August 31, 2017 Bend, Oregon

"Teton Elk Skirmish" Acrylic on Canvas 18" x 24"
“Teton Elk Skirmish” Acrylic on Canvas 18″ x 24″

Sitting in the Smoke in Bend

Smoke from the fires around Bend have finally made the air a little nasty here in Bend. Daytime temperatures remain stubbornly in the 90’s week after week,  supposed to hit triple digits ( again with smoke ) this weekend, though thankfully temps do tend to drop to comfortable levels at night.

I continue to pass the time trying to figure how to paint with acrylics, as you can see from the image above. Still frustrating for me, I repainted the foreground in this painting about six times until finally settling for what you see.

Myeloma Update

Yesterday I had the final week of round four of my chemo treatments. Fortunately, still no nasty side effects to all these drugs and blood tests continue to show positive results. My trip last week to Portland’s Oregon Health and Science University Hospital for my transplant consult was a bit of a disappointment.

Traffic and access to the facility was a nightmare as I had been warned and the aged facility did nothing to inspire confidence. The myeloma specialist I had been assigned was young and had only been at the hospital two months, also doing little to build my confidence that this was the right place to be.  I also spoke with the nurse coordinating the transplant procedures.

However, although it appears I would be eligible for the transplant despite my age, it turns out I probably will not be able to be admitted for the procedure because of my lack of a ” caregiver ” to assist with the post procedure recovery period. The transplant leaves one in a very diminished, vulnerable physical   state, and after the procedure the patient stays in the hospital for the initial two weeks, then is released as long as they can stay close by the hospital and have a 24/7 “caregiver” to stay with them for another two to three week period until the patient is recovered and strong enough to take care of themselves. This person provides the recovering patient with transportation to and from appointments, does shopping and cooking as well as household chores and is on hand to contact the doctors if anything goes wrong during those first couple of weeks out of the hospital.

This “caregiver” is normally one’s significant other, not a professional, and my lack of such a person makes me ineligible for the procedure. Since I can travel and could have the transplant done anywhere, I checked out the “caregiver” requirements of other facilities and found that it appears to be a universal requirement. So far I have not been able to find any paid professional caregivers for hire and, even if I did, probably could not afford it since insurance doesn’t cover this type of expense. It appears my best opportunity for long term survival is probably going to go by the boards.

As it is, my oncologist is still kind of up in the air as to whether I should have a transplant or should just go on a maintenance drug regimen since I have responded so well to the chemo treatments to this point. He is consulting with a couple of myeloma specialists in Seattle to come up with a possible alternate program for me that would not involve the transplant procedure. Again, I have to just wait and see. I am now scheduled for two more rounds of chemo, moving my move out of Bend date to early November.

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5 thoughts on “August 31, 2017 Bend, Oregon”

  1. i wanted to talk about your paintings in acrylic. you are painting at a pretty high level of competency and your paintings are beautiful and very expressive. i like them very much.

    i have found that viewers of my work often don’t have a clue to all the mental, emotional, and physical work that goes into a successful painting. it has taken years for me to be able to forget the hard struggles and just smile at my finished paintings. in my head i know the truth and the finished painting is the statement “i painted this at this time with my skills such as they are, and i enjoy learning and growing and moving on to the next painting.”

    i once painted a painting that had a large lawn. i know i put over 20 layers of paint to get it to look somewhat like i wanted and was very discouraged. i even googled youtube on how to paint a lawn in acrylic! people, upon viewing it, said they loved the lawn! i kept my mouth shut…and smiled.

    i find acrylic good in some aspects and hard in others, when compared to oils or watercolors. the good part is: easy cleanup, easy corrections, brilliant colors. the hard part is: learning the drying times of the paint, color mixing on the palette vs. on the canvas, colors too brilliant sometimes for the painting project, frustration with the learning process, and lack of a good teacher or other painters to ask questions to help with problems.

    what i have noticed is that because acrylics dry darker after a day or two of drying, i have to go back in and reapply a slightly lighter tone over that passage. the operative word is that “slightly” is hard to define. sometimes i feel that i have to sneak up on it and am shocked when it finally turns out. and sometimes i finally say, “i have had enough; this is good enough for now!”

    also, when i need something to be truly white, i have to paint it in about 3 layers of pure white, drying between each layer. i imagine there are other colors that have the same properties.

    there is a drop-in class at the Community College in Bend one day a week for artists. a friend of mine has attended it for a few years and loves the community of friendly painters. you could call them and check it out if you have the time and energy.
    keep on painting! bess

    1. Sounds very familiar indeed. Thankfully, every painting usually reveals yet another clue on how to handle these paints and eventually I think I may get a handle on this. Am currently working on a landscape of the Palouse and have stumbled on at least what I would call a partial solution to the blending problem, time will tell.

  2. i agree with the above comments in that there must be a way this is handled. my mother-in-law broke her hip and had to go to rehab for 3 weeks. the social worker at the rehab facility helped us track down a perfect place for her further recovery after she had put in the Medicare paid 3 weeks. Oregon has a Senior Services Department that really went to bat for several of my friend’s parents. perhaps your local hospital in Bend has a professional to help sort this out.

    i hope you are able to get the transplant and that your healing goes smoothly. in the meantime, i am grateful that you are able to have the chemo and carry on with your paintings.

    here in Eugene, the heat and smoke have been going on so long that the whole town seems depressed. the fires are nowhere near here and yet we are mourning the loss of the trees and homes from some people and animals.

  3. This is really craz! I’m so sorry to read that you have this stress on top of the actual problem. Please let me know if I can help, my brother has gone through this shit in New Zealand. His transplant is working. I hope the best for you. If you can come to Orlando we can help.
    Thinking of you. Brita.

  4. Are you on medicare with a supplemental plan? If you have no one to care for you after the transplant, I wonder if your insurance would pay for a nursing home, altho that is no doubt even more expensive than a caregiver.
    There has to be someway insurance can be made to cover those costs. If you applied for Medicaid, I’m pretty sure they might pay.
    I needed a hip surgery revision one month after my first one and my sister could not fly out from the east coast to stay with me for the 2nd one, nor did I want her to. I was told by my “health care advocate” thru medicare and my supplement plan that my supplement plan would not cover nursing home costs. I asked the surgeon to make it absolutely clear that I had no one to care for me at home post op and I also had Medicaid as a supplement to my supplement (!) and I was pre accepted into a nursing home post surgery and Medicaid paid. It was only for 4 days but…..
    I mean this will add years to your life. Medicaid is income based but it would be worth looking into. Also, there should be people at the hospital who can help you look into this sort of issue. I certainly would not take no for an answer for your aftercare. A few weeks of post op care for someone who has no family…there just has to be a way. Portland must have professional agencies that hire out caregivers and nursing homes. At the very least, look into Medicaid paying.

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