Tag Archives: logistics

Healing: oxygen, blood cells, coffee & matching outfits (future acts)

{Unnecessary preamble} Coffee, croissant and ukulele outside for a little bit under the pleasant cloudy skies. Yes, I am Cascadia chap. Happy to be cooling off after so hawt hoomid summer in Japan. Regrouping after hospital visit & recalibrating for the months ahead.

PS (smilin on the inside)

So, before I forget it all, let’s recap the Hospital day… Start from the morning:

OK Dave, get up, vitamins, more coffee, porridge, clothes, packet of papers, wallet and watch and off to hospital with you. Don’t forget your memo! Going to be a long day but you’re gonna get through it.

Made it through the first couple checkpoints, just ate some lunch and heading to wait for Dr number three… but let’s back it up:

Kind of Jack Kerouac vibes for the lunch with a club sandwich, apple pie and coffee in a quiet corner

TCM/Kanpo: First doctor is the traditional Chinese medicine Doctor who checks my pulses and tongue very carefully. Explain that my pulse is quite strong despite me feeling incredibly weak, tired, spun out etc. which is indicative of my body “trying” – but he explained to me very carefully that I have to ‘Shut it down and rest’ for several months. He went on to say that at their clinic, they deal with MECFS and long Covid patients consistently and somebodys aren’t really “pushing back” and I am but need to give time. I asked him about putting on my usual Christmas party and he says “if you can make it very simple then OK…” (Above done in Japanese but you get the point).

He also inspects my abdomen with palpitations (is that the right word?) which is generally a weak point for my wonderful delicate body with a colorful history from Giardia to appendectomies and many points in between, and again, was pleased to see strength and function in this region.

He re-upped my “usual retinue” of powdered traditional Chinese medicine packets – four kinds are used at different times of the day and two more to be used situationally (for times of excess tension and headaches).

Made sure to thank him again for taking the time to truly inspect me, adjust medications and treat me with dignity and respect.

Inputs: Next was heading up to hematology or something department where I get a comically huge syringe with a cocktail of medicines and vitamins injected into the reliable vein in the crook of my left elbow. Laughed with the nurse that her lavender latex gloves matched my shirt and then I showed her my also matching socks so we had a chuckle part 2.

Little things like this make the day go so much easier. All of the staff are incredibly precise with their routines – double checking my name, birthdate, allergies to alcohol and latex etc. even though I am well, very easy to spot and remember in the hospital. I joked that next time I visit the hospital, let’s do the light blue gloves and I’ll wear the outfit to match.

Logistics: I should mention about the check-in process which my darling wife used to assist me with as it’s done with a special card into a special machine which prints out a special paper with special numbers that break down your itineraries for the day, but like a trooper, I completed the task on my own with only mild bewilderment.

In this case, started with three checkpoints which turned into six as the doctors adjust on-the-fly when other treatments can be added (in this case the blood panel, oxygen and blood panel review).

And, to make best use of their time and to have a permanent record and, to assist the diligent clusters of medical students observing, patrolling, and learning, I always take a memo of current situation and my questions. In this case, because of the recent COVID-19 infection and feeling incredibly depleted and a bit scared through it all, I had a few specific questions & paths of inquiry.

The doctors pay close attention to this notes and are rather appreciative rather than annoyed. (Folks who have experienced medical care in some certain countries will really grok the goodness as some doctors take offense to the patient – you know, you – actually asking questions and wanting to participate in the medical care. /rant

[brain imaging: Interrupting myself to remind to better explain the brain imaging scans from previous visit as there was some inquiries… I’m not all that clever except to say that it showed a lack of blood flow to the front of my brain (frontal cortex or whatever which controls executive function), I’m not sure whether it was an MRI or a CT or something else because it didn’t make those horrible noises, yes there was an injection to show contrast in the scan but I don’t know what the magic potion was.

The results were delivered to an app on my phone [as are all my other test results and all the information about upcoming appointments and so on. Also, payments/insurance information is somehow contained within this app. The app is all in Japanese and my reading and writing skills are well, underwhelming and there’s no onboard translation scheme so I just kind of muddle through / onwards!]

Outputs: Dr. 3 also becomes checkpoint 5 after going to back to floor 2 – but this time to the “output blood” department rather than the “input” department mentioned earlier for checkpoint 4, for 6 blood vial draws // nurse was incredibly skilled switching vials one-handed while holding the spike in with the other hand. Precise, confident and swift – and again, double checked name, birthdate, allergies…

and now some kind of oxygen “something something don’t quite understand yet” which will be checkpoint 5 #whew you with me? Let’s take a break.

