roadrunnertwice: Scott fends off Matthew Patel's attack. (ScottPilgrim.Scott - Reversal!)
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice

V.E. Schwab — A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, and A Conjuring of Light

March 6, March ??, and July 10

I plan to head directly into the weeds on this review, but I'll make a brief pit-stop at concision before I hit the road: I definitely recommend the first book of this series. It's fast, bold, and slick — just weird enough to grab your attention (a stacked-worlds cosmology where the only constant is London? What??), and more than competent enough to hold on to it. I'm more ambivalent about the other two books, but A Darker Shade of Magic actually stands alone pretty well anyhow.

Speaking of which, HEY, let's talk about trilogies! There are several different ways to put three book-sized objects in a row, and this series uses what I think might be the worst. I don't have a proper name for it (duologies behaving badly? party in the front, sweatshop in the back?), but it's that same thing Garth Nix did with Sabriel and Lirael/Abhorsen:

  • Start with one standalone, book-shaped book, with tight plotting and characterization and some deep-but-restrained worldbuilding.
  • Follow it with a much larger and more sprawling sequel, arbitrarily split into two volumes. (Book 2 usually ends on a cliffhanger of some kind.)

Recognize it? Contrast with the "three book-shaped books" trilogy or the "one continuous scroll" trilogy, both of which work better.

Part of the problem is just setting up an expectation of book-shaped books and then flubbing it. But I'm also starting to think that two books out of a trilogy is a uniquely awkward and unbalanced story unit, and should be avoided categorically. In all the examples I can think of, the sprawly second story has major plot and pacing issues that didn't afflict the first book and could only be addressed with major story surgery.

In this case, most of book 2 is dedicated to a shōnen manga tournament plot. This is a time-tested device that works really well in a long-running combat-focused comic, because it provides a lower-stakes pause in the main action (during which you can cut to machinations in the background as needed), it's guaranteed to take up a good long chunk of serialized time, and it's a good way to demonstrate how various characters have progressed or not progressed, especially because it lets you pit allies against each other without having to completely deform the story.

But tournaments usually work so well because they take up like an eighth or a tenth of a tremendously long comic. This one is like a quarter of the damn trilogy, and while yes, it's cool to see how badass Lila is now, it basically shoots the pacing all to hell.

Also affecting the pacing: The villain of the second story seems to spend an inordinate amount of time just twiddling his thumbs out in the distance. And he's just a lot less interesting than the confluence of villainies in the first book! He kind of sucks, tbh. (Note that I had this same beef with Lirael/Abhorsen. Is this a weird secondary effect of the structure?)

I had some other plot beefs. There's a death in book 3 that just kind of comes from someone acting out of character for no good reason, plus a few other things... not gonna go super deep into this, it just felt like things generally got a little sloppy.

Finally, there's a central character unironically named "Alucard," even though the only proper use of that name is to tell the reader with a big fat wink that this is Dracula's depressed son. (This story has nothing to do with Draculas, and IDEK how Schwab managed to not realize what she was doing there. Are there truly people who Don't Castlevania?? [yes])

IDK. I did enjoy the second book quite a bit, but it's not a complete unit, and I got bored partway through book three and just put it down for several months to read other things. There's a lot of good stuff in there, but it's flawed and uneven compared to book 1's mirror-bright polish.

Martha Wells — The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red

May 7

Yay, new Martha Wells! Spoiler, I liked it.

This had a more-than-passing resemblance to her short-lived Emilie series — it's more stripped-down than a lot of her other books, with more straightforward plotting and a more parsimonious approach to characterization for the supporting cast (not flat, but with most of the depth gestured rather than rendered, if that makes sense). It's an old-fashioned sort of feel, and one that suits both series' niches (Emilie was a deliberately retro pre-"YA" subgenre of youth lit, and Murderbot is a novella, which is sort of a coelacanth format just now coming out of a long hibernation).

