1.320 up, appreciating

Tuesday 10/27/2020

Felt better on arising, and no chest pains. Did Veronica’s aerobics class. About 10am I decided to try a long walk, and went off to Midtown, a 3-mile round trip. Once there I ordered a coke and a cookie from the coffee shop and spent a long half hour relaxing before heading back. Good walk, and a nap after.

Through the afternoon and into the evening I felt “normal”, the indefinable state of not being ill. The only pains are back pains, from sitting too long in one position.

Today was the launch of the annual Appreciation Fund drive. Like almost all senior residences, all kinds of tipping or gifting from residents to staff is absolutely forbidden. Accepting a gift of any kind is a firing offense for a staff member. The reason is obvious, it would be so easy for a predatory staff member to bleed a senior resident with a fuzzy memory.

However, everyone appreciates the consistent, reliable, cheerful work of the housekeepers, the food prep, the admin. staff, and wants to show it. That’s true in any year, but this year, when the staff has had to deal with continual changes in work assignments and stress from the pandemic, appreciation is running very high.

Hence the annual Fund: put a check in a locked box in the lobby, and the total contributions are distributed evenly to all staff members. Years past, the committee that runs the fund has held a gala party in the Auditorium, with music and skits and refreshments. Not in a pandemic year; the kickoff meeting was held via Zoom. The refreshments, a very tasteful selection of hors d’oeuvres in a plastic box with a tiny plastic fork, and a bottle of prosecco, were distributed to each room beforehand.

After supper I went down to get my mail and put a chunky check in the box.

1.319 up and down

Monday 10/26/2020

A day of up and down. A general “up” was that I felt very little of those chest pains. Don’t want to jinx it or anything but that phase may be over.

Nevertheless when I started out for my morning walk I felt unwell, and aborted the walk about 15 minutes into it. Back to the room for another nap. About 11am I went out for another walk, which went better; and for a third around 4pm. Right now I feel quite well. So, you know: up and down. Convalescence is a bitch.

1.318 walking, driving

Sunday 10/25/2020

Quiet Sunday morning. Was not able to finish the NYT puzzle; the cryptic clues were too tricky.

I went for a walk around Palo Alto, enjoying being almost pain-free. In fact the annoying chest pains were almost entirely absent today, coming back only in the evening. So that was good.

But my walk of a little over a mile made me feel tired, and I napped for nearly an hour before lunch came. After lunch I decided to go somewhere different. I got the car out and drove up winding Page Mill Road to Highway 9 at the crest of the Coast Range. I had to pass quite a few bicycles, and remembered how it felt to ride up that 2000-foot narrow grade. I did it several times over the years, on a regular bike and on a recumbent.

At the top I lucked into a parking spot at Russian Ridge preserve, and walked about a mile into the preserve. This trail is a consistent uphill hike. The phone now says I climbed 17 flights of stairs today. Sounds about right. I had to stop often to bring my heart rate down, although I was not short of breath at any point.

Back in the car I drove North to pick up Highway 35 and back down the hill to I280. The hybrid picks up 4.7 miles of battery capacity coming off that hill. I like my plug-in hybrid.

And of course once back home I sat down in my recliner and immediately went off in another hour of deep sleep. Old. I definitely have been converted to an old person.

Oh, wait. In the evening I got a reply to my email from Amy Tucker, the coach emerita at SWBB. Hang on, we have problems, we have to hire a new marketing person. We’ll be in touch.

1.317 activism, walks

Saturday 10/24/2020

I started the day writing an open letter to Stanford Women’s Basketball, complaining that they have not communicated with their former season ticket holders. I think it was a nice essay, balancing criticism with positive suggestions. I shall append it here.

With that sent, I took a nice walk in the Baylands, a little exercise for me and for the car. Only 2.1 miles, according to the phone, which I think undercounts. Someday I will verify that.

On return I was quite tired, and took an hour-long nap in my recliner. And another shorter nap after lunch, after which I flogged myself out the door for a second walk around downtown. 3.4 miles, almost 9,100 steps for the day.

Later I prepared a Slottr signup sheet for FOPAL. Recently FOPAL was gifted with a massive donation of books of and about art, thousands of volumes, some quite valuable. They are going to hold a special weekend sale November 15-18, and wanted a sign-up sheet for that.

