Thursday, April 30, 2015

The De-Liver Me Tour ~ State of Kerfuffle ~ April 28, 2015

Heavens to Murgatroyd, my last De-Liver Me Tour update, The Game Changer, was on February 5th. My apologies for the delay, but by the time you finish this you'll totally get why. 
Snagglepuss Heavens To Murgatroyd Reclaimed Wood Sign
Reclaimed wood sign

First off I'm totally recovered from the early January surgery to remove my spleen and the tumor on the tail of my pancreas. We're back walking 1-4 miles a day, gardening, spending time with friends and neighbors and planning road trips for summer and fall. Now, on with the chapter at hand.

Can you spell Kerfuffle? How appropriate that this descriptive word originated with my Scottish ancestors: 
  • Confusion, disorder, chaos, or fuss
  • A minor disturbance
  • Smaller than a contretemps, larger than a snag
  • Involving more people than a SNAFU or a stink
  • A social imbroglio or brouhaha

01/06/15 ~ Received notice from UCSF that I had been removed from the liver transplant list, no mention that the authorization for continuing care was cancelled by Kaiser. 

02/02/15 ~ Received Letter of Authorization from Kaiser extending coverage of medical care at UCSF Liver Transplant Department through 02/27/16. Say What?

02/10/15 ~ Appointment with my doctors at UCSF, at request of Kaiser to review continuation of Hep C medication. Original order was to treat only until transplant, not through full cycle of 24 weeks. Kaiser was questioning whether treatments should continue. UCSF told Kaiser it was in my best interests to continue the regimen for full 24 weeks (through April). It won't change any outcomes with the cancer, but will take some of the burden off my compromised liver. UCSF received approval to finish Hep C regimen. 

03/10/15 ~ Quarterly MRI done at Kaiser, verbally requested by my doctors at UCSF and Kaiser. We're talking stem to stern, top to bottom, the organ parade. 

03/18/15 ~ Received a summary of MRI assessment from my gastroenterologist at Kaiser. All the news was good except for an undecipherable comment about my liver. My first response was WTF does this mean? 

"Vague, nebulous enhancement is detected immediately caudal to treated lesion in the posterior aspect of right hepatic dome as demonstrated on image 19 of series 8. No discrete, early arterially enhancing lesion with rapid washout is seen within liver." 

Daily walks around Sebastopol: perfect Kerfuffle antidote

Ragle Park

03/19/15 ~ Contacted my Kaiser gastroenterologist and requested a translation to plain English, but even she didn't know what to make of it. 
  • Emailed my Kaiser/UCSF Coordinator (based in Oakland) and ask her to make sure MRI and assessment got to my UCSF doctors since they had been treating me since 2013
  • She explained I no longer had a coordinator since I was off the transplant list and she couldn't help me. She said my Kaiser doctor would have to request an authorization, but not how to do it. Argh!

03/24/15 ~ Emailed my backup doctor at UCSF (primary doc on maternity leave) about MRI. She said she'd request further information from Kaiser and would get back to me.

04/01/15 ~ Hello anyone home? Still no word from Kaiser or UCSF. I emailed my Kaiser gastroenterologist again. She had been able to reach UCSF doctor who said she'd ask for MRI images and that a verbal authorization is enough for them for now. Not sure that would fly, she placed a written request for authorization as well. 

04/02/15 ~ Received a written authorization for medical care through 09/30/15 and it requested I make an appointment with my UCSF doctor. I set it up for May 11th. The same day I received a call from UCSF that the authorization hadn't been received, even though it had been faxed twice by Kaiser to number given by UCSF. Really?

04/09/15 ~ Received call from scheduling at UCSF who wanted clarification on Authorization and what it was for and ask that I fax her a copy. Seriously, she's asking me? She also said authorizations are usually only for one visit, not multiple visits through end date. My guess is that the authorization only covered review of my MRI. 

