Sunday, December 4, 2011

Kelsey Lake, Michigan backwoods


I am in the RV at Virg and Don’s.  It’s late afternoon and I've spent practically the entire day since breakfast typing, transcribing journal entries from a 1985 journal and from the 2010 journal of my trip to Europe and Russia.  It's amazing at how much time it takes to transcribe these journals, although I did get through quite a few entries from both notebooks.  One of my goals for this Kelsey interlude was to transcribe last summer’s trip journal so it would be available to post on the blog sometime in the fall.  Another goal was to revise and complete the Caring for Your Body manuscript, which I’ve also worked on, but not as much as I hoped I would. 
This wilderness retreat on Kelsey Lake is always a haven for my spirit and an inspiration to creativity.  The Korea book was pulled together and organized from journal and e-mail sources down at Dick’s cabin on the property.  The book The God That says I Am was really begun here, some of it was written, and a lot of it was revised, either in the RV or down at the cabin.  I’m not spending any time at the cabin this year – Dick isn’t here this summer – but the trees and sky, the lake, and the encompassing, living green, are all visible from the RV windows.  This place feels like my writing spot, the place where I can write unencumbered.  Virg and Don are quite accommodating; they don’t expect anything from me, and I try not to get in the way of their busy lives, although Virg and I normally chat for a while almost every day.  I’ve had dinner with them twice in the nearly two weeks I’ve been here.  I’ll probably stay another week, and then head back down south.
I’ve finally stopped coughing up blood.  I was beginning to worry, a week ago, when I had been coughing up blood and/or clots for two and a half weeks.  I talked with a nurse at NJH after a week of it, and she told me to wait for another four or five days. A week ago I called back.  The doctor told me I could cut down on the Advair dosage, and should cut out any fish oil supplements until the bleeding stopped, which I did and the bleeding stopped a couple of days later.  I went back on the higher Advair dose recently, and back on the fish oil today.  What the nurse also said, apropos the pathology report (on tissue samples taken during the bronchoscopy) was that I don’t have emphysema or interstitial fibrosis or lung cancer.  I also don’t have sarcoidosis or diffuse neuroendocrine tumors (which the radiologist thought I might have).  Also, no microorganisms have grown out from the pulmonary lavage done during the bronchoscopy.  All of that is encouraging. 
And my breathing is certainly better than it was before; some of that may be because I’m trying to exhale more deeply to eject the abnormal amount of residual air that I tend to retain.  The doctor says my thoracic cavity volume is 140% of normal (adjusted for age and size), whereas my lung function is about 33% of normal.  So I’m just not using what I’ve got.  It may be a habit I developed over the years of “breathing over” the asthma, not exhaling adequately, because that’s when the wheezing occurs.  Beuther (the doctor) would like to see me get back to something approaching normal lung function, and wants me to take additional steroids – a heavy, but decreasing dose of prednisone to get rid of the chronic inflammation in the terminal airways, and then an additional form of inhaled steroid, that he says will penetrate further into the airways to cut down on inflammation.  He also gave me a prescription for a nebulizer, at my request, because that was what seemed to open up my airways best when I was there at the clinic.

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