July 29th, 2014


Progress Report #67352

The end of May and we'd just gotten back from WisCon and I was thrown back into Butterworth Hospital for a not very unpleasant week, ending up with twice daily IV antibiotic and daily hyperbaric oxygen chamber sessions.

It's the end of July, we just returned from Detcon1, and after two months I am off the at-home IVs and done with the 30 HBO sessions. Still on the 50% weight restriction for the left foot. On oral antibiotics for 4-6 months. Overall, I still feel fine, unlike last year when my actual hospital stays were marked by being Very Sick Indeed until I was discharged to the LTAC and rehab facilities.

The reopened wound on the bottom of my heel continues to heal. The new tissue everyone constantly says looks great, with 100% granular tissue.

The PICC line used for the IVs was pulled out, much easier than putting in (grin), and thankfully having a live hole in my arm into a vein with an extension line dangling from it didn't get snagged on anything. I started with the top cut off a sock and then some nice double-wide wristbands to hold the end of the PICC line in place.

So why do I sometimes still wear a wristband -- on both wrists? Well, the new antibiotic, doxycycline, is one that has an advisory on sun sensitivity. My t-shirts are long, so when outside the wristbands cover up a little more. So far, haven't had a sun problem.

Meanwhile, I had blood work done prior to scheduling a repeat MRI. Depending on what they see and if they want to do surgery, I may get another 10 dives in the HBO tank. About that, I've been meaning to show you the thing.

My tank. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

This is Tank A. The acrylic is 1½" thick. The latches are huge brass fittings so as to generate no sparks. To the right is Tank B. The HBO unit is in a funny shaped room, along an angled turn in the corridor. So to the left is a door into the corridor, behind here is the main open space and the large 1½ door main entrance. And beyond that on the other back wall perpendicular to the others is Tank C.

The gurney on the right locks onto the end of the tank and then the upper part slides into the tank. Coiled on the door are the monitoring pads that get stuck on. They're there to see if you're still alive and to remove chest hair. The little white cylinder with the red button clipped to the right side of the door is the call button. I'm assuming the contacts on all these things are sealed so you don't blow yourself up inside at 2 atm 100% oxygen. Just inside the tank is a double wide wedge covered in a white sheet to hold my legs in place -- that's for me. One of the other "tankers" used to sit propped up in his tank with one or both knees up. But between lack of feeling and control of that left foot and needing to keep the heel off the bed, it was the wedge for me.

The black triangular wedges on top of the tank are armrests, shoved in carefully to not catch on the telemetry wires. Or a PICC line or even a hospital gown. They're designed to squeeze in tight. You can just make out the top of the small HDTV that slides on rails atop the tank. You can't see the two speakers in the top of the tank by the opening.

If I go back for another 10 hours, I've not decided what movies to see. Been through most of the SF films. There's a bunch of action films. Or... ten hours will get me most of the way through the theatrical length of The Lord of the Rings, I reckon. (dark-grin)

Anyway, for the moment I am doing good. Hopefully we keep it that way, buy you never know.

Dr. Phil

Bandits! 11 o'clock!

You can't plan for these.

Somewhere around 11pm, I think I was watching Ice Road Truckers, and they ran this old Sears Optical commercial where this woman in her houseboat is calling her cat back inside for the night. But it's a raccoon that trots in. And this is the longer version, showing the raccoon sprawled on the bed as the woman goes to sleep.

It's a funny little commercial and it's still amusing, even after a couple of years. But...

They ran it just after a commercial for Guardians of the Future, which opens THIS WEEKEND, featuring a snarling Rocket Raccoon.

That makes me smile.

Dr. Phil

Harassment On My Mind

It doesn't go away.

It's 2014 and it still hasn't gone away.

There's harassment of a bewildering array of targets throughout society. But the one place you might think would be more enlightened would be among a group already considered fringe -- SFF cons -- we are still dealing with bad behavior AND bad official behavior against those affected. And in 2014, one of the biggest reported fails is WisCon, the feminist SF con.

