Thoughts and essays about music, physics, martinis and pretty girls.

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Name: Roger L. Smith
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Interests: Astronomy, Science,  Bicycle Racing, Music,  Photography, Tennis, and why...
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Martinis at Midnight

Saturday, October 30, 2004

home sweet home

i had read too many horror stories and hear too many peoples accounts of what sinus surgery was like. every story that i heard was not a pleasant one, and with my luck i was expecting the worst.

thursday night we drove to ann arbor (UofM) and stayed in a hotel that is right in the hospital. set the alarm for 5am, as i had to be at the surgical check-in place at 6am. strangely enough, i wasn't as nervous as i thought i'd have been, but my heart rate and pressure were quite high. once, i was checked in and taken to the pre-op area i packed away my clothes for the standard issue hospital gown. shortly afterwards the pre-op nurse came around and asked several questions, as did the anisethieologist. they hooked my up to an IV and finally my doctor came around. he had taken another look at my scans and said that he might not even have to make the little cut above my eye. at any rate they dumped something like a martini into my IV and i was finally nice and relaxed.

they pushed me out of the pre-op area and down the hall to operating room number 4. i was trying to get a good look at all the gadgets but i really didn't know what any of them were. they scooched me from the hospital bed onto the operating table, and did a time-out check to double check who i was and what they were all going to do to me. from there it all went really quick. they held a mask over my face and told me that it was only oxygen. and that is the last thing i remember.

i think i entered the OR at roughly 7:30am, and the next thing i knew is i was really groggy and trying to see what time the clock on the wall said. it looked like it was 11:05am and i think i drifted back off to sleep for a few minutes. my throat was a little sore, they said it would be after having a breathing tube in there for a few hours. once i could move around a little it felt up around my eye and realized that they didn't cut and drill into my head. that was a nice feeling. i also wasn't feeling any pain at all, but i figured that would wear off with whatever medication they had given me.

by noon they told me i could start getting dressed, and the post-op nurse came around and game me my prescriptions and answered all my questions. they had used a type of gel to pack my sinuses and i could breathe, even better than when i went into surgey. it wasn't long after that that they released me and i was on my way home. i got back to grand rapids before 4pm, and was actually feeling pretty good. i drank some juice, ate some soup and finally a ham sandwich before going to bed last night. i took some pain pills last night, but didn't really need them and today i sat around and watched TV most all day.

i didn't have any problems with bleeding, or pain. i didn't have any nausea or really any problems at all.

i'll post more tomorrow, it's good to be home.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

all my problems (part 3) - a visit to the ENT

if you haven't read the first 2 parts, go read those first. thanks.

my appointment with the ent was around the third week in july, and i was a little nervous going to see him. i had done some research on sinus surgery on the internet and it didn't sound like a lot of fun. this doctor was pretty good, but once he looked at my MRI, he said - "i really think you need to go get a CT scan (cat scan)." he said that there appeared to be bone damage and it was hard to tell from the MRI. he seemed almost excited when he told me that this surgery might require a cut from ear to ear across the top of my head so they could peel my face off and work on my nose and above my eyes. this sent chills through my body and eventually led to a panic attack.

so.... back to the hospital for yet another dose of cancer causing x-rays spinning around my head.

on my return visit to the ent (after the CT scan) he said i had some uncommon things going on and he suggested that i see an ent specialist in this type of area. he referred me to a doctor at the university of michigan. the only problem was, that this doctor was a busy man and it took 2 months to get an appointment with him.

i saw the specialist at the end of september, now very nervous and having slight boughts of panic attacks every so often. actually this doctor turned out to be very good. he knew exactly what to do for my situation, and told me what would happen. he didn't think i needed any bone reconstruction, nor did he want to cut across the top of my head from ear to ear.

i am scheduled for surgery this friday morning. i will have sinus surgery along with a procedure to drill into my sinus cavity above my left eye and clear it of any polyps and blockage. i feel this doctor knows what he is doing; i am scared, but ready to have this operation.

this will be my last blog until after the surgery. tomorrow night i will be staying at U of M and early friday morning i will be having surgery. if all goes well i should be home friday night.

i intend to blog all the details of my surgery and recovery, and hopefully what it's like to get ones sense of smell back.

all my problems (part 2)

last night i posted the first installment of this saga, go read it before you read this.
thank you.

i made an appointment to see an eye doctor towards the end of june. my double vision wasn't getting any better, and i was beginning to think that i had some sort of nasty sinus infection that was pushing against the upper-rear part of my left eye. i still wasn't too worried. i figured my diagnosis would consist of some antibiotics and a little rest.

when i saw the eye doctor, she was really nice. she thought i had something in my sinus cavity above my eye, and she thought i needed to see an ENT. due to insurance reasons, she could only refer me to an opthamologist. i was feeling like i was beginning to make progress.

i asked my boss if i could leave work early one day at the end of june. i told him i had to see an opthamologist. as long as i made up my time, my boss didn't have a problem.

