Saturday, November 27, 2021

Let's Play "Where's Red?"

I don't talk too terribly much about my personal stuff.

There was the post about my dealing with depression, and there's the occasional post about family and friends, but I don't talk too much about my stuff. It's not the point of the blog.

However, there are some things I ought to talk about, because there are people who deserve to know.


Back in July, I developed a cough.

It began with some old mildewy magazines that my mom had dropped off, thinking I'd want them, but given that the cough seemed to come directly from that I quickly bagged up the magazines and tossed them in the garage. End of the problem, right?

The thing was, the cough wouldn't go away.

At the same time, I noticed that I was getting more and more tired from walking and whatnot.Trips to the grocery store became more of a labor than before. I cursed that damn cough and wished that the dry thing would go away, or at least loosen up and let whatever junk I was convinced was in my lungs out so I could get on with life. Things finally came to a head when I found it difficult to walk more than 100 yards without stopping for a break. My wife had finally had enough and read me the riot act: you're going to the doctor.

So I set up an appointment with urgent care and a physical with my doctor.

I went to urgent care, described my symptoms, and the attending physician said I had likely had an asthmatic attack. To let the lungs heal, she said, she prescribed a steroid and an inhaler in case I needed it.

I took the steroid diligently, and it seemed to help, but my legs swelled up like a blimp. By the time I visited my doctor for the physical, I mentioned the swelling and that the steroid seemed to be working except for that. In the midst of all of the poking and prodding and blood tests, he decided to switch to a steroid inhaler to focus the medication. 


A couple of days later I got a response about my bloodwork and other items: I was onset T2 diabetic; I had high cholesterol, and I had high blood pressure.

Get back to the office for a consultation, he said. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

So I scheduled an appointment and waited.

However, my exhaustion had returned --if it had ever really been away-- and the inhaler steroid didn't seem to work much.

On the day of my appointment, I was so exhausted that I could barely walk inside the building without taking a break. And the doc noticed.

"I was going to talk about diabetes, but we should talk about the obvious: why are you out of breath?"

A chest x-ray revealed the culprit: a shadow over the bottom of my right lung, indicating a large amount of fluid buildup in the lung.


 I was sent immediately to the emergency room of one of the local hospitals, with my doc calling ahead of time to let them know I was coming. 

"Guess where we're going?" I told my wife when I got home from the doctor's office.

I then realized that I was not going to make the raid that night.

Quickly jotting a few notes on Discord and then for work, we then split for the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital* and I could barely check-in due to being out of breath. In what had to be the quickest I've ever seen an administration move, they got me processed and back into a room where I was inspected by a nurse and a doctor.

It was then that I was informed I had heart failure.


Heart failure? That's the stuff that my Grandmother dealt with; it was an old person's disease. But here I was, set up with IVs and being pumped up with diuretics to make me pee out the fluid buildup in my lung and legs. There was even talk of the docs cutting a hole in my back so they could pass a tube through it and drain the fluid from the lung that way, but they decided to take a wait and see approach.

This was my life this
past week.


I was kept overnight while I kept filling liter bottles, and sometime overnight I was transferred to the cardiac unit. An echo cardiogram was scheduled --the equivalent of an ultrasound for the heart-- and it was only some hours later that the results were shared with me as I was being wheeled up to my "new" room in the cardiac floor: my heart was pumping blood at roughly half the volume it should be. Because of that, I was to undergo a procedure to determine where the problem lay with my heart: the docs would examine my arteries for blockages, and based on that determine if I needed a stent, bypass surgery, or something else. The procedure would be the next day, and I'd have to fast after midnight to get ready.


I hate fasting.

Especially when my mouth is dry and I want desperately to drink some water. 

But I figured that I could handle it if the fast is from Midnight to morning.


I was told in the morning that my procedure was scheduled for 4 PM, so the nurse snuck me a half a cup of water along with my pills for the morning. Additionally, since I had about 8+ hours of waiting around, I might as well get some more diuretics in me to get the fluid out of me.

(You can see what's coming, can't you?)

A few minutes after I took the diuretics and I while I was talking with the nurse, there was a knock at the door. "We're here to take you to your procedure!" the cheerful looking attendant said as she stepped inside.

"Uh...." I said.

"Well...." the nurse added.

"What about the diuretics?" I asked. "I just took some about 10 minutes ago."

