Stuff!

Sep. 29th, 2011 11:35 am
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Okay, lots to report. First of all, for those of you following along on the "all that crap" keyword, (aka, my father's lingering struggle with a number of health issues), there is FINALLY good news to report. He is at the recovery wing of the nursing home again, having been given a clean bill of health from the doctors at the hospital. Though they're still not entirely sure what what caused his mini-strokes (TIA), they think it has to do with heart arthythmia that he developed after the hip replacement surgery. Also, I need to post a correction: apparently, he (thankfully!) only suffered TWO mini-strokes, the first one that had everyone worried because it lasted several hours, and a second that lasted no more than a minute or so. At any rate, the good news is the docs sent him on for recovery and now he only has to focus on re-learning how to walk after six months of near-inactivity (though they always worked to keep his leg strength up during his previous nursing home stays.)

Secondly, I attended a "breaking" workshop at KSW. I failed to break my board. I was one of only two adults unable to do it. I suspect, considering the bruises that have developed and where they are on my hand, my technique was off. (Also, huge mental block: I kept thinking -- I have no health insurance; if I do this wrong and break a knuckle, no only have I messed up my writing career, I have bankrupted my family.) This experience has made me convinced that I was a T-Rex in a past life: I'm viscious, but have _zero_ upper body strength. ;-)

I should also say, I had no problem breaking the practice boards. Just confronted with a solid piece of wood freaked me out.
Everyone was so very sweet and concerned for my ego at the workshop. Though my hand is bruised, my ego is not, my friends. Master Barry Harmon (Kwan Jang Nim) made a point of pulling me aside and telling me that a) I had a lot to work on, and b) that he was proud that I never gave up. I said something self-depricating at the time, but I wish I'd told him what I said to Nicki (Jo Kyo Nim) when she asked me to consider why I do Kuk Sool Wan, and that is, "I do this because it's fun, Master, and giving up *isn't* fun."

The other news is that my psuedonym continues to be successful as all get out. Tate can report that you can now not only pre-order the mass-market paperback edition of Tall, Dark & Dead via Amazon.com, but also the third, and final novel in the vampire princess of St. Paul series, Almost Everything.

So, I guess that's all I got for now. I have to run off to volunteer because it's Thursday!

Dad Update

Sep. 27th, 2011 09:37 am
lydamorehouse: (Default)
My mom reported this morning that my dad had his third mini-stroke (TIA). The doctors are still trying to figure out what's causing these, but Gunderson Hospital has an excellent stroke clinic so he's in the best hands possible. Both he and my mom have been very positive still. He asked her to go check his mailbox at Viterbo University and they've been making plans for when he's out. I guess one of the things that has really helped his mood is that his hip feels so much better. He can really finally use his leg after all this time.

As I said on Facebook, I'm weirdly proud that I'm related genetically to ol' "Bullet." He's been through a lot physically and emotionally and he keeps coming up fighting.

I would like now, however, for all his positive energy to be rewarded. It would be all right if the universe wanted to stop throwing curve balls at him, and he could have a nice long period of good health!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
You know the Jewish tradition where, when someone is gravely ill, you give them a new name, so that the Angel of Death will walk by when he comes looking for them? Well, my dad has always gone by a nickname, "Mort." I'm really starting to believe that the angel of death keeps showing up asking for "Richard Morehouse" and, only finding this "Mort" guy, leaves.

I got a call yesterday morning that my dad had a stroke.

Yes, this after successfully surviving sepsis, c-def, and months in the recovery wing of the nursing home while waiting for a hip replacement. My mom had been worried, starting Saturday, because my dad was having a really difficult time recovering from the surgery. It went into overtime by several hours, and, while my dad is clearly a really tough bird, it really seemed to have knocked him back. She said he was confused at one point and thought he was still getting ready to go into surgery. This freaked me out, but all the other signs seemed okay, so I tried to put it out of my mind.

Then, on Sunday, after I took Shawn to the airport (she's off on a work trip to a conference in Washington, D.C.), I got home to the message. I'd left my cell charging because it had run out of battery unexpectedly the night before. (For some reason it's stopped giving me the warning beeps when it's low.) Anyway, there were three fairly frantic messages from my mom. I finally was able to call her back and find out what was going on.

