Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bears, Clouds, and Colonoscopies

It's been two weeks since we've updated the blog. That may be the longest we've ever gone without saying something or at least posting a photo. Winter has a way of quieting things way down. Temps have been very cold and there's only so much creativity we can pull out of thin cold air. Just picture us sitting in front of wood stove, stoking the fire and listening to Miles Davis or Karunesh, and you'll know what we've been up to.

Since we last wrote, we had another visit by our neighborhood bear. We had relocated our large squirrel-proof birdfeeder into the fenced backyard, and left the platform feeder out front. Winter's temps had lulled us into a false sense of security about the bear, thinking it would certainly be hibernating by now. NOPE! It took down the platform feeder out front and broke the little roof covering over it. It also bent the fencing by the gate, came into the yard, smashed the cylinder feeder, checked out every covered storage box we had in the open shed, broke a bucket, crapped up a storm, and bent the fence on the way out. Funny thing is, we never heard a thing, and bears are not known for their gentle step. So, we decided to stop feeding the birds in the yard, and now just feed them out front. We take the feeder in at night, and that's that. The birds are definitely getting less food, but we have to assume that our offerings are merely supplemental anyway. A reliable source, but not completely sustaining.

In other news, I am still utterly blown away by how often we see iridescent clouds. I am planning to compile several months worth of photos and send the best off to Atmospheric Optics with a note inquiring about how often we see them and why. Is it related to elevation? Mountain air? Angle of the sun? I've been a cloud watcher for many years, but I have never seen anything quite like this. Fellow blogger Scott of It Just Comes Naturally called them our "northern lights" and I appreciated that immensely. That's exactly how I think of them now our daytime northern lights. Such an interesting phenomenon.

And finally, I gave in and had a colonoscopy last Wednesday. There's nothing pleasant about such an experience. Not from the first day I gave up eating anything with seeds (like my favorite jam and toast), to the day I started that awful prep purge, to the colonoscopy itself. The prep is as horrific tasting thing as I've ever had pass my lips. Hard to swallow without gagging and spitting straight down the drain where it belongs! I had asked the doc if he would be willing to let me have the exam with as little "amnesia drug" (Versed) as possible. But while on the examining table, I discovered that the exam is actually pretty painful, so they gave me a Demerol and Versed cocktail that drugged me within an inch of my life. I didn't remember anything, not Roger trying to dress me in the recovery room (having a hard time getting me to my put my arms into the sleeves of my sweater), not the ride all the way home in the car, not walking into the house or getting into bed. I am very sensitive to drugs and this particular combination wiped me out for two days. The only good thing is that I learned I have quite a healthy colon, and now I NEVER HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT AGAIN. Hah!

That's life here where we had 12 inches of rain in November and 18 inches in December. It's a good thing we don't have any global climate change, otherwise we might be a bit worried.


  1. trying to move her arms was like pushing string. so i took her hands and pulled each thru its sleeve. reminded me of her helping me dress in the same place. well, what little i could remember. robin thanked the staff as we left. she's very polite, even when loopy from demerol.

  2. Hi. You and Roger have been in my thoughts. I've been wondering when you would post again.

    After hearing about your colonoscopy experience, I definitely don't want to get one but am happy to hear that you have a healthy colon.

    I don't have any health insurance until I am 65 and qualify for Medicare (I'm 63 now) and even then could not begin to afford treatment for colon cancer.

    Love the iridescence, but the bear scares me!

    It's very cold here, in the 20s, but so far we haven't had any snow that didn't melt right away. Scudder Pond is frozen.

  3. Most of the people I communicate with have said that their experience with colonoscopy was not nearly as nutty as mine. I don't do barbiturates (or most other drugs) well. I'm pretty sensitive and tend to respond in a big way.

  4. Congrats on passing (pun intended) your purge and exam. I agree with you on the vileness of that drink. Just not much fun about that test but so necessary.
    That bear sure seems troublesome. Hope you all never have a face to face.
    Stay warm.

  5. forever or ten years whatever comes first. Since mine was six years ago, I am already beginning to wonder if I'll follow the recommendation of 10 years when all went well. I didn't go under with mine and agree with you, it's quite painful. they didn't give me anything while on the exam table so I heard the gossip and all. Interesting what techs say when they don't think a patient can hear.

    It's been really cold up here too with freezing fog. Some days it lifts and it's sunny but today it stayed gray. The frosting on the trees and bushes almost makes up for it.

  6. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones for whom the test was a relative breeze. Adequately drugged but fully conscious and talking to doc the whole time. But yes, that stuff you must drink - OMG. Sorry to hear you were wrecked for two days after this.


  7. Robin Andrea: Winter has limited my postings, too. Though we go outside, there's not much that changes day to day, and not much to photograph. However, yesterday (Sunday) we had dense fog all day (really unusual) and we went for a walk near the end of the afternoon. We walked at a park where I usually bring my camera but never take a picture, so I didn't bring the camera with me yesterday--only to regret it immediately since there were so many interesting "tree shrouded in fog" images I could have made!

    My wife and I have purchased a house for retirement in the Rocky Mountain foothills of Colorado, and I'll bet there are black bears there. Looks like we won't be feeding birds (which we might not be able to afford once we retire anyway).

    I have a friend who has to bring his bird feeder in each evening or raccoons with get into it. Though it's suspended from a very high tree limb and operated with a rope over a pulley, the wily raccoon manages to bring the feeder up, "hand over hand," to get the seed if my friend doesn't bring the feeder in.

    Grizz over at the "Riverdaze" blog recently reported getting his colonoscopy without any sedation. I've been "out" for all three of mine, though I began to wake up near the end of the second one; the anesthesiologist quickly gave me a bit more and I was out again.

  8. Bears are persistent. An electric fence would probably counter-condition him/her. Having been shocked by electric fences many times in my youth, I can say that it is extremely unpleasant but not really painful.
    I was supposedly out during my colonoscopy, but woke up twice in pain. Billy Connolly is a good antidote for the stress of the procedure though. All through the purge and procedure, I was comparing my experience to his. I couldn't help but laugh about it.
    I just saw some iridescent clouds again today, after several days of being fogged in. I think that low humidity is a requirement here. Don't know why, but whenever I've seen it, it's been a relatively dry day. Have you noticed anything like that?

  9. Sorry Robin, but you do have to have another one in ten years! My prep was mixed with Gatorade and I'll never drink it again. Didn't taste bad, but too much volume.

    Sorry about the bear. It is time for him to be in bed.

  10. Yes, I agree with everyone, it's a thoroughly unpleasant experience. My wife, who had colon cancer about 14 years ago, gets the experience more often, although since she's been OK ever since, not quite as often as immediately after. I had mine, let's see, maybe 10 years ago. Great! Now I need to call the doctor to arrange for some torture.

  11. ... and there I was thinking that image of the bear damage had something to do with the colonoscopy! Welcome back! I have noticed my own reluctance, recently, to engage the blog. May be something to do with winter, hibernation...