Anyway, this is short and enjoyable and cheap (in its native ebook form, at least; the "tor.com" imprint has been publishing pretty nice tpbs of their novellas, but they're so overpriced that I get the impression we're not actually meant to buy them), and you should check it out.

Re: recent comments about how to structure a series: this is definitely the start of a larger story (note the beautiful last-minute left turn to avoid "happy ending"), but it's nicely contained, setting the stage for a next bit without any cliff-dangling. Which, again, I always greatly appreciate.

Jason Turner — Fir Valley (comics)

July 13

I liked this! It used this really aggressive POV shifting to get kind of a cubist every-angle-at-once view of the town of Fir Valley. And the town felt pretty legit; idk, I was reading this at the same time as Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being, and they both do interesting things with the, like, sensation of being in the Pacific Northwest.

Tonally, this was all over the place in a way I kind of loved. Gruesome murder, young people making music, ghostly conspirators with animal heads, drunken idiocy, all kinds of stuff in here, and all presented with this kind of goofy big-hearted cheer? Turner has cited Twin Peaks as an influence here, and I can definitely see it. He isn't following Lynch's aesthetic, but the method seems familiar.

Anna-Marie McLemore — When the Moon Was Ours

June 11

I liked this, but I don't really feel like talking about it. It was good.

Norður

Jul. 22nd, 2017 09:24 pm
naraht: (Default)
[personal profile] naraht
It's that time in the summer when I start to dream about being somewhere far to the north, with a view of the sea. To be fair, I also dream about the north in the depths of winter. To be even fairer, the weather here has been cool and rainy, so maybe that's made me think about northern climes.

If I were for some reason forced to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a hotel, I would go to the Fogo Island Inn, off the northern coast of Newfoundland.

Or maybe a less ridiculously posh place with bonus icebergs, the Hotel Arctic in Ilulissat, Greenland.

I remind myself that I've already got a weekend booked in Iceland on my way home to the States in December. And I can sit and enjoy views of the cold sea from a lovely steaming hotpot at any number of municipal pools. And my room probably has a view of the harbor!

But that's a long ways off. I'm pondering whether to plan an August long weekend somewhere in the UK, and whether it would be worth the faff to travel somewhere more northerly, as opposed to just going to Brighton or something. I'm very fond of Scarborough. I also have this weird desire to see the Isle of Man after watching the national road race championships a few weeks ago.

Also worth pointing out that I'm going to Saint Petersburg at the end of August, and perhaps that counts as northerly if not quite with an unobstructed ocean view? I'm rather tempted by Kronstadt...

Man what a week!

Jul. 22nd, 2017 01:29 pm
hillarygayle: (Nurse Sakura)
[personal profile] hillarygayle
Worked all last weekend. You wouldn't believe how many hand lacerations I've repaired. I'm going to need to ask everyone in my geographical area to please step away from the heavy & sharp objects. I've had 3 crush injuries and at least 6 lacerations in the last 4 shifts I worked. The most impressive damage was someone who accidentally put their arm through a glass & metal door. Y'all, don't expect a door will hold your weight!

I've also had 2-3 admissions, which is unusual for the area of emergency in which I work. They try to send the lower acuity folks over to the Annex (where I work) because there are fewer infrastructure type resources (heart monitors, vital sign machines, only a Omnicell & supply Pyxis), so most of what I see are simple laceration repairs, twisted ankles, sore throats, chronic low back pain that magically became an emergency at 6pm on a random Tuesday, krunny noses, & the occasional N/V/D (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Every so often, a VERY high acuity patient sneaks in because they simply don't look bad to the naked eye--it takes some digging to find the real problem. In the last year I've admitted a major heart attack who came in because of a cold, a hip fracture (bad enough to need next-morning surgery) that walked in, a pneumonia patient who had no fever, no cough, and just a little shortness of breath, and a back pain that turned out to be a ruptured kidney! My admissions this week were along those lines: walk in looking not bad at all--run a white blood cell count or get an x-ray or two and OH hey, why don't you come in & stay for a night?

