Frank

I tend to use certain characters over and over again. One of them is Frankenstein, or should I say Frankenstein’s monster. I used him and his wife the other day in this health care cartoon.

Whenever I use him in a gag, I call him “Frank,” and there is always someone who has to correct me and tell me he is Frankenstein’s monster – Frankenstein is the doctor. I know that.

But what would I call him? If he is Frankenstein’s monster, do I call him “Monster?” I think it’s nicer to call him “Frank,” which is short for Frankenstein’s monster.

But I have to always crack up that people always seem to have the need to correct the name. But of course, having people engage with the comic and discuss it is always a good thing.

One lady called him “Lurch,” getting her “monsters” mixed up.

A good exhaustion

So my friend who visited from NY is on a plane on his way home as we speak. I miss him. But I’ll see him in a couple of months when I go to NY so that will be fun.

But let me tell you something. If you haven’t gotten back to your after-pandemic routine, you know – back to normal, you may be in for a rude awakening.

I like to think I am in good shape, but after not doing much for the past year and not going to the gym, let me tell you – I am beat after everything we’ve done. It’s almost as if I need a day off in between our outings.

He said to me yesterday that I seemed very low-key, not down, but very quiet, “low energy” are the words he used. He said I wasn’t like my usual lively self. He was right. I was exhausted from all the walking and site seeing and other things we did. We had a cool/cold winter here and now the heat and humidity is starting to kick in so that takes a lot out of you. And not having done much exercise or walking in the past year makes a difference when you walk nine miles a day in the heat and humidity!

But it feels good. It’s a good exhaustion, like when you do a hard day’s work and you feel you’ve accomplished something. That’s how I feel.

The after effects of the vaccine

So I got the side effects from the Moderna vaccine, which sort of makes me happy I didn’t go up north for the funeral. But I am also surprised, as I never seem to feel pain. What I mean is that I have a high tolerance for pain, a high threshold.

I’ve had a tooth pulled and gotten pain killers, but never needed the pain killers. I have had other things where I got pain killers but never needed them. So I didn’t think I would feel the side effects.

I didn’t get chills, but I did feel cold all day and I wore a sweater. I didn’t feel feverish, but I did feel drained. I was weak and every muscle in my body hurt. I was totally out of it. I didn’t leave the house and tried to sleep a lot of the day.

The good part is that this is an indication that the vaccine is working.

I have a friend in town from New York. Luckily he is at a hotel and not staying with me so he is off doing his own thing today and did yesterday. We hung out the other days before that. But at least I’m not putting a drain on his vacation and he’s finding his way around to the beach, Everglades, etc. He tells me he is like a kid in a candy story while visiting Miami for his first time.

Tomorrow we are going to do some touristy things together.

Traveling in the time of covid vaccines

My aunt passed away in New York the other day and I am unable to attend her wake and funeral, and ironically it’s because of her! She is a second mother to me and my cousins are brothers and sisters to me, so it really hurts not to go.

But I got my second vaccine shot yesterday and the nurse suggested I don’t travel in case of side effects. My aunt insisted, she called it nagging, that I get the shots. I said I was not old enough yet, but she insisted and I managed to go. She kept checking up on me – “Did you go yet?” “Which shot did you get?” When is your follow-up shot?” She was so instant.

She just couldn’t deal with being cooped up in the house for a year, so she was so looking forward to normalcy.

So when I mentioned at the vaccine site that I was trying to get a flight to NY, the nurse suggested I don’t. She said, “There may be side effects with the second shot and I don’t think you want to be up in the air or away from home if this should happen.”

I normally would ignore this, but a few years back I had kidney problems, which ended up being kidney failure, only I didn’t know a the time. And the night before I was to leave New York and head home, I really got sick. The next morning, I don’t know how I made it to the airport and onto that plane. I remember waking up and not knowing how I was going to get out of bed, I still don’t remember getting to the airport, but I remember feeling like death on the plane, wishing we were home already. So that thought creeped into my head when the nurse mentioned the issue and I decided I don’t want a repeat, even though they would only be side effects.

I ended up in the hospital for eight days with kidney failure, but that was a few years back and I’m perfect now – that’s another story.

But back to that trip. When I got to the airport, I ran into a friend Jerry, who was on my flight. So we sat together at the terminal waiting for the plane and as he was talking, it was going right through me. Everything bothered me – voices, the light, etc. There were two or three nuns sitting nearby who were talking and their voices were driving me crazy, too. I always remember that – and they were nuns – how loud could they be chatting?

