Thursday, November 12, 2009
Is that you on the cover?
This past weekend, I was entering my book into a national site which will make my title, The Decision,
recognizable to various book outlets. In one of the pages related to this, there was a box that asked the question,"
How much does your book weigh?" Since I had been formulating the website, theprostatedecision.com, weeks before the actual
manuscript was put into book form, I did not know the weight of my book until I got my book back in proof form this past week.
On Saturday past, I went with my book proof to a local UPS store but they had closed at noon. I went to my office, with my
little Clompie Miester, and after getting some Johnny's Bar-b-que, but forgot to weight the book on our stamp machine.
So, what to do? Going back to the lake with the pomps de la chompie... I see a pharmacy that has a sign that says, " We
ship UPS." Me and the Chomy pull in, and I go into the pharmacy with my book in hand hoping to be "weighed."
I walk in and go to the pharmacist counter ,and the pharmacist's assistant quickly refers me to the "Gift and
shipping section of the pharmacy.(My grandfather was a pharmacist in LaGrange, Georgia. My grandmother, whom I adored, always
told me that, " A pharmatist's life, John, is a hard life.") In the gift section and dressed in my usual Saturday
attire; a V-neck t-shirt from Wal-mart and some clean but stained kakai's, I ask the lady in the gift and shipping area, if
she would mind, " Weighing this book for me?" At this point, she reaches underneath the counter, and pulls out
bathroom scale. By the color of it, a soft pastel yellow, I am thinking it was circa 1960's. This lady,
who was in her late sixties and very delightful and attractive, says to me after placing my book on the bathroom scales,"
It weighs a bit less than a pound." I look at the scales. The increments were in quarter pounds, and my confidence
that this assesment of weight will stand the scrutiny of UPS is suspect. After a pause and seeing my book on the bathroom
scales, the vision of the naked people from who knows where or when had stood on those scales, and that I would be soon
holding and touching that book that had contacted those scales, and that the exactness of the weight is suspect as well, is
all flowing through my mind. The lady then says, " Is this your book? Is that you on the cover?" "Yes
mam." "Congratualtions, wow, congratualtions!" I, at that point ,did not mind the rudimentary weighing system.
I had gotten from that "shipping area" everything that I had needed.
12 nov 09 @ 7:18 pm
Monday, November 9, 2009
the $3000.00 visit
9 nov 09 @ 8:06 am
My wife as well looked forward to my daughter's visit, from Bozeman, Montanna, because she wanted to show Charlie
and her the island. Karen walks the island several times a week with Penelope and just knew that Bess and Charlie would enjoy
it too. The added treat of the two water loving dogs, running along in and out of the water, chasing squirrels and sticks
would just be the icing on the cake. No sooner do they arrive at the island trail, Charlie bounds out ( I've seen him jump
into or out of a car window without a second thought or a seconds notice) and starts galloping beside Penelope. They disappear
into the woods of the island. As Bess and Karen begin the walk, Peneolpe comes limping back drenched in blood. Her back right
leg had what appeared to be a foot long laceration, and blood was just pouring. They were hysterical, and in
addition there was the fear that she might bleed to death, and the logistics of getting her into the car and then calling
the Vet. It was after five, so the office message system informed them to go to an animal emergency clinic about 15 minutes
away. They try to reach me, but I did not have my phone with me (which is by design). When I did meet up with my phone,
there were about five frantic messages about Penelope having been "Cut very badly". The Vet put in about thirty
staples, put a big lamp shade on her head, and that is how I found her upon returning home that evening. No one could figure
out what happened. We did not feel that she and Charlie had a fight. I felt that in the process of galloping together, that
Charlie nudged her into a sharp branch of a tree or something. A few days later the wound started draining and several staples
came out , reopening the laceration. Karen and I took her back to the emergency clinic. They reoperated on her
and put in more staples, and cut off skin that had died. The resultant skin was pulled together very tightly and was as my
brother Rushton would say,"tighter than Dick's hat band." Bess goes back to Bozeman, the new staple line
,too, opens and we take her back to the regular Vet. They keep Penelope for about five days in which time the entire
wound opens, they remove all the remainding staples and the decision is made to just let it heal "on its own."
This took about two months. It was a pitiful process to watch; a beautiful dog with this large shaved area on back hind quarter,
a $3000.00 surgery bill, and a large scar to remember Bess and Charlie's visit. The very thing that Pepi
and I loved the most, our pool game and retrieving sticks at the lake and the Chattahoochee river, was taken
away from us in the height of the summer because the vet admonished, "Keep her away from water." Thanks
Bess and Charlie. Yall come again won't you? Not really. I am just kidding... Love you Bessie! Charlie...
