Count-Down to Surgery

My surgery is scheduled for one week from today! Administratively, it’s been a bad 10 days, since my personal “patient advocate nurse” at Humana has been unreachable. It’s taken numerous phone calls to sort-out how the Mayo Clinic should get their Authorizations submitted to Humana and approved. It looks like I solved that yesterday: They can deal directly with Humana without having to go through my Primary Care Provider.

The expected technique to be used for my Esophajectomy: The Ivor Lewis technique. Click the link for some good graphics explaining that approach. UC Health had proposed a different approach, and planned to use two surgeons. At the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Mark Allen will be the only surgeon; he expects the operation to take about six hours, vs. the 10-hour procedure UC Health wanted to use. After the operation, I’ll be in Intensive Care for 2-3 days, and will likely be hospitalized 8-10 days total.

Pilots for Christ: I am again set up for a free flight with these folks. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate this time!

Quality Time with Natalie: Natalie has been been staying with us for about three weeks now. It’s taken some time, but she’s now comfortably installed in our spare bedroom, and has set up a work area in the attic. I am acting as Copy Editor for the books she is writing about her four months in St. Thomas. Most of the creative writing is done, but its grueling work getting from raw drafts to finished copy!

My younger brother Bob from France is also here for a week: He arrived late-afternoon Monday, and is staying in an Airbnb about a mile away. It’s walkable, with Mt. Lookout Square about half-way in-between. He and Natalie spent yesterday afternoon at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Here is a photo from my older brother Bill’s wedding last fall:

Wedding Party

Back Row, L-to-R: Natalie, me, Jen, Bob & Elizabeth (Bill’s daughter); Front: Jane and Bill

I finally bought myself a decent Bass Amplifier: I was at Stereo Advantage yesterday getting a turntable repaired. I asked if he had a decent Bass Amp for sale, and he said he had a great old Peavy. For $100, I traded-in my crappy 20-watt Ibanez practice amp for this Minx 110 model:

Peavy Minx™ 110



It’s Time to Start Playing Bass Guitar Again!

I haven’t played my bass guitar since I was diagnosed. It’s time I got back to it!

I used to have a 5-string solid-body bass when I played in a casual fun band in the late ’90s in Naperville, Illinois. We only played-out twice, at pool parties at my neighborhood pool. It was heavy! I gave up the idea of playing in a band about 10 years ago, so I sold the Ibanez bass.

On a visit to see my son Brian in the Ballard area of Seattle about five years ago, I stopped at a guitar shop and saw the first acoustic bass I’d ever seen. I didn’t realize that anyone made acoustic basses. The seed was planted! In late 2014, I went shopping for an acoustic bass as a birthday present to myself. I found this beauty on Craig’s List, and got it for a good price:

Dean Bass Guitar

My Dean Exotica Quilted Ash Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar

It has dual pick-ups: The usual crappy guitar plug, plus a low-impedance jack! I like a clean sound, and the low-impedance jack is perfect for that. 

I also bought an inexpensive Samson PA System from Radio Shack, so I’m go to go!

I’ve had a MIDI System since 1986, including a Roland Sound Canvas SC-88VL synthesizer. I’ve also owned PowerTracks Pro Audio MIDI software (from PG Music) for more than 20 years.

I also collected thousands of MIDI files over the years, most of them with lyrics, which turns my computer into a Karaoke machine! 

MIDI files are simple text files that capture the “score” of each track of a multi-track musical performance (i.e. the list of notes played, and when to play them).

So what? So, I can play along with my MIDI band any time I want to. I can display the score of the bass part (it highlights each note when it’s time to play it). I can change the tempo and the key quickly and easily. Plus, PowerTracks will reverse-engineer the song to figure out what the chords are!

Here’s a sample screen-shot:

PowerTracks Screen Shot

The Bass score for Wonderful Tonight, with lyrics! PowerTracks Pro Audio!

So, it’s time to have some fun again!