Friday, July 08, 2005

Mea Culpa

A brief apology and personal note

To my readers: I’m sorry I disappeared for so long and let the site sit idle. Has it been so long? Time flies whether you’re having fun or not.
I wandered off in other directions. A constant electric supply in the Philippines is at best precarious. For some reason the power supply here in Palawan has been abruptly shutting off from one to three times a day for almost three weeks. The supply (220 VA) fluctuates up-and-down wildly most every day, as well. That means every time I’m writing and it shuts down I lose not only all of my unsaved work, but my system, motherboard, etc., is also affected. I’ve been having pc problems and have had to have it worked on. My monitor’s capacitors burned-up due to the fluctuation of the current. I thought I was going to have to buy a new monitor, but by good fortune I was able to be introduced to a technician who has experience in that area, and he was able to put in new capacitors and restore my monitor; it works like brand new, now. It was the most expensive pc-related labor bill I’ve had to pay so far: $30.00 for labor and parts. Cheap living in the RP. I lost more than a week because of the problems.
As some of you know, I’m an artist, among other things, and I play guitar, sing, draw, sketch, etc., and work in PhotoShop manipulating photos and creating my own images. I veered-off on a PhotoShop ‘jones’ after being away from my site for that short while and became immersed in downloading and practicing with new tutorials about working with PhotoShop, ImageReady and website creation. It was so much fun for me; I was spending all of my time at it and ignoring everything else.
Nachurly, I have to devote time to my darlin’, Celine. She’s as patient a woman as I’ve ever met, and to her credit she’s never once complained about all of the time I spend on my computer. I’m such a lucky man to have her with me.
I also had to put some time in on other business ventures: I own a 35-foot fishing banca (boat), and I had to fire a kapitan and make other changes. I also have a loan business and a rice buying-and-selling business that Celine mostly takes care of for me. But I do have to give it some time now and again. I’ve been tied-up spending time looking into buying a rice store.
There are other things. One of them is having my smashed finger (see earlier writings) operated on this last Monday (07-04). Now I’m writing to you with a giant bandage on that finger – and it’s neither fun nor easy. Here’s the update:

About four weeks or more ago my finger started swelling and hurt like something was stabbing it. A very small bit of fingernail began growing out of one side on my finger a month or two back, but it looked like it was growing sideways across my finger instead of toward the tip. It was growing from a recessed cavity - a hole, if you will - in my finger so dirt and grunge was getting in there and it was hard to keep clean. I thought that the sharp (pointed) edge was growing under the skin and flesh, causing the pain. I went to the doctor on Monday. We went back to the emergency room and into a room where he pumped my finger full of anesthetic and sliced the finger open length-ways from mid-way between the first and second knuckle to the tip. then spread it open using a clamp. We both looked inside. There was the nail growing under the flesh just as I thought. But the doctor kept spreading the finger wider and more nail just kept coming into view.
The doctor took another clamp and grabbed hold of the nail and started twisting and pulling on it. He ripped it from the nail bed and kept pulling. When he was done he'd pulled out a huge fingernail the size of a normal nail in width and about a quarter-inch in length, though jagged like a serrated knife. Wow! I was stunned that so much nail had been growing underneath my skin.
The doctor says the nail won't grow anymore since he tore the cells away that produce nails as they were attached with the nail. I don't know, but I hope so.
There was no way to save the nail as it wouldn't have grown normally due to the misshapen finger I now have. I have a huge gauze and tape wrapping around my finger as I type this.
I returned to the hospital Wednesday morning and the doctor looked it over and changed the dressing, It seems all right. I go back again next Monday.
The doctor did a better job on the finger than I expected... but then I didn't expect much. If I had been in the States I probably could have saved the finger from being so badly mangled and also had an intact fingernail. But I'm not there, so I'm happy he didn't just chop it off, as would probably be the case for most poor Pinoy because they would have to depend on the horribly inadequate socialized RP hospital-system and grossly incompetent doctors. There is a very low level in most doctors’ skills and knowledge here, especially in the Province’s. And Dr. Maypa's the best doctor on the island.
Now, because of the way the doctor put my mashed finger back together, the finger-tip is very big and it's difficult if not impossible for me to play the guitar without that finger touching and deadening one or two of the other strings.
I spoke to Dr. Maypa on Monday about carving out some of the flesh on the tip of my finger so it would be slim again. He said he thought it was just swollen and would become smaller and wanted to wait. Well, he's the doctor... but I knew, and know, that there's no swelling associated with the tip of my finger - and which the doctor acceded to Wednesday. He said that he would carve the finger if the fat shape of the tip doesn't change. So I'm sure I'm going to have to have the finger cut open once more in the near future and have the meat cut out of the tip.
I do like to play the guitar. Call me crazy, but it's worth it to me.
As you might now realize, I have a life beyond ETP. Also, I haven’t heard from anyone in some time except for Jim (and I’ll go into his story more in an article). Things have been very quiet. It doesn’t inspire me to write when you, the readers, don’t let me know you’re there.
I got an email from “rrcarpio” today. He wanted to know what happened to me, why I haven’t written lately. Well, now you know, rrcarpio. My question for you, however, is “Why haven’t I heard of you before? If you enjoy reading my blog, why don’t you leave a little message and let me know you’re there?” It would give me more reason to spend more time writing and adding to the site if I think someone is visiting. Otherwise, what’s the point? I already know what I need to know about living in the Philippines with a Filipina.
‘Nuff said. A new article or two will appear soon. Rik


Anonymous Jim E. said...

Rik, you don't have to apologize to us, your readers! It's not as if you exist only to entertain or inform us... Your dedication and your honest character are a value in themselves! But we DO appreciate all the info!
Jim E.

July 11, 2005  
Anonymous Jim E said...

Hi again, Rik!
Regarding your power problems, I suggest that you get a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) which would solve most all of your problems. They contain a battery, which is constantly on charge, while the power is ON, and also isolate the 250 Volt output voltage from the wildly variable input voltage from the power company. The output voltage is referenced to the battery voltage, so that should stop any fluctuation problems you are having. They vary from 5 minutes to shutdown to several hours, with comensurate differences in price. I should think you could get one for your area to give you one hour of time to save and shutdown in an orderly fashion for the equivalent of $100 to $125. I expect you may have to go to Cebu to find a seller that has them on hand. Anyway, check into it...
Astral... well, you know!
Jim E.

July 12, 2005  

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