Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sunshine Superman

I have no idea what my parents were thinking, I should probably ask them if they remember now. But back in 1968 when my brother and I were the tender ages of 9 and 7, my parents took us to the drive in where the feature show was "Night of the Living Dead."

I remember much of what I saw vividly, particularly the little girl eating her own mother's heart after killing her with a garden hoe. At this point I wonder if this really happened in the movie, but I'd swear it did, I suppose I should watch it just to see how accurate my memory is.

As you might guess my brother and I didn't handle this fare very well, and my parents ultimately had to make an early departure from the movie. We were there in my dad's old 1960 Ford Sunliner, this huge wide car that had holes in the floor (I used to love watching the pavement go by as we drove along.) I remember it swaying as we backed out of our spot and started to pull away.

At that moment my dad turned on the radio, and Donovon's "Sunshine Superman" was playing and the whole scene was cemented in my mind. The old heavy car swaying, the song playing, the images on the movie screen and the entire scene of all the cars at the drive-in in the dark.

I remember that I had nightmares for the next couple of weeks afterwards, but oddly, the memory of that moment when we were leaving isn't a bad one for me. I've got this song in my music collection and play it every so often. It reminds me of that time, that car, and so many other things.

Again I really need to see if my parents remember this. I know my kids are going to have moments they recall for us once they're grown up that will call our judgement into just as much question. Hopefully, though, like my memory of "Sunshine Superman" they'll have good memories that come out of those mistakes as well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Plot Solving Rock

This weekend I was playing Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess while my kids watched.

So they're watching me make my way through an area they've already done, and out of nowhere this absolutely huge glowing volcanic rock drops down into the area I'm in. My reaction was "Woah! What the heck was that about?" when my middle son said "Oh, it's the plot solving rock!"

So at this point I stop playing and go "What?" And he told me "Don't worry, you'll find out later." I shrugged and continued, it apparently served no purpose at that moment and I proceeded with my playing.

At a later date the kids are watching me play again suddenly I found myself in an area where I need something to melt a frozen lake. My middle son says "Time for the plot solving rock!"

Ha! So that's it! It sure did seem like a clumsy contrived solution to the problem, and the kids saw it as such. I thought of the phrase "Deus ex machina." So I took the opportunity to explain what that means to the them.

But I have to say, I like the phase "Plot solving rock." It's easier to pronounce and conveys the idea as well. A new addition to the vernacular of our household.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Grave Situation

I knew I was pushing my luck.

A month or so ago I ran out of methimazole. I take it when I am out of remission for Graves Disease. It's an anti-thyroid medication. But when I ran out, I got careless.

I had been down to 5mg a day and my thyroid levels had been good. Things at work were busy, and I really meant to call in for a refill. Instead I delayed and delayed and after a while I thought I'd just let it go and see if I was in remission.

I keep track of my heart rate as the primary warning sign when things start going south. And over the past couple of weeks that and the usual constellation of symptoms started flaring up.

Elevated resting heart rate, difficulty sleeping, my hand tremor returned, it shows itself most strongly when I'm eating as I approach my mouth with the utensil. (When I was in the worst throes of Graves Disease back in 2005, I could not eat soup at all!) Then this past weekend, the irritability set in. Time to call for a refill.

I didn't want to talk to my endocrinologist about it, just wanted to get the prescription. I didn't want to get lectured, and I didn't want to have yet another discussion about doing radioactive iodine to eliminate the problem permanently.

Fortunately just a quick request online and I got my refill.

The reason I'm resisting killing my thyroid gland is partly because of my Dad's advice. He had Graves Disease in his mid 30s and had a thyroidectomy. Since then he's had to take thyroid supplements, that's nearly 50 years now, a situation he recommends against.

On top of that it's actually not the thyroid itself that is misbehaving. It's the immune system. You start producing something that ends up activating the same receptors on the thyroid as the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) that is pumped out by the pituitary gland. This immune system misbehavior comes and goes, and its arrival seems to follow very stressful times in my life. (1st a job change in 2004, then a very stressful situation at work in late 2007, then another job change late in 2008.)

So I figure if I can ride it out using anti-thyroids and get into remission and try to avoid excessive stress, I can keep my thyroid gland and avoid taking pills for the rest of my life. I figure it's better for my body to produce and regulate its own thyroid levels than to take a fixed dose of some synthetic hormone that needs regular monitoring to see if your using the right amount.

So it's back on the methimazole. But at least I'm lucky. My physiology is such that I do not get the eye component of the condition. (That did happen to my brother.) So no bulging eyes for me.

It's annoying to have to go back on it, but I'll take this over the nuclear cocktail, as my dad likes to call it. I'm kind of attached to my internal organs and would like to keep them for as long as I reasonably can.