Of course it hasn't helped that I was sick this week. Bryan went to a teacher training last week in the exotic far away lands of Arkadelphia and he brought home this upper respiratory virus which he then thoughtfully gave to me. Booooo. I was okay on Tuesday, sick on Wednesday, and then yesterday was REALLY bad. Fortunately I didn't have anyone who checked in with cold symptoms, because I probably would've stomped on their foot. When you're rocking pseudoephedrine, prednisone, acetaminophen/ibuprofen combo, and oxymetazoline nasal spray just to function enough to come to work, and someone comes in with a runny nose wanting a work excuse? Breeds just a touch of resentment.

I do believe things are about to change a bit though. We recently hired several more nurse practitioners. It's enough that M, the physician owner of the staffing agency for whom I work, has decided to start staffing the Main ER with 4 NPs per day: 2 from 09:00-17:00, and 2 from 17:00-03:00. This is in addition to the Annex, staffed by 1 NP from 09:00-21:00 and one from 11:00-23:00 (usually me). As the 2nd most senior employee, I get to state a preference for more shifts in Main or Annex, and I'm going to go for Main for sure. Not only am I specifically trained for that, I'm almost a year into my practice. I'm comfortable with my work flow and my processes, and once that happens it's only a matter of time until boredom strikes. UNLESS I'm learning new things, that is--which is what happens over in the Main ER with the very ill patients who come in. Lots more experiences interpreting labs, which is something I'd like to get better at.

My RV really wants to go somewhere! Ganon's birthday is Monday, and between that & my work schedule, there's no time for us to take the RV anywhere before school starts back. I'm going to plan us a trip to northwest Arkansas anyway, though. That can be done in just a couple of days. We can stay at an RV park over in Bentonville or Bella Vista and see the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Amazeum. A trip like that might even be MORE fun on a random weekend during the fall, when the heat is less unbearable. Even later in the fall would give us the gorgeous foliage of the Ozarks.

We're going to our first Dragon*Con over Labor Day weekend! I'm so excited! My mom is working on a costume for Ganon to dress as Link from BotW. I can't wait for...

Ganon: I'm Ganon.
Fan: Don't you mean Link?
Ganon: No, I'm cosplaying as Link. My NAME is Ganon. :D

I'm taking one cosplay outfit: my Pokémon professor costume from last Halloween. It's incredibly easy. It's just one of my old lab coats to which I sewed a Pokéball patch on the front. Put that on over one of my cute dresses, and *poof*! Pokémon professor! I already have a bit of an animated look, with my colorful hair and my professor-type glasses and my stand out makeup. When I wore it last Halloween, people knew instantly--even the parents at houses we went trick or treating at. Other than that, I think I'm going to stick with my geeky shirts & skirts from Her Universe & Tee Fury.

Right now, however--I am craving pizza with mushrooms, and I just found that Lost Pizza now supports online ordering. It's go time!

It's a Party, in the Rain?

Jul. 21st, 2017 05:26 pm
[personal profile] jazzyjj
I'm now at my parents' place and we're having a pizza party! But not outside 'cause of the storms. Tons of rain, lightning and thunder out there. I can hear it from up here in the bedroom.

vacaaaaaaation

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:51 pm
watersword: Fall foliage on the edge of a lake (Stock: autumn)
[personal profile] watersword
I have done everything that needs to be done outside my apartment building except get food for the plane. Now it is merely domestic things (laundry, cleaning, packing) and time which stands between me and blissful freedom. I await a delivery burrito (not for the plane).

I still feel like I don't have enough ebooks.
roadrunnertwice: Yoshimori from Kekkaishi, with his beverage of choice. (Kekkaishi.Yoshimori - Coffee milk)
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice

Eleanor Davis — How to be Happy

April 10

This is a collection of Davis' short comics, which are all over the place in style, length, and media. Davis is a really good cartoonist, and her more out-there art styles (the spindle-legged huge-torso look) are legit unique — the sort of thing that shouldn't work nearly as well as it does.