"That won't be a problem," the attendant replied. "If we have to, we'll help you out."

I quickly found out that "help you out" means pulling the cart I was on to a stop, letting me hop off, and run into the closest bathroom to take a leak.

The next several hours passed in a bit of a blur, because the drugs they put me under knocked me silly. I recall having to do weird maneuver so I could pee, and surprising my wife when I asked what would happen if I overflowed the bottle, but outside of that not much. When I finally woke up I was told it was the best of all worlds: my arteries were fine, and no stents or open heart surgery was required. I only needed drugs to strengthen my heart. Well, and I needed to get diabetes and high blood pressure under control, too.

Crisis averted. (Sort of.)


That left the excess liquid stuck in my body.

By Wednesday, I'd peed out about 9 liters of fluid, and I still had swollen calves and feet. The doctors held me back until I could get enough liquid out for me to finally lose the swelling down there, and so I spent an extra day at the hospital, getting used to the diabetic lifestyle and propping my feet high up enough that fluid flowed out of my legs.

(Free hint: if you're under diuretics, set a timer if you're propping your feet up. Otherwise, it might be too late for you when you try to make it to the bathroom. Yes, I did make it. Barely.)


I was released on Thursday, still very much alive and also very humbled by my experience. This entire thing had crept up on me over the course of several months, and were it not for my wife --and the medical staff-- I'd have likely been in much worse shape. And I don't know what would have happened then.

When I left the hospital and waited for
my wife to bring the car around, the mascot
of the Cincinnati Reds, Mr. Red, invited
me to take a seat.

What I do know, however, is that I have people who have my back. 

I kept this whole episode quiet on Facebook, because I don't use FB much these days, but it kind of blew up on our guild's Discord. And on my wife's FB post.

So THAT is where I've been the past week.

*That trip included witnessing a hit-and-run accident, so my wife dropped me off and returned to the accident as a witness. Always fun around here.

Friday, November 19, 2021

A Short Addendum

I didn't get a chance to pull out any LOTRO screenshots because they're on the old PC, but I got on this afternoon and dicovered two things: the band on Gladden-US still plays at 5 PM EST on Fridays, and damn, I've missed them.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

What I Did on my Fall Vacation

Once in a while I get the urge to post some pics that I screenshot here and there. Not because of any real reason, but just because.

And I do get around:

From isometric RPGs:

Tyranny from Obsidian Studios.
A bit of a cult classic.

To Old Time wargames:

A blast from the past: Medieval: Total War.

To other MMOs:


Ah, it's always a good day on Balmorra
when I pull the Old Man out of the garage.

Neverwinter. I swear, I login after a long
absence and I find myself surrounded by Dragonborn.

And under the heading of "WTF?"
There's this going on in Star Trek Online.

I can tell you that having seen people cosplaying as Next Gen Starfleet at a Star Trek convention (circa early-90s), those Starfleet outfits are very unforgiving in terms of fit. But if you've the fit and figure for it, the uniforms flatter your form to no end. 


Of course, the game of choice these days is WoW Classic, and that's where most of my screenshots lie....

A beautiful shot of the moon while
I was crossing The Barrens.

And just because the statue is of a Kaldorei
doesn't mean that Neve wasn't inspired by it.

And if you noticed, Neve finally got enough
gold to afford a mount. So, she paid a visit to
Eversong Forest to check out some striders.

Before that, this was Neve's life.

Well, when she wasn't playing messenger
for Sylvanas to Thrall.

And it's not like Brig has been suffering from a lack of use, as you can tell here:

Dancing bears providing our pre-Tidewalker

And she does have some snarky commentary:

Brig: "If you're a blacksmith, I am Mickey Mouse!!!"

And surprise surprise, Illidan's Kryptonite
is hidden away by Akama.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Another Thankless Task

I guess it was on the periphery of my vision, but Wilhelm jogged my memory that Blizz is creating a WoW Community Council to try to improve the game.


They're pretty serious putting this out,
but not so serious that they had Thrall or Jaina announce it.


Well, good luck with that. It would be nice to join the council, because I'm definitely not in the raider camp even though I raid, but I seriously don't have the time to do so.

But hey, I see they need transmog enthusiasts, so I would love to nominate Kamalia of Kamalia et Alia for that position!!

Monday, November 8, 2021

Sleeping With the Enemy*

It would be nice to have some stability from time to time.

