January 31st, 2008

Where to begin after such a long hiatus? Attempt a summary of the missing year? No, I think Iíll just fill in the details as I go.But letís get the medical stuff out of the way. In mid-November Ď07 I had my second heart attack and collapsed unconscious on a Chinatown sidewalk. A Good Samaritan summoned assistance and I woke up in Queens Hospital. They let me out in January but had failed to detect the fact that it was not just my heart which was flakey, but other bodily bits and pieces as well. The liver got a load of ammonia and, instead of processing it for elimination, it shot it up to the brain. The brain was not at all pleased and just shut down. Clunk on the sidewalk I went and surfaced yet again at Queens.

I canít sufficiently praise that hospital. Most of the nurses, aides, and even the cleaning staff became friends as well as caregivers. I was rather sorry to leave when the time finally came in April.

While I was there I attracted the attention of an organization called Care Hawaii and they arranged for me to live in a Filipino household after my release. Unfortunately, Iíd only been there for a short time when the liver went berserk again and I was back at Queens.

My landlady decided she really didnít want a tenant who was being rushed off to the hospital all the time. But during that third stay a splendid organization called Blue Water Resources adopted me. They first found me a room in a house way out in Ewa Beach but while I was there, no connection to me, the family more or less exploded and the older daughter who was officially my caregiver decided to leave home.

Blue Water found me another place in May, in a beautiful little valley called Kalihi Uka and there I happily remain in January Ď08. Much more about that in the future.


January 31st, 2008 by panther

Little house in the hills. I would say in the valley, but locals would think I meant Kalihi Valley. Kalihi Uka is a smaller valley, a bit more distant from downtown, not far from the Bishop Museum. Itís actually not such a little house. A two-storey house with a larger front garden than most in the neighborhood. On the ground floor is a large living/dining area, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, two kitchens, and an integral two-car garage. Two kitchens, because it was originally two houses which were joined. The original houses must have been identical because itís impossible to detect where the split existed.

There are nine people in the house, all Filipino except for me and the other ďpatientĒ, an old black lady who is almost deaf and blind and mostly bedridden. She is picked up three times a week and taken off to a hospital for dialysis treatment. Otherwise, she usually sleeps all day and talks all night, has many visitors (whom only she can see) and is often quite amusing. Her chats are interspersed with requests for food. Iím in the room next to her but fortunately earplugs block her out most of the time. Itís only when she throws a tantrum and starts yelling that she gets through. This usually occurs around three in the morning when she canít understand why someone wonít bring her ďa piece of chickenĒ.

Thatís the most frquent request but now and then she asks for other things, like Kool-Aid, ďwild avocadosĒ, ďa small chopĒ. I bought her two avocados, although I couldnít say whether they were tame or wild. Like most avocados available here, they werenít very good and she hasnít asked for them again.

My landlady/ĒcaregiverĒ and her husband have three children. The middle son, just turned seventeen, is strikingly handsome and I only allow myself brief glances. My landladyís sister and her two sons, ten and twelve, also live there. The ten-year-old is absolutely angelic looking (emphasis on ďlookingĒ). They are TV and Game Boy addicts, usually have both going at the same time. Iíve bought them games (including the Pokemon Diamond edition) and passed on any Iíve grown tired of or finished.

There are three dogs in the front garden. One of them, Sparky, is a special favorite of mine and I buy him boxes of doggie treats which he goes absolutely berserk over, looks at me every time I step outside even though he knows he only gets them in the late afternoon.

Iím allowed to sit on the front porch and smoke but alcohol is strictly against Blue Water rules.

Oh well, one canít have everything.


January 31st, 2008 by panther

My routine. Blue Water rules require that the Landlady, her Husband or Sister be there whenever one of us is home, so when the Old Lady goes for her treatment on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, I try to go out, too, weather permitting.Sister works at a McDonaldís in Waikiki every day except Thursday and Sunday, so itís especially important for me to absent myself then since itís her main chance to go out on her own.