i sat in that damned opthamologists office for 2 freakin hours only to finally see him and have him say to me. "i can't tell you anything right now, you'll have to go get an MRI". so they scheduled me for an MRI one morning early in july at 4:30 am! and i needed to be there 1/2 hour early. what the hell! i sleep at that time. so i went to bed at midnight, got up 3 1/2 hours later to go to the hospital. if you've never had an mri of your head, you don't wanna know what it's like. simply, it's long, ugly and freaky.

so after the mri, the 2 hour dingbat opthamologist called me back and said i should see a different opthamologist. what!!! he refered me to a new opthamologist that specializes in problems around the eye socket. i was starting to get pissed, but i thought i may be finally on the right track.

this new opthamologists office looked like a plastic surgeons dream office. she had advertisements of botox hanging on every wall. when she looked at my mri she said, "your sinuses look pretty rough, i think you should see an ENT" they might want to do sinus surgery.

i was getting more pissed off, but i still wasn't too worried, this was now mid-july (2004). she made me an appointment to see and ENT towards the end of july. i was just ready to get past all of this and get on with my life.

a visit to the ENT will be posted tomorrow. thanks for reading

Monday, October 25, 2004

all my problems

a little more than 5 years ago, for some unknown reason, i began to lose my sense of smell. i never really worried about it, which is weird because i tend to worry about everything. it was just one of those things. i always figured it was because of the job switch i had made a few months earlier, or it was because we were building onto our house and stirring up many dusts, molds and toxic whatchamacallits.

i did mention this situation when visiting my dr. office, and they suggested i get a CT scan and visit an Ear Nose Throat (ENT) doctor. i followed their directions and was less than impressed when i saw the ENT. he told my i needed sinus surgery, but wasn't sure if i'd ever get my sense of smell back. i told him goodbye, and didn't see him again. this was almost 2 years ago.

at the beginning of this year, i started having problems with my vision too. i was seeing a double (ghost) image of everything. again when i was at my dr for a check up, he told me that i might be having ocular migraines, and that i should see an opthamologist. this double image thing only seemed to be happening first thing in the morning, and after a few weeks it totally dissappeared. i figured i was good, however there seemed to be a slight bit of puffiness above my left eye. i had too much on my mind, and i didn't want to worry about it.

towards the end of may (2004) i began having more vision problems. my double vision came back, but didn't go away. it was causing problems just about all day long. it was at that point that i decided to go to the eye doctor.

(continued tomorrow)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

dark matter and dark energy

this past saturday was a general meeting of the GRAAA. we had a guest speaker that gave a thought provoking disicussion on dark matter and dark energy. the speaker was Dr. Kirk Korista, an associate profressor of astronomy at Western Michigan University.

i'd like to recap the most interesting parts of his discussion, and include a few of my thougths.
Dr. Korista began the discussion with a brief history of something that would eventually be called dark matter. Fritz Zwicky made a discovery in 1933 that showed a cluster of galaxies that were moving about far to fast, the only reason that seemed to explain this rapid movement was that there must be a lot more mass wthin this cluster of galaxies; mass that we cannot see.
later on there were other discoveries that showed the emittance of an enourmous amount of heat in the area where the suspected dark matter collected. keep in mind the dark matter is extremely sparse, it's just the collected glob of it is held by gravity in an area of several thousand light years across.

with theories of dark matter now commonly floating around, studies began to show that the universe wasn't a static space. scientists suspected that the universe wasn't static, but they often thought that if the universe was expanding, the rate of expansion would be decreasing over time. what studies have shown is that the universe is expanding, and the rate of expansion is not decreasing, but it is increasing. now with the mass of every object within the universe, and they are all tugging on themselves (gravitationally), there must be an enormous amount of energy pushing the universe apart. here enters dark energy. in fact it is now estimated that the universe is made up of at least 73% dark energy and at least 23% dark matter. that leaves 4% for everything that we have ever seen or touched. astronomoers say they have been studying the universe, however it appears that they may have only been studying about 4% of the universe.

questions arise as to whether dark matter and dark energy are somehow related.
in my opinion, the two could not be directly related. since dark matter tends to clump with gravity, and dark energy is causing the uinverse to expand at an accelerating rate (apparently evenly), it would seem that the universe would be only expanding where the dark energy was causing it to expand. at this point dark energy seems to be everywhere, while dark matter may tend to clump with galaxy clusters.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Shock & Awe

i remember the days just prior to the war in iraq when saddam hussein tried to make some sort of a deal with the us government. at that time he claimed that he had no wmd. i remember that day because i suddenly had mixed feelings about what would become the new war in iraq. until that day i supported the president because i felt his judgement couldn't be wrong.

today, the new york times reports that iraq elliminated all wmd a long time ago. maybe the president should have taken a little time to listen. apparently hussein was only trying to bluf iran.

i wonder how many human lives would have been saved if george w would have taken it one step at a time. nevertheless he was proud to show the world shock and awe.

from all of this, what will you remember?

Congratulations Scaled Composites! - winner of the $10,000,0000 X Prize.

i have been "out of it" for a while, but i'd like to publicly congratulate Burt Rutan & all the team at Scaled Composites for building Space Ship One, the first privately built vehicle to leave the earth's atmosphere twice within 5 days!


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