Tag Archives: lunch

Healing: hospital day with doo-wop, muffin, and a rock

At a café awaiting hospital appointment, scribbling postcards

// they’re playing doo-wop music which reminds me so much of dear dead Dad. I know all of these songs by heart even though I haven’t really listened since via 8-track in a Mercury station wagon driving to Utah in 1970s

{Visual imprint seems to get all the “obvious attention” but really it smells and sounds that take you right back to a place in time at whiplash speed}

Flowers stolen from kissaten (but I confessed to my crimes)

Dr says “shut it down, big time, you need rest, a lot of rest, all of it”

The above is determined by: physical examination on various ummm “nexus points” on my body // I’ve been running on adrenaline and fumes for a while (there were some reasons I had to shift out of second gear) and took a toll on my body.

My illness is a neurological virus situation so activity plus stress plus other attributes “flare up” and cause neurological physiological crashes which feels like the worst flu and the worst hangover and the worst Jetlag all at once.

Continue reading Healing: hospital day with doo-wop, muffin, and a rock

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.

Diary: fetching Mochi stone (& VW Beetle bento)

Today, we drove out to beautiful countryside location to the home of a lovely lady who recently lost her husband. Our mission was to load up a approx 200 kg mochi making stone. Massively dense and unbudgeible at first. Took some levers, hoists and dumptruck power moves.

But don’t worry, I had the assistance of my wife, the widow, her mother-in-law and her 12-year-old daughter. There’s no more invincible force than Japanese women but in this case, was not the ideal crew!

The giant stone was joined by menagerie of different ceramic plant pots, some bizen fired drain pipe and all sorts of other odds and ends.

those are wheels/rims, not hubcaps!
vaguely-related: this well, I am quite convinced is a portal to Antipodes

We then went around the corner to a café (keep in mind, we were in a small hamlet and the drive was littered with Sakura, plum and peach trees in splendid bloom along was lazy river with elderly farmers doing their works and even Russian looking dacha cabins with garden plots for hobby gardeners to visit from the city) and ate a ridiculous ¥600 bento lunch.

Turns out the boss (who runs the sorta Bento café in a little hamlet which i am trying to recall the name) was born in 1974… He bought this one when he got his drivers license, the car is also 1974 and currently has 74,000 km.

Of course we talked for an extended period about my 1974 bus and the history of Volkswagen (including the Brasilian and Mexican versions) and, sat inside, checked the engine etc. and how this thing could run and until100 years old with proper maintenance.

The wife (or daughter?) drives a new-school Beetle, he had a couple of canoe/kayak-y boats, mountain bikes and a kura – which of course i inquired about and he hasn’t done anything special with but thinking about a karaoke lounge.

Anyhow, was cool to see this kind of tiny lifestyle business as our area could really use something like this. Also, noting, despite his house.biz being a traditional farmhouse with the tatami rooms, had a wheelchair ramp. Hooray for accessibility!

Update: the mochi rock is installed! Heavy. And no, its not a birdbath.

it ain’t going anyhwere!

Diary: Valentine’s Week “tasks” with Ryoko

Valentines week which means the darling wife and I are going to do some scrapbooking today (Monday) + this week go to Uniqlo to buy raincoats for Canada trip, maybe pop by a secondhand store, sneak in a #MECFS (Thurs) hospital visit for me, maybe even drop off some special recycling #Romance xo

super cute kid’s outfit at Mont Bell (might return here)

Update: a few specific clothing items (sweaters, coats, socks!) and shoes acquired for trip complicated recycling disposed (a CD player and printer cartridges) coffee and lunch together second hand store visited but no purchases + visit to a bakery and a gasoline stand

don’t totally understand the promotion campaign but the great Ichiro and postbox at Uniqlo means, ok, i’m in

Various views of a coffee and cute dessert (at a Brazilian café) Sweet old Japanese lady rocking it solo. Further backstory unknown.