{this ^^ dispatch is coming from a quiet corner with unscheduled brewed coffee vending break // these machines always remind me of some 70s cop show when the hard boil detective is waiting out a late night shift at the morgue drinking Styrofoam cup coffee… Yes I have that active of an imagination

Oxygen / briefly: Explained the “new/different kind” of headaches I’m experiencing to Doctor who suggested could be “cluster headaches” (unsurprisingly, i experience a whole smorgasbord of headache types) so tried 15 minutes of oxygen – was huge relief and pleasing moments of calm. Want more and will explore getting oxygen for home use. {This was not like a “CPAP” just a simple oxygen mask on my face while chilling on the bed with handy eyemask.}

Stats: After oxygen, the blood test results were already analyzed and delivered so back to the Doctor 3 (infectious disease specialist) who reviewed several of the critical things we were looking for, specifically about white blood cell count (which was above range which in my case is a good sign as it shows my body is diligently fighting the viruses as often times, the white blood cells will just “give up” with an over-clocked immune system (pardon my lack of technical medical language here).

Also checked thyroid function which was all within range (four different levels) and cortisol (also within range). Checks for Epstein-Barr virus were not instantaneous but two pages of results delivered and under an hour // of course all in Japanese and not all of it is easy to colloquially translate yet somehow, felt pretty good about it all. Oh yeah, my cholesterol is ridiculously high which it always has been even when I was a skinny active vegetarian (I am none of these things now). #shrug

Translation: {If someone is really eager to try J>E translating medical terms, I don’t mind sharing this highly personal information publicly because like, “what’s gonna happen? I get more information?” And no, machine translation isn’t necessarily a great fit for this kind of project.}

Art: By the way, there are several restaurants in the hospital i hit up. The other day, while enjoying a club sandwich, apple pie and coffee, noticed some great framed albums / also rotating art exhibit on the wall. Yes this is at a hospital.

Winding down: my usual routine after the checkpoints is to roll by the payment desk and show my app (if you’re curious about Japanese national medical insurance, basically, a significant percentage is covered by the plan and depending on your income situation, you pay some kind of “co-pay” (for lack of a better word) but the amount honestly is some times rather just nominal like a few dollars equivalent).

Anyway, the magical app is connected to a bank account or credit card or something and I just sort of stumble up to the desk, show the paper dispensed from the robot at the beginning of the whole visit and show my app and do my best to smile through my mask because at this point I’m completely deliriously exhausted.

In this case, was there from 10:30 till about 16:00 – sure a long day by my standards but incredibly efficient considering everything done. {In previous countries in which I received medical care, this would’ve been many days worth of appointments scattered at different clinics, labs and hospitals so I am Very grateful}.

Anyhow, then go to the pharmacy where they scan the super-dense QR codes on the prescription sheets given by the doctors and in the past, I would tote the bags home in the van with darling wife but now that I’m rolling solo, instead they courier the medicines over a couple days later after doing a video call to review any changes. The pharmacist realize that I’m not really capable – basically nonverbal – when I drop off the ‘scrips so they wait till the next day to call.

For example: for some medications which I am trying out, they will not package in the little packets in case the med not a good fit for me so I can put it aside. Does that make sense? Anyway they double check everything via video call and then on another app, push a button and payment done. Again, some percentage paid by us, the majority paid by national insurance scheme.

Afterwards, I usually go to “Liberal” kissaten for a quiet meal/coffee, look at books or sometimes scribble postcards but by the time I finished this time, they were closed so instead walked over to an embedded convenience konbini store – as it was so late in the day, darling wife was picking up adorable son from school and they swung by and grabbed me saving me the close to rush hour bus ride (which may have been the factor for previous infection anyway).

This is where I sat and waited for pick up. Since I had a photo of it, I put it here. This is the front of the hospital where the taxis and buses roll through.

I bought them some snacks at the konbini so we rolled home together eating onigiri and egg salad sandwiches with the crusts cut off with my favorite duo.

Not a doctor, duh: Realizing above doesn’t give too much heavy duty medical jibber jabber but maybe I’ll get courageous and productive enough to share the blood test levels… I don’t know, is that a good idea? And hopefully the info about oxygen is informative to other patients and the whole daily routine is of some interest and usefulness.

Please remind me to go slow for several months.

Bonus: so much research, conversation and awareness about this ridic illness so a couple dispatches stashed here so I can find again. Dig if you’re curious:

Oh my goodness, this is all about me ^^

Addendum / dreams:

Next day: Well, folded a bit of laundry, changed the sheets and pillowcases, made tea. And now back in bed.

