Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Cat, She is Weird

Apparently my gym bag is exactly the right size for napping.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Exciting News on the HIV Front

Some very exciting and potentially game changing news in the fight to find a cure for HIV/AIDS: a doctor in Germany appears to have cured a man's HIV using a bone marrow transplant designed for Leukimia patients.

The story: an American with both Leukimia and HIV went to Germany to undergo additional treatment after his first round of chemo didn't work. There, Dr. Gero Hutter (who specialized in Leukimia, but not HIV/AIDS) recommended a bone marrow transplant: risky, but maybe the only way the man would survive. Trouble was, the man also had HIV, and his chances of living decades longer weren't much better.

Then Dr. Hutter had an idea. Back in the 90's, it was proven that men with the CRR5 gene mutation were almost entirely immune to the HIV virus, since the CRR5 protein was what allowed the virus to attach itself to the body's cells. And as luck would have it, there was a bone marrow donor in Germany who had that exact mutation; the transplant was approved, and finally carried out.

And 3 years later, after extensive testing and without any anti-viral cocktails, the virus is undetectable in the man's blood, if it's still there at all. For all intents and purposes, the man is "functionally cured".

Now, there are caveats galor to this. It could be a fluke. It could be a different mutation that we haven't identified yet. It could be the intensive radiation therapy that killed off most of the man's immune system before the procedure. And bone marrow transplants aren't exactly simple to perform.

Nevertheless, in this particular case, it seems to have worked, and at the very least it's a promising new lead to follow. Hutter and others are starting to look at different kinds of gene therapy as possible alternatives to marrow transplants, and their research may finally lead to the cure for one of humanity's most perplexing diseases.

Here's hoping.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Well, They're Out

It's over and done with: my mouth now has 4 fewer teeth in it than it did 24 hours ago. So far the recovery seems to be going pretty smoothly: the bleeding stopped a few hours ago, there's a small amount of aching/pain but it's bearable (of course the pain meds probably have a lot to do with that), and not much swelling, although I'm keeping ice on it regularly.


I'm definitely taking it easy on the food and drink for a while. I have some ginger ale and have been sipping that, I've also been nibbling at the rice pudding every 15 minutes or so. Right now I don't feel that hungry, but if I keep going at this rate I'll have had about 1/2 a cup of rice pudding as my only nourishment for a whole 24 hours.


Going under anethesia was weird: the doctor put the IV in and told me it wouldn't take long for me to feel light headed - and he was right, in a few seconds I started to feel a little buzz. And then ... nothing. It didn't feel like I was going to sleep, one second I was wide awake and the next consciousness and awareness just flat out stop ... and then I was waking up in the recovery room. Definitely a weird experience.
One disappointment: they didn't give me the teeth to keep, which I kind of wanted. Oh well.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Getting Nervous

Now that Lucy's dental work is done, I'm free to worry about mine.

This Friday morning the wisdom teeth - all four of them - will come out. I'm kinda nervous since it's the first time I've been under general anesthesia, but rationally I know I'll be fine.

My subconscious is messing with me though: now that I've started the 12 hours of no-food-or-drink-before-surgery, all of a sudden my mouth is very dry and all I want is a nice icy glass of water, but of course I can't have one. And tomorrow when I come out of surgery I'm sure icy water is one of the last things I'll want. Harumph.

A week full of teeth pulling

I am happy to say that Lucy is back from the vet and is perfectly fine, although not without one or two developments.

Right around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon I got a call from the vet, and thought "Great! It's time to go pick her up!" Nope - turns out her gums were worse than the vet thought, and she needed to have a tooth pulled or else it could get much more serious. Well, when you get a call like that, of course you tell them to go ahead and do it, which I did. But then I spent the next 3 hours worrying and waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting.

The vet never called me a second time to tell me she was ready. When it got to be 5:30 I decided to call them myself, since I know they close at 6 and I really wanted her to come home. So I called, but got the answering machine, and finally decided the heck-with-it-all, I'd just drive there and see for myself.

All along the way I was worried and nervous; not because I was really afraid that something was wrong, but I just wanted to know what was going on.

