Category: medical

Tues. Nov. 7, 2023 – voting day in the US, and a busy day for me…

Cool to start, warmer later, and mostly sunny. Today and yesterday. Lovely Fall weather, finally.

Spent all day yesterday getting my guts poked and prodded, videoed and violated…

So today I’ve got stuff to do. And I need to find time to vote. The important race is city of Houston Mayor, but there are proposals to vote on too.

Hopefully my guts will rearrange themselves and reacquaint themselves with food on their own. So far, there has been a lot of rumbling and “air” movement. At least I can eat normally.

I’m grumbling, but it is a miracle of the modern age to have the medical resources I’ve used in the last month available to me. I like civilization, western civilization, modern technological civilization. I like a capitalist system that causes GE to make as many CT scanners as they can, so that they are common as can be (in America you can get a CT scan for your pet they are so common). Ditto for whole surgical centers devoted to looking inside you one way or another. The only delays in my care were due to sequencing of appointments with specialists, and my preferences to spread things out a bit. I was offered appointments within a week of first identifying the need, sometimes less than a week, and usually with the exact doctor my GP wanted (although one time was with another doctor in the same practice.)

I have had a massive amount of gear and research and training available to me, with a truly unimaginable amount of the same waiting to act and treat any issues found. Houston is home to an astonishing amount of medical expertise and facilities. It is not something that can be easily replaced once it is gone. There are fools who want to burn it all down… and seem unstoppable. I hope they are not. I hope those far above my pay grade have a plan to fight back, to reclaim and rebuild. I’m not sanguine about it though.

Take care of yourself while you can. Rice doubling in price is something you can deal with. No more access to diagnostic labs, and CT scans, and nuclear medicine means stuff that could have been dealt with will have to be endured.

So many things are outside of our control, and outside of our reasonable response or responsibility. Yoda had it right, “Save you what can.” Do what you can to help save the rest. There are still Romans in Rome, and most of us will make it through whatever comes next. And who knows? A golden age may result.

In the mean time, stack.


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Mon. Nov. 6, 2023 – on which our hero gets prodded and violated in unspeakable ways…

Cool and clear again, although we had some threatening clouds in the afternoon yesterday. It was well into the 80s and sweaty to be working outside. Probably more of that today.

But I won’t be working outside. I’ll be inside trying mightily to keep my insides inside me… as the evil clean out stuff does its job cleaning me out in preparation for an up close and personal inspection.

It’s something we all must endure as we get older, and it’s truly a modern miracle that we even have something like this available to us. I’m sure countless lives have been saved, or prolonged, and the quality of life improved for many. Still doesn’t make it enjoyable.

I did get a couple of things done yesterday before drinking the devil’s spit cup. Got some more of the Halloween decor put away. Got a couple more things sorted for auction or BOL. And then spent hours sitting. Gah.

I’ve got more of that to do today. 6am, second dose. Followed by lots of fluid. Eventually I’ll head to the facility. General anesthetic and cameras inserted from both ends, some indignities perpetrated against me, and I should be home for dinner…

There is always that slight risk though. It’s been on my mind. No way through but through at this point. I’m convinced of the necessity to rule out any serious issues, especially when things in the world are so unstable and no one knows what the future will hold. Hopefully, after some short period of time, I’ll know what my personal future doesn’t hold. That’s the goal anyway.

Meanwhile, fix what you can. And stack.


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Sun. Nov. 5, 2023 – “low residue” diet and drugs, the horror, the horror…

Cool and clear, maybe someone in Houston gets some rain… warm later. It got into the 80s yesterday. Had to turn the house AC back on. Fall can be crazy with needing heat overnight, and AC during the day.

I did my pickup, and while I was on that side of town, hit a couple of estate sales. One was great, I spent over an hour in the garage picking tools and supplies. The other was mostly a bust, but I did grab a klein wire stripper and a pair of Channelok pliers for $2 each. The only other thing in the whole house I might have been interested in was an original Atari 2600 with accessories and games, and an enclosure with a dust cover. I’d never seen the enclosure before but it turned out they aren’t particularly rare or valuable. Sellers were unorganized, distracted, and prices were at retail… They kept saying they’d be open again next weekend. Not gonna be getting much return business would be my guess.

If you’ve got some special stuff and you want it to bring the money it’s worth or go to a good home, make the plans now. I’m a big fan of estate sale companies but they vary wildly in knowledge, skill, and focus. Some are predatory. No one loves your stuff like you do.

