I'm a Winner! Neurogastroenterologist / New Gang Members / Sunday Blues

Free Space

Yes, my brand new plan, my all-new scheme to acquire free goods.. is working! Today I won a single serving container of cinnamon applesauce by participating in a cutthroat competition versus a posse of wily oldsters. The name of the game? B-I-N-G-O! And I was victorious in the very first game I ever played.

Applesauce was the only available prize option that made sense. And the only edible option that wouldn't absolutely kill me to death. So that's the prize item I selected.

Why Bingo? By the time two in the afternoon rolled around the outdoor temperature had already eclipsed 95 degrees, which is way too many degrees. No, I wasn't sweating, but I was warmer than warm should be. Anyway, there's not much sweating in the desert. No humidity whatsoever. And sometimes the dew point drops registers below zero after a sharp and especially dry "cold" front passes through.

So, due to the heat, it was full-on necessary that I go indoors. And it just so happened that Bingo was scheduled right about that same time (Anne told me all about it beforehand, in passing). So I had Betsy roll me and my geri-cart into the cafeteria minutes before the hour, as others were settling in.

Not surprisingly, there wasn't much socializing, as socializing is not something people do here. Perhaps it's an old people thing. Or perhaps it's an old people thing specific to nursing homes. Even the Bingo Hostess seemed unenthused, despite the fair turnout.

So really, I was the only outspoken one there. And why was that? Well, there happen to exist a multitude of Bingo related game variations employed at any given time. Who knew?

First off, there's something called The Six Pack. Then the X Pattern variation. Then there was another one where you had to Fill Up Your Entire Card. Yes, that's what they called it. So I had to ask questions prior to the commencement of these specific new-to-me games. And for whatever reason, my questions frequently agitate those whom I directly question (this has been a lifelong feature).

Oh, and oddly enough, I knew which numbers were to be called out just prior to their actually being called out .. on seven different occasions! This unexpected feature happened only after The Bingo Girl already picked out the proper ball from the tumbler, when she was ready to unenthusiastically announce the given letter / number combo out loud.

But each time I made a purposeful effort in trying to predict the succeeding number (or especially when willing a particular number into existence), I failed miserably. To make the magic work, I had to NOT pay conscious attention, and instead, utilize an unsung relaxing technique that brings about presence.

Meanwhile, one person left in a huff mid game. But otherwise, there was very little drama. And as soon as the game was over everybody quietly cleared out.

My question: Is this typical Bingo behavior… that which I described?

Muscle Mayhem

Momentous happenings are afoot. I now have a neuromuscular specialist / surgeon to visit (@ Barrow Institute). And also, a neurogastroenterologist (@ Mayo Clinic). Hooray for me! Right?

My primary physician pushed hard on this. And other staff members did as well.

My officially listed (suspected) illness is now Muscular Dystrophy (from my previous neurologist). But that's only a psuedo-educated guess at this juncture and likely means nothing. It's a process of elimination… they tell me. So either way, there's additional doctoring (and ideally, some form of diagnosing) that needs to be done here.

Gut Feeling

My overnight formula feed fasting is still a success. Eight out of ten times I've awoken (bandage) dry.

My first stoma overflow action occurs within an hour of restarting my formula feed. Besides this being a bloating (gut flora) issue, it could also be positional (physical angles and orientation).

My second bloating / leaking event typically occurs around 5 p.m., and lasts well into the night.

Anyway, I appreciate the suggestions, recommendations, and advice provided (as a response to my previous blog entry). Somewhere a solution exists, but my paranoia in regards to exploring new avenues is strong.

New Gang of Friends

As compared to two months ago, I am now regularly interacting with a whole different set of people, it seems. I still see Federico and Colleen daily, but they engage with me less often. They wave. And they tell me I look very tan.

Heck. That's the thing now. That's what everybody tells me. "Wow, you look very tan!"

Unfortunately, they do not mention anything about my tan looking particularly good on me! But I suppose that's okay. Even though it feels kind of weird being known as The Tan Guy now.

