Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday - A Report from Billi Pod

OK everyone - here’s the deal. I had my appointment Tuesday afternoon with my liver doctor, Dr. Elena Ferran, and received her diagnosis - “Hepatitis B (acute) - meaning I have a non-chronic liver inflammation caused by a virus. To quote the material she gave me: ...”Acute is the medical term for sudden onset ... the symptoms of acute hepatitis B usually resolve within three months as the body eliminates the virus or brings it under control. There is no specific treatment ... in 95% of adults the immune system controls the infection.”

What this all means is - we are now in a monitoring mode. The cataract surgery has been postponed. I feel fine, I really do and I have absolutely determined that if the events of 9/11/01, and its aftermath, did not deter Billi Pod, then neither will a fucking virus ... so, let’s move on, OK? I do not want to get into a “how come/what if?” modality, OK?

I do, however, want to thank all of you loyal and faithful readers and lifetime friends for your emails, calls, texts and postings. They meant very much to me - THANK YOU!

Moving on ... this is what Billi Pod’s entertainment schedule has been for the past several days and what it will be for the remainder of the week -

Sunday - February 14 - 7:00 - “Equivocation” - Off Broadway. “Bill Cain's new play, set in 1606 England, begins when William Shakespeare is commissioned to write a new play about the Gunpowder Plot, a recently failed attempt to blow up Parliament and the Monarchy.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Well, for most of the show I didn’t have a clue what in the Hell was going on, but, and a big but, the acting was outstanding and that kept me around for the entire show.

Monday - 8:30am - blood work; 8:00pm - “The Miracle Worker” - Broadway. This is the press blurb for this show in very early previews: “When Annie Sullivan began teaching a young Helen Keller, she found a girl raging against a world she couldn't understand. But Annie knew that inside this wild child was a brilliant mind fighting to be heard. As the two worked together and their friendship blossomed, Helen transformed from a girl no one believed in to a woman who would inspire millions.” (discounted TDF ticket).

This is a wonderful show. The role of Helen is played by Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”) and her father by Matthew Modine, a role I played eons ago for Bartow Performing Arts Council (BPAC).

Tuesday - February 16 - 12:30pm - appointment with liver doctor; 7:00 - “Yank! A WWII Love Story” - Off Broadway. This was the first preview performance of this production by The York Theater Company - “Set during World War II, Yank! chronicles the relationship between two servicemen long before "Don't-ask-don't-tell" was part of the national discussion. With a lively score inspired by the pop sounds of the 1940's, Yank! captures the spirit and exuberance of the era as it explores questions of prejudice, courage and survival.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Man, this is an outstanding show. The sold-out audience was really into it and gave the cast a roaring standing ovation, which was much-deserved.

Wednesday - 8:00 - “Extinction” - Off Broadway. “Gabe McKinley's play portrays what transpires between two college buddies whose annual outing of male-bonding and debauchery veers precipitously off course when unmet expectations spiral into a volatile showdown.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Hummmmm ... why do I think this will be a show with so-called “dark” humor and a lot of anger and shouting? We will see.

Thursday - 8:00 - “Next Fall” - Broadway. “After a critically acclaimed, sold-out run Off Broadway last summer, Geoffrey Nauffts's new play now arrives on Broadway. Taking a witty and provocative look at faith, commitment and unconditional love, the show goes beyond a typical love story. Luke believes in God and his partner Adam believes in everything else. The story portrays the ups and downs of this unlikely couple's five-year relationship with sharp humor and unflinching honesty. And when an accident changes everything, Adam must turn to Luke's family and friends for support and answers.” (discounted TDF ticket). I saw this show during its Off Broadway run and liked it a lot.

Friday - 8:00 - “The Capitol Steps” - Off Broadway. “In December 1981, some staffers in the office of a Senator, thought they would perform a little Nativity skit for the office Christmas party. "But in the whole Congress, we couldn't find three wise men and a virgin," they said, so they put on a satirical revue instead. No trouble finding material for that. Nearly 4,500 performances later, the group now called the Capitol Steps is coming back to The Big Apple.” (discounted TDF ticket).