He'd had a stroke. The doctors said they think it was a kind of stroke called a transient ischemic attack. They'd know more in 48 hours. (Now having read the wikipedia article, I know why. Apparently the effects are reversable if they last as long as 24 hours, but fewer than 72.)

I'm still not entirely clear WHY this happened to my dad. The surgery he underwent was pretty routine, even if it did go into overtime. He's been through a LOT in the last six months, but he was in fairly good shape when they checked him in before the procedure. Though, he has had problems with blood clots in the past, it's not clear that's what caused this. The multitude of theories my mom has heard from various doctors include the absorption rate of the anesthesia during the long procedure to something messed up in his brain stem... none of which are very clear to me or make a whole lot of sense.

The important thing is that he's regained his speech as of this morning, and strength has returned to his right side. Right now, as long as things continue to be stable, the doctors are predicting a full recovery.

I tell you though, this has been a serious emotional ride for me (as I'm sure it has been ten times that for my mom and my dad's sister, Mary Ann, who has been a trouper by showing up every day during this entire saga.) Last night, I had the craziest nightmare that I know is related. I had one of those dreams where someone is trying to get into the house. I'm trying to avoid being see by this shadowy figure -- ducking down before reaching up to lock windows, avoiding answering the door. I'm in the upstairs bathroom with Shawn and I'm telling her, "for god's sake, don't tell anyone it's okay to come in," when I realize it's too late. The shadowy figure is at the landing of the stairs. I'm completely impotent against it. I try to throw a recipie book I'm holding at it, but it bounces of (or passes through, at any rate, it's useless). I'm trying to tell it that I can see it and it should go away, but my mouth won't work, I've got something stuck in my throat. I can't breathe. That moment freaks me out so much that I wake up. My heart is pounding.

I actually go up to make sure no one was on the landing, of course. And I took my asthma medicine in case I really WAS having trouble breathing, but as I laid in bed thinking about that dream. I knew it was the angel of death. I was trying, subconsciously, to keep the "wolves" from the door.

Maybe it worked. Fingers crossed.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I'm beginning to believe in fate a bit. I mean, I lost all those words, right? Well, I've been going over the novel as I decide what needs to be re-keyed from paper drafts or rewritten entirely and I discovered several places where I can make the story make MORE SENSE! (and/or be more dramatic, etc.) To be fair, I tend to do this sort of massive revision at some point during my novel writing process, but I think that there are times when I think, "Oh, well, I'll change this little thing here rather than completely scrap the scene," you know? Now, since I have no scene to scrap -- well, I think it's all for the better.

Plus, I have this fancy new Toshiba. It was a super-cheap computer, because, well, I drop computers, but what I really, really like about it? The keys click. When I write it SOUNDS like I'm writing, you know?

That's almost as cool as getting a new pen and notebook. (Some of you know what I'm talkin' about.)

In other news, we're back from our trip to LaCrosse. We happened to be down at the same time as the Great River Folk Festival and River Pride (LaCrosse's GLBT Pride festival.) We attended neither, but, instead hung out with "the old guy," aka my dad. He's doing so much better. He's still in the recovery wing of the nursing home waiting for hip surgery, but every time I see him he's more and more like his old self. I don't think I quite realized how profoundly sick he was until I saw how vastly he improved.

At any rate, we have our fingers crossed that the hip surgery will happen in mid-September. Then he'll be singing, "Free at last, free at least. Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last."

Shawn and I did drive by the Pride festival because Shawn spotted the gathering out of the corner of her eye. Let's just say I'm happy that I live in Minneapolis/St. Paul. There were a bunch of idiots with the hateful protest signs outside the entrance, so you had to walk past them to get into the fair grounds. Not very good planning on the pride people's part. I did my duty, however, and flipped off some yahoo holding a sign about the sin of sodomy. If Mason hadn't been in the car I would have yelled to him, "If you don't approve, don't engage in it!" (Since it does seem that, in the case of a lot of Republican congress critters those that protest the loudest seem to have the most to hide.)