Meanwhile, Angela and the Activities Staff associate with me far less frequently. Rosa is still around, generally. Then there's Michaela. Remember her? She's in the other unit, so mostly, we do not cross paths all that often (today we did, which was nice).

So now it's Betsy and Blanche (just about every day), and Nurse Raleigh. Those are staff members with whom I interact most frequently.

Of course, Jillian is still around, but she's had a few falling-out-of-bed episodes, as well as off-campus appointments lately.

And then there are the new kids on the block.

Another New Person

A crazy woman came flying out of the doorway through the courtyard and nearly crashed into the wall at the far end. I was duly impressed. Yes indeed, she executed some serious stunt driving whilst nearly tipping over.

And it turns out the stunt driver has a name. Let's call her Raquel.

I said "hello" to her, and then she said "hello" back to me. And then she turned away. And then she kind of looked at the ground. And then she kind of looked back at me. That's when we began to converse in a spirited manner.

It turns out I was the first human being she talked to in the past two years (besides staff members and her roommate). She hadn't been out of bed in that amount of time. Which meant her motorized wheelchair was brand new.

She seems to be a fair amount younger than me, but I'm not absolutely sure. Among other noted details, she smiles easily. And prior to her illness she used to play multiple instruments, as well as partaking in other creative interests.

But having been out of bed for the first time in nearly forever, she had to return back inside after an hour's time.

The following day her roommate told me she was excited to have met somebody who wasn't old. Although, someone should probably tell her that I am much older than I look. There's still lots of confusion here in that regard.

In any case, she wants me to exchange texts with her. And I am going to do it, eventually. I think. But for now, I'm holding out. I'm just not particularly big on texting back and forth.


And now Dora is surpringly motivated to hang out with me (for no more than an hour at a time on a given day). She's a former Catholic Church deacon. Or a bishop ….. maybe a pastor? Yes, I forgot what her title was. But she used to be rather important in the church. She's the kind of person who often quotes scripture and sounds halfway believable. Heck, just yesterday she gave me a book called "The History of the Rosary" - which is illustrated very nicely.

She wants me to browse through the pages. And she also wants me to pray for her. And she wants to pray for me, too. And most importantly, she wants me to come back to the church! (She told me that all the young people are coming back) - Yes, this woman is rather demanding, isn't she?

It's neither here nor there, but based upon her frailty, I suspect she's in her eighties. Despite that, she's a spunky woman who happens to be extremely opinionated, and often entertaining (because of her takes).

On the negative side of the ledger, she's one of the neighbors who cries out for help often (when she requires assistance). She also hallucinates from time to time.. which isn't troublesome to me, but seems to upset her once she realizes.

I rather like her, though most staff and other residents do not. She requires a disproportionate amount of attention, and will occasionally spout off at staff members in an impolite fashion.

So I seem to attract the most difficult people (into my courtyard realm) of late. And that's probably because I'm one of the difficult people myself. Or perhaps I used to be.


Which brings us to the other new person who's joined the fold. Let's call her Anne. Yes, she's been around for a while, having occasionally spent time discussing her troubles with me in the past. But in the past two months, I've been doing what I can to help redirect her negative focus. You see, she's known as perhaps the most difficult resident in either Units 1 or 2.

Each of the residents and most of the staff do not like her.. for reasons I shall not make known at this time. But more importantly, and for the first time ever, I made her laugh today. Several times. I'd never even seen her smile before. As a result, I felt very good about things for a period of time.

John Doe

One of my few male friends is afraid that his wife may abandon him here, so we've discussed this possibility on a couple of occasions. It's not a fun discussion. I still feel that hurt.

Glasses Yellow, Glasses Worn

So a few people sent me cash...

Anyway, it's weird as hell having money of my own. Money is something I haven't had access to since… 2013.

Does anybody remember 2013? Damn. I don't.

