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10 December 2009 @ 07:15 pm
It took almost a whole day after I was admitted before I was transferred down to my permanent room on Ellison 14. Not nearly as posh, but more convenient. No sofa, but the room was at least as large, and it had a second bed (empty -- since I'm neutropenic my insurance will have to lump it that I get a single room). I lost my river view for a construction site, but it's been fun to watch the building take shape over the past few weeks -- I hardly ever see serious work going on, but they're making fast progress for all that. Turns out that when it's done, the leukemia/bone marrow transfer unit I'm in will move to the new building, so everyone here is interested in watching it go up.

The extra bed has been very handy. My mom spent a few worried nights here, and when my sister was visiting she pretty much just stayed with me the whole time, which was great since that was when I was feeling particularly crappy and was glad for someone ar ound. The ward turns a blind eye as long as we don't abuse the privilege, and Linda, the very nice breakfast lady, even suggested P order some cereal or something for herself when I was picking out my breakfast.

Chemo and stuffCollapse )
Current Location: MGH
06 December 2009 @ 04:31 pm
Almost as soon as I had made those two posts a couple weeks ago, I hit the wall, hard. Total exhaustion, some medical complications, and feeling generally crappy sucked all will and energy to do anything bloglike out of me. I finally seem to have caught another wind, though, so here's another try.

Jump: Leukemia, days 1-5Collapse )
Current Location: MGH
24 November 2009 @ 12:12 pm
Last Friday, November 13th, I started the day getting home from work as normal, decided to go to the doctor to head off a nagging sore throat that had been bugging me for a few days, and ended up getting diagnosed with leukemia and being admitted to the hospital.

It's a week and a half later now, and I'm only now getting up to speed on communications, but it seems like resurrecting the blog might be a good way to keep all the information flowing efficiently for all my different groups of friends and family. So for the next few days I'll be trying to play catch up as well as note some current stuff, and I hope it doesn't get too confusing. I think I am going to backdate some of the stuff that tells the story, so it's readable in some kind of order. Those of you who have seen my email reports will probably get some cut-and-paste repeat, too. You can just read my undying prose again.

Just for orientation: Status report for right now, Tuesday November 24 at noon. I'm at MGH. I have fantastic doctors, nurses, and other staff working with me -- really, really incredible, day in, night out. I've been on chemo since last Wednesday, and the last bag will start tonight and run until tomorrow night. I'm looking forward to that being done. I'm still feeling relatively okay, though my energy is starting to fall more than it had been. Today I actually turned my thermostat up, which is freakish for me.
Current Location: MGH
Current Mood: productiveproductive
This was the email I sent to a mailing list I'm on on November 14th:

On my own news front, it seems I probably have leukemia.

I got a perfectly normal head cold a few weeks ago, and while it was mostly better, I went back to the doc yesterday for a lingering sore throat and gums. Sat in the urgent care clinic with the other snifflers, got swabbed and blood drawn, got a scan of my jaw where it was hurting in case of a clogged salivary gland or something.

Then, pretty much as soon as I got home, the phone started ringing off the hook. Of course by then I'd been up several hours past my bedtime [since I've been working the night shift at the library this fall -- I'd gotten off a full day of work at 8am], so my first response was fuck the fucking phone, I'm going to sleep. By the sixth or seventh call in fifteen minutes, I realized whoever it was wasn't going to give up, so I started listening to voicemail and heard all kinds of anxious people telling me to get *back* to the hospital *right* *now*.

Apparently my white count is crazy high, my neutrophils are nonexistent, and I basically have no immune system. Shades of Madeleine, I need not tell anyone here.

So I'm here at MGH for the next few weeks at least, presumably, and feeling pretty much fine for the moment, though I didn't get much sleep last night. They're 90-95% sure about the leukemia, and we'll find out a ton more over the next few days. Chemotherapy to start in a few days once we have definitive diagnosis and after they've had a few days to flush me with the cop killer antibiotics (dripping as I type).

I've got my iPhone here with me, so phone and email and Internet, albeit somewhat cumbersome for long missives.

I'm still taking it all in, as you can probably tell. Seriously weird stuff.

Current Mood: shockedshocked
05 November 2008 @ 03:28 pm
Just before I went to sleep last night (this morning), I realized that this year, for the first time ever in my life, every single item I'd ticked off on my ballot had won. That's a freaky feeling. I'm much more used to my ballot going down in flames on all sides.

If only I'd able to spread my super voting juju to Prop 8...

The funny thing is that all three of this year's ballot initiatives here in Mass. have come up before in some version since I moved here twelve (!) years ago. There's a libertarian-neocon coalition that keeps trying to eliminate the state income tax every few years, which, ha ha funny. But, up until yesterday, neither the dog racing ban nor the marijuana decriminalization initiatives had ever managed to drum up enough support to pass, either. I'm glad I was able to help them break through.