One of my favorite cons, I was even at my third WisCon in 2014, and yet in its 38th year, they dropped the ball. When I saw Jim Frenkel working the con suite, I thought maybe it was penance or something. Surely WisCon couldn't be so inept as to ignore the situation. I mean, his conduct cost him his job. And WisCon can't get this right by their members?

Look, this has been a problem for a long time. Women, POCs, LGBTQ, other cultures, all have been targets of jerks. Verbal, physical abuse, dismissive attitudes, rape -- even just making people feel uncomfortable or ill. 2013-2014 has seen a big visible campaign by Big Name Authors and others to get cons to both HAVE a practical and effective safety and harassment policy in place, but ADVERTISE it and ENFORCE it. A number of BNAs have publicly stated that they will not accept Guest of Honor berths without these in place. This summer Tor arranged for John Scalzi to do some things at the mammoth San Diego Comic-Con. But when their policies were shown to be problematic, Scalzi insisted that his events be held offsite.

Detcon1, this year's NASFiC in Detroit, put an Abbreviated Code of Conduct right smack on the front cover of the pocket Schedule Book. Indeed, it's not hopeless. I don't have the original link, but via Steve Buchheit via Al Bogdan...
"When a science fiction convention is more affirming, less body-shaming, more welcoming and less sneering than a conference with 3,000 plus 'progressives,' we're doing something wrong." A little on Netroots Nation and Detcon1, both held in Detroit last weekend, and what it means to be inclusive and diverse. (Grokked from Al Bogdan)
It should be so easy.

-- Be kind.
-- Treat everyone with respect.
-- No means no.
-- Walk away when unwanted.
-- Your desire to apologize is trumped by the other person's space.
-- No one should have to leave because of your behavior.
-- You aren't funnier, wittier, smarter, sexier or any other -er when you're drunk.
-- ... Or high.
-- ... Or even just full of yourself.
-- And Good God NEVER administer any chemical to a person without their knowledge.
-- If you can't control yourself, you're gone.
-- You can guarantee your bad behavior will be talked about.
-- If you're in the industry, there will be repercussions.
-- You are not some fucking special snowflake that gets a free pass to rule the world and abuse people.
-- Period.

We have to do better. We have to get this right.

For everyone.

Dr. Phil

EDITED: 8/2/14 to be more specific beyond just being a drunk as whole. Would that such words were not needed, or that one has to think like a scumbag to come up with these recommendations.

49 50 or Fight

As noted, a week ago Monday we poked at the 90s for the first time this summer in West Michigan. Also, Mt. Washington's weather outpost in New Hampshire regular posts some of the worst weather in the world. This Monday Holland was colder.
The air temperature at the Holland State Park weather station dipped to a chilly 49 degrees Monday afternoon, which itself is quite notable given the season. But the reading also provided the designation as the coldest location in the continental U.S. for a time.

Forty-degree weather in July, in West Michigan — only Mount Washington, N.H., rivaled Holland's figure at 50 degrees.

"That station is at the end of the pier ... so it's very exposed to the influence of the lake," said Brandon Hoving, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids. "The water temperature was dropping quite a bit on Monday, dropping like a rock."

The Port Sheldon buoy recorded a water temperature of about 62 degrees Sunday, falling to about 42 degrees Monday — a 20-degree difference — as stiff winds brought cooler waters up to the surface.
Meanwhile, I have two sets of relatives in Texas forced to fix three air conditioners in the heat.

Gas was $3.54.9/gallon yesterday -- Mrs. Dr. Phil got to fill up with 55¢/gal off discount coupons, technically dropping under three bucks. Today it was $3.31.9/gal for anyone.

Remember boys and girls -- weather and climate are not the same things. Local variations can and will occur. And there is no predicting gasoline prices.

Dr. Phil