“Tiny steps” and rest are the requirements but my goodness, I want to write a novel, record an album, send 100s of postcards, and make a video of doing all of the above.

And yes, should not be sharing any of this but honestly, i’m increasingly mentally fragile, exhausted, bewildered, frustrated but still somehow so grateful “this version of my life” found me and convinced i still have a 4th, 5th, 6th “act” in me. F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong.

Keeping it together my friends, a topsy-turvy stretch but I am still moving forward and letting myself dream big, ergo:

I am always writing “something” – lyrics, freeverse, diaries, shaking out the negative thoughts into slightly vindictive words (yes yes i know), usually in notebooks but sometimes in apps or files i forget, sometimes print & put on the fridge.

Peace from the hospital for all of us, especially you (note Linda Lindas pin)

While I am here, just saying my “dream” for the next 5+ years is to nurture community in my neighborhood with an arts/games/learning/music/coffee space and welcome more guests – both foreign and domestic – to hang out in 土田 since hard for me to get elsewhere.

Okayama’s “moment” + a few checkpoints and sustainable enjoyable life

Unfamous Okayama is having a bit of a moment: lots of new houses going up, Iris Oyama making a factory here, Amahz0n building a distribution center + folks moving from the “big city” for a more enjoyable pace/price of life & ‘relative’ lack of significant natural disasters.

[Watch: Okayama Opens Up + JJ Walsh Okayama show]

Anyhow, when I was passing through the Station (Strangely, very rarely ride trains, but the bus loop is right there) took a few snaps to pass along to visiting friends for some important orientation points.

About Japan Life:

Okayama is kind of famous as ‘a place you pass through going to somewhere else’ / cheesy tour books/sites translate into “a transportation hub” / I really like it’s just super normal – right sized, not too hectic, but all conveniences & usual castle, gardens, shrines, shops

Also, while I’m here, talking about my unfamous home, adding a few annotations, which applied to some blowhard’s article that was making waves of sorts… [ain’t gonna link it cause its so offside and baity] The same crap that comes up from time to time that “Japan’s GDP is so low, the debt is so high, the population is so aging, they don’t know what they’re doing, Japan is doomed” and then all the uninformed chime in about life in the UK/US/Canada/Australia as though it’s any better because the relative currency value is currently higher and then folks who keep one foot in various countries blabbity blab. I’m here forever so i got feelings. Also, i’ve been around.

Of course, the data points are always centred around Tokyo, and overlook so many of the benefits of living here in Japan {yeah no kidding, a few things i’d love to change so i work towards mitigation like drrr}, and rather than me writing an essay, here’s a few notes about “sustainable and enjoyable living” i added to the conversation – pointing towards my own experience natch – which were summarily ignored, which is fine:


Funny how it goes, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka suck oxygen out of all the Japan news and are far more expensive/difficult to live in then “everywhere else” / here in unfamous Okayama, lots of new families moving in from around Japan, things are undramatic, somehow growing and pleasant.

We’ve also got a good garden, acquired some additional land, my wife runs a small business (arborist and landscape design), we have a wild boar trapper, solar panels & back up fresh water well. Plus stashes of savings in multiple currencies & tax free investments. Life is ok.

Importantly, real estate/housing isn’t a blood sport. You can acquire house(s) and if you have some moderate DIY skills, can be set up for long-term with no mortgage and a little hassle. + I’m chronic/complex ill & getting way better medical care here than I did in USA or Canada.

I’ve sampled living in *a lot* of different countries – from Jamaica to Indonesia to Nepal and have several passports and while Japan’s got problems, haven’t found a place that doesn’t… And the ones with the least problems have the biggest price tag to go with them.

Went back to Canada recently with family, & was expecting but still shocked by how expensive “everything” is – as well as how hard double income, no kids working “great jobs” we’re having to hustle for housing. Sure it’s beautiful but can hardly enjoy it without serious $$ flow.

Regardless, when got married, I promised my wife would never pack her up and move away from parents and she promised me I’d never have to be an English teacher so we’re here for the long-haul + have a great kid, a quirky house and my best friend’s goat farm nearby…

Bonus: And folks love enjoying/buying my paintings and poems here instead of just “oh yeah, I meant to buy one of those but…” in other places

Finally: at the bus loop, I noticed my favourite local bus company (there are several sort of public private operations) are doing a promotion to take folks on a hot spring excursion. Pay one price, get picked up, go to some Hot Springs, get ride back home. {Now that we’ve lost a few weeks with the scourge, not sure it will work out for us. We’re just really glad that this sorta campaign exists.

let’s go to hotsprings with Uno bus

Addendum: “there’s nothing to do in Okayama so why would any tourist go there” Twitter Convo

Memos: immigration mustache + pallets & Colombian

Immigration office in the morning, hoping for a five year zairyu extension. I’m sure this mustache will make all the difference.

