If We Were Having Coffee – Mar. 08/2015 Guest Post

Can I have Some Toast, Please?

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 our world-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?

Well, this week has been busy for me. A week ago Friday, I had numerous appointments at the General Hospital in preparation for an operation on Wednesday. All the appts were in the same module – PAU, Pre-Admissions Unit – and included a pharma review, paperwork with a surgical nurse, and a meeting with an anesthesiologist. They were all quite upbeat and positive and I was surprised when I told the anesthesiologist that I would arrange an extra dialysis appt for Tuesday night so as to be prepared for the operation and he replied: “You can do that?” Oh yeah. I also found out that I have shrunk and inch and a half – I used to be 6’ 3 1⁄2” and am now 6’ 2”. Drats! The things you learn. The operation itself is to correct a problem created by kidney failure. Healthy kidneys  are involved in regulating the parathyroid glands, which in turn produce a hormone that balances calcium and phosphates in the body. These in turn affect bone density, muscle strength, joint function, heart rate, and nerve function, amongst others. Because my kidneys are not working properly, they are not regulating the parathyroid glands, which are running amuck and allowing serious imbalance of calcium and phosphates. To fix this it is necessary to remove the majority of the parathyroids (there are typically 4 but may be less and occasionally may be more – my doctor said she’s seen up to 11). They are little fellas about 6 mms long and 2-3 mms wide, shaped like lentil seeds and they are clustered around the thyroid gland in the neck.

Would you like another cuppa? Perhaps a sweet? Anyway, I was told to be at Day Surgery at 12:15 on Wednesday, so there I was with my humble bag of clothes and toiletries and a case of nerves. I’ve had small surgeries here before but there is always a sense of falling down a big hole with no idea what’s on the other side. Yeaaa Haw! I actually arrived about 20 minutes early and as soon as I walked in and registered, the nurse called my name. She took me to a prep area where I had to strip naked (for an operation on my neck?) and put on the silly hospital gown. I met with my doctor who reassured me and then off we went. Chats with a few doctors and nurses outside the operating room on my gurney and then wheeled into the scary room itself. More polished stainless and chrome instruments hanging from every piece of wall and ceiling and that silly little narrow table that doesn’t even support your shoulders, let alone arms. You’d think they’d be able to afford a wider table, wouldn’t you? And about 8 people all gowned and masked and standing waiting to do their special part. They all introduced themselves, but those names never even made it to my short term memory. The very cost of having all this sitting here waiting for me is mind-boggling. Then they couldn’t find the doctor, but she was along in a minute or so. A couple of breaths through an oxygen mask and the anesthetic started through the intravenous line and I woke up in recovery.

Another cuppa? Perhaps something a bit stronger? So, I was starving and ugly and complaining. After a bit they rolled me up to my room and I was still complaining about being hungry – remember I wasn’t  permitted to eat since the day before and it was after 6 pm when I arrived at my room. The nurse was vey kind and brought me a boxed lunch – a sandwich and juice and pudding. Not much. As she was delivering that my room mate’s daughter brought him in a McDonald’s meal and carried out his untouched prepared supper. I called the nurse and told her that I’d eat his supper too if it was OK and so she carried it back in, along with his snack of a sandwich which he hadn’t touched. Ha! Now I had two sandwiches and a full meal and all the trimmings – two teas, two salads, soup and lots more. A veritable feast. I dug in while the nurse watched and kept saying – “Be careful of nausea.” No nausea here – ha! After polishing that off and having my pain killer, I asked for some toast and jam and then I slept like a log. The next morning after breakfast and toast, I did a survey of the damage and found a scar about 3 inches long at the base of my throat and another small scar in my right forearm where the doctor had re-inserted one of the parathyroid glands so it could do its business at a much lesser rate. This placement also allowed future adjustments of the gland size if it grew too big. There will be no mark or evidence of its position once the incision is healed. Well, now it was time to start planning my exit strategy. The ENT (Ear, Nose Throat) Docs said I would have to stay until the calcium/phosphate balance was re- established. But, they were assigning that responsibility to my kidney doctor. So, I saw my kidney doctor and she said I would have to stay until after my Friday night dialysis– which would then be the weekend and no chance of escape. So I argued with her that I did not want to stay any longer than necessary and she agreed to move my dialysis to Friday morning and then do an assessment and let me go if all was OK. So, I got the ENT docs back and told them the plan and wanted to know if they had any reason why I should stay longer than Friday. They hummed and hawed but decided it would be OK and wrote my discharge papers contingent on an OK by the kidney doc. I celebrated with some toast, jam and tea.

