Bugs, redux

The problem with spending quite a bit of time in doctors’ offices and hospitals is that these places are more often than not filled with sick people. While this is not entirely surprising – after all, how often do well people go to the doctor or visit a hospital unless they’re visiting someone or working there? – it is rather annoying for those of us who are otherwise healthy but are susceptible, thanks to being blasted with radiation and chemicals, to picking up bugs from various places in their travels.

Such is the case on the ranch, where yours truly has a typical case of the flu or a cold or something, resulting in an amazing amount of snot being blown out of my head.

Speaking of amazing amounts of stuff: this week, a return visit to the pulmonologist, for a followup xray to make sure that massive amount of fluid they drained out of the left lung last week remains at bay. It does, although there is still a bit of hazy “pneumonia-like stuff” hanging out at the bottom of the left lung. Do we know what it is and why it’s there? No. Do we want to preemptively treat it with antibiotics or anything? I voted no, and the doctor concurred. In two weeks we’ll have a followup xray to see what progress the body can make on its own.

On another note, I got to see the xrays and scans from before and after he drained the fluid. I have to say, it was one of the most incredible things I’ve seen on a scan, and more than a little scary: my left lung was pushed almost to the point of collapse by the sheer amount of fluid, and the CT scan results, when rolled back and forth like a film, are rather awesome in demonstrating just what medical technology has the ability to do (of course, I am a great fan of technology in general and medical technology in particular, because hey, it has saved my life rather spectacularly, twice, in the span of five years). When viewed as a film, the CT scan results, working from the top of the lung downward, show a massive black space where the fluid has displaced the lung – a bit of 2001: A Space Odyssey, minus the stars bit, because there was absolutely nothing there but a huge amount of (thankfully benign) fluid.

Right now, although my head is stuffed to the point where I want to chop it off, breathing deeply no longer is the agony it has been, and is getting better daily. A slight twinge here and there, but overall, recovery is back on track. The other day I went out for about 20 minutes or so and actually worked in the garden by chopping off some of the giant okra fingers that were threatening to topple some of the plants. All of those went into compost, as they were inedible – some had dried on the stem, the seeds rattling around in the now zebra-striped pods as I cut and tossed them.

I’ve decided to try another round of tomatoes, as a last hurrah to the season. I’ve also decided that instead of starting other things in flats, they’re just going to head straight for sowing in the frames. Since Earl is not going to pass closely enough to our coast to bring us any weather, and the daily rains appear to have moved along, there is no real danger at this point of the seeds being washed out or the soil staying wet so long so as to cause the seeds to rot in place. That means the broccoli, cauliflower, and other assorted goodies will be directly sowed at some hopefully short time in the future – but after we go through another week of 95-degree weather here, according to our forecast. Summer does not want to let go its grip, and who can blame it, really? Summer, to me, is the very best of seasons.