I liked these shorts; they felt like they were holding me at arm's length a lot of the time, but they did unexpected stuff and followed through on their swing. And Davis' cartooning is real engaging even when you're not really feeling a given story.

Books I stopped reading: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter — The Long Earth

April 2X

I stopped reading this about a third of the way through, because it lacked all of the things I'm looking for when I pick up a Terry Pratchett book.

John Darnielle — Universal Harvester

June 24

To be honest, I'm still trying to figure out what I think of this one. I was very much not satisfied at the end, and I'm trying to decide how much of that was the whole point, and how much of it was JD's reach exceeding his grasp this time. I might end up not deciding.

This had certain rewards anyway, despite the way it trailed off in the back third or so. There's this kind of roaring hollowness behind every paragraph that I feel really fuckin' nails why I find rural and small-town America scary, and not jump-scare scary but existential dread scary. JD was onto something here, and it's pretty compelling for a while. But it seems like an unfinished thought, and I put the book down with the sensation that someone had walked out of the room in the middle of a sentence and was not going to come back.

Again, it's possible that was the point.

Italo Calvino — Invisible Cities

May 9

Whoa, this was great! Not quite a novel, not quite short stories, more just an expanding fabric of disorienting oddness. A glitchville sort of vibe that reminded me of the last section of Kalpa Imperial, or maybe (faintly?) of Vellum? I feel like I can't quite dig up the thing it reminds me most of, which is very on-brand for this, now that I think of it.

Lars Brown — North World, vol. 1 (comics)

July 18

This had its charms, but maybe not enough of them. I don't feel the need to read more of it.

It feels like it belongs to a very very particular era — that bit in the late '00s, where mixing elements of classic video game settings with more prosaic character drama was having a moment? Scott Pilgrim kind of kicked it off and did it best, but there were a lot of others; some were blatantly following the trend, but I feel like a whole bunch of them were legit convergent evolution. Stories their authors wanted to do anyway, and which happened to be ready to go when the commercial moment arrived. Like, old games are responsible for a lot of the foundational metaphors by which my generation understands life, and of course we're going to work through that in our art.

Anyway, what I really liked about this comic were the settings — the city streets and markets and shops and houses and apartments. Brown's approach went something like: assume this big dumbass JRPG world, then focus on what people actually do from hour to hour and try to make everything feel really lived-in. It was great, a cool mix of... how to describe this. How about "conflicting familiarities." Which is kind of the whole raison d'être of this subgenre, right? The dissonance between our too-many methods of making sense of the world, which went from an idle preoccupation to an emergency when we realized the social and economic structures we were supposed to be "growing up" into had been devastated pretty much beyond repair well before we arrived? Yeah.

Oh right, back to the comic. Setting good, plot totally forgettable. Character writing ok, but nothing I was really connecting with. I kind of need at least two out of three to keep investing in something, so I'm out.

Jerry's surgery

Jul. 18th, 2017 04:11 pm
codyne: Kitty Jerry under a blanket (jerry)
[personal profile] codyne
Jerry has had her surgery and is resting in ICU at the hospital. Whew. The doctor said it went well. He removed about 95% of her colon, which was flaccid and non-functioning. He also removed several masses on her liver, which he said appeared to be bilomas (I think that's what he called them). They are usually benign, but he will have them tested to make sure. She was just waking up when he called me. He will call again this evening to let me know how she's doing. She'll stay at the hospital at least one night, maybe two, so they can make sure she's recovering well.