Friday Dialysis (yes, I’ve let my beard and hair grow –non-corporate length) My kidney doc saw me passing in the hall at one point as I arranged all this and wanted to know what I was doing. I just put my finger to my lips and went “Shhh!” She laughed. Dialysis Friday morning went like a charm and after the blood tests were analyzed, they agreed to let me go. I had some toast and jam then they gave me a prescription for pain killers but there is no pain – just a slight itchiness – so I didn’t get it filled. I was told that the stitches were of the dissolving type and I just had to remove the steri-strips over the incisions after a week. Already I feel stronger and am walking easier. Hopefully this will continue to improve. It seems like the week has flown past as I sit here writing this now. I hope that your week went well but less complicated than mine. Time for some toast and tea. Ha!

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.

Photo by Bruno Guay – Nurse Extraordinaire

And of course  the


over at Part Time  Monster  and Gene’O’s

66 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. willowdot21
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 21:37:10


  2. Paul
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 21:38:46

    Thank you so much Willow for giving me this opportunity to guest post. I hope your week went well. Time for a cuppa and a sweet.


  3. MamaMickTerry
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 22:41:19

    You have one of the best attitudes ever! I had no idea you had surgery last week – you took the time to comment on my ramblings when you could have been recovering or stocking up on toast and tea!
    I hope that you are having restful and happy weekend with not a white coat in sight!!x oxox


  4. DailyMusings
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 23:42:54

    hope you are doing well!


  5. 1EarthUnited
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 00:58:13

    Paul, wishing you a speedy recovery. Apparently u’r appetite is a very good sign! So glad u’r feeling stronger every day, a “toast” to you! 🙂


  6. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 11:21:47

    What a week you’ve had. I always say if you’re starving and want to eat, you should follow your gut. Trouble is the anesthetic sometimes give you nausea. Luckily, it didn’t bother you. I wish you a full and quick recovery after the surgery. Have a wonderful week.


  7. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 11:22:28

    BTW, your photo doesn’t open.


  8. tesscol
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 12:20:41

    If we were having coffee I would tell you that yesterday afternoon I made some blueberry muffins using fresh blueberries. they were originally planned for Friday but life got in the way.
    At 7am Friday i took my husband John to the hospital…he was booked in for day Surgery too Paul but not as complicated as yours . The Dr was treating certain little ‘nasties’ which had invaded his bladder. he had a cytoscopy, biopsy and cystodiathermy!…under anaesthetic. I had great plans to accomplish lots of tasks before he was allowed home but to my surprise as I was having coffee at my usual Friday morning venue, the hospital rang to say i could go and pick him up!
    I finished the coffee and off i went!
    He is ok but reluctant to stray too far from the house as the waterworks present a certain amount of urgency!!!!

    I had a good day last Wednesday…I went along to the Cardiac rehab class and half way through the circuit the Nurse in charge observed that my mobility was very good and perhaps I should try the afternoon session which is a little more challenging. i will be going there this coming Wednesday.

    If we were having coffee I would probably need a second cup by now after all this chatter!

    Thursday afternoon was good too as I had been anxious to learn to crochet some knitted squares together to make a blanket…I have 26 squares so far. anyway one of the members of the knitting group showed me how so I came home feeling pleased with the result.

    Early Saturday morning my desk top computer came home after careful scrutiny by my friend Stuart. he pronounced it cured of any problems and he had defragged it too. I am so pleased to have it back.

    In any spare time during the week I had my nose in a wonderful book. I enjoyed it so much that I have ordered a copy to be sent to Willow. I am sure she will love it. it is by an American writer Mary Ann Shaffer and completed by her niece Annie Barrows as Mary Ann was too ill to complete it. the title is ‘The Guernsey Literary and potato peel pie Society’ All you book groups out there must get a copy!!!

    Well time to rush off and get a few more chores done.
    Thanks for your hospitality Paul. i hope you return to a good level of fitness soon


    • willowdot21
      Mar 08, 2015 @ 12:36:37

      Hi Tesscol welcome as always here is your cuppacino enjoy while you wait for Paul …. A book for me how lovely of you and so kind!! hugs ❤ xxxx


    • Paul
      Mar 08, 2015 @ 15:36:14

      Hello Tess! So pleased to see you back to visit. My, you too have had a busy week. Have a cappuccino and a sweet while we chat. I hope your husband has recovered well from his procedure. I too have had cystoscopies but never the other procedure you mentioned. It is amazing how the medical world has progressed so that we are out and better faster than ever.

