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Sun, Sep. 14th, 2014, 11:23 pm
Heads Up Houghton

Twenty-five years ago I received the first Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Michigan Tech -- previous doctorates were in Metallurgy (Physics of Solids option). Ravi Pandey was in the late A. Barry Kunz's computational physics research group at the time -- he's now chair of the Physics Department. So I have been invited to give a colloquium talk, and I will hopefully also be able to demonstrate using Skype to give remote lectures. I'll be giving a version of a talk I've presented to Physics conferences and the 2012 World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago.

Thursday 18 September 2014
4:00pm, Room 139 Fisher Hall

Scale and Space: Seeing Neil Armstrong's Footprints

Abstract: What can we see from space? Popular TV shows suggest we can infinitely enlarge any image without any loss, but the real world is both much more complicated and much more interesting. We know Neil Armstrong's footprints are still on the Moon - but can we see them? And from how far away? And what else can we see? The Internet is full of fascinating images.


If you happen to be north of the Lower 47½, stop by. It'll be fun.

We haven't been to U.P. in a long time. The last time we roasted the engine in the 1989 S-10 Blazer and crossed Lake Michigan at midnight on the SS Badger in a huge storm with twenty-five foot seas. The forecast this week looks much more mild. (grin)

Dr. Phil

Thu, Sep. 11th, 2014, 03:41 pm
__0__ Days Since Last Fall

We knew it would eventually happen.

I managed to fall yesterday.

Last year when I spent 5½ months in hospital, I vowed to the nursing staff and the physical therapists -- No Falls. When I got home, I told everyone No Falls.

So there I was, using my canes to go the restroom -- it used to be the 2nd men's room, but they put an Occupied/Vacant lock on the door and called it Unisex -- because there's a structural column inside so my walker won't fit. Nearing time for my 10am class, I grabbed my case with the watch in it. Holding the case and keys in my right hand, a pen fell out of the case. So I shifted everything to my left hand -- two canes, keys, case -- so I could bend down and pick it up. Somewhere in this process my hand slipped off the weightbearing cane and...


Now realize I have not been able to get up off the floor in 492 days and I am now splat on my stomach.

On the second HELP a grad student bolted out of the nearby office. I said I needed a chair. Paul, former department chair was there, too, and he went around me through Bradley Commons. Grad student does a great job of locking the chair, with one foot jammed against a wheel so it can't go.

And I'm not sure how I'm going to do this.

I got up from a therapy table and touched the ceiling back in the spring, but we probably had the shoes and AFO brace off. I should push up with my right foot. But once on my knees and leaning on the chair, I could get my left foot up and flat on the ground with the brace. Left foot first was how I used to get up in Olden Times, so I just went for it. Told Paul to reach under my shirt, grab onto my jeans and haul straight up on the count of three.

1... 2... 3... And I am up.

Thought with the blood thinners I'd have some great bruises. Or a scraped knee where I'd felt friction between knee, jeans and carpet when I went down. But other than a few kinks, no discernible damage.

Yay. Go me.

Thanks to all the members of Team Dr. Phil!

Now get back to that Safety record.

Dr. Phil

Sun, Sep. 7th, 2014, 09:32 pm
Respectable Spies Like Us

What a glorious weekend. The first week of class and as the week progressed it got hotter and steamier. Thursday and Friday was in the high 80s with a heat index up to 100°F. Plus rain. Saturday and Sunday? Highs in the 70s, blue skies with puffy white clouds. Lows dry and around 49°F. Mmm.

Saturday means movie day... And nothing like the Matinee rate at Woodland.

A Most Wanted Man [R]
Celebration Woodland Theatre #1 3:30pm 2x$5.00

Ah, it has been a long term since we had a good romp with a John le Carré spyfest. With the Soviet Union gone and the Cold War, which gave us George Smiley and any number of great spy thrillers, where do we go from here? Well, Hamburg, Germany, where 9-11 was hatched among other terror plots.

Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in his last leading role as a dissolute, tired, chain smoking, hard drinking spymaster trying to do the right thing, get results, with as little damage as possible. Oh, he's with a very small unit -- think the CIA operations in the Bourne movies in a shoebox but still modern and up-to-date. And he got dumped in Hamburg after his unit was sold out in Beirut and remains haunted. You know things can't go right here.

Willem Dafoe is a Hamburg banker dragged into things. You sure he's not really a rich, privileged German banker? And he has the shiniest black car I've ever seen in the movies. Robin Wright is American Embassy/CIA-maybe. She was such a nice girl in The Princess Bride. Since getting into House of Cards, she's just evil. (grin) Rachel McAdams is the German social justice lawyer -- very good performance, but there are no Germans in Germany who can speak English with a German accent? Nina Hoss is an actual German actress, who plays Hoffman's assistant -- you can tell they've been together a long time. Most of the rest of the cast is equally terrific, but though I know I've seen them, I only can pinpoint one as one of a pair of killers from an older version of the Matrix in The Matrix Reloaded, which was just on the other night.

A good spy story should be about ambiguity and confusion, not truth and light. Is this Chechyan refugee a good man? Or trying to fund a terrorist cell? Is he even Chechyan? It's clear that some in this espionage game hate the whole Muslim world. But you have to be smart and set aside both your own personal feelings as well as the manipulations of the filmmakers.

Satisfying? You bet. Because it's a great spy story, not because the ending is the ending you want. I think I need a cigarette and a stiff drink after this one. (evil-smirk)


Trailers: Gone Girl Did Ben Affleck kill his wife? Can Ben Affleck act? Is Ben Affleck Batman? Might answer 2 of 3, if we cared about this movie. Calvary is not what I thought it might be, given the West Michigan Christian Reformed community. Instead, it seems to be about a good man who is a small town Irish priest -- and targeted to be killed not because he was the priest who is guilty, but the one who is innocent. Seems like a mix of Doubt -- which starred Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie version -- and High Noon. A Walk Among The Tombstones seems too reminiscent of the new Pierce Brosnan movie The November Man only with Liam Niesen. Retired secret agent brought back for one last job, either officially or unofficially. We always liked Brosnan in Remington Steele and as .007, but we love watching Liam chew up bad guys. Could be fun. Le Week-End is a lark of an old English couple trying to have a weekend in Paris. They fight, or not. It's hard to tell. She laughs when his knee finally gives out and he's laughing while writhing on the ground because she's laughing... And heading down the street without him. The glorious Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan and Jeff Goldblum. Looks very cute. Life Itself is the documentary on eminent film critic and human being Robert Ebert. It's only playing once a day, but it's one of a September series of movies, so we do still have time to see it at Woodland. And I STILL can't wait til November and Interstellar.

Dr. Phil

Mon, Sep. 1st, 2014, 01:33 pm
Labour Day

... in Canada and the U.S., perhaps elsewhere.

Most people are totally confused on what Labor Day is. It's easy enough to Google for the answer.

Still, for most of us, the reality is that it's one day off at the end of summer, often before the start of classes. It was the target, the line in the sand, for grade school kids growing up. Picnic and family together made it worth it, even for those who hated the thought of school. Well played, actually. In a country where we make it difficult to take time off, one day won't kill you.

When I taught at Hope College, I was stunned to find out classes were held on Labor Day -- because, godless Communists, you know. I thought that was May Day. But hey... we had plans, so Mrs. Dr. Phil went to the Whitecaps baseball game by herself. Some Republicans have decided this year they had better work on Labor Day, else they get union cooties. Twits.

These days I am once again a member of a union. WMU's part-time instructors organized a couple of years after the grad students did. Both have resulted in real improvements, especially TA training and opening up some travel money and easier parking for the adjuncts.

In my 22-odd years mostly at Western, I haven't had to deal with a picket line. Before the PIO union, I feared what might happen if one of the unions, especially the faculty union, went on strike. Could I be fired for honoring a picket line? Not that I expected physical roughnecking, and I want to teach my students, but I have not once in my life ever aspired to be a scab.