Bonus: Which ride do you prefer?

Diary: Really nothing *big* however, life carries on

Feb 10 Great magazine arrived, National Geographic, June 1984 with cover story about trains in India + history of Japan with special map insert >> looking forward to digging in / thanks @hokkaidomarkett (and wonderfully packaged as well).

Also arrived is a lovely postcard from a kindly correspondent showing my old work/hang neighbourhood of Gastown, Vancouver – including the “Hotel Europe” building which i could look into the apartments from my office at Rain City Studios at 1 Alexander and Nelson the Seagull coffee shop (which featured in a Hoot video) – bit of nostalgia from a place i don’t feel much nostalgia about.

Feb 9 I’ve got a (foreign dude) guest coming over, second time in 2 1/2 years… Really he’s coming to borrow some of wife’s tree cutting equipment but I’m going to ask/make him sit down and have a coffee and a conversation. Yes, this means I’ve changed out of pajamas.

Feb 8 Scribbled a freeverse poem for a friend experiencing sad loss in my little bedside notebook “Longer Than we Think“. Here’s the notebook (not the poem)

Feb 7 Took down festive cards from string of honour yesterday and started putting affectionately in an accordion scrapbook.

The arrival of a bushel of new “not particularly festive“ correspondence prompted the freshening up including: a wedding announcement from Idaho: hummingbirds from Vancouver: ephemera from California: gracious wisdom from Austin: and a new friend from Kolkata.

Still having a hard time rallying up to do anything, yesterday putzed around outside a little bit to spark some energy but wiped me out.

So many tasks on my list, some of them quite pleasant and can be done indoors however in bedlock brainfog crash mode #mecfs

(oh here’s + yesterday lunch)

Feb 6 (Still) making a sign post for the yard here at “Tsuchida Station” in Okayama / Sparks memories for me plus will be fun geography lesson for the local kids maybe. Added some clear coat (with bits of paper and cardboard stuck to it). Of course each sign location has a whole story behind it (and distance is to a very specific point).

While the sign post isn’t finished yet but starting part two for signs to: Moab in memory of a great land surveyor: Dubai to honour of special child/parents; & to Providence for memory of an icy and arty winter.

Plus a bit more soy paraffin on my fire starters… This time with dryer lint mixed with the sawdust/wood chips. Do not confuse paraffin with espresso.

K bye, All for now, so much to do (i also worked on Ichiro’s scrapbooks) and usual dishes and laundry. Just trying to “get out of the shed”.

Diary: Closing Books with Errands and Dreams

If I can make it to 20 steps for my cozy bed to the kitchen, I can have a homemade eggnog and espresso + a ridiculous breakfast of fantastic leftovers – oh but it’s so cozy here! PS xo

Made it (with stollen)

Closing Books of sorts

i love making lists and *trying* to mop up everything nicely (of course never quite works out but hey…)

Over next few days, gonna hit up a seitai session, do some pick up/drop off paperwork for wife’s business, mail out some more New Year’s cards, hopefully drop specs off for new lenses (again), finish up this year’s misc scrapbooks, + release a new video (done). Close the book.

[Update, a day later]:

seitai – check
Kinome errands – check
new years cards – in process
scrapbooking – not yet
video release – done
mae maes video – almost
glasses – not gonna get there
closing books… sorta

Observed on Errands

On an errand to a community center. Where two phones are, where two phones once were & a really nice copier. 10¥.

¥1100 lunch / not sure how it’s possible to be this fantastic. Wife and kiddos lunch plates were great as well. File this under “lousy photos of usual food“.

Bonus of a happy lil boy (note injury by his eye from a table collision and on chin from a floor tom drum)

Been Meaning to Call you

Just to note that I’ve made a lot of phone calls to vocally express fond greetings of late ~ but also have run out of batteries #mecfs and trying to mop up a few projects by the end of the year… 

What I’m trying to say is, “I’ve been mean to call you” and eventually I will. Ergo:

One big question remains for this year “will I get all my browser tabs closed?“ I will not answer all lingering emails however, that’s assured.