The drive down to LA was a horror! I left here at 6 AM, hoping to arrive by my 8:45 check-in time. Nope. Traffic started getting bad before I even got off the 14, and just got worse when I got to the 5, and slowed to stop-and-go when I reached the 405. There were at least two accidents, maybe three. It took over an hour to go the last ten miles. The freeway exit I wanted to use was closed (thank heaven for my phone, which was able to guide me around) and I had to take the next one and circle back. The whole trip took about 3 hours and 40 minutes. I was so flustered when I got to the hospital, I was shaking, and poor Jerry was cranky and complaining. I was almost an hour late for my scheduled check-in. But everything went smoothly once I got there. They whisked Jerry off and I filled in some forms and paid a deposit of the low end of the estimate, which went through on my CareCredit with no problems.

Then I got some chips and a Coke from the vending machine and sat in the waiting area to de-frazzle for a bit before heading back home. The trip home was a breeze, no traffic at all, and took just under two hours.

Now I am home, and Jerry's surgery is over and she's okay, and I can finally breathe.

Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom

Jul. 18th, 2017 06:43 am
jenett: Golden key on dark blue and purple watercolor (seek knowledge find wisdom)
[personal profile] jenett
I am delighted to announce the launch of my research consulting business, Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: research help on esoteric and eclectic topics.

Need a personal librarian? I can do that. Want help building skills or solving a research problem (or organising a home library?) Check out my services list for more details.

Courses and other materials will be coming shortly.

Feel free to ask me questions, tell your friends, and sign up for my newsletter and check out the blog.

(The newsletter is every other Wednesday, starting with July 19th, 2017, and the blog is every Tuesday and Friday. I am not crossposting these to Dreamwidth, but you can find links and crossposts on Twitter and Tumblr.)
turlough: My Chemical Romance, photoshoot for Uncle Sally*s (German magazine) autumn 2010 ((mcr) away with the boys in the band)
[personal profile] turlough
"Admit it Frankie, your ideas for naming diseases are shit."

"Because your ideas are always so awesome, yeah?" Frank shoots back. "Who thought it was a good idea to kill all firstborns in Egypt, huh?"

"Oh for - Frank, that was forever ago!"

"Don't make me bring up the dinosaurs."

Gerard looks guilty for a moment. "They never proved that was me."

Frank jumps up and points. "HA! I knew it was you, you fucker. Those things were cool."

"I didn't mean to. Besides, it worked out. The humans and stuff."


- [archiveofourown.org profile] b_dsaint & [archiveofourown.org profile] pikasafire's Revelation 6: 1-8

Doctor Who series 10

Jul. 17th, 2017 02:54 pm
watersword: Karen Gillan as Amelia Pond in season 5 of Doctor Who (Doctor Who: Amelia Pond)
[personal profile] watersword
Having gotten excited about the Thirteenth Doctor and having finished watching the almost-last of the Twelfth — I am dubious about the Christmas special, given Moffat's Moffatness, but apparently this show is doing its usual thing:
part of the charm of Doctor Who is that it jumps the shark every couple of weeks, swims back under it in the other direction, puts a fricking laser beam on its fricking head, makes it meet its doppelgänger, beams it off to a vaudeville stage to perform a surrealist version of Mack the Knife, reveals that it’s actually the mastermind of a cunning plot to rig an underwater mining dispute, implicates it in a grandfather paradox, kills it off, brings it back with no explanation, angsts about killing it off, jumps it one more time, and then suddenly blindsides you with an episode that reminds you of all the feelings you ever had about that fucking shark in the first place. — tenlittlebullets

and we're in the "reminds you of all the feelings you ever had about that fucking shark in the first place" period of the cycle — I would like to be linked to reactions to the series 10 finale! What did you think?

Let's assume spoilers in the comments.

Anxiety

Jul. 17th, 2017 11:34 am
codyne: my wyvern tattoo (Default)
[personal profile] codyne
Woke up at 6:30 this morning to a very strong smell of smoke wafting in my window, so I got up, threw on some clothes and went outside to inspect the skyline. No smoke plume anywhere, but the whole canyon was hazy. I figured it was blowing in from somewhere far enough away not to worry about (but continued worrying) and came back inside.