It is ironic that some in 2014 are desperate to gut unions, restrict organizing and bargaining, demanding a mythical Right To Work For Less, at a time when union membership is down, and carefully contrived bankruptcies and reorganizations have damaged or negated contracts and broken the faith on pensions.

Whether you celebrate Labor Day as a salute to workers or recognition of the long struggles of the last century and a half, or just a happy end to summer, doesn't matter to me too much.

We're at home today. Quiet plans. Foggy early this morning. Dark with noisy buzzing bugs at 11. Spitting rain at noon, a brief appearance of sun. Heavy downpour at 1. Channel 3 warned people to have alternate plans today. 2:20pm it's clearing to the north with some cloudy sun. Cubs game has been able to start with Sun and clearing -- the Jackie Robinson West team from Chicago that came in second to Seoul in the 2014 Little League World Series in attendance. The bugs here are making a remarkable natural symphony.

Machine eggs from my parents 1950s era Sunbeam egg cooker on toast from the last two pieces of farmers bread for breakfast. Tomato sandwich and a near perfect Red Haven peach for lunch. Weiners from the Allendale Meat Market and beans for supper planned.

Enjoy the day.

Oh, and thank you to those who are working today.

Dr. Phil

Mon, Sep. 1st, 2014, 01:11 am
The Dread Pirate Roberts Goes To College

Most weekends we do movies on Saturday. But this is a three-day weekend -- the last three-day weekend of the year -- and the official end of summer. So with rain forecast as possible on Saturday and Monday, we decided to see what the options were for Sunday. There's the new Daniel Radcliffe movie, but at Celebration North it would be in the evening, otherwise we'd have to go to Rivertown. We've talked about seeing Guardians of the Galaxy again, but that's a low priority. In the end, there was one amazing movie to see. A little early, so we didn't finish the Sunday paper first, but a nice day for a drive.

Boyhood [R]
Celebration North Theatre #9 12:40pm 2x$8.25

It took twelve years and 166 minutes to make this groundbreaking film. It's not that we haven't seen casts grow up through a series of films -- Harry Potter and the Up series anyone? -- but here we have one film following the same core cast from Grades 1 through 12 and the start of college for Mason Jr. It's a dangerous project. Who knows who your lead will grow up to be? Certainty not an artistic soulful eyed young Cary Elwes. (grin) And what happens if one of your cast doesn't make it? Thankfully they dodged this bullet.

Richard Linklater wrote and directed this "pseudo real life Truman Show" (grin), with Ellar Coltrane as Mason Jr., Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as his divorced parents and Linklater's daughter Lorelei as the older sister. An assortment of others come in and out through the years, due to relationships, moving, new schools, career changes. It's not all domestic bliss, but it pulls back and does not descend into the full pathos and horror of a Law & Order: SVU episode. While not all sunshine and light, for the most part Boyhood is a gentle film. One of the real treats of filming sporadically over the years, there's no set dressing with the wrong tech -- people just use what they use, whether computers, phones, games.

Of course I frequently want to shake the kids out of their lethargy -- this is not my childhood. But the teen/tween eyerolling, smart talk and moody insolence, nice done. Linklater's daughter, Mrs. Dr. Phil read to me, didn't want to be in the movie any more and asked her dad to kill her off. Not that type of movie. But the rebellion? Came out perfect on the screen.

As for the artistic bent, Mason goes into photography. Though it bugged me that he didn't drag a camera with him everywhere. Me and my photo geek friends always did, though we didn't have dates. Once we see him wielding a Nikon DSLR, not sure of the model, possibly a D3100, and at a football game one of the fast f2.8 long zooms -- 70-200mm or 80-200mm. Expensive lens. I don't own one. On the way to college, the camera is a Canon 7D. Neither is a full-frame FX sensor, so one wonders what would have motivated him to jump systems. DX to FX? That would've been an easier sell. NOTE: This is the problem of knowing some technical area. I warn my students to duck when a prof's pet research topic comes up in class. Someone who is a firearms expert might have something to say about the guns in this movie; a car guy on the black Pontiac GTO.