I have seen this talented group perform several times and they are always gut-busting funny, unless, of course, you happen to be the subject of their material/skits.

Saturday and Sunday are open at the moment but you know they will be filled soon.

OK, my loyal and faithful readers, it is now time to post this and then head out to my physical therapy session, so .....

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

Monday, February 15, 2010

Two HELL DAYS in the Big Apple!!

Monday in the Big Apple. Hello my loyal and faithful readers. I am sorry about the lack of information about what has been going on with Billi Pod in The Greatest City in The World. A lot, and I mean a LOT, has been happening since my last posting way back on Thursday, January 28th, unfortunately, not all of it good. I will now take the time to bring you up-to-date in what I am sure will be a much-too-long and detailed posting, this time without any cute pictures and stuff. Please stay with me.

First, the cataract surgery on the left eye went well as did the recovery and surgery was scheduled for the right eye for this Friday, February 19.

Second, the right forearm problem remains. I had an MRI and then another meeting with my Orthopaedic doc, Dr. Tang, and his diagnosis was: “right distal biceps tendon rupture” which can only be 100% “cured” by surgery. Dr. Tang is very pleased with the progress of my physical therapy (I have been going twice a week) and the fact that I am pain-free and he is leaning toward no surgery. I have an appointment with him on March 19 when we will make a final decision. Frankly, I, too, am leaning toward no surgery.

So ... as I wrote, the cataract surgery was scheduled for Friday, February 19. The hospital where the surgery will be performed required that I get another clearance from my cardiologist, Dr. Fred Feuerbach, including an EKG and blood work, even though I had done everything on 12/7/09. So, on Thursday morning the 11th I went to Dr. Fred’s office and had the blood drawn and the EKG done. Results of the EKG - everything OK - so I thought I was a go for the surgery.

Well, my loyal and faithful readers, little did I know that this exam triggered 2 days of Living Hell, which I will call “Hell Day One” and “Hell Day Two” and it all developed like this ...

Around 4:00 on Thursday I got a call from Dr. Feurbach’s office saying that he wanted to see me at 9:00am Friday morning for more blood work, this time fasting. The nurse had no details and Dr. Feuerbach was gone. Strange thought I but I really wasn’t worried (now at this point I have to admit that for the past 2 weeks I have been feeling not quite 100%, maybe somewhere around 75%, which I attributed to the Winter Time Blues).


I showed up, had the blood work done and then Dr. Fred came in and he had a very somber look on his face. WTF? He said that the blood work had detected serious liver problems, or in his words: “increased liver function tests consistent with Hepatitis. Inflammation of liver cells. Mild jaundice. Possibly due to Crestor.” Now, Crestor is a cholesterol-lowering medication I have been on since April 2009. He immediately took me off of it. OMFG! I was stunned. I had Hepatitis A back in 1998. Bear in mind, too, that I had blood work done on 12/7/09 and the liver functions were normal.

Dr. Fred said I had to see a liver specialist immediately and also have a CAT scan and sonogram. OMFG!! It was a Friday, the beginning of a holiday weekend. Dr. Fred. called and made an immediate appointment for me to see Dr. Elena Ferran, a specialist in gastroenterology and liver disease, whose office is located on E. 69th Street, about 8 blocks from Fred's office. I walked over there in the freezing cold.

When I got to Dr. Ferran’s office I was still in shock. She did an exam and more blood work. She then made an immediate appointment for me to have the CAT scan and sonogram at Mt. Sinai Hospital located at 98th Street and 5th Avenue. She confirmed Dr. Fred’s concerns and for the first time I heard the words “hospital” and “observation.” OMFG!!! We made a followup appointment for Tuesday, February 16. She also said that the cataract surgery would have to be postponed.