Today I’ll be stuck at home, close to the smallest room. I’m starting the prep for my colonoscopy on Monday. I’m led to believe it’s very unpleasant and I won’t want to be too far from the facilities. We’ll see if I can get anything done around the house. Fortunately I’m a prepper, and we didn’t use the last roll of TP in the house last night, just the last roll before opening a new bale. There was a moment though, where I doubted my memory, and I was worried about sending my wife out for TP… which would have been bad on so many levels. But the garage DID have another bale waiting for use…


I’m working on getting all the medical stuff up to date and out of the way. Venezuela levels of collapse could make it very difficult to get care if you found out you needed it. If I can get around to it, you can too.

Get the niggling little thing checked out. And stack. Meds too.


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Wed. July 26, 2023 – wow stuff got expensive…

Hot and humid and more of each. Highest I saw yesterday was 94F in the shade, but it was hotter in the sun. Since it happened away from my thermometer, I’m ignoring it. Hah. Just like the rain. I only personally saw a very light spatter of rain. I know it rained heavily in some parts of town, because I saw the puddles and I asked people. But I’m ignoring that too. I can definitively state, from my own lived experience, that yesterday was hot at 94F but cooler than it has been, and that it only rained a tiny amount. That this is wrong is of no concern. Please fully fund my climate change study grant. I’m your kind of people.

Spent most of the day filling the back of my pickup with auction items. Then I dumped most of them at my secondary location. Took the rest home. Did a bit of troubleshooting on some items that didn’t immediately work, and got some results.

Cooked a couple of several-years-old steaks for dinner. Couldn’t tell them apart, despite being frozen for 2 and 4 years respectively. And they were delicious. Served them with canned corn from 2014, frozen naan bread, and pasta from a couple years ago. Those were all normal looking and delicious too.

Spent the evening looking at prices online to find cheap decking material for my temporary deck at the BOL. That led to the post title. There isn’t anything “cheap”. Sheets of OSB, plywood, and rigid foam are all 1-1/2 to 2 times more than they were. Prices have come down from their highs of a year ago, but they are still high. Even furring strips are expensive. More redneck engineering is going to be needed…

Today I’ve got a couple more pickups, and more domestic bliss. So I’ll be busy, and yet not feel like I’m getting stuff done. And compared to some, I’m a piker. Talked to someone in my circle of acquaintances that is slowly revealing more of their preps. Their family group is about 35 people, and they’ve got a shared ranch as a BOL. With a full surgical suite set up. That was the bit he shared yesterday. His pockets are deep, and his group is committed. He has access to a wide range of stuff.

He urged me to stack salt. We talked about the novel Alas Babylon, where the little town is coping well with their end of the world situation, except for the lack of dietary salt. THAT is killing people. I took that message to heart when I read it, and stacked salt some time ago. Not sure what I have in total, but I’ve got 5 gallons (30-40 pounds) of pink himilayan salt, and at least one other bucket of normal salt, as well as boxes of canning and pickling salt. I’ve got a smaller amount of iodized salt for the table too. Salt can be used for cleaning, and for preserving food as well as for eating. We also talked briefly about my “bread kit” buckets – one bucket with flour, salt, yeast packets, and a bottle or two of oil, and storing and using fat to “pot” or preserve meat.

The discussion was a nice validation of my own preps, with a good reminder of a basic prep item for long term survival, and some more exotic thinking about things getting worse than most people might consider. There are others out there doing what we do. They are planning, and executing. You are not alone, and there are serious people who are taking it farther than you…

So stack a few things. Consider your gaps, and fill them. Know that others are too.


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Fri. Jan. 6, 2023 – pickups, deliveries, lots of driving…

Cool and damp again.  Hopefully clear, as that will make all my driving nicer… It was 50F when I went to bed.  National forecast is for more of yesterday, so I should be ok.

Didn’t get much done.   It’s mostly mental, but I’m still not 100%.  I feel better, but tired, and weary.

Plan for today is pick up rental trailer, use it to pick up two pallets of stone, and some geotextile, then pick up my pallet jack, and whatever else I can get on the trailer and head to the BOL.

If everything goes well, and I’m lucky, maybe I’ll get there in enough time to meet the gas guy and maybe we can work out some temporary reprieve so we can at least have hot water while I get the line replaced.

Which is sub-optimal but may be unavoidable.

Family will join me later today if there is hot water and heat….