If you're wondering why a film about a first grader gets an R rating, consider that he doesn't stay a first grader, the f-word and other swear words get frequent flyer mileage, even being made fun of at one point, there's a lot of drinking and some mild drug use, and teenage boys being teenage boys. Frankly, I think IFC Films is right -- there's a lot that teens under 17 should be seeing. There are, amidst some chaos, some excellent and some awful bits of advice to the kids, sometimes from unlikely sources. Alas, we still are subject in these United States to an antiquated and inadequate movie ratings system.

It's not a perfect film, to which some will complain it's too long, too talky, but it is a well done film. We need the length to make each age work. I particularly liked that they didn't use title slides to change time. Time just flowed.

Don't know how long this one will last in the theatres. We had at least twenty adults and seniors for an early Sunday show. Seek this out.


Trailers: Hector and the Search for Happiness Simon Pegg leaves his psychiatric practice to search the world for happiness. Supporting cast includes Toni Collette, the always great Stellan Skarsgård and Christopher Plummer. Birdman about a washed up superhero actor trying to reclaim some glory. Michael Keaton and Edward Norton, so you know it's likely to be strange and good, and of course Unbroken, Hunger Games 3.1 and Hobbit 3.

Dr. Phil

ARGH! -- When I posted this in the wee hours this morning, I went to look at it on Dreamwidth... And not there. Checked LiveJournal... not there. Normally I close the last preview window before posting, but I hadn't, so if necessary I could have scraped it off the preview and reconstructed it, but geesh. One more thing to try. Did Previous Page back to the screen which confirmed posting to Dreamwidth and crossposting to LiveJournal. With trepidation, I clicked on View This Entry... And there it was. But not elsewhere... except that it was dated August 1, not September 1. The writing of the post had crossed the midnight barrier and the month hadn't been incremented. Seem to recall something about that in a code update post. Guess it's not completely fixed. Edited the date and reposted and both blog sites moved it to the top of the heap. Whew. Relief.

Sat, Aug. 30th, 2014, 12:21 am
Dr.'s 2nd

By Monday my foot surgeon was pretty much on board with everyone else that we're in a wait-and-see mode through December or so. Despite the other doctors visit this week, consider Monday my final clearance for teaching this fall.

So Monday was time to enact my evil plan. The Kindle Fire HD I got in June 2013 was a real lifesaver in the hospital. It's not perfect -- no tablet is -- but I can get most of what I need to do online, and a certain amount offline as well. And even with WiFi on all the time, the battery life is decent.

I've used it at work, too, much as I used a variety of PDAs over the years. The idea was to get a work tablet. And I found that Amazon had refurbished Kindle Fire HDs (Previous 7" Generation), the same as mine. There's a lot of difference in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gen Kindle Fires. Between me and Mrs. Dr. Phil, we've had all three. Sticking with what I have means all the same apps work -- Mrs. Dr. Phil had trouble with a few apps jumping from 1st to 3rd gen.

Now you can see why I was so ticked last week when we both had connecting issues, which I thought had to do with Amazon's SSL certificate server. How could I implement my evil plan and clone my tablet if the original was no longer working? But by the weekend order was restored in the universe and the planets returned to their orbits.

Alas, by the time Monday came around, I had to spend extra money. The 16GB units were not currently available. Since I wanted to have it for class on the 2nd, I went with the 32GB. Everything else was available -- a black leather case that uses a magnetic power control that I didn't even know was an option on the 2nd gen, the AC charger, a 3-pack of styluses and the nice Amazon Basic netbook bag, so I can have handles. Handles are good when you work with canes. (grin)

By the time I came home from ID and train chasing on Wednesday, all the parts were here, except for the magnetic cover. It came in an evening delivery. Interesting experience to download my current apps as needed. Today I took it into the office.