And why the heck didn't they call NC yet? Come on, we know it's going for our man O.
Current Mood: surprisedastonished
05 November 2008 @ 02:50 am
1992 was my first national election as a voter, and it was an amazing feeling to help elect Bill Clinton after 12 years -- nearly 2/3 of my lifetime -- of Reagan/Bush. I never really expected an election to feel that exhilarating again. 1996 was kind of boring, and 2000 and 2004 were both heartbreaking. But tonight isn't just exhilarating -- it feels monumental, genuinely historic.

I don't know whether Obama and the Democrats in Congress will be able to sustain the nation's trust while they try to deal with the staggering problems facing us. It's scary, but then I remember that comparable crises produced both Lincoln and FDR, two of our greatest, and in many ways unlikeliest, leaders. And I think -- though I worry I'm wrong -- that Obama has a similar spark of greatness.

My beloved Virginia and North Carolina came through with everything I could possibly have hoped for from either of them. When I talked on the phone with my mom, she was giddy with the overwhelming realization that Virginia had gone for Obama. She grew up in the Northern Neck during segregation, and even as the results started coming in she couldn't bring herself to believe that this might be possible. One of our more rueful family stories is how for a long time after the Solid South swung Republican in the 1960s, whenever the voting results came in for the precinct of Oldhams, VA, you could reliably count the three Democratic votes: my grandfather, my grandmother, and a cousin who lived across the road. Tonight, all of Westmoreland Co. went for Obama 54%-44%. I'm so proud of them.

It wouldn't be an election night, though, without some stomach-twisting nervousness and disappointment. I'm worried about Prop 8 in California. I really hope that things have turned around by the time I wake up tomorrow, but right now that's not looking too likely. It would be an especially sick twist if it turns out that Prop 8 passes in part because of support from a lot of the black voters who turned out in such record numbers to vote for Obama. Yet another reminder that politics isn't simple or straightforward.
Current Mood: ecstaticexhilarated
04 November 2008 @ 07:15 pm
x_h00ine posted a pretty picture.

Weeping willow, my favorite. There were two weeping willows on my grandparents' farm when I was growing up, a big one and a little one. My cousin Meriwether and I appropriated them -- we'd play house underneath the big one, which had a curtain of leaves almost down to the ground. We stripped willow whips for ourselves, made beds and furniture out of fallen branches, and wove elaborate crowns and laurel wreaths.

Those trees had no business existing -- it was far too dry for them where they were, and I can't imagine how hard my great-grandmother must have worked watering and coaxing them along until they were big enough to hold their own. That would have been like her; she was stubborn, and by all accounts she generally had a lot more love and attention for plants than for people. She decided that it would be pretty to have a willow grove there, and she gritted her teeth and made it so.

The little one was always a little fragile, and it got sick and died a while back. Then a few years ago the big one blew over in a bad storm. My aunt and uncle automatically planted two new willows in the same spot. They're big on trying to preserve a nostalgic past, even when it's neither practical nor possible to replace what's been lost. There's no one living full time at the farm these days, and without anyone to water the baby trees I didn't think they had a chance, especially these days when it seems like two years out of every three is a drought.

But then a miracle occurred. Last summer, the year after the trees were planted, there was, in fact, an awful drought. But the trees mysteriously seemed to be doing fine, and my mom gradually noticed that the whole area was a suspicious island of marshy green in an ocean of dead brown. Turns out that the pipe running from the well down to the pump by the fields had failed, and water was seeping non-stop into the ground near the trees. By the time we figured out what was going on and were able to fix the pipe, the baby willows had had a whole summer long of as much water as they could drink. And then this year has been nothing but rain, so they've had two full years to stretch their roots and grow strong. So maybe they have a chance after all.
Current Mood: goodgood
04 November 2008 @ 03:38 pm
My polling place was the public preschool around the corner from my house. Appropriately for the occasion, it's named for my congressman, Michael Capuano. Less appropriately, he's up for reelection, so I had the unique experience of voting in a building that was named for the person I was casting my ballot for. (He's running unopposed, at least.)

No lines, just a steady trickle of four or five voters the whole time I was there. That's what I get for living in a godless commie non-swing state with simple paper ballots and no voter ID. One of the poll workers was named Polly, just like my sister -- that may be the first other Polly I've ever run into in real life.

I voted just before work, and when I got to the library I had to explain the electoral college system to one of the students working the desk. She's from Colorado. That was a little disheartening.
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
23 October 2008 @ 07:40 pm
Yay! The NYPL has picked Norman Foster to renovate its main branch, to be completed in 2013:

Foster's glass-ceilinged arcade for the Great Court of the British Museum was a revelation to me when I visited there a few years after it was finished. The way it captures the essence of light and air and space is incredible. More recently he did a similar renovation to enclose the central courtyard of the Smithsonian's Old Patent Building, which houses the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum.

I'm not quite as much a fan of the plans for his ongoing renovation-expansion of Boston's MFA, but I think that's partly because I like triangles better than rectangles, and partly because I haven't experienced it personally yet.

In general, though, I think he does an amazing job with historic building renovations, blending modernity with tradition in a way that makes you look at the original structures with fresh eyes. I'm thrilled that he's slated to work on another beautiful American landmark, even more thrilled that it's the NYPL, and I can't wait to see the plans.
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Current Mood: jubilantaesthetically excited
21 October 2008 @ 12:19 am
So yeah, my dad got married this weekend.Collapse )
Current Mood: tiredtired
20 October 2008 @ 01:24 am
My dad's married. Whoa. The wedding and ancillary events were incredibly surreal -- mostly good, but plenty else to be bemused and/or catty about. I'll get into some of the details when I don't have to get up in a few hours to catch a plane.
Current Mood: indescribableHuh.
15 October 2008 @ 11:48 pm
Nixon, 1973: "I am not a crook."

McCain, 2008: "I am not President Bush."

If you have to deny it at all, you're probably in trouble.
14 October 2008 @ 07:38 pm
I didn't forget about this, but I did take a little while to ponder a few of these. Here are the answers. If you want to know the questions (does anyone here seriously not know them yet?), you have to promise to do the meme, too.

Jump!Collapse )
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12 October 2008 @ 02:13 pm
How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Social Justice Crusader, also known as a rights activist. You believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.

10 October 2008 @ 11:24 pm
First same-sex marriage in Connecticut, and now Palin abused her authority trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired.

Internet's been down at home all afternoon and evening, so it was a treat to see all this good news at once when I stopped in the library and checked on the news just now.
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08 October 2008 @ 04:13 am
06 October 2008 @ 12:45 pm
Okay, I know the Palin bloodbath is nearly over, but still:

Listen to how many times she uses the word "choose". Either she truly doesn't understand what pro-choice means, or she's being completely disingenuous. Guess which one I'm betting on?

Oh, and nice that she considers a fifteen-year-old girl being raped by her father to be a "woman who finds herself in circumstances that are absolutely less than ideal". Yeah, it really messes up my whole day when that happens.
With brooklynite's post and its comment stream fresh in my mind when I went to the library today, I polled the students who happened to be working the desk today, challenging them to name a SCOTUS case other than Roe v. Wade.

The first two, caught off guard, went totally blank. Oops. (After a minute or two, they did come up with Brown v. Board and US v. Nixon.) The second shift crew did much better -- Brown v. Board, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Marbury v. Madison. And the closing shift immediately named Miranda and Brown v. Board.

Clearly, Brown v. Board wins, and Sarah Palin loses.
Current Mood: sillysilly
27 September 2008 @ 01:34 pm
The first thing I thought of when I heard the news today was the bit that brooklynite already posted, but here, oddly enough, is the second:

The world is a poorer place without Paul Newman in it. Not just the world of movies or acting, but all of us.
26 September 2008 @ 07:57 pm
I dreamed last night that I was giving a casual dinner party for a bunch of friends, who mysteriously included Ellen DeGeneres and her newlywed wife Anne (not Heche, and nothing like Portia de Rossi -- this was an imaginary person created by the dream, but she was really awesome, kind of a no-nonsense academic type), and also Katie Couric.

It was a lot of fun. I ended up hanging out with the imaginary Anne for a long time, but at one point I rolled my eyes at Katie and said, "Congratulations on that Palin interview. That was a really nice one with the 'mocked'." Katie was all like, "Oh my god, I know, it was painful. I couldn't believe it when she started talking about maritime borders." And we went on for a while with the Palin jokes.

Anyway, it was a fun dream, and grand imaginary time was had by all. I woke up thinking for a good minute or two, "Wow, I have to post about this -- how cool is it that I know Ellen DeGeneres?" before it clicked in that I actually don't.
Current Mood: thoughtfuldreamy
25 September 2008 @ 04:26 am
I'm not a huge Letterman fan, but seriously, ouch right here.

Current Mood: devioussnide
24 September 2008 @ 03:41 pm
Food memery below the jump, ganked from chi_editrix and frivolity.