04/17/15 ~ Got word that the UCSF Tumor Board had met and recommended another TACE on an area previously treated, there may be a small residual tumor there. Sounds like one of my pet hepatocarcinomas, Audrey or Carmine, has busted a seam and stepped out of bounds. Since I'm no longer on transplant list the TACE requested may be performed at Kaiser San Rafael, but even that isn't clear at the moment. Still haven't heard from them. 

UCSF has not been at all clear on this transition and hasn't communicated what they need from Kaiser departments, doctors or me for that matter. On the other side of the coin, UCSF says Kaiser is not very cooperative about protocol and picky about what they'll approve.

"So what we have here is failure to communicate"
Strother Martin ~ Cool Hand Luke

"The single biggest problem in communication 
is the illusion that it has taken place."

George Bernard Shaw

Oxymoron of the week
"Sounds like Congress in Action"
I said that

My primary doctor at Kaiser is prepared to start rattling cages by the end of the week if this isn't resolved. I found out last night that my primary doc at UCSF returns on May 5th. She sent me a message to give her a call. Perhaps we can finally get this train out of the station.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tombstone Series ~ Those Big Business Sons of Bitches Part II

Sorry for the delay in publication of Those Big Business Sons of Bitches Part II. Life just sometimes gets in the way of plans. Part I was published on March 17th. The "Tombstone Series" tag will take you right there. 

And now Part II of the "reduced history" of John Sherman Bagg by John Sherman Bagg.

"And now we take up the career of Lt. John Blake on General Washington's staff. He was mustered out as a Major General and took script and with Brewer they went to Holden, Maine near Bangor and took up homesteads. General Blake (married Marie Dupree) and his daughter married a Kidder, whose daughter (Sarah Blake Kidder) married a Hayes, whose daughter (Sarah Blake Kidder Hayes) married a (Uriah) Winchester and had three children: Sarah Augusta, Charlotte Maria, my mother Charlotte, and Robert Fulton Winchester. When Robert graduated from Bowdoin as a doctor, he went on a wind jammer as ship's doctor around the horn. Arriving in San Francisco he heard of the disastrous Scourge of Small Pox in San Jose and he jumped ship, peeled off his coat and tied into it.

One of the victims was Colonel (William Welles) Hollister of Santa Barbara. After the epidemic was whipped or died out, Colonel Hollister sent for him (Robert Winchester) and sponsored him. He opened a practice in Santa Barbara and a hospital and clinic on Las Armitas. Here we came upon Robert's sister Charlotte Maria and Stanley Chipman Bagg, taking horse back rides at the ranch and eventually marrying with a daughter, Katherine. A scourge of grasshoppers cleaned them out. 

My dad gathered four mules and a wagon and two tons of beans and drove to Hardyville on the Colorado River above Needles to the ferry, thence to Dos Cabesas below Fort Bowie, where they discovered and located the Detroit mine. It didn't pan out. Tombstone was beginning to boom so they moved there and dad mined. He finally formed the mercantile firm of Bagg and Barrow."

(John Sherman was supposed to arrive March 17, 1881, but mother Charlotte was not about to have him born in this wild west frontier town so she hopped a stage, then a train, finally a wagon to the Hollister Ranch so her brother, Dr. Robert Winchester, could deliver her son on March 18, 1881. They arrived back in Tombstone the day after the Gunfight at the OK Corral October 27, 1881).

"The Tombstone Epitaph was the only paper and was Republican. The Democrats bunch bought a newspaper plant and started the Daily Prospector to compete. The editor was soused beyond usefulness two thirds of the time, so the son of the founder of the Detroit Free Press (my father) was drafted to fill in. After the battle was over and the Republicans were ousted they had no more use for the Prospector so they gave it to Dad to pay for is, as, and when. Later he bought the whipped Epitaph and ran it as a weekly. 

Here is where I enter the picture as a printer's devil feeding the Country Campbell cylinder press, being turned by hand by that big handsome Mr. Jim who chased the bad man, Buckskin Frank Leslie, back to his job as bartender for Wyatt Earp and his brothers in the Crystal Palace Saloon, when he tried to jump Jim's mining claim. Here for three years I was mail boy, delivered the outside route on burro, set and distributed long primer type on Saturday's, ran the press and fed the big Campbell." 