I went to download my music. I've bought about 11 songs to have a nice background buzz. But... Amazon Cloud said I had 381 songs under my Purchased Music. Huh? I realized that Amazon had matched my previous CD orders against the Amazon Prime free music list. Since the office WiFi is effectively faster, downloading them all was no problem. So I now have a bunch of Asia, Quarterflash and Phantom of the Opera. Great Big Sea. And more.

Huh. I like this cloning business -- and here's where Amazon's Big Brother/Skynet ways work for me.

As for the title of this post, based on my mailing address, Amazon has never quite figured out if my first name is Philip or Dr. (grin) So this Kindle Fire HD is Dr.'s Kindle and the new one is Dr.'s 2nd Kindle. Of course I always name my machines. The new one is LUCY, after the enhanced human being Scarlett Johansson movie. After all, it has twice the memory of the first one. (evil-grin)

Dr. Phil

Fri, Aug. 29th, 2014, 03:32 pm
a wizard of id

You know it's going to be an odd day when both elevators say they're on 5, the left one starts coming down, you press the up button, and the right elevator dings and opens on 1 despite it saying it's still on 5...

But you know that there's some sort of building problem because it is excessively humid, so you get in the elevator anyway. And properly get off on 2. Who knows what the indicator on 1 says?

But before you got there, it took almost two hours to get there... after you got on campus. There'd been a note in the university e-newsletter last week that university IDs were being changed. I'd say "again", but really I've been here some 22 years and this may be my fifth ID card -- and two of those changes were switching from Faculty to Grad Student and back. (grin)

So I figured I'd drive around to the Bernhard Center this morning and get it out of the way. Arrived 10:20. And... no parking spaces. The two handicapped spots were in use. And there were a number of cars in the Tow Away zones.

Twice spots opened up -- and I couldn't get them. Lots of families working on taking The College Kid around. Watched a couple of kids and their dad playing with an old golden retriever named Arby. Their Saturn SUV had one of those power lift gates -- which would close better if the back wasn't so stuffed. Funny to watch it close, only to open again.

After an hour, I decided to drive around one more time, missed a spot but another was open. On the left side of the drive with a curb, which made getting in and out exceedingly difficult. Went to stuff quarters into the meter -- the handicapped spots were free -- but it was jammed. Got the walker, rolled in, found a bathroom -- the button didn't work for exiting. Guy behind me helpfully pushed the button a few more times. Yeah, Sparky, the guy with the walker didn't think to try it.

People milling outside the BroncoID office. A line? No, waiting for their cards. Alas, I didn't get to keep my old one. The girl had only modest success getting the remote control camera to work right. Had to keep lowering my chin -- and I have a long torso and she couldn't figure out how to get the glare off the glasses. Then waited in the hall for the guy with the softest voice in the group to come and call names.

At this point I found myself across from the campus bookstore, which I haven't been in for years. Decided to look for a new WMU cap. Had to negotiate through a tangle of scattered clothes racks too narrow for the walker. Will not buy the ones in the same fonts and design for every other bloody school. Found a nice black with yellow trim hat with an embroidered W and Broncos horsehead. I have a very old brown Western hat that's pretty battered.

Had to loop way around the back of the store to get a free path out. Had to pass a big display of Moleskin notebooks. Looked at a small black book. Want something to pocket with me to make notes in class and office. Could work. Then a flat pen to go with it. Overpriced, of course, but look... here's a boxed set with both. And of course my shiny new Faculty BroncoID still gets a 10% faculty discount. So not quite as bad as it could be.

By this time I was at the other entrance, near the Blazer. But no power doors and three stairs here -- in the immortal words of Tim Gunn, I made it work. Along with two students who figured it was dumb to have to go all the way around the building to get to the same spot. Pulled out my quarter I'd left sticking out of the meter. Western doesn't need to get money out of me for parking.