Ah well.

The other fun thing we did was that we spent some unexpected royality moneys that came via the Germans. (I actually made a profit for them on Tall, Dark & Dead.) We bought ourselves an iPad. The best thing we've done with it so far is buy the Scrabble app. Now all three of us play a game on the iPad after diner. Nice.

I didn't end up going to kuk sool wan last night because I got hit by an awful allergy attack. I've been told it's ragweed season, and I have to believe it. I suffered the entire day, even though we had plans to hang out at Como Zoo with my friend Eric Heideman. We still managed to have a good time checking out the grizzlies and the polar bears, but I noticed the woman who sold us the snow cones was also suffering.

Today seems better, perhaps because of the impending rain?

Anyway, I should go write. Clickity-clack! Clickity-clack!

Updatery

Jul. 18th, 2011 02:47 pm
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I just noticed that I have failed to update my blog since my dad went into surgery last Wednesday. The trip home on the train that night was absolutely lovely. The train was on time, and, thanks to the flooding in the Dakotas, St. Paul is its terminal stop. I walked home from the Amtrack station, which is six (LONG) blocks from my house. It's a bit of a hike, but it was a lovely night and I had traveled lightly (one backpack). It's always so strange to walk alone at night and I enjoyed the hushed, almost voyeristic sensation of dark streets and bright indoor lights.

My dad seems to be doing well. Today will be his first day out of the hospital, and he's returning to the Bethany Riverside nursing home to continue his recovery. He had hoped to finally be going home, but they need to continue an IV drip of antibiotics to fight off this tenacious infection. If they get this thing beat (and the doctor, the last I heard at any rate, seemed confident they would,) they'll be able to schedule his real-and-for-true hip replacement. That should be some time in September if everything stays positive. If not, my understanding is that they will just have to pospone things until the infection *is* finally cleared up.

My life, meanwhile, continues apace. On the train ride home last Wednesday, I had a kind of breakthrough moment with the newest novel and I like it a lot better. When I like a novel, it writes faster, so that's a very good thing. In fact, just today, while Shawn hung out with a fellow laid-off state employee, I managed to write nearly a thousand words in about an hour. That's my usual pace for a deadline novel.

I also FINALLY had the ceremony in which I received my yellow belt. (I'd tested earlier, but they've moved the ceremony to a later time now.) Turns out, the ceremony is now: "promotion and demo." I didn't know about that last part, so I was taken aback when asked to perform the white belt form in front of an audience. I think I did pretty well, and I was glad I wasn't all alone (an instructor and the blue belt candidate did it with me). Still, the whole time I was thinking, "ah, crap. I didn't take my inhaler because I thought I'd just be standing around" and it was like 103 and humid in the building.) But I didn't need it, even though later I also had to do a cartwheel AND a roll. I was pleased that I was able to do a "flying roll" (really, just a roll from a dead run onto a mat,) because, in all honesty, I like those better than having to start from kneeling or a crouch.

Mason, alas, was in charge of the camera, so, while he took a LOT of pictures, the quality on many of them is dubious. It's a really big shame that Shawn wasn't there with her telephoto lens skillz, because I would have LOVED to have seen myself "in action," as it were. Given how round I am in the one pretty good picture he got, I suspect I look a LOT like Kung Fu Panda.

Waiting

Jul. 13th, 2011 10:39 am
lydamorehouse: (Default)
My dad is currently in the OR. My mom and I are waiting in the waiting room at Gunderson in LaCrosse.

Weirdly, it's been a fun morning. We met my dad at the hospital at 7:00 am, and fell right into chatting about life, the universe, and everything. We got the nurses telling funny stories in pre-op and generally having a lot of what my dad calls, "talking smart."

The procedure is that they're going to replace my dad's hip with a "spacer," which is a custom built bone that's been saturated with antibotics. He'll keep that in until they can make him a cyborg with a mechanical replacement six months or so down the line. This will give him back the mobility he's been missing. He'll have to use a walker or a cane for a while because the spacer isn't built to last (think: temporary crown for the hip.)

