Fly, Eagles Kloutperks, Fly !

If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or even as I move around my neighborhood doing important stuff, you know I have some pretty intense passions and I am not shy in talking about them.

One of them is Philly Sports. I get all worked up with all the Philly teams. When Fall comes to Philadelphia, many of the leaves begin to fall in reaction to my intensity during an Eagles football game. Unfortunately, I’ve not yet made a game at Lincoln Financial Field, which may be good for the success of the team, since my attendance at an event does not guarantee victory. With my progressive lung disease eating up my fundage, I have to shout extra loud from home so that the team can be inspired by my fan-acity and WIN!!!

However, thanks to Klout and BarclayCard, I wound up getting a very exclusive invite to the super secret inner sanctum of the Philadelphia Eagles, the NOVA CARE COMPLEX practice facility. Built on the grounds of the old PHILADELPHIA NAVAL HOSPITAL, I had not been on those grounds since high school in 1971.

There is more to read. Just click here.

Falling Skies: Acts of Courage, Acts of Mystery, Acts of Humanity

Ever since Ben (Connor Jessup) has returned from alien captivity, it is obvious that something had changed about him. Forget about the unexplained increases in strength and agility, the deeper and more intense focus, or his distancing from his brother Hal (Drew Roy). Ben has come back different in ways far beyond that and ways that we still do not know.

When Ben and Ricky (Daniyah Isreal) were together last season, the seeds of some of the answers were there in their scenes together. While Ricky was dealing with his feeling of alienation from his father, Ben was dealing with the fear of rejection from the rest of the 2nd Mass. Ben heard the whispers and knew the thoughts running through their heads. He was a skitter captive who was not free of his captors, even though he is back with his family. We’ve seen him withdraw from everyone except Matt (Maxim Knight).

However, as Season Two progresses, and especially with last weeks episode, we start to see that even Ben may not be quite sure of his place. The show opens with a new revelation: Ben can communicate with the Skitters and seems to have bonded with REDEYE, the chief Skitter henchman. From two separate rooftops, Redeye and Ben do a call and response that looks like a mix of religious worship and a cry for help. In this case, it is a mournful cry.

It seems that even the aliens have dissenters and rebels within their midst. Redeye is leading an insurrection that involves both Skitters and human allies. A battle in the city attracts the attention of the 2nd Mass, who find a massacre in an abandoned trucking yard. A massacre of skitter on skitter. At first, Tom (Noah Wyle), Weaver (Will Patton), and Hal seem to be confused about what the scene in front of them is caused by. Even the Mechs that they found destroyed confuse them because their armor has been pierced clean through. As we saw in the first season, it took a bullet made of Mech metal to pierce their shell. So, is that what brought these Mechs down?

While this is going on, there is also increasing concern about Ben. He is absent from camp, and his actions of late make the rest of the 2nd Mass increasingly worried about where this loose cannon is. In checking the destruction in the trucking yard, Hal thinks he spots Ben’s glowing harness spikes lying prone on the ground. It turns out to be Rick, instead. Rick disappeared in THE BATTLE OF FITCHBURG, which took place between televised seasons in the pages of the Dark Horse graphic novel.

There is more to read. Just click here.

Where Have I Been??? Reasons To Believe.

Hello, all.

As you can see, it has been about 5 weeks since I’ve posted last. I’m getting a couple of things prepared right now to get this blog back on track. I hope to make it both entertaining and interesting for you as well as useful and productive for me as I face down my illness and try to maintain relevance.

I have also been experimenting with sites like Klout and Empire Avenue to find ways to build connections that are good for all of us, so stay tuned.

I need to show you nothing but my best, so that the bar is constantly set higher for me to achieve. Stick with me, and you won’t be disappointed.

Watch for postings and tweets for the next, and more frequent, posts.

While you are waiting, here is one of my favorite Jimmy Webb songs. There is no hidden meaning, just helps me get back from a brief absence.

Pulmonary Rehab 8/19/11: When We Last Left Our Hero…

Note: At the end of this post are links to previous posts about my lung disease. I’ll keep these links at the end of each subsequent post or figure out how to add a Table Of Contents.

When we last left our hero…

The more I deal with my lung disease, the more things start to become clear and these things are beyond the physical. So much concentration is focused on what you can do, how you feel, how you look, how you get around, all things that are tangible and viewable. However, dealing with any debilitating disease or injury is much more than the visible effects and scars.

What really needs treatment and rehabilitation is your mental ability to both reconcile what your life is now compared to what your life once was, as well as to come to terms with how it is viewed and accepted by others. In addition, in my case, I miss the driven nature of my type of job, the people that it brought me in contact with, the impact it would allow me to have at times, and the learning experience and growth that was there for me. I do NOT miss my particular workplace but I deeply miss the work environment and participation, and I miss the video industry deeply.

So, I look for anything that will come close to approximating that or at least get me back to some kind of limited shared experience. The rehab offers that option. It allows me to have a routine guided by goals and methods of achieving those goals that also allow me to observe, learn, and improve. It gives me the social experience of a workplace, the future planning for upcoming sessions, and the sense of accomplishment when successful in a project.

It does NOT get me back to the seminars, meetings, activities, and conventions that I loved in the video industry since 1983, but it gets my mind thinking again so that I can find productive and accessible ways to achieve similar results.

Like this blog.

This is written for myself, but hopefully remains of interest (and in some cases useful) to you and those you know. I really hope that you pass it around. I don’t write it to hear myself type, I write it to hear you type back. It is essentially just a new spin on the old art of conversational discussion and discourse.