The following was partially excerpted for my blog of December 24, 2012 but in context here it completes the prelude to my Grandfather's quest, he was a man on a mission. 

"When I was 11 my paternal grandmother paid us a visit from Detroit. She wasn't going to have her grandson become a bandit, cow rustler, dirty shirt miner or mule skinner, so she shipped me off and financed my five years in the finest Military Academy in the US, St. Matthews School for Boys. It was rugged and rigid but we had the best professors money could buy in English, Latin, Math, History and overall a West Point Major. Really a fulsome education from 11 to 16, and in uniform all that time with the same routine they had at West Point as far as military was considered.

Out of that to Los Angeles where Dad and Mother had moved after selling out in Tombstone. A year at Los Angeles High School (1897), a year a Pomona College (1898), and a year, eight hours a day in the private lab of Professor Laird J. Stabler where I was grounded in Chemistry, Assaying Cyanide Practice and Mineralogy (1899).

On July 7, 1900 my dad, friend John Vanderburg and I trekked across the desert on a prospecting trip with a two mule team, wagon and assay equipment (each chipped in $150). In September I found the Katherine Mine (named for his sister) in Mojave CountyKatherine Landing and trailer camp on Lake Mojave above Davis Dam is named for her. We filed the claim September 16th. Sold out to Charles Sutro of San Francisco (Arizona-Pyramid Gold Mining Company in 1904) and went through Hearst Mining School at UC Berkeley. From there to Nevada where begins my contacts with mooching sons of bitches of big business."

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Willing Hearted Work Days at Emandal Farm ~ March 27-29, 2015

Since 2011 we've been attending "Not Just Cowboy Poetry" at Emandal Farm, about 17 miles east of Willits, a fundraiser for the Willits Public Library and Willits Daily Bread. This year's event, September 26th, will feature Dave Stamey, one of our favorite singer/songwriters and Western Entertainer of the Year. Experience great food, live music and the infamous Apple Pie Throw DownTo find out more about Dave go to his website at 

Emandal Farm has something for everyone: family camps, art weekends, Not Just Cowboy Poetry, workshops, and more. You should check out their website and and take a look for yourself. A family camp weekend, a class or a concert may be in your future. 

Fall is beautiful, but Spring we discovered, has magic of it's own. We went up to Emandal for a weekend to volunteer and help Tam ready the farm for visitors: cutting new trails, building stairs, helping with the garden chores, planting, burning slash from the winter storms and editing her new cookbook. 

We arrived late Friday afternoon and got settled in. Next stop was Tam's country kitchen to await other guests and watch the magic happen. Meals are served buffet style on the wrap around counter. There are two large tables in the great room to sit down, share meals and get to know the other volunteers. 

Dinner prep with Tam. 
All food and stock are grown on the farm.  

After a hearty breakfast we scatter with our work crews. I joined up with dirt patrol to help Malanyon move a large amount of compost into various sized containers, transplant seedlings and get them set up in the large greenhouse.

Rod was assigned to help build the Stairway to Heaven (working title) up to one of the cabins. The project was started Saturday and finished Sunday. A couple of days of digging, leveling, pounding pipes and setting boards for 44 steps made for some exhausted, proud and happy campers.

Awaiting the dinner bell

After dinner a walk on the Eel River 

Part of Sunday's Breakfast
Rod fixed pancakes for Lyndon and the rest of the crew

Sunday morning we took on collecting and burning the remaining brush that came down in a winter storm. There was a double Hummer size pile when we started and it was down to a few small piles by the time we finished. Buffalo chainsawed all firewood size branches into logs and this bodacious trio stacked all the fire wood.

Sharon, Margaret and Me

White Lilac

When worked stopped about 1 pm Sunday, we cleaned up and then enjoyed a hearty brunch of left overs out under the apple tree with the crew. We made new friends and experienced a different side of Emandal. It was hard to leave, but we said our goodbyes and left for home about 3 pm. The weather was sunny and warm, night skies brilliant away from civilization.