Eosinophilic Esophagitis

I saw my surgeon yesterday for a follow up appointment for all those tests I had done two weeks ago. My swallowing has still remained difficult, but I am hopeful that I can battle the frustration I was having. After I wrote about my experience: The Inner Me Hurts, I found out that others have had the same issues. Now I know what I am suffering from.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis. A big fancy medical term that sounds scarier than it is. The surgeon says it’s as if I have “asthma of the esophagus”. It causes a closing/tightening of my esophagus most likely caused by a food allergy. It also turns out that people with this condition also have asthma. Which is me. Fun. More allergies and tightening of throat tubes inside of me.

My surgeon talked to me about all of the possibilities to help me swallow. What I will be starting with is a prescription antacid. Followed by a meeting with a gastroenterologist in the future. Then an elimination diet to see if I can pinpoint what I may be allergic to. Now I have some mental relief, but a long way to go.

As I sat waiting to see my surgeon I stared at a poster of what our body looks like on the inside. It still amazes me at how complex the human body is and why our organs are the way they are. I had plenty of time to study the poster since the doctor had me waiting for over an hour. I began to wonder if it was something doctors do. Make people wait and get frustrated only to give them good-ish news. Pretty sure if it was something awful, I would’ve been told quickly.

I’m glad it’s not as bad as I thought. I’m still frustrated that there isn’t an easy fix. But I probably should focus more on a proper diet as I get older.

Just like what my wife has been telling me for years…

Advertisements

Grilled Cheese

When I was about 11, I had my first grilled cheese sandwich. It was in a restaurant with my family during a road trip to go skiing at Big White in Kelowna BC. My father had arranged this trip with his Czech buddies and it was only one of two ski vacations we went on as an entire family.

We drove to a mountain chalet for a week long ski trip. All I can remember about the building was the indoor pool, playing arcade bowling, and a sign that read, “Das Hofbräuhaus“. These two trips were the only time my father willingly spent quality time with me.

In the morning, I had ski lessons. By afternoon, my father and I would go down the hill for a few runs. By dinner, I would be back at our room for a quick dinner, then off to swim and play in the small arcade. No adult supervision by the pool or in the arcade. These were simpler times where a boy could spend his quarters happily without restrictions.

After this wind down, my parents would head to the pub inside the chalet to hang out with my father’s friends. They’d stay out late, so before my parents returned, I would watch some HBO in hopes to catch a glimpse of a boob or two. But my strongest memory of this trip was still at the very beginning of it.

To get to our vacation destination, we left our home in my dad’s packed Hyundai Stellar. (I don’t think I have a picture of the car because my father hated it, but I found one online.) Within the first hour or so of our journey we stopped in Hope, BC at a truck stop to meet up with his friends in order to make a sort of convoy to the ski resort. This is where I had my first ever grilled cheese sandwich. There was even ham inside of it. I was in heaven.

When we returned home from our trip, I vowed to learn how to make a perfect grilled cheese. I had never cooked before, so this was exciting for me. Years and years of frying up bread and cheese followed. I have now mastered the art of the grilled cheese. I have made numerous variations of them, all with near perfect results. It has gotten to a point that my family would ask for a sandwich if I was making one. But soon it shall be no longer.

Over the past few weeks, our 11 year old son has been doing his best to make grilled cheese sandwiches. He has asked for advice and tips as he slowly creates his near-perfect meal. Even though he has tried to argue some of my points, he would use them and realize that dad was right.

If my father was still around today, he’d probably never have guessed that the time he spent with me would come down to a simple sandwich. A sandwich that his grandson now excitedly creates almost daily. I don’t think my son knows where my obsession came from, but he is following suit.

All of this stems from one trip, one stop, and one happy memory. Thanks dad for that.

Pain in the Brain

I finished my night shift at work with a massive headache.  Not from the work itself- that rarely bothers me. My head was pounding.  Throbbing behind my eye. My jaw was sore. All because I didn’t have any coffee for the past two days.


I can’t believe it’s all because of a lack of drinking coffee.  But it is.  They say drinking coffee stunts your growth.  Maybe not physically in my case, but perhaps mentally.  The lack of coffee had left me unfocused because of the pain.

But I made it through the shift. Groggy and sore.  Now it’s time to grab a coffee and off to bed.  At least I have the ability to sleep after drinking coffee.  

Pepto and Gravy circa 2000.

In the year 2000, I spent my last Thanksgiving with my father.  I could say to you that I didn’t know it’d be his last one, but that’d be a lie.  My father had already been battling cancer for three years by this point.  Even the Christmas before, it didn’t look like he would make it through the winter.  But here it was, ten months after that and we were gathered around the table to eat as a family.