Whew. Just about two hours. And look, there's a bunch of people gathered around a WMU sign for a picture... And one had a bucket. Yup. I got out the D100 and shot some administrator taking the ALS Ice Bucket plunge. (grin) In my comfortable air con, that made my day. Timing is everything.

Dr. Phil

Fri, Aug. 29th, 2014, 12:42 am

Wednesday, driving back from Infectious Diseases on I-96, I passed a billboard for the Coopersville & Marne Railway. It's a tourist short line, created 25 years ago from a piece of the Grand Trunk Western, which runs a couple of passenger cars out-and-back into the country. They do a number of fun themed trips, including stopping at a pumpkin patch to pick your Halloween victim (grin) and murder mysteries for adults.

The billboard mentioned they are always up for charters. As I was thinking about the kinds of groups who might charter the train, I spotted it. Much of the line parallels I-96. Now here the thing. We've lived here for most of the Coopersville & Marne's existence. I've photographed a couple of times around the terminus in downtown Coopersville, right where Lemmen Chevrolet used to be, including some B&W I shot this winter with Wendy's old Nikkormat, but haven't posted. I have seen the train along I-96, but was either going the wrong way, or didn't have time, or didn't have a camera... or worse, the train was stopped for its entertainment or pumpkin hunting -- away from any access roads.

Well I try to carry a camera all the time now, so I continued on at 70mph to Exit 19, got off on 48th Avenue and headed east just before the grade crossing. It's an old road -- the railbed is level and straight, the road is not. Down below some trees I heard the train pass. Fortunately, up ahead there was a driveway to a self-storage operation in the middle of nowhere (but probably visible from I-96). Turn around. But there was now a car ahead of me, pacing the train at maybe 25 mph. Florida plates. Madly waving at the train. Family, I suppose. I passed them and passed the train.

Back at 48th, I almost turned to catch the train at the grade crossing, but across the intersection was a parking lot with nothing around it. A Park-n-Ride for the expressway. Perfect. Plenty of time to sit at a nice angle and wait for my train.

Technical/Artistic Note: I love having the lightweight semi-pro Nikon D100, especially with my mobility. But sometimes the pictures come out and sometimes they are weak. It's not the same CCD sensor as the D1 series. So is it the camera or my post processing? I turned on the Matrix metering last week, hoping to get a better exposed based image, but they don't... pop. Mainly I boost the contrast and brightness to get a pleasing look. Now I am trying upping the Saturation by 40 points, which is really working. That and contrast gives me some color, highlights and blue skies. Should've thought of this before. Hell I set the Saturation onboard the D100 from I to III already, but this is definitely more vibrant. Added some Sharpen, too, on two of the shots.

I probably took it too far, but these give me a vibe of 1960s Kodachrome-X slides. Not quite the Kodak 64 Professional (PKR) or Ektachrome 200 Professional (EPD) I'd really want, from the film days. By contrast, the D1X and D1H with just contrast adjustments shoot more like clean Vericolor III Professional (VPS). For those of you who know your 1980s 35mm Kodak films.

Coopersville & Marne Railway train crossing 48th Avenue. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Following train into Coopersville. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Even with a 35mph speed limit, it was easy to get ahead again and found a parking lot next to the depot. No gates or lights at any of these crossings, for safety here in town they let someone off to flag the train across.

Pulling into the Coopersville depot. Their prime locomotive is this 1200hp EMD SW-9. A switch engine, the SW series are dependable workhorses. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

The passenger cars are a mixture of heavyweights with 6-wheel and 4-wheel trucks, like this one. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Whew. Boy, haven't chased a train in years. So good to know I have some usable images, even if these are the final pictures. Truth is, I spoiled myself in the old days, shooting transparency film -- you hot it or you didn't. With first and 1½ gen DSLRs, the sensors don't have the dynamic range of film, hence my issues with editing.

Anyway... I had fun.

Dr. Phil

Thu, Aug. 28th, 2014, 03:55 pm
3 of 3

Today I had the Wound Clinic downtown at 11am. All the ducks, er, doctors lined up this week. Talked about what he was seeing, and what the other doctors were saying. For the moment, continuing on with what we're doing.

