I’ve been going through a lung transplant rejection/infection episode over the last few days. My docs started treating me with a massive three-day Solumedrol (steroid) blast. The first side effect of Solumedrol is that is leaves a dull taste in your mouth at all times and a special dullness that engulfs every morsel when you eat. The second side effect is insomnia. My first night on it, Wednesday, I did not sleep a wink. It was the first time in a long time I literally got no sleep. Even on sleepless nights you usually get a half hour or so. And there is no productivity possible because it’s exhaustion combined with relentless restlessness.
As I laid supine trying & failing to sleep I came up with a personal Google challenge. Could I find a photo on the internets that would symbolize the Solumedrol coursing through my veins toward the dastardly rejection in my lungs? I did much better than a photo…
It’s not often that I quote the Bible but one of my favorite lines comes from Psalm 121:
I lift my eyes up to the hills;
From where does my help come?
Help comes from significant others, family, friends and — for me, in those bleak wee hours — King Arthur leading the Knights of the Round Table on one last ride:
I love that film and I love this scene, one of the film’s great movie moments, which incidentally re-popularized Orff’s Carmina Burana. I encourage any and all to use this video to inspire you in any struggle. Help is on the way. Sure, they may take a short detour through a cherry blossom festival, but they’re coming.
Thursday I had a bronch and my second Solumedrol dose but that night I slept much better. Almost normal. I was still awake enough, however, to compile a list of my top ten favorite podcasts:
1. The Adam Carolla Show. Love me some Aceman. He’s more conservative than I am on some things but his focus is on common sense. He’s the unofficial spokesman of a political movement he may never have heard of: commongood.org — which began with Philip K. Howard’s book The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America.
2. Men in Blazers. Funny English guys talking about the English Premier League with occasional allusions to the Battle of Trafalgar, Germany’s WW2 bombing of Rotterdam and more.
3. Fantasy Football Scoutcast. More funny English guys talk about the EPL from a fantasy angle.
4. Mohr Stories. Jay Mohr is funny but can be oddly ass-kissy with his guests. I thought he was going to ask Eric Roberts to marry him.
5. B.S. Report with Bill Simmons. A podcast Founding Father (Adams?).
6. This American Life. I found TAL when I was waiting for my retransplant in 2006-2007. I think they revitalized radio and inspired the podcast genre more than anyone else. The George Washington of podcast Founding Fathers.
7. Smodcast. Ben Franklin for sure.
8. The Tobolowsky Files. You know him. He played Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day. Funny stories about his life with an emphasis on his theater and film experiences.
9. NPR’s Planet Money. My only connection to financial news. Lots of good international stories too.
10. The Moth. In the tradition of TAL, people telling their stories.
Honorable Mentions: WNYC’s Radiolab, Real Time with Bill Maher, Kevin Pollack’s Chat Show and Writing Excuses.
Friday I went in for my last steroid blast and to install a catheter for my antibiotics treatment. Yeah, “install” feels like the right verb. I used to get PICC lines in my arms. (Normal IVs last 2-5 days. PICC lines last 2-5 weeks or more.) As I understand it, there are four routes through the arms for a PICC line. In one arduous and epic fail of a PICC line-inserting session, I discovered that three of those routes no longer work for me. And we gave up before trying the fourth. Instead they put in a midline (a shorter PICC line). But midlines can’t be used for some antibiotics so I had to move up to the next level catheter, a Hohn catheter right in the jugular. This is my second time on the Hohn program (as an outpatient). If only having a Hohn catheter in your jugular was as exciting as their marketing material implies: