If We Were Having Coffee Guest Post – Mar. 01/2015

Pay It Forward

Paul your Barista

Paul your Barista

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here once again. Please come in and make yourself comfortable. Willow has plumped the cushions and started a cozy fire so we can warm ourselves while we have a cuppa and chat. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy ourworld-wide readership. Also available is a large selection of spirits for addition to your cuppa or in its place. We can relax while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. How has your week been?

I was delighted to see the above picture over at “I Didn’t Have My Glasses On…” http://

ididnthavemyglasseson.com/2015/02/27/our-job/ on Friday. I asked Beth if I could use it and here it is. She used a quote to accompany the pic; “it’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. it’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” – l.r. knost

Last week’s topic of Compassion is still rattling around in my brain (what there is left of it – Ha!) I was waiting for dialysis on Friday, and a gentleman of about 50 years came up to me to chat. He walked very slowly and looked pale and thin. He was pretty rough looking with a well-worn winter coat, worn down sneakers and, hanging out from under the jacket, a hospital gown. He had been smoking, as I had, and I thought he was going toask for a cigarette – and it was my intention to give him one. Instead, he asked if I was a patient. We chatted for a while and he was concerned about his kids – the two remaining at home were 16 and 19. He was from a small Northern town about 800 miles from Ottawa and had flown in for some tests. It turns out he has massive infections and the doctors are sure he has cancer but have been unable to locate it. They kept him, of course, He introduced himself as Tim and said he had been in for 3 days now and was concerned about his kids. He had relatives in his home town and they were looking in on the kids, but Tim had no idea how long he would be hospitalized. I didn’t tell him, but when I had cancer, it presented as an infection as well, and I ended up in hospital for weeks to start and then months later.

We chatted and I told him some of my experiences with cancer and assured him that the doctors and health care providers in the hospital were world class and would take excellent care of him. I mentioned that it was hard to get cigarettes as an inpatient – especially if you don’t know anyone. He laughed and said he four left and was pacing himself. As rough as his position was and as much as he had no idea when he would get out, he didn’t ask for a cigarette. I told him I knew how hard it was for an inpatient smoker (they frown on it at the hospital) and how I knew cigarettes were difficult to come by and so I opened my pack and took out half still in the foil wrap and passed them to him. He was astounded and said he didn’t now how to thank me. I’ve been there before and saw the opportunity to pay it forward. As little as I knew him and given his situation I couldn’t think of anything that would please him more than that. And I was right, he was at a loss for words as I got on the escalator to go for treatment, he stood at the bottom, saying “thank you” over and over. I hope his journey is a tolerable one and that his kids still have him to look up to in the coming years.

Prescription woes

Things have been OK this week for me. It has been brutally cold although it warmed up some today and it looks even better for next week. I had a major battle with my drug store this week over some prescriptions, but we seem to have come to a bit of an- impasse and I’ll have to speak to the insurance carrier next week to straighten it out. I got what I needed but it wasn’t easy. Stupid stuff like the doctor forgot to put a charge code on the most important prescription so instead of calling me or the doctor, they set the prescription aside and did nothing. I enquired and they explained and so I gave them shit and got the doc to call them. Then they said they didn’t deliver on Saturday. This was Friday and I don’t have a car at the moment and travel by Para Transpo – a handicap service – with whom it is notoriously hard to get short term appointments for rides (long term or recurring are fine). It is an injectable drug that I have to start on Sunday in preparation for a small operation on Wednesday. It is not an option. I have gotten $1,500 worth of medications from this pharmacy this week (I replenish every 3 months and most of that cost [$1,350] are two drugs that counteract effects of the dialysis) and they were arguing that they don’t deliver on Saturday when they had the prescription since Tuesday. I was ready to call a taxi and go down and give them a piece of my mind. I threatened to take my business elsewhere and they made arrangements to deliver – I only live about 1 mile from the drugstore. I hate having to threaten to get anything done especially when the problem was not caused by me. I will just call this a small rant – cut short due space limitations. !@#$%.

Otherwise things were all right, although dialysis went awry on Friday – kind of blew up. When the dust settled I ended up  with only 1⁄2 a treatment – better than none. One of the needles wasn’t set right and half way through slipped from the fistula and created a hematoma – a large bruise under the skin created by blood out of the vessel that is very painful. It’ll calm down in the next few days, but it isn’t reasonable to reneedle through a hematoma, so that was it for Friday’s treatment.

That’s about all we have room for this week, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and watch the fire. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Willow for her invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Willow’s other posts while you’re here. Willow is over there serving her guests and chatting it up. Let’s go see how she is today. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you back here for sweets and beverages of your choice again next week.

And of course  the


over at Part Time  Monster  and Gene’O’s

37 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ksbeth
    Feb 28, 2015 @ 23:12:27

    thanks for the mention, paul. always happy to share, and i hope that next week is a better one for you –


  2. Paul
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 00:16:19

    Hi Willow! Thanks for the opportunity to guest post – I am blessed to have this chance. I hope all is well with you and yours this week.


  3. tesscol
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 00:19:35

    Hey Paul I am sitting here in the dark ..it is after midnight here in UK and I am suffering with acid reflux….so coffee and cake are out of the question.
    I felt compassion for the gentleman you mentioned who was in need of cigarettes in spite of having the question of Cancer hanging over him. Smoking is such a terrible addiction. Those of us who have never tried it are truly blessed.
    Talking of large bruises beneath the skin…mine has almost healed. It is 3 weeks and 4 days since I had a stent fitted and I am beginning to feel the benefit.
    Thursday evening was a bit of a challenge walking up a fairly steep street in the city of Nottingham. We were there to see a production of the musical Me and my Gal by the Nottinham Amateur Players.. our son Sean had bought us tickets…he was a member of the cast. Well it was a great production…..with acting, singing and dancing on a par with any professional group.
    I don’t envy you the bad weather you are having. A friend in PEI emailed me last Sunday offering and load of snow as they had plenty!!!!
    He was also happy to tell me that he and his wife were planning on leaving for Florida mid week. I guess they will be there by now. They go to St Pete’s Beach on the far side of Tampa Bay. We have met up with them there in the past. We have stayed in a village called Gulfport. I would love to be there now soaking up some sunshine.
    Well my cup of boiled water seems to have eased the reflux problem
    I might go back to bed now.
    I hope your Dialysis sessions are better for you in the coming week and that you don’t have any more problems with your meds.
    Those of us who don’t have such problems should count our blessings
    Thanks for your offer of hospitality!


    • willowdot21
      Mar 01, 2015 @ 00:24:31

      Sorry you are up so late with acid reflux Tess I do hope you can get some rest now Paul will be along for a chat very soon! xxxx


    • Paul
      Mar 01, 2015 @ 00:52:05

      oh Tess, i am so sorry you are up with discomfort tonight. Hopefully it will resolve itself shortly. Yes, hematomas can be very painful. i had a bad one once that took over a month o heal. They do get less sensitive as time passes though. How did the play go? It is great that your son got tickets for the theater for you. I hope it was enjoyable.

      I’ve been to Gulfport in Florida, you are right it is so nice there – far better than the east cost of Florida.
      i hope your week goes well Tess and you are feeling better. thanks so much for dropping by – we are honored.


  4. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 01:24:35

    I have no idea how you get your treatments, but don’t you wear whatcha-call-it so they don’t have to find a vein every week? Know what I mean. Ouch.


    • willowdot21
      Mar 01, 2015 @ 08:56:57

      Is it a stent.. Paul will know. xx


    • Paul
      Mar 01, 2015 @ 12:00:51

      Hi LCTC! Great to see you here, thanks so much for the visit. Excellent question. The biggest problem with administering hemeodialysis (that’s taking the blood out of the body for processing) treatment is access to the patient’s bloodstream. It has to be dependable, able to take high flow(i process about 96 liters (about 20 gallons)in a 4 hour treatment – that’s about 12 times my total blood volume of 8 liters(about 1 3/4 gallons)), it has to be kept sterile and, most difficult of all, it has to be accepted by the human body and not be attacked on any level. There have to be two accesses – one for blood coming out (arterial) and one to return the blood (venous). There are a few “temporary” accesses that are medical valves and/or catheters that are inserted into the jugular and stick out of the skin around the neck. They are easy to hook to – having screw type ends on them – but the human body often objects to them and will cover over the inside end with a material called fibrin, and stop the flow. Also, they have to be kept dry . so that means no showers, no swimming, no excessive sweating or going out in the rain without protection (you have to make up your own, like taping a plastic bag over it or somesuch). They are constantly under suspicion of infection and one sneeze in dialysis will earn you a whole panel of blood tests. As an aside, they are highly prized by junkies,who use them to get drugs directly into the bloodstream for a faster cleaner high. There are a surprising number of homeless who attend dialysis.(probably 3-4%)

      The second way to get access to the bloodstream is by inserting a “shunt” inside the body, on a major vein and then use needles to access the shunt. The big needles they use for flow in dialysis will eventually – over the years – collapse a vein, so it is necessary to attaching a sort of “siding” like a railway siding on a track, on a vein. This can be done a number of ways using grafts or other man-made attachments inside, but the most popular and strongest and easiest and safest, is to use a piece of a vein gained from elsewhere in the body, to form a siding in a major vein inside the body. That siding is then needled and if it collapses, it can be replaced or redone in another place. This is called a fistula and it is what I have. My fistula is in my upper left arm (they usually try there if you are right handed – because the constant needling weakens the skin/vessel walls and it is important not to put too much pressure on it – like no lifting heavy objects). This is clean (no external parts) and waterproof and infection free. It lasts a long time (many more than 10 years) and can be manipulated like other veins- for instance if it narrows – called a stenosis – it can be angioplastied to be widened, etc.,Mine is about 10 inches long and we alternate using different parts of it to reduce the wear and tear. It is barely noticeable ripple under the skin from the outside.

      The biggest pain in the derriere is that the fistula is a living, growing, reacting part of the body and it behaves as such. If i am dehydrated, it shrinks and is hard to needle. If the nurse needling is slow, the fistula will literally roll away from the needle inside the arm. It is never “happy” with needling and if the needle is only part way in, the fistula will work to pop it back out during treatment (which is what happened on Friday). It is pretty amazing what it can do. As the fistula matures, it grows in size from the heavy blood flow during dialysis and becomes easier to needle. We had to move to a new spot on the fistula for needling as we were overusing one section, and that new spot is still maturing – so we sometimes have issues with it. When my whole fistula was new it was a horror show to needle successfully. I have seen them try as many as nine times to needle and be unsuccessful. They freeze too, so that is 9 more smaller needles plus one needle to withdraw blood to see if i was safe to skip the treatment.That’s 19 needles in one inch of flesh in the space of 1 1/2 hours – and still unable to get even one into the fistula. I would go home in pain, dreading the next treatment.. it is much better now and it is infrequent that even one needle misses. But, being a living thing, the fistula has bad days and good days – much like its owner. ha!

      Great to see you here for a read and discussion LCTC. Thank You.



      • Let's CUT the Crap!
        Mar 01, 2015 @ 14:40:21

        OMG. I had no idea. I knew a man who needed dialysis for many years and lived to a good age of 92. It’s clearly amazing what can be done these days but nothing is foolproof, is it?
        Thank you for the detailed explanation, Paul. You sure are thorough. ❤

      • willowdot21
        Mar 01, 2015 @ 16:51:33


      • cordeliasmom2012
        Mar 02, 2015 @ 13:01:58

        Wow, Paul, I had no idea what was involved in dialysis. It’s amazing that you’re able to keep your upbeat outlook and sense of humor while going through all that. If you ever want to share that story with my readers, too, come on over to my place for another visit. I probably won’t have cuppycakes, but I almost always have cookies.