A couple of years later, I told Jerry about it. I don’t think he knew I was sick at the time. I said, “Jerry, remember that time we were at the airport together?” And I went on to tell him how everything he did and said went right through me.

He laughed and said, “Well, I thought you were in trouble. You looked so bad and you smelled awful! I could barely be around you.” He went on, “I thought you had gone to NY for a week or two to do drugs or something! That’s how bad you looked and smelled!”

I said, “That’s funny, because why would I leave Miami, the drug capital, to go to NY to do drugs?”

Then when I read up on it, I saw that if you have kidney failure or problems, your urine and other toxins excrete from your pores. So I really must have smelled awful at the time! I was too out of it to notice others on the plane, but they must have been shunning me. Which reminds me of another story.

Years ago, when you could actually move around the plane, I was sitting next to a guy who smelled so awful, I couldn’t stay next to him. I got up and moved my seat back some rows. I left my carry-on bag under the seat but I just picked myself up and moved. He kept looking back, wondering where I had gotten off to, but I just couldn’t stay near him. I was young and nervy then and had the gumption to move, I don’t think I would do that now, or even be allowed to do that now.

But anyway, I won’t be going to NY for the funeral. I am sure my aunt would understand. I did send a big thing of flowers and I sent sympathy cards to everyone separately, rather than just one for the family and I’ve been in touch with my cousins and uncle via phone, text and email. It is going to be a tough thing when I visit in the summer, though.

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Shots are coming

This is yesterday’s cartoon. I wasn’t sure how it would be received, would people like it? And lo and behold, people seemed to like it.

I overheard someone say this the other day and thought it was funny, and for some reason, whenever I read it or hear it, it makes me laugh.

But perhaps this is a good idea for those who are hesitant to get the vaccine – a jello shot in exchange for an arm shot. In this case, many people may opt for the two shots, rather than the single Johnson & Johnson shot.

It is an exciting time, just the thought of travel has me excited.

The new normal?

Today’s cartoon reflects something that may be happening in the country; maybe the world. I haven’t seen it personally, but they started talking about it on tv. People who have been vaccinated have an air of arrogance and superiority. And maybe they should.

I got vaccinated yesterday! I hadn’t planned it, I’m not of age yet and I’m not a front line worker, but I got a note from my doctor and I made an appointment at Publix. I tried other places; hospitals and such, but I ended up at Publix. Ironically, I ended up at my family’s Publix. What I mean is the one where I grew up and went to as a kid and where my parents still go. It’s only four blocks from their house! The appointment just popped up and I grabbed it when I had the chance.

I got there early and there only ended up being three of us there – a lady and a man and me. We were in and out fast and it went well. We joked about seeing each other in a month for our next shot. “See you, same place, same time.”

Publix didn’t ask for ID or the doctor’s note or insurance card or anything, which seemed strange, but I guess it’s all about getting people vaccinated more than the paperwork and other stuff. I heard they are opening it to almost everyone now and it’s really going well. When President Biden said there would be 100 million vaccines in 100 days, I doubted that, but it’s happening, we are almost there!

I stopped at my parents’ house for breakfast after my first shot and I’ll do it again after my second shot. Happy that I am on my way to normalcy.

A good friend of mine is against vaccines, I don’t think she has ever been vaccinated in her life. I mentioned that I had seen articles that said in the future if you don’t have a vaccine, you may not be able to fly. I think some airlines in Europe started that rule already. My friend is not happy about this, but that could be the new normal. There is talk of digital “travel passports” now, for domestic and international travel.

I didn’t mind last year, I am glad I experienced it – all the changes in the world, etc. But I think it’s time to get back to normal now. The new normal. Whatever that is.

Eating in the time of pandemic

I put on 15 pounds this year. I attribute it to not going the gym.

When I was at the doctor’s last week, he said to me sort of shyly, “I don’t want to insult you or say anything out of line, but you need to take off some weight. You need to push yourself away from the table.”

I noticed that the doctor likes to throw shade, he does it ever so subtly quite often.

I said to the doc, “I am usually 186 lbs. Never 187 or 185, always 186 for some strange reason.”

That day I am 201 lbs. Which of course freaks me out, as I never thought I would reach 200 lbs in my life!

I explained to the doc, that I am not over-eating, I am just not going to the gym. Since muscle burns fat, I attribute it to that. I’m not big eater and I mostly eat vegetarian. I have a friend that gets annoyed that I always leave food on the plate and don’t basically lick it clean like he does. I attribute that to not over-eating. When I’m full, I stop.