Well, I got there, and turns out they were having a very busy day and just hadn't had the chance to call, which was fine, since everybody has those days and deserves some slack. Lucy came through just fine too, only she has to have some antibiotics twice a day for a week ... and in less than a day she's already learned what the dropper is and runs the second she thinks I'm going for it. Fortunately, I am still smarter than my cat and can catch her pretty easily, and once I have her it's relatively simple to grab the scruff and force the dropper in her mouth.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Random Tuesday Musings

  • Last month I paid off my car loan, and today I got the title in the mail from the bank. Weird how something as simple as a piece of paper can be so significant.
  • Relatedly, I had the car inspected today at McGeorge Toyota. and I drove myself so I decided to wait for it in their lounge. I was expecting a "lounge" with some chairs and a few magazines ... I was NOT expecting an array of comfy lounge chairs, several tvs, snacks and drinks, and complimentary wifi. Wow. What do they do if you actually buy a car from them?
  • The far right has gone crazy. More on that later.
  • Tomorrow morning I have to drop Lucy off at the vet, and then pick her up later in the afternoon. She's having her teeth cleaned, and needs to go under general anethesia, which makes me kind of nervous. I feel horrible that she's going to be all alone at the vet with strange people sticking strange stuff in her, and just a few minutes ago I had to take away her food in preparation for tomorrow. I will feel MUCH better when she's home tomorrow evening.
  • On Friday I'm having a dental procedure of my own: all four wisdom teeth will be removed while I'm under general anethesia, which I've never had before. Oddly, I'm less nervous about my procedure than I am about Lucy's, but I'm sure that will change. Insurance is picking up most of the tab so that's good, but they won't give the prescription for the painkillers until after the procedure ... when I'll be doped up and shouldn't be "signing anything or making important decisions". How, exactly, am I supposed to have a prescription filled while I'm in that state?

UPDATE: Lucy's sitting where her food bowl usually is, and looking at me with this I'm-hungry-and-I-don't-understand-why-you're-not-giving-me-food-like-you-always-do look. Ugh.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Are You Being Served?


I had no idea that Mollie Sugden had died. Seriously, no idea, and I (and the world) am worse for it.

I guess the best compliment I can pay her is that when I watch Are You Being Served, I forget that she's an actress playing a character, and see a 1970's Ladies'-Ready-Made-Senior-Sales-Person-Mrs-Slocobme.

RIP Mollie Sugden.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

It Has Not been a Successful Weekend

Besides the Mint Syrup fiasco, it was going to be a good weekend: brunch at a new restaurant with a good friend from work!

Only: the good friend had technical problems and missed my email, it turned out to be one of the hottest weekends this year, and nobody told me it was the watermelon festival. So I basically got dressed up, sweated my ass off in the hot sun, only to encounter a situation where we wouldn't have been able to have brunch anyway.

Oh well. At least someone knows how to spend the Sunday:

Friday, August 07, 2009

Mint Syrup .... FAIL


Mojitos are one of my favorite drinks, but keeping fresh mint on hand is difficult and muddling it in the glass with a wooden spoon is a hassle. I've thought about buying some spearmint extract, but couldn't find it at either Kroger or Ukrops.

So I had an idea: why not make my own? Seems simple enough, right? Some mint jelly, some hot water, mix them all together, and *poof*, instant mint syrup just waiting for a mojito to go in!

Fail.

You know all those tv ads where you see the top of the blender pop off and everything fly out? Never happened to me ... until tonight. For whatever reason, when I pushed the pulse button it created a LOT of pressure inside the container, the lid popped off and half the mint jelly mixture flew across the kitchen. Sticky. Yuck.

But, I still had half-a-blender worth of minty syrup left, and it certainly smelled like mint, so I thought I'd try to salvage, and maybe come up with something good.

Mix some rum, some ice, some minty syrup, aaaaaaaaand ... some Sprite Zero. Because if I'm going to cheat, why not go the whole way?

This drink wasn't just fail. It was TEH EPIC FAIL. I don't know if it was the syrup, the rum, or the Sprite, but the taste was like a Mojito sweetened with Splenda. I mean, it was just horrible. I added a bunch more lime to cut the flavor, but still, not so great.

*sigh* oh well. Tomorrow I will go and buy a mint plant, and a muddler.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Wow, It's been a While

So long, in fact, that gheby.blogspot.com doesn't even prepopulate in my address bar!! Yikes.

Well, you probably don't want a 2 month recap of my life. So I will say:

Right now, I am watching Kathy Griffin on Comedy channel. With a gin and soda.

And it is AWWWWWEEEEEESOME.

Although ... she just talked about her Emmy dress. And I kinda have to say ... eh, not so much.

-Nik