I’ll be bringing up a few bins of stuff including about half of my OTC meds.   I went through and divided up the stuff I stocked up on 2 years ago, and I might end up with it all at the BOL, because I have normal stuff here already, but for now, I’ll just send half.    I need to split up the first aid and wound care stuff too.  To be an actual BOL, it needs to be stocked as if we weren’t coming back to Houston.  Yet, I need enough stuff stacked here to stay if we can’t or won’t leave….   It’s an interesting balancing act.   One consideration is that we won’t USE the stuff up there at anywhere near the rate we use it here, and so turnover will be a lot slower.  More spoilage, more waste.   Oh well, we’ll figure it out as we go.   Or we’ll get caught short.  But I hope to get  it at least 80% right.

One solution would just be stacking all the same stuff in the same quantities, starting from scratch so it’s not already aging out…   and I’m trying to take the newer stuff up there, not the oldest, but I can’t afford to simply double everything at this point.   As I said, interesting balance…

One thing for sure, keep stacking.



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Tues. Oct. 18, 2022 – work continues, rain didn’t stop them

Cool but damp in the morning, warming with the nuclear fire in the sky, but not getting crazy hot… that’s my hope anyway.   It stayed very nice (other than humid) all day yesterday.

The crew showed up and got to work.  The new machine does the job but has a learning curve.   Boss man did a pretty good job of climbing the curve.  He expects they’ll be faster today.  They started on the back side, where there wasn’t much, if any, water in the holes.  Most of the holes dried out while they were doing the other work.  If any are still wet today they have a pump.

I got a couple of smaller tasks done.  Moved my metal cabinet into the garage and moved all the canned goods and the freeze drieds to the cabinet.   Plenty of room for more.   I stacked the buckets beside it.   6x 30day buckets of freeze dried (but mostly breakfast and sides, no meat or good main meals).  60 days rice.  10 gallons of flour.  A shelf of pouch meat, and some canned chicken.  A couple of flats of veg and beans.   LOTS more to go before I feel comfortable but it would be good for a short term event.  It beats the heck out of foraging and eating cattail roots.

I’ve got a couple of different ways to cook up here, but need to get a set of coleman dual fuel appliances and some fuel stacked.   I’ve got the propane lantern and camp stove, and some 1 pound bottles already.  There is an electric hot plate and microwave too, if we lost gas, but had power.   I feel like I need some more depth, like I’ve got at home.  (Solid fuel camp stove, back packer stoves, butane table top stove, hobo stove, jet boil system, rocket stove, and more multiples of all that.)  I like to eat and I like to eat hot food.

Eventually we’ll get the wood burning stove in place and I’ll have that too.

There were TWO solar ovens, NIB, in an estate sale last week.  Never seen that before, but they got over $20 and I didn’t see where they ended up.   Too much for me anyway for something I’ve never used before and am a little dubious about.

Some accessories for cooking over an open fire would be nice too, tripod with chain, adjustable height grill, spit…and cast iron.  I need more cast iron up here.   I did bring up a turkey fryer propane ring and pots.   I can heat water in bulk, have a fish fry, or a crawdad boil with that.

I’m actually in good shape for alternative cooking.   I would like to be as set up for water treatment.  That is definitely on the list, beyond the sawyer mini and the other small filters.  We can always gross filter and boil, but that takes a lot of time and energy.  I need more bleach up here.

You can see that even with tall stacks there is always room for more.   Work on that!  Keep stacking!


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Wed. Jun. 15, 2022 – sometimes, nothing interesting happens

Hot, hot, hot.   Damp, moist, humid.   But should be clear for a few more days.

I’d say that evidence is that I’ve finally, finally completely healed from my heat injury.    It has take years, literally to have normal physical responses to environmental heat, but I think that after working in the garden for a few hours on Monday without ill effect, I’m finally there.

I’ll still use the cool vest though, when I have it with me, because that just makes me more comfortable.  It’s nice to be able to go out in the sun for a bit without worry I’ll relapse though.   I’m still going to be careful.   Take heat illness and injury seriously.   They can kill you.

There is an OSHA app that will give you safe exposure times, and break times, as well as symptoms of injury.  There are charts too, that I’ve linked in the past and that are easily searchable.   It’s not enough to just drink water and wear a hat.


Yesterday was one of  those days that I sometimes have where I do stuff, that really needs to be done, but still at the end of the day feels like nothing really happened.