      It sounds like your cardiac classes are really helping- you are advancing to a more strenuous regime already. That is wonderful.

      Between learning to crochet, reading and getting your computer back, you certainly are busy. Crocheting is becoming a lost art and I imagine it is a very restful and fulfilling activity.To be able to create with your hands,is a great talent. I love to read and I am pleased that you suggested the book. I’ll see if i can find a copy here in North America.

      Have another cuppa and relax. It has been great having a chat with you , as always Tess. I’m so glad that things have been well with you this week and that your husband has recovered from his procedures.

      Until next week then, I hope you and yours stay healthy and happy.


  9. Blog Woman!!!
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 21:42:56

    Well, you sure know how to live it up, Paul. Really glad to see it all went well for you. I agree, the sooner you can get out, the better! Isn’t funny how we’re willing to take double of what we’d never grab to eat, when we’re starving! LOL.
    Good job making back to the keyboard quicker.


    • willowdot21
      Mar 08, 2015 @ 22:04:36

      Paul will be with you asap he just needs to finish his toast. 🙂


    • Paul
      Mar 08, 2015 @ 23:08:15

      Hi Robyn! Awesome to see you here! Thanks so much for dropping by. There is a picture of me relaxing in hospital but Willow and I can’t get our technology to agree. I got a nurse – Bruno- to take a pic with his iPhone and e-mail me and somehow it won’t come through on the blog. No doubt some setting somewhere- perhaps on the original phone picture – that wasn’t set right. I was an ugly bugger. ha! Hospital food here has improved a great deal lately – it surprised even me and I wasn’t expecting much. The potatoes were even cut in little wedges and seemed fresh – still had the skins on. The meat was real and not some pressed stuff and the green beans were crunchy, not mushy. Even the coffee was greatly improved. Pretty amazing.

      You are right, when I’ve been a day without food, I am not in the least bit picky. i’ll eat anything that can be digested. ha!

      I am getting my strength back and seem to have seen some improvement even over how I was before I went in the hospital. I was out shopping this afternoon and felt good – still room for improvement but getting there. I was actually having a short nap when you e-mailed. Just having my coffee now.

      I saw your comment over on Ned’s blog today about your son growing past his Mama and nick-naming you “short stuff”. ha! Too funny. **Giggles** Hope all is well with you and yours and please drop by again. I am honored.


      • Blog Woman!!!
        Mar 09, 2015 @ 17:56:14

        Well, keep getting better mister! It’s a bit weird not to see a Paul note here and there. Although, I’ve been called to duty more and more in other areas, I try to see my favorites as often as possible. So, I may not always comment – which is kind of sucky I know, but I want my friends to know I’ve seen them anyway. Oh, I did leave a note on your previous one about the young guy you trained, but it was a couple of days after i read it. Keep on taking good care, friend!

      • Paul
        Mar 10, 2015 @ 07:58:51


  10. Corina
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 23:09:23

    So glad your surgery went on without any complications and that you are back home now.


  11. markbialczak
    Mar 12, 2015 @ 19:53:47

    OK, this better-late-than-never friend says, speedy recovery for your newly planted gland, Paul. Whoooo boy. The things we must go through when getting older. Too bad about your shrinkage, too. shorty.

    Seriously, though, as you are so much better so quickly. Why so much toast? Did they not have any waffles? Bagels? Oatmeal?


    • willowdot21
      Mar 12, 2015 @ 20:12:29

      🙂 never too late for well wishes Mark!!


    • Paul
      Mar 23, 2015 @ 06:05:08

      Hey Mark! Thanks so much for dropping by. Sorry about the delay in getting back to you. The arm and neck have healed perfectly and there is no sign that i’ve been replumbed. There is a Grey’s Anatomy and now there will be a Paul’s Anatomy – with all the changes.. Ha! Thanks for the read and comment, please drop by again.


  12. Outlier Babe
    Mar 22, 2015 @ 23:20:21

    Golly, Paul, how cool is THAT?! A neck gland in your forearm? Neat! And you don’t barf after surgery, but get the munchies? What a cruise, dude. The barfing is the biggest reason I get nervous before I go under.

    I am so glad everything went well. I hope the improvement you seem to have noticed has remained and perhaps even escalated. Calcium regulation is so key, even when one has none of the other issues you deal with.

    You get more and more impressive to me, Paul. I had mentioned in my Mommy Hyde series wrapup that my mother had an undiagnosed parathyroid imbalance that was responsible for part of her awfulness–as proven when her personality greatly improved after it (her gland issue, not her awfulness) was finally diagnosed and addressed by surgery. Here you have been all along your sweet, generous-spirited self, with your calcium totally haywire. Amazing.


