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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Answering the Question, “Did I Swallow a Baseball?”

The short answer to the question, “Hey, Seth, you look like you tried to swallow a baseball and it got stuck! Did you?” is, in fact, "Hah! No."

I don't blame you for wondering, though. The list of weird stuff that people unintentionally or unknowingly swallow starts with spiders and then gets weird. A baseball wouldn't be much of a stretch.

The long answer is as follows.

Saturday I worked at the hall with about a third of the ecclesia, cleaning up both inside and outside. We'd let the brush encroach on the yard a bit (a lot) too much, so most of my time was spent outside.

After stacking all of the chairs in the main room so that Darren and Ravi could vacuum, I went out to help with brush cleanup.

Or so I thought. Instead of brush, I cleaned up trees. I used Frank's chainsaw to cut down one tree to the right of the shed, then I climbed a ladder and cut a large branch from another tree.

After all the cutting, I dragged the trees and branches down to the parking lot, across the newly cleared spot behind the lot, all the way out to and over the stonewall.

I've done a lot of this kind of work. Really.

But I remember thinking, when I was dragging the largest piece, "Oh man this is the heaviest thing I've ever moved." I managed, though there were a few times that I drove my feet into the ground instead of moving the tree.

Later, Frank asked me to take down another tree which was already behind the stone wall. This one was much taller but wouldn't have to be dragged. Bonnie requested that I cut it up so they could take it home for burning, so I did, then I threw the logs out to the parking lot so she could gather them. (Nobody had a wheelbarrow or tractor.)

I was surprised at how totally exhausted I was by this point. In fact, I was nervous while cutting up that tree, as I was so tired that my hands felt weak and shaky. I'm comfortable with a chainsaw, but if I had continued to feel that way I would have put it down for the day.

Sunday morning I was still a bit tired, and my back was sorer than I expected. Not very surprising.

Monday morning, shortly after getting out of bed, I noticed that my back was still quite sore. Plus, I had a gigantic lump at the bottom of my neck! (Not *quite* big enough to actually be a baseball, but close enough. Certainly larger than a golf ball.)

Corinne starts trying to find an Ear-Nose-Throat doctor to see me soon. She's thinking I have some freakish cancer that, at the rate this thing grew in, will eat me whole within a couple of weeks. First appointment she gets is for Friday in Mystic, but later she gets one with Dr. Cameron today (Tuesday).

I figured it's a swollen lymph node (which means I have an infection). I've had them a couple of times before, though the only one this big was in my armpit in my early teens. A search on WebMD and eMedicineHealth seems to confirm my Nearly Professional Diagnosis, though I wasn't comforted by the warning that if the swollen node is immediately above the collarbone then medical attention should be immediately sought. (That is when Corinne found the appointment for Tuesday. She didn't like that warning either.)

With my back still hurting and feeling generally weak and maybe feverish, I take my Ibuprofen and try to work.

Tuesday morning my back hurt a little less, but the ball in my throat is as big and hard as ever. I feel slightly clumsy, but I figure that goes with feeling generally weakened. I'm also having a very hard time remembering the words "lymph node," so clearly the fever is affecting my brain.

Tuesday afternoon I go to see Dr. Cameron. He walks into the exam room and asks why I'm there. I lean my head back a bit and point, and he says, "Oh, you have a swollen thyroid!"

"Really? I thought it was a lymph node." He asks me to swallow.

"Nope, it's the thyroid. It's connected to your larynx, so it moves when you swallow. The lymph node would stay put. Same spot, though."

Now I'm worried. My grandmother had some significant thyroid issue at some point, but I don't remember what.

"Have you done any strenuous activity in the last few days?"


With that one question, all the stress of the last couple days evaporated. He clearly knew exactly what was wrong with me, and the way he asked the question clearly implied this was a common(-ish) problem.

So I explained what I had done, and he agreed that moving that one tree was probably what did it. I ruptured a blood vessel in my thyroid, and it swelled up with blood. Overnight it hardened when the blood coagulated.

It's called a Chocolate Cyst, because of the consistency of what it contains. Mmmm, like a nice blood pudding!

The treatment? Wait a couple of weeks for it to soften up, which means the coagulated blood has turned into a thick, oily liquid. He'll then tap and drain it right through the skin, in his office. He says it will never go down on its own.

By now you're surely wishing you'd stuck with the short answer, but at least now you can be sure that I did not, in fact, swallow a baseball.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Our First Attempt at Camping

This was quite a weekend.