Today will be kinda busy.   I’ve got a couple of pickups I might do, but that I can probably delay.  I’ve also got to get ready to head out of town for a long weekend.   We’ve got a family thing to attend.  Today is my chance to get everything done that needs doing before Monday.    Joy.

Yeah, family and meatspace, but- air travel and lots of other stuff to do.


So while nothing extraordinary happened yesterday, ordinary stuff did.   And sometimes ‘ordinary day’ is the best we can hope for.

Stack some more food.   Seriously.


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Wed. Jun. 8, 2022 – surprise taxi service today

Hot and humid, sunny and clear.  Boy it got hot yesterday.   Sun was beating down too.  It was still 80F at 1am when I went to bed.

Spent the day doing auction and home stuff in the morning and pickups in the afternoon.   Something similar is planned for today.  Except that in the middle of my day I have to take D1 to a birthday party.  Unknown details at this time, but it breaks up my day and makes it hard to get stuff done.   Frowny face.  It would be nice to know when I’ve been tasked, at least a day before…

One of the things I’d like to get done is a visit to the doc in a box to get something for whatever is making me itch.  I got something on my forearms while up at the BOL cleaning out brush and debris.  I thought it was just scrapes on the skin, but it’s turned into big splotchy red itchy stuff.  It’s not looking like poison ivy, and I didn’t see any at the BOL.  I’m super aware of it, and look for it all the time since the last time I got contaminated with it.    Normal OTC creams aren’t helping it much.   Sunlight and sweat on it is excruciating, so no outdoor work for me today either.  Most of the time it feels like wearing a rough wool sweater on bare skin, but there is an edge of burning pain too.   We’re grid up, so might as well take advantage.   It’ll be another all cash visit, thanks Obastard care.

I’ll find plenty to do that doesn’t involve sweating in the sun today.

Always be working to improve your position.   And stack it up.


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Wed. Feb. 23, 2022 – 02232022 – Still funny numbers

Warmer, damp.   Misty drizzle or real rain, maybe.   Got some mist yesterday, but no real rain.  Which was ok with me.  Hoping for same today.

Back was killing me, so hanging speakers from a ladder and crawling around in an attic was contraindicated for me yesterday.   We’ll see how it goes today after some pain meds at bedtime.

I did get some pickups done.  Lots of stuff for the BOL.

Will do another pickup today, and swing by the Habitat reStore.  Then if my back is solid, I’ll go out to my client’s place.   If not, it might have to wait another day.

This pattern of working one day, injured the next couple, is not going to let me do all the stuff I need to do at the BOL.  I need to get rehabilitated.  Not sure how that will happen, but I think I’ll start with Tai Chi and stretching.  As soon as this episode is over.

Physical condition, I’ve either been fooling myself, or there’s been a drastic change in the last year or two.  Either way, gotta fix it.

Can’t stack up health, so stack up health aids.  And labor aids, like rope, pulleys, hand trucks, wheelbarrows, carts, winches, and power tools.  You’ll be glad you did.


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Thur. Oct. 14, 2021 – falling behind, ever farther behind….

Hot and humid, but maybe a bit less so today than last week. Or even yesterday. I would like the rain to hold off though so I can use my pickup truck to move some things.

Did my errands yesterday. Flipped one auction item to the auctioneer for cash while doing the pickup… didn’t make what I hoped to make but did keep the auctioneer thinking favorably of me. And I’ll eventually get more stuff in his auctions. Meatspace baby. Relationships. Trust. Mutual self interest. These things need building up as much as your stacks of buckets and cans do.

Daughter had a little mishap after dinner that I’ve described in yesterday’s comments. It brings up some interesting discussion points regarding medical preps. Do you keep stuff that you don’t actually know how to use? Or do you fear ‘getting yourself into trouble’ with it? I’m firmly on the side that stacks material that is far outside your competence to use, especially with medical preps. Having a Doctor in your group, or just access to a doctor, maybe by radio or cell phone will do you no good if you don’t also have the stuff that he can direct you to use. Worst case is me using the stuff to ‘wing it’ if it all goes pear shaped. Slightly less worst case is me learning from the reference material how to do better than just winging it. Having the stuff and learning how to use it, or being advised on its use, or even trading it later to someone else is all better than not having it when it is needed.

Don’t be afraid to stack something you aren’t able to use. You might learn, someone else might use it on your behalf, or you might just exchange it for something you need more later on.

Stack ALL the things*


*start with the basics, then get more advanced in every area. Don’t skip something that becomes available out of order though. You might not get a second time.

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