The doc was surprised and said, “Most people don’t know that muscle burns fat.” And I thought that strange since I thought everyone, especially gym people knew that. He said, “People think muscle burns sugar.” Which seemed a strange thing to say.

I’ve been craving getting back to the gym, but I still don’t feel safe.

But alas, I think I lost the 15 pounds in a few days. I threw it all up! That and the fact that I have not eaten much for the past three days.

On Sunday, I was sick all day. I woke up light headed and for the next 8 hours I vomited on and off and had dry heaves because my body was so cleaned out!

At first I thought it was covid, but I didn’t have any of the symptoms – fever, loss of taste, smell, headaches, etc. None of that, just light headedness and nausea.

Anyway, by the next day, I was 90% well, just a bit stuffy in the ears, which made me still a bit light headed but today I am 99% well.

I don’t know what it is, but I think it was something I ate. I think it was mushrooms I bought on Saturday. I got them at the hot bar at Whole Foods with a bunch of other stuff – roasted peppers, broccoli, etc. So it was one of those things and I suspect the mushrooms.

It was a dumb idea to get anything from an open food bar in this time of pandemic but luckily it was just food poisoning and not something worse. I ended up throwing all the rest of the prepared food out from the food bar – a big salad, pizza, etc.

The good news – I took the 15 lbs. off. The doc will be happy.

My doctor died!

I went to my GP yesterday, for regular tests – cholesterol, etc. and he asks me if I have a new cardiologist. I said, “Why would I need a new cardiologist, I have, Dr. Barquet?” and he says, “He died.”

I thought I didn’t hear right. Apparently this youngish doctor died of covid in May. I was in shock. I couldn’t move for a minute. This guy was the sweetest guy ever. My GP told me he was so loved by the medical community that they are all still in mourning so many months later. My GP was in tears.

The crazy part is that he wasn’t part of the medical arts community, you know, in the medical office or hospital with hundreds if not thousands of doctors and patients every day. He bought his own building off from the madding crowd and only had his own patients. He didn’t use elevators or deal with masses of people every day as you would in hospital or medical arts building. He had a one floor office which only consisted of his staff and his own patients.

I had a cardiologist because one of my bothers passed away some years back. My youngest brother had heart or artery problems and as a precaution, doctors had my other brothers and me go to cardiologists for check ups. I would go every couple of years, I guess.

The first doctor I went to was not a nice or friendly guy. The few times I went to his office they would throw me on a gurney and start tests before I could open my mouth – hours later you were released. “I only came to ask you a question!” was my reply after hours of tests. The first time I was there 10 hours – six hours one day and then back another four hours the next! All tests.

This new guy was an angel. So low key, so humble. The first time I met him, we talked. Like humans. He didn’t throw me on a gurney and charge me for exhortation tests. Such a decent and nice human being. And to hear he passed away – I still can’t believe it.

After my GP mentioned that the doctor passed away. He said in a low voice, with his eyes down, “You know from what . . . ” And I said, “Heart disease?” Thinking that the heart doctor ironically had heart disease. But he said, “No.” And he continued to look down in sadness. And I said, “Covid?” And he shook his head “yes.”

I’m still in shock. I am sorry I didn’t know at the time. When I googled it, I see it was in all the papers and on all the tv news, but I never seem to follow local news these days, my tv is always on national news it seems.

One headline at the time said, “Beloved Miami cardiologist dies from coronavirus complications.” He was beloved.

This was the second doctor of mine that died! Many years ago, my family GP died in an accident. He and his family were in a car accident in New England, I think. I believe he was with his whole family and if I remember right only he and one of the children died in the accident, the wife and the other kids survived. That was a hug shock at the time. I mentioned this to my GP yesterday and he remembered that, too.

It’s all about tofu

I saw a great episode of tasteMAKERS this weekend – about tofu, which I never liked, but after seeing this episode it looks pretty good.

There was a time when my mother tried sneaking tofu into things. She is a gourmet cook and has recipes that she’s used all our lives – mostly Italian stuff, like meatballs, lasagna, etc. So when we started seeing strange things in the meatballs, we threw a fit. “What is this?” I asked, “You’ve been making these all your life and you’re known for your meatballs and now you’re changing the recipe?”

She said she was trying to hide the tofu in the meatballs, it was a funny scene.

Anyway, this lady, Jenny Yang bought a tofu store/factory in Chicago after the owners closed it down. Jenny depended on their products and the only way to keep getting them was to buy the business. While doing that, she ended up supporting so many other local businesses.

It’s a great story and as I said, the tofu looks pretty good, too, in it’s many incarnations.

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