My very last dollars went towards my $200 monthly child support payment. Before that, my final purchases were some songs for iTunes - "Seven" by Necrophagist, "Endless Cycle of Violence" by Cephalic Carnage, "I Can't Breathe" by Combat Astronomy … Or a used book. Yep. Possibly something from the thrift store. Or guitar strings.

Nope. I was never much of a spender.

But just now (for $6) I bought these blue blocking glasses to help with the nightly (and overnight) television exposure. And Three Days Inn, they don't seem to be making much of a difference. That's not to say that they won't eventually. Other factors may be involved. But I am hoping these sunglasses become positively impactful at some point.

There remain a few additional items I may wish to purchase. Things I want, versus things I need. Although, justification is tough. I shouldn't need anything. Or any things. I go outside, and I associate with other human beings. Really, that should be enough to get by. And it is for now.

Men Don't Talk

(the following is a generalized take ... genitalized??? Haha!)

Men tell stories. Women are more curious and apt to discover. Men do not want anything that I have (here). Women wonder how I got here. Men tell the same stories over and over again. Women add to their knowledge base, accumulating enough information to make an informed decision. Men want to impress each other. If they are mutually impressed with each other's antics they will become friends. Women wish to be acknowledged. Men are satisfied with one-upmanship. It's the game that sustains. Women are seeking out the soft underbelly. They search out faults and flaws. Men openly celebrate each other's faults and flaws.

And I'm not sure where I was going with all that, but I think you get the idea. Exceptions. Yes, there are lots of exceptions.

In any case, it's 8am on a Sunday morning. It's 73 beautiful degrees outside. And inside, the heat is cranked up full bore. We're at 76° so far, but I've got the window wide open, fan blowing across my breadth, to compensate.

My mouth is dry. My lips are cracked. My tongue is tacky.

I need to get outside soon. No CNA yet, so that likely means we are shorthanded, which most assuredly means no shower today. And that's fine. Sundays are like this. Sundays are the days when I feel most abandoned. Alone. And I suspect the other residents feel the same way. Staffing is way down. Empty hallways. Fewer human interactions. The "help" button is pushed, but the "help" light stays on forever.

But I'll come outside soon enough, joining my bird friends. The Sparrows. And probably John Doe early on. Then eventually Jillian. Probably Raquel. Anne. Dora. But that's if they are assisted, because several of them need help getting out of bed, or into their wheelchairs, or require oxygen. Sometimes, those things don't happen. At least, not in a timely fashion. Sundays are tough.

Take care,

My Morning Courtyard View


Where They Bingo


Hi @Howard....Good to know that you're still alive & kicking (sorry, shouldn't have added the last). However, I'm sure there are people you'd like to practice it on, so try to remember the moves.

What is the car in the room for? Fast getaways I assume, although there may be water in the tank. Or is that where the Bingomeister sits? I'm sure it takes a special skill to be the head of such a group. Personally, I've always loved Bingo, my grandmother used to take me when she went to get her "fix." (I'm from a long line of addicts of one sort or another. Grandma was very good, so I've always had a special fondness for the game. Grandchildren aren't interested
Not that I could stay upright anyway.

Yes, those motorized wheelchairs are downright dangerous things it seems. Cause a lot of damage to walls, let alone people. Don't they come with driving lessons?

OK...just wanted to say "hi" and I'm glad the old group is getting together. Perhaps you should be very bold and suggest a gathering place for those who would like to hang around and chat during the day.

I'll be interested in what you think of the Barrow Institute....I'm sure the old faces have come and gone since my sister was there, but it does have a fine reputation. I think the Mayo is still working on its. At least they're both close to you....small favors, etc. When are your appointments?

Let us know when you receive your diagnoses. Forewarned: Such things may take forever in coming. Yours, Lenora.

Leonora wrote: “What is the car in the room for?”

I was wondering about this as well…
Is it the price for Filling Up Your Entire Card?