We ate as a family for the last time that weekend.  My mother, my father, my sister, my girlfriend (who ended up being my future wife) and me.  The entire experience was awful; and not just because of my father’s cancer.


First of all, the dining room at my parents place now had a hospital bed in it.  A bed that my father refused to sleep in.  He preferred to sleep in his recliner. So, because this large bed was in the dining room, the dining room table moved into the spare room.  A Pepto-bismal pink painted bedroom. It was enough to make you not want to eat.

But the worst part of the dinner was the hangover.  My sister, my future wife and I had gone out drinking the night prior.  Heavily drinking.  We were destroyed the next day.  So much so that my sister had to call me in the late afternoon to wake me up and see if I was still going to show up.  We got to the house and at dinner, my sister drowned her plate of food in gravy.  I couldn’t handle it, so I had to excuse myself for a moment.

At the dinner, my father knew what was up.  Even in his morphine induced state, he knew we were recovering. He made fun of us. But he did so with a smile.  Perhaps he saw youthfulness in us.  Perhaps he enjoyed watching others suffer their own stupidity.  I’ll never know. 

So today, as you spend Canadian Thanksgiving with your friends and family, just remember that they may not be there next time.  

My father wasn’t able to make one more turkey dinner…

Touring Breweries

Since last Wednesday, I stopped at a few breweries for a couple of Growler fills and to try something new.

IMG_4240

First we stopped at Mount Arrowsmith Brewing Company for a fill of a blonde and grabbed a couple of bombers.

IMG_4259

Before making it to my mother’s, we stopped at Gladstone and got a fill of a Cream Ale.

img_4327

The next day we stopped at Shelter Point Distillery.  I shared that adventure here. Followed by a stop at Beach Fire Brewing Company for a flight and a fill of a Raspberry Beer.

IMG_4598.JPG

We headed to Powell River the following day and stopped at Townsite Brewing.  I was here in the spring and enjoyed a flight. We picked up a fill of a Blackberry beer since Powell River was celebrating Blackberry Days Festival.

My wife and I enjoyed the brews we sampled and have some remaining to enjoy at home.

Campbell River

We had 48 hours in Campbell River.  So we made the most of it.  

My wife and I hit the Shelter Point Distillery at lunch and then off to the Beach Fire Brewing Company for some more samples.


My wife and I had a lovely afternoon together sampling booze.  We paused at the 50th Parallel for a short walk and enjoyed the scenery. We returned to my mother’s place for dinner with the family and then headed out again.


We goofed around with a selfie stick and the kids took pictures at the beach with their cameras.  We took my mother’s dog with us for a walk as well.  My family has stopped using her slave name Jodie and renamed her Snowball. (Rick and Morty fans would love this dog!) 


We checked out this year’s wood carvings.  It added a bit more silliness to our night.  Then we headed back to Gramma’s for some dessert and another sampling of Sunshine in a Barrel before calling it a night.


This morning we went down to the local beach near Gramma’s for an early morning stroll. Our oldest daughter grumbled and argued about going. In the end, we “forced her” to come along. We parked near the sea walk and her and I wandered out towards the water.  


There was a large rock that had an entire ecosystem living at the base. We saw sea stars, crabs, hermit crabs, a sea anemone, some eels and a sea slug. My daughter took some photos with her cellphone.

After an enjoyable walk, we went back to Gramma’s and I made breakfast. We were getting ready to pack up and head out to my sister’s place next when my sister called. My kids decided that we should invite Gramma to Auntie Nikki’s. More because they wanted her dog to show up.


We ventured forth to another ferry. And waited for almost two hours to catch this ferry.  We wanted to be early so we could wander the beaches nearby and our oldest could take better photos with a digital Canon Powershot S5 that we lent her.

All-in-all it was a good 48 hour visit to Campbell River. The family and I are all smiles going on these journeys. Our puppy was happy as well.

Busy Busy

Today's post is short. I've been rather busy picking up some of the chores my wife usually does. I don't usually do laundry, but today was an exception.

We both have certain things that we do to keep the household running smooth. We have a good understanding of the shared responsibilities. Tonight I also prepared a dinner for some friends coming over. We went to meet our friends up the road at the Krause Berry Farm for a glass of wine before coming to our home for some brisket and mashed potatoes.

The kids helped to take down and fold most of the laundry. They also helped make dinner and set the table for our guests. It is nice that our kids are helpful without any fights.

We ate dinner outside with our friends and… I forgot to take my underwear off the laundry line. So now our friends know my brand of underwear…

How To Throw A Good BBQ

Last night we went to a "Backyard Bash". There was a $15/person fee to enter and enjoy. And enjoy we did.


