutes while asleep that I was not breathing.

The diagnosis was "severe sleep apnea" and after my appointment Thursday I went to the respiratory place which deals with the CPAP machines. Now, like Seraphim, I have my own oxygen mo-sheen. I slept with it last night, and I think I did quite well with it for a first time. I'll be out of town over the weekend, but will begin wearing the mask in earnest Sunday night.

This explains why I feel so dad-burned tired 'n' lethargic so much of the time.......

I think I'll name my CPAP "Holly."

As in, "All I need is the air that I breathe......."

Ummmmm .... okay. Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Hosehead" Gleck

12 July 2007

'And wherever you go....'

Recently I was taking a little cyber-joyride, doing some Google'ing of a handful of long-retired television personalities in Huntsville. My screwy-wired brain can recall a lot of the market's names, although it's been age 6 since I've last seen any of 'em.

Out of them, one name really stands out. H.D. Bagley was his name. He was the main weathercaster for WHNT-TV channel 19 (CBS) from the day they signed on (Thanksgiving day 1963) until 1979. A nice tribute to Mr. Bagley's television career can be found here.

I found this site, and when I saw the above picture I cannot describe the goosebumps I got. (I color-corrected the pic; the map was in shades of blue, not green - another thing I remember) It almost perfectly matches the mental jpeg image I've had of Bagley for more than 36 years. (Oh, and that camera. RCA TK-42, the second-generation color TV camera ... first model for many local TV stations upon converting to color in the late '60s)

One of my memories of being in the hospital for a tonsillectomy back in early '71 was watching H.D. doing the weather on the B/W television in the room.

Reading the NOAA Huntsville tribute, I learned something very cool about Mr. Bagley. In my last post, I mentioned Huntsville had a lot of firsts. Add one more: first TV METEOROLOGIST in Alabama (and perhaps one of the nation's first)! In 1963. Most stations didn't go for such substance until the late '70s. Birmingham, in fact, didn't get its first on-camera AMS-certified weathercaster until 1978, when the iconic James Spann came to town.

That's right, while the 'Ham had its competing "weather girls", Huntsville had H.D. Bagley and his years of meteorological experience. He wasn't long on the flash, and certainly didn't have the photogenic charisma of Pat Gray or Rosemary ... but The Rocket City was glad to have him and a clunky old piece of salvage he had in his possession. It was an archaic weather radar apparatus, and it was taken from an old ship. He had that radar set up and was using it on-air during the tragic evening of April 3, 1974, the day of the infamous "super outbreak" of tornadoes. The last twister of the night had Huntsville's name on it, and did great amounts of damage to the city, destroying a large shopping center and many homes.

And H.D. was on the air all evening with his old Navy surplus radar. This was 1974 - long before most TV stations had any kind of access to weather radars. The hook echo showed up on Bagley's radar-scope, and Madison County viewers knew in no uncertain terms to take cover. Lives were no doubt saved because of Channel 19 having the incredible vision to bring a real weather expert on board.

Huntsville -- it's as I've liked to joke for years, there ought to be a sign posted on each outbound roadway: "Leaving Huntsville, Now Entering Alabama." Y'know, what I find so fascinating about the city, as a media geek, is that it's one of but a small handful of all-UHF television markets. No VHFs here; reference my earlier post about Huntsville's size ... when the VHF assignments were doled out, the city was barely 15,000 in size - not large enough to warrant even one TV station, much less the full network plate it would have by 1963.

What's more, Huntsville didn't have all of its own network stations until long after viewing habits were beginning to gel .... a simple external antenna in the Tennessee Valley can bring in the VHF stations from Nashville, Tenn. and Birmingham, and that's what most people had. Plus, "Huntsvegas" had a cable system beginning in the '50s, bringing clear pictures of Nashville, Birmingham and Chattanooga TV stations. This before Huntsville's first TV station came on the air in 1959. And, of course, most TV sets made before 1964 did not tune UHF - just VHF 2-13!

Against those steep odds, Huntsville managed to incubate three (3) successful UHF television stations!! And H.D. Bagley's presence forced the other stations to have top-notch weathercasts of their own ... all serving to rise their collective fortunes.

The item in the article about Mr. Bagley which really tugged at my memory was his traditional weekend closing. After his weather segment on Friday evenings, his last words would always be, "Have a good weekend, and wherever you go, go to church on Sunday."