Go ahead, Dr. Hodgson said with a smile, beat the odds.

Hey, I'm happy to comply. As I've said, I can deal with a gimpy foot. And if sometime it has to come off, not quite like the foot on my original G.I. Joe which just popped off, well, it's not like I'd be losing a perfectly GOOD foot... (grin)

But today is not that day.

3½ of 3

Of course this morning was also the last day that the Spectrum Visiting Nurses would be by once a week, now that I was starting work on Tuesday. Funny to call it a discharge when you're already sitting at home. But we've even done this before, last year. Temperature good. Blood pressure the usual, 118/54. Breathing, peeing, pooping fine. Yup, in good shape if you don't consider that left foot.

This round has mainly been Rachel, who lives maybe ten miles from here. So it's been great to have her come by first thing at 7:45, after breakfast and before Mrs. Dr. Phil is off to work. Having somebody professional look at my foot every week all summer was important. Seemed a shame to put on a bandage that was coming off in a few hours, but we are WAY beyond worrying about quantities of medical waste.

Now with a couple of things to do at the office tomorrow, then one last three day weekend of the year, and we conclude this August Summer of 2014. All told, despite setbacks, very successful compared to the Year Without A Summer in 2013.

Dr. Phil

Thu, Aug. 28th, 2014, 01:27 am
2 of 3

I thought I had two doctor appointments this week -- foot surgeon on Monday and Infectious Diseases on Wednesday. But one of the phone messages awaiting on Tuesday evening when I got home from my adventures in Indiana, reminded that I had an appointment with the Wound Clinic on Thursday. Oh, that's good -- all three doctors in the last week before classes. Had forgotten to put that one in the calendar.

Then there was the other message, from Infectious Diseases saying that they hadn't received the lab work yet. Oh crap, I've been trying to get all the ducks in the row after the MRI, I forgot ID wanted blood work to check how I was doing. And of course, I heard the message after I got home at 5:30 and the appointment was for 11am. I was afraid I was going to have to cancel and reschedule. Could I even get an appointment for Thursday or Friday at this late date?

But first things first. Campustowne Lab in Allendale opens at 8am. I knew they had the order, so it was just a matter of checking in and having the vampires bite. I told my sad story. No problem. Normally the courier gets their samples for the first run at 10:30, but the lab really didn't want me to have to cancel an appointment, so they'd call for an early courier and guaranteed the results would be on the system before 11. I was out by 8:30, had enough time to come home, nap for an hour then head downtown.

The first time I had to go to Infectious Diseases outside of the hospital, I did the valet at Butterworth Hospital, and had them come get me in the wheelchair. We arranged that in case I was still doing the hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy. This time I went to Lot 8 and the building directly. Turned out not to be a bad deal. From an end handicapped spot, I took my walker across my blue parking spot and across a red parking spot -- for ambulances -- and in the door. Elevator by the door and ID next to the elevator on the second floor. Utterly easy.

And yes, the lab results were in and they were fine. Yay me. Go Spectrum.

Everybody naturally is concerned with their specialties. IDs take on chronic osteomyelitis is that you can have it for a long time if it isn't getting worse. They have no worry that what's in the bone can make me septic -- to get the infection in the blood, it needs to be active in the wound area not the bone. They told me that after the IV antibiotics that it'd be 4-6 months of oral antibiotics. No benefit beyond that.

So unless the diseased bone actually fractures, from ID's point of view, nothing has to be decided now.

I'm in my second month of doxycycline, so I asked if they needed to change the antibiotic. Not particularly, especially since I was tolerating it so well. We left it so if after a month or two I'd feel better to change to something else, Bactrim will also work. We'll see.

We'll also see how the heel wounds continues on its healing, especially with a pickup in activity.

But these are all known issues. And tomorrow we'll see what the wound team says.

And anon...

Dr. Phil

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