Oh, I'm not talking about personal stability, as I'm pretty sure things are going okay for the moment in real life, but rather in MMO life.

While the scenery may only change for the lead dog in a dogsled team (like I referenced a few posts ago), it would be nice if the raid composition was stable for a couple of weeks.

Our progression raid is a once per week raid, and that's by design from the beginning. Not everybody can commit to a progression raid multiple days per week, and to be honest a lot of our raid team is perfectly happy committing to only one day per week. Still, that doesn't make it easy when we have multiple people on the raid team wanting us to switch to a multiple day progression raid. 

Oh, and one of the people who either want us to go to two days or just stay with SSC, farming it week in and week out? She's one of the raid leads for the OTHER progression team that does raid twice a week.

So yeah, there's some conflict there. 


I was originally going to post this mid week last week, but ironically enough some of the conflict worked out in the end, as a few people split for 2 day progression raids from other guilds while the rest remained with our raid team.*8 While that means we have to acquire a few more people for our raid team, at least those who decided we weren't doing things fast enough (or whatever) have moved on and are no longer a drag on the raid team. Sure, several of them were really good raiders, but at this point I'd rather have stability than precision. I personally am happy we only raid progression once per week, because that gives me the time and space to back off when need be. And I suspect we'd lose even more people than we did just now if we really DID go to two nights per week of progression raiding.

But such is progression raiding life.


Still, I was disappointed when our raid's lead team felt pressure from the other raid's leadership about expanding our raid nights. If there was any reason for us to believe that our raid is perceived as the "second string" or the "farm team", it was then. And you know what? I don't care what they think. They're not downing Kael'Thas or Vashj, so it's not like they've left us in the dust. And the people on our team that aren't very good raiders? They've gradually fallen by the wayside, so we don't have issues like that.

We're good at what we do and we're moving at our pace.


The Friday night Karazhan run? Well, when the raid lead got back from vacation, she pulled me aside and let me know that she didn't want to keep that raid going. (Burnout, you know.) She said that if I wanted to keep it going, she was happy giving me the reins. I was flattered by her trust in me, and I accepted managing that Friday raid.

It wasn't a big deal, I figured, since we had two other Kara raids: one on Wednesday and one that hits only a few bosses (for BiS gear) on Saturday.

Well..... It looks like we hit a wall on our Kara runs. 

The Wednesday run decided to bow out first, and then the Saturday run bailed as well.*** So mine is suddenly the only Kara run that's running consistently. 

(No pressure. None at all.)

However, the other progression raid's lead team decided to throw a Kara run for yesterday (Sunday), which more than one person raised their eyebrows over. "I don't get it," one person whispered me the other day. "There were already 3 Kara raids, why not fill up one of them?"

"No idea," I replied, but to be fair I have my suspicions. After all, I'm on the "other" raid lead team, and am arguably based on experience the least likely to actually lead a raid. I also am managing this Kara raid very informally: if you need gear and it drops, roll MS/OS. No biggie. The other progression raid, however, uses Loot Council to distribute loot, so my laissez faire attitude would run headfirst into a "who needs/deserves it more" mentality. Finally, there isn't a Kara raid specifically from the "other" raid lead team, so making their own fits the bill.

I'm not sure if this was just a one-off, but we'll see. I get where people are burned out, and I understand where Friday doesn't work for everyone, but I suspect that there's some rivalry mentality at play as well. Which annoys me to no end.

*Yes, the song from Roger Hodgson of Supertramp's first solo album. I loved his solo debut, In the Eye of the Storm (1984), but what also sealed the deal for me was that he played almost all the instruments in the album. I knew Prince had done it, but Roger? No, that was news to me.

**Yes, the other raid lead team members who are on our raid (playing alts) left for other progression raids. We weren't surprised.

***The Saturday run seems to have revived as one person needs a BiS weapon out of Kara, and she's singlehandedly keeping it going. Once she gets that weapon, however, she'll likely kill that raid off.

EtA: fixed the exact timing on when I reference the "lead dog" quip.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The Maelstrom is Churning

Well, that was fast.

Blizzard Delays Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2

Well, another reason why BlizzCon was cancelled, I suppose. There's nothing to announce. Oh, and more news on the Blizzard management front:

Jen Oneal is Stepping Down from Blizzard 

It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. At this rate I could be a manager for Blizzard and have a longer shelf life.

This isn't a visualization of the state of
Blizzard. Honest.