Update: Just back from failure of Immigration office visit & put bedroom into “shut down” mode, curtains closed, Air con on, carafe of water, noise canceling headphones on – to try to calm down. Did obtain some free pallets.

I should really not say any of this aloud but have long hospital tomorrow (made a memo) so was really hoping immigration would be done and i could have rest time but turned into much more work / demoralized & trying to keep outta flare mode :(

after the second, or was it the third, visit to the immigration office I went with darling wife and adorable son and found a oddly placed coffee shop nestled in amongst a shiny department store – I enjoyed a Colombian pour over while they tracked down a gift for almost one year old niece up in the big city, later they had some cake and I chatted with some folks

I’ve also had a rough go of it this time with my immigration status renewal. I shouldn’t take it “personally” but it’s taken three visits so far for what should be a basic extension.

The first visit I went in confidently, freshly shaved and a big boy outfit with my paperwork, photo, card, passport, revenue stamp etc. thinking I would be leaving that day with my new card but it’s turned into an endless paperwork chase – I’ve done everything from the pension, taxes, “my number“ card and have lived at the same address for four years #shrug #waitinghereinlimbo

Digression:

Pardon my extraneous and highly personal riff, just getting it out of my head. My poor old noggin has just not been right since we’ve been back.

A lot of stressors coupled with brutal typhoon/rainy season (I don’t mind the rain but my goodness, the humidity and then the low air pressure when storms are coming in crash my delicate head which are part of the reason

I’m going to do these head injury/spine tests as there were at least 4 concussions as I fainted several times in the early days of my illness, plus a couple dislodged discs from a car accident on Christmas Eve in Jerome, Idaho in 1988.

Observations from the immigration office continued:

Heck, I even shaved and put on a presentable outfit and had all my papers in a special folder and that didn’t do the trick. The best part though is the weird little shop on the 10th floor that you go to for the revenue stamp. A random selection of services from dry cleaning to underpants and neck ties to 78 varieties of coffee and that’s about it 

There was a little table and chairs in the shop and I really want to go there and sit and drink a coffee and just observe what happens in there over the course of two hours – And during the lunch time *rush* & can figure out who buys the two day old sandwiches sitting on the shelf

Funny enough, some other “obvious western foreigner” came in with short shorts, crocs, and bad Kanji tattoos on his forearm… Never seen him anywhere before and couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the walking cliché #judgemental

Indulge Me, Logistically – Postcard #86

Indulge Me, Logistically – Postcard #86 (at artist Yumeji birthplace museum)

Let’s not lose each other amidst the table cloth being pulled out from under glasses and dishes. Meaning: some technical jibber-jabber about claiming feeds sparks a history of these sporadic, occasional (yet somehow charming, right?) literary dispatches from hand-written XML to various blogs and feeds and meanderings. Plus, about me! My name is Dave Olson (hi, more below). So, let’s continue to spend time together shall we?

clickity-click: Indulge Me, Logistically – Postcard #86

A brief history and future at: Indulge Me, Logistically – Postcard #86
(64MB, 33:29, 256k mp3, stereo)

Special music from The Matinée who have new album coming out called “Road to Hell”. Consider supporting these lovely gents in their most enjoyable endeavours.

{more The Matinée in this archive}

Continue reading Indulge Me, Logistically – Postcard #86

Logistical Annotation re: archive moving & sortganizing

this shoe is made for walking – really, it’s not the best for walking but representing that this site is taking a bit of a stroll

A brief logistical note to say: due to the unique conundrum of having “lots of data” coupled with “rather modest traffic” has compelled me to change this archive’s hosting situation. As such, current run of several months straight of “tidying up the archive with loads of posts” will probably be paused for a little while

You probably won’t notice but consider this a notice that you might have noticed. I would ask you to wish me luck but really, that shouldn’t be required.

Continue reading Logistical Annotation re: archive moving & sortganizing

Diary: Hopeful logistical annotations (not about wild boar)

I hope you enjoy hanging out with my unnecessary annotations.