Untitled

Since I was already awake, I went ahead and started morning chores, all the time thinking about what I would do if I had to evacuate. With my brother gone, I don't have any convenient family to move in with in case of fire, so I would probably have to check into a hotel. Also, I have two vehicles now, and would have to choose one to evacuate in and leave the other. Probably take the truck because 1) more room to carry stuff and 2) I need it more than I need a car. On the other hand, the truck is older and in worse shape, and I've been thinking about replacing it anyway. So maybe I should take the car and let the truck burn? Then thinking about stuff to take. And getting a bit edgy. I've already lost everything once, I don't want to do it again! If this house burns down, I won't rebuild. Probably find someplace to rent until my mom passes and then move away.

Turns out, the fire is at the landfill, and currently under control, although expected to continue to smolder for several days. Looks like we're okay for now.

It's just as well that I got up early today, since I'll have to get up even earlier tomorrow to take Jerry down to LA for her surgery. At least I should be tired enough to go to bed early and get plenty of sleep for the drive.

Jerry was in her room complaining earlier. She gets lonely, but she doesn't want to come out, she wants me to go in there and keep her company. I went in and petted her for a while then came out, but she started calling me again. Went back in, and the other cats sat at the door and meowed for me to come out. So I opened the door, figuring we could all share the bedroom for a little while. Then Jerry started hissing and growling at the boys (who were just prowling around, paying no attention to her), Davey started getting into stuff, and pretty soon I chased the boys out and left Jerry in her room again. Argh! Sorry kitties, there is only one of me! If you can't share space peacefully, you can't all have me at once!

Then I decided to call CareCredit and see if I can make sure they won't decline my charge when I go to pay for Jerry's surgery. The customer service person on the phone was apologetic that my previous charge was declined, but couldn't tell me why it was declined, or offer any assurance that my next charge wouldn't be declined, either. The best she could do was tell me to call them to have the charge put through if it was declined. Which is pretty much what I would have done anyway, so today's call was totally useless.

And now I'm a bundle of nerves, worrying about my cat and fire and paying vet bills and driving to LA in the morning and stuff.

!!!!!!!!!!

Jul. 16th, 2017 12:19 pm
watersword: Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones in Doctor Who (Doctor Who: Dr Martha Jones)
[personal profile] watersword
I didn't know this was going to make me so happy, but oh my god, the announcement of the Thirteenth Doctor is making me so happy.

random non-spoilery TdF observations

Jul. 14th, 2017 09:51 pm
naraht: Chris Froome and Peter Sagan chatting (other-HelloFroomey)
[personal profile] naraht
I've been feeling inexplicably unwell so I finished work early this afternoon and spent it lying on the couch watching the Tour de France...

• One of Britain's top cyclists from the 80s, Philippa York, has just publicly come out as trans during the Tour. Apparently she had been avoiding public life for some years, but people in the know were aware that she'd transitioned. What's heartening is that the reception from the cycling world has, as far as I can tell, been extremely supportive. She's been guest commentating on ITV for a few stages now, and I haven't heard a single stumble over name or pronouns. Chapeau, Philippa. It must have taken a lot of courage.

• David Millar gets so into the tactics. You get the feeling that he doesn't care so much who wins (or does a good job of covering it up, unlike Carlton Kirby, who has his crushes), but he gets passionately angry if he disagrees with a team's choices: "why are they doing that??!? It's ridiculous! What are they trying to achieve???"

Yet when Ned Boulting asked, he heartily and believably denied having any desire to be out on the mountain himself: "no, no, a thousand times no."

• I've managed to get my parents into watching the Tour. They're both backing Froome. What did I do to deserve this?

• As always, a special thanks is due to whoever at ITV does the end-of-show montages. They are always superbly on point and they almost always choose great music. Today I owe them particular thanks for introducing me to the music of Jacqueline Taïeb, a French singer of Tunisian origin from the 60s.