Occasionally, our ecclesia goes camping together. It's not every year, but probably 3 out of 4 years, in mid-June. Wanting to share new experiences with Lauren, I decided to give it a go this year.

I've never camped. Maybe 30 years ago, when I was little, Jed and I used to camp out in our back yard, but otherwise I've never camped. That's ridiculous.

We all got spots near each other at the Hopeville Pond State Park (thanks to Ellyn for organizing the whole weekend). Not being a camper, I have no tent so Mark and Michelle loaned us theirs, and an air mattress. Gary and Ellyn loaned us a couple of sleeping bags, and Lauren and I headed over there Friday evening.

Mark helped me set up the tent (he wasn't staying over night) and pump up the air mattress, then we all settled in around the campfire. At about 10:30 I said goodnight to everyone because she was falling asleep on my lap and I wanted to let her sleep in the tent. After a diaper change and lots of fun taking out my contacts near total darkness, she was curled up like a kitten on one of the sleeping bags, fast asleep.

That lasted for a little over an hour. More than enough time for me to fall into a deep sleep.

Then, she woke up. Happy. VERY VERY HAPPY. She came over to me. She patted my face. She laid her head down on my chest and said "aaaaahhhhhhh", then went back to sleep for three minutes. Then she kissed my cheek and slept with her head on my arm... for a few minutes. Then she laid down completely on top of me and slept for a few more minutes. Then she tried to get into the suitcases.

Lauren is so tired…This went on for hours. She wouldn't settle down, and would cry when I try to put her back on her own sleeping bag. Otherwise, she was perfectly happy... but also totally wide awake and unwilling to let me sleep.

At 3:45 AM I finally gave up. By 4, we were both back in the truck and headed home.

I think if I were ever facing torture, I could handle some pain, but they'd break me in a day or two with sleep deprivation.

I/we slept until late morning, then drove back to the camp site. Saturday night we didn't even try: just went home, got a good night's sleep, and went back again Sunday morning.

I'm glad we tried, and I hope we can try again next year when she's a year older.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Noisy Fox Has Babies

Remember the noisy fox I wrote about last year? It's still out there, making its calls a few nights per week. I rather like it.

Well, someone answered the call, because now there's at least one baby.

Fox Kit - 3

This is only the second time I've seen the kit, but it's the first time that it stayed put long enough for me to get a picture.

Update May 21:

The mother brought at least two kits into the back yard for a little playtime yesterday. Couldn't get a shot of the babies, as she called them back into the woods as soon as I went on the deck to take pictures, but I got her staring right down my lens.

Foxy Mama 1
Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sound of a Fox, I Think

Twice in the last month, I've seen a full grown red fox in our yard. The second time was yesterday morning. They're bigger than I expected!

Last night, some animal was calling out in the woods behind our house. Here's what it sounded like:

(Reading this on the mailing list? Here's the sound file.)

I don't know that it's the fox making all that noise, but I think it is. It sounds a little like the territorial call as listed on this page of fox sounds.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ride #14: A Fine Early Spring Day

Pawcatuck River

What a beautiful day for a bike ride!

It was a little chilly (43° F, 6° C), and slightly breezy, but clear and sunny and I was able to work up a good sweat.

I've taken to carrying a small camera with me on all of my rides. So besides the incessant stats that have come with every ride report, I'm going to post a picture with some of them, too. Including this one of the Pawcatuck River, about half way through my ride. (If you're on the mailing list, you may have to go to the web page to see it.)

There's a hidden motive for posting the photos: I'm going to try to convince Steve (and Mike and/or Paul) to come down here for a ride in May again, like he and Mike did two years ago. I know Steve likes the scenery down here, so the idea is that the pictures will do most of the persuading, and I'll just have to ask.

I'm six months behind on updating my stats, but I've been faithfully recording them on paper so eventually they'll all be up to date. For now, there is no "2007" section in the cycling area of this site.

Which reminds me that I need to get the ball rolling on the PMC fundraising. Donors!? The old PMC page still has the right link, even if the page only talks about the . I've raised $500 so far this year (thank you, Mr. You-Know-Who-You-Are), the goal is $6601.

Stats: 43.72 miles (70.38 km) in 2h 27' 25" for an average speed of 17.79 mph (28.64 kph).

Yes, that's slow. It's also very early in the season! (Oh, and I'm not 100% positive about the ride number. It may be ride 13, I'm not sure yet.)

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