Howard wrote: “ So I seem to attract the most difficult people “

I kind of tend to do this as well? The neighbour in our block that are most disliked by almost everyone is a matter of fact my favourite. While others think she’s annoying, I find her amusing and funny…
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Hi, @Howard

I was *thrilled* to see the word "neurogastroenterologist" in the title of today's blog post!

I have been wanting you to see this exact type of specialist for quite a some time now. I'm so thrilled such a niche specialist is available in your neck of the woods!

I am hopeful the neurogastroenterologist and neuromuscular specialist will consult with one another at some point or, at the very least, read each other's appointment visit notes. (That's the extent my doctors are willing to communicate with each other.)

I wish you the VERY best of luck in your future work up with these two important specialists. I hope you will keep us posted on that front.

I read installment 1= Bingo

Shared Bingo comments around here, recently someplace or another.

the regular Bingo people didn't really like me either, but money was involved, I won too often.

I found the psychic aspects you describe potentially rewarding. One would need to work on the none push method for psychic Bingo.

I got really good at the Wheel of Fortune Final Spin, for quite a period of time. It seems to involved a process through which one goes sort of briefly blank.....a type of wipes the slate clean moment.

A moment later something floats in and boom. The most common result is one or two of the more critical letters tend to float out. If I had a better screen, maybe a whole word would be there.

I recall this particular time as I came up the staircase (I ran up and down those?) it was PPP and somehow by the time I was there, at the TV, Pat Sayjak actually screwed up, said P, said P again and then its Three P's and I was impressed as heck with how psychic I am.

My husband would stop watching rerun of Two and a Half Men (the 48th time he saw that episode)....to switch to the final spin so I got quite sophisticated.

*edited to comment that about every 51 episodes, you'll run into one you never saw before, and wonder where that was stored.

A super tricky part is tracking your Psychic statistic to ensure its in fact psychic. I was working on that part, when things came down.
Leonora wrote: “What is the car in the room for?”

I was wondering about this as well…
Is it the price for Filling Up Your Entire Card?

Howard wrote: “ So I seem to attract the most difficult people “

I kind of tend to do this as well? The neighbour in our block that are most disliked by almost everyone is a matter of fact my favourite. While others think she’s annoying, I find her amusing and funny…

I don't know @Howard. That seemed to be a pretty obvious question under the circumstances. I'm glad that @Hufsamor questioned it also. Maybe it's just a frame of a car, & that's OK too, a sculpture of sorts. OR, even better, perhaps you all pile aboard and head out for ice cream during those mean, hot months. Either way, you'll enjoy it, I'm sure.

Were you able to go outside early enough today to enjoy the more pleasant part of the day? Gather when the birds do and they may even share their seed with you (sorry, forgot....but applesauce it is). Yours, Lenora.
So everyone is already asking about the car, which I wanted to as well but I'll ask instead, what are the vines? Do you know what they are?

I am also thrilled that you are moving forward on the medical issues. Please do let us know how those appointments go. Also did you have the skin biopsy yet? Did that show anything?

perhaps you all pile aboard and head out for ice cream during those mean, hot months.
Makes a happy mental picture. :)
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I assume "where they bingo" is the recreation room, assuming somebody exist there capable of recreation.

Great car, placed there by somebody civic? I'd be curious who positioned the car there.

I"d suggest if that was an NGO, they could diversify their contributions to Helping Others. (more gift cards)

I'd be wanting to see the old car, myself, quite a bit.

And I'd be telling stories, wouldn't I? Yup. And seeking out the soft underbelly.

I would want both. I never fit well into the What Women Do department.
The Car

I know absolutely NOTHING about the car in the cafeteria. Hmmm… except that it's a pale yellow color, and the tires need air.

But it seems the car has been here longer than any of the employees.


Regarding the various appointments, things are still up in the air. I am otherwise in the midst of dentist related appointment doings. Something is wrong. I was aiming for some form of sedation (since Novacaine is no longer working), but they wanna give me Septicane… and now I wait for availability. Right now I am 30 days out.


I'm with you on this. The difficult humans are often more interesting. Greater rewards, too.