Apart from being a great song, Bravo just makes me think of the "Carlien Daten?" saga. (Spoiler: after the date they "decided to just be friends.")

I don't get the feeling that Taïeb pities (or particularly respects) the hero, though perhaps I'm reading too much into it...

(French lyrics)



• ETA: What have I learned from the Orica Backstage Pass so far? That Esteban Chaves is reading a Danielle Steele novel and that (unrelatedly) Matt Hayman has had to explain to him what a "bromance" is.

Another Addendum of Sorts

Jul. 14th, 2017 10:44 am
[personal profile] jazzyjj
Well, we did not end up watching an audio-described movie on Wednesday evening, but that's fine with me 'cause the movie we did watch had a lot of dialog. We saw "Police Academy," which we enjoyed. We also ate hot dogs, popcorn and chips. Or at least most of us did.

Jerry

Jul. 13th, 2017 11:24 am
codyne: my wyvern tattoo (Default)
[personal profile] codyne
Welp, I took Jerry to the vet hospital in LA yesterday for a consult with an internist about her megacolon. It was a long, tiring day full of news that was not horrible, but not that great, either.

The drive to LA should theoretically take about 2 hours. That, however, doesn't include traffic delays, and there are always traffic delays in LA. So, since our appointment was at 2 PM, I left around 11:30, hoping that would be enough to get us there on time. Traffic was actually not bad until we reached the 405, when we hit stop and go for the last 10 miles or so. Managed to arrive at the vet hospital by quarter to 2, so that was good. Miss Jerry did not enjoy the ride, and plied me with tiny, plaintive, squeaky meows half the way.

The internist looked at the x-rays and lab tests sent down by my vet, and discussed Jerry's history, and agreed that since medication management wasn't working any more, it was time for surgery. But he was also concerned about a high calcium level in her last blood test, and also wanted to do an ultrasound and chest x-rays. He set up a surgery consultation appointment for us at 4 PM, and went off to do the other ultrasound & x-rays, and I went out to the waiting room to hang out for an hour and a half. I had brought snacks with me and had books and games on my phone, so the wait wasn't too bad.

Around 4 PM, I collected my annoyed kitty and got the news from the internist while we waited for the surgeon. The x-rays were good, but the ultrasound showed a mass on her liver. He took a needle biopsy of it to send out. The good news (if it can be called that) is that, if necessary, the mass can be removed at the same time as her colectomy. We won't get the results of the biopsy for two or three days.

Then we had the consult with the surgeon. He agreed that surgery was indicated, and we made an appointment for next Tuesday. By then, they'll have the results of the biopsy and can decide if the mass also needs to be removed.

One thing that concerns me is that he wants her to go off her stool softeners until the surgery. That's so the stool will be harder and there will be less chance of leakage into her body when he cuts the colon. At first he said he wanted her off the meds for two weeks before the surgery! I told him, it's hard enough to get her to poop any more, even with the stool softeners. I can pretty much guarantee that without them, she won't poop at all for two weeks. So he went off to talk to the internist and check the ultrasounds and came back and said, all right, we'll just do one week. I'm still concerned. I guess she can survive a week without pooping, and if she starts to get distressed, I'll call them and see what they suggest.

So the surgery is scheduled for 8:45 AM next Tuesday. Which means getting up early and getting out of here by 6 AM, because that's going to be rush hour into the city and traffic is going to be bad. I should probably leave earlier, but eh. If I'm a little late, so be it. I'll need to leave her there for one or two nights.

Then we were ready to leave, once I paid the bill, which was another hassle -- I was going to use my CareCredit card, so I could pay it off over time without paying any interest, but it was declined so I had to use a different credit card. Then, not two minutes later, I got a robocall from Care Credit saying they'd detected "unusual activity" on my account and wanted to verify that I'd just attempted to charge $$ on it. I said yes, and the bot cheerfully told me to continue using my card. Wut? What is unusual about trying to pay a vet bill for my cat? Argh. Well, it's (almost) just as well, because I'll need the Care Credit for the surgery anyway, and that will go well over my credit limit, unless I can get it raised in the week before the surgery. And assuming they'll actually let the charge go through.