With any luck, if things go well today, he can actually do his recovery at home. If not, he can go back to the recovery wing of the nursing home and do all the PT and whatnot there.

Probably the funniest part of this trip so far was the shuttle down to LaCrosse. [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer turned us on to this option. It's basically a long-distance hotel shuttle bus. They pick up at the St.Paul/Minneapolis airport and drop people off in Rochester, Winona and LaCrosse. Given the distance, I sort of expected more of a "bus," you know, with bathroom facilities. Nope. We were in an oversized minivan, knee-to-back, and the promised WiFi was quite spotty. I did manage to write a little on the way to Rochester, but when we changed buses the fun really began. The bus drive played polka music on the stereo and one of the other passangers ate stinky food in the front seat. The only good thing was that there were a lot fewer of us going the distance to Winona/LaCrosse, so I had a bench seat all to myself. I also had a long a very cheesy military SF novel called PRISON SHIP (these are all-male, man's men, doing manly things in space with other men). This added an extra level of surreal to the trip, especially with the polka music as background.

The other thing that kept me going was that the trip just isn't that long -- even with all the various stops at hotels.

So now my job for the day is to keep my mom company and be there when my dad comes out of it.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
... and realizes there's a government shutdown.

Shawn was terribly sick last week, so that, even though the MN State government was shutdown last week, she didn't really notice. She mostly just slept, coughed and blew her nose a lot. It was more like being out sick than being laid-off.

This morning, she's finally feeling better... and she remembered.

After the storm woke us up, she was awake much of the night worrying about everything. Shawn is a natural worrier, but, well, this situation is particularly worrisome.

Meanwhile, I'm getting ready for a trip down to LaCrosse. I'm going to hang out with my mom on Wednesday while my dad has the first of his hip replacement surgeries. The doctors did find more infection, so this is step one of a two step process. Since Mason is back at school, I've made plans to take a shuttle down to LaCrosse and the AMTRACK back. It should be quite the adventure. I'm most looking forward to the train ride, honestly, because trains are fun. The shuttle is a bus ride, so that should just be the usual yuckiness of a long bus ride. At least the bus offers WiFi.

I hope to get some writing on the stupid novel done. Wish me luck.

Recovery

Jun. 29th, 2011 09:51 am
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Since I was feeling so sick yesterday, I took the day off as a day of rest. I may do the same today because sleeping seems to have done wonders. My nose is still drippy, but I feel quite a bit recovered. Mason is still low energy, which is very disconcerting for a boy who usually talks a mile a minute while dancing the entire time. He's in the other room streaming episodes of "Shaun the Sheep" from Netflix, and he seems to be giggling a bit more like normal, thank goodness.

One thing I managed to do yesterday is talk to the CONvergence folks. I had thought I was going to be out of town this weekend, so I cancelled all my appearances some time ago. I emailed them asking about day passes, and, they very kindly (as I am a confirmed guest for next year) offered to print out a badge for me to pick up at registration any time. They also, quite AMAZINGLY, even said they could find programming for me, if I'd like, but I declined. I mean, CONvergence is seriously imminent and that seemed a bit too demanding diva, even for me. Besides, I'd like the freedom to just come and go as I please. I can't remember the last time I just attended a con, so it might make a nice change.

So maybe I'll see some of you there?

With any luck, I will be a yellow belt when next you see me -- although the test is later in the evening on Saturday, so maybe not.

In other news, the saga of my father's illness continues. He's been making slow and steady progress conquering the c-def and getting rid of the edema. But he was still have so much trouble with his hip that my folks finally requested a doctor's visit for an x-ray. Guess what? My dad's hip wasn't arthritic at all; it was BROKEN. Probably, the doctors figure it was broken some time ago before all this started, though the physical therapy did NOT do it any good.

Irony anyone?

At any rate, he's going to be scheduled for a hip replacement surgery at some point in the near future (fingers crossed, next week.) But first they have to take a culture of his hip to make sure that there's no sepis virus lingering there. That, unfortunately, takes a week to grow (or not.)