Goosebumps begat more goosebumps. Suddenly I was 5 years old again, and beginning a wonderful weekend with Gran Lera. I remember that closing. Or, more accurately, a single brain cell had it in memory because it all came back when I read it. It meant Friday. It meant looking forward to another weekend at my grandmother's.

Back then, things were different. Politics and religion still had several firewalls between them. Baptists were moderate churchgoing folk. Baptists like my paternal grandparents (my grandfather helped design what is now the "old" sanctuary of Madison's First Baptist Church). It was another time in our history. A better time.

Thank you, ciao for niao, and wherever you go, be true to your God in your own way (ain't "freedom of religion" dandy?).

--Talmadge "The Best is Seen on Channel 19" Gleck

04 July 2007

To Sleep, Perchance To ---- damn these wires!

Ahhhhhh, it's 5:37 a.m. in the lovely quietness that is Rincon, Georgia. The bank clock near the sleep clinic indicated 64 degrees. It felt damn good outside -- very un-July-like weather!

I was discharged from "Hotel Southeast" after something resembling a good night's sleep. Remember in my last post, when I said I could fall asleep anywhere? Better make that "almost anywhere." I did sleep, and had no trouble falling asleep, even with my body feeling like the back of all my audio components.

The problem was waking up -- I believe I did more than a few times, and honestly I don't know whether I had insomnia (very rare with me!), or if I was in a quasi-awakened state. I didn't dream so much as I felt like a central office dealing with other parts of my body going through their own studies. At some point I remember giving a "passing" grade to my left arm.

What got in the way of a good night's sleep were all the freakin' wires. I was afraid that if I so much as moved in that bed, that I'd pull out one or more of 'em. I felt quite tethered to my position in there, so I was limited in assuming a perfectly comfortable position. Usually I like sleeping on my back -- but at home I also don't have more wires comin' out of me than hairs remaining on my head, either!

I know I got sleep, though. I just hope I had enough for them to judge it, so I won't have to go back for another one anytime soon. That was some mighty yecch'y paste they used to attach the nodes to my scalp -- it was a bitch to wash out!!

If I wrap this up now, I can manage to cop a mini-sleep in our own bed. What a concept. And best of all, I don't have to put a lot of gooey gunk in my hair; I swear, when I left there I felt as if I'd fallen asleep in the middle of a kindergarten arts and crafts project!

Ciao for *yawn* niao.

--Talmadge "Sleep Scholar" Gleck

03 July 2007

Sleep Inn

He sees you when you're sleeping,
He knows when you're awake,
He knows if you've been bad or good,
So be good, for goodness sake.

Santa Claus?

No, the sleep clinic. Tonight, I shall be esteemed guest of The Hotel Southeast Lung & Critical Care Specialists. I'm supposed to be there at 8:30 (exactly 91 minutes from right now), where the highly-trained staff of servants will strap lots of wires, sensors and gawd knows what else to my person. I'll be a walking Caltech, right in the middle of Effingham County.

Count me as one who has had sleep apnea episodes for quite some time. And now that my wife is having her apnea treated, it's my turn.

This "hotel" carries no chain identity, and has no famous mascot (such as the original TraveLodge "Sleepy Bear", above; not the uber-cute current-day rendition of Sleepy). It has not been rated by AAA. But it does carry an AMA rating -- a triple-ZZZ, I do believe.

No phone, no pool, no pets. No cigarettes. Not even satellite and/or cable TV. I believe the telly in the room just gets WTOC -- uh oh, Tuesday night means Bill Cathcart. Better pass on the tube tonight, ma'am -- don't want to get my systolic and dyastolic through the roof when I'm trying to relax and count sheep ... or bears.

I don't worry about falling asleep in there, though. As my wife will quickly tell you, I can snooze in a folding lounge chair on a casino boat deck amidst lots of rowdy drinking and loud, off-key karaoke (I shouldn't be so redundant in my writing).

Best of all, "Hotel Southeast" has a personal wake-up service. No automated phone calls with a thick Indian accent; I'll be awakened, fully refreshed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed amidst the still-darkness of 5:00 a.m. And they'll send me on my merry (*yawn*) way.

Check-out time is 530, according to the wifely one.

Okay, it's now 7:12. Z minus 78 minutes.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "What? No in-room coffee??!!" Gleck