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Today at the pump


Under here.

August 17, 2010

The Feeble Minded
Tuesday. Yesterday, in preparation for the scan this morning, they had me pretty much not eat anything worth mentioning after breakfast except for some fruit and a couple of tomatoes. They said protein was OK, but lay off the sweets, carbohydrates and strenuous exercise and don't use your Advair inhaler before your morning appointment. OK. I followed along. Not much appealed in the way of protein, so I, you know, just cruised through the afternoon and skipped most of what I might otherwise have eaten.

Up then at six, after reading (again!) more of that unfinished book last night, getting ready for the seven-thirty appointment. No big deal, I've been to this place before. A big parking lot pretty much empty that early, a talk with the receptionist when I arrived- she had my paperwork in hand, could I fill out this questionnaire? - and so it went, drinking a barium drink of some kind (vanilla flavored) and being led to a trailer out back for an intravenous drip and a PET scan. Hmm. A Pet scan. Why a PET scan in preparation for a first meeting with a pulmonary specialist? A bit like getting on a plane before deciding where you're going.

The paperwork I'd filled out while waiting had all kinds of very specific questions about biopsies and histories of cancer and the woman administering the test sat me down and asked exactly why they'd sent me here in the first place? Well, I'd been coughing with some fluid in the lungs now for eight months, this was in preparation for a first meeting with a lung specialist to see what might be what. No indications you might have cancer? No. Nothing like that. Anyway not yet.

A PET scan, an upper body scan from head to waist in this case, involves more than a bit of radiation from what little I've read, and you don't go out and get one unless they've found something abnormal that needs's a close look. As in a positive biopsy or, I assume, an x-ray of some sort.

The lady was apologetic, but said there was no reason for me to have a PET scan from what she could see and sent me home. No PET scan. I was relieved, who wants to be shoe horned into a tube with about two inches of space above your nose? But it does raise the question: do you trust this new doctor? Had they confused me with someone else, someone who'd had a test that indicated something in his or her lungs and sent me in error to take their test? I spent half of yesterday's entry wondering about doctors, hospitals and their errors, their almost, but not quites, and here I am this morning wondering anew. Doodle-dee-do.

So, a drive directly to the breakfast place for a larger than my usual breakfast and an hour or so reading the papers; the sky overcast, the temperature to the point of cold, sun due later when the fog disappears. You feel like a bubble floating on the surface of a stream, skating along without any control. The stream goes through a series of rapids and you're bounced about helter-skelter for a time, watching it happen. What was that? Why was that? And sometimes, in the travels of bubbles floating atop streams and rivers, something happens and you “pop!”.

Just, you know, a mistake of some kind caused by who knows what, who knows why? I'd say I felt that way this morning if I weren't just a bit numb. Been here before, in my case it suggests I won't complain or make any more noise than asking one or two questions. A good well behaved little bubble not wanting to make waves.

That's pretty much stretching it, going off here on a predictable tangent, but sometimes I wonder at my equanimity when faced with the medical establishment. Or life, for that matter. I'm sure there's a reason for it, the way I learned to survive at a very young age, but at times like these I'm not altogether happy with it (and me). Deedle-dee-dee.

Later. I did finally put up the Pistahan pictures earlier this morning on artandlife. I mentioned I tell myself my eye gets better in judging them as a day or two passes and these are no different. I can see what attracted me to shoot each and every picture, my particular “bent”, and, as such, they're right. But as photographs to make you shout? I'm much less certain about that. As a chronicle, an exposition of the Pistahan Festival itself? Well, if candid portraits are all that's required to bring it back in all its elements, then it does, but that's not what most people would think. So, my take on the Pistahan. My take on the Sunday Pistahan done in the late morning through just after noon, we'll let future generations worry about their impact.

Are any of these including you going to be around in another decade, let alone for future generations?

Not unless everything now up on the web really is going to live forever. Maybe they will if the cost of storing them keeps getting cheaper, but who then in their right mind might want to sift them through? Trillions upon trillions of images and pages of deathless prose. Makes you want to go hide in your bed and pull up the covers.

Which means?

They're up. Some of them are better than others. One or two are worthwhile. I'll look at them again in another year and see if it makes any difference.

Later still. A bus ride downtown to pick up some sort of horrible sinus rinse thing at the pharmacy, a cup of coffee and a “seven-layer” something or other at Peet's taking but two photographs, neither one of which will earn me a Pulitzer. Such is life, I guess. The same thing happened to me yesterday. The elusive Pulitzer. A walk then down Broadway to catch another bus and get off at my stop by the lake, taking a quick picture of a Pied Piper lady with a string of geese in tow. A packet of bread crumbs and you're the Pied Piper, no costumes required, a character anyone can play.

The sun came out just before noon, the weather quite nice. Overly warm in the sun, but that's just me talking, the me wearing the black light weight jacket, t-shirt and cotton shirt, both quite comfortable when I started out. Better to dress light and start out cold, but return comfortably or better to dress warmly and start out just right, but finish in a sweat? At the edge of a sweat? A daily conundrum, let me tell you. Conundrums for the feeble minded, here in Oakland.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco Pistahan Festival with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 105mm f 2.8 Nikkor Micro VR lens.