Thank you for the well wishes! And yes, I shall post related details as they are relayed to me.

@Rufous McKinney

Right. Psychic Bingo!

I've always been able to predict and anticipate words out of mouths, but my assumption has always been that most people speak in ceaselessly repeating patterns, so… not a big deal. I am sure everybody can see verbal patterns from multiple furlongs distant (depending upon how invested they are conversationally, overall).

My mother is obsessed with Wheel of Torture. And… Family Feud. Otherwise, she doesn't watch any television.

"Make It So."

Thanks Picard!


I am adapting rather well to the heat, which is something I was unable to do most of these illness years. Presently I've been able to tolerate mid-90s for a couple of hours.

By the way, I hope you are able to move about a bit better and are recovering as (or better than) expected. :)


Vines??? Haha.
They are rather lovely.
I'll see if Betsy can get a close-up for me.
Good Morning Everyone....Those vines have me puzzled also. @Howard, you didn't exactly know how interesting this place was going to be did you? I'm thinking that perhaps it's to keep the patients IN. Get out your machetes.

Thank-you for asking. I'm doing much better. Actually Rod has put all of my equipment away, so I'm now functioning on my own. Well, can't do everything, but I think it will come.

As I said in another post, it's interesting to see/feel the body heal on its o.wn. Fascinating really....and a first for me. So I didn't have to have surgery, all 5 fractures are healing on their own. I do PT once/wk., making progress, but I think the time has come to say "No thanks!" It has been a big help though.
Very painful the first few weeks and I was bedridden, but once the pain was tolerable I was fine. Getting harder to get pain meds b/c of another cutback by the FDA, so be sure to get as much as the doctors are willing to give you. To be honest, I'm not so sure they helped much anyway. Yours, Lenora.
Briefly -
GLAD you are healing @lenora !!! :)

I just dropped in to say that it's a beautiful wonderful 77 glorious degrees outside (76° inside), and they just turned the flipping heat on!!!! ....because somebody is cold (likely Jeff, nextdoor) -

So... I absolutely cannot get more naked than I already am (sorry, please close your virtual eyeballs)

Luckily I have the spray bottle full of water, a fan blowing on me... and the window wide open

REALLY, it's not that bad in here, I am just needlessly irritated.

Um. Okay then.
Happy Easter Eve!!! :)
HI Howard.....Happy Easter at your end, also. Since it's a Sunday it will probably be pretty quiet again, won't it? Unfortunately, all places like hospitals even, are the same. Skeleton staff, shortages....well, that's how it is.

Perhaps Jeff will have some visitors who will wander over & have a chat with you.

Hmm....76 would probably be on the edge of too warm for me, also. The main problem you have is that you need to exchange beds....you like it warmer, and Jeff, colder. Apart from that, how is he as a roomie?

Our daughter was up yesterday with a baked ham and the trimmings. Unfortunately one of our grandchildren was sick and they had to leave earlier than planned. Just fine though, as I was exhausted. She even did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. Her hubby arrived with a smoked salmon (that he does himself) for us. Always a treat. We actually sat outside and had a nice breeze. Perfect, except for the wretched allergies . Anyway, flowers blooming, just like your pretty vine (ever find out the name of it?).

I have a new stack of books to read.....a very happy person, here. It's like a library around here. Have you tried the audiobooks? I haven't, but wouldn't hesitate to do so. Since I mark them so, I always buy my own and they're new ones b/c of mold, etc.

Any new music?....I know that's your thing. Did the Easter Bunny come....although I don't think he carries chocolate applesauce. Chocolate pudding maybe. Plenty of chocolates and flowers here, but no decorated eggs. The lady of the house hasn't done them for years. Easter wishes. L.
No sign of Easter around here...I'm in a semi-abandoned apartment building.

Vacant next door, and downstairs, I've been cranking up the music around midnight.

Maybe every time they crank up the heat in the deserts of Phoenix, you could hit them with a bit of Industrial Music....

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