Saturday, August 30, 2008

Stayin' Alive

I want to thank all my loyal readers for their persistence in coming back to this site over and over, even though I haven't posted anything lately.

I'm doing fairly well physically, in that I have a complete diagnosis and treatment plan. However, my finances are completely in the dumper (also known as the toilet, crapper, sh*tter, and porcelain pie-catcher [that last one is my invention]). It's been a long, slow road to catch up on my rent. Maybe someday soon I'll be able to afford an Internet hookup in my house. Until then, again, thank you all for your support.

By the way, don't wait - go see your doctor as soon as you feel "under the weather." He or she probably misses you, and it could save your life.

I hope to see you out there on the road.


The Cab Guy


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Why I've Been Absent, Part Two

As I said at the end of "Why I've Been Absent, Part One" on February 9 of this year my life took an abrupt turn. My health began to fail me. It started with a cough. And went downhill from there...

I was down with the flu for ten days. Then I worked for a couple of days, and went down with a really bad cold. Which apparently turned into "walking pneumonia." The cherry on this little cake? I went functionally deaf for about two weeks. More time in bed. Working fewer hours when I did take a cab out. Ignoring the signs of impending disaster...

Because I don't have health insurance (a stupid situation, because I could have afforded it, as it would have cost less than my smoking habit, which by the way ended on February 9), I kept putting off seeing a doctor until March 13. At that time I was treated for the pneumonia. And told I had very high blood pressure. So high that I should have been immediately referred to an Emergency Room. But all the doctor said was, "You might want to have that looked at." No urgency was attached to the situation. I figured I'd save up some money and come back when I could afford to. Later on, a friend of mine told me I couldn't afford to wait, I needed to get treatment immediately, that the doctor should have insisted I go to an ER immediately.

But I waited. Five days later, suffering from extreme "blahs" and continual mild to moderate headaches, I finally decided to go to the local Emergency Room. Even at this point I dragged my feet. I worked most of a shift, dropped my cab off, got in my car, and went to Del Taco for dinner. Well, why not? It was "Taco Tuesday", three for a dollar. I ate half-a-dozen, and washed them down with a large Mountain Dew.

After dinner, my plan was to go home, and put together a few things I would want in case I was admitted. You know, things like books, toiletries, a few pairs of underwear and socks, pajamas, and my cellphone charger. Another plan thwarted
by the vagaries of life. Given the route I take home, my apartment is only about a quarter of a mile past the hospital. I never made it.

On the way home, I developed a very bad headache, shortness of breath, nausea and blurry vision. I decided to skip home, and go right to the ER. I guess I didn't say the right things to the receptionist, because I had to wait about forty-five minutes to see the triage nurse. I guess collapsing to my knees in front of her didn't convey any urgency. To be fair, since I couldn't hear what she was saying over the noise in the lobby (still functionally deaf at this point), I took the contact form from her to fill it out. She may have thought I went to my knees to be level with her desk, making it easier for me to fill out the form.

My friend Dean said that rather than standing up and going to a chair to wait, I should have just clutched my chest and laid down on the floor. He says this puts you to the head of the line every time. That's good to know, just for future reference. But I didn't think of doing something like that. So I took as seat, alternately crying, moaning and holding my head, praying I would hear my name called over the bedlam in the waiting room.

I found out later that a forty-five minute wait was relatively short. When I was called back by the nurse, the first thing she did was take my blood pressure. Which was so high that she went into overdrive. Within minutes I had an IV line in place, and serious blood pressure meds were being pumped into me.

Was I scared? Sure for about two minutes, which was how long it took for the nurse to get a syringe of morphine from the drug locker, hook it up to the IV, and squirt it into me. And about four seconds more for the morphine to take effect.

Once in my brain, the morphine instantly erased the pain, and filled me with an incredible sense of euphoria, well-being, and a complete disregard for the seriousness of my situation. I reverted to form and started telling taxi jokes, which were well received. Then I told a couple of morphine jokes which really cracked the nurses up. Actually, they're funny riddles. Here they are:

Question: What's the dumbest a nurse can ask? Answer: Would you like some morphine for the pain?

Question: What's the second dumbest question a nurse can ask? Answer: Would you like some more morphine?

This was my answer to the first question: "Sure would."

This was my answer to the second question: "Why wouldn't I?"

When asked the second question a second time, this is what I said: "You know, a good bartender doesn't ask questions. She just keeps the drinks coming."

Actually, I didn't say that out loud. But I was thinking it. She must have been a mind reader, 'cause she poured me another, and just kept them coming.