Here’s the letter to the SWBB staff, BCC’d to several fans who all responded enthusiastically.

Dear SWBB: Why have you ghosted me?

I thought we had a solid relationship, 25 years and more, but suddenly you have cut me off, ghosted me completely.

I know there’s a pandemic on, causing lots of uncertainty, but hey, it’s pandemic time for everybody. Stanford Women’s Volleyball has sent me four (4!) emails in the past weeks to tell me about their team. Stanford Men’s Basketball has kept in touch also.

But from you, dear SWBB, I’ve heard nada. Zippedy-doo. Bupkis.

Oh, I get rumors. Thanks to the fan-operated FBC website I know you’ve sent a few tweets, that you are practicing, that there have been some transfers. I hear things — indirectly. Forgive me for stalking you, but I found out via the Cal Poly SLO website that you are plan a game with them! (Nothing about that on gostanford.com — of course.)

But this is long past the time of year when you’d normally ask me to sign up for another season ticket. And all I’ve heard is — silence. Even the Buck Cardinal club, usually so eager to chat, has cut me off.

Look, I understand that at this point, you aren’t sure what a “season ticket” might consist of. When will Stanford Athletics and Santa Clara County agree on a safe number of fans in Maples? (I’m picturing Bernard Muir and Dr. Sara Cody, in masks, eyeball to eyeball over a negotiating table. Oh to be a fly on that wall.)  Will it be January? March? So, OK, you literally don’t know what you have to sell this year, what a “season ticket” will consist of.

That’s no reason to cut your fans off cold! Talk to us! Tell us about the things you DO know, the things you CAN offer. Like exclusive video streaming. Please, please tell us that there will be a better way of following a game in real time than KZSU commentary? Please tell us there will be a virtual pre-game chalk talk, and a virtual Behind the Bench for every game? (And if you can’t tell us you’ve already hired Ros G-O or Chiney as the meeting host and moderator for those — what’s wrong with you?!?)

And remember in the reality of the pandemic, even if the County and the University agree to let some fans into Maples, there will be loyal season ticket holding fans who feel they cannot go — people in the high-risk categories, or who live with high-risk family, or live in a senior residence with tighter rules on “gatherings” than the County’s.

There must be things you can tell us, and even if all you can tell us is “we don’t know”, you can tell us that; and you might even — bear with me here — ask us for suggestions. I know, it’s a stretch, but if you will just communicate you might find you have a deeper reservoir of understanding, patience, and good-will out here than you apparently imagine.

Just sayin’.

Dave Cortesi

1.316 walk, sloth

Friday 10/23/2020

In the morning I walked to the PA Cafe in Midtown and back. Total distance for the day, 8600 steps, 3.9 miles, yay me. However that was only up to 10am or so, and I pretty well couch potato’d the rest of the day. Not feeling super well, chest pains annoying, just blah.

My new BP monitor arrived, and registers 12 or 15 points under the old one.

Tomorrow I gotta stir myself to more consistent activity.

1.315 medical stuff

Thursday 10/22/2020

Started the day with Veronica’s aerobics. Then tidied up because today was the long-delayed day for maid service in unit 621. You know, clean the place so the maid won’t think you’re a slob?

At 10:30 I walked the mile to PAMF for my flu shot appointment. Flu clinics at PAMF in prior years had involved standing in line in a hallway, going into a room with a dozen close-spaced desks. In the pandemic, it was set up in the underground garage, with crowd-barriers meandering all over the floor to shot stations 20 feet apart. Walked back in plenty of time for lunch. Looking at the phone, I walked 9000 steps, just over 3 miles today.

At 1:30 I drove back up to the PAMF auxiliary on Encina avenue for a heart to heart with Dr. DiBiase.

First topic I wanted to talk about was my chest pains. These small (1 to 3 on a scale of 10) have been consistent since the weekend after The Event on day 1.297, approximately an eternity ago. They vary from a general tenderness around the breastbone to a stabbing or pinching twinge in my left armpit. DiBiase’s take: don’t worry about it. The original dissection could have leaked some blood into the medical word, or lots of other things. As long as they don’t get worse with exercise (they don’t, in fact getting warm as I did in aerobics this morning makes them better) or with posture (again, no), don’t fuss.