Intentions, not Resolutions per se

Also: maybe watched my *beginning of the year type writing out of intentions, themes and musings* for Reiwa 3/2021? Going to try to recap in the next few days. “Let’s go so we can come back.” Weird to say (i guess) but really a mighty year overall. (I foolishly live streamed the session via Facespace and due to a little bit of incidental background music, the video is locked in a steel cage so I’m chalking that up to stupid lessons learned. Open source, open content, fair use ahoy!)

Kei Truck Project

Kei truck dealership guy came by the house today with brochures about a dump truck kei for wife (she’s an arborist and forking out big loads of trimmings every day is a bit much), but sadly dump truck models *only* come in white and with the same crappy seats.

Was hoping she could have a green color to do some branding for her business (Kinome) and comfy seats for sometimes long drives but no go. The “regular“ kei-trucks you can get the extended cabs, better seats and colors. The dump back is the critical part though. Sorta like below>>

Of course the aftermarket/specialty market has all kinds of customized models including colors, lift kits and fancy wheels and stuff but we’re trying to be cheap and cheerful and off the rack.

Oh, this is Ryoko’s business, Kinome. I’m super proud my wife is part of a small cohort of women-owned small businesses doing “rough“ work. Most is fieldwork, followed by teaching hands-on classes but increasingly more and more landscape design (which is great)

Food Annotations

Forgot to tell you that for dinner last night, took goatfarmer’s housemade focaccia bread, piled it with stuffing, turkey and gravy and made first hot open faced turkey sandwich ever for wife and kiddo.

A note from Christmas dinner: I loved making both moka pot and French press coffee at end of meal for folks to make custom eggnog/coffee/espresso/Bailey’s/Kahlúa concoction. Everyone was so confused/surprised/pleased :) I also explained how the humble mokapot is the *very pinnacle* of Italian design :)

Good Night, you are a marvel

Oh that’s bedtime for me. If I owe you replies, messages, notes, favors etc., I’m working on it… Please know I’m super proud & impressed with what you’re doing and especially glad for creators making interesting pods, vids, paintings and poems. Self expression is everything.

Open w/ care indeed (this scrapbook is an archive of 2021 inbound correspondence)

Good night the Internet, thanks for the amusement today.

Diary: Goat Farm Birthday Lunch and Hangout

the birthday girl enjoys a (no-alcohol) brew from Italy with lunch

Ryoko’s birthday on April 28 was of course in the midst of all of the *global meltdown pandemic* whatever but, we managed a few fun activities, rather safely and all that… Including (on April 27) going to our pal Mac’s goat farm for a special lunch and visit. Evidence follows:

Mac makes this sort of hybrid “Italian/Tuscan style with Japanese ingredients style” food and well, we let them serve us what he wants and it’s always fantastic and comes out in various courses at a leisurely pace, finishing with goat milk cheese cake!

Of course his farm is where we met so it’s a very special place for us and we feel very much at home, plus I can check in on my artwork which hangs in his market which, by the way, had gone through a little bit of a rearrangement making it a bit more spacious and organized.

We look forward in years to come to put on some music and arts festivals and welcome our friends from around the world and around Japan back for more fun. In the meantime though, had a lovely lunch and memories including some choice selections from Buddy Mac’s epic record collection.

See also: New Year’s bar-b-q

Diary: Kissaten cafés, sharp knife, drs observations and daily views

Amidst the “specialness” of life – which included of late:

  • trip to Nagasaki and all the glorious trains, building and museums  (well documented elsewhere)
  • Mae Maes spring concert in Tamano (artifacts to follow)
  • baby coming! (and related prep)
  • 10 years anniversary of Vancouver Olympics (which was such a big deal for me and i meant to do “something” to commemorate, but ya know, this feeling was overridden with ambivalence (but do have some notes and copy/pastes i’ll get to before 11th anniversary)

– is the “regular out n abouts” of life. These moments are treasure and, as memory fades, are quickly lost to the “exciting bits” never the less, i capture and archive for me, for others like me, for the little one, for the future, for the process. You know this already so behold, more of the usual: trams, coffees, meals, and various items spotted in the wild. 

