Monday, 29 September 2014

A Damp Squib

The other week or so my Primary Care Physician, the ever fabulous Dr. K-isten P-ulus ordered up a stress test for me. (We are trying to find out why I experience chronic fatigue).

The test was slated for today at the offices of the Sarasota H--rt  Speci-list Group's Dr. Ch-ppy

(I scramble names so that they will not be trawled (trolled?).

The pre-test instructions were manifold.

No food after midnight.
No alcohol after midnight  (damn, I had to forgo my usual 2:30 a.m. Bloody Mary).
No coffee (even de-caff) in the morning, no breakfast.
Ambiguous instructions re medications.
Drinking water allowed.

I was instructed to be at the Doctor's Office half an hour before the appointment.  I chose to arrive fifteen minutes in advance as I had already mailed in the volumes of paper-work which all physicians and surgeons require.

I was told that the procedure would take up to two hours, and that I might wish to equip myself with a book for the forty-five minute "rest period".

The call for the procedure came five minutes early.  It came from a forty-something man who could have been the janitor  (he was dressed in grey jeans and a tee shirt, and he did not wear a name badge).

He hooked me up to various monitors then set me upon a tread mill upon which I pounded until my heart beat reached 120 per minute (I think).  It was not a breeze, nor was it difficult.

I had a wee bit of hip pain on the steep ascents, and the calf muscles in my right leg seized up a bit  (they do so when I take my early morning walks - it has to do with fallen arches on my right foot).

The test over I emerged a bit breathless, but intact.  It took about four minutes for my blood pressure to stabilize.

"Mr Techie" removed all the sensors on my chest and belly. I said  "what next?".  He said "you can go home, you and your Doctor will get the results in about a week".

The entire event lasted for half an hour. 

I was a bit deflated as I had expected some manner of an interview with Dr. Ch-ppy Nall-ri.

What hurts most is that after those severe  morning privations and the stress test itself,  the brass marching band and cheerleaders I had expected to be there to celebrate my success were nowhere to be seen. Damn, yet another cut under Obamacare. 

If this test  had been in the U.K. my success would have been celebrated with a fly-over with  R.A.F jets, and a parade by the British Grenadiers.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

"A Long Way Home" - a book recommendation

"A Long Way Home" is a memoir by Saroo Brierley (G.P. Putnam's Sons 2013).

From the book jacket:  "Saroo Brierley was born in a poor village in Khandwa, India.  He lived hand-to-mouth in a one room hut with his mother and three siblings for the first five years of his life.....until he got lost.  For twenty five years".

"This is the story of what happened to Saroo........ How at only five years old, uneducated and illiterate, he wound up on the streets of Calcutta. And survived,  How he later wound up in Hobart, Tasmania, living the life of an upper-middle-class Aussie.   And how, at thirty years old, with a propensity for solving mathematical formulas, a stubborn memory desperately clinging to the last images of his home-town and family, and the advent of Google Earth, of all things, he found his way home"

I took the book out at Sarasota County's Fruitville Library yesterday (27th Sep 2014) and finished reading it today (28th Sep 2014).

It's a story of what might have happened.  Saroo could well have been trafficked  (but for his intuition as a five year old, leading him to run away from danger).   Twice he was in danger of drowning.  And he could well have become one of the myriads of poor street children in Calcutta.

It's a story of human goodness.  There was the teenager who saw Saroo on the streets, and took him to the only safe place for a five year old - the police station.  There was the fabulous Mrs Saroj Sood who went to court and gained custody of Saroo, enabling him to live in her orphanage.  There was the amazing Australian couple John and Sue Brierley who adopted Saroo and enabled a loving, stable and joyous life in Hobart, Tasmania.

It's a story of dogged determination.  Saroo, who could hardly remember the name of his home town, (there are many places in India with similar names)  and mispronounced the district of the town where he lived for his first five years, engaged himself in deep detective work (with many a false lead) until he was able to go back to India and to his home town and district; (by some amazing deep memory he remembered the route from the railway station to this district - twenty five years later!), and to a joyful reunion with his birth mother, together with his brother and sister (another brother had been killed whilst train-hopping).

What a fabulous story.  It is a tale of the deep resilience of the human spirit, and of the better angels in some human beings.

My copy will soon be returned to the Sarasota County Library system.  If you do not live in SRQ you may be able to borrow it from your own local library or purchase it:  (It may be published by Penguin in the U.K. and Australia).

Saturday, 27 September 2014


I am not at all certain about the meaning and efficacy of prayer.

I am reluctant to pray to God requesting certain outcomes.

So, when I pray for people I think that I am simply "naming them before God", i.e. bringing them by prayer into the presence and ambience of the Holy One.

Most of my praying takes place during my early morning walks with my dog Penne.  I have three lists which Penne must now know by heart.


My Bishops in Massachusetts and Florida

The parishes I have served in both States:  for  their Pastors, and for people in those congregations who are in special need.


For friends and acquaintances who are in special need.


For my family members.  This is a long list.

It includes my eight siblings and their spouses.

It includes my nieces and nephews, together with their spouses/partners/ boyfriends/girlfriends.

It includes my great nieces and nephews.

This family list includes 63/64/65 people (depending on how good my memory is on any given day).

Can you imagine that?  This old bachelor has about 65 folks in his immediate family circle.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Betty and the boys

Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings often see me at the home of my pal Ben for pre-dinner beverages and nibbles.  Bob usually joins us.

This week I asked Ben if our wonderful friend Betty (the nonagenarian WWII marine) might join us.

Ben readily agreed, and he extended the invitation to the ever delightful couple Bill and Patrick, and to the relative newcomer Rick (with his splendid standard poodles Louis and Vuitton).

Of course Penne was in heaven to be with her "besties"  Bob and Betty, and with her boyfriends Louis and Vuitton.   I am always so happy to see the three dogs getting along so fine (especially as Penne is often skittish around other canines).

I brought a tapas plate with meats from Spain (Lomo, Serrano Ham and Chorizo), and with Spanish Manchego and Iberico cheeses.

Bob brought some fabulous Red Leicester cheese from England.

Oh what fun we had. 

There we were, six older gay men  (two older than I, and three younger), each playing court to the fabulous Betty who is as sharp as a tack.  She has wonderful stories, and she is equal to all in her witty comments and responses.

I drove Betty home in the rain.  She told me that she was as happy as happy can be.  She'd had a lovely evening.  She was overjoyed to have been included in this wee repast.

 She is simply a fabulous older woman who, despite the loss of her husband Joe, is up and ready for a good party. 

I want to be like Betty when I am 90 years old!