We ain't kin!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
My daughter Bess and her boyfriend visited this past summer from Bozeman, Montanna. They drove and brought
with them Charlie, a humane society border collie. I love dogs and my wife and I immediately fell in love with Charlie, that
is until he took over our home. The problem started when it became apparent that he was a bully and he immediately started
bullying Penelope. Outside in backyard, where ever Penelopee ran, Charlie ran, or I should say galloped beside her, intimidating
her. Albeit playfully. But what got me the most was the pool. Penelope and I had practiced all summer on a pool trick to do
when Bess came home. I was so excited about acting it out that I even had my wife video me doing the trick. I would get on
one side of the pool and Pepsi would get on the other. I then would throw a tennis ball half way and the two of us then would
swim as fast as we could to see who would get it first. I let her win each time, but the funny part was that she used her
tail as a rudder to quickly turn around and then swim back. Her motions were frantic as I chased her to the steps, with each
time her getting out of the pool just in time to evade my grasp. I then swam back to my side, she'd bring me the ball and
then shake, then go back to her side to repeat the game. It was exhausting for me and she loved it. I mention the steps because
Pomps de la poops always acts like the lady she is and uses the pool steps to get into the pool. Back to Charlie. I get in
the pool with the tennis ball to "show off" our trick and no sooner am I in the pool than Charlie leaps like a mad
man and takes my tennis ball. He dominated the pool the whole visit, as if he was marking his territory. Penelope was afraid
to get in the pool and was relagated to just watching, and me both in awe of the aggressive diving of Charlie in the pool(the
hell with the steps for him) and just "telling " about Peppi's trick. This picture shows Charlie "taking over"
and poor little Pommpiii having to just watch and wait for this half breed holligan gun slinging varmint from the west to
go home. On the next post I'll explain how the much anticipated visit gets worse.
7 nov 09 @ 6:27 pm
Thursday, November 5, 2009
John, it's snowing.
When I began writing The Decision, I changed my routine at the
lake. I used to go out there and cut grass, work in the garden, blow leaves. fish a bit, fill up gas containers, and go to
Walmart. With the book on my mind, I changed to taking the dogs, Chloe and the puppy, Penelope, working on building flyrods and writing the book while listening to Pandora.com on the Steely Dan/The Shins/Modest
Mouse/Beatles/Sinatra station I created. I was out there one day this past winter, when my wife called to ask,"John
have you seen the snow?" I looked up from typing and sure enough it was snowing, I had not noticed. She said, "You
need to take the dogs outside, they'll love it." I put on my jacket and went out with the dogs and saw the largest snow
flakes I had ever seen. In Northeast Georgia, snow is uncommon, we usually get one good snow a year. This was different, the
snow flakes were huge, I mean large and fluffy. The dogs went crazy. They began running all around wildly amoungst and in
between the snow flakes. I had just gotten a used, but very nice, Nikon camera for Christmas, and began taking pictures of
the dogs in the snow. Chloe would be running and Penelope would run beside her teasing her. On one occasion, Chloe snapped
back playfully at the teasing and this picture captured that moment. Two things: Over the next few months, several older patients
of mine told me they remember that day vividly as the day of the "largest snow flakes I have ever seen in my memory",
and several people have commented to me that animals love to play when it snow. (How did Karen know that and I didn't?) I
think the picture reflects both.(Penelope is the one that is surpirsed by the playful yet dramatic response of her older mentor,the
5 nov 09 @ 6:26 pm
Monday, November 2, 2009
Put a scotch on it.
One of my favorite and longtime patients was in the office this past week.
He is in his late seventies and he and I were discussing his prostate cancer. His PSA was very slowly rising after about
15 years after I had removed his prostate. He was very hesitant to do anything, such as radiation, that might alter his otherwise
excellent quality of live. We mutally agreed that at his age, we would just watch his PSA every three months and do something
if the change in the value occurred more rapidly. He said,"Dr. McHugh if it keeps going up we'll just put a scotch on
it." This remark took me aback for a minute considering his age and what I knew about him. I from time to time enjoy
scotch and began to think that many times I too had "put a scotch on it" in certain situations in the past. "Really,
Mr. Taylor? What kind of scotch do you like?" Puzzeled he said,"I don't drink, Dr. McHugh. I said put a scotch on
it. Like putting a block on a car wheel on hill to keep it from moving." He, his wife and I took a good laugh, but I
felt I had disclosed a little bit more about myself to them than I preferred. I love sayings and never heard that one. It
originated with railroad tracks and placing a "scotch" to keep the railroad car from moving.
2 nov 09 @ 6:46 pm