The main food attraction was a spit roasted pig! It smelled and tasted heavenly.

There was a live band echoing some fun and amazing cover tunes.

We played badminton (for fun this time, not like I mentioned in Bad Min Ton). My daughter and I then had a water fight and a few more people joined in.

There was a face painter and a guy who made balloon animals. My daughter learned how to make balloon dogs and is now contemplating a career in it…

Food and drinks and friends and family and music and fun. A perfect Saturday BBQ party. All proceeds going to Stepping Stone Community Services Society.

All-in-all it was a successful mid-summer BBQ.

Pudding Cups

For work I usually pack a lunch.  Mostly due to the fact that I like to save money.  But also because I don’t want to be eating McDonald’s at 3am four days a week.  

My lunches are usually pretty straightforward. My main meal is either a serving of leftovers or a sandwich. I try and have a piece of fruit and homemade cookies or banana bread.  I also take snacks that I steal from my children throughout the school year- such as granola bars. But the one thing that is a constant in my lunch is pudding.

Here’s the thing.  I don’t really like pudding. I have gone for weeks with the same pudding cup packed in my lunch.  I’m not saying I hate pudding- I just don’t tend to eat it.  I usually pack a good sized lunch that I can graze through during my shift. It’s almost as if pudding is the last option and I’m still starving after eating the rest of my lunch.  


Vanilla and butterscotch are my two most liked flavors.  They are simple and easy to enjoy.  Pretty hard for a company to screw up either of those flavors.  Honestly, even the flouride provided by my dentist has these flavors, not to mention it’s virtually the same texture as pudding.

I’ll eat chocolate or the occasional extreme flavor (like lemon meringue) pudding if it’s all that we have.  But I refuse, refuse, to eat tapioca.  It looks and smells gross, like the innards of a caterpillar that’s been squished and it’s guts came out of one end only. The texture of tapioca pudding reminds me of the after effects of waking up from suffering a head cold: The chunky boogers are mixing with the runny snot and you have no choice but to swallow it otherwise you wouldn’t be able to breath.

So ya, pudding cups stay in my lunch for quite a while. I’d rather take some yogurt.  I hear that shit’s good for you.

Grumpy Bums

Our two youngest children are attending some free summer school programs this month.  Essentially it’s a summer camp Monday-Friday as they learn about science and tech.  It’s as if the school board took all the fun stuff from elementary school and put it together for three weeks of fun. Our children are really enjoying it. That’s about the nicest thing that I can say about today.

This morning, I told my wife at the last minute that we were going to take our oldest daughter and the dog when we went to pick up the two youngest.  I said that I wanted to go for a picnic and we could pick up some KFC and find a park or some place.  That’s when the grumpiness kicked in.  


Our oldest daughter didn’t want to go.  She had slept in until 11am and barely wanted to get dressed.  My wife didn’t want to go without a better plan in motion.  She was also upset that we were behind schedule in leaving to get the children.  It’s not that we would be late to pick them up, just late to find good parking.  It didn’t help that on our way we got stopped by a train for an extra few minutes…


After we picked up the kids, we went to pick up KFC.  I thought it would be a nice treat: some greasy overpriced chicken.  It’s something we rarely eat, to a point that our 11 year old son says he’s never had it. We took our bucket of 12 pieces and a box of fries and hit the freeway.  Seriously.  There is no nice way of advertising a “Bucket of Chicken”. 


We got off the freeway a few minutes later to go to a small place called Barnston Island.  As we headed towards the tiny ferry, we got stopped by another train.  Sometimes my work follows me everywhere. The touching, pushing and nagging was in full force in the back seat. We made it to the ferry (aka tugboat and small barge) and crossed over to the little island in the middle of the Fraser River.  I drove us around to the other side, pulled over and we all got out and headed towards the edge where the water was.

No one wanted to carry anything.  Not the food, not the drinks, the blanket, not even the leash for the dog.  So my wife barked some orders out, and the grumpy noises occurred and they all took something.  We headed towards the rocks and found a little spot to eat lunch. 


Even though the weather was a bit grey, we sat and ate.  The meal was peaceful.  No fighting.  Except when my wife tried to use her new selfie stick to get a family shot.  No one was cooperating.  Even the dog was unimpressed. Shortly after eating, a few raindrops happened, so we packed up and got back into the Pathfinder.  It was a brief lunch. The bickering and touching occurred in the back seat once more where it had left off.

What I was hoping to be a nice surprise picnic lunch was less than stellar.  Last minute planning isn’t our thing as a family it seems.  I better plan the next “spontaneous event” at least two months in advance.