Officer Wes, Daddy Barry & dog’s 2022


Officer Wes returned home with a negative COVID-19 test before flying, and three days after.  His one concern had been the brief break-in-mask-seals when he had needed to have food and drink on the flights home.

Doctor visits were right after.  First Daddy Barry had yet another epidural which did not help the numbness in his right foot and pain in his right shin.  He continued Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (“TMS”) for the depression that the numb foot brought on.  Officer Wes also began TMS.  And his own right forearm numbness from last July was diagnosed as “Thoracic Outlet Syndrome” – a pinched neck nerve.  Physical therapy ensued.

Then something interesting happened during Daddy Barry’s annual eye exam at the VA in February:  He passed out.  Thankfully he was in the exam chair.  That prompted a code response from the ER folks, who brought him directly to a room when they saw his blood pressure was a dangerously low 80/40.  There were a couple of reasons his BP had dropped, and as it resolved, ER doctor Nachat started inquiring about the horrible pain in his right foot that was getting him so down.  Turns out she is a pain specialist.  We got the (good) luck of the draw.  She had three ideas:

1.   The VA has a ketamine clinic.  She told us that ketamine works on both depression and pain.

2.   She suggested a pain clinic for a low-dose methadone infusion for chronic pain, as methadone works on the NMDA receptor for neuropathic pain.

3.   She also recommended a vascular study of his legs, as he had told her that at times they felt very cold.  (A March scan of the right leg indeed showed significant vascular constriction which could be the source of some pain.  An April angiogram with related stent was pending.)

We were thrilled to have helpful options to pursue.

Next came Officer’s birthday celebration, this year COVID-modified to just the chosen family pod, at Buona Forcetta’s outdoor patio in Liberty Station.  The cake, later, was a delicious key lime coconut cake from Twigg’s Bakery.  Daddy Barry and dog also got me a hot red bicycle I’d requested!  The timing was especially good; wanting more time outdoors, and some exercise/cardio, PLUS miles of new bicycle lanes in San Diego.

dog, slave frank, Officer Wes, Chuck, Daddy Barry


In April Chuck and frank stayed in a friend’s handsome Idyllwild cabin while their home was being painted inside.  They invited us up.  Since Lily is only housetrained for out house, one of us needed to stay home with her.  Daddy Barry said he would do it, and sent dog and I up.  We had a lovely time.  Took the obligatory trip to the Candy Cupboard, where they will dip an ice cream bar in chocolate and roll it in toppings while it is hardening.  Yum!  Also a lovely easy hike through Idyllwild Nature Center.


Chuck, frank, dog, Officer Wes
with huge rock in back left


Daddy Barry’s angiogram was directly after our return.  He had perhaps three balloon procedures and one stent was put in, resulting in “beautiful flow.”  We are hopeful this drops his incredible leg and foot pain.

In May, Deputy & Chris in the SFO Precinct hosted a delightful Birthday Sandwich Weekend for dog.  (Deputy and dog both appreciate good sandwiches!)


It started with Italian sub sandwiches
 Friday evening after our arrival...


...followed by a birthday
tarte tatin made by Chris.


Saturday morning they
made homemade pancakes...


…which were fluffy and delicious!


Lunch in the Haight at
Parada 22 for Cuban sandwiches


Deputy & Chris then took us on a driving tour of SFO, since dog had never really visited just for pleasure, and only been once or twice previously.

We went up to Twin Peaks then over to the west side; up to Golden Gate Park; then east to Haight/Ashbury.  We stopped above at Parada 22 upon suggestion of Commander, who had given us the heads up about yummy Cuban sandwiches!


We followed that with a stroll around
Alamo Square Park with a a stunning view
of the city on a beautiful, windy day.


The men ventured out at 7pm to
take in the SFO headlands
across the bay, and Sausalito.


Sunday morning we finished off with
breakfast together at The Cove on Castro.


Through all this, we kept in touch with Daddy Barry, who was at home looking after Lily.

Very sweet.


Daddy Barry was in tremendous pain.  And it was now very clear that he was experiencing a shingles outbreak, despite having had the Shingrix vaccine 7 years prior.  (At the ER we hear “They’re only good for 5 years.”)  Thankfully we are able to start him on aggressive treatment (1gm valacyclovir tablet 3x/day for 7ish days) the very same night we return.  It helped curb the blister outbreak; though the intense pain remained.

He was at wits end.

His foot hurt intensely.