    • willowdot21
      Mar 23, 2015 @ 05:53:30

      Hi again Paul is on his way,welcome here have some coffee and cake while you wait. xx


      • Outlier Babe
        Mar 23, 2015 @ 06:00:40

        You are too kind. And cruel–or, is that cake actually gluten- and corn- and cornstarch-free? (drooling sounds are heard) xx

      • willowdot21
        Mar 23, 2015 @ 06:10:18

        Completely free of everything 😉 virtually. Xx

      • Outlier Babe
        Mar 23, 2015 @ 06:20:33

        He is more thoughtful than this one deserves. Please let Paul know I am planning to follow the principles of Fletcherism in order to make its virtual flavor linger as long as possible. I shall wash it down with a my second cup of virtual real tea–the non-virtual forbidden due to my feeble and deformed left kidney’s skill at forming mountainous stones (a talent for which I feel proud, since that kidney falls short of being talented in the usual kidney-ish skills, and one doesn’t want it to feel entirely useless, does one?).

      • willowdot21
        Mar 23, 2015 @ 06:33:10

        Hail the champion stone making kidney! xx

    • Paul
      Mar 23, 2015 @ 06:12:28

      Thanks for dropping by OB! Great to have you here. yeah, calcium is a bitch when you’re on dialysis. believe it or not, the most important (for survival) effect of calcium is to help set heart rate.then bone structure, then a gazillion other things including mental attitude. It is pretty critical. From an early age, I ate a lot of high calcium food – milk, cheese, yoghurt, etc- so this calcium deficit is new to me. They have been doing blood work at each dialysis since the operation and my calcium is exactly normal now. It was wildly out of whack before the operation.

      Thank you so much for the compliments OB (**blushes**). Please drop by again.


      • Outlier Babe
        Mar 23, 2015 @ 06:25:17

        Now that I know there’s a list, I will. More catch up. I knew that about the heart because my cross-country trip back was cut short by my friend’s death–she was revived after five minutes–when her heart stopped beating due to a previously-undiagnosed-since-childhood valve problem and she learned about the calcium issue–since hers was out of whack, but I didn’t know about the link with dialysis. I’ll see your answer tomorrow, but ask now: Is that because calcium is so BIG that it gets filtered out? Okay, I seriously have to sleep now. I have work tomorrow (I work 3-4 hours for between $0-45 dollars PER SHIFT–not kidding.) Night-night.

      • willowdot21
        Mar 23, 2015 @ 06:31:04

        Sleep well.xx

      • Paul
        Mar 23, 2015 @ 06:54:10

        The chemistry is really complex OB, that’s what makes it so hard to balance. Calcium exists in the body in numerous forms and there is a chemistry for conversion. What really depletes calcium is that it has an equilibrium with phosphates (PO4). Our body automatically releases phosphates whenever we eat as a part of the digestive process. So as the phosphates go up, the calcium goes down. Which , believe it or not. means that even when you eat calcium rich foods – like milk, cheese, etc – you reduce the free calcium because you are producing phosphates. It increases calcium in a bound state but that is not available for use in the body. there are a shitload of other chemical complications as well. They tried binding phosphates and increasing calcium with meals but even then, the balance would not come around. The parathyroid glands are involved in this balance and they are normally regulated by the kidneys. When the kidneys are damaged, the parathyroids go into overdrive and reduce available calcium hugely -and in the process they literally grow in size as they take off. So when they are removed – and only a part of one left to work – the calcium balance is done mostly with drugs and through dialysis.

        Anyway, have a great day at work – i hope you make good money today. Thanks again for dropping by, come again.

      • Outlier Babe
        Mar 23, 2015 @ 14:38:55

        That was interesting, Paul. I’ve read this before except that the role of the parathyroids is never included–only with my mother did I learn some. Your explanation was briefer and clearer than any, and yet definitely gave more info! Thank you. And thx for the good work thoughts. I work in the late afternoon into evening, which is when my body always fell into its lupus coma nap. It still wants to. I have fallen asleep OTJ more than once. Lucky I’m not a truck driver.
        You have a good day, and night, too. I must do more offline stuff than on today.

      • Paul
        Mar 23, 2015 @ 16:04:10


  13. ~ Sadie ~
    Apr 06, 2015 @ 14:06:30

    Thanks Willow!! And Paul, so glad everything went well and you got to go home as planned!! Crackin’ up at the toast video 😉 Have a great week you two!!


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