      • willowdot21
        Mar 02, 2015 @ 13:42:32

        Well look at that Paul cookies you can’t turn that down, bring me back some pretty please!!:) Welcome cordeliasmom2012 Paul will be with you asap! xx

      • cordeliasmom2012
        Mar 02, 2015 @ 13:48:44

        Thanks! I’m sure Paul has plenty of stories to share with all of us. I intend to set up a separate page on my blog in which I will list links to his stories on other people’s blogs, so that we can all find them easily – once he gets around to giving me those links! (hint, hint, Paul).

      • willowdot21
        Mar 02, 2015 @ 13:53:50

        Yes he has he is a great raconteur and plenty of stories past and present he has been a trucker, work in offices studied …yes that is a brilliant idea of yours!! 🙂 xx

      • Paul
        Mar 02, 2015 @ 14:17:21

        Oh, oh . CM and Willow are ganging up on me! Ha! Thanks so much to both of you for your continual encouragement. Yes, CM, I’ll get that list to you Are you thinking about a post about a typical dialysis session or how I ended up on dialysis, CM? I usually just mention that as a side issue or a small note, are you sure people would like to hear about it? it may be boring. Let me know.

        Thanks so much for dropping by CM – I am honored to welcome you here

      • willowdot21
        Mar 02, 2015 @ 14:18:09


  5. Diana
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 01:36:44

    Glad you joined us, and glad hope the coming week is better. 🙂


  6. Diana
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 01:37:23

    Gah, that should say, “and glad you’re in good spirits. Hope the coming week is better.” The computer ate my sentence. lol


    • Paul
      Mar 01, 2015 @ 12:09:49

      Thanks Diana! I’m sure things will improve- life is like that.No harm done – besides, in all honesty, I love to argue, especially when I am right. My Mum always said I should have been a lawyer. ha! I have a good friend – David – who I used to argue with quite a bit. One day, he stopped in the middle of an argument, looked at me and said: ” You know arguing with you is like wrestling with a pig in the slop – after a while you start to realize that the pig is enjoying it.” Ha!

      Thanks so much for dropping by, it is a pleasure to have you visit.


  7. willowdot21
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 09:28:06

    Paul I have to tell you how much your beautiful soul shines through your posts. It seems as if you are a magnet to so souls on need. They seem drawn to you and you are always willing to help them.
    You are also so brave about your dyalisis and I always feel your pain when things go awry.
    I also had problems with prescriptions this week . I was informed by the pharmacy that there is a problem with one of my medications . it is one I only need it once every three months, but when I went to order it they said there is a problem with the manufacture’s. So now I am left hanging wandering what to do. I shall see the Dr later this coming week.
    Anyway Paul you are a good person and I am honoured to have your posts on my blog. Xxx


    • Paul
      Mar 01, 2015 @ 12:18:38

      Thank you so much for the compliment Willow. I just treat others as I would like to be treated. And there are so many kind and giving people out there – I see their actions every day. Being on a disability, I don’t always have anything to give, so I give what and when i can. It often doesn’t take much.

      Yes, prescriptions can be a pain – there are so many hurdles to go through and inevitably, if you don’t follow it along, something will go awry. Murphy’s law.

      I really appreciate the opportunity to guest post here, and I thank you very much for allowing me and being so encouraging.

      I hope your week goes well.


  8. Corina
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 19:32:12

    Health care is such an important thing for all of us so it never ceases to amaze me how unkind and difficult people and businesses can be when it comes to health care needs, like prescriptions. Then there is the whole issue of those of us who cannot get medical insurance and so we go untreated. That should never happen and yet it does.

    I hope your week goes better. I’ll be thinking of you.


    • Paul
      Mar 01, 2015 @ 21:43:09

      Hi Corina! Thanks so much for dropping by for a read and to join the discussion. Yes, health care/prescription care is a hot topic. Here in Canada, hospital/doctor car is pretty much covered but prescription is not. I am on disability so I have access to prescription care, although there is still a deductible. I wish you the best in finagling health care insurance. We pay large taxes here in Canada to cover it – our total taxes are close to 50% of our earnings – but I have to say I would rather that than have no health care.

