The Wonderful World of Sick III: Full of Bile

Well, just when I think everything is back to normal… surprise! Remember the nausea/stomach problems I’d mentioned over the past week? Well, as it turns out, the problem was not the Amoxicillin. Last night I started having really horrible stomach pains a little after midnight, and by 4:30am they were so bad (with accompanying vomiting) that I had Charlie drive me to the Emergency Room at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.

Turns out? It’s my gall bladder that has been causing the problems. This also explains the out-of-character-for-me bouts of indegestion I’ve been having over the past year. (I thought I was just getting older and unable to handle some foods properly.) The end result was I got my very first experience with morphine (oh, blessed relief—I was actually starting to shake uncontrollably from the pain and everything else going on), my very first prescription for Vicodin, and the plans to call my primary care doctor tomorrow morning to make an appointment to talk about treatment (which will almost certainly be having the gall bladder removed). I’m also having flashbacks to the end of January 2005, when I took Karon to Virginia Hospital Center’s ER for what she thought was food poisoning but turned out to be gallstones as well.

So, hopefully surgery sooner rather than later. I suspect this is going to be a very low-key Thanksgiving one way or another! And it’s also a real relief that I wasn’t up in Philadelphia for the marathon after all. Grammy always says that everything happens for a reason.

Possible Side Effects

Well, in what I can only best describe as “a complete and utter relief” I took my final Amoxicillin dose this morning. I’m glad not only because (knock on wood) the infection seems to be entirely gone, but perhaps more importantly because the drug was also having some not-so-great side effects. The worst was an ever-so-slightly increasing level of nausea; the past two or three days have been almost unbearable at times, to be honest. (Before anyone asks, yes, I took it with food as instructed.) The worst would be that I’d actually start feeling better just around the time that I was supposed to take the next dosage, and the cycle would start up all over again. Never before have I been so happy to see a needed medicine container get thrown into the bathroom trash can. (I did get a laugh when I looked up what the possible side effects were, and oh look, I’d been going through half of them.)

On the bright side, last night I did finally get to head back to my beloved spinning class (my last one was on October 29th); in terms of exercise I still feel like I am slowly getting back up to speed, but it is definitely happening. I also signed up for the Arlington Turkey Trot, although I joked to Katie and Blair last night that they might have to pick my corpse up on the side of the course after it’s over. A slight exaggeration, certainly. I suspect there won’t be a new personal record involved but it will feel good to at least do some sort of race this fall. (And also to use as a benchmark for how I am doing.)

Catching a Football Fish!I also got to give the new Animal Crossing: City Folk a whirl last night. It’s been ages since I played the previous incarnation on my DS, but I’m already loving the Wii version, if only because the tv screen is much easier to see things on than the little DS screen. (Catching insects with the net, for instance? A hundred times easier.) There’s something just so fun and relaxing about moving my little character “Gabriel” around his town as he hunts for fossils, goes fishing, harvests the fruit trees, sends little letters and presents to his neighbors, or just looks at the stars. Yay! (On the downside, Charlie is about to become an Animal Crossing widow.) I haven’t given the new “city” options a whirl yet, but hopefully this weekend.

(One amusing thing is that you can bring your DS character over into the Wii version. You don’t get your money or items, but you do get the same “catalog”—which is helpful—as well as appearance. I had forgotten that in a fit of boredom my old character now had pink hair with a gay Tintin flip in the front. I am continually cracking myself up as a direct result.)

Darn it, now I have the Animal Crossing music stuck in my head.

Five Things That Make Me Happy (part 9)

Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “What Have We Started?”
Can a song simultaneously be pop, orchestral, grandious, and intimate? Yes, if the song is Sophie Ellis-Bextor singing “What Have We Started?” Her Trip the Light Fantastic album is pretty great, but it’s one of my favorite songs from the entire album. There’s just this sort of ker-pow moment that hits me when I listen to it. (And oh look, someone put the song on YouTube.)

Brighton RockGreen Tea on an Autum Morning
I’ve been sipping a mug of genmai-cha (the kind of green tea that has roasted rice in it) and it just fits the outside world perfectly. Not too cold, but not too warm out either, a touch of mist and wet in the sky; it’s the archetypal autumn morning for me. Very relaxing, very beautiful. And the tea is also very delicious.

Charlie Getting the Giggles
The production of All’s Well That Ends Well last night did a good job with a painful play (there’s a reason why it’s one of the “problem plays” of Shakespeare), but one of the cast members’s voice was sending Charlie into hysterics in the final act. Probably because he sounded like a cross between Buffalo Bill in Silence in the Lambs and a Hanna-Barbera animated character. So, so, so not good. The whole last 20 minutes of the play, Charlie was just silently shaking with laughter every time this person talked. (But hey, unlike at least 8 other people last night, we didn’t leave during intermission.)

Who knew it was so underrated? It has been such a relief the last two days to be able to take big, deep breaths with no problems or issues.

An Empty Vase
I got some flowers delivered last month, and all I can think today is that next week I should bring some flowers in to fill it back up. The possibilities are endless. Who knew a temporarily empty vase could be so exciting?

Getting There?

Today was the first morning in which there was almost no hacking/coughing at all. Could I actually be on the mend? I sure do hope so, that would be nice. I might go to the gym tomorrow morning for a little bit and see what happens. But we’ll see.