So my poor dad is stuck at the nursing home for at least another week. To say that my parents are getting sick of that place is probably the understatement of the year. Plus, without the physical therapy, there's just not a lot for my dad to _do_. They're working his upper body and one good leg, but this has really become a waiting for the hip replacement game. I'm going to be sending white light in their direction hoping that the sepis virus is not lurking anywhere and that this operation can happen ASAP. The silver lining is that there's a really good indication that my dad will be able to have a "weight-bearing" deal, which means that he can do his remaining recovery at HOME.

That would be awesome.

Anyway, if you have spare "positive energy" or inclined to pray, send thoughts, etc., I'd sure appreciate some of them winging in the direction of my dad. This has been one seriously LONG recovery.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I just found out via [livejournal.com profile] pegkerr that Minnesota writer, Joel Rosenburg has died.

I was never a fan of Joel's, though I shared a signing at Uncles with him once, and, of course, knew him tangentally through Minnesota fandom. We didn't share political views in the least, and, in point of fact, I used to love to tell the story of the time I was fairly certain Joel was going to shoot me (he was known for being a big proponent of "conceal and carry") on a panel about science fiction and 9/11 when I started to talk about my take on Israel. God Herself intervened on my behalf, however, when Joel got a phone call and was forced to leave the panel. I liked to say that I was "saved by the bell."

All that aside, I hope that you rest in peace, Joel Rosenburg. Given everything that's been going on with my family, I feel especially keenly for Joel's family and survivors. At Joel's web site, I read the entire story and have to say I was quite haunted by that phrase "multiple organ failure," because that's been part of what my own father is currently recovering from.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I'm having one of those days when I just want to eat cookies and spend all day surfing sites like this one.

Instead, I have a ton of stuff on my "to do" list. I did get a couple of things ta-done. I went to PetCo this morning and invested in some stuff recommended by our vet to help our cat, Inky, overcome his recent litter box issues. He's a young(ish) cat, and the doctor tested for infections, etc. And not finding anything conclusive -- there was a bit of blood in the urine, but that could have been from the procedure -- she suggested a couple of medical options (a one time asprin for any possible inflammation and some cosquine which, in addition to being good for old cat joints, apparently helps rebuild the bladder's lining) as well as the usual things like the Felaway aromatherapy, but also some new, softer litter and a "bubbler." Apparently one issue that Inky most certainly has is concentrated urine. She really wants him to drink more, and since he loves running faucets, I found a electric water fountain on sale. He went right to it the instant it was plugged in and running, so that's a hit. He also made a bee-line for the new litter, so apparently softer IS his preferrence.

Fingers crossed that this will be a solution.

Otherwise, if he continues to have problems, the doc suggested kitty prozac, which seems a bit drastic, don't you think? Though if the other option is putting him up for adoption, no, not so much.

Also, we are hiring
Friendly Face Pet Services to watch over the cats while we are off to Indiana to visit Grandma Rounds in Indiana. So Katherine, the owner, stopped by the place and I introduced her to all the various pets (including the fish and gerbils), and showed her all the sneaky places we stash cat food, cat medicine, paper towel tubes for the gerbils, etc.

But I need to take off in a little bit to take Shawn to the doctor and then I'm off to "folder" again at Mason's school. At some point, I need to change the fish tanks so we are ready to leave them behind in Katherine's capable hands. The car, too, is in desperate need of an oil change, especially after all this driving back and forth to LaCrosse.

Speaking of LaCrosse, my father continues to improve. I've been checking in every day and it sounds like they're working him quite hard with the physical therapy, which is good. No time for lazing about! I told him that once the edema weight comes off, he's going to be like the character in Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron and FLY!

As an aside - The cool part of the above story is that my dad actually introduced me to that story when he gave me a copy of the Junior Great Books. In that same collection was Ray Bradbury's "The Veldt." I feel like there was a lot of other science ficiton in that sampler too, but those two stories really stuck in my head, regardless.

I may still have my original copy of that in the basement. I should dig it out and see if it's something Mason might some time.