Ergo, just things, observed / scenes of life in Okayama, en route to “seitai” treatment session:

* fine bicycle (wagyu burgers in bg) at sunny intersection 

* non-chronological aside but related / wagyu burger (with Ted) / as an additional aside, compared to 25+ years ago when I was first year, so much more international food available, to go along with the obviously fantastic Japanese native food… Would having pizzas, mighty burgers, lots of India/Nepal food, there are Mexican food places but i don’t wanna be disappointed – Anyway we do not lack for fantastic food even in our small city

* angled manshon apartment bldg, striking against the sky (this is parking lot for seitai sensei)

* ikebana and scroll at sensei’s office

Continue reading Diary: Kissaten cafés, sharp knife, drs observations and daily views

Diary: Off to Library + cuppa Joe / good luck, stamps, ovens & social niceties

Note: Some of this riff originally appeared in “real time” via FB social channel to the amusement of many (everyone loves a comically large bootle of hooch!) – shared here for posterity in edited form with several other topics included.

++ Confession ++

pardon me, but does this come in a large?

Well, i am at risk of irreparably damaging my reputation as a good resident of Okayama as it seems some library books are overdue.

I know! Terrible. Shameful breach of trust.

As such, i will finish this coffee (delicious by the way) and hop on the luxurious Uno Bus (seriously wi-fi, power outlets, clean, comfy, pay-per-stop) to restore my status as a decent human.

I’ve really let myself go off the rails – i’ll try to improve.

fondly, dave

PS i will not blame this on this comically huge bottle of saké – seriously, 18 litres and came in a wooden crate. Just when you think Japanese people are all diligent and serious, they pull out this! i mean the logistics of shipping, lifting, holding, pouring alone are baffling

Checkpoint busstop (yes my life does look like a Studio Ghibli movie)

Did i mention the bus has great wi-fi, power outlets, seatback headrest covers, and pay-per-stop system? Uno Bus is truly great.

Also before leaving washed dishes, folded laundry, started rice, composted food scraps, fed rabbit, aerated kobo starter, refilled kerosene heater… and didn’t forget library books(!)

Ryoko’s out of town for 2 nights teaching a tree trimming workshop & stayed in a trad guest house with wooden bath. So cool. And she’s truly incredible (and doing great with pregnancy!)

Continue reading Diary: Off to Library + cuppa Joe / good luck, stamps, ovens & social niceties

Diary: Days go by – filled (mostly) with coffee, food and and sundry tasks

You could be forgiven for thinking that my life involves entirely eating delicious food and drinking fantastic coffee as you are somewhat correct… however, there is slightly more going on as i am  into the routine of “regular life” and doing things which I file under “life administration”. As such, some tasks (as much as I delight in the mundanity of everyday activity) doesn’t get documentation.

Not that these things are not interesting – but because in the diligence and action itself, there’s interestingness – but photographs aren’t always timely nor appropriate and in themselves, there’s not often a story to be told. Within this thought is why I enthusiastically and rather comprehensively documented everyday life when first arriving in a new place… As in: when you stay in a place for a while, the uniqueness of every day life fades and it’s easy to think that “I’ll do this another time” or “I’ll wait for something special” or “why bother?”

With this in mind, over the last few months of settling in my new home and life, I’ve remembered to fill up this “new white sheet of paper” with all the spectacular regularness of simple errands, neighbourhood observations, pleasant routines and out n’ abouts. Continue reading Diary: Days go by – filled (mostly) with coffee, food and and sundry tasks