Vodka was always my go-to alcoholic beverage. That is until several bouts of pancreatitis back in 2008. My drinking was something I always considered modest, and it was not felt to be the cause of my pancreatitis but rather a gallbladder full of stones and sludge some of which got jettisoned into my main pancreatic duct causing the significant inflammation that is pancreatitis. I did have my gallbladder removed but still had issues.  

A good way to get to one’s pancreatic duct is a procedure called an ERCP, or Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography. This is a prime example of something better known by its initials. This was combined with some sort of stone smashing ultrasonic attempt at the obliteration of the stones blocking my pancreatic duct. Since this procedure itself can cause pancreatitis, I had only four ERCP’s before it was either called a success or abandoned before my pancreas was an irredeemable mess. My severe bouts of pancreatic pain did stop so I am inclined to go with the “success” description. Strong advice was given to me however was no alcohol. Whether or not alcohol was the initial cause it is a major pancreatic irritant on the best of days. So, no vodka or any other alcohol since 2009.

I do miss the vodka but not as much as I might have thought. It has I suppose if I am honest somewhat tempered my social life. Though when with a group of friends who do drink, I must say the conversation does seem to devolve as the evening goes along. Perhaps I wasn’t half as clever as I thought I was either with a couple of cocktails under my belt at a dinner party. Another thing I have definitely noticed is the conversation volume seems to increase. Perhaps alcohol causes deafness.

My non-alcoholic life of the past 12 plus years could be viewed as a limitation. Due to a minor home plumbing issue from a few weeks back I was unable to write on the topic of Limitations.  Thinking back on that topic at first blush I thought good lord where to start. Thankfully I don’t seem to have as yet many mental limitations other than occasionally fumbling around for the right word. Physical limitations are however another matter. It was only a few years ago that I was able to hop on my road bike for a 40- or 50-mile ride without a problem. For several years now my bike has been leaning up against a wall with very flat tires.

I do blame the pandemic for my current state of deconditioning and a 20-pound weight gain at least in part. Prior to COVID most days I would walk to the Downtown “Y” and then work out for about an hour and a half and then walk home. This three-hour bout of exercise was a gift of retirement.  I did get an indoor stationary bike and do walks in the neighborhood several times a week. These activities are still not the calorie burn I was getting prior to January of 2020. Simply staring at the exercise bike doesn’t seem to work very well but I at least haven’t started hanging clothes on it.

Another significant limiting factor in my life is the need to pee urgently and quite frequently. Who would have ever thought that a strong, bladder emptying stream of piss would be one of life’s great pleasures? The pathetic lack of public restroom access in this country is a true limitation. The lack of any restroom access along 7th avenue limits the length of my walks. Oh, sure a quick pee in an alley is often an option but those rich folks seem to have installed a lot of cameras and I feel I am pressing my luck. It seems very unjust to me that so many dogs can pee and poop with abandon all over the city but my doing that is viewed as a perversion.

I am going to close here by paraphrasing the old Jerry Seinfeld joke again. With potential UFOs back in the news again I would speculate that they only engage in fly byes because when they see humans out with their dogs, and they are picking up the poop they make an assumption about who is the higher intelligence. They probably just look down and assume the this planet has gone to the dogs and keep going.