Updatery

May. 26th, 2011 01:00 pm
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Even though it bummed me out a bit, I took care of completely cancelling WisCON for myself. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer I even managed to find a desperate soul in need of a WisCON membership, so I officially transferred that over this morning. The only things left are getting a couple of copies of Resurrection Code signed and ready to go down to be given away -- one to the Whedonista folks for their party, and the other to the winner of the bid of my con-or-bust donation. I'm hoping that after a couple of lightsaber battles with Mason (who is still off until the end of Memorial Day weekend), we can head over to Uncles to pick up copies (I've been out of my author's copies for some time.)

I feel really very organized for someone not going anywhere special.

In the good news column, my dad called me out of the blue this morning. Seems that one of the things he's doing to occupy himself while recouperating is catching up on all his journal reading. My dad is a retired psychology professor who writes all sorts of stuff that's way above my pay grade, including this book, which is a standard text in those sorts of classes. At any rate, he was reading one of the journals in the UK that he recently published part 2 of a two part article, and he discovered in the editoral that he'd received a LOT of positive response to part 1 and they were, in fact, proposing to do an entire themed issue on the stuff he was talking about.

I suppose thrat's like writing a short story for Interzone that's so awesome people want to write what amounts to fanfic/other stories exploring similar themes and the editor decides to devote an entire issue to that.

Pretty cool.

But, more to the point, my dad sounded utterly tickled about it. This is good news on a lot of levels. For instance, I know that he's got a lot of the same insecurities that I have, which is to say that we both want to be outstanding in our field, but worry that no one has ever heard of us and, if they do, that our ideas aren't terribly original or noteworthy. On top of that, I think we both fret that an extended absence from the field will equal becoming no longer relevant. I'm glad that my dad is getting hard evidence that's simply not true. Because that sort of thing bouys the spirits, and, no matter what, he could use a bit of that.

Anyway, I need to get some writing done at some point. I should go battle the forces of the evil Jedi and get to that.

Oh, and speaking of writing, it looks like an e-book for Resurrection Code is in the works. Fingers crossed!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Normally, I'd post my WisCON schedule this week, but I've decided to cancel my trip. My dad made his move into the recovery wing of the nursing home today, and it sounds like the transition had a few bumps. My mom says they seemed to have no information from the hospital about his specific needs, particularly his diet. I've mentioned before with the month-long diarreha, my dad's stomach is really sensitive. He's been living on protein shakes and bites of very bland foods found mostly in the BRAT diet (or BRATTY, more like, which includes not only the banana, rice, applesauce, toast, but also tea and yogurt.)

At any rate, the call from home stressed me out a bit, because, if LaCrosse hadn't had a tornado on Sunday night, I would have been there to make the transition to the new place with him. I know my mom is very capable, but I also know how nice it is to have someone else to strategize, etc. with when things aren't 100% smooth-going. (Especially in hosptial situations, you know? It's all so kind of scary and unfamiliar, it's nice to have someone else to help you ask and demand and all those things you need to do to advocate for the right kind of care.)

I did call the nursing home myself and talked directly to the nurse. I told her what my concerns were, and I hope that she took them seriously. I'm going to call my dad in a little bit and see how he feels about the whole thing. The good news is that, since I have canceled WisCON, I'll be able to see the place myself in a matter of days. Considering that his c-def is mostly under control, the nursing home shouldn't be able to do too much damage in the intervening time.

In the meantime, life goes on. I, as Tate, got some new cover art for the third (and perhaps final?????) Ana book:



This one is pretty small, but you can see a larger version over at Wyrdsmiths or the Tate blog.

AWOL

May. 19th, 2011 03:56 pm
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Sorry I haven't posted in days, I'm actually in LaCrosse again. My dad has been having a hell of a time recovering from sepis (thanks to all sorts of other underlying issues, including things he picked up while IN the hospital.)

We had been planning to go to Indiana this weekend to visit Shawn's family, but my mom really needed help here, so I came. I'm glad I did. The doctors are back to sounding confident that my dad is going to pull through, but I think things have been so touch and go for so long that everyone is getting depressed and exhausted here.

Anyway, I'll post here again soon, but right now please just keep my family in your thoughts/prayers/other positive energy sorts of things, if you would.

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