      I hope your week goes well Corina. Thanks again for the visit – please come again.


  9. markbialczak
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 21:16:02

    Hey, Paul. Happy Sunday. I hope you feel OK despite only getting half your dialiysis treatment. I’m happy to listen to your rant about the pharmacy. All of the business they you give them, the store owner should walk your medicine the mile to your house. Listening to their bad service, it makes me glad that I’ve made the decision to stick with the independent drug store in the village of Morrisville, Doughery Pharmacy, even though it is 35 miles from my home in Syracuse and it is now 12 years since I’ve moved from Morrisville. The store is owned by two pharmacists themselves, Jen and Chris, a wife and husband who are both good friends of mine. They have provided me top service now for more than two decades. I am not about to give that up and go to a chain store such as Walgreens or Rite Aid just because they are one block from my house here in Syracuse. My dear wife Karen uses Walgreens, and they give her angst at least once a month. Me, smooth sailing. And my health insurance company has he gall to call me and tell me I should sign up for their mail-in prescription company to save them money. I simply will not do it, and they are getting angry with me. I don’t care that it would save them money. As long as it my choice, I’m sticking with my friends who give me excellent service and driving to their store once a month. Thanks for hearing me out, my friend.

    Now, may I add that perhaps with your health issues you should consider stopping smoking? Just saying that because I care.

    I hope you have a better week.


  10. Paul
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 22:04:10

    Hi Mark! Thanks so much for dropping by for a read and a chat. I knew if i mentioned smoking here, I’d get called on it. Unfortunately, that fact was central to some of the stories. Ha! Thank you for your concern – it is noted. I don’t smoke a lot and I only smoke if I have the funds – which is about 2 weeks per month. I confess that enjoy it. I’ve had numerous tests and X-rays and CT scans done – for other purposes- that have shown minimal affect, but we all know it does long term damage. I actually didn’t smoke until I was an adult, and started when I borrowed my first business loan at age 21. It helped when i owed more than I was worth. ha!

    Yes, health care and prescriptions are getting more and more difficult, even here where we are supposedly covered. Our hospitals used to supply any medication used during treatment but they are starting t get away from that. Everything is looked at from the cost perspective – they will now onlypermiit (officially) out patient dialysis patients to use one hospital blanket per treatment – they say the laundering costs are high. Ha! Their argument is that out-patients can bring their own blankets if they need them. Oddly enough the dialysis machines have a temp setting on them so i just get the nurse to turn up the heat on my blood and it keeps me cozy. Ha! Some people can’t do that though.because they have to stay cool to improve dialysis.

    I had another argument with the pharmacy as well – we are disagreeing on deductible I have to contact my carrier Monday to get it straightened out. It is never ending.

    It was great to see you here for a coffee and a chat Mark. I appreciate the visit..


  11. ~ Sadie ~
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 23:29:22

    Enjoyed coffee with you today, Paul 🙂 Sorry the pharmacy and the dialysis did not go smoothly. Hopefully next week will be better. Glad it’s starting to warm up, too – not sure how y’all do it . . .
    So sweet of you to share with Tim. I agree with treating people the way I would want to be treated 🙂
    Hope you ate one of those cupcakes – they looked scrumptious!!! Here’s to a great week 🙂


    • willowdot21
      Mar 01, 2015 @ 23:32:26



    • Paul
      Mar 02, 2015 @ 04:54:59

      Hey Sadie! Thanks so much for coming by! Oh, this week will be better. Stuff happens but it is all fixable. It actually lends some excitement to my life when I get to have a good argument. Ha! And yes, I had some cuppy cakes – Yum, Yum, Nom, Nom.One is never enough. ha! But I saved you some Sadie. Would you like the one with the little tea pot on it?

      I am honored by your visit Sadie. Please drop by again


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