So, I was in the ER for a few hours while a bunch of tests were done. After a while a doctor came over to talk to me. "Cab Guy," he says, "In addition to severe hypertension, you are suffering from acute kidney failure. You're down to about 15% of normal renal function."

Which is devastating news. Or would have been if I wasn't juiced up on morphine. This is the beauty of morphine: when administered as a clinical dose calculated to ease pain, it leaves me lucid and completely aware of my situation. But calm. Very calm. It should have pained me to hear his words. But pain is pain, even if it's emotional. And morphine eases pain...

Looking him straight in the eye, I said, "Hmm... well I'm not surprised!" I could tell that this response was unexpected and shocking to him. The conversation continued:

"Doesn't this bother you?"

"I'm sure it will later, Doctor, after I sober up!"

"But you haven't been drinking!"

"And that's the beauty of morphine, Sir! After it wears off I'll worry about my condition. Right now I trust you'll fix me up."

Or words to that effect.

Shortly thereafter that I had my own private room. In the Intensive Care Unit. Where I laid flat on my back for the next five days. Mostly deaf. Hooked up to an IV tower with a continual infusion of blood pressure and kidney medications. And morphine, at least for the first day or two. But I didn't care, because I had constant care from a whole series of nurses. Who were all very friendly, competent and compassionate.

Who ran the gamut from very attractive to smokin' hot. Except for Steve, who I'm sure most women would have found to be attractive, but didn't do a thing for me. But he was a friendly guy who laughed at my jokes, so he was okay in my book.

Pretty nurses, a comfortable bed, and morphine. What more could a Cab Guy want?

To be continued...

I hope to see you out there on the road.


The Cab Guy


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Why I've Been Absent, Part One

Thank you to all my loyal reader and new visitors for your patience with my progress here at RRTT. Allow me to explain why I haven't been too active lately.

When I first started this blog, it was my goal to post a new entry at least three or four times a week, to give people a taste of what the cab business is like from my point of view. However, I generally had something to say almost every day, and had a lot of fun saying it. Having been in the business for almost ten years, I had a tremendous store of stories and anecdotes, and of course gained new stories all the time.

I don't know about you, but my experience has shown that no matter what my plans are, my life doesn't always follow my plan. Which is okay, because I've learned to enjoy the surprise twist and turns of the human experience. Around about the first of December, 2007 I have run into a whole series of twists and turns. Unfortunately most of them were of the negative variety. Which doesn't worry me, because I love a challenge.

The first challenge was financial, which in some of my earlier posts I discussed how things in the industry were affecting my bottom line, and therefore my wallet. The impact of this challenge on RRTT was I couldn't afford my Internet connection. I attempted to overcome this but writing some articles, copying them to a CD-ROM, and going to Kinko's/Fed-Ex, and renting a computer to upload the articles. This worked for a little while.

And then my computer decided to have a stoke, which I haven't been able to have repaired yet. It should be a simple fix, but alas, it is not. What happened is that there is a small battery in the computer, which powers the real time clock, and apparently the On/Off circuitry. Even when the computer, which is a notebook, has a full battery, or is plugged into AC, it won't start. It's a really good computer, which I got from Fry's Electronics, a reputable company. I've had it for several years, so the warranty has expired, which is unfortunate, because the whole battery issue is the result of what I think is a curious design flaw.

If you're thinking, "Hey Cab Guy, why don't you just replace the damn battery and be done with it, and start posting more stories?" I completely understand. I mean, it's a watch battery costing no more that $10.00 (American). It shouldn't be a problem. And it shouldn't be. But there's that curious design flaw...

You see the battery is easily accessed by lifting the keyboard up. However, rather than being connected to the computer through a socket, it is inside a shrink-wrapped envelope, with power leads that are then plugged into the motherboard. I actually like this design, for two reasons. First, were the battery to leak or corrode, the plastic envelope would protect the computer from damage. Second, because there is no socket, any battery of the proper voltage that would fit inside the computer could be utilized, making replacement fairly simple, even if a battery of the original size couldn't be found.

But here's the rub: the power leads plug into the motherboard deeper inside the chassis, and I haven't been able to figure out how to disassemble it to access the plug-in. I am hesitant to just cut the battery off the leads and splice a new one on, and I can afford to have a techie geek fix the problem.

So I haven't been able to do much writing, either for RRTT or, which is very frustrating to me. I have things to say, and I want to say them, just for the satisfaction of knowing that some people want to hear me ramble.

So... just about the time that me finances started to improve, life to an abrupt turn...

To be continued...

I hope to see you out there on the road.


The Cab Guy