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Current Mood: fullfull
20 September 2008 @ 06:32 pm
Courtesy of the New York Times:
At the same time, Mr. Mbeki became internationally notorious for his views about AIDS, joining maverick scientists in questioning whether a virus was the cause of the illness. He led the resistance to antiretroviral treatment, acting as if the AIDS epidemic were a defamatory plot against Africans and a con job by avaricious pharmaceutical companies. This intransigence, critics say, sent countless thousands to needless deaths.
Being a maverick is not always the right choice, and it doesn't always mean acting courageously for the good of your people.
Current Location: the library
Current Mood: determinedcritical of hypocrisy
19 September 2008 @ 01:22 am
Take a picture of yourself right now. Don’t change your clothes, don’t fix your hair…just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing. Post these instructions with your picture.

So far I think frivolity wins.
Current Music: Grapefruit Moon - Tom Waits
19 September 2008 @ 12:52 am
Ganked from lots of people with good taste: A Joss!Meme seems like a good idea: When you see this, post another Buffy quote in your LJ. Let's see how long this can go on.

"Oh, poor Watcher. Did your life pass before your eyes? Cup of tea, cup of tea, almost got shagged, cup of tea?"

Bargaining, Part 1
Current Mood: mellowmellow
Current Music: Hard to Explain - Cowboy Junkies
13 September 2008 @ 06:53 pm
I succumbed. I'd managed to remain totally oblivious to the whole Twilight phenomenon until about a month ago, when an old friend from high school mentioned that they were her current guilty pleasure and she couldn't wait to read the final installment. Then last week willendorf5761 wrote a Stephenie Meyer post, the same day as some folks were talking about the books at the library, and I realized there would be no escape.

Actually, my strongest response to the final book is that Stephenie Meyer and her editor should both be shot for the unspeakable abomination that is the "name" Renesmee. Seriously, wtf? Renesmee is not a name, it's a doomed-to-failure startup company's pathetic attempt at a trademark. Hadn't anyone on the Twilight team ever been to Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing?

Beyond that, the whole series is appallingly anti-feminist. There was as much fainting and swooning and female fragility as The Mysteries of Udolpho; at least Ann Radcliffe had the excuse that she was writing over 200 years ago. The heroine is constantly being protected from herself by all the males in her life, and she's either submissively grateful or she gets petulantly cute-mad. The book pretends to treat it as a human-superhuman distinction than rather than a female-male one, but Bella gets bossed by the human men in her life, too, so that doesn't wash.

It's a pity, because otherwise the books are a fun, if predictable, read. But they left a bad taste in my mouth even as I was rushing through them, and I was left feeling mentally like I'd eaten too much cookie dough and soda when what I really needed was a square meal.
Current Mood: nauseatednauseated
10 September 2008 @ 12:13 pm
My friend Marni is an actor. Here's her latest mini-project:

Current Mood: amusedamused
04 September 2008 @ 11:21 pm
Comedy Central just took McCain's speech and ran it through Wordle, a cluster engine that takes a given text and creates a graphic display of the most frequent words ranked by font size. Here's what they came out with, and here is another Wordle interpretation of the same text (I couldn't find the Comedy Central one saved there):

Look how teeny tiny the "Republican" is, and I can't find Bush anywhere. Also note that "fight" and "Fight" are listed separately, both a decent size, so presumably the word would be even larger if those were combined.

Meanwhile, here's Obama's acceptance speech from last week for comparison:

I'm a little surprised at just how often Obama mentioned McCain by name. I remember his doing it some, of course, but I didn't think it would be right up there on top. I'm thinking about it especially in light of how rarely the Republicans have mentioned Obama this week. (I especially noticed this last night in Palin's speech, which sounded like a school assignment with its ostentatious use of "our opponents" and "the other party".)
Current Mood: thoughtfulmusing
Current Music: C-SPAN
04 September 2008 @ 10:28 pm
I know it's old news to talk about how out of touch the Republican delegates are, but how far out in wackyland to you have to be to stomp all over your own candidate's lines, *twice*, as he attempts to give a solemn nod to those stricken by the recession and natural disasters, by jingoistically chanting "U-S-A!! U-S-A!!"?

And a few minutes later: Wow, the crowd really went silent when he started criticizing Republicans. But he got them back a minute later with some more red meat.

Anyone know what the CodePink protesters they carted out early in the speech had painted on their clothes/signs? I couldn't see.

I've gotten the sense all through the RNC that the crowd isn't really listening -- they're just responding with boos or applause by what they think is expected, by the cadence of the speaker's voice or just a few keywords. Like during Giuliani's speech last night, after he'd talked about Obama not having experience and getting the crowd chanting, "Zero!", he asked,

"What do you think most other candidates would have done in that situation? They would have acted in their own self-interest by changing their position. How many times have we seen Barack Obama do that?"

And of course the crowd instinctively started yelling "Zero!" again, before they realized a moment later that wasn't what they wanted.
Current Mood: frustrateddisgusted