Next we talked about the meds the surgery team prescribed. She disagreed with them, and changed one prescription for blood pressure. B.P. is an important topic, and keeping it under 120 is a target to avoid aneurisms going forward. My home BP monitor has been reporting 130s and 140s; but when the nurse took it at PAMF, it was 119. Hmm. Anyway, she thought taking Metoprolol Tartrate morning and evening was not the right way; she prescribed the slower-acting Metoprolol Succinate to be taken at bedtime only. A new prescription forwarded to CVS.

We talked about the future prospects of the dissection, without any conclusions. On examining me she heard some “new noises” in my neck, and directed me to ask Dr. Watkins if there is any carotid involvement. Actually she plans to confer with Watkins directly.

And we talked about my 18-year-old aortic valve. It could last two months or two years, she said, no telling. The current technology is “valve in valve” where a new valve is installed by way of a catheter up the aorta, just like my recent stenting. However, the placement of the stents might or might not interfere with that process. In the meantime, focus on getting over this event and getting stronger.

Back home, I took my BP monitor down to the nursing station on the first floor, and we ran a comparison to their professional one. My said 137, theirs said 122. I went back upstairs and ordered a new BP monitor from Amazon.

Then I walked over to CVS on University to pick up my new metropolol prescription, and then back to the bathroom to carefully remove all the one kind of tablet from the morning and evening pill cases, and put the other kind of tablet into the evening case only.

1.314 much the same

Wednesday 10/21/2020

In the morning I walked my running route. Generally that felt good, but I did stop to sit on a bench for a minute. Later in the day I did my laundry. Had a long phone chat with Scott. I was pleased to note actual hunger preceding lunch and supper.

In the afternoon I spent some time assembling numbers on blood pressure and weight, and the main questions I want to ask Dr. DiBiase tomorrow.

1.313 exercise, walking, bored

Tuesday 10/20/2020

For the first time in many weeks, I joined Veronica’s 7:30am aerobics class. I was able to do everything, although every move felt more strenuous than before. I’ve lost a lot of fitness, perhaps some muscle mass too.

In the afternoon I got bored with myself for just basically sitting around and went for a longish walk (2 miles for the day). I’m bored. Then I think about how on Thursday I’ll be talking to Dr. DiBiase about my heart valve, and possibly feeling nostalgic for simple boredom.

1.312 a monday

Monday 10/19/2020

Started with a long walk, walking what was my normal jogging route, wondering if I could jog it. Two miles of jogging, another mile to close the loop. Probably could, with frequent breaks just walking. But I’ll wait until after I talk to Dr. DiBiase on Thursday.

Had an actual appetite for lunch and again for supper. That’s an improvement. For the record, I’ve dropped about 7 pounds in the past six weeks. Did it come off my waist, exposing my abs? Of course not. My general outline is just as it was, only areas of skin on my arms and elsewhere show more wrinkles than before.

Did a little prep work on parts of the model. Tomorrow I will attempt to shoot a heavy color coat on those parts.

In the mail from yesterday, the bill from the Palo Alto city ambulance for my ten-minute no-siren ride to the emergency room. $2500. The form asked for insurance information, so I returned it with that including a color copy of my cards. Presumably it will come back weeks from now, with a lower asking price.

1.311 shake, model

Sunday 10/18/2020

Did my usual Sunday morning things, watering plants, NYT puzzle, etc. Then: what next? I should take a walk; I should take the car out; aha. I took the car to the Palo Alto Baylands and had a 2 mile walk.

Then it was 11am and I was a little hungry, that’s a nice thing. I remembered last time I talked to Dennis he had recommended “go out for a milkshake” as a cure for depression. Why not? I drove one hop down the freeway to Rengstorff and bought a choc. shake at the In and Out. Nice.

In the afternoon I fiddled with a fussy bit of the MG model. It has spoke wheels, and the plastic casting of the inner and outer halves of the spoke wheels is quite good but not perfect. Lots of the individual spokes have wee flashes and bulgy bits that keep them from looking like rods. So I spent an hour with the tip of the x-acto knife, spoke-shaving. Spoke-shaving was a thing, once. I should take a picture of this but it’s tiny close-up work. The kind of work where I take off my glasses and use the perfect focus at the end of my nose.

Went for a short walk after supper (2.9 total for the day). I think I feel pretty decent. Not recovered, but definitely recovering.