I was hanging out at Ala Moanaís Cove Bar but when this semester began I returned to my old routine of going to UH-Manoa. After awhile online at Hamilton Library I head to what was called Manoa Garden but is now a Bale establishment. Very cute student bartenders are quite an improvement on Bartender Bryant from days of yore, and they have Newcastle Brown Ale on tap so Iím quite happy there.

I tend to go to sleep early, by ten at the latest, but often wake after a few hours and spend awhile with the infernal Game Boy before returning to sleep until five or five-thirty. (More about that Game Boy in a later tale.)

Then I sit on the front porch and enjoy my daily dose of caffeine in the form of canned iced coffee (although I donít have it chilled) and the first cigarettes of the day. So during the week I get to enjoy the show of Sister going off to work and her boys off to school and either the Landlady or her Husband drive their two children to school. (The oldest son has finished school and is often at home since a part-time job he had ended. Heís a bit of a hippy, I think, but alas isnít, to my knowledge, smoking anything interesting.)

The Blue Water plan provides the room and three meals a day, when I want them, for the princely sum of $418. This is subsidized by Medicaid, but Iím not sure just how much more the Landlady gets. Iíve several times suggested I should just rent the room for $500 and eliminate the feeding requirement and the need of one of them to be there when I am but I suppose as long as the Medicaid payments continue sheís smart to stick with the current arrangement.

Once my weight tipped the scale at 165 (unprecedented), I refused any further breakfasts and after only a week it had gone down to 162. Iíll be quite happy if it continues to decrease until about 150.

All in all, itís quite a good life.


January 31st, 2008 by panther

Iíd surprised if it happened, but if someone does stumble upon these things who wonders about the preceding ones, the collected tales are available at www.pantherhawaii.com Anyone familiar with those knows about the Bad Boys. Well, the most important one is no longer here. While I was in the hospital, the Sleeptalkerís family moved to Minnesota and took him with them. Most peculiar, when they wouldnít even allow him to stay overnight in the house when they were here. I do hope he hasnít ended up homeless again because that would definitely not be a pleasant situation in Minnesota at this time of year.

Iíve caught glimpses of Rocky, Mondo, Angelo and Okinawa but have only talked with Tanioka. He provided the sad news about the Sleeptalker and the almost equally astounding information that Angelo has a job! Truly amazing.

And of course, the newest ďBoyĒ in my life could definitely be seen as a bad one: the Game Boy. I started with the Advance model and moved on to the newer DS. As I said in a recent email, I greatly admire the creators of many of these games. They are as sophisticated, clever and entertaining as any computer games Iíve ever played. And I have certainly become an addict.

(Would be nice to say itís cheaper than drugs but with the price of some of the games, maybe not by much.)


January 31st, 2008 by panther

For over a month now, Iíve been engrossed in the DS game, Rune Factory. I see from the web that itís part of a Harvest Moon series for the PC. I hope they port more of them to the DS because itís totally charming.You play a young man who turns up in a small town, having lost his memory. (You learn much more about that later in the game.) He is befriended by a young woman who lets him have a little house she isnít using with an attached field for farming. She gives him a hoe, a watering can and a few seeds and thus begins his career as a farmer.

In his spare time he is also a fisherman (another young woman gives him a fishing rod) and a miner. In order to access the ore and jewels in the seven caves, he also has to become something of a swordsman.

There is a basic plot but once that is completed the game continues indefinitely with some added things. I did complete it, my man becoming a very successful farmer with over five million gold in his account. But Iíd enjoyed it so much I went back to the beginning and am playing it all again. Fortunately, unlike some DS games, it allows for two games to be saved.

Itís especially annoying with Sim City where you can only save one game. I have Delhi (with Mayor Indira) to the two-hundred-year mark, canít do anything more without demolishing something and, except for the occasional disaster, itís gotten rather dull.

There are minor disasters in Rune Factory, too. Storms so severe that they sometimes wipe out half of the crops.

Definitely fun and games.