Summary: yes, +/- 90% of my creative energy of late is spent on government paperwork – passports, taxes x3, disability, resident permits, visas, insurance, pensions, various IDs, certified translations, notaries etc. (the rest of the time, i eat oatmeal, fold laundry and make mix tapes).

Yesterday:

  • Tax papers signed and sent (to one of three national jurisdictions with which i contend, (for the time being of at least) still have to submit payment
  • Scans of important family registration/birth registration papers (acquired Monday at the Ward office) sent to certified translator for certified translation (duh) plus notarization to be returned by registered mail
  • renewed domain, yes, i only pay for one or two domains now
  • unplugged hard drives and routers drain a couple hours of pretty serious thunderstorm just to be safe
  • prepared a couple more posts for the creative life archive just to get down to the “only 300” in the draft/pending folder… Anything you’re enjoying from this project recently?

Still have a few series which just need a bit of ”clean up” to finish (much of which I can do from bed in a semifog) but a lot of stuff is just gonna wait for another “blitz” run.

Gonna slow this project down I think as I need to move on to three different projects:

1) finish Kerouac in Kobe video, I’m really close, but editing video is so rough on my eyes! October is a big month in the Kerouac world and I wanna make my contribution.

2) Google Drive shakedown, move/archive/back up files, cancel my 2 TB subscription (this is final step in my “quitting the saas” project this year in which i’ve canceled more than a dozen various online subscriptions which were really handy when iwas nomadic but now kind of redundant expense)

3) poetry book manuscript assembling project / long overdue, have the poems (so many!), have a concept/working title, and moving poems around is much easier on my eyes then video. It’s not something that will “make money” but it will feed my soul and hopefully inspire my friends (that’s you!).

Once I do this, then I can move on to a book of nonfiction travel stories and then a book of fictional short stories but first, these poems need an audience to breathe life into them – thoughts?

Today though, gotta:

Continue reading Diary: Hopeful logistical annotations (not about wild boar)

Healing Ramble: Tips for airports & traveling whilst chronically ill

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble Introduction” video for context on this series.

With respect and understanding that not everyone can do *this* – i have another riff about “why” to seek medical care or healing treatment elsewhere (not in US/Canada in this case). For now, use it if you need it, if not just pass along.

Tactics:

* Request wheelchair service well in advance and use it proudly – Besides getting you around the airport, you fast track through security and immigration lines / You are usually be first on and last off the plane, be patient

* Fly Tuesdays and Wednesdays mid-day, the airports are most mellow at this time (also tickets usually cheapest)

* Dark glasses and earplugs/noise canceling headphones for when you’re in the airport

* I use an aisle seat so easier to go to the back galley area and stretch if needed + restroom breaks without hassle when a sleeping passenger next to you

* Lavender oil, compression socks, eye mask and your most comfortable sweater for the flight, dress respectable to increase chance of upgrades (and because you are sharp like that)

* When flying far – for me anything longer than three or four hours – book a hotel in (or close by) the airport at the other end, in some cases you can get wheelchair ride to the hotel to crash out and recover. Bonus points to get one with a bathtub

* Check your bag, only take a small carry-on with comfort items, don’t try to be that “efficient business traveler” and / or save money with just a carry-on

* Turmeric tea/tincture & aspirin and water water water & coconut water & NO booze – Did I mention noise canceling headphones?

* Put on an audiobook or chill music… Keep the sensory stimulation low by not watching movies especially on the crappy seat back for the videos. For me, the fuzzy screens spin me out plus you see all the other anxiousness and activity going on

* Get a credit card which gives you access to airport lounges… go to the airport early, find a quiet corner and hydrate and snack with protein rich foods so when you’re on the plane, you’re not eating the crap or being interrupted… Plus when using wheelchair service, best to go well in advance as some airports have a limited staff performing this service

* When you board (using wheelchair you’ll probably be first on) introduce yourself to the flight attendants and mentioned that you may need extra water and make sure you are close to bathroom if you need a little sensory de-stimulation

Tip: Oh one more thing, seriously don’t try to do a lot of stuff when you travel, for me I go places to find bookstores and quiet coffee shops and simply be somewhere else.  Just because you are a “somewhere else” doesn’t mean you suddenly have a bunch of energy to go out and about and meet lots of people. Avoid restaurants at busy times as well (i.e. hit lunch after 1:30 get a table in a quiet corner) … for me this reduces sensory overload.

Note: Not all of these tips are applicable to everyone obviously but for me dealing with ME/Fibro find them to be critically handy. All for now, curious to hear your tips or any thoughts about the above.

Also this archive is laden with other riffs about healing elsewhere and taking baths in the Healing Ramble series.