So then it was around 4:30 PM, and we were heading out just in time to hit evening rush hour. Took us three hours to get home, and we were both tired, hungry, and cranky when we finally arrived. Miss Jerry was thrashing around in her carrier, eager to get out, and as soon as I set her carrier down in her room and opened it, she jumped out and rushed out of the room! Well, rushed inasmuch as she ever does: she strode briskly and determinedly out of the room, which is very rare for her -- since the boys arrived, she has only poked her nose out of the bedroom a few times, and went right back in after a brief foray. This time, she went into the kitchen and sat on one of the chairs at the little bistro table I have in there, and stayed there for an hour and a half, even after the boys finished their dinners and came out to see what was going on. She growled and hissed at them, as usual, but didn't give any ground. Heh.

Untitled

It was dark, so she's mostly just a black blob on the chair, but here she is, adventuring out into the world of the kitchen! I would love it if the surgery improves her health so that she becomes more energetic and brave and starts leaving her room more.

Once I got home, I got the final hit of the day: the email from the vet hospital with an estimate of the cost of her surgery: $7200 - $8200. Holy crap! I really hope I can get most or all of that onto Care Credit, so I can pay it off over time. Otherwise, it's going to completely wipe out my savings, and that doesn't even count the approximately $2500 I've already spent on Jerry's recent vet visits. It's a scary huge amount of money, but at least I *can* pay it. The only other option would be to, I don't know, let her suffer until the megacolon kills her, or have her put down, and I'm not ready for that, not when the surgery has a good chance of making her well.

Going Downstairs in a Bit

Jul. 12th, 2017 06:17 pm
[personal profile] jazzyjj
Hi everybody. Tonight it's movie night here at my apartment complex. Don't know what we're watching, but it'll hopefully be something with audio descriptions. Those wanting to know more about AD please check out this website: http://www.acb.org/adp . Hope y'all are staying outa trouble. That's all for now.

we live in a post-Watergate society

Jul. 11th, 2017 10:27 pm
watersword: The words ACLU: got rights? (Politics: ACLU)
[personal profile] watersword
For forty-plus years, we have been taught "it's not the crime, it's the cover-up." Except ...this time around, the cover-up was incompetent and the crime was treason. HOW IS THIS REAL LIFE.

Well, that didn't take long

Jul. 11th, 2017 02:54 pm
codyne: Kitty Jerry under a blanket (jerry)
[personal profile] codyne
Miss Jerry's back at the vet today, having not pooped at all since she came home on Friday. I have an appointment for tomorrow afternoon at an animal hospital in LA to consult on what the next step should be -- most likely surgery. Poor kitty! She really didn't want to go back to the vet this morning, and I didn't want to have to take her, but it's become clear that her bowels are not capable of moving satisfactorily on their own any more. I hope we'll be able to get her fixed up soon, so she won't have to go through this any more.

(no subject)

Jul. 11th, 2017 05:02 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
holy shit

Last night I was like, nah, you're seeing things, wishful thinking, etc, but after treatment #2? The cords really ARE shrinking, dramatically so.

"Stops progressing" would have been a good outcome. Actual reversal happens in a minority of cases, almost always in patients who treat it very early. I'm SO FUCKING GLAD I insisted on going as aggressive as possible. Even if I wind up with more chronic pain out of it, I'll keep use of my hands for a fuck of a lot longer, thank ANYTHING THAT WAS LISTENING
naraht: Chris Froome and Peter Sagan chatting (other-HelloFroomey)
[personal profile] naraht
I did actually laugh out loud at this one. I love these guys. Can they be a Yuletide fandom?

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