Last night, having officially given up hope of it ever being reprinted, I broke down and bought a used copy of Sheri S. Tepper’s The End of the Game, an old Science Fiction Book Club omnibus of three of her novels (Jinian Footseer, Dervish Daughter, and Jinian Star-Eye). I absolutely adored Tepper’s True Game books when I was growing up, of which there were nine in all. The initial three (King’s Blood Four, Necromancer Nine, and Wizard’s Eleven) were published by Ace and reprinted ages ago in a big The True Game omnibus. The books were all marketed as YA novels, but there’s an increasing complexity with each new installment. I often joke about re-reading King’s Blood Four years later and nearly falling over in shock at having completely missed as a teenager what was clearly a post-sex/afterglow scene very early on, but there’s more to the books’ adult nature than just that.

Anyway, the other six books (three Mavin Manyshaped books which were a prequel, and then the three Jinian books) were published by Tor, who let them all go out of print years ago and have shown no signs of bringing them back into print. I regularly see individual copies of Jinian Star-Eye going for $60, $80, $100 a pop. And of course, I somehow lost my old copy of The End of the Game about 15 years ago and have given up hope of it ever, impossibly re-appearing. So when I saw copies of the omnibus going for less than $20, well, I bit.

I absolutely cannot wait to re-read these books. The imagery in them has stuck with me for years, from the living pathways that once webbed across the land, to the twin bells that create light and darkness when they ring, to the planet’s desperate dreams of warning appearing in jewels that you allow to dissolve on your tongue. Hopefully some day I’ll find a reasonable price for the Mavin books (which I read from the library as a child but have never owned), or against all odds they’ll be reprinted. But until then, I will treasure my hopefully-arriving-quickly copy of The End of the Game. I’ve read and enjoyed other books by Tepper since then, but she never hit the sheer wonder that these always evoked in me. Hopefully someday I can create something that does similar things to other readers.

Do you have books like that in your past? Ones you haven’t read for decades but which will always stick with you?

Running Choices

So. If (and I do mean if) I end up not running the Philadelphia Marathon, now what? One of the real downsides to the idea of having to scratch the Philadelphia Marathon is that it’s really one of the last marathons of the year on the East Coast. If this had happened before, say, Marine Corps or NYC, I’d have had Richmond or Philly to fall back on. Not the case here.

Anyway, the most obvious answer is, “Throw away this year’s training.” Well, not literally, but you know what I mean. Just move on and that’s that, no marathon until next fall, maybe run a 10K or something in the meanwhile. Training for a winter/spring marathon means being held hostage at least in part to the potentially bad weather out there, which can sometimes make things a wee bit problematic. Alternately, I could target a winter/spring race, of which there are four options on the table, each with their own pros and cons.

Continue reading Running Choices

The Wonderful World of Sick

Since my last post, I can sum up what I’ve been doing since then in one word, really: sick.

I actually started getting sick on November 2nd; I figured it was just a chest cold with some sinus congestion. But (without getting too graphic here) there has been enough continuing sick going on every morning that I’m heading to the doctor’s office this afternoon; it’s now day 9 and I am getting increasingly worried. If it turns out to be bronchitis, for instance, there is a good chance that I will have to scratch my marathon that is 13 days away. For now I’m playing this by ear.

Other than that, not much. (Being sick has helped that.) Cancelled a lot of plans over the weekend and just stayed in. Missed all of the big celebrations downtown last Tuesday night (as well as a friend from a mailing list who was in DC as the culmination of a report he was writing for the Guardian in the UK), had a really low-key birthday dinner for Charlie on Wednesday (I had no idea the California Pizza Kitchen in Pentagon City was such a gay couple hang-out, incidentally), and generally… not much else going on.

On the bright side, with the exception of last night’s tv (Amazing Race, True Blood, Entourage) I am completely caught up on my tv viewing, so that’s nice. The one upside to not being terribly active, I suppose. Hopefully in the next day or two breathing will return to normal and I can start getting some exercise again, and on Thursday we’ll still get to see the Washington Shakespeare Company’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well. Ironically I never did study this play in college because when those days hit… I was sick! Ha! So I’m looking forward to seeing this infamous “problem play” for the first time. Fingers crossed.

My Fall Viewing

My fall rundown of music and books was getting long, so I’d decided to let TV be its own post. And now that I’m almost completely caught up (more on that shortly), it’s a good enough time as any to look at what’s scheduled on the DVR these days and how that’s panning out. Starting with the best and going down to the bottom of the barrel…

30 Rock — We’ve only had one episode so far this fall, but still the funniest show on television. Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, and the rest of the cast? Golden.

The Chef Jeff Project — So so so so so good. Chef Jeff was in prison for ten years and learned there how to cook. Now that he’s made it in life, he’s helping six disadvantaged and at-risk young adults by teaching them how to cook. You really can see some of them genuinely changing for the better, and blossoming under his care. It’s on Food Network, do try and check it out.

The Office — I have to give them credit, having Jenna Fischer elsewhere while using Amy Ryan as a guest star could have been the kiss of death, but it’s still smart and entertaining. Thumbs up!

Survivor: Gabon — I’d stopped watching Survivor about two years ago when my 8-9pm Thursday slot was triple-booked. That’s no longer the case, so I thought I’d give it another chance, and I must say that absence has made the heart grow fonder. Pretty darn entertaining, with just enough twists and turns this year (coupled with some of the best surroundings I’ve seen on the show… actual elephants charging the camp???) that I want to see more. Thumbs up!

The Amazing Race — Still want to be on this show. Pure and simple.

How I Met Your Mother — I started watching this last season and I’m pretty well entertained. This season has felt a little rushed, like part of this storyline was supposed to have played out last season before the writer’s strike cut everything short. But still good, especially because Neil Patrick Harris is comedy gold.

Continue reading My Fall Viewing