Fascinating courtly intrigue and bloody power games set on a generation ship full of secrets―Medusa Uploaded is an imaginative, intense mystery about family dramas and ancient technologies whose influence reverberates across the stars. Disturbing, exciting, and frankly kind of mind-blowing.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous

Friday, February 19, 2021

Evil Vestigial Organs I Have Known

Here's what happened late in January. Ernie and I went on a lovely hike (as you can tell from my dusty pants in the photo), and I felt great physically. However, by the time we were driving home, I experienced the first symptoms of what would turn into a life or death situation: a tummy ache. I've had a lot of tummy aches in the past 10 years or so, and I have to wonder if my appendix was acting up this whole time, not to the level of crisis, but enough to make me think I had food poisoning or some intestinal bug. The incidents increased in the last 5 years or so, and I thought it was just part of getting old.


By 8:00 p.m., the pain had become so uncomfortable, I knew I was going to be in for a rough night. By 10:00 p.m. I was barfing. There was quite a lot of that, but it brought no relief, and the pain just got worse. I lost track of time after that, and thoughts of getting Ernie to call 911 started to present themselves. I have no insurance, so I thought twice about that. But at one unbearable point, I remembered the symptoms for appendicitis, and I pressed on my lower right abdomen to see if the pain was worse there. It was, and I realized what I was dealing with, so damn the torpedoes, call 911, and it's off to the hospital in an ambulance.


In fact, I was off to 2 hospitals in 2 ambulances, because the first place confirmed my diagnosis, but they don't do surgery there. Fortunately they did do antibiotics, morphine, and anti-nausea medication. It was a much more cheerful Em who arrived at the second hospital. The money situation will be difficult, but I can't complain about the care I got. From ambulance to check-out, I got top-notch care. I was never afraid, and I knew my problem was going to get fixed. It probably helped that the whole thing went down between midnight and 9:00 a.m. (Tuesday morning), because traffic in those hospitals was light.


The surgery was laparoscopic, so it was minimally invasive. I'm taking it easy for a couple of days, and then I'm allowed to gradually resume my old routines. 


The finance lady came to talk to me once I was close to check-out, because they knew I didn't have insurance. I didn't qualify for the state version of Medicaid, but they signed me up for their budget version of billing. A fabby offered to set up a Go Fund Me for my bills (many thanks to Jeff Edwards), and I said yes. Here’s the link.

I'm really grateful for social media at times like this. Your fabbies can commiserate with you and offer help and advice. I think this was part of the reason I didn't feel alone at the hospital. I could post a pic of my feet in the hospital bed and tell everyone what was going on. 


One last thing – there was something new at both hospitals, something I had never seen before: heated blankets. OH MY GAWD. 


The pinnacle of Western Civilization.


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Ernie's Take on the Pandemic Road Trip, Parts Three and Four


Ernie has posted two more episodes of our West Coast Pandemic Road Trip, which we took back in Late October/Early November, and it’s a good thing we went when we did because in recent weeks the roads we traveled have suffered various disasters. Mudslides and collapses have occurred, making me suspect that our venture was blessed – at least temporarily. 


Pandemic Road Odyssey Part Three

Pandemic Road Odyssey Part Four


Reading his accounts reminded me of the uneven behavior of people in towns and cities concerning masking and social distancing. Larger communities were inclined to mask and be cautious. The behavior of people in smaller communities depended on what state we were in and on the local politics. Many people seemed convinced that COVID is a hoax, or is overblown, or that they’re somehow immune, or that there’s no point in being cautious because you have to catch it to become immune. I never argue with these folks. I can’t change their minds, and it just upsets them. My personal experience with people is that I leave them alone and they leave me alone. No one has gotten into my face and yelled at me for wearing a mask, and I don’t confront them for not wearing one. 


Likewise, no one seemed inclined to argue politics or to rend their clothing and let their blood in grief over the outcome of the election. People mostly seemed to want to get on with their lives. Political polls notwithstanding, this is my impression of people in general. I’ve got a few friends on Facebook who are in crisis over the fact that Trump lost the election. Some of these folks have completely bought into the anti-Biden rhetoric, so they’re furious that someone they perceived to be a good man has been replaced by someone they’re certain is a bad man. Seriously, I blame People Magazine. For decades they sold Donald Trump as a rich, successful, likeable rascal. But the man is a ratfucker. You heard it here first.


My Mom is dying, but not of COVID. She’s 99 years old, and all of her systems are shutting down. You have to admire that kind of lasting power. Mom stayed interested in things, and she enjoyed her life, even the simple things. Especially the simple things.

As for me, I just had an emergency appendectomy (without insurance), I had to have my old dog Lovey put to sleep (she had a very aggressive cancer), and I haven’t been able to write a word in almost a year. But I’m still inclined to be optimistic. Life has tides. I’m going with the flow.