Cabbed up to 98th Street to Mt. Sinai, getting there around 1:00. I won’t bore you with details other than to say that it took forever, mainly because it was a Friday afternoon and I was a “walk-in.”

It was 5:30 when I opened the door to PHC. I was exhausted and still in shock. I knew that I had to call my daughter Kathi (a non-practicing nurse) and when I read her the blood work results she repeated them aloud so her husband, Dr. John, could hear them and I could hear ...”oh my” and “not good” ... in the background. OMFG!!!!

Needless-to-say, I canceled my show for the evening. I curled up on the couch in the fetal position (not joking) and then ... the phone rang .. and it was Dr. Ferran. She had just gotten the results of her blood work and she was extremely concerned. She said that on Saturday morning she wanted me to report to this place on E. 67th Street to have blood drawn and the same thing on Monday morning. She again used the words ... “hospital” and “observation.” Of course I agreed.

I went to bed early, thinking that nothing could be worse than Friday had been. Well, I was wrong, because Saturday was Hell Day Two.


Saturday morning was bitterly cold, 23 degrees, wind chill 15 degrees. I took the subway, arriving at the place at 8:30. Guess what? They had no record of me or of Dr. Ferran’s request/directions. OMFG!!!!! How can this be. I called Dr. Ferran on her cell and the calls would not go through for some reason. WTF!!

Came back to the apartment. Called her again and nothing. Around 11:00 the phone rang and it was Dr. Ferran. She said she had been in a "dead zone." When I told her what had happened, she went ballistic. She said I had to head back over there ASAP because they were going to close at noon.

It was still freezing cold. I got a cab and we made great time. When we arrived at 67th and 2nd Ave. I pulled out my iPhone to check the time and it was 11:45. It was really awkward getting out of the cab due to slush and ice and stuff.

When I pressed the intercom button to be admitted to the blood place ... nothing ... no response ... they were already closed. OMFG!!!!!! It was freezing. I found a place out of the wind to call Dr. Ferran. When I reached into my pocket for my iPhone ... IT WASN’T THERE. OMFG!!!!!!! I raced over to where I had gotten out of the cab to see if it was there ... nothing. OMFG!!!!!!!!

I was in total shock, to put it mildly, as I cabbed back to PHC. How can all of this shit be happening to me? I called Dr. Ferran and told her what had happened and this time she went, not ballistic ... but nuclear. She said there was a place down in Chinatown that might be open but at this point Billi Pod had had enough, so I told her that I would have the blood work done on Monday, that I wasn’t going out anymore, case closed, and she reluctantly agreed.

I canceled my show for the evening. Called AT&T and stopped the service. I was still in shock. Then I really began to feel antsy about being without my iPhone. Well, I had been intending to upgrade anyway, so ...

I went uptown to the new Apple Store and got a new iPhone, 3GS. A very helpful and nice young guy went an extra step and did all of the necessary online stuff right there to get me up and running. I have the same number, of course. To add just one more annoyance though ... when I left the store to come back to PHC I discovered that the downtown subway station was closed for repairs. It was freezing again, so I cabbed back. I cabbed more times in these two Hell Days than I normally would in 6 months.

I spent the rest of the evening putting data into the iPhone (no I hadn’t synch’d the old one with my computer). When I finally crashed I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted, to put it mildly. I did, however, thank my Higher Power for getting me through these two Hell Days without me jumping out the window.

Thank God Sunday was a much much better day. I actually felt the best I have in a while. Spent the day basically becoming one with my new iPhone. I love it. Went to a show in the evening and it was really nice to sorta be back in my routine.

This morning, Monday, I talked with Dr. Ferran and she had made arrangements for me to have the blood work done at a place here on the Westside, which I did without any problems. I have notified my eye doctor regarding the cancellation. Again, I feel fine. Tonight I have a Broadway show in early previews “The Miracle Worker” about Helen Keller.

Will now post this and spend the rest of the afternoon playing with my new iPhone. Will keep you informed.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”