Never was that more evident than this past Thursday night in Havertown. One really magnificent and loud Thunderstorm came through the Havertown / Philly around 7:30 PM. It lasted well over 2 hours and lingered through the early morning hours. The power went out around 8 PM and stayed out until 12:45 AM. The picture to the side is the best shot I could get with my camera. It is the illumination of a lightning flash at around 9PM. I couldn’t catch a bolt itself, but the illumination from the after flash at night is pretty cool.

What this caused was that the family had to adjust to a different method of conversation and communication during that time. We didn’t stand around the piano and sing turn of the century songs, but we did joke, sing, and play with the dogs (who were terrified by the storm). We found a way to accomplish something despite our limitations. It wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t grinding to a halt.

That is what pulmonary rehab hopefully will do for me. Speaking of which, my body clock got me up in time for the next mornings session despite the multiple clocks telling me multiple times after the power outage. With a stop at Wawa for a breakfast sandwich.

One thing that has been impressed upon me by my rehab specialist at Lankenau is that I need to eat before coming into the rehab. I’ve always been one to not eat when I first get up, but now I have to change that one habit. The most convenient, aside from a bowl of cereal, is my local WAWA. Since I take Cell Cept in the morning and I cannot eat until one hour after I take it, timing is tricky. So I stop, grab the papers and a bite, be glad the Hoagiefest guy is long gone, and head out to park at the hospital.

Meticulous parking aside, I’m actually in a good mood. I go to the volunteer office to get my free parking perk (didn’t need KLOUT for that perk), take a wee pee, and grab my monitor and oxygen canister.

The session is much like previous ones, but now I can see a bit of improved stamina. Still, my monitors don’t like me again and I need to do my blood pressure twice. First up are the warm up exercises and they go well, though the arms in a circle feels a little tougher than normal.

Then to the treadmill, which I am now confident enough to start in motion myself. My goals are to go for 7 minutes at 1.40 MPH. Yeah, eat my dust. Again, we try the experiment of “out of sight, out of mind” on the monitor. The “out of mind” part is easy for me, but the “out of sight” still is slightly visible, so I have to look away from it myself.

The only drawback is that at my walking oxygen levels of 4 ltrs, I tend to hover around 88 to 90 on the treadmill. This is just below where I want to be. She turns the oxygen up to 6 ltrs, and my numbers jump to 91-92. Physically, I really don’t notice that much of a difference, but it shows in my numbers. I am disappointed that (at least for this session) I need to be boosted. While it feels like a step back, the rehab specialist is happy with my results. Until we take the blood pressure, which is lower than normal. That concerns her a bit, so she gets me some water. I drink it like a parched desert traveler, so fast in fact, I expect to see Hope and Crosby and an oasis.

Take a minute, discuss new cell phones and the storm, then off to the Imaginary Ice Cream Making Machine. The resistance is set a bit higher and we go 7 minutes with this. Still, this feels like the easiest of any of the exercises because I am sitting and only my upper half comes into play. I make enough ice cream to drain the cows in Amish Country. However, it does feel guilty to produce so much ice cream on a day when the hospital has a farmers market on site. So, I lecture the imaginary happy children that they cannot have ice cream until they finish their vegetables. I fake sell very little ice cream this day.

Next is the stationary bike. Another 7 minute task, this also seems to work well for me, even though it involves the entire body. I hit my monitor, I hit the timer, I hit the pulseox, and I almost hit the TV because a story about Kim Kardashian’s wedding come on. AARRRGGGHH!

Finally, the weights at 8 minutes, 4 lbs. This is accompanied by a cartoon guide as to how to do each exercise. The cartoons are effective but rudimentary. I find myself concerned that one guys legs get fatter when he lifts the weights above his head. What an odd anatomy.

One note on something that I find extremely hard to relearn, and that is how to breathe. I’ve done it for 55 years this way and I find that I’ve been doing it wrong. My problem is learning the PURSED LIPS exhaling technique. I am supposed to inhale through my nostrils, but that only produces a short inhale. I am either incapable of or apprehensive about taking a deep breath in that way. Then I need to exhale through pursed lips. This is the best way to process your oxygen intake, but damn it, it is hard for me to learn.

I am getting better at it, though.

I do my cool downs, whistle a happy tune (to practice my pursed lips) and check my final vitals. My blood pressure is back to where it usually is, my oxygen level is acceptable, and my sweat is not soaking.

I do get a bit of potentially good news. I had help up on doing the rehab because it has a $30 per visit co-pay or $90 a week. On a fixed disability income, that is near impossible. I sold a couple of things, cut what little I could cut, and decided to start and simply do without elsewhere. However, the rehab specialist gave me information on a foundation that might offer these kinds of financial support for pulmonary rehab patients.

I don’t like to have things done for me unless I have the ability to reciprocate, either now or in the future. As of now, that doesn’t exist and it really frustrates me. At Christmas, I get a much bigger kick out of watching someone open what I gifted them rather than opening my own gifts. So, while this is an odd feeling, right now it is essential, so I ended my session with hopeful news.

That was my day. Deli meat for lunch and dinner, an easy meal deal. Twitterati viewed and answered. What little personal e-mails I get answered. Disappointed by the Phillies. Writing and thinking.

Nothing earth-shaking, but each step holds a promise. Now to capitalize on it.


Pulmonary Rehab 8/17/11: Adrian Is Doing Well. Give Him A Sticker.

Birthday Wishes And Pulmonary Dreams 8/11/11

Pulmonary Rehab Tales 8/10/11

Pulmonary Rehab 101: 1 Of the Future

Tomorrow Starts The Next Phase: Pulmonary Rehab And Education

Expecting Expectation, Getting Ramblings

Those Three Words