He had excruciating shingles pain.

Thankfully, the next day he had his intake with the local psychiatrist who spearheaded local research into ketamine for treatment of Treatment Resistant Depression.  Daddy Barry was a good candidate it turned out, and he was slated to begin a week later.

Overnight, however, I was doing some reading on shingles in Reddi’ts “Ask Science” subreddit and came across this tidbit:  In the UK, they prescribe ketamine for shingles neuralgia (pain).  Wowza.

So the next morning I called the doctor’s office, explained what Daddy Barry was going through – and that ketamine might help his incredible shingles pain – and could they possibly work him in sooner?

They got him in the same day.  I am so thankful.

And it helped.

June brought two things:  A Daddy Barry trip to Palm Springs to see friend Skip; and him coming home with COVID-19.  We forgot to test him before we all kissed and such.  Won’t do that again (I hope)!  The next day he wasn’t feeling well...  We tested him and he was indeed COVID+  Officer and bobby were both negative, so they stayed on the living room sleeper sofa at night.  Then two days later Officer tested positive.  He moved into the Master bedroom with Daddy Barry.  And two days after that bobby tested positive.  Daddy Barry moved out to the sleeper sofa so that Lily – who sleeps with us -- would be in a more-open room, since humans can transmit COVID-19 to canines.

Thankfully our concerned primary care physician got us each on Paxlovid the very same day we became positive.  Paxlovid is the dual antiviral treatment (in a single pill, taken twice a day for five days) to treat an early COVID-19 infection.  (You need to start it within five days of symptom onset for it to work.)

Oh my goodness did we each have a hard first day.  Daddy Barry slept through much of his.  Officer got a 101 fever and felt like $hit.  bobby had a fever the first day, and then was feeling “off” for a week.

After a week some were feeling better:  Daddy Barry tested negative.  bobby tested negative.  Officer Wes remained positive.  But… he had had a bacterial sinus infection before getting the COVID-19.  He wound up with concurrent bacterial (green) + viral (yellow) sinus infections.  In another week, he tested COVID-negative.  The next day, the visible portion of the bacterial infection stopped; though the viral portion appeared to remain for whatever reason.

Something particularly good came out of this all:  Daddy Barry called his close friends Mary and Jo to let them know of his COVID diagnosis.  Jo -- who had just returned from a tour of Yellowstone National Park with her sweet husband -- had news, too:  Her hubby tested COVID+ after their trip.

With those news highlights out of the way, we asked if they’d gotten caught up in the sudden Yellowstone flooding that was on national news.  She said they were out by two days.  Yay!

I asked where they planned to vacation next.  (They were always going somewhere interesting.)  She said a 2023 cruise of "Italy, the Adriatic & Greece."  I said "Hey, that sounds like something we'd be interested in if we could swing it."  They were game.

Fast forward 1:  Their cruise line couldn’t accommodate three people to a room.  That wouldn’t work for our pod that lives, works and sleeps together.  And that cruise wasn’t the cruise that frank and Chuck might have already booked.  (They had canceled theirs.)  That freed us up to ponder customizing our own trip.

Fast forward 2:  We contacted our amazing travel agent and told her we were interested in Berlin, Germany; and nearby -- and we needed it to work for a leather family of three.  (We didn’t yet mention Chuck and frank are also part of the family.)  She said there was a different cruise line, AmaWaterways, that had a limited supply of three-person rooms on select ships.  How about Berlin plus a river cruise of the Danube?  (Officer had had an amazing time cruising the Rhine with Sister Susan in 1985.)  We’d need to select a cruise and put a mostly-refundable deposit down quickly as she was going on vacation herself in two weeks and those triple-person cabins go quickly.  We shared that amazing food and shopping were part of what we were looking for.  She said we would not be disappointed.  We’re jazzed.  In pretty short order, Chuck and frank were on board as well, to be in the adjoining cabin.

Niece Laura came out on work and we got to enjoy time with her in October!  The four of us dined before Daddy Barry headed on his annual trip to Palm Springs Leather Pride. 

bobby and I saw Kim, Lisa, Farrah and friends at their spooky Halloween party.

Officer Wes also did extensive work on the annual music, getting the CD out to some family and friends.  He also worked on Daddy Barry’s VA claims for service-connected issues.

And, as the year wrapped up, Daddy Barry began thriving again doing leather work at Moose Leather.

We are thankful.

As always, may this find you happy & well.


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